Saturday, October 7, 2023

Just write Yes

That headline may not mean much to you overseas types but it certainly should to all Australians. On this day ahead of a little trip away we have already voted, yes in my case and I never know how R votes, aside from his coal mining English rusted on Labour Party inclination. 

Polling day will be the 14th of October, yet it is not an election but a referendum to change our constitution. The question is

“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?”

Answer Yes or No. 

The change would mean that the above mentioned will have an official voice to express their thoughts to the ruling government on matters that affect them. Is that not simple? There is nothing about land claims, nothing about recognising the misdeeds of the past. It is a purely simple unloaded question to be taken at face value.

I don't believe this woman Nicola Charles is stupid. She seems intelligent and speaks well enough, as she probably would being a former soap opera star. Is this the performance of her life? Never mind that it is all lies. The United Nations will not take over Australia if we vote yes. Don't really waste your time with her nonsense (for the record) at this video

Those opposing the vote who campaign for voters to write 'No' on the ballot paper have campaigned very successfully, having sowed so many seeds of doubt in people's minds, bringing in Trumpian style politics. But they have been rather brought down by the extremists with all their crazy talk. The no campaigners best line is 'If you are unsure, vote no' and has done its best to sow doubt and confusion. I say 'I say if you are unsure, damned well educate yourself from reliable sources'. 

Look at the basic question. It is simple, nothing loaded about it. Surely as a nation we must answer yes. World opinion will be against us if the no vote triumphs. Rightly or wrongly we are already thought of a racist country by many. 

Young people are notoriously difficult for polling surveyors to get an idea of how they will vote. They won't answer phone calls or respond to messages or online surveys. They are my hope for a Yes vote. 

I know some of  you will vote no, as you are entitled, but please don't be swayed by propaganda from the 'no' campaign. 

Friday, October 6, 2023

It's all about me

It is not like we don't have jackets, we just don't have right ones for the right occasions. R's puffer jacket is thin but full of insulating material. It cost a bit, at Marks and Sparks in Newcastle, England but is such a great and stylish jacket. He finds it too warm for milder days. I want one like his for next winter. I wish I'd bought one at M&S. 

Today we both wanted to buy a smart and casual jacket. The one I've been wearing is showing 'rust'. I have a better one for really cold weather, and one that only comes out for weddings and funerals. 

While R didn't find a new one, OMG. There is my perfect smart/casual jacket in my size. It can be difficult to find staff to help you in the department store Myer, but when you are looking at a jacket priced in three figures, they appear. Salesman told me the jacket is made in Italy from a combination of Australian wool and French linen. How good is this global village!

Ten percent off Sir if you become a Rodd and Gunn member, and I see you will be spending over $150 and so you will receive in an email a $15 store voucher. And Sir, twice a year you will be invited to our store where all Rodd and Gunn clothing will be 30% off. 

No shit Sherlock. 

R gave the jacket a bit of an iron after unpicking the pocket and tail stitches with my razor sharp medical scissors. 

Apologies to my 11 inheritors for the deprivation by my outrageous expenditure. 

Random Buildings

Too much writing is not good. Photos today.

What a lovely building. Even better is what is inside, three floors of the Chinese restaurant Chin Chin. We ate there last summer and foolishly did not book so were placed in the basement sitting skewwhiff at a weird table. It is not expensive and we ordered a set menu, which was far too much for us. We did our best. The service is fast and efficient yet everything appeared utterly chaotic. It is extremely popular for good reasons. 

Unlike the building above, this one looks serious. The lower level is made of what we call bluestone but it is basalt rock, the solidified lava being thousands of years old, no doubt from the west of the state where it grows out of the ground. I can't remember where it is but the city somewhere. 

I thought this might make an interesting photo but it didn't. What was I thinking!

This is a very unusual building in Chinatown, Little Bourke Street. Chinese arrived in Australia in the gold rush years, maybe 1850-60. It really looks like it is a Chinese design with Victorian architecture in mind.

Lovely with its Victorian lace iron work and wide verandahs. (why does spell check not approve of the word verandah. It is a basic English word with an Indian origin)

Well, its attractiveness was fixed up well and proper. What was someone thinking. I am sure this pub is inner Melbourne somewhere. At one point in 20C building owners had to remove overhangs and poles on the footpaths. Maybe this hotel was a victim of such.

End of WWII perhaps? Maybe just a store offering bargain women's hats. Across the road is the GPO, a place where people used to gather and I think still do at times for important happenings. 

Thursday, October 5, 2023

A visit to The Alf

The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital is I think its correct name.

A person called me the night before and asked if I could attend at 9.00am instead of 9.30, as my appointment stated. No problem. I have been to consulting suites before in Alfred Lane House but I checked a map to make sure I knew the way. It is quite a walk from the main entrance.

