Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I am a moaner

The call came at an inconvenient time while we were visiting a friend in hospital. I did not answer it. It was from Australia Post. I later received an email, my preferred method of communication. I had complained to them about our missing mail, that is two bills that were not delivered to us and the first we knew about them was when were contacted about overdue bills.

I take some pride in always paying things on time and I was mega pissed orf and so I complained to Australia Post about undelivered mail. R rolled his eyes as I was telling a friend about it and then said 'I really wish you would not do such things. You are always complaining about something.'

Yet, if you don't complain, things don't get changed. I have had many things changed over the years by complaining. Mostly small things admittedly but some bigger things. I have made a difference.

People, businesses and organisations need to know when they fail.

We argued slightly about missing mail and R said, we will worry about missing mail when it happens. It could be too late then, I responded.

Only later I thought of car registration or driving licence renewals going missing. Yes Mr R, tell me about when you are caught unlicensed or driving an unregistered car!

You may remember I complained to Metro Trains a while ago about he disgusting toilets at the major city train station Flinders Street. I had a spare few minutes between trains last week and I checked them, and oh, the stench of stale urine. The appearance may have been a little better, but who would want to hang around to check when the stink would drive you out. Sometimes in Europe you pay to use toilets, sometimes not, but they are invariably clean and odour free. It can't be that hard to have toilets like that here. So, chalk that up as a fail on my part. I might have a crack at the Minister for Transport about that one.

Can I be bothered about a tram full of seats looking like this? No. The state of them will surely become apparent to the tram seat replacement person. A start had been made, but this one should be in a orange fabric to indicate is for the use of those with special needs. Don't you love that term.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Another hospital visit and a purchase

Our friend returned home but found himself in great discomfort and pain. The hospital re-admitted him and he has began intravenous chemotherapy and he is pleased to know he won't lose his hair. He has been assured he will make a full recovery and their plans to move overseas, while delayed, can still go ahead, with a check up every couple of years back in Australia. It is very good news and while he still has some bad back pain and chest pain now and can barely get out of bed, he is more cheerful now.

Tomorrow all patients will be removed from the old hospital to the new one and staff too. While the old hospital is not that bad, it is space for all the equipment that is now in use that wasn't around when the hospital was built that is a huge problem.

Our balcony chairs broke a good while ago. We bought a cheap new set of chairs and kept the old table. After the hospital visit we went to two big tin shed hardware stores in the area we were in, they are side by side, and bought a new setting. It cost a good bit more than I intended spending. The table top is a mosaic of imported slate (actually, the whole setting is imported from Vietnam, but no need to tell anyone that) and we are extremely happy with it. The bonus is, it gives us a better views than the old setting that blocked the view out a bit.

Trouble is with buying something a forty minute drive away is that it is a bugger to return if the product is not right and unfortunately one table leg is not right, so it was wobbling. Forty cents later, 10 cent pieces by four, it is not longer wobbling.

After we bought the setting, and I may not have if the call came earlier, the garage rang. We have serviced your old car. The window that has collapsed has been pushed up and locked up. You need four new tyres, there is an oil leak and an engine mount needs replacing. I authorised the new tyres but not the other things. The car is travelling about 15 kilometres a week at the moment and we may get rid of it in the near future and only have one car.

I was but once a skinny lad

Will I ever regain my 58kg (128 US pounds, UK 9 stone) weight? Probably only when I am dying of cancer and I won't be so pretty then. These are from the early 1980s.

Strike a pose. I am waiting for R to suggest we use his Senior Citizen rail pass to visit the Begonia Festival in Ballarat. I shall say no, as the train will be full of fun loving and happy old women out for adventure and I will feel sad that my mother is not one of them. Besides, the women will think that because we are gay, we will be great fun. It ain't necessarily so, although apparently when we were in Paris, we were. 'You two looked liked you would be fun when you boarded the bus', one remarked. She must have noted we looked hungover. Beautiful French wine as we lunched and cruised down the Seine and chumming up with an American and Scottish pair of lasses may well have made us good company. God how we laughed, as the sights of Paris passed by almost unnoticed. I think I saw Notre Dame and a pair of lovers canoodling on the Left Bank. It was hard work later climbing the Eiffel Tower....oh, we caught the lift. Actually, the worst was English customs later at Gare du Nord.

Blue Mountains. What was I holding in my hand? It must be my skinny medication.  I loved that shirt. I doubt I could button it now over my bosooms. I don't miss the homosexual moustache.  #Harry Highpants

Milton Street, Elwood, my hands demonstrating the length of who knows what? #Harry Highpants.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Evasive Premier Napthine

Probably something more suitable to tweet rather than blog post, but I just keep remembering our State Premier Napthine complaining to the interviewer, 'let me answer the question'. In the whole interview, I don't think he answered one question put directly to him. 

Politician media training needs to be a whole lot better, so that they least seem like they are answering the question, even if they are not. Guy Stayner 1.  Denis Napthine 0.

