The 3 am Rant: The Look At Me Generation

I’ve never been a big fan of having my photo taken, even on holidays it is rare for me to be photographed unless I am with friends who want a picture. I don’t feel that the world is missing out because there are few photos of me especially now that I’m way past my best. However, it seems that I’m in the minority as the whole world seems intent on immortalising themselves on social media.

Now it seems to me that many people have become so obsessed with selfies that they travel the world photographing themselves without actually noticing the scenery. In Singapore  we went for a ride on a sampan in the shopping centre at Marina Bay Sands. Two young girls with a small child sat in front of us and honestly I think they wasted their money on the ride as they spent the entire trip taking photos of each other and the child. Not once did they look at where they were going.

Selfies on the sampan

Everywhere we went we encountered tourists being photographed or taking selfies in front of tourist attractions. Well of course at a popular attraction whether it be Gardens on the Bay in Singapore or the Sydney Opera House you are going to have to deal with crowds and it’s almost impossible to get a photo without some people in it. Even forty years ago when I first visited Sydney there were tourists who would ask us if we’d take a photo of them with their cameras. I don’t really mind that so much.  It’s a nice  holiday memory. Now people don’t just do a quick pose in front of the attraction though. They have to strike a pose, jump in the air, wave their arms around or pose like they are in that famous scene from “Titanic”.  And it’s not just one photo, they have to have dozens. Then there are the ones with the selfie sticks who march around getting into everyone elses’ picture without so much as an “I beg your pardon.”

Taking photos at Garden’s on the Bay.

I”ve noticed that people who actually enjoy photography are a bit more polite, they take their pictures and then move on so someone else can have a go but the selfie brigade notice nothing but their own faces. It does  make me mad that so many of these people are bad mannered and inconsiderate of others but it also makes me think that so many of them are missing the point of travel by focussing so much on themselves and not what’s going on around them.

 

image 520 class loco

The Best Times of Our Lives

image 520 class loco

SAR 520 class “Sir Malcolm Barclay Harvey” at Adelaide Railway Station circa 1977

I found this post that I wrote a couple of years ago so I decided to rewrite it a bit and run it again for those who came in late as they say in the Phantom comics. Feel free to skip it if you have read it before.

Naomi and I went to the Hobart Model Railway Show. It is usually held at the Tasmanian Transport Museum in Glenorchy.  It is always a busy day for them and they fired up their M class steam locomotive on the Sunday.

Seeing a live steam engine made us nostalgic. We spent a lot of our teenage years traveling on steam excursions around South Australia. Naomi said that she thought that those were probably the best times we had in our lives. I tend to agree. We were so lucky that we were in the right place at the right time to do that.

It all started when I was about thirteen. We were in Adelaide with mum one day when I saw a big sign advertising a school holiday trip on a steam train. I asked mum if she would take us as my birthday treat. She agreed and we had such a good time we wanted to go again. The next year mum let us go by ourselves and soon we were regularly doing trips on Saturday or Sunday afternoons around the suburbs.

I remember how in 1972 we got a brochure in the mail with the latest trips being run and  one of them was a weekend trip to Victor Harbour, a seaside town about 50 miles away from Adelaide. I was fifteen and we didn’t really expect that we would be allowed to go away overnight without an adult but we asked anyway. Much to our surprise mum said we could go if we could get someone older to go with us. We produced a seventeen year old cousin and that was acceptable. We took sleeping bags and slept in the carriages in the station yard. Can you imagine the horror of parents today if three teenage girls did that? Naomi was only thirteen. Rail fans, then and now, were predominantly men a lot older than we were. However, in all the time we went on trips together we never felt unsafe or had any trouble with men. Most were just surprised that two girls would be interested in trains.

After that trip we went as often as we could afford. Once I turned sixteen we were allowed to go without a chaperone although our cousin sometimes came along too. At that time there were still many country towns that could be reached by rail and as we were too young to drive it was an ideal way to see the countryside in safety. We went to country shows and festivals like the Cornish Festival in the “copper triangle” of Moonta, Wallaroo and Kadina and the Orange Festival in the Riverland district visiting towns like Loxton and Berri. We went on evening trips where there were “listening stops” where everyone could get out of the train usually somewhere in the countryside. You stumbled into a dark paddock and waited while the train reversed back down the track a mile or so and then came forward working hard and whistling. Most people said that for recording the conditions were better at night. We enjoyed standing in the night air listening although we never became avid steam sound recorders. Sometimes we’d stay on the train and watch the people instead especially if it was raining.

