Saturday, March 2, 2024

Pestilence

My home city of Melbourne and Australia's best known city Sydney are rather different, at times even with words.

If I was in Sydney and I said I stomped on a cocky and killed it, I would be praised. 

In Melbourne if I said a stomped on a cocky and killed it, I would be a social pariah and probably charged by police for my act.

Sydney cocky.



Melbourne cocky. 

 

And just to confuse things, there are cowcockies. I can't imagine the origins of this phrase but it refers to dairy farmers. NB, he looks more like a beef farmer but you get the idea. 

Apparently we had a very warm winter last year. You could have fooled me. We certainly had a very wet spring and mid summer, and it was an ideal climate for crickets to breed. 

I didn't shriek, but I did rush inside and tell R a cockroach had run across our balcony. A few days later I heard about the cricket pestilence. They had bred in high numbers and were everywhere. With my new found knowledge I calmed R down when he fled his bathroom after his morning shower, saying there was a cockroach in there. With a bit of carboard and an empty yoghurt container from the recycling bin, I removed the cricket, chucked it off the balcony and it fell down then flew away. 

Another ran across in front of us in the foyer when we going out one day this week.

At 5.30 in the morning one day last week I was woken by a very loud cricket. I was convinced it was in my bedroom. I pulled apart the nest of tables at my minor bedroom window and I couldn't find it. In spite of our very thick window glass, I suspect it might have been on the outside window ledge. Enough to wake me at 5.30, it must have been loud. I did go back to sleep.

We have resident cricket under our balcony air con unit and today after we traced another cricket sound, found it is one is living in the bulkhead of our living room, where the various bathroom, toilet and range hood ducts go to the outside.

Living high up off the ground, we don't see too many pest critters. In about 2004 we had an ant invasion that thought my hair removal wax was very tasty. A few years later what is now perhaps a threatened species, we had an invasion of Bogong moths. We rarely get flies inside.

Google tells me crickets live to an age of eight to ten weeks, or a year or more. Maybe it depends on the cricket species.  

Friday, March 1, 2024

Political Comedy

A Glaswegian in Kuala Lumpur makes a You Tube clip while watching a You Tube clip of an Australian comedian performing in Nashville, USA. Global Village, hey.

Like most male comedians, he obsessively uses the eff word. I think it can be a great word to at times slip into a comedy performance for dramatic effect, but clearly I am an old and old fashioned person with my view. 

Nevertheless, Jim Jeffries becomes seriously moral and wise in the latter half of his performance, and the performance was recorded in 2016 before #45 became President. 


https://youtu.be/L-98RjrmqO4?si=r3h2uKfrvuLdDa4F



Thursday, February 29, 2024

Mr Bates and the Post Office

If you don't know about it, Post Masters (and Mistresses) were we found to be defrauding the British Post Office of thousands of pounds after the implantation of a computer system in the early 2000s. There were hundreds of them. They lost businesses, they had make up thousands of pounds in discrepancies, some were sent to gaol, some suicided. 

They were not guilty. Like our Robodebt system in Australia, it was an absolute disgrace. The good people of Australia did not speak out loudly enough about the very obvious wrongs of Robodebt

A commercial tv station picked up the three part made for tv series of Mr Bates versus the Post Office. I can't say I thought it was a quality production, but R recorded it through our Fetch box and he is an expert at skipping through ads.  I kind of knew the story already.

What I thought was much better was the subsequent documentary called Mr Bates, the Post Office and the Real Story. If you aren't in the UK, it is probably not available to watch online. I found it much more satisfying. For Australians I think you can find it on Channel 7 catch up tv. 

Nothing of the above really illustrates the disgraceful behaviour of the British Post Office. The CEO of the Post Office at the time, one  should be stripped of her CBE and in my opinion should go to gaol for what she oversaw.

Ah, she has now handed back her CBE, but as I read it, she did so before King Charles took it away from her. Wait, a correction. The King has taken the award from her. 

Hopefully now Mr Bates who tirelessly fought against the injustices perpetrated by the British Post Office will accept his CBE for his two decades of work to seek justice for himself and many others.

The Post Office is paying out bigtime in compensation. Unfortunately this is British taxpayers' money and I can't see a cent or penny coming from the company responsible for the failed system, Fujitsu. 

It is always good to criticise corruption and wrongs in the world, but it is far preferable to do so when your own doorstep is clean. First world countries need to be beyond reproach, and they aren't.    

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The gravitas of gravity

How honest am I? This puts me to test and I fail. I justify my failure by that this is about multi national companies and who knows who owns them. They really ought to get their metering and billing processes right. 

In a 22 storey building such as ours, there needs to be water tempering valve every sixth level. This is about the force of gravity. Water comes from roof storage and the further it runs down the building, the higher the water pressure. This is managed by the tempering valves. Our building is over twenty five years old and the tempering valves needed to be replaced. This was done a couple of years ago.

