31 March 2012

What fate will befall this property?

We went to the auction of a solid old house nearby, but it hadn't been maintained over the years.    The sale price was barely land value, so we expect to see "re-development" occurring here in the near future.


30 March 2012

The evening before the hard waste collection

A load of old whitegoods
The council's hard waste collection is due, and piles have been mounting on the nature strip.   But late in the afternoon the day before the actual collection there is much activity!    These photos (of 3 different pre-collection scavengers) were taken from the same location within the space of no more than about 15 minutes.

Hmm, I think I can fit it in.....

That lampstand looks interesting.....

29 March 2012

Geelong Waterfront

We had lunch at the Wharf Shed Cafe at Geelong, down on Corio Bay.   The atmosphere here is pretty relaxed, the service is efficient and the food is very acceptable (Sue loved the mussels).  The prices aren't exactly a bargain, but that comes with the location, I suppose. 

It's interesting to take a walk along the waterfront area.  In particular, there are lots of "Baywalk Bollards" around - I see from the internet  that there are over 100 of these, and that they chronicle characters from the city's past and present, including dapper young ladies in neck-to-knee bathing costumes, 1930s lifesavers, 
a Geelong footballer, jaunty sailors, fishermen and a town band.

28 March 2012


We spent a little while looking around Queenscliff.  The town appears to wear its tourist destination status quite well.


The main street has many historic buildings but down by the ferry terminal, there's a modern marina and associated shops. At the other end of town, there's the old fort, but as we have previously done a tour of this, we didn't revisit it.

27 March 2012

Jack Rabbit Winery

There are a number of Bellarine peninsular wineries, but Jack Rabbit was particularly recommended (and it was one of the very few, if not the only one, that was open on the day we had available).   We had lunch in the cafe, although there's also a restaurant (which looks fairly classy) in a separate building.   The cafe has a great outlook over Corio Bay, with a view of the You Yangs and even Melbourne.   The day was warm and calm, which meant that we were able to take full advantage of the deck.
The food was good, too.   I had a burger and Sue had the lamb souvaki, which were both stylishly presented.  Service was friendly enough, and the pinot noir was very acceptable.

Point Lonsdale

(Posting for 26 March).
We had a couple of nights at Point Lonsdale.    It was just too complicated to log on, hence the delay in this posting.
Point Lonsdale hasn't changed much over the years - and a good thing, too.  Of course, not everything is the same as it was, but there hasn't been a lot of development and the essentials, such as watching the ships go through The Rip, walking along the pier and checking out the lighthouse, are much the same as they have been for many years.   The coffee culture is alive and well - so long as you don't want one after 4 pm in the afternoon (even on Sunday).   

25 March 2012


Today is the 4th anniversary of Ted's passing.    We still think about him, but on the other hand, he was - at times -  "high maintenance" (for a cat).

24 March 2012

Drinking water


When we were at Moomba, I was pleased to see a drinking water stand.  It was well patronised.   I think there's sometimes one at the forecourt of the Arts Centre, too.  

On the Bondi to Coogee path

In Sydney, there are a number of permanent installations encouraging people to refill their water bottles with tap water.  

I wonder, though, if it's really necessary for the water to be filtered?   Nice, but the inference is that ordinary tap water isn't good enough! 

At Fairfield Boathouse
And, anyway, what's wrong with the traditional drinking fountain and tap?  

Perhaps a little basic...?

23 March 2012

From a bus window.....

Sitting in traffic, gotta keep in touch with the world I suppose. 

22 March 2012

Fairfield Boathouse revisted

We were back again at the Fairfield Boathouse last week.   We always enjoy this venue - it's serene and relaxing and the food is nicely presented.   The only issue was that we could hear occasional sounds from the Grand Prix practice sessions even here.

21 March 2012

Retail vacancies

There are a lot of empty shops in nearby High Street.   This strip perhaps has its own characteristics, so I'm not sure if the vacancies are an indication of localised retail malaise.
Or are these vacancies symptomatic of broader issues, perhaps the changing nature of retail (especially with the advent of on-line shopping) or even issues regarding the economy as a whole?   

The former Nicks wine shop is one of many that are empty. 

20 March 2012

The King of Tonga

The King of Tonga, George Tupou V, has died in a Hong Kong hospital: see

When we visited Cath in Tonga in 2008, there were still arches etc from his coronation.    I'm not sure how long these lasted, but I suppose new ones will be required when the new king is crowned!

19 March 2012

Porgy & Mr Jones

Quite a fascinating venue, with a number of interesting spaces including a courtyard.   We went for dinner as a member of a group (16 all up, I think, to celebrate C's big birthday).   The dinner deal is that you get 3 courses for a fixed price (apparently cash only), and you BYO wine.   Not cheap, but worth it so long as you have all 3 courses.  The menu isn't extensive, but it looks as though it changes reasonably regularly.  The asparagus entrée and eye fillet were both good, and other members of the group seemed happy with their choices, too (in particular, I heard good reports about the crab risotto). 

We had drinks beforehand in the courtyard, which was very pleasant.  It looks as though it would be a nice place to have a coffee, too. 

18 March 2012

Phone surveys

Generally, I refuse to answer surveys conducted by phone.   As a result of this, on one occasion I didn't participate in one of the well-known opinion polls regarding voting intentions.  Only later did I think about the name of the organisation that had been mentioned (but which I had not absorbed at the time) and realise that this could have been my opportunity to influence things.

