Saturday, July 15, 2023

Budapest graveyard and am I Woke?

I understand the passion from people who have lived through terrible regimes to pull down and smash statues. I can understand how black people want to remove statues of their oppressors of the past. I think there may be some statues in my own city that could now be removed.

The new white race to inhabit Australia took over Aboriginal land and treated the indigenous appalling. It stole their rights to hunt in their traditional lands. It stole their half caste children to be housed in Christian religious missions. A group of hundreds were driven off a South Australian cliff to their deaths onto the rocks and rough seas of the Great Australian Bight. In my own city they were given poisoned flour to make their damper bread. 

Does recognising the wrongs of our past make us Woke? It seems we Woke are judged thus. 

It is ironic that the mission education for the stolen children was so good that they went on to be eloquent speakers to defend the rights of their people.  

But the statues are part of our history and I don't like seeing history destroyed. Slave traders are also part of history.

Hungary seems to have the right idea. A graveyard of removed statues. They can still be seen. They are part of the country's history. They could have been destroyed, but no, they are in a graveyard and you can still see them.

Isn't that a good idea for how to deal with fallen heroes?

Getty Images: Fallen Russian president. I wouldn't mind seeing a more modern version of a fallen Russian president.

Later edit: YP is a smart enough bloke, mostly. Here is his take on woke written early in 2021

Friday, July 14, 2023

I cut off my nose in England

You know the saying, cutting off your nose despite your face and that is what I did when I put my foot down with a firm hand.

Before we left Australia we had booked our train trip from Newcastle to Kings Cross Station, where we would catch a tube train to Heathrow for our flight home. I had allowed for more than a two hour delay for the trip into the plan.

The night before we caught a wonderfully smooth and luxurious LNER train to York, after a couple of drinks at Sister 1's R spouted forth. He (that's me) thinks his trains are so wonderful. The last time we travelled from Kings Cross, it was a horrible trip. Someone vomited everywhere and...well I can't remember now his other complaints. All I could remember about the trip was that it wasn't nice and at quite a high speed, it was hard to walk down the train corridor to the buffet car. I think we may have sitting backwards too, which was our fault. 

R went on and on about the train trip, in great detail that I don't remember. I said enough. Stop this now. He didn't, and I said if you hate the train so much, I will cancel the train booking to London then. Fine, he replied. I went outside and with my phone and I cancelled the train booking and LNER promised me a full refund, which I have yet to receive. I think for the two of us the price was about AU$100, £50.

When I returned inside the conversation had changed. About an hour later R asked me if I had really cancelled the train booking. I replied yes. Voices were not raised, there was not an argument. 

Next morning when R arose, he again asked me if I had cancelled the train trip. Yes, I had. 

The next day on train to York I said to R, we need to book something to get to London to go home. The reply was, you cancelled the train. You look at flights to London. It seems trains are killing domestic flying in England but I did find a BA flight on my phone to get to London. After double checking the times with R, it was good and I booked and paid for the flight to Heathrow. 

The cost was a few hundred dollars. I've never actually checked. I am too scared. I mentioned the cost to R, and he replied, you cancelled the train, you pay for the flights. And that is how it has remained.

I did really cut off my nose despite my face, but I don't care, least of all about the money. I mostly go for the quiet life but I stood up to his loose talk.

The real issue is R made me doubt myself about the train trip to London. Have I allowed enough time? What if the train is cancelled? What if there are obnoxious people on the train? What guarantee is there about the train? Industrial action has been affecting all train traffic in England. This had begun before we travelled to England, has been ongoing and is still happening now. PM Sunak seems uninterested in doing anything about the industrial relations public transport mess within his country. 

R made me lose confidence in myself and travelling by train in England. It will all be brought up in a future argument. Lol, very mature and after nearly 44 years together, we still behave so childishly.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

England 19.05 NHS Test 2

My forecast of the correct day when my ongoing infection would reoccur was correctly forecast by me, Thursday the 18th. Friday the 19th was a very slow start at Sister 1's. Just before lunch time I was driven back to the NHS walk in centre. I was triaged by a different nurse and I was quickly queued to see someone and given a plastic container to provide a sample.

I waited in the waiting room for around two hours, filling time with my phone and observing the order of people who were seen quite quickly and those like me who weren't so urgent. I noted a couple of people were really quite unwell and in pain. There was a young lad with a terrible gash on his leg. There was a pregnant woman holding her stomach. Yep, they were higher priority than me. 

I don't know what their titles were but I saw a very senior nurse and another nurse on a rung or so lower that her. A thorough history was taken, the sample analysed on the premises (that wouldn't happen at home) and I was offered a choice between what the clinic would normally subscribe for a UTI and the antibiotic I had been taking prescribed at home. I chose the antibiotic I had been taking and it came with the proviso that it would be a private prescription from a doctor and so would cost me cost me £10. The consultation took about half an hour. The medication was dispensed at the the pharmacy next door to the clinic and from there on I was fine until returned to Australia. No direct cost and there would have been nothing to pay if I chose the clinic prescribed antibiotic. I did not enjoy the two hour wait, but still, I was prescribed what I needed. The same can happen here if you go to a private bulk billing clinic, where there isn't the add on to what our Medicare system pays for you to see a doctor, but at such clinics, you can not have your own doctor.

