I Sit Aghast

No point in standing aghast if you can be comfortable. Ghasting takes a lot out of you.

I went for a shop run today to buy essential supplies – no-one can fault me for that. The essential supplies were Easter eggs and petrol. We do an exciting annual ritual with chocolate molotov cocktails here in Bull Creek and this year will be no exception. Won’t the neighbours be surprised!

Well, no more surprised than I was when I called in to the local BP petrol station. 91 octane unleaded petrol is now 89 cents per litre. Two months ago it was at $ 1.49 for that same measure. I topped up the tank for less than $ 15.00. ( The petrol actually cost me nothing – I am running out a free gift voucher from my former bank and haven’t spent cash for two months. )

I was delighted, but it does make me think that we are being run through the wringer in normal times – if the station can deal in 89 cent petrol now.

It wasn’t all frugal joy, however. There were plenty of chocolate eggs in the shop but from the prices, it looks like Cadbury has joined OPEC.

Is There A Ford In Your Future?

Possibly, but it won’t be made here. FMC Pty Ltd clapped the doors on their Broadmeadows plant many years ago and now settle for importing whatever they can or can’t sell. The Australian Falcon is no more.

It does no good to be sad about the loss of the jobs or the skills. About the siphoning away of money from the country. About the forced adherence to dependence on computer programs form elsewhere to allow us to drive around here. Sadness butters no turnips, or rice cakes, for that matter. We must be grateful for the good it does.

  1. Less local pollution. All the really appalling mess is elsewhere in the world where regulatory bodies can be silenced by the governments involved.
  2. Less opportunity for the local parts manufacturers to perpetrate fraud on the company, and thence on the public. Oh, there’ll be fraud, corruption, and overcharging, but the moral tone in Victoria will be better for it being done overseas.
  3. The appallingly crass local cars will not be seen any more and the buyers of the imported designs can be fashionable and stylish.

Wait a minute. I owned one of those crass local cars for 15 years and I wasn’t appalled. In fact it was a darned reliable and useful piece of goods. A Falcon ute, it hauled me across the country a half dozen times in safety with enormous loads in the tray. I slept in comfort under the canopy. It moved several families from one house to another. It was a faithful hardware, timber, and grocery hauler. Had it not started to wear out a second head, I would still have it.

We are not as well served by the global market as we might think.

Writing About Writing

Is as boring as making a film about film making or reciting poetry about reciting poetry. It is the classic stuff for people who have word processors but no words to process. Think of a story teller who gathers an audience but then doesn’t tell a story.

It’s not just the literary who do this – no end of photographers use their cameras to take pictures of other cameras. This is understandable if you are trying to sell these devices – after all that is what I do in a commercial column five days a week. It becomes tedious if you are just expressing your desire to operate and camera by focusing on the rest of your equipment.

You can also liken it to the Sunday driver who travels slowly to the beach and then slowly back again without getting out in the meantime. ” Just seeing how far it was. ” is their classic excuse, but the sad fact is they had no business at the beach nor on the road to and from it. Possibly no business at home, either.

It is the equivalent to eating plastic packaging beads that look like breakfast cereal. Admittedly they have more actual nutrition than the average packaged cereal and don’t make unattractive noises when you pour the milk on…but the idea lacks some sort of cultural validity.

As I have said in my model airplane column ( yes, I write one daily at :

littleworld678590491.wordpress.com

and you are welcome to read it and see what I have said about you…) if you are going to build a model, build a model all the time. Every subassembly should be a faithful evocation of the original, or whatever you conceive it to be. A modeller should not just cut and glue plastic for the feel of the thing – there must be an end in sight.

Likewise if you are writing or photographing. Do it to tell a story to someone who will read it through. Shoot the picture to show beauty or ugliness. Do it well if you can – poorly if you must – but do it to a purpose. Do not drive slowly down a printed screen or sheet of paper just to see how far it is to the end. Get out and do something when you get there.

Daylight At The DOT

Or Licensing And Testing Centre or whatever it is called. The place where you go to renew your car licence or get a concession on the price.*

I think I have the answer to cutting down road crashes and road rage. All you need to do is set up a license and facial recognition camera pointing at the one-way lane in front of the centre. The one ringed with ” Do Not Enter”, ” One Way “, and ” Go Back ”  signs and arrows leading out of it.

