Saturday, March 25, 2023

My taxes

I am happy to pay my taxes, to federal, state and local governments. I like to see my taxes wisely spent and I can't say that always happens but in the big picture, our taxes are spent on the betterment of and for society. 

If a society has an insufficient tax base, the well being and living standards of the citizens falls apart. 

I don't even mind my taxes being spent on what I may see as wankery art or opera. My taxes spent on picking up a drunk and drugged waster from the gutter and feeding them, clothing them, housing them and ensuring they receive appropriate medical care is fine with me.

What I really object to my taxes being spent on is huge funding of religious private schools. Sadly as I recall, this begun under God Gough's Labor government's reign over Australia when he began taxpayer funding of Catholic schools in the 1970s.

And hasn't it snowballed from there. Every little tin pot religious school receives taxpayer money now, as well as the extremely wealthy mainstream Catholic and Protestant religious schools. It is a disgrace. Our public schools are perfectly fine with dedicated teachers but underfunded. Why overfund private religious schools when public schools need funding? 

Parents and defenders of subsided private education point out how overwhelmed our public education system would be without private schools. Well, the change would not happen overnight and the subsidies for private schools will go into the public purse to expand the public system. 

When Dictator Andrew Highriser rules, he will defund private education over the course of five years and redirect the money to public schools. We will return to a good education for all, and if you want an alternative, you pay for it and not me. Only the absolute elite will ask which school you attended.

We do have some public schools that select students on merit. I'll put them in the too hard basket and let them be for now. They do suspiciously have very nice facilities though.

This is a hard one as so many family members go to private schools. Irreligious Sister's career has been teaching in a prestigious Catholic boys school. Jo goes to an excellent non religious private school. Little M and Little Em go to private Catholic school, mainly because they open the gate on their back fence and be at school. The Cafe Latte twins have just started at a government primary school.

I wish I had saved the article to quote the correct figures, but as per the last census, only about 42% of Australians are now religious believers and the figure is dropping rapidly. Wait, I found it easily.

Religious affiliation in 2021

In 2021, more people opted to answer the Census religion question than in 2016. In 2021, the number of people who answered the religion question was 93.1% of the population, an increase from 90.9% in 2016.

In 2021 the most common religions were:

  • Christianity (43.9%)
  • No religion (38.9%)
  • Islam (3.2%)
  • Hinduism (2.7%)
  • Buddhism (2.4%)

Here is a snip of what happens in private religious schools, in this case the school where the soon to be ex Premier of the State of New South Wales attended. It is known as the Opus Dei branch of the Catholic religion. The vaccination referred to is for HPV, Human Papilloma Virus and is free and readily available for teens upon request without need for parental approval. 

My taxes pay for this crap education!!! I don't like private education institutions and I detest what happens in religious schools.

I'll leave you with a media quote.  

What kind of school tells its students not to get a life-saving vaccine because it encourages promiscuity? What kind of school tells its students pornography causes holes in the brain? What kind of school tells its students same-sex relationships are evil while at the same time barely disciplining a staff member in a same-sex relationship with a disciple and former student?  

Friday, March 24, 2023

Strath 2

We quickly recovered from the long drive and OF took us to look at the local historic train station, which I found interesting. Different track gauges, the width between tracks, has been a constant problem in Australia with some states using narrow gauge, some standard gauge and some broad gauge. Strathalbyn was connected to Adelaide by broad gauge I think, but then the the mainline into Adelaide was changed to standard gauge to allow interstate freight and passenger trains use the track without having to change trains. Consequently the broad gauge line through Strath could no longer reach Adelaide and became a historic line for tourists and enthusiasts. 

Of course I don't mention real names in blog posts so I have given  the pseudonym OF, Our Friend, to protect his privacy. (edited).

While it was early for dinner, we three had a nice dinner at the Victoria Hotel, sitting outside where the air was rapidly cooling after a rather warm day. Gary came back to our motel and we chatted and he overstayed his was welcome. We made plans for the next day.

Here are some photos taken during our trip and after we arrived. I meant to take a photo of a sign on a bakery window, along the lines of  'Skinny people are easy to kidnap. Stay safe by eating cake.'