However, when the opening sentence includes the word "public transport", I can't resist!  A particular group has been retained by the Department of Transport, who it seems are commissioned to undertake surveys from time to time on various aspects of the system.   So when I receive a phone call with the opening words "This is the Wallis Group and we're surveying user attitudes to [a particular aspect] of Melbourne's public transport", I sit back and  I offer my views!  Once I even wrote a follow-up letter to clarify one of my answers, and received a satisfactorily reply.

The only issue is that I've participated in 3 such surveys over the past couple of years!    I suspect that I've made it to a data-base of responsive people.  Perhaps writing a letter may not have been the best move had I wished not to be bothered.  I don't suppose there's anything wrong with this, so long as the Department is aware that the results it receives may be from some sort of  consultative panel, not users chosen at random! 

17 March 2012

Stuff Parisians Like

By way of preparation for our visit in a couple of months time, I was given Olivier Magny's Book, "Stuff Parisians Like".   There's also a website - see
The book seems to be largely derived from posts on the website (although the book is a little more subtle in its promotion of the author's wine bar!)  And here's a link to the Magny's bio:
I read much of the book in an afternoon.   I am certainly no expert on the Parisian (or even the French) mind, but many of the observations seem very perceptive!  Part of this derives from the fact that the author, although himself a Parisian, appears to be able to see the Parisian through non-Parisian eyes.
Apparently Parisians regard themselves as very different from banlieusards and provinciaux.  This is consistent with one of the first things I remember about Paris from 1970-something, on our first trip there.  The tour bus guide (who was English) stated as we entered Paris from le périphéique, that we were entering the "real" Paris, in that for the Parisian, Paris began and ended at le périphéique.
But les étrangers can't criticise Parisians.  Only Parisians can criticise Parisians (and do so freely, apparently).   Only Parisians get it.

16 March 2012

Stained glass

We often take familiar things for granted.  At the Armadale Uniting Church, there are 21 stained glass memorial windows (some of which were transferred from the previous Denbigh Rd church).   There is no doubt a little piece of history behind every one of them.
One of windows is inscribed "I am the Good Shepherd - In memory of John Glass Cramond.  For many years an Elder and Session Clerk of this Church".
I came across a booklet giving the story of John Glass Cramond, by Mildred Owen, who was a grand-daughter.   John Glass Cramond was born in 1831 and migrated from Scotland in 1852.  He lived in Warrnambool from 1855 to 1884, where he married Frances Hearder (originally from Devonshire).  He co-founded the store of Cramond and Dickson, which was operated by the Dickson family until 1974.   On moving to Melbourne, he was very involved with the Armadale Presbyterian Church, and remained closely connected until his death in 1910.   The family home was a large house in Orrong Rd and there were 14 children (although 2 died in infancy), so there are probably many families today who can trace their lineage back to John Glass Cramond (but I am not aware of any who are still connected with the Armadale Church).
The window was originally in the Denbigh Rd Church, and was presented by Mr & Mrs John Tallent in 1928. 
There is a memorial to John Glass Cramond and his wife in the Warrnambool cemetery.   
The booklet gives only a glimpse into the story of one family, but it makes you realise just how much history there is all about us, much of which will never be recorded. 

15 March 2012

Bridgeworks (3)

I mentioned in January that the authorities were rebuilding the bridge over the railway line in High Street, and followed it up with a post that, after a couple of weeks of total closure (during which the work moved along at a reasonable pace), the roadway was re-opened reasonably quickly.

But work on the pipes and service ducts on one side is still not finished.   There seems to be no pressure at all, and things seem to be proceeding very slowly indeed.    One lane in High Street remains blocked, and access to the nearby side street is still not allowed (even though there appears no apparent reason not to allow traffic in at least one direction down this street).

14 March 2012

Moomba (2)

I mentioned that the rides at Moomba have become even more extreme.   I'm the first to admit that I have no head for heights, so it will be no surprise that it amazes me that people actually pay to go on these so-called "rides"!

13 March 2012


It's been a few years since we've been to Moomba, but as it was a lovely warm afternoon, we went for a wander at the weekend to see if things were still the same.   Yes, there have been some changes:  the number of activities (and the amount of parkland occupied) has increased, there is a side-show alley and the rides have become even more extreme.   However, all this seems to be appreciated - there were large crowds of people present.

We liked the fire brigade's stand, which allowed children to "hold" a fire hose and the belly dancer performing on the stage at Fed Square (this was the Enosi United Festival - perhaps not strictly part of Moomba?)

The traditional water skiing was in progress, but unless you're really an enthusiast, it's hard to concentrate because there's only one skier at a time so the action is intermittent.

12 March 2012

Vanilla Omelette (2)

I've previously mentioned Vanilla Omelette, which is a local Thai restaurant, although it also aspires to be a coffee shop during the day.   We had a very pleasant evening there, catching up with P, V, M and D.  The food was attractively presented (as Thai food usually is), but on this occasion - mainly because a large group was present - the restaurant was completely full.   This impacted slightly on the service but also meant the room was somewhat noisy (which can sometimes create a bit of a challenge for seniors).  But it was a good night.