Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An East Melbourne Meander

East Melbourne is rather different to East Sydney. East Sydney is cramped and yet such closeness of buildings makes for a great feel to the area. East Melbourne is calm, peaceful, expansive and expensive. R and myself took a wander.

Previously the Hilton Hotel in Wellington Parade and is now known as The Pullman. It was built on the site of Cliveden Mansions, once the largest house in Melbourne.

Circa 1910 Cliveden was bought by the Baillieu family and turned the house  into opulent apartments. Post WWII such living became unfashionable and the Mansions went into decline and in 1968 Whelan the Wrecker arrived and did what he was famous (notorious?) for doing.

Jolimont across the road from East Melbourne is an odd little area. On the far side of the road is Jolimont Station at a level below the road and one of the fly swat lighting towers of the Melbourne Cricket Ground can be seen.

 We turned the corner into Powlett Street and were immediately confronted by these Victorian beauties.

The symmetry in Art Deco is good for the soul.

Solid, sturdy and dependable, and hopefully with central heating.

The last of the bright red autumn leaves falling.

I suppose you can't go wrong with white, but why not use colours to highlight the architecture.

The Cairns Memorial Church (Presbyterian?) at the corner of Hotham Street was burnt out in 1988 with only the fa├žade remaining. What a terrific effort at turning the old church into apartments.

All in a row.

It only takes an hour with a scissors each week to maintain plus another hour to dust each leaf.

Four houses I think.

Such houses can be dark inside, so why brick up south facing windows?

I detect some non original balcony funny business has gone on here. Victorians did not sit on their verandah roofs.

Some more non original. I've not seen any of Melbourne's bluestone lanes laid as neatly as this one unless they have been relaid.

Soon the leaves will drop allowing the low northern winter sunlight to fill the front rooms.

Somebody has to live in the cheap housing. I use the word cheap advisedly. I should think well over a $1.5 million would be required to buy.

It looks lonely, like it once had a friend at its side who has gone.

Peering over the porch wall at the mess, we found the local rented apartments.

I am sure as nice and neat inside as it is outside.

This one, Queen Bess Row, certainly had me searching. R and I examined it carefully and decided it was three individual houses.The land was bought by the brother of Sir William Clarke, the builder of the aforementioned Cliveden. Although perhaps meant to one day be individual houses, openings were left between rooms with the intention of it becoming a coffee palace (that is not serving liquor) but this did not eventuate, instead becoming a training institution for nurses and then a private hospital. While it did have the name East Melbourne Coffee Palace, the name was changed to Rubra as a private hospital, a hospital with some rather quackery sounding practices to me. By the late 19th century the owner had been successfully sued for negligence and she sold up the contents of the hospital. The same year the building's owner Joseph Clarke died.

The internal archways were bricked up and it was turned into flats. Post WWII it became a boarding house for low income tenants until 1989 when it was turned into the original three houses it was eventually meant to be. Each house was sold separately. I can't find why or when it was called Queen Bess Row.

An amusing anecdote I came across was a story from a neighbour who was in the process of moving into the property next door when the Row was still a boarding house in the 1980s. A chap wandered into her kitchen and asked if she had a beer for him. Thinking it was one of the removalists, she obliged but it turned out to be one of destitute type boarders from Queen Bess Row.

The hospital that ate Richmond, also known as Melbourne's largest private hospital Epworth, owns this building and has called it something like the Epworth Cliveden. Epworth's tentacles spread far and wide over Melbourne's inner suburbs. In my world, we should all have access to great public hospitals for free, and we almost do.

I am fond of blaming modern architects for the hideous buildings they are designing. We have almost stopped pulling down buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but we are pulling down 1960s buildings without a tear or a protest. Nevertheless, I consider the architect of this building went out on a limb when he designed it, and then the bough broke. Along the road a little is a siding for trams to line up to clear the crowds from the MCG after an event.

This sneaky little building at 100 Wellington Parade houses the The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

We were back at the tram stop. Now which way? Back to town or to Richmond. Richmond won and we had a very nice lunch at Blue Note Cafe in Bridge Road.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Shallow? Who me?

Nothing ready to post as I am doing research for a big post, which will probably receive few comments, but that is ok. I like to learn. Luckily I have a back up reserve.

The conversation will go like this:

Bone Doctor: Andrew, who are you are supporting in the football this year?

Me: Carlton.

BD: Ok, what's his name?

Me: Bryce Gibbs.

Bone Doctor is not an admirer of the physical male and at this point will probably harrumph, snort and roll her eyes at the same time.

I really am a sad sack with my teen age girl like lust for a pretty face. Like them, I quickly get over it. He is rather handsome though, isn't he. At the age of 26, he looks better now that when he was younger. I know the feeling.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Our big telephone company has only shut down my directly received tweets once before when there was a public transport meltdown in Melbourne. I can't remember if it was heat or wet and cold. It was only for an hour. But this morning I was shut down again because I received an excessive number of tweets direct to my phone. This time it was about Eurovision.

