It was house maintenance week this week. I took a couple of days off to do some de-cluttering and get some people in.
Hard rubbish got rid of two old mattresses, three former recycle bins, a big plank of wood, an old fan and two disused old bicycles. Amusingly, between putting stuff out/booking the collection and having it picked up, one bike disappeared, then came back, then the second went.
On Tuesday I got my ducts cleaned. (Note: This is not a euphemism.)
On Wednesday it was the pest controllers, as part of my self-declared War On Cockroaches. The guy sprayed inside and out, and we evacuated for a while to let the fumes dissipate — into the city for some lunch, a walk around, and some photography.
Of course, the most exciting news this week in the ‘hood has been the opening of the new Aldi store in downtown Bentleigh (in the old IGA site). Wednesday was opening day, and it was packed with people hunting down $10 kettles and toasters, and $89 Android tablets.
I must admit I was tempted by the latter. But in the end I decided not to buy it, for three reasons:  the check-out queues were really long,  although it’s cheap, a review reckoned this model of tablet has poor Wifi reception (and in fact the reviewer ended up returning it due to poor battery life), and perhaps most importantly,  I’d just spent days de-cluttering the house, and buying something I didn’t really need would be a backward step,
And after all, there’ll be other cheap tablets. Wait a few months and there’ll be a better one for the same price.
Ten years ago this week I got my first digital camera: a Canon A70. I’d held on until the price seemed right and they did a half-decent job of video recording (as my old Video-8 video camera had given up the ghost a couple of years before).
I assume I only started with a fairly small memory card, as it looks like I deleted my first ever digital picture — and the second (what we now know as a “selfie“) was at low (640×480, or about a third of a megapixel) resolution.
The second batch of photos that I still have are from a party from then-flatmates Josh and Catherine’s place in St Kilda. Or was it Elwood? At some point I let Josh play with the camera, and he took a bunch of photos of people I don’t know, and don’t recognise.
Some better/more interesting photos from later on in April (when I’d got a memory card and started using the camera’s full mighty THREE megapixels) include these from an expedition around Melbourne with my friend Danielle when she visited from Sydney:
The Espy — back before tall buildings loomed over it
As with the resignation of Ted Baillieu last night, I’m not quite sure what to think about this.
I didn’t see what happened next, but heard no crash or sirens, so presumably she made it down the hill okay.
I recall a Yarra Trams person telling me that while they love Melbourne’s leafy streets, some of our local trees drop the wrong leaves (I’m paraphrasing mind you, these are not her words), which does cause slippery rails, particularly in autumn — which is why, particularly at this time of year, you’ll see this beastie out and about, cleaning them up.
Similar perhaps to a conventional street-sweeper, it’s got special wheels that go into the groove of the track to clear it out.
It moves slower than the trams — on the morning I snapped it, it manoeuvred itself onto the opposite track when a tram came along, then moved back and followed it onward.
Here’s a little bit of history: an old street sign showing the pre-1967 UK-style Postal District Number: SE9.
I’m quite amazed the sign has survived so long, unless perhaps it is a deliberate, heritage-based decision to keep and maintain it.
The old codes don’t seem to be in the first edition Melway, but I did find them in an older Collins street directory that I have. As with London postcodes, the letter is a direction from the GPO (or C for Central).
I don’t have the time or inclination to type them all out, but there is a full list in Wikipedia: Melbourne Postal District Numbers.
Far distant places such as Dandenong, Frankston, Glen Waverley, Mitcham and Eltham appear not to have had Postal District Numbers.
Anybody spotted old signs like this elsewhere?
Update: Tony found (most of) a similar old sign in Flemington.
Flin der Street
Victoria Park and Clifton Hill (of course!)
and his brother Wes Tona
Dennis and Chelsea!
It’s interesting to see that around the CBD, a subtle line is often marked on the pavement, where (I’m assuming) the publicly-owned pavement ends and the privately-owned property begins.
Quite a few buildings include this kind of open space, particularly at the front, and I would assume the boundary would have legal significance.
In some cases it’s less subtle, where they’ve made no effort to match the paving styles on the private land to the public footpath.
An infamous boundary among Melbourne’s news media is Southern Cross Station. Security guards will descend if the media set up their cameras on the wrong side of the line without authorisation — even when the story has nothing to do with the station itself. That’s why in news reports you’ll often see them looking into the station, having filmed from the footpath outside. Why go there? Well for some (for instance channels 7 and 9) it’s close to where they have their offices — and unlike other CBD railway stations, you can just about see platforms and trains from the street.