I was stumped for a good picture today and decided to share this one of two of the cameras that David had in his collection. Both of these belonged to family members. The Kodak Brownie I believe belonged to David’s parents the battered Agfa on the right belonged to our mum. She used it to take photos of Naomi and I as small children. This was actually the first camera I ever used myself. Mum showed me how to hold it and take the pictures. She would change the film for me. I remember that it was 120 film and you would get about 8 photos to the roll. I was probably six or seven years old when I was first allowed to use this camera.
I could not possibly choose just one picture to represent 2017. I did take a lot that I liked even though I didn’t travel much this year. I’ve enjoyed taking pictures of flowers both in my garden and in parks. I have been trying to learn to take better pictures of birds and of course my pets are frequently photographed.
I’ve also documented the changes that have been happening in my house during the past year. I have had a lot of work done outside and a lot of painting and decorating inside.
I turned sixty this year and continued to enjoy my doll collecting hobby and my love of steam engines and railways. I was lucky enough to visit the Puffing Billy Railway near Melbourne in June. In the winter we had some snow in Geeveston and also a visit from the film crew of the ABC TV series “Rosehaven”.
Another thing I’ve greatly enjoyed is participating in Cee’s Photo Challenges, it has given me the chance to photograph things that I would not normally pay attention to and to have fun playing with editing software.
Today I read an article saying that many older people were in danger of outliving their savings because they chose an extravagant lifestyle buying luxury cars or going on cruises.
Apparently seniors should be saving that money to take care of end of life health issues and of course there should be money left over to leave to their children.
“There’s an element of spending the inheritance — kids in their 40s often might be doing it pretty tough with mortgages and school fees, when parents are living it up,”
states the article.
This annoyed me quite a lot. Well, it made me hopping mad actually. I don’t have children myself but if I did of course I’d want to leave them something for themselves as well as enough to take care of funeral expenses. However, I would very much resent the idea that I was selfishly spending their inheritance every time I wanted to do something fun.
Of course it is silly to live beyond your income no matter what your age is but if retirees have a bit of money put by why shouldn’t they enjoy it? They had mortgages and school fees to pay once and probably went without holidays and other things they wanted for the sake of their families. There might be just a few years before health issues mean that they can no longer travel so whiny adult children complaining about mum and dad wasting their money on frivolities don’t sit well with me I’m afraid.
I think this annoyed me all the more because some time ago I read another piece about how older people in Australian cities should move out of their houses into smaller accomodation so that they could be demolished to make room for more townhouses and apartments. Apparently wanting to stay in the family home is also selfish. So called experts tell us we should “de clutter” our lives which really means “Get rid of all your old stuff because it’s a waste of space.” It doesn’t matter whether it means anything to you or not. “You can take a picture of it.”
The elderly seem can’t take a trick these days. We are expected to work longer but jobs are harder to get. Pensions are barely enough and now even those who have managed to save enough for a comfortable retirement are being accused of selfishness. The only ones who don’t have to worry are elderly politicians. If they are voted out of office they will get some nice cushy job offered to them or they can retire with a nice big pension and lots of perks.
Do I sound like a grumpy old lady? Is it any wonder?
It’s the time of year when I start thinking about Christmas cooking. I haven’t bothered to bake much this year but I love making our Christmas pudding, Christmas Cake and mince pies. Today seemed like a good day to make a start by preparing the Christmas Pudding. I made sure when I ordered my groceries that I had all the necessary ingredients but there was one thing I forgot. This recipe calls for fresh breadcrumbs and I always prefer to make them myself in my blender.
Not long after David and I were married mum got me a blender for Christmas. It was a good one with a glass jug and many settings for blending, mixing and chopping. I had it for years.
Finally, about three years or so ago it went to Appliance Heaven. I decided that rather than buying another blender I’d like to get a food processor with a large bowl and dough hooks that would be useful for making pastry and other things that I find tiring to do by hand. My little electric mixer was even older so my plan was to buy something to replace them both and I started to research what I wanted to buy. I never buy any kind of gadget or appliance without reading up on all the available models to decide which is the best value for money and most suited to my needs.
