Thursday, September 21, 2017

Self Conscious

Another old post edited slightly and posted.

While I am quite perfect in my mind, I know I am far from being so. In some ways R and myself are quite alike, but in many ways we are not.

It has been quoted back to me that I am a bit difficult to begin with but once you know me and I consider you a friend, I am ok. R is much more spontaneous and far more instantly likeable. But down the track when there is a danger of us falling out over something, I am far more forgiving. Not so R who will take things very personally as being directed against him, while I will look at the person and their motivations and reasons for their behaviour. My way is better.......umm, that is until I can't understand someone's behaviour, their reasons and motivations..

Why is this all so?

For as long as I can remember, right back to being very young, I have been extremely self conscious, as my mother is, as her father was. What I remember my grandfather mostly for saying, was 'shh, the neighbours' and 'don't eat like you haven't been fed'. Along with that gene that was passed down, so was the hand trembling and shakes. What will this person think of me is always on my mind.

Extreme self consciousness is not going to kill you and in the bigger picture, is not a high priority for funding of studies. However, it is at times quite debilitating. In some ways I have overcome it in that mostly when meeting a stranger, I do ok, but it is certainly a struggle. And it does ease as you age and you realise that no one is particularly interested in whether you wore the same shirt last weekend as you are this weekend.

One of our cars is almost the oldest car in the building's car park. It barely gets used but when it does, I feel so embarrassed to be seen it by neighbours or even people out on the road. That it goes well, its air con and heating works and two of the four windows still work and is quite zippy and I don't mind driving it, why should I feel like that? R feels even worse about being seen in it.

At times when I was a lad, my father embarrassed me. For my whole life my mother has embarrassed me. She talks too much and too loud. She has even embarrassed R, who is quite used to the embarrassing things old people do and say.

I know this won't be published immediately, Sunday 23/07, but I know I will be embarrassed tomorrow by our balcony glass, windows and balcony door being dirty when men come to fix our balcony door. Somehow I will slip in, sorry, nothing looks so clean. The cleaner did not want to clean the balcony in the cold wind. No, the cleaners, us or one of us, did not.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The lighting

It's a post I've done before, but I am sure some of the lamps were different.

If we are working in the kitchen and at night, we always have these two LED lights on. There is central circular fluorescent tube as well, but it is seldom used, possibly only when we drop an old man tablet on the floor and need extra lighting to find it.

This is the dark corner of the living/dining area and needs plenty of lights.

The turtle uses an oven pilot light. She is made of iron and very thick glass and weighs a tonne.

One of those salt crystal lamps. It was a gift and of course we don't believe there is a health benefit, but it is a nice enough lamp. It too uses a oven pilot globe.

Some Christmas lighting that was never taken away. Very low power use.

This is made from pieces of glass and wire and is also very heavy and you need gloves to pick it up. If the wires don't spike you, the glass will cut you. It has a halogen light bulb. It must have the right light bulb to sparkle.

The chain lamp. It used very expensive 50w light bulbs, AU$8 each and was too bright so from foil wrapped around a cardboard tubes, we dulled its too bright light down. Then 25w bulbs became available, still at $8. The light was subdued, but still the bulbs blow often. It now has very expensive LED bulbs and they are lasting a long time.

Another corner lamp. Both the top and the bottom lamps have dimmer switches rather than on and off buttons. It can really light up the lounge area if turned fully up, but we have no reason to. I have no idea what sort of bulbs it has.

The tv backlighting does not show so well here. It also illuminates the print above the tv.

It is the second lamp we have had behind the tv, both from Ikea.

Of course the lounge and dining area has overhead lights. I bought a dimmer switch for them and installed it myself. There were sparks and a very blackened dimmer switch. Clearly my electrical skills weren't what they used to be. I never charged R for half of the cost of the dimmer switch. I did wrong. But later when our electrician was here to do something else, I asked him to install a dimmer switch and his cute apprentice did so without even turning the power off!

Stockpiling bulbs was a total waste of money. Well, actually a friend gave them to me. Who knew how light bulbs would advance? Not me. I stock piled old incandescent light bulbs, so in the overhead lounge light, there are two 40W incandescent bulbs and in the dining area are two 100W bulbs and I have spares for them.  We have bright lighting if we need it, but we never seem to need it.