I allowed half an hour to get there for such a short distance, which if trams worked liked greased lightning, was too much time, but it wasn't. I arrived relaxed and on time. I was quickly seen by someone who started talking about my chest melanoma, then all sorts of extreme treatments and prognosis and further treatment. Eventually she realised she had my name wrong. Funnily Chemist Warehouse once confused my name for the same name. My family name is not Ferguson. Constantly my date of birth was checked, except by this one person. It was back to the waiting room but I was quickly called back in by the right person who had my correct details. Note to self, if you are not asked for your DOB, ask them to check it. 

I was told about treatment. I had to strip down for a full skin examination, and then a female professor who is presumable an expert in skin cancers came in to check me out. She was nice. One day female professor will be a silly thing to say, but not quite yet. Doctors, a note of advice. Patients will be so much happier and more satisfied if you are a nice smiley person. Oh lordy, don't I know that from my mother.

I chose to give some blood to the country's bio-bank. 

A lesion on my nose was frozen with dry ice spray.

Soon I was back to seeing the first specialist who was now very up to speed with my issue and apologised for the earlier confusion. She talked me through what would happen during the surgery. I chose no sedation, just aesthetic injections. It will be a few weeks away.

I was out by 10.30. First class service by our public health system and at no direct cost to me. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The Southern Aurora

Isn't this just the most fabulous work of art! November 1937 until April 1962

The train is known as the Southern Aurora. It was a luxury train to the Victorian and New South Wales border town of Albury and began service in 1937. At Albury a change of trains was required to continue to Sydney. The reason for this was Victoria used the Irish broad gauge train track distance between the two rails, 1600mm or 1.6 metres. Victoria's dominant railway engineer was Irish born and would nothing to do with the English rail system. Broad gauge is superior but not widely used, the Betamax of train gauges if you like. Yes, you are old enough to get that.

New South Wales however used standard gauge, 1435mm, so a change of trains was required at the border town of Albury. 

There are some terrific quotes US writer Mark Twain made about Australia and this is one of them about his train trip from Melbourne to Sydney. His sleep was interrupted at  midnight by the need to change trains at Albury. Here is his quote:

“The strangest thing, the unaccountable marvel that Australia can show, namely the break of gauge at Albury. Think of the paralysis of (parliamentary) intellect that gave that idea birth.”

By 1962 a standard gauge track had been built so the need to change trains at Albury ceased. Sometime in 50s the steam train was replaced by a diesel powered train. 

In the 80s the Southern Aurora was combined with the other Sydney Melbourne service, the Spirit of Progress to form the imaginatively named Sydney/Melbourne Express. The service is not called the XPT, I guess express train. It is anything but, if XPT sounds like speed. 

Photo from the Border Mail. The train looks very old fashioned.

Now I have a little vested interest in this train service as we are using it in the near future. Today I thought I would see how well the service performed. I just hope today was one of those days where everything went wrong and is not normal. The trains are old, dating back to the 80s, and I guess unreliable. Unused new trains are sitting in yards in Sydney to replace the old trains but there are 'issues'. 

The Melbourne bound train from Sydney broke down at Seymour and it took about three hours to repair. I believe this overnight train that arrives at Southern Cross Station at 7.30 forms the 8.30 day train to Sydney. Cleary that wouldn't happen and later I discovered the train had been replaced by a coach the full distance from Melbourne to Sydney.

The day train from Sydney is due at 18.30 and as I type at 18.12, it is 40 minutes late. I guess it forms the 19.50 overnight train to Sydney so it should depart on time. 

Oh no, but fortunately the suburb is not too far away. "Due to a fatality at Tullamarine, this service is replaced by road coaches from Melbourne to Broadmeadows. At Broadmeadows passengers will join the XPT train for the remainder of their journey."

I'll be keeping a close eye on the train for the next couple of days.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Retiring for...It's Time

Last week Victoria's State Leader, Premier Daniel Andrews resigned. He was a can do Premier responsible for a lot of building of infrastructure and carried us through the worst of the awful Covid times with a reassuring daily press conference. His lockdown of citizens was severe but goodness knows how many lives were saved and no doubt there were many.

Could it have been done better? Of course yes, with hindsight but we were in a deep unknown territory. He has been divisive leader with many loving him and many hating him. 

But note, his first electoral victory nine years ago was close. At both the next election and the following, the Labor(sic) Party increased its majority and the conservative opposition party was almost demolished. The haters are very loud and vocal, especially the so called 'freedom' folk. I am not going to do a Hillary and call them the Deplorables however... He has left us with a large state debt, partly due to Covid, and the investment in infrastructure. Over my lifetime I've come to realise that government debt in our rich country is pretty meaningless. 

