Saturday, January 6, 2024

The Queen still travels

The Queen Elizabeth was in port, Station Pier Outer West, a couple of weeks ago. She is a big ship but I think there are larger.

The was also a boutique ship, Regatta at the outer west mooring, which carries less than 700 passengers. Posh I suppose, and no children allowed.

This old fixed crane has been preserved.

The cruise ship season lasts from late October to early April.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Queenscliff 2 Christmas Day

We met with Sister's wife, Bone Doctor, and niece Jo at 10 for coffee at one of the two cafes open in Queenscliff. It was mega busy and we didn't leave until 11 when the cafe closed. Sister was busy preparing Christmas dinner and at 12.30 we were there to eat and drink. We sat outdoors under the arbour and it was a fine dinner with ham and turkey, hot vegetables and salads. We then played a couple of board games called Sequences, which was quite easy to learn and I won one round of two. 

While we were playing, we didn't notice the rain pouring down. The ground gravel at the front floor was flooded out to about a metre. We waited 15 minutes as the water drained away into the sandy soil and then Bone Doctor jumped over the water and gave us a helping hand to jump over the water too. 

I don't remember what time we left to retire to our cottage. Normal evening dinner was sandwiches using up left over turkey and ham given to us by Sister. 

It was quite a chilled day. ABI Brother had stayed with Sister on Christmas Eve and so he was there too.

I took few photos that day. 

Sister's Christmas pudding was great. She uses my grandmother's recipe, handed on to Mother, and now Sister. I think we lit the pudding with brandy. It was hard to tell in the daylight. The pudding recipe had been altered a little. There wasn't a sixpence coin to be found in the pudding. 

You can't really get these large boiling pots now, according to Sister. This pot to boil the pudding was my grandmother's and handed down. The pudding is tied up tightly in calico for boiling. A little water crept in but we said, it will just make the pudding more moist. 

Thursday, January 4, 2024

For the Term of His Natural Life

I am interested to know you thoughts on this.

Some people commit absolutely heinous crimes, are charged, are judged by a jury of common folk who all must find the person guilty and are sentenced by the presiding judge. That sounds fine, doesn't it.

At times the general public think sentences are inadequate, but they have not heard all the evidence or the judge's reasoning for the sentence.

The sentences are usually between 20 and 30 years in gaol, but even before their sentence is completed, they are eligible to apply for parole. For the unrepentant and unreformed prisoners, this will normally be denied. One such person may be Julian Knight who shot dead nine people and injured many more in a random mass shooting. 

But eventually they have served their sentences and are released from gaol. That is unless the State Government intervenes and decides to keep them in gaol at His Majesty's pleasure. To me the decision seems to made by the view of the general public. Keep the bastard locked up, or similar. 

There are a number of criminals who have served their time and are detained at His Majesty's pleasure. 

I am not sure if I feel comfortable with this as it mixes up public opinion, governments, the law and royal assent. They were sentenced for the crime they committed, served their time and should be released. (And very closely monitored if necessary)

It may be best to argue that their sentences were inadequate, with a good whipping added to make them repent, or a longer sentence. I am just not keen on governments interfering with the legal system, even though they do so all the time with legislation. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

The neighbours

We a bit sad that our neighbours to the front of us have sold and moved away. They have lived here for about three years and she gave birth to two boys in that time. 

They paid around AU$1.3 million for their apartment, spent about 100K on modifying the apartment, raising the cost to $1.4. We knew they overpaid at the time. They have sold for $1.1 million, a loss of $300,000.

They were nice and friendly neighbours, he being a doctor and she being a school teacher. The first son was and is challenging, the second, an angel. 

Today, Wednesday, they moved out. I saw him in the lift and had a nice chat. I said it will be a bit sad to not see the boys grow up. He said, you guys have been great. Thanks. Good luck, I said as we parted.

But there are silver linings. Maybe the next people won't be window openers, especially the window one metre from our balcony. With the window open, I feel like I am invading their privacy and they, as I heard, feel like they are invading my my privacy.

When the couple moved here, they had a wolfhound that soon died. They then bought a Welsh Terrier and I guess fed it on the balcony. This attracted the evil Indian Myna birds. One time we had five lots of bird crap on our balcony. I started chasing them away, and the birds did learn that our balcony was not a good place to visit. R said I was being ridiculous. Really? No more bird crap on the balcony. As soon as our neighbours moved out, the birds disappeared, thank goodness. 