I think the overall effect with the various lighting of our living area is warm and comfortable and kind to older faces, but you would have to experience it for yourself, and you are not invited. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Erotic Dream XX post

I used to post some quite risque posts, but I haven't much of late. I think there is something somewhere on my blog about not adding me as a friend, because there is always a danger of me posting something like below.

I am not much of one for dreams and rarely remember them if I have them, and of course if I don't remember them, I haven't had them, but I probably have.

But just as the alarm went off one morning, I was in the middle of a very erotic dream. He was faceless but nice looking, maybe 35 years old. He was wearing tight black skinny jeans, but I can remember no more about him except his hair was dark, curly and foppish. I am not sure where we were, but it was a packed place and we were crammed together, probably on public transport.

Did I detect he ever so slightly pressed against me in a way that suggested he might be interested in an assignation (I would have said hook up if I thought I had any young readers). I responded, also ever so slightly in case I was wrong. I wasn't wrong and he pressed back hard. We're on! And it was hot, steaming hot. The arousal levels were 100% plus. I remember that much but not much more.

Sadly the alarm woke me before we did anything but my very last memory is of seeing, to use a trash novel expression, his rampant member. It was a monster and he was obviously not Moslem, Jewish or old time Anglo Australian.

That damned alarm clock!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Note to Victor and John

Today we saw the movie Victoria and Abdul. Even when the introduction was on the screen, we were warned that it would be historically inaccurate. Who cares. It was a great and easy movie to watch. Dame Judith Dench played Judi Dench ever so well, along with being Queen Victoria.. Her acting skills are glorious. None could question the ability of the actors, the sets, the filming.....the writing? Maybe, but as I said, it was just so enjoyable.

Now, John Gray of Wales, you reviewed Victoria and Abdul, and your review was rubbish. Pessimism, sanitised, opportunistic; and your point was? It was a great and simple movie.

Victor saw the movie yesterday, but has yet to write a review. Will he be similarly churlish?

But look, both of you dudes need to include a tissue box index in your reviews. I horrified myself by almost coming to the point of blowing my snot into my sleeve. Tears can we wiped away. Snot is a bit harder to deal with. Please, just an indication of a need to take tissues?

How to make steam come from my ears

Many things people do on the roads annoy me and have me at times wishing I was a cop but I generally overlook the annoying things and don't go on a murderous rampage. There is one offence that happens that could tip me over the edge though.

Here is the scenario. You are fourth car back waiting to turn right at a fully controlled intersection having patiently waited for two minutes while the lights go through their cycle. Finally you see the green arrow and nothing moves because the person in front is not paying attention. After a blast from someone's horn, they will shoot around the corner at speed, knowing they are guilty of the most heinous crime (probably playing with their phone).

Because you are the fourth car, you have missed the green arrow when you could have caught it had the first car moved once the green arrow came up. You sit there for another two minutes at the traffic lights, all because of the inattention of one tosser playing with their phone. I really could go on a murderous rampage. Crush, kill destroy.

I have decided to 'improve' this post with some personal. As far as I can remember, I have not been guilty of not noticing a traffic light had turned green, except for one occasion. I was in an unfamiliar area and queued to turn right behind other cars facing a red arrow. The arrow turned green and the cars in front moved forward. The arrow went red as I arrived to turn, so I stopped, thinking I would be there for a full cycle of traffic lights. I was gazing around at what there was to see and I failed to notice that the red arrow had gone out. I should have then moved forward into the intersection to turn once the way was clear. Just as the lights turned amber, the car behind me tooted and I realised my mistake. Well, it was too late go now. The car behind should have tooted me when the red arrow went out, not when the lights were changing to red.

PS Some of my recent posts have been a bit iffy. If you don't know what iffy means, you can probably work it out. Perhaps a synonym is doubtful. But, I have reduced my my backlog of posts from 30 to 16, and so there won't be a Flood Friday of half written posts in the near future.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tony Cant

It is not a word I use or like and nor does the New South Wales police force. They charged Danny Lim over a sandwich board. The Tony referred to is our former far right and strongly religious Prime Minister who did not last too long in office.

This looks harmless enough.

Sweet. Apparently he is a very nice guy. Maybe Victor has run into him at his local station or on the streets.

This is the offending sign over which Danny Lim was charged with offensive behaviour. It is not as bad as the now blanked out letter might indicate. It said "Tony you can't", but the A was upside down.