Then clock the plates and faces of the drivers who ignore them and sail blithely up the wrong way to park astraddle two bays in front of the building. As they present themselves inside, match the faces and plates to whatever papers they are trying to shove over the counter. Then put those papers into a bin and set fire to them. Have the car outside towed away and dropped into a compactor. Direct the speechless applicant to the bus stop.

A win-win for us all…

  • I found out that I could get my driving licence free and 50% off the car rego. Triple win.

 

The Annual Family Traffic Jam

Today we motor south to eat lunch with the wife’s family. It is an annual event occasioned by Christmas and is generally quite pleasant once we reach our destination. It’s some 60 Km from our house and can be accessed by a modern freeway.

This freeway is under permanent reconstruction – it has been incomplete for the last 6 years to my certain knowledge – and the traffic restrictions will reduce the flow of holiday-makers to a trickle at several points. Bumper-to-bumper 60 Km there and B-T-B back again at the end of the afternoon.

There is an electric train service to the town where the relatives live but no effective connection between the train station and their district – and it is a spread-out town. No taxis to speak of and precious few Ubers operating on Christmas day.

I’ll be driving, so not drinking. The relatives will be in a reverse position so the day should deteriorate nicely.

Watching The Slaves Crawl From The Mines

We have road rules here in Western Australia that compel us to slow down to 40 km per hour as we pass salt mines or sweat shops when the slaves are being lead into or released from their confinement. It is generally thought to be for safety purposes in case one of the desperate creatures throws themselves under the car wheels in a bid to end their misery. This would be a major economic loss for their owners, as well as a jolly nuisance for the car driver.

Actually, though, I think it is to allow the people who see them trudging in long, sad lines to enjoy themselves and their own relative freedom from the torture. Nothing makes the heart gladder than the miseries of others, kept at a convenient distance.

The inmates of the slave farms are identifiable by their uniform clothing. The hilarious part of it is that the unattractive garments they are compelled to wear are not provided by the slave owners – the parents of the unfortunates are paying stiff little prices for everything they wear. And the clothing is generally marked so that it cannot be used for other purposes.

Of course there are always some down sides to any cheerful story. In the case of the slaves, some are being taught useful traders so that they can be on-sold after their indentures are completed. When they do successfully learn their trade they become cocky and arrogant. That is when they set the dogs on them.

The part that puzzles me is the provision that is made for guards to keep them from escaping during the transition from the slave factories to their hovels. They do not seem to be armed, apart from a set of flags or a staff that looks like a lollypop. Perhaps they carry guns or tasers under their fluoro vests. I know I would, considering what some of the smaller slaves look like.

Do You Remember 1973?

Or to be more specific, do you remember 1973 in Albany Highway, Vic Park on a Saturday morning? And being stuck on one side of the street because the shopping traffic was too thick to let you cross? Like, for an hour…

Well, welcome to 2019 on Leach Highway every day. And Leach has 6 lanes and a centre island…upon which one presumes you will eventually find the bones of a castaway.

I have just returned from the hobby shop and noted two teenagers stranded on one side of the highway, trying to get across it to get to a bus stop. In all honesty, they would have been better served by catching one from their side of the street, going all the way to the terminal, and returning with the circling bus. It would have been safer and quicker.

There is an explanation about the increase in traffic and you can use your own bigotry to complain about it. Asians, old people, Donald Trump, the State Government, and your parents would be a good start. Then add infidels, The Royal Family, and South Africans if you need to fill up any unused space in the rant. I’ve always suspected aliens…ever since Roswell.

Self-Promotion For Seniors

Just because you have gotten older doesn’t mean that you have to get wiser. Join the BGA Self Promotion School and make an ass of yourself just like you did when you were young. Bonus: Now you can make your children and grandchildren cringe, instead of doing it to your parents.

Here’s a few suggestions to get you started. We also have a few to get you stopped, but some of them are illegal.

A.   We have been told that we should be learning something all our lives. As we get older, that can be as simple and beneficial as don’t climb ladders to clean the gutters and avoid driving at night. But this sort of practical thing doesn’t generate government subsidies, so things like Universities Of The Third Age have been invented.

They appear to be old folks clubs that pretend to intellectual pursuit. I would be willing to bet that tea and scones features prominently in the academic program. In any case, most of the codgers know most of the stuff that they try to teach – and know it because they did it themselves earlier on.

