Saturday, September 30, 2023


Back here I posted about what was in a box we brought out from a wardrobe to show a friend. There was nothing of value.

What we have that is of value was my non smoking grandmother's ashtray, used for visitors who did smoke. I remember reading how in The Netherlands, if you invited people to your home, you supplied drinks including alcohol, food and cigarettes, the latter usually in a decorative case. It was an insult to your hosts to bring your own (byo), as is done here. Now you may get food here or it might be 'ladies bring a plate', but bring your own drinks and if you smoke, go down to the very back of the garden so there is no smoke drift to the house.

The ashtray is sculpted and perhaps painted by reknown artist Guy Boyd, of the even more reknown Boyd family.

It is cracked and chipped. I took it to Melbourne's finest china repair shop about ten years ago and it was valued at about $100 and it would cost about $100 to make invisible repairs. I didn't go ahead. Maybe its value has risen since then and I am sure an invisible repair cost will have risen muchly.

It has great sentimental value to me. 

Friday, September 29, 2023

Chaja Rubinstein

Some of this information I've read about her is dubious, so if what I have written is wrong, my apologies. 

If you live in the western world, you will most likely have heard of Chaja with her changed first name, becoming Helena Rubinstein. 

She was born in Poland in 1872 and at the age of 30 she moved to Australia armed with creams her mother had put in her luggage to keep Helena's complexion smooth. In the country Victorian town of Coleraine, her complexion was admired as was her outgoing personality. She was in the right place to collect lanolin to make complexion creams with it being a sheep area.

The detail in between living in the country and the opening of her Melbourne city store is scant. Her cosmetic salon was very successful. 

In 1908 her sister took over managing the Melbourne stores when Helena travelled to London to open a store there. She by then had stores in Sydney and New Zealand.  At the outbreak of WWI she moved to New York and was equally successful there. Post war she was in Paris. She had created a world wide business, an empire if you like. 

Her basic formula from the beginning was cream to protect skin from the sun and wind, moisturising and getting good sleep. Sounds sensible to me.

She was also something of a philanthropist having funded Tel Aviv's Pavilion for Contemporary Art and also an art scholarship in Australia. 

From her death bed in 1965 she was still issuing orders to staff. 

Well, what an amazing entrepreneurial woman! Think about her approaching a bank to borrow money to expand her business. As a woman she would not have even been given a bank manager appointment. She did it all on her own. 

One hundred and one years after Helena was born, in 1973 the brand was sold to Colgate-Palmolive and then to L'Oreal. 

There is a plaque in Melbourne's Collins Street to note her and the history of the building.  Whether you are local or an overseas person, I doubt many people know that the brand Helena Rubinstein began in Melbourne.

Shopfronts sounds cheap and nasty, so I shall call them salons. She had two in Collins Street and one in Elizabeth Street.

I believe this was her first store. Ah, it seems the original was replaced in the 60s by this absolutely stunning building. No?

Ah, this one is her other Collins Street building, which would be an original. It has a rather interesting facade.  


I became tired of Helena research, so no photo of the Elizabeth Street store. It is a nice little claim to fame for Melbourne. 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

The Royal Melbourne Show

Never again. We are too old. The prices are a rip off. The website tells you to buy a ride card for various amounts. There was no need. You can pay as you go. I think we left $10 on the prepaid ride card, non redeemable. The worst thing was the killer loud pop music played by the rides. It was just awful, a cacophony of music coming from all directions that was just noise.

I expected food to be expensive and it was, perhaps even more than airport prices.

Two rides on a long slide were needed but you can only buy three. One ride went to waste. 

Face painting, very good but $25!

I think Hippie Niece misheard the stall attendant and did not realise it was $40 to throw three balls into a bucket to receive a large stuffed toy. The balls just bounced out of the bucket when thrown or hit the rim which was not allowed. Between them I think R and Hippie Niece spent $140 on this, and did receive a rather nice and colourful large bear, which then had to be carried around. I think it was a sympathy prize.

One great niece wasn't interested in rides and one was. Hippie Niece took her on an 'adventurous' roller coaster. Apparently she was ok until the vehicle turned upside down. There were tears. I could have told Niece but I kept my mouth shut.

The twins did enjoy themselves, especially the very large petting zoo. Compared to when they were younger, at six years old now, they are really good kids. The even give Grumpy Auntie Andrew a hug when they greet him. 

Anyway, it is the last visit to the show for us and I can't recommend a visit. How families manage to pay the prices for a few kids astonishes me. The animals are fun to watch, especially the goats.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Personal Bits

 I don't do it often in the Highrise, but I spoke up loudly and eloquently. From in the morning "I am not cooking for you anymore and I am not going on holidays with you anymore", a nice meal of tuna mornay and rice appeared that night. Next morning I was invited to come along to his doctor's surgery while he had his new whiz bang shingles vaccination, followed by coffee and a bite to eat in the nearby cafe. 

This was all caused by a third party family member who R suspects of something, and subsequently including his partner. The person in question is a bit of a wide boy and I don't trust him however, I've not seen a hint or any evidence. I cannot support R with his suspicions. I need to know something, just anything. 

It has driven R to planning to change his will, and for other reasons, I think I may change mine too.

