Saturday, April 6, 2024

Sydney Day 3

Over the the lunch the day before, it was suggested to us that we might like to see the Banksy exhibition at Sydney Town Hall. That evening after returning to our digs after our light Portuguese dinner, I booked tickets for 11 the next day. We arrived a bit early and having walked from our hotel, my arthritis had really kicked in and I had to find a seat with with a backrest for a few minutes. We were let in early.

After the exhibition we walked on to Darling Harbour, once a must see place for visitors to Sydney. We walked up a long ramp and I had a suspicion there was a lift. R confirmed it once we reached the top. 

Darling Harbour was just a large space with nothing there aside from construction hoardings. The Chinese Garden is still there but we've seen that a couple of times, as nice as it is. 

So, nothing to see here. The L1 tram is on the other side. We'll catch that back to the city and make our way back to our hotel. But before we reached the tram stop, there was a cab rank. Nodding towards the rank I said, "Yes?" R replied, "Yes". 

The taxi driver was very chatty, and after he learnt we were tourists, went on about various places. He said some American tourists like to see the fish markets at 5am. Would we like to do that? I remained silent. He kept banging about various tourist places in Sydney and I had tuned out until he said, 'And they walk a pig around'. I was now focused. I had a name and a suburb and I investigated once back at our hotel. 

That evening we were a bit exited about our expected dinner venue, the Masala Bowl, Pitt Street in Sydney. If the staff had set out to annoy us, the succeeded very well and I think for only the second time we've ever walked out of a restaurant after ordering. I think it was our fourth visit to Masala Bowl and the last. We were very disappointed.

We had some fine Thai food at the restaurant at the bottom of our hotel, which is also a training school for restaurant staff and chefs.

A morning visitor, tame enough to sit on R's hand while we tried to feed it some dry cracker crumbs, which is all we had to feed it. The bird hurt his skin but didn't puncture it. This Polly variation did not want a cracker. 

I never understood what this was about as we entered the Banksy exhibition.

Aside from this kind of Banksy work, I did not know he had created many works of art that sell for great sums of money, enough money for him to buy a large boat to rescue refuges in the Mediterranean. (I can't believe my fingers got the spelling of Meditteranian correct. Lol, I didn't do it a second time).

This may have been my favourite.

This is cutting. Have you seen the clip of the naked Vietnamese child running after being covered in napalm? 

 A plainer soup variety than Warhol's Campbell's Soup.

I remember John Gray of Wales putting up this photo once. I didn't realise it was a Banksy. 

You can't really see the water action in the photo but the Darling Harbour fountain was working with visibly hundreds of tourists flocking to see it in action, as you can see in the photo. There isn't too much bad about the tourist areas of Sydney, but from its first inception decades ago, Darling Harbour has been a big fail. 

Cycle lanes are being built in Oxford Street, along with drainage renewal, but let's just blame the cycling lanes for the disruptions. The lineal work site was so locked down, fenced off and guarded, what really is the point of these signs? Ridiculous overkill. 

Friday, April 5, 2024

Grand or great?

I read in the electric newspaper the term grand niece and that had me puzzled. From the person seeming to be reading directly from papers on ABC Radio, I heard the same. 

The story was about a grand niece of a former State Premier now seeking preselection as an electoral candidate. 

Great niece and grand niece are the same, as Google tells me. It can even be great grand niece. I think I prefer to have great nieces than grand nieces. The OED informs me using great niece and great nephew is twice as common as using grand.

I did not know about grand and great being the same. Did you? And if so, why didn't you tell me?  

Thursday, April 4, 2024

The Easter that was

Boring Good Friday, everything was closed, except they weren't. Cafes were open and R took me to cafe he knew at Fishermans Bend. Once home I did do some serious cleaning on the balcony, a bit of a follow up after the air con remediation. 

Saturday morning we trammed to town to buy Easter eggs for kiddies and had a cafe brunch along with very unexpected good coffee, with a 15% pubic holiday surcharge. I used to think that this was ok, as staff are being paid extra for working on public holidays. I no longer think the same. Public holidays are a known thing and extra public holiday wage costs should be built into the budget forecasts for the business.

Sister, Bone Doctor and Jo were in town Saturday in the afternoon to see a Melbourne Comedy Festival performance. They went on to see the Titanic exhibition at the museum and we met them at The Oriental Teahouse in town for a nice dinner. Sister and her wife are both just post another bout of Covid, with Sister having caught it on a school camp. They happily returned to rest at their hotel while Jo came back with us to stay the night.

Sunday morning after a very small breakfast at the Scottish restaurant opposite, R and Jo made sandwiches and we drove to the suburb Oakleigh for a family gathering organised by Sister. Sadly Fire Fighting Nephew was on duty, and his wife, five year old daughter and two year old twin boys were staying with her mother at her apple orchard. 

Guest list:

Myself and R. 2

Sister, Bone Doctor and Jo, 2 adults/1 child.

