Saturday, December 31, 2022

A profitable night

I can only reiterate, your sad arse poor people need to gamble to make an honest days living.

I indicated to Household Chef that he have a night off cooking and we would go to the pub, The Elsternwick. He gratefully accepted the offer. We scrutinised the menu to find cheap meals and as usual I chose the Senior's sirloin steak with pepper sauce, salad and chips for $18. R had the Senior's chicken schnitzel for the same price. 

Pre dinner I think R had lost $10 at the pokie machines and I had lost $5. After dinner I gave 
R my gambling ticket with a $15 credit as I was bored with gambling and told him to take it down to $10 or if he got it up to $30, take the money. My motto is double or nothing. 

I sat outside for a while and then re-entered. R's machine was doing something. He told me to click things on the screen that came up. It's your money, as he said. I went to click on the screen in an instinctive place and then changed. Each time the selection came up, I did the same, that is not click where my first instinct went. Some scrolling display began spinning upwards to about $950. I said to R, that is some kind of jackpot we could win. He replied, I am speechless. 

We had won $950. Divided that is $475 each for fifteen or so minute's labour. That has more than covered any of my previous gambling losses. 

If you are a poor poverty stricken pensioner, you really need to step up and not be such a burden on society and invest your pension money into these gambling machines to become wealthy and not need a pension. We play rarely but if you did so daily, I reckon you could become a millionaire. But the too lazy to gamble poor will always be with us.

Seriously, I've only ever risked $10 on pokie machines at a time. If I lose it, it was a bit of brief entertainment. If I double it, I take the profit. But in some way I always thought there could be a luck chance. Slowly, slowly catchee monkey.  

Friday, December 30, 2022

Christmas and Boxing Day Celebrations

Just eleven of us on Christmas Day, the only children being the five year old twin girls. Mother was kicked out of hospital on the Thursday and she attended. Her moaning about her health and fragility led R to think she is not long for this world. I think as long as she keeps complaining about her treatments by all medical services, self diagnosing what medications she should and should not take, and starts a phone conversation with me saying 'Oh love, I am in a terrible way. The doctors don't know what they are doing', with her voice so shaky. Five minutes later, her voice will settle down. Ten minutes later as I am trying to hang up, she sounds quite happy and rational. 

For the record, myself and R. Mother and ABI Brother, Tradie Brother who hosted, Sister, Bone Doctor and Jo, Hippie Niece and her partner and her five year old beautiful twin latte coloured daughters. 

I was inventive and this year we travelled to Mornington Peninsular using the Western Port Highway and aside from a bank up at the Hall Road roundabout, it was quite smooth sailing, taking an hour. I think it was one and a half hours last year on the freeways/toll roads. We took the freeways and toll roads home and it only took 45 minutes. R thanked me for my planning. So he should. It could have gone terribly wrong and there would be much less than thanks.

It was the usual Christmas fare, with various cooked meats and vegetables. It was preceded by fresh prawns. I don't mind prawns but I only ate one as I lost two minutes of my life to remove the shell for minor pleasure. I think we export prawns to Vietnam for locals to shell and they are sent back here to be sold to be sold as fresh. I prefer shelled prawns, even if labour in third world countries is exploited and the prawns arrive at the table with a lot of travel miles. But I can easily live without them. 

Boxing Day was repeat and rinse in some ways, but a bit different. Mother was exhausted by Christmas Day and so she did not attend for the first time, and stopped her carer, ABI Brother from attending for an hour as she was so unwell, she could not be left alone. We all encouraged ABI Brother to come for an hour, but no, Mother would not let him free. Boxing Day was quite chaotic with maybe 30 people there, including three babies under 6 months, two two year olds, a five year old girl and an eight year old girl. It is unlikely the family will grow anymore, but there is the danger Hippie Niece will want a child with her current partner. She has settled now but she was to put it crudely, unstable for a number of years after the birth of her twins. I don't think she should have another baby and nor does anyone else. It was rather hot on Boxing Day, too hot really. We were exhausted and even though we slept well that night, the next day we felt very lethargic. Thankfully a cool change blasted in mid morning. 

Tradie Brother had decorated and planned Christmas Day so well. In spite of the efforts, the food was quite ordinary to say the best but it wasn't for a lack of effort and like I could do better. It would be KFC and Red Rooster if left up to me.

