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Tuesday, 16 October 2018 Dereel → Melbourne → Dereel Images for 16 October 2018
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To Melbourne again
Topic: health, food and drink, general Link here

Yvonne had another appointment for a follow-up EUS and (potentially) FNA, the same thing as six months ago.

This time I had the opportunity to measure time and distance. The total distance is 140 km, and interestingly the first stretch, via Mount Mercer to Shelford, was 32 km, over 20% of the total distance, during which we saw 4 cars. Then traffic got denser, and we reached the freeway after almost exactly half the distance after 55 minutes. Made good time until the Melbourne Ring Road, after 126 km and about 85 minutes. And then, once again, we ran into trouble:

From there to the Victoria Market we took another 35 minutes for the final 14 km. How I hate Melbourne traffic!

At the market, met up again with Kevin Teather, who I think is the owner of the cheese stall in the middle of the delicatessen section (and thus called “The Corner Larder”) after one of his assistants suggested Jarlsberg when I asked for Swiss cheese. In Australia you can get almost only Gruyère (which you have to pronounce “Swiss Gruyere”) and Appenzell, at least for fondue, though they did have a Tête de moine, which also comes from Switzerland. He asked me what other cheeses I would like, and of course I couldn't think of anything except for Vacherin. But he says he can get anything I like (I'll believe that when I see it!) if I give him a couple of weeks' notice. Got his card: phone number is 9329 8607. And I'll take him up on the offer.

Somehow the Victoria Market is changing. I didn't hear a single cryer, and more and more stalls are operated by (and apparently for) East Asian people:


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On the way out of the market, saw what I had feared:


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The cookbook shop has closed down. I wish I had had time to look through more carefully last time I was there.

Then off to Richmond and dropped Yvonne at the Epworth Hospital, then on to Alphington to a new location of the Casa iberica in the hope that I could get a parking space more easily. Yes, that worked, though not as easily as I had hoped. And the place is really in a pretty run-down part of town:


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It's a lot smaller than the shop in Fitzroy:


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But I got what I wanted, including numerous chorizos of their own manufacture, and then on to Box Hill, as last time, this time finding a parking space inside, not without difficulty. First, where's the entrance?


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Once I got inside, my problems weren't over:


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How do I get out of the place? There are no signs at all. In the end I followed people who went round to the right of this photo, and where I no longer needed it, found this sign:


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Why do people have such difficulty documenting things?

Had more time shopping at the same place I went to 6 months ago, this time finding most of what I was looking for:


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On the way out, paying for the parking, I had a strange experience: the small print was in German, something about a „Stellplatz“ (parking place). Why that? Checked when the next person paid, and it came up in English (though round here Chinese would have been more appropriate). I was so surprised that I didn't read what the text said.

By this time Yvonne had called and told me that she would be ready round 15:00, so back to the hospital via Kew and what I knew as Studley Park, though now it seems to be called Yarra Bend Park. I saw the parking space too late, so just carried on through Fitzroy and Abbotsford. Did I remember the way past the old Abbotsford Brewery? Yes, I did, but I had forgotten what I had been looking for last time I was there, so on to the hospital, where I found one of the most emetic parking meters I have seen for a long time:


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I had to give my rego (license plate number!). What if I don't know it? While I was thinking about this, another bloke came along with exactly the same problem. He had to go back and check his license plate. I ended up paying—$8 for two hours!—and discovered that I had absolutely nothing to confirm that I had paid. No printout, no transaction number. I paid by credit card, so in case of doubt I could use that, but the other bloke, when he came back, paid by coins. He had nothing to prove that he ever paid! If he had made a typo in his rego, he would have no recourse. I gave him a card in case he ran into trouble.

Could he run into trouble? Definitely! The three cars to the left of the machine all had tickets:


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Looking at the first, though, it seems that it was justified: it had been issued over three hours previously.

Walked around a bit, and by chance found a Fromagerie across the road in Bridge Street at what proved to be the Richmond Hill Cafe larder. Took a look inside, and how about that, they have a number of interesting cheeses, all at prices that are easy to resist. It was interesting to note how many were related to places with which we have a connection: Sankt Gallen, Pyrénées, Somerset, Adelaide Hills. It might be interesting for next time we're here.

Then back into the hospital, where I waited until 16:35 for a call before finally asking at the reception whether they had my correct phone number. 6 months ago they had had the old number, and though I had asked them to correct it, it's quite possible that they had not done so. But no, Yvonne had only just been finished; it seems that there was some issue that delayed the start of her examination.

The results, though, were good: no change. So whatever it is, it's not malignant, and we won't have to come back here in the foreseeable future.