Tradie Brother, his Ex Wife and her husband. 3

Oldest Niece and her partner and their three children, 2/3

Hippie Niece, her twin children, her partner and his two children. 2/4

ABI Brother. 1

Ex Sis in Law's husband's daughter and the daughter's luscious partner in his early twenties with a lean body and a perfect camera smile, and their daughter, 2/1

No one mentioned the missing person who would have been ninety years old. It was all about children and renewal. 0

So, fourteen adults I think and nine children. 

The picnic was at Brickmakers Park. We secured a table under shelter and had a lovely time. Walks were taken, the extensive play equipment was well used, trees were climbed, left over brickmaking equipment was explored and a walk to the nearby Scotchmans Creek undertaken. There was food aplenty and the obligatory Easter egg hunt. 

It was a very successful family gathering, the first really after scattering Mother's and Step Father's ashes. It was nice to not have to drive for an hour for a family gathering too.

Don't we all love a nice duck or two. 

Don't ask me, aside from a wind vane.

I could see two of the strange coolie hat like structures, but I can't in the photo.

A small and neat rotunda can be as good as a large one, can't it?

Another strange structure or something functional. 

I'm on steps to nowhere, just into a swamp.

It's a pity the grass is not irrigated and has turned brown. The next day we had 56mm or rain, say over two inches. This broke a weather record, as did the driest March for over a hundred years or something like that. Weather records just continue to be broken in great haste, but of course it is nothing to do with climate change. The grass will be green by the time this is published.

Some brick making machinery was left in the park. The sign in centre of the photo says no climbing on machinery. 

This boy was too young to be able to read the sign. Get down Lucas!

I've reduced the size of these photos compared to what they normally are as taken at a ridiculous size of around 6mb. Does it make a difference to you?

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The washing machine tune

The Samsung washing machine tune only plays once, after the cycle has finished. It initially annoyed me and I turned it off. I gave it another go and I found to know when a washing load was compete, a bit useful. Then I started to like to tune. I had no idea it was classical music and that makes sense now. It is a bit of a Shubert composition called Die Forelle, so my online advisor tells me. Now I make sing along noises when I hear the tune.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Sydney Day 2

Tuesday we were meant to meet our Sydney friend and his mate, along with a couple of women who were staying with our friend, who both hailed from northern areas. Our Sydney friend's mate was someone he went to school with, the women he worked with overseas.

Lunch would be at the Sydney Rowing Club in Abbotsford on the Paramatta River so it made perfect sense to catch a a ferry to the nearby wharf. 

We decided to go to the ferry wharf early and have a cup of coffee and so did the others, so we had coffee together at the Circular Quay before setting off on the half hour ferry journey.

Our Sydney friend, his mate and his two friends were great company. Apparently our friend's friend had told the story many times of a 'sad story' before of how her boss of twenty years after she left the public service offered her an overseas trip or something equivalent of $5000 as a reward for her excellent service as I think a medical specialist receptionist. He died shortly after making the offer and she got nothing.

Sad stories came forth. R began to tell the story of how he and Mother had celebrated their birthdays together for just on as long as R and I have been together, forty years plus. Lordy, how he complained about my mother but he cracked as he was telling his sad story. She loved him as a son and he loved her back. We all grieve in our own ways. I felt impotent and just rested my arm over his shoulder with a couple of pats. It was the first time I've seen him visibly upset about Mother's death. You can really now understand why he did not want to be home for what would have been his and Mother's birthday. I called Sister on the 23rd for a chat, as I knew it would not be a good idea to call on Mother's birth date, the 24th. 

No matter, it was a really lovely outing with such nice people. 

Having had a decent sized lunch, we had a nice small meal at a Tuesday night empty Portuguese place in Oxford Street, Ogalo. The food was terrific, with good service, and it deserves to be busier. 

Ah, you are begging for they come.

R took this photo. You know what it is.

The tallest building is colloquially known as Packer's Penis, Packer being James Packer, a former media mogul who inherited the business from his father Kerry, who inherited the business from his father Sir Frank. James went on to casino involvement and I don't know his ownership status of Crown Resorts now, but the tall building is known as his.

Do you want a close up of Packer's Penis? Too bad if you don't.

It was a pleasant sail up the Parramatta River. I am not sure if we were on a ferry like this one or a River Cat. 

To the left of photo is the new development of an old goods wharf area now called Barangaroo where the aforesaid tall building is located. The wharf was once known as the Hungry Mile, where during the 1930s depression many men would line up, hoping to be selected for a day's work for poor pay. It was both exploitative and demeaning. Thanks to unionism, waterside workers now have very good working conditions and pay. 

My, how quickly these trees have grown in less than two years. It looks lovely and is on my less than ambitious bucket list. 

Our ferry stopped at various wharves to let off and pick up passengers. The stops were so efficiently handled by the ferry staff. 

Most of the wharves are newly built but on the site where there was an old wharf.

The views from the rowing club looking upriver were terrific. 

Parramatta in the distance. 