It was my first proper Eurovision experience and R joined me for the latter part this morning and we both enjoyed it. There is much I could write but I shan't aside from the best performer won.

Back to the tweets, my favourite was at some time around 8am, paraphrased, Lee Lin, you've done your job with the chiffon. Come back to the (night) club now.

When things go wrong, mostly

Or a connection to River's Sunday Selections. Some from Twitter, some from Facebook, some from me, some from elsewhere. I tidied up the hard drive.

Craig, did you or your antecedents have anything to do with this? Too much to ask you for a location, I expect. Does Whiteinch in the title mean anything?

Prahran is a hard word to spell if you don't know how it is spelt, don't you think? If I was a stonemason, I think I would double check the spelling. Prahran is a corruption of the indigenous words for 'land partially surrounded by water'.

There was some kind of delay to trams down below. Two tram patrol cars were parked nearby.

This lad sprinted away from the trams. Maybe something to do with delay, maybe not.

Of course it will fit.

One for you White Angel. What street in Launceston? Photo by David Nowell.

The tender read: Supply bus with roof mounted air-conditioning suitable for 40 degree plus temperatures. Mate, the cheaper 35 degrees rating is fine. They won't know the difference.

Here is an own goal by our trams, one having severely damaged a tramway patrol car.

The worst thing about this photo is that the silver ute may drive off leaving the car next to it that was forced to park at an angle get snapped by someone like me. Very much chicken and egg.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

It is all a terrible misunderstanding

Blog issues.  A great blogmate publishes the same comment twice on my blog. While it has also happened to  others, this person is the only one who persistently comments twice. Should I email and tell the person not to comment twice? Of course not, it is an internet/computer thing. The blog writer has not control over it. Blogspot will sort it out, eventually.

A second blogmate stopped commenting on my blog. This is a person who I thought I had a good connection with. I thought the person was busy with life but still managed to churn out blog posts. That is until I noticed the person commenting on other blog mates' posts but just not mine. I looked and I had disappeared from the person's list. I had been dumped, so I thought. I sent an email to enquire why. I would not do this with everyone, but as I said, I thought we were well connected. Guess what, some computer internet issue again.

A third blogmate made a comment on my blog as to why I no longer post a comment on their blog.  The long and the short of it is, I did make comments but the person receives comments only as emails and there was no arriving email for my comment on the person's blog over a decent period. The person thought I had stopped commenting. Earlier, the person had stopped receiving my posts on however the person receives blog updates.

Sometimes blog mates just fade away. They stop posting, you stop posting. They change to not responding to comments after they always used to and no longer comment elsewhere either. Isn't that just like real life where friends can fade away? There was no deliberate intention. It is just how things happen at times in life.

With the exception of the first case above, it you feel like you like you have wrongly been dumped, send a nice email to the person and ask why. My email in the second case solved the matter, as did the the person's email in the third case solve the matter.

I expect if you ask R, he would say I say I spend far too much too much time in blog world. While I have real life friends, some of who were just blog mates, I really do take my blog world seriously as part of my life.

A memory and some irony

Today R posted a photo of me on his Facebook page. He showed me the photo. I look old. I don't feel old but the lens tells the truth. I asked him if he tagged the photo and he didn't know what I meant. He has tagged it now so I suppose it will appear on my FB timeline. The photo was taken during last year's European holiday in Rudesheim, Germany. I did not realise this time last year we were in Europe. I would do the whole holiday all over again as it was so good.

This led my mind to wander and think about a moment of irony. None of you will ever confirm if what I think is irony actually is. I think we were in Wursberg and wanted to buy a tram ticket from a machine and there was a skanky ho with her frog spawn in a pram standing in front of the ticket machine. We had to ask the stupid cow to move out of the way. We bought our tickets, the tram arrived and we boarded. The well groomed blonde woman with a child in a pram had to ask the two stupid fat old Australian queens to move out of the pram area on the tram. Quid pro quo. There are only three characters in this moment, excluding the baby. She did wrong and then we did wrong.

We had an experience when out for dinner tonight that was unpleasant, but we would do well to remember, none of us is perfect and we all make mistakes.

Are you slightly curious about what happened tonight? Let me explain it thus.

Gay men become invisible to young gay men at about the age of 40.

Women become invisible to young men by about 35.

A 67 year old gay man trying to order food over a bar to a  teenage female European backpacker when a young and attractive young Aussie lad rocks up to the bar becomes very invisible. R was furious and the lass certainly knew of his displeasure. We walked out and had an ok meal at another nearby pub which was a bit ordinary in the decor stakes, but the staff were lovely.

Jewish Museum Warhol Exhibition

While I had been to the museum before, R had not, so I guided him around. I made sure he went to the very back to see the synagogue behind. Unfortunately my phone photo is not great.

The Warhol exhibition was good and I thought the curation was excellent. It doesn't take too long to make your way around the exhibition, depending on how much reading you do. Some of Warhol's art are masterpieces. I was interested to note he 'did' the late Australian Loti Smorgon. I say did because I think it may have been a screen print rather than a painting. 