The same word is used on this sandwich board. It is a bit of wordplay, and I do like word play and as the world is becoming unpunctuated, the words on the sign shows the importance of capital letters and punctuation. Mr Lim was convicted and fined $500. Through his solicitor he appealed to a higher court and the conviction was quashed.

What do you think? 

The Breakings 2

One of our two matching milk jugs broke, probably from that fatal disease that all crockery and plastic materials eventually succumb to, dishwasheritis. Strong detergent and very hot water takes its toll.

It is terribly difficult to find a suitable replacement. Too big, too small, very ugly, neck too narrow. R has bought one but he hates it. It does the job but is big and clunky and not attractive. We are still looking.

The Breakings 1

As I said the non working element to steam off water that our air con unit produces is saving us heaps on our power bill. I expect when it first caused problems, the element was cracked. Now, the problem has become quite visible. The element is now broken through, visible in the middle of the photo, slightly up.

I have learnt while looking at stuffs about air con units on apartment balconies, that the inside unit only produces water in the summer when it is cooling. The outside unit can produce a lot of water in a short time when heating if the weather is humid. It seems it has not been humid of late here, as there has not been any water in the tray for weeks.

Melbourne's summer weather is generally dry,  but at times we do have humidity.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Vote yes and vote often

I wrote this for Facebook, which is mainly for family and a couple of friends. Actually I have two FB accounts, the other being for blog mates and other stuff, but I am afraid I only look at it sporadically so there is little point in telling you the details. This below went down quite well but as I am not a heavy FB user, it was probably not put up very high in people's reading list of posts. PS in advance. I just googled the former classmate and he is married and lives on Bribie Island. He never really seemed gay to me.

I was fully prepared to not participate in this awful process of voting about something that has already happened all over the world. Marriage equality is something that should be decided by a direct and personal vote in our Federal Parliament. I considered ignoring the postal vote for political reasons. However, I will vote yes in the mail out 'opinion poll' for same sex marriage. For once it is not all about me, but about the future for other gay and lesbian couples. That we are being opinion polled really is nonsense when the general feeling is already known.

It is not for me or us that I want the gay marriage poll to succeed with overwhelming approval. We personally don't give two hoots for gay marriage. It is for my sister, her partner and their daughter to whom it is important, and the kiddies. You know, those younguns, who have weird thoughts like I did when I was young and thought with envy about marrying a bloke. Back so long ago, a male classmate at school, wanted to marry David Cassidy. It would have been a bad choice, given Cassidy's history, but why should not gay people get married, screw it all up and then divorce like the rest of society?

I am not asking you to change your mind if you are determined to vote no, but if you think you can't be bothered, please be bothered. If you are a bit doubtful about it, then have a think about what possible harm can come from two people who love each other getting married. Is that they are male and male or female and female really that important? The world has not ended in countries where same sex marriage is allowed.

While it was briefly legal in our Australian Capital Territory, my sister married her partner. One can only hope that she can again have the right to marry who she loves.  

Later edit: I changed the first sentence to the more accurate "mainly for family and a couple of friends".

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Elms

I just love elm trees. Hops have appeared by the 9th of September and then leaves will come but when I took these photos, the trees were winter bare. The hops will quickly dry and fall off, spreading the trees' seed and the leaves will burst forth from the branches with the most brilliant and fresh green.

If we have a killer succession of over 40 degree days during summer, there may be a huge leaf drop, but otherwise, the trees will look ok into late summer. By March the trees will look very tired and with a sense of relief,  drop their leaves through April and May, and then bunker down for our winter. One can only hope that winter next year is not a long and painful as this year's winter has been.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Da Tains and Trams

Our rail operator Metro Trains' contract has been extended for seven years, as has the contract of our tram operator Yarra Trams. The best news about this that I can see is that wrap around advertising will be banned. I hoped it is phrased as not placing commercial advertising on train, tram and bus windows, but I have the awful feeling it won't go that far.

The State Government is building a new underground train line, a rather long and expensive one. While it is a great thing, I may be dead before it opens in 2025. We put up with the construction but never get the benefit. I expect the construction might be sped up at some point.

There is a public competition to name the five new railway stations. Governments love to bring the public on board with their grand projects.

It's a bit silly really. Three of the temporary station names are very obvious and should stand, but two are much more complicated. Arden, Parkville and Domain will have most Melbournians know the approximate locations of these stations.

