The Lease Is Up

I note that there are a number of premises for lease in…

Everywhere.

Just back from a trip to Melbourne and Sydney and the number of ” for lease ” signs that line the streets are staggering. Not so much on the main city streets – though there are plenty of empty premises in the arcades and back ways. It’s the secondary suburbs that are really quite surprising…even Brunswick Street in Fitzroy – my favourite crap shop and dodgy restaurant district – is thinning out and looking for tenants.

Our own city suburbs have long stretches of highway that are all going begging. But the interesting thing is I bet they are not willing to beg. I suspect the landlords are still trying for every price increase and every winning extra charge that they can get. The fact that they cannot get them hasn’t quite registered.

I even see the foolishness of our local large shopping centre -a place that has a lack of parking space most of the time – ripping up the carpark for more stand-alone businesses at a time when other shops and spaces in their main building are hoarded over.

I am not sure whether it is the lease or the jig that is up…

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A Pot To Pee In

I see that one of our local theatres has put up a sign that identifies their toilet as one that can be welcoming and friendly to people of all sexes. This us as it should be, but opens the door to a new question…who left the seat up?

I’m sometimes amused by the business of mens and women’s toilets in public venues. Not laughing out loud amused, but slightly puzzled as to why they should be such a battleground. The ones here at home aren’t – if you discount the anguished cries when someone sits down without determining whether there is enough paper. We are a mixed group in this house and so far no-one has fenced off either of the loos or put up pictograms to define who gets to use them.

There is the occasional bout of door-hammering and demands for a speeding-up of the process. But it is a religious time and shows that we really care for each other: ” Jesus Christ, are you dead in there? Hurry up! ”

But we are not in the midst of gender wars here at home. And I don’t participate in them when I go out – though there are those who would try to lure me into the traps of the meme-field and the shambush. I try to have an unkind word for all I meet and that seems to satisfy …well, if not them, at least it satisfies me. The sexists are sometimes very eager to be virtuous and angry but often nonplussed when their virtue is laughed at.

They sometimes stomp off  to the restroom mad – let us hope if they do that the facilities are clean and the seat is warm and down. Or up.

 

Sauce Pot!

Keen-eyed readers who like mystery novels and television shows may wish to turn their detective powers onto the heading image and see if they can figure out what we are having for dinner.

Winter has arived in Perth with prescribed burn-offs in the bush and lowering temperatures. The crayfish salad and tiny cold delicacy on the vast white plate has given way to food that will actually fuel the boiler. As the local fast food chains have decided to eliminate taste from their products – having gotten rid of nutrition some years ago – and the pubs have finally given in to their accountants and started charging $ 75 for a piece of steak ( Saw the menu the other night – still on oxygen. ), I’ve decided to make our own dinners.

This dish is no closer to traditional Italian cuisine than the local IGA supermarket shelves. As the checkout girl has dark hair I pretend she is from Milano and that makes it all authentic. If I lived in North Perth or the City of Stirling it might actually be, but I suspect the people who make the sauces and the pasta probably came from there a hundred years ago so we’ll go with that. And none of this nouvelle cuisine serving stuff – when we get a plate of dinner we want more dinner than plate on the table. Oozing over the edge is not considered a flaw.

There will be red wine and it will be extremely cheap. Like $5 for a 2 litre cask. It’s time-expired Yalumba from the local bottle shop and if you drink it without letting it hit your taste buds it is fine. Actually it IS tasty, and the business of ” best by ” dates is a bit of a frandoogle when you are talking about basic blended goon. It is cheaper than drinking lacquer thinner or motor oil.

 

The Fast Life In The Slow Lane

I try to hit all the stops. And then I really do stop.

Like last Sunday – I was jerked bolt upright at 8:30 AM by the realisation that I did not have to go to work in the cotton fields. Of course we don’t live in Mississippi and I’m retired anyway, but there was still that feeling. And once up, you can’t go back to sleep. The cat will make sure of that.

Then it was off to the shower, the shaver, and the sh….umm..let’s change the subject.

Breakfast. They say we must start the day with a substantial breakfast. Toast is substantial. So is oatmeal. So is rum and motor oil, for that matter. Don’t get near me when I burp.

Out to the Little Workshop. On with the radio. Olde Tyme Wireless from Wireless Hill. So you can avoid the horrid music of millenials by listening to equally vacuous stuff from  baby boomers. And it is true that we pluggers can identify a piece of music from the first two notes – if it is one of the only three that the station owns and plays repeatedly. Anyone fancy a Walk In The Black Forest?

Lunch? Don’t mind if I do. The chicken and celery soup is attractive, seeing as it is left over and doesn’t need any effort to heat up. No-one else in the family will eat it, so I get as much as I want.

Shall I work or shall I nap?

And dinner. I must prepare dinner. Fortunately there is an electric oven and as long as you let things cook over a slow heat they will be fine. Too many people think that an fan-forced oven run at welding temperature will be more efficient, but they are eaters for efficiency, and are welcome to it. I cook for flavour, and if this takes 3 hours rather than a blowtorch, so be it.

