Saturday, April 15, 2023

The letter haitch

My niece Jo went to a government primary school, until the end of year six. From then on she attends a non religious very excellent private school. She is nearly sixteen years old now.

In her last couple of years a primary school, her accent changed. It became what I call posh private school, the sounds I hear all the time on trams as they carry private school children. This is not an English accent, it is Australia's own. She does not speak like her parents or anyone else I know. But then nor do I. I don't sound American. To an Australian I don't Australian and to English, I don't sound English. I think I just have some unusual vowel sounds. Those who actually know me will understand. I doubt Jo can help the way she speaks anymore than I can.

About three years ago Jo insisted to Auntie Andrew that the 'h' was pronounced and spelt 'haitch'. In no uncertain terms I told her it wasn't but she insisted. 

As a retired person, I don't have a lot spare time, and not enough to properly read this very good blog, with its main focus being the differences between British and American English. I skim read it, but this grabbed me.

A common response to an American pronunciation of herb is: "Are you a Cockney, then?" Dropping aitches is a definite marker of lower social class--and these days it's fairly rare. In fact, aitches get inserted sometimes in the name of the letter, i.e. haitch. This is heard in the semi-humorous admonision to not 'drop your haitches' (and thus sound 'common'), but is heard unironically in many people's everyday speech, although it is not considered to be 'standard' usage. The story is that it's the Irish pronunciation, and I've read in various places that haitch marks Catholics in Northern Ireland and the Catholic-educated in Australia. I've noticed no such associations here, and neither have friends of mine, though one did suggest that it might be a marker of region rather than religion here. Indeed, my haitch-saying friend is from Liverpool, whose dialect (Scouse) is influenced by Irish immigrants.

My step father was Catholic and I had the same disagreement about aitch with him decades ago. I printed out the above and handed it to Jo, pointing out that it was written by an American linguist, who lives in England. She glanced at it and I knew she will read it properly later. I whispered in her ear, saying haitch is a class marker word. You will be judged if you say haitch. I said this with the assumption that she will enter a world of academia or the world of theatre, music and public entertainment. I can't bear the thought that necks would snap in surprise if she was speaking in public and she said haitch and not aitch. 

Friday, April 14, 2023


Thank goodness Easter has finished. I don't like and I expect many non Christians don't either. The shock of finding supermarkets being closed has caused a huge rise in emergency hospital admissions. 

In what I suppose is a coincidence we had a great full moon over Easter. 

Of course being a full moon, the crazies were out in force. Fortunately everyone on the escalator was correctly standing to the left at QV shopping centre in town, as a manic man tore up the walk side. Upon reaching the top, he kicked at a young female cleaner and then started hitting her. Another man tackled him to ground and kept him pinned there and was calling out 'Call the police'. Nasty stuff.

We moved on to Soul Cafe, outdoors for coffee. Up the street a man was banging his head on metal bars surrounding a garden bed.  

I am not superstitious but after forty years of working with the public, a full moon is a problem. Just ask the police or paramedics.

So what is this Easter thing about? It began when a woman gave birth to child in horse shed, or was it for camels. She denied a man was involved. I used to hear that from young women in the 60s and 70s.  Some foolish men visited and the most foolish was a bloke who gave Mary gold. There are two Marys in this story, so don't confuse the street worker Mary with the mother Mary. Did the not so wise man know how gold would have appreciated and what it would be worth in 2023? He did his descendents down. 

The baby grew up, there is no information about his puberty and teen years, and he went on to make some miracles. I am prone to exaggeration too so yep, ok. Miracles were performed. I believe it.

He was then locked up for some reason by I think Italians, in a cave and freed by the aforesaid Mary the street worker. He must have been caught again and was involuntary put into bondage and whipped. I've seen some videos showing that peccadillo. 

If that was not enough, somehow he must have ended up in the Philippines where at Easter they nail men to crosses through their hands and feet. Rather barbaric and he suffered for his supposed crimes. 

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Bike separation

Proper separation between cyclists is a good thing. Raised concrete strips beside the cyclists, with then parked cars and moving traffic lanes ensure safety for cyclists with no risk of being 'doored' by someone leaving their car.  

The bike separation lanes have been built in most of St Kilda Road, the most dangerous street for cyclists in the city. They are soon to be installed in front of our building but because of the lack of width because of the platform tram stop, we will lose parking in front of our building. I am not a road engineer and I found it difficult to imagine how it could all work. I protested to the relevant authority about the loss of about ten car spaces, including a disabled space. The reply was, it is either parking goes or about five mature London plane trees. Well, how do argue 'take the trees'. The parking makes little difference to us as we have two spaces in the carpark and it is a long time since we have had multiple visitors. There is parking in nearby side streets. 