Off at 17:25 into this horrible Melbourne rush-hour traffic. After the pain we had last time, I decided to follow the advice of the GPS navigator after all. And how about that, it took me down some relatively empty roads and dumped me at the east end of Flinders Street, where signs told us that it would take us forever to get to St. Kilda Road, all of 600 m away.

Damn that! Clearly I need to take routes that aren't on the standard maps. North via Carlton? Turned up Exhibition St and got as far as Victoria St, where the navigator wanted to take me through the next set of immobile cars. Made it as far as Cardigan St and finally made it up to Grattan St, all relatively quickly. But they have blocked Grattan St west of Bouverie St, so I had to go down to Bouverie St, meaning that I ended up at Elizabeth St with the only option to go in the wrong way.

From there on things went to hell. Note to self: avoid Flemington Road like the plague in rush hours. Finally we made it through, and we were taken back to the bloody West Gate Bridge. By the time we got over the bridge, it was 18:35—70 minutes for 11 km, and 25 minutes longer than last time. A brisk walk would have been faster.

Things weren't over then either. Yvonne wanted to stop for a toilet break somewhere round Laverton, and I discovered that the “service area” was on an exit ramp without corresponding entrance. I had to leave the freeway area altogether and observe a roundabout at its absolute worst: cars from three different directions all wanted only one exit, onto the freeway. The ones coming from the rightmost road had no difficulties. The ones from the middle, which entered the third road, filled any gaps. And we, in the third road, had no chance.


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Set off in other directions, but everything seemed blocked. I later looked at the map and discovered that this appears to be deliberate: lots of streets that are blocked in the middle. Somehow this happens too often round Melbourne.

Finally went several kilometres and ended up at the same roundabout, but on the first road, where we got through with no difficulty. Why do people build roundabouts? Once upon a time earthworks were cheaper than traffic lights, but I can't believe that that's still the case.

Finally back home at 20:30 after a little over 3 hours. 11½ hours away from home, 5½ on the road, and 5 hours at the hospital for Yvonne. How I hate Melbourne traffic!

Another minor bit of good news: the car fridge worked without incident. I wonder why.


Wednesday, 17 October 2018 Dereel Images for 17 October 2018
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Catch-up day
Topic: general Link here

I try to make this diary as transparent as possible when reporting in it; I describe other things, but not the diary. That's not always possible, of course: it takes time, and today was particularly bad, since I had both Monday's flower photos and yesterday's trip to Melbourne to document.

It took me all day. It would probably even take an hour to read: if I can estimate correctly, it's worth about 15 pages of print. Is it worth it? Yes, I think so, not for now, but for later, and probably only for me.


Not my Prime Minister
Topic: politics, language, opinion Link here

Decades ago I learnt Malay—I thought. Recently I visited Malay grammar and discovered things that I had never really understood: apart from prefixes and suffixes to extend nouns, it also has infixes.

And today I'm reminded of that when I hear the name of the Australian Prime Minister de jour: Scott Morrison. He already has the distinction of being the only Australian Prime Minister whom I can't recognize at sight. I still can't:

But recently he has come out with statements that blow my mind. He suggested that Australia might be open to follow Donald Trump's stupid ideas and move the embassy to Jerusalem, and also reject the JCPOA. As a non-signatory, Australia can't do more in the case of the JCPOA.

But what absolute stupidity! Does the man have a brain? There I'm reminded of infixes: the infix is “is”, and the main word is “Moron”.

Discussing this on IRC, the opinion was that he wanted to sway the results of the Wentworth by-election this coming weekend. It seems that 13% of the 100,000 odd electors are of Jewish background, and this might help them win the election.

Win the election, lose the plot. How many Muslims will be infuriated by this statement? I'm hearing them already. There's a Federal election coming up soon. When? We follow the British system where the Prime Minister can decide on a date that seems propitious, but various analysts think it'll be some time round May. 2.6% of Australians are Muslims (compared to only 0.4% for Jews, for what difference that makes). If their leaders get up and condemn Morrison's party for being anti-Muslim, as they're almost certain to do, it will have a much stronger effect on the Federal election.

I would be fully in agreement; since the current Government came to power in 2013, I can't see any good things that they have done. I'm sure that they're there, but none of them have benefited me. On the other hand, the National Broadband Network has fared badly during their tenure, and their continued violation of human rights, such as the Nauru Prison Camp, leave a bad taste in my mouth. About the only thing that speaks in their favour is the opposition doesn't seem to be much better.

For once, my opinions aren't that different from the mainstream, as this article, this one and this one show. Sadly, Australia's image abroad is projected by the likes of Morrison.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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