The problematic ones are the city stations, temporarily known as CBD North and CBD South. In the north is Melbourne Central Station, once called Museum Station but the museum moved and the station was renamed Melbourne Central after the shopping centre where it is contained within. The museum became the State Library

Because the new station, CBD North, will be linked to Melbourne Central, some think it should be called Melbourne Central too. I would go for Library, just as Bank is known in London.

It is the same for the new station near Flinders Street Station, some think it should too be called Flinders Street Station because it will be linked to the existing station.

A mistake in my opinion. I don't think the old Flinders Street Station at all resembles what the new underground station will look like, and it will be a line specific station, servicing one train line, not multiple lines like Flinders Street Station.

Melbourne's existing Flinders Street Station, under wrap at the moment while it is repainted.

Marie in London gave me great clarity of thought about this matter when she wrote a post about Paddington with us in mind. The simple version is that there is essentially two different stations within London's Paddington Station. To the south of Paddington Station is the area we know. To the north is Paddington Basin, with its canals. I thought we should just catch any train to Paddington from Kings Cross. No, not if you want to come out at the south into Praed Street. While it was not helped by R needing to find a toilet (what was wrong with the toilet on Eurostar we had just left?) we ended up hopelessly confused and lost. Well not actually lost, but trying to work out how to walk to Lancaster Gate with suit cases. It is not a great distance but R was stressed and becoming tetchy. We had already travelled from Amsterdam to Brussels where we changed trains to London. I made an executive decision and we grabbed a cab. Had we have come out into Praed Street, it would have been a short downhill walk to our hotel.

It was not a great start to our second London visit. It improved greatly when we arrived at our hotel in Lancaster Gate and it was rather good, and the next day when we met Marie

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Man spreading and abs

It seems Subway Crush has died. That is the New York blog that showed candid photos of hot men on the Subway.

London's Tube Crush has not died, but its posts are now less frequent.

What is interesting is that London Tube Crush's highest viewing numbers are in China. Tens of thousands young Asian females check in to see photos of hot blokes on the London Tube.

Bit weird really. I don't know why they would. Unlike gay men, woman can be so superficial.

For your information, none of these are my type and when I work out what is my type, I will let you know.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The personal stuffs

Our Friend from Japan is staying in Melbourne. Sadly just before she arrived, her father who lived in an outer eastern area among the trees and nature, died. It is timely that she was here in Australia for his funeral and to sort our associated matters.

We had a pleasant evening at home with our Friend from Japan whereby R cooked us two vegetarian curries, served with white and saffron rice. The potato curry was nice. The hot bean curry, absolutely delicious.

We again met up with her for a meal at the nearby La Porchetta. She is out of the habit of tram drivers not waiting for her to sit down, as bus drivers in Japan do, and she tends to go flying down a tram before we or someone grabs her. A workmate of mine joined us. We were supposed to catch up with him for dinner the week before, but it totally slipped my mind.  It was great that he joined us. As you would expect, any friend of mine is a nice person.

We went to Bridge Road, Richmond today, Sunday, for a few bits a pieces, but bought nothing aside from a nice lunch and chorizo was involved. R had a vague idea of buying a suit for nephew's wedding in November, but he has decided that given how rarely he needs a suit, he will hire one.

We thought we would go to see Hippie Niece and her twin daughters on Monday, today when you are reading this, my day off, but after a phone call, she is going to join R and Mother next Thursday for lunch. I won't to get to see the lovely cafe latte coloured twin lasses again. For once R is being proactive and said he wants to visit Grants Picnic Ground this day. Oh, driving in traffic is not what I want to do, but actually I am looking forward to it. It's a great place.

Last Thursday after R took Mother home, there was an incident as Mother went for her afternoon sleep. She does not nap in the afternoon, but has a proper sleep for a couple of hours. She then wonders why she cannot sleep properly without drugs at night.

The tennant neighbour's dogs, one is a Rottweiler, the other a large dog too, broke through her side fence. It is not the first time and Tradie Brother had repaired the fence, but not well enough it seems. I remember a terrible incident in Perth I think, where an older woman was mauled and killed by a neighbour's dog. I had already told Mother to not go outside if the dogs break in, but of course she did and got her favourite Sasha who she talks to over the fence, back into her yard. The other one was impossible to move on, she said. She rang her nice neighbour across the road, but she did not answer. Mother left her a message. Shortly after the neighbour came across, having heard the phone message, but she was dogaphobic, quite terrified of dogs and she could do nothing. Mother then called another friend who arrived pronto. He is of a similar age to Mother and so is not a fit young man and is missing one lung. He went in for the kill to sort this dog business out, and then the dog bit him on the hip, but did not break skin.