Sometimes we went on dinner trips where we’d  be served a meal in a 1920s Pullman dining car and other times it would be a run round less used suburban lines to factories or to the docks. When we were a little older we visited wineries although we were always more interested in the trains than the wine. We went on other weekend trips too and even joined the Australian Railway Historical Society. Naomi reminded me how at the meeting where we were accepted as members we got a round of applause when our names were read out. We are not sure if that was because we were girls or because we actually turned up at the meeting as most new members never seemed to be there when their names were called.

We enjoyed the meetings which were held once a month on a week night We’d catch a bus, train or tram down to Goodwood where the meetings used to be held in a hall there. There were a lot of reports read out but the one we always looked forward to was the Tour Manager’s Report. This was the one where you would find out what trips were being planned for the future. We always wanted to go on all of them of course. After the business part of the evening there would be an interval when we’d buy a drink and browse in the book sales area. We could buy books and videos or souvenirs like postards, teaspoons, badges and T-shirts. The sales were one way that the society raised money for their restoration projects. After the break we’d have entertainment, usually a slide show or films, sometimes professionally made but more often than not made by members. Many were excellent, occasionally they were terrible but everyone was polite and always applauded anyway. We still laugh over the memory of the awful slides a member brought of his trip to England. There were numerous slides of clouds taken from the plane and a lot of his railway photos were out of focus. We had a really hard time not laughing.

Traditionally the evening ended at the Pie Cart in front of the Adelaide Station where those of us catching public transport home usually ended up buying a hot drink or snack. Occasionally once we got to know people we’d be offered rides back to the city. I have one hazy memory of several of us squashed in to a Volkswagon Beetle with our bags, a picture someone had bought and Naomi somehow squashed onto someone’s knee in the back because she was the smallest.

621 Adelaide Station

SAR Pacific 621 at Adelaide station

I can still remember the sheer excitement I felt on the morning of a trip. We’d get to the city early and would run up to the end of the platform to watch the locomotive arriving. We were not the only ones, there was usually a crowd of other rail fans with cameras and families with children doing the same thing. “Look, there’s the smoke.” someone would say. “There’s the whistle, here she comes.” and soon we’d see the engine and tender reversing into the station and backing onto the train.

We’d stand on the end platforms of the old wooden carriages or stick our heads out of the windows risking getting soot in our eyes. Many rail fans wore goggles but we never did. Sometimes we took a packed lunch and a thermos of tea which we frequently seemed to break. Other times we bought box lunches usually consisting of a bit of chicken, a bit of ham, piece of cheese, bread roll and a pickle followed by a slab of fruit cake. We still call that particular light fruit cake “railway cake” when we see it. If we were still hungry we could buy sweets, potato chips and drinks from the baggage car later.

Those were such great days, we met lots of friendly people, saw places, laughed a lot and learned new things. You really could not ask for more than that.

M Class steam locomotive and train. Tasmanian Transport Museum.

M Class steam locomotive and train. Tasmanian Transport Museum.

 

The Great Australian Pie

This is a piece I first posted in December 2014 and I thought that I’d rerun it. In Australia we don’t have a National Pie Day like they do in the USA. (It was on 23 January in case you missed it) We probably should because Australians love their meat pies. So here is my edited post on The Great Australian Pie.

meat pie and tomato sauce by freeaussiestock.com is licensed under a Meat pie and sauce. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

meat pie and tomato sauce by freeaussiestock.com is licensed under a Meat pie and sauce.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

I saw an item on the news about how Australian entrepreneurs are trying to introduce Americans to the good old Aussie pie. It was a fun story and reminded me of the time back in the eighties when I used to have penfriends in the USA. That was how I learned that Americans don’t eat meat pies the way we do. I still find that hard to grasp  Pies have been part of my life ever since we first came to Australia and I guess I just thought that everyone ate pies.  I thought pies would be something that would be familiar to Americans who are always talking about pie, for dessert at least.