Table decoration with large pieces of gum tree bark around both inside and out. 

While the the water air con was working well, I asked if anyone was too hot and if so, I could turn the overhead fans on. The result would have been such fun, but everyone yelled, no!

You can't see much but the hose going up to the fibre glass corrugated sheet roof over the outdoor area sprays over shade cloth above the roof and drops the temperature underneath considerably. There is some dripping below at the edges of the roof, but that is ok.

You have to look closely but the round horizontal pipe drains from the roof and has drip holes that keeps the ferns well watered and lush. I don't really know how it works but it also adds a cooling effect.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Driver concentration #101

When I was younger I would have taken to left hand driving without a problem. While I think I still could, it would not be worth the risk of me getting it wrong somehow. If I think about left hand driving, I have to paint a picture in my mind to work it out, but even so, I just give up. It is so hard to visualise.

Sister drove in the US, out of the car hire place onto the wrong side of the road. Her driving was fine after that incident.

So for you left hand drivers, you will have to convert a right hand driver's experience to a left hand driver's situation. 

Why is it that at a fully controlled traffic light intersection that every motorist carefully watches the right turn arrow except for the first car driver, preoccupied with their phone or car electronic screen. Cars behind will give an encouraging horning (is that not a verb?) to move the non traffic light observing motorist along. The last couple of cars who miss the traffic light green arrow and are faced with a red arrow because the first driver was dilatory, will think murderous thoughts.

I was a bit naughty last week. To get our building's car park if coming from the north, we have to make a U turn in St Kilda Road. I think R must have dozed off and didn't notice the risk to his life as I undercut the car in front of me and went in front of it to for me to complete the U turn as it was so slow.

In spite of my own opinion, I am probably not the best driver in the world but by golly, how do some people pass their driving test. Such bad driving is a 21st century problem. The 20th century problem was drunk drivers but generally the standard of driving was much better. Driving was a task that needed concentration.   

We need to be a more tolerant and friendly society but that doesn't extend to terribly incompetent drivers who should be taken out with a Kalashnikov. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Clearing Decks

Normal winter evening peak traffic down below. It gets very messy.

Melbourne's very nice Century Building.

What? We are supposed to be in the right hand lane to turn right? No one told them the bleeding obvious.  

No trams and a bus replacement nightmare. I can see two St Kilda Road inbound buses and a 58 replacement bus. That was very unusual. 

Maybe I stole this from a fellow blogger because it amused me.

We have had dire warnings of energy price rises, but it hasn't happened yet. I would be a bit cynical about what is said in this picture, however with both electricity and and gas the Labor government in the state of Western Australia is in control of gas and power companies and pricing. It is not so in other states with their privatised systems, and it has taken a Federal Labor government to begin to clean up the mess left by the neo conservative so called Liberal Party.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Transport Tuesday

I took the car out a week or so ago to fill it with petrol. It didn't need too much but we were warned the price was going to rise. It didn't. 

I kind of knew there was an old railway line alongside Lorimer Street in turn which runs close to the bank of the Yarra River and I wanted to take a proper look at it. Naturally Marcus Wong had done so before and took quite a few photos. I assumed it was an old line to somewhere, long ago abandoned. Not so at all.

As you can see it was a single track and subsequent research revealed it was only built in 1986 to transport freight from rail terminal west of Melbourne to a shipping facility at Webb Dock, hence it was called the Web Dock Railway Line. It was not electrified and so the freight trains were diesel powered. Aside from Gippsland former coal trains, I don't thing we've ever had electrified freight lines. 

Just ten years after opening, the line closed in 1996 for construction of disastrous Docklands development and the sports stadium. The bridge over Yarra River was repurposed as a pedestrian bridge, Webb Bridge I think.

Much of the line still exits. Some parts have been removed and some covered over but I believe the government still owns the land which could be quite useful in the future.

There is even a bit of associated infrastructure left. I am not sure if this will work but these photos were taken  where Lorimer Street changes to Todd Road.

Freight terminal bound.

The crossing is not active but stranger things have happened, 

Webb Dock bound.

The legendary train and tram photographer who produced stunning images, the late Weston Langford, documented the line's construction and opening. A link to his photos can be found here.