A visit to Nagambie

The new car was three days old and we felt it needed 'running in', so we took it for a country drive. Btw, because the letters GP are included in the number plate, we have called it The Doctor. (GP=General Practitioner) Whiteangel recently drove through the country town of Nagambie when heading north for warmer climes and I remembered the town fondly. That's where we shall go. The huge attraction of the town is the lake and it is lovely. Nice work by whoever funded and built the boardwalk.

Bit hard to see, but a lad is swinging out on a rope over the water.

Very nicely done.

Black Caviar is a famous race horse, still alive but retired.

We were looking after Dog Jack, so he came along for the ride to Nagambie. It is not a spot I would choose to sit Jack, if you consider what is above you.

One line says "World Record - 25 undefeated starts". Impressive.

I really liked this pelican sculpture.

This is a very flat area within the state of Victoria. Many towns still have their centrally located water towers.

We certainly won't be taking the new car on the road this driver has been along.

There always seems to be a few old cars around in countryside on a fine Sunday.

"Major Mitchell, explorer, passed here, on 9th Octorber, 1836."

The main street is nicely divided by a wide area of grass, facilities and gardens. We lunched at a local bakery. Jack was admired by passing folk and attacked a large dog passing by, while he was tied up. Silly Jack, you are not in a position of power when you are tied up.

Not too far out of town to the north is what is supposedly Australia's only bridge with a curve in it. Kirwans Bridge crosses the Goulburn River and is a single lane width with two passing areas. It was deemed unsafe some years ago and closed, but heavy lobbying by many people resulted in funds being eventually found to repair the bridge.

A very peaceful area next to the bridge.

We followed the signposted Winery Trail. I tried checking details with my phone but amazingly there wasn't an internet signal just a couple of kilometres from town. We found no wineries on the Winery Trail but we had earlier passed a sign pointing to this one.

Oh no, a couple of kilometres of unpaved road. New car, dust, cry.

However, the winery was very good. We sampled some wine and bought three bottles, yet to be opened. R pointed to a spittoon and suggested I spit out the sampling wine.  I don't think so, my love.

Everything was well maintained, with this shed full of historic farming equipment.

We were in at least two wine cellars in Europe and I don't remember them being especially cold, but this one was freezing.

A nice sitting out area overlooking water through the bush.

Lovely old hand made bricks at the entrance. It was a longer drive than we thought, but we made good time on the journey home. The next day Household Management insisted the car had to be washed, so it was.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Brand me as a bigot, but am I wrong?

This was a long post. I visited it several times, rewriting, rephrasing, adding and subtracting, quoting Jackie Lambie, but still it was not fit to publish.

I have deleted what I wrote, including quotes, opinions, articles and history.

I will summarise what I wrote thus. I have no issues with Moslem religion. I really do not like Middle Eastern Moslems. I am sorry if you are a decent Middle Eastern Moslem who is socially tolerant and don't force your women folk to wear hijabs and or the terrifying niqab. No, I just lump you with all the awful things that are being done around the world in the name of or by Moslems. You are not a good fit into Australian society and we should have not let you in. Our governments are not taking blame for allowing you in though.

While religion has at times been divisive in Australia, in recent years there has been nothing like what is happening now.

Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindus, South East Asian Moslems and non believers lived in social harmony in Australia. Not so with Middle Eastern Moslems.  

So there endeth my bigoted rant. But the Moslem lad who cut up a couple of cops was born here in Australia, and grew up with the privileges of being Australian. Who can understand.? A mild form of Sharia Law is already in force in Australia. Is this what we want for our diverse and previously cohesive society?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Tenth to Moi

I was a reader of Daniel Bowen's blog for a time. I realised that I had started to write very long comments on his blog. I thought I should start my own blog. Full of complete ignorance, I emailed Daniel and he pointed me to Blogspot. I did it, that is set up this blog. It was ten years ago to this day.

Initially there were few comments and most of those who did back then have moved on. I have not forgotten them though.  I wrote a post decrying why there weren't older people writing blogs, and Lord Sedgwick stepped up to the crease and suggested some people. I started to read them. They commented on my posts in return and then I consider my blog took off. I've, nay we,  met the people Lord Sedgwick suggested and like them heaps. That is Copperwitch, Annie O'Dyne and Pants, along with Lord Sedgwick. Gosh, it was stressful though. R and I met them together for a nice lunch and concluded Copperwitch is lovely and lacks artifice, Annie O'Dyne crazy and so full of life and given we have accepted the hospitality of Pants, I can't say anything negative about her, not that there is anything negative to say. She is a fun conversationalist and a good host. One of my readers is a friend who I knew pre blog times. Take a bow Wombat.

So many people have come and gone in my blog. I am quite silly because I actually become fond of people who I get to know via my my blog and when they disappear, I feel quite sad to lose the connection. I especially remember the American Daisy and someone who I used to name as LiD, but there are others too, such as Craig in Ayrshire.  But of course I do understand how people begin blogs and then give them up. There have been times I have been tempted to conclude mine. I suppose I have dropped a few people over the years too, most likely because I did not feel a connection. I can only remember a few.

I went further and we met Victor from Sydney, who was exactly as I expected, that is a very nice gay man and no doubt we will meet again.

I met Dina, who was lovely, even if the situation felt surreal.