However, David decided to be helpful and he went to our local hardware store and bought a blender. It was a cheap model and not what I wanted at all. I felt annoyed because I didn’t feel I could justify buying a food processor now we had this blender. I couldn’t take it back to the shop because David could not find the receipt and then he got sick so we had more important things to worry about. Anyway I decided that I was not going to use the blender and I didn’t. I can’t remember what I did for breadcrumbs for the next two years. I think I must have bought pre-made ones. I can be very stubborn when I want. I bought a soup maker around that time and that did perfectly well for blending liquids but it didn’t chop or crumb.
This morning when I lined up all the ingredients for the pudding I realised that I did not have any breadcrumbs. It was raining and it is a half hour walk to the shops. If I wanted breadcrumbs I was going to have to use that blender. I got it out of the cupboard. Everything was still wrapped in plastic as I’d never even opened the box.
It would be lovely if I could say that the blender turned out to be great but I can’t. I’m sorry. I hated it as much as I knew I would when I first saw it. It had a plastic jug and felt too light in my hands. Instead of numerous labelled function buttons it had just three and did not say what they were best for. I made my breadcrumbs only adding a slice of bread at a time in case I overloaded it. When I was finished I carefully washed it out and repacked it in its box with the plastic wrap and the instruction sheet. If I can possibly avoid it I will never use it again.
I feel sorry that I was cross with David over this stupid purchase. It was just his way of buying things. If he needed camera or computer equipment he’d research it but anything else he’d go and find the first thing that looked suitable and buy it without asking a lot of questions about it. Like a lot of men he didn’t like to shop much whereas I probably over think everything. I still don’t have a new food processor but luckily my little old mixer, now 47 years old is still going and hopefully will survive the Christmas cooking period.
Like many pet owners I enjoy funny animal films on YouTube. Who doesn’t like the funny antics of cats and cute kittens? Cole and Marmalade is a great series about the lives of two very spoiled cats and the stuff they get up to. But the other night, while having a cat video watching session, I became quite concerned about the number of films of cats that seemed quite distressed and how little the owners seemed to care.
Yes it is funny when your cat accidentally falls into the bath. It does happen. At least one of mine has fallen in the tub due to being too curious about what I was doing in there. Some cats really hate water and don’t like being bathed but if they need it bathing them is not really cruel. Seeing a pet having an embarrassing fail is funny in the same way it is funny when a human slips on a banana skin.
However, allowing a small child to drag the cat into the bath against its will certainly is cruel, not to mention being a very stupid idea. I saw this last night and could not believe the child’s parents were allowing it let alone filming it. The poor cat was really upset.
So was the cat whose owner thought it would be fun to stand in the middle of her pool nursing her cat who obviously did not want to be there. I hope she got scratched.
Yes cats can swim but that is not an excuse to throw your cat into the pool as I saw one person do. He just tossed it like it was a toy. That was mean!
It seems to me that there are a lot of people out there doing stuff to their pets just to make a funny film for YouTube. The cat is scared and runs away and in the background you hear hearty laughter from the humans. Well they are not funny! If people want to make fools of themselves, hurt themselves for their five minutes of fame fine. I don’t care. But don’t do it to your cat!
As I grow older I find myself critical of many more things than I used to. I’ve never been a great fan of change unless it is a change that I have chosen to make myself but now there are so many things that I don’t like that people would probably say I’m a grumpy old lady. Well I don’t really care. I think one of the advantages of getting older is that I don’t feel that I have to apologise for my beliefs all the time but I try not to be rude so I often find myself biting my tongue when I want to say something.
So what am I critical of? Here are just a few items on my rant list.
- Governments and businesses who put profits ahead of people and punish you just for being poor.
- Most modern architecture, and I am not shy about sharing my dislike of ugly buildings with anyone.
- Greedy developers demolishing lovely old homes and building multi storey apartments or filling our waterfront spaces with ugly buildings where there used to be public spaces.