Are you getting a mental picture of the chaos of the scene?

Fortunately the dog owning neighbour then returned home from work and took his marauding dog inside. He was very apologetic, but as the owner of where he lives has asked Mother to pay her share for a new fence and she does not have money to do so, he cannot be blamed too much.

Tradie Brother has been summonsed by Mother to fix the fence, and this time do it properly so the dogs cannot break through the fence, but Mother thinks they may have jumped over the fence after using the props on the neighbour's side of the fence as a launching pad.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Swim for your life

I found this quote below really funny. 

A childhood friend from Malaysia, Andre, jokes that "maybe we're genetically not suited to the water". He says that an Aussie swim coach who used to chuck learners into the deep end back in Australia told him he was shocked to find in Malaysia that "Asian kids just sank to the bottom like rocks".

What it does tell us is that it is so important that your children learn to swim, as at some point in Australia they will be at a beach, swimming pool or river. I think most people in Australia who drown are visitors to our shores, and I am not sure what can be done about that. The Aussies who drown are probably very drunk.

Learning to swim was part of my school education and R's back in the UK where his school had a swimming pool. Apparently at schools now parents have to pay dearly for their children to learn to swim and it is no longer the price of of sixpence for pool admission, as it was when I was carted in volunteer parental cars to the local pool to learn to swim. 

If you are are connected with young person, be it as and uncle or aunt or a grandparent or even a parent, make sure they can swim enough to save their lives.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Musing about world property

Musing, as I do. R does so much more and gets much closer to acting on his musings, and that doesn't really make me happy at all.

What if we sold this place and rented a nice new place? R says we now live in a slum, no better than a public housing commission tower block. We might ask for $1.15 million and accept $1 million. I guess it is not a slum. How long would that last at $800 pw rental for something similar?

More interesting, what would AU$1 million buy for us in London? Conversion = £600,000 or €700,000. Ok, we could have a reasonable 2 bed flat in say Lancaster Gate in London. If we added a little, we could be in the cheapest 2 bed place in Paddington. We could buy a very nice 2 bed in East London, Hackney Wick, where Pants once lived.

What if we were neighbours of John Gray of Wales? London Road sounds good, 3 bed house for £230,000. It is ugly though.

Who else do I know in Europe? Gattina, right, we could buy a nice 3 bed apartment with this view in Waterloo for €645,000. Oh, sorry, that is looking down on the building, not the view. Very nice inside with 3 lavvies, lovey.

It would be nice to have some change after buying. What about becoming great mates with Jane and Lance in Budapest? Another conversion required. Wow, Forint, 214 million. OMG, we could buy the best property on the Danube or in the Buda hills and still have a lot of change.

We loved Budapest, but our Friend in Japan was there last year and while she too loved Budapest, she loved Prague even more. Hmm, we have 18 million of Czech currency. Ok, reverting to £ because I don't know the currency at all, £300,000 for a stunning apartment in the best location, on the Vltava River, of course.

Over to you Gosia. Could we buy a nice apartment in Katowice with 3 million zloty? The Rawa does not look so nice to live near, so maybe a lake with a tram going past. Where is that? And 3 bedrooms. Maybe better to buy in Warsaw with a nice view over the Vistula. Would we get something nice there for 3 million zloty?

Friday, September 08, 2017

TDK commercial

I think Sony cassette tapes may have been best, but TDK were pretty good. No to Hanimex cassette tape. Somewhere in the depths of my wardrobe I have a Hanimex cassette tape with a recording from the radio of T Rex. the band, not the dinosaur. I am not quite that old.

This was the Aussie tv ad for TDK tapes. Pretty good ad, sexist as it was.

I wasted time looking at the South African TDK ad. It was the same as the Aussie ad.

Then I came across this one and I remember it. It was classic Japanese but shown in Australia. Japanese trains do have round strap hangers on trains for non round hands.

The lass is attractive and loses herself in her recorded music, presumably on a TDK tape. Getting lost in your music on a Japanese train surrounded by salary men could be a little unwise, from what I have heard.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Do not click the link

Lol, a posh private school sent a hyperlinked email to its students that contained a wrong character in a web address and clicking the link would have sent them to them to a porn site.