Our new Premier is Jacinta Allen, formerly Deputy Premier. With a healthy electoral margin, she may even survive the next election if not thrive. She's a very experienced politician who had been in politics for 30 plus years, from her teen years. 

ABC Melbourne's radio breakfast presenter is the very talented Sammy J. The morning after Andrew's resignation, he had already come up with this. Actually, I think he may have done a good bit of work on it already and it just needed an update. 

His tribute to Andrews has so many many local references that most of you won't understand but nevertheless I think it is worth a couple of minutes of your time. As far as I can see, it should work everywhere and you don't need to have an Instagram account. If not, there is not much I can do about it. Google it and you may find a working link. 

Monday, October 2, 2023

Monday Mural

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

I  discovered a small park in either St Kilda West or Middle Park. I am guessing this is an electrical substation in the park. 

Stylistically I like it but I haven't a clue what story it might be trying to express.

Oddly along with playground equipment there were a couple of these rather odd table tennis tables, made steel. I don't know if steel gives a better bounce than timber.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

A Saturday

It's a strange time to publish for me, I know. I blame the change to daylight saving time overnight.

I tuned in and out of Saturday's tv broadcast of the Aussie Rules football grand final match. It was quite exciting I suppose as the scores remained close to the end, with Collingwood triumphant over Brisbane Lions by a small margin. 

The pre match entertainment was the pop group Kiss, who performed very well but don't tell me they weren't lip syncing. Never mind. It was really good entertainment, enhanced by an army of prepubescent dancers. It was good to see real men performing on stage and not the heavily made up and styled nancy boys we see now. 

I noted during the performance that the lead singer shaves under his arms. Yes, I expect I am the only person in the world to notice such trivia. As long as not prickly cut, nicer to lick. 

I don't know anything about Kate Miller-Heidke but she is a well respected musician and singer, who sang our national anthem before the match began in the presence of both football teams. The camera panned along the line up of players as the anthem was sung with players looking solemn during the performance, except for one who chomped away on his chewing gum faster and with more vigour than a masticating cow. It was just so ugly and disrespectful. I won't name the boof head. 

Nor will I name the the bloke who may come out as the first gay AFL player. As soon as I saw him my gaydar dinged. The more I looked, the more I found to support my thought. We shall see.

In a shop on Thursday the checkout chap was chatty about the forthcoming grand final match. Like I care. R told him I was a Collingwood supporter. Did I hear that right? R, what did you say? I fervently denied being a Collingwood supporter. If I am asked, I say I support St Kilda but really I don't have much interest. I wonder why R said that.

"There you go again, correcting what I say in public", said R as we left the shop. No, it is a serious matter to accuse someone being a Collingwood supporter, when I thought you would know I am not. I don't qualify as a Collingwood supporter. I don't have missing front teeth. I am not a kiddie fiddler. I tend to pronounce the ing ending of words as such and not just in. My shirts always meet the waist band of my pants and don't expose my fat stomach. I don't walk around with a packet of Winfield smokes tucked in my tee shirt sleeve. I am not balding at the front and have long thin straggly home bleach dyed blond hair at the back. I don't have a baby to tell 'shut the fuck up' when they are crying. 

Mind, when I was younger I did tend to correct R on detail as he was speaking. I stopped doing that quite some years ago. He is chatty and gets things wrong, but mostly it doesn't matter. I only correct him now if it is important and being accused of being a Collingwood supporter was. 

A blogger or two have recently mentioned how their partners are not talkative when they themselves are. I am not the talkative one about important things, partly because the more I say, the more trouble I get into. I also like to think about things before responding. I would like to chat easily but I've learnt that it is unwise. 

We were sitting in Prahran Square this morning, enjoying the sharing of a roast pork sandwich with crackling and nice coffee with lovely warm weather. Toddlers were running through the fountain getting soaking wet.  I checked tram app to go home. 9 minutes, we still had a shop to visit, 21 minutes, perfect for us.

We finished shopping, tram in 1 minute. We could not make that. 10 minutes for the next one. I realised something was wrong as we walked to the tram stop. The tram was still 10 minutes away. It remained so. The app indicated there was a problem but no detail. I swapped between the app and Twitter to find out what was happening. There was a stationary tram in the opposite direction nearby. A tree had fallen over the tram overhead electric wires. No trams anytime soon. In fact the line is still closed at 9.00 pm. We caught a bus to the Alfred Hospital and walked to St Kilda Road and caught a tram from there. It was 27 degrees and R became quite distressed and vowed to never catch a a tram again. 

Words #397

I pronounce words so differently to many people in Australia. I don't know why. It is just how I speak. Here are some  examples. Integra...