It is weird how I feel so very alone after the death of my mother. The tears have gone. No matter how crazy she drove us, now matter how frustrating she could be, no matter how painful she could be, how at times I dreaded her phone calls, I miss her. Just weird.

Tomorrow we are taking Hippie Niece and the cafe latte coloured twins to the Royal Melbourne Show. Family of four plus one concession and one ride pass to share, kaching, $180. 

Hippie Niece can pay for the twin's showbags, and the food. We will meet her at Melbourne Flinders Street Station and catch a dedicated train from there to the show. The last time we went to the show was when we took 30 year old Hippie Niece at her age of 16. The train line is only in service for horse racing events and the show.

Our security system is being updated to what is pretty well now standard in high rise apartment buildings. You have to touch your fob to a panel in the lift to go to your floor. You can't go to any floor other than public floors. Visitors have three minutes to get to your apartment by lift from when you open the front door for them. 

It was to 'go to air' on the 1st of June. It has been on and off again since then, mostly off. It finally went live for good nearly two weeks ago, except it didn't. It lasted two days and a notice appeared that there were glitches between the intercom and the lift, so the system would be turned off for a couple of days. It is nearly two weeks later and the system is still not working. We also discovered we can touch our fob on in the lift and go to any floor. 

There will be a bicycle clearance from the storage area. I've decided to let my bicycle go. It works like this; your bicycle is tagged with a label. If you want your bicycle to stay, remove the label. I won't and I've unlocked it. The bike will go into storage for six months and then be disposed with. It is a very old bike, once my sister's bike who gave it to Tradie Brother when he lost his driving licence and then to me who used it recreationally and to go the the South Melbourne shops for a couple of months. Nah, I am over bike riding. 

Back to the show. For two adults and two children it will cost them $30 for public transport to get to and from the show. I would not dream of putting myself through the stress of driving and parking to visit the show, yet parking is only $25. I can see why car commited people would choose to drive over using public transport. 

Latest update: One twin had hurt her finger on a boat? and it will be x-rayed tomorrow morning. So instead of 11am at Flinders Street, it will be 11.30 or more likely noon. 

The bike room. There is a smaller one as as well.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The correct side of the road

Don't we all think we drive on the correct side of the road? Be it left or right? 

This is an interesting map yet it does not tell the full story. I expect the figure is skewed by highly populated African countries and India, but 35 percent of the world's population drive on the left hand side of the road from the right hand side of their cars.

Worldly experts I am sure can tell me the name of the two South American countries that drive on the left. Why? Former British colonies? 

Most of the left hand drive countries are former colonies of Britain, but there are some odd exceptions, to me being Japan and Thailand. Neither were colonies, not even any real British connection. Google tells me Japan drives on the left because of the side a samurai would pull out his sword, which is much the same as why Britain drives on the left hand side. Roman chariots and all that. 

Your trivia for the day is that the rear left hand door of a Japanese taxi is motorised and when a taxi stops for you to climb in, the door opens for you and then closes once you are inside. In left hand drive countries, that would be right hand side rear door. While I was mentally prepared for it, my normal inclination to open the door was so strong. 

Thailand? I really don't know. Former colony Burma drove on the left, but it has changed to the right hand side.

In 1967 Sweden switched from driving on the left to driving on the right. Tram lines had to be changed and a huge effort was required for the change. In 2009 Samoa changed to left hand driving to match Australia. But American Samoa continues to drive on the right.  

I really can't see any reason why driving on the left or right would be better than the opposite. They are just different and the human brain cleverly and quickly adapts from one to the other, mostly. I qualify this with young human brain. I would not attempt it now. 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Monday Mural

I'm joining with Sami and others for Monday Murals. 

Catching a tram is often a good option. 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sunday Selections

Once again I am joining with Elephant's Child and River for Sunday Selections. 

I'm back to normal this Sunday with just random unused photos.

An apartment block nearby. Nice. 

A ghost sign in South Melbourne.

Nearby in a lane there was this delightful green space. This photo was taken in winter, 2022. 

I consider Rose Chong a Melbourne icon. Her costume/drag shop in Gertrude Street Fitzroy has been there for decades. 

Beekeeping on public land on the edge of Westgate Park. 

I've not had plunger coffee for years. The plunger made a brief appearance for a couple of days last week and then quickly disappeared. There is barely speakies in The Highrise at the moment. 

My moisturiser pump ran out, but not really. I cut the pump pack in half and here is how much is still left. This will last a few weeks.

Azalea Indica I think. A great show even if many possible flowers had been clipped off.

Over 14 years ago when Sister lived in Murrumbeena, she would at times buy food from the nearby Katrina's Kitchen. In an effort to future proof ourselves for food when Household Management no longer can cook, we caught the train and picked up four frozen meals. They cost about $11 each, not especially cheap. The instructions were to heat them in the oven for 30 minutes at 200C. They were so good. My first was salmon patties with vegetables and I couldn't eat the second patty. It was delicious the next day. My second meal was a pork chop with vegetables and it too was great. Again, I couldn't eat all of the chop and mashed potato. Another lunch for the next day. We could have them delivered, but our freezer is small and you have to buy about eight for free delivery. 

When the doctor removed the suspicious mark on the back of my neck, she used disposable equipment. Apparently these steel scissors she offered to me are disposable. They are razor sharp. I took them, of course. You never know when you might want to stab your partner to death. 

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 ...