Meanwhile Sister 1, her partner and R had been to Tescos and had a nice lunch. I had missed lunch, so once home Sister 1 made me a sandwich.  We may have had a Chinese meal ordered to be delivered that night. It was far too much food and R's sisters don't seem fond of keeping leftovers. I would mention the left overs could be kept for tomorrow, but it was never put in the 'fridge and I wouldn't eat it the next day for that reason. It was thrown out. Terrible food wastage to us who so rarely throw any food out.

I may as well put a wrap up to medical matters. Tuesday just past I went to a posh private hospital and had the stent from my kidney removed. What a relief. The stent had done the job but was causing bleeding. The morning after, suddenly everything seemed normal. Operation success, eventually six weeks later. I don't complain much and only R had an idea of what I had been through for six weeks and I can tell you it wasn't pleasant.

The day went like this. A bowl of cereal and coffee at 7am and then fast. Water allowed until 10am. 11.30 leave home. Check into hospital at noon, as I was told. So much paperwork to be done by nurses, even though I had filled in the online pre admission form. Change into one of the gowns with a back opening with a dressing gown over top. Lie on a bed for an hour or so and I fell asleep. More form filling in by nurses and a brief chat with the surgeon and anaesthetist. 

At 3.15 I was wheeled into the operating theatre, a canula inserted and I was out to it. I woke at 3.30 with the procedure done. The actual time I was out to it was ten minutes. Then recovery for ages, a sandwich, cup of tea and a sweet biscuit and R was allowed to pick me up at 4.50. 

Apparently I am 'young and fit' (little do they know in spite of their questions) so I was dumped down the procedure list but I ask you, for a ten minute procedure, is it really appropriate to be in hospital for five hours? At least here was no further charge...unless a bill arrives by post. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

England 17/05

R and I caught the bus to the city centre. Grainger Market is interesting. We walked a bit more but my arthritis kicked in so badly, I was constantly looking for a seat with a back to ease the pain and get my back upright. Sorry hon, I just want to go home, and we did. 

We had a really nice Italian dinner that night at Oli and Joe's. Few photos were taken on the day.

R told me off for being weird, as I took a photo of my bus seat. You must agree, it is a rather nice looking bus seat and I think it was comfortable, perhaps not great for the wide hipped.

The City of Newcastle is really so cool.

From the bus, a bobby top. 

I concluded that the owner of this very nice Mercedes was one of the owners of the Oli and Joe's. From the corner of my eye I saw the owner come out to check on what I was doing with his car. I was just interested. 

Our food was so nice. Who knows what it cost. I've learnt to not bother with money when out. I don't know who paid. I just pay R what I owe when he does the sums on his phone. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Take a tram to visit the dead

Today, Monday, I ticked off another tram trip to a terminus, the 64 tram to East Brighton. It was an ok trip with only the last part not travelled by me in the last four years. At the terminus I had ten or so minutes before the tram left to return to the city. I spied a good looking shop for coffee, Brother Brew, and so I bought myself a takeaway double espresso. 

Petty rules. I want to go that way rather than walk back and then forward again. I understand how to not walk in front of a moving tram or car. That way I went.

The cemetery entrance. My grandmother used to bring us here by the bus along North Road from South Oakleigh. The location of her parents' grave is entrenched in my head from childhood.

Walking up the main road.

Now a private residence there is some kind office inside, but it was closed.

Wow, there are some famous people buried here.

So instinct kicked in and I knew to walk right when I reached this Gothic mausoleum? After trudging up and down walkways for an hour, I could not find the grave and gave up. I am mystified. 

I sat on grave and got busy with my phone. Cloud storage quickly gave me a result, from 2006 and with R in tow, I then found the grave. The headstone has a distinctive shape. Polished brown granite headstones are not usual. In another wider photo, I noted distinctive things in the cemetery that should give me a location, but try as I might, I could not find the grave. This is supposed to be the Presbyterian area of the cemetery but there are now many newer Greek graves.

I gave up and the photo above was taken in 2006. Now I can't find the grave. None of my direct family would be least bit interested in the grave, but it is part of my childhood memory to visit my grandmother's parents' grave. 

A camellia in bloom does not indicate the end of winter. 

There is an organisation who will help me find the grave and I have contacted it. While frustrating in one way, it was a rather pleasant outing for me.

Monday, July 10, 2023

NHS Test 1

If you remember I was having ongoing infections before we travelled to England, now cured by kidney surgery. It was a case of infection arrives, get antibiotics, infection disappears and reappears. If I had antibiotics at hand, it would have a five day course, then maybe six or seven days of relief before the infection returned. A double course of antibiotics might give me ten to twelve days of relief. 