And the dinner need not be hurried when it is ready. It’s Sunday night and the family is home and there is nothing more important to do than the roast and three veggies. And the glass of red wine. And of course one must not drive or operate machinery after this. Safety in all things.

 

The Sucker Man

You see a new hell every day – the hatch opens and the creatures slither out. Sometimes you get to see the demons at work, as well.

Today at 9:30 our local infernal manifestation occurred. No pentangle, no candles, no sulphurous smoke. In fact the truck that arrived was quite clean and had a sign from the Melville City Council on the side. The driver hopped out of it, grabbed a metal hook, and summoned Beelzebub.

The truck was fitted with a vacuum cleaner and a big tank of water – I assume it was a holy water – and the chap proceeded to wash down the storm water drains in our street. Then when the things were awash with political promises and other horrors he used a giant hose from the back of the truck to suck the drain dry. I can only assume that there is a market for the sorts of things that went into that hose – I just pry that it is not in the fast food industry.

Noise? I assume we were hearing doomed screams of tortured souls. And it went on for an hour as he did all the drains in the street. I was crossing myself, lighting incense and candles, and making holy signs all the while, and I’m not religious…

As compensation, we now have the cleanest drains in the city. Just in time for the autumn rains and the next load of gunk.

 

You Want To Save The World? Part One

You want to save the world, or the planet, or the country, or humanity? Good  for you. Here’s a not-altogether-cynical guide to how to go about it. Today, how to save your neighbourhood.

a. Look left. Look right. Look back. Look in front.

Look at the buildings that form your neighbourhood. The ones that are already there before you decide to build your own structure.

Are they clean, sanitary, and wholesome? Are they proportioned to the space that is available? Are they safe? Are they attractive? Do they work, as housing or workspace? Do they help the people who occupy them…indeed do enough people occupy them? Are there trees and bushes, drains, gutters, electricity and gas? Are there public open spaces? Is there privacy without exclusion?

If so…emulate these designs when you add yourself to the milieu. Blend in, fit in, harmonise, and live happily with the neighbours. Do not press a Finnish reindeer shed into an English council estate.

b. Look at yourself. If you are a complete stranger to a neighbourhood, consider whether this is likely to continue forever..or can you introduce yourself gradually to those around you and come to terms with them and their lives. Or would you like to be a hermit, sore thumb, or pariah all the time and by doing so compel those about you to stand clear of you.

You can be a stranger in a strange land if you wish, but you cannot be one who demands that the land change for you at your whim. Even if your religious adviser tells you that you are entitled to it. You may find yourself getting with the pogrom…

c. You need not dress to impress the neighbours. You also need not dress to intimidate or offend the neighbours. If you dress in such a way that they are visibly amused, you’d better decide to change or enjoy the laughter.

Note that they need not dress to please you, or your religious advisers. If they comply with the civil law of the land, that is all that is needed.

d. If you have a structure that is new…ie. under 200 years old…do not pull it down to erect a set of jerry-built flats to resell the land at a higher price. You will waste all the energy, materials, effort, thought, and design that went into the original structure. You will further stack more into the waste-fill dumps and cost an entirely new cycle of rebuilding. If this is just chasing money, you completely negate any other environmental savings that you will ever make in your lifetime. You might as well smoke asbestos cigars and grind the butts into the faces of your grand children.

Think of that perfectly good house on a perfectly good suburban lot as a healthy tooth in your mouth. You would be a fool to have it pulled out and substituted with some artificial thing, no matter how sophisticated the operation.

 

The Permanent Playroom

Or how to live happily ever vs clean up after.

I live a life between two premises. Not the premise that I am a reasonable gentleman nor the one that sees me a slavering monster. Those are mere assumptions, and miraculous ones at that. No, I mean I live my life in two houses – my sleeping residence and my playroom.

The playroom is officially a suburban residence and/or photo studio. I inherited it and hope to pass it on one day. While I am in possession, it serves as a photo studio, entertainment venue, and repository for my scale model collections. It is a simple structure but well suited to the purpose. It also has the distinct advantage that it is far enough away that I need to put on a coat to go there. I can make it a destination that seems like a workplace, even if I have no work to do.

Every person needs something like this – even if it is only a secure spot at the local library or men’s shed/CWA/sniper pit. You must get away from your sleeping quarters to do your duty. You’ll be back there soon enough at the end of a hard day and if you can go away you’ll appreciate the sack all the more.

Some people are denied this – they are bed-ridden or restricted by circumstance to one small area for life. It can be the equivalent of a non-parole period for the innocent. For all of us who can at least go to the shops and bruise the tomatoes, no day need be a sentence.

The thing I like best about my playroom is that I do not need to put away my toys at dinner time. I can lock the door, set the alarm, cock the spring gun, and then just carry on to my sleeping quarters. If I am lucky there is a delicious home – cooked meal ready for me when I get there…because I put it in the crockpot earlier in the day. Ya hafta be realistic about some things in life…