Maybe in history Marcus Wong will be described as a legendary photographer and documenter of train and tram history. He made a fine start with his coverage after the line's closure, which you see here

PS. Marcus, the door of the box in your photo entitled Level Crossing Protection has gone, exposing the interior workings.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Pre Christmas Catch Ups

Ex Sis in Law and her Santa impersonator husband would be working long hours before Christmas so we caught up with them for a seafood lunch at Wings and Fins at Tooradin Airport in November. 

Late November we caught up with my former workmate for dinner at Gentleman George across the road, once called Roscoes before it was remodelled. 

Next was our Hairdresser Friend at Romeos about which I published about a couple of days ago. 

Then it was delicious lunch cooked by our friends at their apartment in Beacon Cove, Port Melbourne. 

Lunch at Clocks with Brighton Antique Dealer, supposed to be with her female friend who we didn't know, but had fallen victim to Covid. Instead her gay 70 old year old friend came with her and it was a very nice lunch.

The final pre Christmas tick was a visit to our friend in Kyneton, a one and a quarter hour drive away. We had coffee and shortbread at his place and then drove to a bakery in town where we had a pie. Not just a pie, a gourmet pie and the walls were adorned with about fifty certificates for award winning food at the bakery. My pepper steak beef pie was rather good. Maybe a bit more pepper to challenge me would have been good.

We took a wander around the town's Botanic Gardens, careful to not walk down too many slopes as that means walking back up. Here are a few photos taken in the town and at the gardens. It's a nice thriving and growing town with a reasonable train connection to Melbourne.

Former Post Office.

Town Hall.

I think the word jelly is in the name of this palm tree. I thought I'd remember the name but clearly I haven't.

I think it has some kind of tulip display at the appropriate time.

R craved an ice cream on this warmish day but the town doesn't have an ice cream shop. We bought a box of four ice creams from the IGA supermarket and our friend took the remaining melting left over one home. 

It was quite an enjoyable trip even though I hate freeways. I say freeways but the first part is a toll road, $10 each way, $20 for the day. Thanks very much you ahole former Premier Kennett who brought us toll roads by turning public roads into pay roads. Unlike freeways to Mother's and to other family on the Mornington Peninsula, the Calder Freeway has hills and curves and scenery and turn offs to cool places like Organ Pipes, Hanging Rock and Mount Macedon.  

Calder Freeway also has a 110 km/h speed limit, rather than 100 that we are used to. I was so amazed at how many people drove under the speed limit at about 100 and no one overtook me as I sat on the 110 limit. Ok, I did bump the radar cruise control up to 112, 70 mph. No fine for just two kilometres over.

As we left the town to return home we saw a painted dead tree. It was too late to take a photo but I asked our friend who we visited to take a photo of the tree. Initially he sent this one, which was a joke and I understood that. It's a nice enough dead tree and photo but it misses the point.

That's better, in colour, in support of Ukraine against the warmongering Putin government in Russia. Unlike many local council areas in Victoria, Macedon Ranges Shire Council is quite socially progressive.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Is it still Christmas?

Oh gosh. Don't I every year put up this song by Kim Wilde a little worse for wear with her brother on their way home after a Christmas Party, on a train giving an impromptu performance of Kids in America followed by a Christmas song. Je suis adores her.

Christmas Cheer

Here are a few photos and a couple of clips I've taken in the lead up to Christmas.

Our Christmas tree in the harsh daylight.

Better at night time.

Prahran Square. I like the exotic tree framed by Eucalypts and then the modern library.

A niece and some greats may be visible.

Who doesn't love a choir singing Christmas music.

Christmas tree at Federation Square.

A little street happiness.

The neighbours' across the have and annual Christmas Party, which was Saturday night a week ago. 

It is hard to know how many guests there are but a lot. About ten catering staff set up during the afternoon and returned later to cook, serve and a tidy up.

While most of the DJ's music was to my liking, except this song, wow was it loud. It could be heard in my bedroom which is generally quiet aside from some white noise. Fortunately it stopped at midnight. How the other half live. 

Our building's Christmas tree.

Our Christmas table runner, a gift from our Friend in Japan. Damn, when I put it back after dinner, I put it is upside down.

Merry Christmas or Season's Greetings to you all. 

Window Wankers

Some of you may remember me complaining about the apartment occupants to my immediate front having their windows open, well mostly the one a...