We made a toilet stop at this rather nice lake. It has a nice sandy beach. If you enter the water you must wear secure footwear to protect your feet from shellfish.

The toilet facilities and the covered barbeque and eating shelter were great. 

A closed bank is not just a country thing. We noticed when we were out shopping today, another South Melbourne bank has closed. 

Some rather mute silo art.

A train shed for a short train.

Admire the beautiful sandstone station.

This looks like a water tank to me, to fill up steam trains.

Unconventional train air conditioning. 

I think I have worked out the complication of these tracks. 

Strathalbyn does thick spongy lawns so well and this was no exception. 

Station street frontage. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Blog History

I recently emailed a blogger with some information to assist her. I told her I would email her about how I knew this person. I remarked it was too private to be in a blog post, but thinking later, I can anonymise it. So here we go.

Would you believe it kiddies, that when I began blogging in 2004, most were younger people who blogged and they were those I connected with, me being younger then too. But still I remember writing something about how I wished there were bloggers of around my own age. While none of the following still blog, a comment by Lord Sedgwick of Strathmore recommending a couple of blogs for me to look at and it took off from there.

I made the blog acquaintance of Copperwitch, who does still very rarely blog after a period of illness, Annie Brown who has had various blog names and through her That's So Pants who lived in London. 

They were all on my wavelength although a little older than myself. I suppose it was in the late noughties Lord Sedgwick, Copper Witch, Brownie and myself met at Southern Cross Station. I thank Annie Brown for the name So Cross Station I use at times.

I was very nervous. We had a snack and coffee? at the station at a table in a long gone cafe/bar. The very clever Annie noticed politician Bill Shorten sitting at the bar with a bag hanging from his neck, looking rather like a bookie

None had two heads and all were delightfully amusing and interesting. I caught the train home with Copper Witch who lived on the Frankston line and Annie whose father lived near Frankston. I left the train at South Yarra and caught a tram home. 

Annie had made an online friendship with blogger That's So Pants who lived in London. Pants was born and raised in Sydney, Australia but for most of her adult life had lived in London. She moved back to Australia and without a home, aside from where her mother lived in northern Queensland. Annie was house sitting at the time, so Pants spent some time with her at various places. Both being environmentally aware ensured their multiple empty wine bottles were properly disposed.

We met both of them in Footscray in a posh home owned by two gay guys where Annie was house sitting. Pants was very nice. She eventually settled in Larrikins  End. 

A year or so later we met Annie, Copper Witch and Pants at Federation Square for lunch. It was the first time they met R. Copperwitch adored R, as people do. Wheel a suitcase for Copperwitch, and she is yours.

Pants has stayed with us and we have stayed with her. While we don't have a lot in common, we do like each other perhaps for our differences. 

Nice memories. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Visiting Strath 1

Strathalbyn is a small town in South Australia. I knew nothing about it, so why did we stay there for a few days? The daughter and her partner of our gay friend in Kyneton has bought a house there and Gary has been living in the house for a couple of months while renovations are carried out. 

Strath as the abbreviation goes, is a wonderful town. The older houses are made of beautiful sandstone. It is stunningly well maintained and not a bit of litter to be seen on the streets. There are many cafes, pubs and antique shops (ok, bric-a-bak). I thought to myself that something was missing in what I was seeing. I worked out what when I saw a black guy delivering cans of drink from a truck to a shop I realised it was a totally white town. I suspect most residents are generationally of four if not more. Dorothy rather likes Kansas with lots of different races around. 

Google Maps told us the drive was 7 3/4 hours. We can do that. We've driven in one day to Adelaide years ago, but we are older now. I'll just say we are never going to do that again. We stopped about five times, mostly to get out of the car and stretch for five minutes but there were a couple of twenty minute stops for food. We left home at 7 and arrived at 3.10. 