R met up with his former workmate whose father died last week, along with a couple of former clients. He was away from 9.30 until 4.00. I caught a 58 tram to South Yarra Station and then one of our marvellous new trains to Oakleigh for a bite to eat. 

Eaton Street Mall was crazily busy with lunch time diners...a great atmosphere. For lunch I had a chocolate mousse, bad, and a cup of coffee. I caught the train back to Murrumbeena Station to buy four frozen meals from Katrina's Kitchen, and then the train and tram back home.  I had the roast lamb for dinner and R had the tuna patties. Very nice.

Queenscliff 1

We left home at 11 on Christmas Eve to drive one and a half hours to the comfy cottage we had rented where we have stayed before. We took a break for brunch along the way, maybe 25 minutes, so that makes the trip two hours but we didn't arrive until 1.30. Time is a curious thing.

We were half an hour early, but no problem to check in. The cottage is old and modest but so well equipped and spotlessly clean. It is such a comfortable place to stay, with milk in the 'fridge, a loaf of bread and plentiful tea and coffee, along with breakfast cereals. 

There is the owner's house at the front of the block, a small cottage at one side and where we stay in the two bedroom cottage at the very rear of the large block. The owners' have lived there for 30 plus years and know local history well. Our cottage was built in the very early 1900s, extended by the present owners who demolished a crayfish cleaning shed to make space. The street was once full of fishermen. It is a minute's walk to the railway (tourist now) station and about ten minutes to the wharves where the fishermen wold set sail to catch fish.

The two cottages were built as tourist accommodation for holiday makers who initially arrived by steamer ferry from Melbourne, and then later by train, I guess change trains at Geelong. 

Sister lives about ten minutes drive away and she had invited us for drinks and nibbles in the late afternoon. I called her and she said she will do a barbeque for dinner, and very nice it all was. We were back to the cottage quite early and just chilled.

Through the bathroom to the laundry and toilet. 

Really Sister, your attention seeking behaviour can go too far, but we were amused.

From the dining table looking at the kitchen.

Looking towards R's bedroom with a double bed. Mine had two singles. 

It was cool enough to turn on the heating air con but it shut down once we worked out how to light this gas fire.

I don't know if this will interest you but this an Australian designed outdoor clothes line. It was exported all over the world and it was very good at drying clothes, and there was so much space to hang your garments. Most were known as a Hills Hoist. 

After hanging the clothes you would wind the clothes higher to catch more wind. Some had a mains water connection, so water pressure would raise the shaft. The top would spin around, depending on the wind. 

If a storm was approaching, best to lower the line to its notched base. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

2024 Bits

We had a lovely time away. I haven't sorted the photos yet. They will come but nothing too outstanding. 

I read in the electric newspaper that older people aren't very inclined to make New Year's resolutions but there wasn't an explanation. It is pretty obvious to me that our years have taught us that they don't work. I've made none beyond be more self indulgent, as if I could be anymore self indulgent.

New Year's Eve saw us out pub dining with our visiting Friend from Japan. We were home by 8.30. At 9.30 we went down to the tram stop below and watched the early fireworks. 

At the pub, while my meal was roast pork, R and Our Friend from Japan had vegie burgers, which they both declared were delicious. But vegie is disappearing from menus etc, in favour of the plant based. I can imagine advertising agency boffins saying, vegie sounds derogatory. Let's make it more acceptable by calling the food, plant based.   

She stayed overnight and we drove her home New Year's Day, which may have taken longer than she using a tram and train as I used the wrong motorway exit. It was nice to spend some time with her. It's hard to believe it is 13 years since we visited her in Japan. After dropping her off where she is cat sitting, we drove to Moonee Ponds and had brunch and then bought sympathy cards.

R is meeting his former workmate next week for lunch but her 90+ year old father died last week. The lunch will go ahead, as she said, it will be mental break from funeral organising. R's cousin in the north of England is in hospital and dying. We visited her this year when we England, err, last year. She was old but still ok. She is now comatose and we are expecting news very soon. We bought a sympathy card to send to her son and it felt a bit wrong to do so before she has died.