Mistyping a link is an understandable mistake we may have all made at times, but they are easy to check before sending. I don't know what the site was but as an example, Red Tube is very different to Youtube Red.

But here it gets really lol, because the school then sent out an email to inform children to not click on the link. Can you remember back to your youth? It is red rag to a bull to be told not to do something like that. Remember at the Fairy Park we visited where there was sign that said 'Do not press this button', and of course everyone did and received a bit of a water spray. I am quite certain the school children immediately rushed to their inboxes to see where the link took them. I certainly would have.

Pluck a Duck

Do you look smart in your puffer jacket? I think you look like a version of Michelin Man. And my goodness, aren't puffer jackets so terribly common now, no longer the desirable garment of the ladies of Rose Bay and Toorak who lunch out frequently and often.

Some of you may have guessed where I am going with this. Our Friend from Japan is visiting Melbourne and over dinner this Tuesday evening, she confirmed the shocking news I had just learnt. She said there are videos with soundtracks, and they are horrendous to watch and hear.

Puffer jackets are made up of tubes of synthetic fabric stuffed with duck down, that is their under feathers that keep them warm, and then the tubes are sewn together to make up the jacket.

Our F f J began to describe the videos from China she had seen and the noise the ducks make as they are plucked live of their down, four times a year.  We stopped her telling us more.

I was in complete ignorance about this extraordinary animal cruelty and it is just so easy to not support such cruel industry by not buying down products.

I am sure you don't want this post embellished with photos and videos. There is such a thing named as Traceable Down Standard, which is fine, but if you are not prepared to go down that expensive road, stick to synthetic, or have screaming ducks on your conscience.

China is not doing too badly in many ways. It has improved the lives of many of its citizens. It builds wonderfully high speed train lines in the blink of an eye (but at what expense). It is going very hard on its pollution problems. But in the area of cruelty to animals, it is very much behind the eight ball and very much needs to address this issue.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Newfies is what the good folk from the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada are affectionately called. Many Irish emigrated to Newfoundland and an Irish accent can still be heard in Newfoundland.

Many Australians would have visited the British Columbia province in Canada, its principal city of Vancouver, and gone over to Vancouver Island to visit the capital city of BC, Victoria. Perhaps they strayed into the Alberta province to the east of BC with its capital city of Edmonton, but perhaps better known to us by its largest city Calgary, and then the province of Ontario, the capital being Toronto, which is only a day trip away from Niagara Falls .

One of Canada's ten provinces, Newfoundland, is an island, perhaps similar in status to our own island state of Tasmania and way out east and generally, not high on Aussie tourist destination lists.

I heard on the wireless about some coloured houses in St John's and so click on this link to see them in Jellybean Row, St John's(sic), St John's being the capital of the island. Isn't Jellybean Row such a great name.

Vancouver in Canada is a wonderful city. Toronto is a big and cosmopolitan city and has heaps to offer. Montreal sounds interesting in a European way, but I haven't been there. Who knows what these far eastern areas of Canada are like?

Here is a sample of the coloured houses in St John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

What you won't hear Australian travellers saying when overseas

The headlines are taken from The Age, in a puff piece travel article. I am just rewriting their puff piece. The text is my own. It was a bit of fun and don't take it too seriously. Remember, this is what you will not hear Australians saying when they travel.

1. I wish we had coffee like this back at home.

You will never hear that. We have the best coffee, coffee machines and coffee makers in the world. In some of our large metropolitan areas in Australia it can be very difficult to find a bad cup of coffee. In other most large metropolitan around areas around the world, it can be impossible to find a decent cup of coffee. I was so disappointed that Canada with its French influence had coffee as bad as the rest of the world. Vietnam does better.

2. This is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.

No. The Australian coastline has mile upon mile of beautiful beaches At times they can be deserted and you will have a beautiful beach all to yourself. Sounds a bit boring to me, actually. I like people around.

3. I'd love to visit that country, but it is too far away.

No, Australians pop up all over the world in large numbers. While we still complain about long flights to anywhere else than Asia or New Zealand, and the expense, we do it; we travel frequently and often for long distances.

4. Tipping is a terrific idea.

We hate it. We don't know how to do it properly and we don't see why we should do it at all. Why is it not included in the price, on the menu? At best, we do it begrudgingly.