B.   Are you the sort of oldie who wants to become involved in volunteering? Have we got a treat for you…With the proposed cutback on illegal Asian slave labour for the market gardens and other processing industries – and a subsequent crackdown on slave smuggling through the airport – the fields will become bare and unproductive. Here is where a senior can step in – All you need is a straw hat, a pair of overalls, and a cotton sack. The tanned complexion will be provided for free and you can qualify for fried chicken and watermelon by singing work songs and spirituals. Yassuh…

C.   Are you good with children? Are you good with grandchildren? How do you define good? Could you pick one off at 300 yds. over iron sights? The Education Department would like to talk to you about our new sniper course.

D.   Men’s Sheds have become extremely popular as places where men can go, build furniture or model airplanes, and complain about the Government and women. We propose to open a similar chain of venues called Women’s Drawing Rooms. In them, women can meet to do arts and crafts and complain about the Government and men. Those who refuse to deal with anything in life on the basis of gender will be accommodated by a neutral meeting place where they can do nothing and complain about the Government and boredom.

 

 

The Ten O’Clock Highway

I live a retired life, which means I push my nose into all sorts of places. This is fun if you time it right – and the chief requirement there is to coordinate your movements with the road traffic.

Or, to put it more accurately, without. You choose to venture when others do not – you go places they are not. The shining goal os a day is an unobstructed road ahead and no arrogant BMW driver or tradie in a tray-top pushing up behind you. In some cases it is worth seeking out a road that doesn’t even go where you want to go to so that you can enjoy the peace.

It gets harder, as our metropolitan area expands and the suburbs in-fill themselves with multiple dwellings on older blocks. Just more people on the roads. I try to use the bus and train system when I can – the attraction being free travel in air conditioning with time to rest rather than drive. However, there are places poorly-served by public transport so the car has to be wheeled out.

I’ve learned to only venture after 10:00 AM and to bring myself back home before 4:00 PM.  If the route is planned well you can get through the flak defences, accomplish your mission, and be back before they can catch you. Of course there are always road crews out playing Tetris with the traffic barriers as they lean on their shovels and you do well to learn about them from other road users on the net the night before. They really do affect where you travel for shopping – they steered me away from a certain sale at a shop last Saturday by the simple expedient of blocking the shop’s street from both ends. I hope the shopkeeper and his assistants do not stave and die behind the counter while the paviours play – it would make the shop premises stink awfully…

Shall I resort to the net and on-line shopping more? I hope not – I like the establishment of physical shops in our city as a way of giving employment and providing convenience for me  – after I have run the gauntlet of the roads. On-line doesn’t benefit our state or nation in the end.

 

 

 

The Bus Tour – Route 33 – Somewhere, Eventually…

If you want to test your character as well as your stamina, get on the wrong bus. I did recently and found out a lot.

The basic problem was the Sunday schedule of the Transperth buses brigaded up two quite different routes at the same stop. And, as I was unfamiliar with the stop and did not look at the reporting sign on the front of the vehicle. I stepped blithely aboard the first one that presented itself.

I travel free on Sunday as a senior, so no money changed hands.

But when the bus turned off the main highway into the backstreets of a suburb, I guessed instantly what I had done. And then I examined myself to see what I thought about it and what I planned to do. I found that I was fine with the whole thing – I have all day to sit in the air conditioning on the bus and wherever it ended up, it would eventually return to where I got on. Or perhaps I could amend the problem half-way along. SI I settled for the ride.

Eventually it debouched me at our Technology university – at a bus port designed for what must be thousands of weekday commuters. It was deserted, but the bus driver was able to point me to a stand where I might catch another onward. With less than 10 minutes’ wait, a bench to sit on, and a magazine to read, it was no disaster. Eventually another bus I had never travelled on took me to a train station I recognised and I could resume what I started.

What did I see? I saw the densely packed housing around the university, the sprawling campus ( as always, under construction…) and the far reaches of 1930’s suburbia. When you can look out of a side window you can see far more than driving a car.

I have had a small adventure, and it suggests further ones spent on the public transport during weekends. With no anxiety about parking or traffic jams on the way, lots of destinations take on a new appeal – and if there is time to spare everything you see is rewarding.