The same is happening on the other side of the road but in the meantime the temporary bike lane separates bikes from cars, kind of.

This clear enough for cyclists and motorists? 

The green paint on the road is redundant and I think has now been removed. It used for when there is a conflict point between cars and bicycles. But things are still clear, a marked bike lane.

There is a blacked out car left turn, so the lane is not for cars to turn left.

It is still clear to me. The bike lane to the left and to the right is the car left turn lane.

Cars were sitting at the lights or encroaching into the bike lane to turn left so these barriers were installed. Just past the barrier is another bike symbol painted on the road. Would you believe some drivers did not understand what was in front of them and squeezed their car into the bike lane to turn left! Just a few days ago I saw a car do this, and with two cyclists behind the car, the driver decided to turn left against a red light. Just in the time I sit on the balcony each day, I could post a daily account of the craziness I see at the intersection below.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

What makes a desirable man

What makes an attractive man if you rise above the superficial of good looking? 

Tony Armstrong, an ABC tv radio and television personality is nice enough looking with a slim neat body. He is mainly a sports presenter and Aussie Rules football commentator but has taken on other significant roles. 

But looks alone don't make a man attractive. This is my ideal, so don't feel inadequate fellahs.

Tony is smart, clever and well educated. He speaks with a very neutral Australian accent. He is very witty. He cares about society. He is an eloquent and a fluent speaker. He dresses well with a sense of style, without being over the top. 

Google him and you will find his private life has remained so. As a footballer, he doesn't have past scandals. Generally he is just such a nice guy.

I think I have just convinced myself that I want to marry him.   

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Grand Prix Fireworks

Light shows seem popular now but still people love to see gunpowder burnt, have terrified animals and cause much visible pollution. We've seen so many fireworks from here over a couple of decades, we don't really bother watching them now. However when a massive display is being let off a couple of hundred metres away, it is a different matter. I think there was a display for the four nights of the GP.  They were certainly well done. I took about a hundred photos and chose these as the best. There is not much more to say really.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Those who I've known

I'm just having a bit of fun tonight. If you know more, you are probably older than I am. You can confess to your old age in comments if you've known more. 

Two monarchs, haha, R has known three. My first Queen Elizabeth II. R's, King George VI.

Sixteen Australian Prime Ministers. The first Sir Robert Menzies. R, one more, Ben Chifley.

Thirteen US Presidents. The first Dwight D. Eisenhower. R, one more, Harry S. Truman. 

Eleven Canadian Prime Ministers. My first John Diefenbaker. Never heard of him. R, one more, Louis St. Laurent. Never heard of him either. 

Fifteen UK Prime Ministers. My first Harold Macmillan. R's, Clement Attlee.  

Nine French Presidents. My first Rene Coty. Who? R, one more. I've not heard of Vincent Auriol either. 

Nine German Chancellors. My first Konrad Adenauer. Who again? As for R, this is complicated. Adenauer came to office months after R was born. So who ruled Germany when R was born? It didn't have a Chancellor. An edjicated type will no doubt supply an answer. 

C'mon Andrew. These are all very white countries, well were. I have a couple of Indian readers, and I bet I will well recognise the name of the Indian Prime Minister in the year of my birth. Of course it was Jawaharlal Nehru. He is the only major world leader who R and I have in common. 

A good blogger would add photos but I am tired from not being out being out clubbing but being at a poshish  club as a guest. 

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Sunday Selections

I am joining with Elephants Child and River for Sunday Selections with a few random photos. 

Note not the balloons in the air but the deflating balloons in Fawkner Park.

A strange sliver of reflected sunlight.

Lime bikes looked after by a social enterprise group.

I can't recall where this station was, and while it is a quiet and minor station with adequate modern facilities, I like that the wonky old station has been kept. I had badly planned train times and had a while before my return train. There was a pub nearby where I had a large and cooling g&t. 

South Melbourne, I think.

How long can an abandoned car be left at the short term Melbourne Airport parking? Taking up a useable space, quite a long time it seems.

A Lego Melbourne W class tram, somewhat shortened but rather well done.

These look like cut outs on rubbish bins but they are just black paint. No matter. They look great.

A solitary balloon but note one has landed in Fawkner Park.

A triplet of landed balloons, ready to deflate. Balloon guests may assist with the rolling up of the deflated balloons and then be taken for a champagne sparkling wine breakfast at a posh venue. By this time, they probably just want to go home and sleep as they have been up since 4am. 

There was slogan on tv for Winfield cigarettes as I am reminded by this Fitzroy sign. Anyhow, have a Winfield.

Anyhow, have a nice Sunday. 

Bumping another car

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