We pay for our building's hot water delivery to our apartment and the gas to heat the water is measured by a hot water meter. So, it is a gas bill we pay. It was usually somewhere between $80 and $100 for two months. 

When the tempering valves were replaced, we received an email for the gas company stating we had been overcharged for out hot water gas and would receive a credit. Our next bill came indicating we were $20 in credit and there was nothing to pay. Over I guess the past two years at least, every gas hot water bill had indicated we were in credit. Sometimes the credit goes up to $22. The last had us in credit for $18. We've paid nothing for hot water for over two years. Shouldn't I be an honest person and inform the company? The company's processes are clearly deficient and I see no reason to inform it. 

Well, it just gets better. 

Our electric bill arrived, same company. It hasn't been a hot summer and our air con usage hasn't been high. I expected the bill would be on the low side, and it was, $266 for three months. This does include a discount because R is an old age pensioner. Our worst bill was probably about $600, many years ago. While I don't like companies automatically taking money from my bank account, I agreed to this with our electric bill to get a good deal. 

I received a reminder email reminder that on the 23rd of this month, the amount to pay would be deducted from my bank account, which is as it should be, but the amount to be deducted was $141 and not $266. Come the 23rd, $141 was deducted from my account. I had to go back to adjust our simple ledger for $125 less outgoing. This was a clear undercharge but it is the same again. If the company can't get it system right, not my problem and I will pay what they say I owe unless I suspect overcharging. 

While it was a few years ago my Mother knew she wasn't paying for her power for a bit over twelve months and it wasn't her fault. It is complicated to explain why, so I won't but she didn't receive electric bills. Eventually they caught up with non billing and Best and Number One Son took a look at the matter. Utility companies can only go back twelve months for undercharging. Nevertheless, she had a substantial bill to pay. She went down the road of 'I am just an old age pensioner. You've caused me so much stress. How am I going to pay that huge amount? I am worried sick about the whole matter. I'm trembling so much I can hardly hold the phone'. My mother was uninterested about the world beyond her couple of friends and family but she knew how to manipulate situations. 

I think one third of the bill was waived and the rest she paid off over two years. 

So I know the worst that can happen is we will have to back pay one year's worth of charges we should have been charged. Long may the company get our electric bill wrong and we have become very used to not paying for our hot water heating.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Transporting the fans

It is not unknown for the Melbourne Cricket Ground to cater for around 100,000 people. 

People arrive by train, train and tram, tram alone and on foot after getting to the city by train.  

The sell out concerts by Taylor Swift were amazing. There was no public car parking beyond for the very posh set. It was all about public transport. 

I think YouTuber Phillip Mallis left out the point of people getting to the Flinders Street Melbourne Richmond and Jolimont Stations and then the venue by train/walk and train/tram but his video is still quite a good indication of how things work here for major events. It is an eight minute clip. He is a good presenter.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X42qWBNTLo

Later: I heard some concert attendees had parked in the nearest city private car park and it took them forever to get out because of traffic. I also heard after a subsequent event at Docklands Stadium where there is car parking under the stadium, it was taking people forty minutes to leave the car park. Southern Cross Station, the second busiest station in Melbourne is a few minutes from the stadium. Why do people torture themselves with their obsessive and impractical car usage? 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Monday Mural

Along with Sami and others, here is my offering for Monday Murals.

Still at Hartwell on the other side of rail bridge above there are two more murals. Isn't the train just terrific, even though partly in shadow.



Sunday, February 25, 2024

Sunday Selections

I'm joining with River and others for Sunday Selections with my usual mix of photos I haven't used. 

It can get very hot in Australia and the air conditioning in older cars may not be able to cope. This beast with a roof mounted generator  240 volts will do the job very well. I can't imagine how or why it was on the tv.


We are in our hottest month, so I guess this cyclamen display outside Melbourne Town Hall was last winter.



Party boats, boats to see scenery and now self sailing electric six seater boats ply the Yarra River in both directions from the city. I don't know if this is the same boat but I think it was called the Melbourne Star where we attended a party many years ago. It was a terrific night. I am glad I have my pre digital memories and there is no evidence of how we all tried to flirt with a very hot deckhand. He enjoyed the flattery and was such a tease. 


The river isn't always this shade of brown. Sometimes after heavy rain it is an even darker brown. Blue? Never.


We don't see them that often and I get very excited to see yellow tailed black cockatoos flying past. They make a very different and rather nicer sound than the usual sulphur crested cockatoos and corellas. 


Pity I never got a good photo. They fly quite fast with little effort. 


La lune arises above Mount Dandenong. 


Becoming stronger as she rises in the sky. 


This collapsed paving has been there for years and I can't see it being repaired any time soon. It is not a footpath and no one should be there, but still, it does need to be fixed. I don't know if it is the responsibility of VicRoads or the government's VicTrack public transport department. They probably don't know either. 

Bumping another car

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