We had looked at a cabin in a caravan park but as it was only three nights, we also looked at motels. Strath Motel appealed to us and that is what we chose. It was the nicest motel we have ever stayed in Australia over forty years. It was a twin room in a huge space with a dining table for four along with two almost lounge chairs. It had a lovely outdoor area at the back with a table and chairs with a bushy garden. There were plenty of visiting birds and bees, along with unfortunately flies. The worst thing about it was wonky toilet roll holder and if that is all I could find to complain about.... It was serviced daily, which meant we had to tidy up each morning. Not a bad thing. The staff were very nice. Our third night came at half price and if we'd stayed longer, the fourth night would have been free. $160 per night is on the high side, but you get what you pay for and I think it was good value.

An opaque glass brick wall faces the car park.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

XX rated post: Happy Mardi Gras and World Pride in Sydney

No need to mention the words 'gay' or 'lesbian'. It is all about Pride.

As I am typing the tv is showing the Sydney Mardi Gras parade. Ho hum. I've seen it all before. There is an expected crowd of 300,000. When we attended in the mid 1990s the crowd was 450,000.  What pleases me is to see a bit more racial and community diversity now. Rather good to see Australia's Prime Minister march in the parade and the Chair of our ABC national broadcaster.  

We watched our first parade on our new computer in the 90s. Subsequently the coverage has ricocheted between ABC and SBS tv. For some years it was not shown on mainstream media at all. The ABC made a good coverage of the parade Saturday night.

We attended Mardi Gras in the mid 90s with two friends who were partners. R had a panic attack because of the overcrowding at the parade and bashed his way through the crowd back to our hotel. The overcrowding was terrible. I rescued R from the hotel and we went on to the after party. One may have taken a mind altering substance and one may have had a fabulous time.

This slut boi may have had bad hair but he seemed to be desired. A number of people including one girl wanted him to perform despicable acts with them. No, no, no. I am not like that. I am just here to enjoy the party.


R in a moment of passion with someone managed to knock down a plastic wall. I confess to nothing with a black American guy. Oh lala. I remember him vividly. He perfectly fitted the stereotype.

Aside from that, I remember nothing else, the rest not even being hazy memories. Oh yeah, I kept checking in with my Singapore born hairdresser Simon from Melbourne. Did we do anything? I can only remember gently rubbing one of his nipples with the back of my hand, so therefore I am innocent. 

Actually in my very limited experience male hairdressers, effeminate as Simon was or not, are rather good at sex. I can't think why.

Ok, memories return. I saw D-Ream go through the motions on stage of singing Things Can Only get Better. He did not look happy to be there. Kylie singing something and of course she was fabulous and convinced me she would have performing for nothing to please us faggots. 

If you are lost for words, you could guess what was in my black bum bag. I don't actually remember but I know what would have been in the bag. To kick it off, there would have been some cash and a hotel key.


Well, this unpublished post was forgotten and is now far from timely. World Pride and Mardi Gras has long gone. The tv coverage was good. Openly gay ABC national weather presenter Nate Byrne was terrific and while you may think the classy and urbane Jeremy Fernandez in the tv screen photo is gay, he has two children and so cannot be gay.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

I've not returned

Well, not officially returned. I've enjoyed the blog break while we were away. I still read blogs but didn't comment, I didn't post and so had nothing to reply to.

A nice thing happened today. The intercom rang and a woman in a large pink straw hat, of the sort Mother wears, that hid her face asked if an R lived here. I replied yes, and she said that there are flowers in the mail room for R and had been there since yesterday, that's Friday and it was now Saturday early afternoon. That was nice of her. I have no idea who she is. 

R went down and collected the flowers and I guess the same woman who called had put the flowers in a small bucket of water. Isn't that such a nice thing to do for someone you don't know. 

The flowers are from R's sisters for his forthcoming birthday. You simply cannot imagine the anger I feel that the 28 year old I hooked up with when I was 22 is about to turn 74. He never told me that would happen. Not a warning at all. Thankfully he can still manage to cook, iron and clean for me.

R wrote 'Thank you' on note paper and returned to the mail room and stuck it on the bucket.

The flowers are nice and will open up more in a day or so.  

Sydney Day 7, the end

Having had dishwashers for most of my life, I hand washed dishes while we on holiday and it was revelation. Each morning after R's showe...