5. Do you accept Australian dollars here?

We are under no illusions that our currency is at all desirable. It isn't and we know it. It is a lesson that US travellers could learn. No, people don't always want US dollars and if they do take them, they are probably cheating you a little with the exchange rate.

6. Everything here is so far apart.

We are used to great distances, as are citizens of the US and Canada. You can fly for five hours in a plane in Australia and not even leave the country. Europeans find our distances hard to comprehend. Strangely so do some US citizens.

7. It's so good to find some other Australians when travelling overseas.

No, we don't leave Australia to find other Australian travellers.  But I suppose if you're missing home a bit, perhaps you wouldn't mind running into one, ever so briefly.

8. No thanks, no drink for me.

Australians like to drink, often to excess. It is in our English and Scottish genes, well for those who have them. Why change that habit when overseas, especially when on holidays?

9. The rent here is insanely expensive.

Apart from central New York, Tokyo and London, we won't be shocked by rental prices. We are constantly shocked in our own country by our own rental and property prices. I am not quite sure how Australians can afford to live in Australia.

10. Are you from Australia or New Zealand?

A Kiwi can live in Australia for almost their whole adult life and can almost get away with people thinking they are Australian, but there will be one word or that one vowel sound that will give them away. Australians do know who is a New Zealander as soon as they speak. I am unsure if it works in reverse.

Bonus 11. Australia is the best country in the world.

While we may smugly and secretly think this, we don't go around shouting it about to all and sundry. It is not God's Own Country, but not such a bad place.

Monday, September 04, 2017

All Change

I recently mentioned that motorists in Japan drive on the left hand side of the road, an oddity in Asian countries, especially non British Commonwealth countries. If you followed the link, and you probably didn't, you would have learnt about the side warriors carried their swords or about when they were on their horses. Something like that. But what I found is far more plausible.

In the late 19th into early 20th century Japan, the country wanted trains. Various countries saw a money making opportunity and bid to help Japan build a train system. The British won and so put the trains on the left side. Japanese trams followed suit and then so did the roads. Post WWII, the Japanese island of Okinawa was occupied by the US, and they changed the island to right hand side driving, but the island went back to left hand driving a good time later.

In 1970 Burma changed from driving on the left, the British colonial side, to right hand side of the road. Which side of the road you drive on in many Asian countries can be a bit of theory anyway, rather than practice.

Places like Poland, Canada, Brazil, Portugal and Spain changed to the right in the early 20 century. It amuses me that Austria changed to the right between 1919 and 1938. It took nearly twenty years. That sounds like chaos.

A quote from The Guardian in 2009 when Samoa joined Australia and New Zealand with driving on the left.  Car horns and sirens sounded, church bells rang out and roads were crowded with vehicles as Samoa today became the first country in decades officially to switch from right- to left-side driving.

But today, the 3rd of September, 2017, marks the fiftieth anniversary of when Sweden changed from driving on the left hand side of the road to the right hand side. Sadly Sweden's trams did not undergo the change and were replaced by buses. 

This rather wonderful photo I believe shows the chaos in a Swedish regional town as motorists adapted to the changed side of the road driving. 

Sunday, September 03, 2017

My Store Myer

The subject line was the store's advertising slogan a few years ago. Myer is a large department store based in Melbourne and has stores in other regional cities and states, but it is very much a Victorian (state based) company, now a public company listed on the stock exchange. We like Myer or as it was known in my younger years, Myers, and we have spent many a dollar at the store and rarely regretted any money spent.

Myer is promoting a display at the moment, so I went to have a look. It is on the sixth floor, where there are a lot of apples and other technology. It had less on display than I thought it would, but it was interesting enough and I certainly connected with much of what was on display. I had little chat with a very old woman, like about 90, who was looking at the display with great interest.

The blurb.

We had one of these machines on a shelf in our kitchen in Waverley Road in the 1980s. We mostly used it to listen to AM Radio. I don't remember the Garfield Telephone but I do remember car service stations toys for kiddies. I may have even had one.

You women of a certain age, did you have an Glomesh purse or handbag? If you still have them and are using them, do no admit it. I never really liked Ken Done designs but he was very popular in Japan and with visitors to Australia from Japan. I remember Frij bags, but we never owned on.

This photo is a real tick. We had the Sunbeam electric frypan, well R did. By the time I came along, it was warped and no good for frying but great for boiling smoked cod. Yes, we had a Breville Toaster and I remember so many women having and using a curling wand.