The exhibition closes on Tuesday so if you are interested, don't dilly dally now. Here is Loti with Andy.


Generally photography wasn't allowed, but it was encouraged at this large photo. No, I did not selfie (am I the first person to use selfie as a verb?) and instagram. 


Friday, May 22, 2015

A big day on the camp calendar

I've never done Eurovision. No, I don't mean attended, I mean taken much notice of it. I might try this year. Here is a start with a video of the past winners back to when the contest began in 1956, just a short excerpt from each.

Is it called a wild card entry? Australia has been given a run through to the final with our odd choice of Guy Sebastian. I mean, he is ok, but has he got that certainly quality? A slightly camp quality, dare I say? I suppose he will do a professional job. I'll see if I can find a photo of him that makes him look a bit interesting. This is the best I can do.

I really only took any notice of Eurovision when Dana International won. A transvestite transsexual? From Israel? Then last year another odd type won, a  bearded Viennese bloke in a dress called Conchita Wurst. All very strange. Not sure that I care to see men getting dressed up in frocks.

Eurovision is covered by our multi-national broadcaster SBS. If you are a fan, SBS has a terrific website with all you need to know.

Our local coverage is hosted by the delicious Julia Zemiro and the entertaining Sam Pang but apparently SBS found the need to find a hyper critical and judgemental fashionista to add to the coverage and found the person in its own newsroom.

Here are Julia and Sam.

Looks like The Chin got the new gig. The promotional video is quite clever and amusing.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting Closer

Everything that had to be paid for our holiday in about a month has been paid. We have airport to hotel transfers in Vancouver by the tour company and I have worked out when in New York, where we will arrive to from Toronto, we will get a bus from LaGuardia to the Port Authority Bus Terminal with then a short walk to our accommodation. We leave from Newark Airport, so it will be a train from Penn Station to the airport. Why is there not a train from LaGuardia to Manhattan?

What about getting from the airport in Toronto to our hotel? Firstly I need to know which airport we arrive and depart from but if it is the main one, Pearson, then that will be good. I have checked before about transport to our hotel from the airport and kind of came up with nothing but a hint of a train in the future. Jeepers, it is a city of over 2 million people and there isn't a train to the airport? Melbourne with a population of over 4, doesn't have a train to the airport. Maybe it will just be a taxi. Easy but not in my mind a travel experience.

But wait, I revisited where I read something about a train in the future and it was dated 2009. Maybe there now is one. More searching. Under construction, it seems. Eureka! We will be there early July and the new airport train begins operation on the 6th June. Perfect, as long it runs near to our hotel. Right, its city terminus is Union Station. Now where are we staying? Fairmont Royal York and lordy, after checking a map it is right opposite Union Station.

The hotel was built in 1929 and it is rather grand looking. We did book early so maybe that is why it did not seem expensive. Maybe we will have original 1929 rooms, unchanged since then.

Now I need to find out more about the public transport Presto card. Travel is much cheaper using the card. We will only be in Toronto for three nights, two full days and one day will be taken seeing Niagara Falls, giving us one full day to see Toronto. I expect we may well wish we had a little longer there.

Here is a map showing our tour route in Vancouver or British Columbia to be more accurate.

Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo will be in the north of England when we finish our holiday. They asked if we could join them there, we thing so we could share some accommodation cost with them. As it stands, they will sleep on R's sister's lounge room floor. While Cathay Pacific was very helpful in that they were happy for us to fly home from London instead of New York, the two airfares from New York to Newcastle at this late stage in peak season would cost $5,000 and that is only to London. Forget it.

Later: As I thought, we do not need a visa to visit the US. Our agent has informed us we need an ESTA. What? All Nationals of the U.S visa waiver program (VWP) countries who plan to travel to the USA will require an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA).

The language was blue as R spent half an hour filling in the online form and paying $US14 and then it was my turn. I was no help suggesting that people from the US visiting Australia may have to do something similar. I seem to remember visas were easier paperwork than having visas waived and filing an ESTA.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Now't written

I have just realised at this late hour I have nothing ready to publish tomorrow, so here is a quickie.

It is my day off tomorrow, which is today when you are reading this, unless you are in GB or US, which will be last night.........forget it,  after eight or nine days of work. I was looking forward to a drink or two once home, dinner and not having to rush off to bed. Work went well today. The increasingly long drive home went well. I am home, yay. Push the button in the lift for our floor at the lift stops at floor 11. Doors do not open. Lift does not move. Press emergency button. Someone will be there within twenty minutes was promised. Luckily I was at an interesting bit in my ebook. I sat on the floor and read. Twenty five minutes later the tech must have arrived and the lift moved to floor 12 and the doors opened. I exited and walked the stairs for a few levels and finally home. 

I have to pick R up tomorrow afternoon from his volunteer job and then we are going to an Andy Warhol exhibition. Hope we have time for coffee somewhere. I am in the process of my annual three day cooking of pea and ham soup, to be eaten tomorrow night. I will get the bread maker out and make a crusty loaf to go with my very nice and mature soup.