Some of you long time readers may remember that if I wasn't working Thursday, I would catch the train to Murrumbeena where Sister then lived and R went on Thursdays to look after Little Jo as a baby and then a toddler. Jayne and her son came along to the park where we used to take Little Jo one evening and met us. Another Jayne so generously sent me a cd of music. There were so many people over the years who I could have met but did not, for whatever reason. There are people I would still like to meet. Some of the easiest people to meet, I haven't as yet. I am actually quite shy, especially when meeting for the first time.

And then a wider world opened to me with people in foreign countries. It was just too hard to meet Peter in Amsterdam given how organised out time was during our Euro cruise. We were one hour in Brussels and I kind of wish I asked Gattina to meet us at the station but she too was busy with her life.

But it is not all about me when meeting people. R is dragged into my blog life, and it is about him too when we are both meeting people. Fortunately meeting Jane and Lance in Budapest and Marie in London went down a treat with him and what a wonderful time they showed us.

It is quite odd really to publish my diary online and there are many things that you don't know about me. If I sound like I live a magical and fulfilling life, I don't. The alarm going off at 4.30am some days and at times finishing work at 3am is not fun. I work fairly long hours in a quite a stressful job.  If I sound like I have lots of money, I don't. It is all relative of course but we live fairly modest lives, with only an occasional show, dinner out maybe once a week friends and or family catch ups. Yes, we spend money on our home, but we spend a lot of lives and time here. Five or six nights a week, R cooks our evening meal.

So, ten years later, nearly 6,000 posts and nearly 1,000,000 hits, I am still here and for better or worse, my blog is part of my life. I thank you all for your wonderful blogs and for our interactions.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The last tram down Swanston Street

I was sitting at the tram stop in Swanston Street outside the State Library waiting for R. It is said cities are busy places where everyone is in such a rush. Ok, yes Melbourne is a busy place at times but everyone in a rush? Not at all. In my experience people are frustratingly slow at times. As I have mentioned before, I look for a woman with wide hips who is on a mission and I walk behind her as she clears the path in front.

But as I was observing it is quite different when a tram arrives at a stop. There are nine different tram routes along Swanston Street and with a tram every twelve minutes on each route during the day, you aren't going to wait very long for one, slightly over a minute, well in theory. However, when a tram arrives it seems like an invisible soul is calling out 'hurry, hurry, this will be the last tram ever down Swanston Street. If you don't catch this one now, you will never get another. Yes, don't worry about the big wide doors. Everybody queue at the narrow front door. Yes, ignore the line of empty trams behind this one, because you know better. You know this is the last tram down Swanston Street and if you miss this one, you life will be ruined.'

People always seem in such a rush when catching a tram and would rather pack in like sardines on the first one to arrive than get on a following tram and sit in comfort. Of course some are catching a particular tram because they are going travel on that actual routes out of the city, but most are not. We humans are strange animals at times. Photo from The Age.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Visiting a friend in hospital

We collected a friend on the way, called in at our Brother Friends' home and the well one drove us to visit our friend in hospital today.

Our ill friend had just returned from xrays and was quite visibly in distress, but just before we arrived, his nurse had given him some pain medication and within a few minutes, he was much more normal.

Back at the well Brother Friends' house after the visit, we consumed party pies, sausage rolls and mini quiche, meant to go with champagne on auction day. The best laid plans of mice and men....

I couldn't help but take a few snaps though.

The rather interesting house next door to our friend who we picked up to take to the hospital to visit.

Birch trees are just coming into leaf with the arrival of Spring.

The Australian native paperback is not an attractive tree for inner or mid areas of greater Melbourne.

Our Brother Friends' front garden.

Do you have a better orchid? My Tradie Brother built this decking. More decking was subsequently built by others at the back of their house. None of it has stood the test of time.

Arum lilies at Box Hill hospital, just past their prime. The building in the background being built is a new home for our taxation office and one we can see from The Highrise even though it is a long way away. Beyond the street is a park with a small lake.

Within a couple of weeks this part of Box Hill hospital will be shut down and I don't know what will happen to it, either renovated or demolished. All patients will be moved to a brand new building.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A bit more on our friend

Our Brother Friends were born minutes apart. Read into that what you will. One complained of backache for several weeks. Doctor visits, physiotherapy and any other treatment did not help. They are always terribly good at not telling us things and we refuse to ask things. Isn't it so pathetic that men in their fifties and sixties still play such silly games?

They have been our friends for thirty plus years but it has been somewhat fractious of late. R and one of the Brother Friends have issues. I've mentioned it in the past. I don't really understand the issues. No one seems to ever challenge me directly. The do R. I think it is that they see that R cares more. He is the one more likely to talk, to take offence and be more emo. Me? I am a hard case, apparently, and immune from attack. 

Pretty well the friendship was coming to an end. Brother Friends spend months living in Thailand in preparation to them moving there. It has been their ten year plus dream they have been working towards.

So the less emo Brother Friend with the 'back ache' has leukaemia.  Not curable, but treatable.

He another statistic as a person who had a good diet, never smoked and never drank.