One of the would be pie sellers even had what I thought was an Adelaide specialty, the pie floater. A pie floater is a meat pie turned upside down and served in a bowl of pea soup and topped with tomato sauce. It looks pretty fearsome, bright green soup and bright red sauce. I didn’t try one until David bought me one at the Pie Cart outside the Adelaide Railway Station when we were first going out together. If you can get over how it looks it’s really good to eat. When my American penfriend Christie came to visit we took her to the Pie Cart too and she bravely tried one and admitted that she quite liked it. The Pie Cart at the Adelaide station was great. It wasn’t the only one in the city, there was another at the Town Hall but it was the one that I went to most often. In those days it was one of the few places open late at night. It was not uncommon to see well dressed people who had come from the Festival Centre or the Casino eating a Pie Floater at the counter next to a worker on a late shift. You might even see an MP from the nearby Parliament House after a late sitting. We often stopped there for a hot drink before catching the last train home in the days before we had a car.  When I worked late at the station it was a handy place to get a drink or a snack in my late break.

On our last visit to Adelaide I was upset to see that the Pie Cart had gone. The Casino is located in the upper part of the railway station and apparently I believe that management had wanted it gone for some years but what did it in the end ws the extension of the city tram line down North Terrace past the station. Still I feel sure that the pie cart could have been relocated nearby.  I believe you can still get a Pie Floater at one of the other Pie Carts but for me it’s not the same.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowley%27s_pie_cart

 

Pie floater in Adelaide SA.jpg
Pie floater in Adelaide SA“. Licensed under PD via Wikipedia.

The Sydney version of the Floater is a pie with mushy peas but I’ve never had that. I imagine it is similar. The place to get those is Harry’s Cafe de Wheels. The original Harry’s was and still is in Wooloomooloo but now it is a franchise and operates from several locations around Sydney. I have yet to visit a Harry’s. Maybe on my next trip.

In the 1970s this advertisement for Holden cars featured a catchy jingle with the lyrics “We love football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars.” most people soon learned the words by heart.

Everyone has their favourite brand of pie and they can vary from state to state.  In my childhood we had Balfour’s and Gibbs. Later we discovered Four’n’Twenty pies and later, in Adelaide, Vili’s pies started up. Vili’s make very nice pies. The owner has a Hungarian background and their goulash pies are the best.  Here in Tasmania we have National Pies and they are good pies too.

Cheap pies don’t have much meat in them, it’s nearly all gravy and will drip all over you as soon as you bite into it. I prefer a chunkier pie myself with lots of meat and not much gravy. Well actually what I really like is a Cornish Pasty but we’re talking about pies right now. Real Aussies like sauce in or on their pies. I’m not a real Aussie and I’m not a big fan of tomato sauce so I don’t.

If you can’t get pies in your part of the world here is a link to a recipe on Taste.com.au

Pies:

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/8984/aussie+meat+pies

https://www.theupsidedownunder.blog/pie-floater/

 

 

 

 

Snapshot Sunday: Ovation of the Seas and a Blogging Break

Ovation of the Seas Hobart 2017

As you read this post Naomi and I will be jetting off to Sydney to begin our cruise to Singapore on Ovation of the Seas. We will be away for three weeks and while we will try to check in to the blogs when we can we don’t really want to buy expensive ships internet for the duration of the voyage so we won’t be posting about the trip until after we return.  I have scheduled a few posts to appear while we’re gone but obviously we won’t be participating in challenges and there may be delays in our answering comments.

We’ll be back around the middle of April.

Snapshot Sunday: Vintage Cameras

David’s parents’ Kodak box camera and our mum’s Agfa.

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.

Weekly Photo Challenge: 2017 Favourites

Favourites

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.

 

The Three A.M Rant: The Selfish Generation

via Daily Prompt: Age

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.

Celebrity Solstice_1024x768

Waiting to cruise

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.

http://www.themercury.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/wealth-risks-amid-the-rise-of-big-spenders-aged-in-their-70s/news-story/6ae59a64cc823eee166c5885ba183922

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.”

Gray Tce., Rosewater.jpg

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?