A bit before my time but Mother's first washing machine was a Stampco and was similar to this, except it would spin, rather than having a mangle.

Long did we debate about buying a Commodore 64 computer in the 80s. I expect we didn't because we could not really see a use for it. I think we made the right decision.

In my wardrobe and in R's, you will respectively find one of these Sharp organisers. The records I kept on mine were a list. I also kept work times. It had a back up battery to save the data if the main battery went flat. Eventually the back up battery went flat and all data was lost, but not missed. Ugly cordless phones. So much nicer now. R used to occasionally use a fax machine at work. It is one piece of technology that I just skipped.

Oh yes, I had one of those waistcoats. And yes, a hyper colour tee shirt that changed colour depending on your body heat. They were always so bright at the armpits.

We didn't but a friend did have a Panasonic Genius microwave. When he first bought it, he would gather an audience to sit around watching it boil a cup of water to make coffee. I had a few Sony Walkmans, perhaps three.

I didn't have a Handycam, but a friend lent me one to record things in Thailand in late 1980s. I filmed the lady boy show at Alcazar and  decided that I missed a lot of the show because I was busy recording it. No more video recording for me. Our phones can now make much better recordings than this old clunker. Yeppers, more than one pair of Le Specs did I own.

Step Mother used to use one of these to set her hair if she wasn't wearing her Liza Minnelli wig. It was rather noisy. It also had a fingernail drying warm air outlet.

I learned to type on one of these, in my case a Hanimex portable.

My step brother had a reel to reel. I didn't but I used to buy Scotch brand cassette tapes. They were the best, but TDK tapes were pretty good too. Is the TDK tv ad on Youtube? I hope so. "TDK does amazing things for your system".

Etch A Sketch, I had one and even Little Jo had one. So trans generational. View Master, cutting edge technology in the sixties, with stereophonic views. That particular Sunbeam toaster was owned by Mother for about three decades. I asked her about it and I learnt that my paternal brain damaged Uncle bought it for her and he paid £15 some time in the sixties. It never abruptly popped up the toast, but gently and stylishly raised the toast. I think it only lasted about three decades.

A bit like Grandmother's vacuum cleaner. God, hers was noisy.

Our first family television in about 1965 was an AWA Deep Image. It was bit more modern than this model, in fact it was very stylishly modern. That was back in the days when Australia used to make things.

I did not spend that much time in our garage in Waverley Road but what time I did spend was spent in the company of a bakelite radio tuned to 3LO. It was left by a former owner. I bought new valves for it and it was fine. Yes, I made bad Meccano models like this one in my youth. I inherited my maternal grandfather's Remington electric razor. You had to flick a wheel to kickstart it. Paper bags from Myers to celebrate the crowning of our queen. Envelopes containing your Melbourne Olympics tickets in Melbourne, 1956. I never cared for Bill Haley, comets or otherwise.

A late version of a Coolgardie safe, perhaps once draped in wet hessian to keep food cool and last for longer than one day in the fierce Australian heat. No, that is not right. I remember one in a shed at home or at my grandparents. I can't remember what it was for? Bread? Anyone? I think I may have had one of these metal aeroplanes and I had a book similar to the one pictured.

I can only remember Singer treadle sewing machines. Perhaps Victor took particular notice of Victor sewing machines.

Not so interesting to me, but maybe of interest to some.

Drug addict clothing, which reminds me of shell suits, a most ghastly outfit seen mostly being worn by female American tourists in Australia in the 90s.

I think this was the first Apple computer with the guts contained in behind the screen, rather than in a separate tower.

I am not so interested in female fashion, but I I like this outfit.

Tesla cars are rather topical. Myer had one on display. I saw the front doors open electrically, the rear doors rise electrically, and the boot lid rising electrically is nothing new. Did you know that in Japan they drive on the left as we do, and the taxi rear door opens electrically for you to get into the cab and then closes itself once you are in. Well, you might remember that if you were a blog reader of mine back in 2010.

Why does Japan drive on the left when other Asian countries don't and left hand driving is pretty well only found in British Commonwealth countries and former colonies. The answer is here, with a decent little world map to show which side of the road people drive on.

When travelling six storeys, I prefer the lift over escalators.

Later at Domayne, pineapple and cockatoos. Somehow I doubt Snoskred will rush out to buy this pineapple to add to her collection.