I didn't stay up until midnight, but I may as well have as I felt like crap New Year's Day morning. I'll blame R's cocktails, though they were carefully measured.

Mid January we will back on the Bellarine Peninsular looking after Sister's dog and two cats while they are holidaying away. 

The usual propaganda came out New Year's Day morning, with police and other sources saying the NYE crowds were all well behaved, with everyone having a jolly old time.. As the day went on went on we learnt of a stabbing, a glassing, shocking over crowding at our major railway station, a house set alight by flares, people with burn injuries from illegal fireworks, etc etc.  

I've decided to accept American to mean a citizen of the US. It isn't correct but a Canadian with quickly correct you if you call them American. It amazes me that two English speaking countries with a long common border can be so different.  

R made tuna mornay with carrots, broccoli, peas and rice for dinner. He made enough for another meal that is in a dish ready for the freezer. I told him to leave the dishes and I would do them. that is load the dishwasher. He accepted my offer with alacrity, lay on the sofa and fell asleep. On tv is a show about American guide dogs for the blind, kind of interesting. 

Hair cuts for us tomorrow, maybe an egg and bacon toasted sandwich and coffee at a favoured place. I don't have a ready reply when the 'what will we have dinner' question is asked. Maybe I'll say lamb chops, mashed spuds and vegetables. 

They don't feel like holidays, so I'll just say times away from home this year past in reverse order:

2023 Queenscliff December

2023 Rochester November 

2023 Sydney October Room 1509

2023 Torquay August 

2023 England April/May

2023 Strathalbyn SA, March

Just to note, while I don't blog or make comments on blogs when I am on holidays, I do still keep up with what you all put out there online. No doubt you will all entertain me in 2024. 

Sunday, December 31, 2023

NYE 2024, the passings

I feel kind of amazed that I am still around in the year 2024. Many we know so well from screens and radio are not around to see 2024, although they came close.

I went through a few lists but these are who...what? Entertained me at some point or made an  impression on me. Maybe they were funny, maybe sexy, maybe so talented, maybe bad. Who knows. 

No special order and the photos are generally found widely on the internet.

Australian singer Renee Geyer, 69. (Fun person)

Australian painter John Olsen, 95.

Australian comedian/radio/tv presenter Doug Mulray, 71.

Australian performer Barry Humphries, aka Dame Edna Everage, 89.

English fashionista Dame Mary Quant, 93.

Irish singer Sinead O'Connor, 56.

Italian actor/model/politician/photojournalist Gina Lollobrigida, 95.

Australian Labor politician Simon Crean, 74. (Much admired by me and I remember seeing his parents frequently travelling on trams)

New Zealand/Australian comedian Cal Wilson, 53.

Australian Catholic priest Cardinal George Pell, 81. 

Israeli singer and actor Topol, 87.(I so remember my father singing 'If I Were Rich Man').

Australia actor Johnny Ruffo, 35.

Australian media personality Diane (Bubbles) Fisher, 91. 

US actor Matthew Perry, 54.

US singer/songwriter and daughter of you know who, Lisa Marie Presley, 54.

US actor Piper Laurie, 91. (She was in a good Australian film called Tim, with a very young and hot Mel Gibson)

Japanese actor./musician/composer/music producer Ryuichi Sakamoto, 71. (I was sad as I thought he was wonderful in the film Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence. He was such a high achiever)

A scene from the aforesaid film, with David Bowie.

US composer/musician/songwriter/record producer Burt Bacharach, 94.

US actor Cindy Williams, 75. (Laverne and Shirley, she was Shirley).

US tabloid talk show host Jerry Springer, 79.

US singer/actor/civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, 96. 

US singer/fabulousness Tina Turner, 83. 

US jazz and popular music singer Tony Bennett, 96.

English television interviewer Sir Michael Parkinson, 88.

Irish-English actor Sir Michael Gambon, 82.

Spanish fashionista Paco Rabanne, 88.

US actor Raquel Welch, 82.

Australian entertainer Rolf Harris, 93.

Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi, 86.

And not a celebrity, just my Mum, Thelma, 89.


I wish you all a very happy, healthy and calm 2024. πŸΎπŸŽ‡πŸ§¨

Window Wankers

Some of you may remember me complaining about the apartment occupants to my immediate front having their windows open, well mostly the one a...