This had been ongoing from March 2022 and was not fully diagnosed after many scans and tests until early this year. The there was the long wait for private surgery, which I only chose because I thought it would be much quicker. I doubt it was quicker than the public health system and instead of being free, the surgery cost me a lot of money even though I have private health insurance. 

With a double script from my specialist and a couple of scripts from my doctor, I was well prepared for the month away. I had all my medications for the month we were away. Except Chemist Warehouse mucked up. I was told there weren't any more antibiotic prescriptions, that all had been filled. I assumed it was true to its word. But no. I was two short it was the chemist shop's fault as for some reason my doctor's prescriptions weren't on the chemist list and had not been added to my phone app. I never checked the app while away and when I arrived home, there were two antibiotic scripts showing. I was cross but what to do? What to do is take more care myself about mistakes others might make. 

So, almost to the day I can predict infection after the last course of antibiotics. To get a dose of antibiotics two days before infection arrived, I tried England's National Health Service. I could have made a private doctor appointment but I was advised that walk in clinics would be the best way to go. Sister 1's partner drove us and her neighbour who was having eye problems to the clinic. 

I understood that Australia has a reciprocal arrangement with England whereby citizens of either country could access the same medical system as locals do. Reception was not interested in where I came from, only for an address where I was staying in England. I take it from this that medical care in England is open to all foreigners. 

Once at the clinic patients see a triage nurse. After a wait of about 15 minutes I was triaged by a friendly but no nonsense nurse with the answer being we can't give you antibiotics if you don't have an infection. Return when you do have an infection. In spite of being able to get antibiotics in advance from my own doctor at home, I understood where the triage nurse was coming from. I wasn't happy, but I understood. 

Sister 1's neighbour also received short shrift. She had a hospital eye appointment in a bit over a week and she did not need any short term treatment. I think this system is quite good. At home you might go to Emergency at hospital, be triaged and then free to wait. If you have a sore thumb, you may well sit waiting for many hours, possibly overnight. There will be many more cases that require urgent treatment rather than your sore thumb. The triage nurse kept the waiting room clear by judging each patient's needs. 

So I concluded that while I came away without antibiotics, the system was efficient and well organised and cost me nothing.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Sunday Arvo

I was pleased to hear River's twin granddaughters are nearly walking, as are our own twin great nephews of a similar age. 

This Sunday morning we joined with Sister and Jo at Mother's bedside and Jo had made cupcakes iced with mint chocolate crumbles for her nan to join in to celebrate Jo's 16th birthday on Tuesday. We quietly sang happy birthday to Jo. Mother's drugs have been changed and she was very bright.

Sister was then to drop off Jo in Camberwell for a performance rehearsal and went home. Someone would bring Jo back home to The Bellarine after the rehearsal. 

The family just grows and grows. After our Mother visit, it was on to a one year's old first birthday party. The child is the daughter of Ex Sis in Law's husband's daughter. Of course a first birthday is nothing to do with the one year old, but all to do with gathering with family and friends of a similar age who also may or not have babies. 

There must have been sixty people there, around twenty of them very young and quite young. All of our eight greats were there. There was small jumping castle type thing, a huge gated area to contain the adventurous ones. An urn for tea and coffee. Lots of seating in various tented outdoor areas and the large garage. The food was slow to come out, aside what was out for kids, but once it flowed, it was plentiful, if not exactly healthy. But that's fine for a party. The only underestimation in consumption I noticed was small cartons of juice for kids ran out early. I'm afraid I contributed to that. 

One of twin great nephews is walking and the other pulling himself up. It was a great couple of hours in the company of some family and lots and lots of children. 

The hot young daddy attendance score was low at about three. 

Sunday Selections Bloomin' Good

I feel a bit guilty for not participating with River and Elephant's Child for Sunday Selections for ages. This is not a normal Sunday Selections for me, but never mind.

Shortly after we returned from England we visited a plant nursery to buy some winter potted colour for our balcony and what flowering plant likes Melbourne's cold winter more than a cyclamen. 

You can buy your garden plants at the big green shed business but I've never been impressed by the quality. At Acorn nursery in a a very middle class area of greater Melbourne we bought this cyclamen. Around seven weeks later, this week finally two blooms failed and I cut them off at their stalks. There have been numerous new blooms popping up. It is watered about once a fortnight and looking at it each day along with looking after it gives me great pleasure. 

I don't know what or how Acorn Nursery has such high quality stock, but long may it continue. 

It is hard to believe the price of an old tin bucket. A friend bought one at a Hahndorf market for a cheap price and brought it back to Victoria for his brother's friend to sell, and it did for three times the price. 

The nursery also has a popular cafe. R had samosas and I had a salmon fish cake.  

Not really audible bubbling but visually very nice. 

The cyclamen on our balcony is healthier than I am but hopefully not you. 

Bumping another car

I once had a bit of an inappropriate laugh when I read in the online Fiji Live electric newspaper that someone in Fiji was killed after two ...