Saturday, September 23, 2023


Medical appointments do seem to pass the time for a retired gentleman. 

I booked an eye test for this week. As I suspected my sight has deteriorated and I need both new reading glasses and new transitional multifocals. I am happy with my frames so I wanted to use them again. No, your new reading prescription glasses won't fit into you current frames. Bugger. I chose a similar but a little lighter reading glasses frame. 

Then, it is unwise to use your old multifocal frames as it will cost you more than our deal of 80% off for your second pair of glasses. I chose the same new frame as my old frame.

So often matters of economics puzzle me. 

While the extensive eye test didn't cost me anything, and they no longer puff air at your eyeballs, the glasses did, just into four figures. What can I do? I need to see.

A couple of days later I went to have the stiches in my neck removed. The wound has healed well. A nurse removed the stitches. The doctor came in and took a look. It looks good, she proclaimed. However.... 

She went on to say that she was surprised that the test results showed it was a melanoma. My last skin cancer doctor used to use very expensive camera equipment. This doctor just uses her phone. She showed me a a tiny grey spot that had changed between photos a year earlier. She is confident that she fully removed it but the Alfred Hospital who tested it isn't quite happy and want to cut wider, like a circle of two centimetres. It is a surface spreader type of melanoma, not a deep one.

Such matters are treated quite urgently by our public hospitals, especially if the pathology is already sorted. I won't wait very long. Nevertheless, I is not happy as I face a bigger chop from my neck. Reassuringly the doctor told me that at my age I have plenty of excess neck flesh so it will be easy surgery. Thanks, I think. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

Austria v Australia

In Austria we came across keyrings and 'fridge magnets with the slogan no No Kangaroos in Austria. 

I think it is better now, especially as there is so little mail, but it wasn't unusual for our mail to arrive after being misdirected to Austria. It was probably the case that the same happened to Austrian bound mail, arriving via Australia. 

But with absolutely minimal geographic knowledge, surely people know they are two very different countries. 

It seems not. What an absolute idiot tosser tv presenter. Does anyone know who he is? Or her for that matter. Respect to her for calling him an effing idiot, which he clearly is. 

Thursday, September 21, 2023

From the grave

Mother had ordered her children's Christmas gifts and they arrived after she died. Not another bloody Labrador dog calendar. If we don't get a better one, we will use it. Quality tea towels would have been better. They are very localised calendars and so quite useful. I'm sure at times in 2024 I will look at the calendar and think of Mum. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

I once knew a Manxman

I worked with a Manxman. I was in my twenties and he was in his sixties. He told me he was a Manxman and I really had no idea what that was. He was a reliable employee in that he was punctual for work but he was terrible at his work. He would be in the 'office' every second day to answer a 'please explain'. I can't remember his name, but there were the remains of a handsome military kind of man. He was always perfectly attired and groomed, and quite a charmer. I've remembered his name now, Alf Vary. 

Right, so here is my and your edjicashun. 

Forty years later from Alf Vary, I now have a nice blogger (request to read) on board who hails from Isle of Man. I have a vague memory of seeing a tram video online with a stark landscape on IOM. So Let's investigate JayCee the Isle of Man. 

The small island between England and Ireland has historic rail transport, so that interested me even more.

I was somewhat surprised to learn that IOM is not England but a crown dependency. While it relies on England for foreign affairs and defence, it has its own government and its own currency which I expect might be more useless than Scottish pounds in England. 

I wanted to see YouTube videos of the railway systems but learning about IOM was quite interesting. 

It is both wetter and sunnier than most parts of England. Its population is around 85,000. The residents can have an IOM passport or (perhaps and) a UK passport. It has never been part of the EU. It has its own language, probably a dying language like Welsh. 

The negatives? I can't find the information now but as I recall the general health of its residents is not good, with obesity being a huge problem. It is a tax haven for some and a good place to launder money by others. 

The old ferry to England, The Steam Packet made its last journey a week or so ago, replaced on a sunny and warm day by the new ferry, the Manxman. The following day the weather changed it was judged the new £78 million ferry could not cope and the old Steam Packet ran the service.

The Steam Packet ferry from Shipping Today and Yesterday magazine. 

The new Manxman ferry from Wikipedia. 

 Douglas is IOM's capital and the next largest city is Ramsey. From southern Douglas to northern Douglas you can catch a horse drawn tram and then transfer to an electric tram to travel to Ramsey. You can stop off on the way the tram at Laxey and catch another electric tram to the top of the highest mountain on IOM, Snaefell. 

Also from Douglas you can catch a steam train south to Port Erin. A Google map image of the island. 

Photos from Wikipedia and the IOM tourism website. This is one of the tram models to travel between Douglas and Ramsey. 

The steam train between Douglas and Port Erin. 

The tram to Snaefell peak is unusual. Rather than using a pole or pantograph to pick up power from the overhead wiring, it has what are called bow collectors. With a steep descent from the mountain it has a very old emergency Fell braking system. I read a little about it but I am not much the wiser.  I think it is unusual to have two bow collectors. My theory on this that if one collector for some reason loses contact the other will maintain contact and ensure the tram's, a later addition, dynamic braking will work. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Melbourne's smallest house

I think I once photographed Melbourne's smallest house in the past but it wasn't this one. I think it was the same suburb, Collingwood. It may have been Melbourne's narrowest house.

This house is Melbourne's smallest, the Doll's House. There doesn't seem much dolly about it to me but I get the point about being small. It has been a long time since anyone lived here, and who would want to.

While the house was moved, it still has its original address.  It badly needs some maintenance. Two rooms, one I suppose a bedroom to sleep a family and the other, a rudimentary kitchen and table.The toilet would have been outside and I think laundry would be just done in tub outside. There would have been one tap outdoors for water. I'm sure there should be a chimney but there isn't the evidence.

I couldn't get behind the house to take a rear view. This will have to do. 

This in the side window of the house is strange. Any idea anyone? 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Monday Mural

I'm linking with Sami for Monday Mural. These may well be a repost but I can't remember. They are newish photos taken in July.

This one is by the rather interesting artist Kaff-eine.

Lukas Kasper and another is responsible for these whimsical works.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Sunday Selections

I'm joining with Elephant's Child and River for Sunday Selections. It's a bit different this week with just one focus.

This first photo was taken some time ago when the pontoon islands were first anchored here in the Yarra River. It seems to be taken with my old phone camera. 

I was quite impressed by the reflections in the river.

Plants are growing on the islands. They are being visited by birds and rakali, our native water rat. Rakali have left behind some empty seafood shells but whether they are from the river or local cafes is an open question. 

Sadly in this quiet stretch of the river, people dump things in the river, like this commercial sized rubbish bin.

You will have to embiggen this but in the shallow water I can see two bicycles, a child's pusher and a coil of barbed wire, all deliberately dumped. 

I was really surprised to get such good reflection photos. Just the right time and place, I guess.

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 ...