Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Parking - The Podcast


I honestly think I was a better parker before I got a reversing camera.

I read an article on self-parking cars once, that concluded the best course of action was, in fact, to learn to park.

When I drove a van, that I think only had rear sensors, I was an excellent parker, but now I often seem to make a meal of it.

And as if my assessment wasn't enough, one of the chicks I used to row with was dropping her daughter at Sass's school to coach netball and had this generalisation to share about the mothers:

They're in their big black four-wheel drives, with all their cameras and beepy things - and none of them can park for shit.

Now, I'm sure that's not everyone - but it is me!!

Sunday, 6 May 2018

The pianola

My grandmother had a pianola. When we were growing up and learning piano, it came to our place. And eventually, Dad had it restored and it arrived at our house about 20 years ago.

As things panned out, neither my siblings nor I were harbouring any musical talent. We looked, we tried, yeah - no. Same with my kids. They all had a shot.

Elle did group keyboard lessons in primary school. She was pretty bad, so I called the people who ran them and asked if we should have a crack with a term of private lessons. They told me to save my money!

Even though you don't need to be able to play, I reckon we've used the pianola less that once a year and with the pending renovations, it had to go.

I emailed my parents, uncle and brothers and asked if anyone wanted it, otherwise we'd be donating it to an aged care facility where I'm sure far more people will enjoy it.

My brother in Dubai, who's just downsized, offered me a Casio keyboard, should I want a replacement - I don't!

Dad called the aged care facility in the small country town where we all grew up and where the pianola had spent its formative years. They were happy to take it. Yay! I did quip that Dad could have first dibs on the play list when he moves in there - which he didn't think was nearly as funny as I did!!

Dad also arranged for the removalists who did a great price because we were donating it. They were meant to be here at 4pm on Friday - which would have been perfect as I was out - but they were late. Dang! We were going out so Geoff jumped in the shower at 5.15pm and the removalists arrived at 5.17pm. I told him to get out!

These were not your piano removal experts - just two guys and a truck - without a hoist, just a small trolley and a ramp. See, this is why I'd hoped not to be here. The process was so precarious, the poor old pianola groaned and complained quite a lot, the language of the blokes was explicit and getting out was a tight squeeze. I couldn't hang around. In fact, I had to go down to the shed and distract myself with work I was so anxious.

Finally, Geoff came in, collecting some beers for the equally traumatised removalists and saying even he couldn't believe they managed to get it onto the truck in one piece. (Geoff's usually pretty confident about such things.)

We also sent all the rolls; more fox trots than you can shake a stick at, and some more 'contemporary' ones like Elton John, Neil Diamond, The Beatles, Abba and Elvis. Something for everyone in that lot! I only hope they can get it of the truck in one piece at the other end so they can play them!!

Anyway - I did get a little footage of John Lennon's Imagine, in case I ever miss it!

BTW, if you're unfamiliar with a pianola, it's a piano that can also mechanically play by itself, powered by bellows that you pump by pedalling.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Shutting up shop

This place is just down the road from us - a couple of doors up from the wine bar.

Geoff and I had been at the tile shop a couple of weeks ago (yes, that renovation is finally getting underway!) to pick up some samples and I commented that the line "As a soft touch for getting you back to life" makes no sense at all.

I was a bit surprised when I was walking to the Post Office yesterday to see it had been shut down by the police for operating as a brothel. Those signs stuck on with red tape are from Victoria Police and the Magistrates Court. I won't post close-ups - even though it's clearly public - because it names the accused.

So why only a bit surprised? It's certainly not the first. 

Myrna's Relaxation Centre popped up in the strip more than ten years ago. Retail around here mostly consists of high-end antique shops, a florist, interior designers, upmarket gift and homeware stores and more recently, a myriad of cafes. I was suspicious of Myrna's from the start. Their front window was adorned with dated lace curtains and plastic flowers - not very day spa-like.

The owner of Myrna's saw Geoff in his work truck and asked if he could install a basin upstairs. He did and later confirmed that it was in fact, a front for an S&M brothel that had an array of racks, whips and other equipment upstairs.

What was surprising was when not long after, our neighbours came over one Friday night for fish and chips, small children in tow, and the guy casually asked if either of us had had a massage at Myrna's? (Dear god.)

As it happened, when he went in and asked for said massage, he was asked how 'hard' he likes it. He conceded he did indeed like it firm. They then asked if he liked it to 'hurt', to which he looked aghast and said 'No!' At that point, they realised he had no idea what was actually going on there so he got your straight forward massage. He was so impressed with it, that he went home and told his wife that she really should pop in and have one, too!