Our friend's friend was not going to allow R's birthday to be uncelebrated and this appeared at the table after we lunched. Thanks you so much L. That was quite a lovely thing to do. 

Definitely a River Cat is arriving to take us back to Circular Quay.

I thought the Gladesville Bridge was something special. I was underwhelmed. Maybe the bridge this one replaced was nicer? Nope.

Another of R's photos. Sorry, I've forgotten the name of this bridge. 

Monday, April 1, 2024


Blogger doesn't get too much attention from its Google owners, as bloggers are a dying breed, but I did find a new setting in Blogger where you can apply algorithms to your blog which works out what your blog readers find interesting on your blog judged by the time they take to view a post, along with the subject, their viewing of photos and if they watch the posted videos, including how long they view the videos.

So instead of seeing my latest post, the algorithm will decide which past blog post that you as a reader found interesting and show you similar blog posts. After a closer look, and it's a bit of a faff, you can search for the latest post, though I couldn't really make that work for me.

But isn't this just a great adjustment? Blogger will now work like Face Book, Pinterest and Instagram by showing you what it knows are your interests are by what the algorithm knows you want to see. I'm just loving algorithms and I will apply the new algorithm system to my blog after this post is published. 

We can complain about tech companies but I think this is terrific idea. Give me some feedback tomorrow about the next algorithm blog post tailored for you from my posts after you read this one. If you wish to do the same, and I wish you would so I don't have to read boring stuffs on your blogs, you can find the adjustment under Settings/Layout. 

I just feel so happy about being able to do something for you to improve your blog reading experience. 

EC, as you will probably read this first, just make your mark that you approve of my new blog experience for you. 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Sydney Day 1

We were only in Sydney last October but as I think I said in a previous post, R wanted to avoid being here for his blah blah blah birthday along with what would have Mother's 90th birthday. For 44 years they celebrated their birthdays together. It was a pity he didn't actually tell me this, instead of me asking why he wanted to return to Sydney after six months of being there. Apparently I should have been in tune enough to understand. Well yes, but why Sydney? It mattered little where we went.

This time we used the long term carpark at Melbourne's airport rather than a taxi cab. The price is cheap if you book well in advance but you do have to allow more time to be bused from the carpark and the airport, and then for us it was a long walk to Terminal 3 to catch our Virgin Australia flight. 

We had our boarding passes as a QR code on our phones. Both our phones showed but at check in, R's had disappeared. Fortunately mine had stayed on my phone for both of us. As we boarded the aircraft, mine had disappeared too. We knew our seat numbers and the welcoming flight attendant wasn't bothered and just said to go through to our seats. 

The 1.5 hour flight was uneventful, as was the train to Museum Station, nearest to where we were staying. 

We went to the shops for provisions after meeting with mien host. 

Aside from in a comment, I've not explained properly where we stay in Sydney. It is the Oaks Sydney Hyde Park Suites. The building is divided into a normal hotel and quite a number of individually owned studio apartments, and we stay in one of the individually owned apartments. These apartments are managed by a woman who turns up to greet you and take you to your room. She then takes the balance owing on her portable device and she talks, and she talks, and she talks. We know her life. In the lift on the way up she greeted a male couple who were returning guests who lived overseas, with big hugs. They loved her dress, yes quite nice, and her shoes that I can't remember. She may well talk a lot, but she is very nice. Gay men used to have a name for women like her but I don't like to use it. A better and just as descriptive name needs to be invented. Gay friendly, I suppose. 

We decided an easy dinner at Kinselas would be nice. We sat outside and fortunately under shelter. Big rains came and some had to flee inside.

Across the road is the very gay Oxford Hotel. 

The Darlinghurst Court House, with the Darlinghurst gaol within where the first Mardi Gras marchers were held after their protest march that went on to become the well known Mardi Gras Parade. The gaol is now something called QTopia

There is such a nice feature fountain in the street.

The meals at Kinselas come from the Courthouse Hotel, the building nearly next door. 

With a regular client discount, this room that could sleep five with this drop down bed cost us AU$172 a night. It has a separate kitchen and bathroom and a balcony with a nice view. It is bargain accommodation.

The place isn't flash. Everything is worn and shabby, but we find it suits us well. I thought the kitchen drawers might be interesting to photograph. The teaspoon compartment is empty because there were only two teaspoons. There was only one wine glass, and so I took Hyacinth's advice and drank my wine from a beaker. Hmm, this is interesting from Wikipedia. I never noticed a buckling. Did you? Hyacinth "acquired cultured accent which buckles under stress."[

Some helpful cooking utensils, including a bottle opener.

Of course there were knives to carve a roast, that you might cook while on holidays, all blunt. 

But the most brilliant items were two wooden rolling pins, just what you need when you are on holidays and feel an urge to make pastry when you are making a large pie for your family. One of those rolling pins might have been used to bonk me on the head if I suggested R cook. We brunched and ate out for every meal. R does not cook when on holidays, and we have stayed in some places with really good cooking facilities. 

No, we didn't make scones. I was fearful to open the oven door. 

Bumping another car

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