- Films that are all action and no plot. Especially remakes that don’t get the point of the original film. eg “The Italian Job” .
- Bad remakes of TV shows I used to like.
- TV reality shows. You know I hate them, that’s not a secret.
- So called fitness shows where the participants are made to do ridiculous things like hauling planes and are humiliated in front of others. See above.
- Pop music made after about 1995, but that is probably a generational thing. Mum didn’t like our generation’s music either.
- People who can’t speak a sentence without a four letter word in it. I’m not saying I never swear but it’s so much more common now and it is ugly.
- Barbie dolls that are all coloured plastic and no proper clothing. Barbie is a fashion doll! She’s supposed to have clothes.
- Making Doctor Who a woman. We already know that Time Lords can be women why does The Doctor have to be one?
- The idea of making James Bond a woman. I never liked the franchise anyway as I don’t like the character but I don’t want to see a female version of him. That’s just silly and Fleming would be spinning in his grave.
- People who let their children run around and pull things of shelves in shops and then don’t tidy up after them.
- Restaurants that serve you a gigantic plate with practically no food on it. I like food to look attractive but I want to eat it not exhibit it.
- People who ignore their companions in favour of their phones. A phone won’t cry over you when you are dead people.
I could go on but I won’t. There are lots of terrible things happening in the world that I am angry about and critical of the people who let them happen or make them happen. These are some of life’s lesser annoyances compared to those.
Recently I have been watching some old rail films on YouTube. I often do. I find a lot of interesting documentaries online but these have been particularly special. I have been watching old films of steam trips in South Australia in the 1980s and 1990s. Naomi, David and I travelled on many of them ourselves and seeing that old footage makes me recall what good times we had.
I always look back on those days with a great deal of pleasure. We loved the steam engines and old carriages and we loved visiting different places around South Australia and western Victoria. What I had almost forgotten though is how good our South Australian broad gauge locomotives and their Victorian cousins sounded. They have wonderful deep-throated whistles very different to the high-pitched whistles that narrow gauge locomotives usually have. I love to hear a locomotive working hard climbing a hill and even the occasional wheel slip.
It all came back as I watched these old films taken by fellow rail fans probably with a big old video camera originally or maybe even Super 8 film. I remembered how good it was to smell the burning coal on a crisp winter morning and to sit back in your seat and listen to the clickety clack of wheels on rails. I remembered how we’d sometimes stand in a doorway or on an end platform to enjoy the sounds better. I remembered other things too; the box lunches we used to get, cold chicken and ham, some cheese, a pickle, a bread roll and a slice of sultana cake. The visits to the Bar Car where you could buy a Freddo Frog for five cents or a cup of tea for a dollar. Often we would congregate in the baggage van that served as bar car and braver souls would stand by the open door while others would sit amongst the boxes of potato chips, chocolate, beer and soft drinks and chat. It was a social event. There was a lot of trust in those early days too. You could leave your belongings on your seat and know they would be safe.
A few times in the films I spotted people who I used to know, volunteers or regular passengers, people I haven’t seen in 25 years or more but hadn’t forgotten. Naomi and I still have a laugh about the misadventures of some of them. The volunteer tour organiser who managed to miss his own train, the rail fans that strayed a bit too close to the locomotive while it was being watered and got an unexpected shower, the poor fellow who had his sleeping bag pinched on a very cold night when a bunch of us were sleeping on the train. Naomi has a very funny story about how she and David nearly missed the train themselves in some country town and had to run after it.
We participated in some special events too. We saw the “Flying Scotsman” on tour from England. We saw locomotives from New South Wales notably 3801. We saw and rode behind several locomotives from Victoria even travelling from Adelaide to Melbourne a couple of times.
I wish that I really did have a time machine so I could go back and do those trips again because in the real world it is no longer possible but being able to watch them on YouTube is the next best thing.
Here is a short video from steamsounds AU. It is about seven minutes long and while for last couple of minutes you can’t see anything much just listen.