We enlightened him as to the true business going on at Myrna's and suddenly that strange exchange made perfect sense.

Anyway, back to yesterday.

I sent Geoff a text about the massage shop above and later that afternoon, when he was returning the tile samples, he spotted two more.

I had seen these places but had noted nothing more than the Kmart bedside tables in the window.

Speaking to some passing friends from the 'hood yesterday, we agreed that if there are brothels around this area, we really don't care, as long as they're licensed, regulated and the workers properly cared for. But I was surprised when one said she'd read in the paper that they'd had underage girls working there. Geoff confirmed he heard the same thing from the owner of the tile shop. And that's not funny.

Slavery in Australia's sex industry is apparently rife so I can only hope that with these raids and closures, any girls not there of their own free will have been liberated. It's shocking.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Weirdly entertaining

We camped up at King Valley at Easter - a region renowned for its wineries and food and it didn't disappoint - well, only a couple of times, but I'll save that for my next post.

What I'm desperate to share is the experience we had a Glenrowan at the Animated Theatre.

For those of you from further away, Glenrowan is famous as the place where Ned Kelly - a legendary and somewhat romanticised outlaw - was finally captured.

And true to Australian form, yes, like the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, the Big Merino - there is a Big Ned in the main drag.

Elle, Sass ad me swapping up on Ned's adventures

There's more 'ned-morabilia' than you can shake a stick at. And some other shit that has no relevance to anything, such as these gems I spotted in two separate gift shops.

An authentic Buddha incense burner - right there
in Glenrowan. Exactly where I'd buy such a
relevant souvenir...
Reduced to $34.95, I was almost tempted to buy this -
how often do you see a horse with a flower and diamante bonnet,
glittery green eyelashes and a pink bracelet around its tail??

Anyway, back to the main story - we stumbled into the animated theatre that has a Ned Kelly show every 30 minutes. For a mere $99, this family of four saw something like we'd never seen before!

You basically move from room to room as a recorded narrator (sometimes a projected face onto a mannequin) tells a story that's sort of about Ned. Here are some snaps I took. I should have taken more but I was so bamboozled after this first room, I forgot. 

What is with the American Halloween theme?? There was rain at that window, a real blast of wind when mentioned in the story and a rat that popped out of the centre of the pumpkin.

I did manage to get a video of the fire in the bar.....

It was so odd. Even odder was after the 'show' had finished, we left the premises via one of the owner's lounge rooms (packed with Disney memorabilia, an enormous chandelier, puppets hanging from the ceiling, department-store sized Christmas decorations, the most massive flat screen TV I've ever seen) and bedroom. Seriously, I couldn't make this up.

Once out, I looked it up on Trip Advisor, which was equally as entertaining!
  • Hands down the worst, most expensive tourist attraction in Australia. $32/head will allow you to see the best technology 1970 has to offer including a urinating robotic dog and a vomiting robotic man
  • An authentic experience of highway robbery and a 30-minute hostage situation
  • To hear the owners inappropriate commentary, then to walk through his living room and bedroom(with unmade bed) feels like I had my brains ripped out

So - look. If you're on a budget and after value, this isn't it. But if you're happy to spend the dollars, go in with an open mind and it will be blown!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Sluggin' it out

I have an indoor plant that wasn't doing so well so, I popped it under a tree outside for a while. It seemed to be on the recovery and I brought it back in.

I think I must have also brought in some hitchhikers and for the next couple of weeks, we could see where they'd been!

The silver trail of evidence

More on the fire screen

I found two of the offenders, cringing under the pot, and deposited them outside. But trails still appeared from the overnight antics of their slithering.

I'm not sure where the others were hiding, but we had slug trails all over the place - those little guys get around! Geoff was very unimpressed to find that they'd had a bit of an excursion all over one of his speaker.

And now they've stopped.

Vale slugs.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Tough love

Elle's has been nannying some kids over the summer who are, well, let's just say a little challenging.

Not one to be backwards, Elle has been taking them to task over their shabby behaviour, calling them out on every eye roll, sarcastic remark and pretty much treating them as we mothers would want. She knows she's not winning any favours with the kids, but frankly, bad luck.

However, not long before she was due to finish up, the mother took her aside.
The children have been really upset... she said quietly, so said children couldn't hear.
Here we go, thought Elle, I guess this day was always coming - the kids have complained. She braced herself for a reprimand.
... they're so sad that you're leaving. I know you can't stay full time, but I'm hoping you'll keep babysitting for us on a casual basis? 

Elle could come up with only one explanation; Stockholm Syndrome!!

Parking - The Podcast