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.

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?





The 3am Rant: Some Things Are Just Not Funny

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!

Polly centre of frame.


Critical: Let’s Get Critical

via Daily Prompt: Critical

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.

Steve Willis, Michelle Bridges (17599676481)

  • 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.

Bangalore Wikipedian on phone 5 closeup

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.

Daily Prompt: Lifestyle Choices

via Daily Prompt: Lifestyle

Lifestyle is a very modern day concept. We are all searching for the perfect way to live our lives. We envy the lifestyles of some and disapprove of others. Perhaps, after religion, lifestyle choices may be one of the most contentious issues on the planet.

The choices of whom to marry, whether to have children, where to live, what work you will do and what faith you choose to follow can all be lifestyle choices that may upset others.

Even in the relatively wealthy western world we may not be allowed to make those choices ourselves.

Nobody would choose to live in poverty. Who chooses hunger and homelessness as a lifestyle?

Tributes left for Wayne “Mouse” Perry who was murdered near this spot earlier this year.

Unemployment is not a lifestyle that most people would choose. The world is changing, jobs that existed fifty, even twenty years ago are gone forever.  Research suggests that in the next fifty years even more jobs will be lost because of changes in industry. That is going to change the lifestyles of many and we need to start thinking about how it is to be managed.

War is not a lifestyle that anyone would choose either. One day you are going about your business with a home, a family and a job and the next it is all gone and you are fleeing for your life possibly to end up spending your days in a camp denied the chance to start again. How I would love the politicians responsible to experience that lifestyle and see how they like it.

Lifestyle choices; sounds a bit of a joke now doesn’t it?



Gray Must Be The New Black

via Daily Prompt: Gray

Gray, or grey as I usually spell it is a neutral shade that I had no objection to seeing until it started turning up everywhere.

I can see the sense in using neutrals in decorating and in fashion but in decor particularly interior designers seem to have become obsessed with grey.

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These days when something becomes popular on television everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon regardless of their own taste or perhaps because some people feel that they have to follow trends. I don’t know.

I have been spending a lot of time browsing real estate listings and grey is becoming the predominant colour that home interiors are being painted. I consider this a modern look and I don’t like it when it is used on an old home. Some houses have been completely repainted in grey even the kitchen. It feels as if all the character has been washed out of the home.Image result for minimalist living room ideas

I understand that this style is called minimalist. It makes me feel depressed. If I were to find a house that I really liked and it was painted entirely in grey the first thing I would have to do would be to repaint it.

Recently I had my own house repainted on the outside. I chose a neutral cream colour for the weatherboard similar to what it had before but I wanted a bit of colour on the window sills and when the painter gave me a paint chart I marked a colour called Manor Red. I obviously did not mark it clearly enough and came home one day to find all my sills had been painted grey! At one time I probably would have shrugged that off but the recent outbreak of greyness everywhere made me determined that not a drop of grey paint would touch my home. I called the painter and had him repaint the sills so all was well.


converted wharf shed Port Adelaide

The Adelaide I Knew

Before I came to Tasmania I lived in South Australia. My family arrived there in 1966 and I grew up living in the suburbs of Adelaide. I had come there from England and even at the age of eight I had a strong sense of place. I much preferred my new home in Elizabeth, north of Adelaide, to the grey, ugly place I had come from. I liked the feeling of open space, the wide streets and the flowering trees. When I was taken to visit Adelaide for the first time I liked the parks and gardens and the dignified old buildings I saw around the city.

As I grew up I loved the city even more and spent a lot of time in the city parks and on North Terrace, home to the museum, art gallery and the State Library. In the seventies the Festival Theatre was built and although I thought it was a little odd-looking and had weird art pieces dotted around it I was proud of it. It was finished three months before the Sydney Opera House. Over the years I lived there I attended many concerts and plays at the Festival Theatre both indoors and out.

The Festival Theatre complex is three theatres, Concert Hall, The Playhouse and The Space. .

The Festival Theatre complex is three theatres, Concert Hall, The Playhouse and The Space. .

I enjoyed browsing through the many department stores in Rundle Street, Harris Scarfe, Myers with its bargain basement, David Jones the posh store with marble tiles where a man played a grand piano near the entrance and the basement food hall smelled of baking, Cox Foys had its roof top fun fair and views of the city and suburbs and of course John Martins, the Pageant Store, which had the best toy department.  As a teenager I was introduced to the eastern end of Rundle Street by my stepfather. There were European style cafes and interesting little shops selling imported goods. Central Market at the other end of King William Street was another fascinating place. Later when Rundle Street became a pedestrian mall it was fun to ride the glass elevator up to the top floor of Cox Foys and stroll in the mall enjoying the buskers performing there although you did have to dodge Hare Krishna disciples selling their books as well. At least they were easy to spot.

This fountain has been moved a couple of times.

This fountain has been moved a couple of times.

Exterior of the Regent Arcade off Rundle Mall

Exterior of the Regent Arcade off Rundle Mall  in 2011

In 1985 Adelaide hosted its first Formula 1 Grand Prix. It was held in the parklands at the eastern end of the city and for the next twelve years we were regular attendees enjoying not only the racing but the associated events and the carnival atmosphere that the event brought to our city. I was working for the government operated transport system by then so I was in the city every day, sometimes working at the Adelaide Railway station. It was handy as I could spend an hour or so browsing in the stores after work or run up to Central Market for fresh fruit and veg before going home. On late shifts I’d only have to pop outside on to North Terrace to buy a coffee at the Pie Cart.

Pit Straight Adelaide c1989. The Start / Finish line was about where the building on the left is.

Pit Straight Adelaide c1989. The Start / Finish line was about where the building on the left is.

I can’t recall exactly when things started to change. I think it was when a lot of older buildings started to be demolished or to accidentally burn down while their future use was being disputed. I know I felt it was the beginning of the end of Adelaide and me when we lost the Grand Prix to Melbourne and when I heard that John Martins department store was to be closed.

Since then I have seen a lot more unwelcome changes to the city that I once loved. The beachfront suburbs are almost unrecognisable to me now as the old houses are replaced by large, square townhouses with tinted windows and no gardens.  “Johnnies” is gone, Cox Foys is long gone, Harris Scarfe survives but their old building has been demolished and the new stores are tiny and seem to have little in them.

The Festival Theatre complex is getting a revamp which it probably needs but I feel a little sad that the weird sculptures will be gone and the amphitheatre where we sat on the hot pebbles and watched local bands play seems to have disappeared underneath the new walkway that goes over the river. I do quite like that though. I watched cricket at Adelaide Oval on television recently and it does look good. I think I’d enjoy seeing a match there but I liked the old grandstand with its red roof and the old gates at the front entrance as well. Luckily the old scoreboard is heritage listed so that can’t be touched nor the big old Moreton Bay Fig trees nearby.

Adelaide Oval

The new entrance to Adelaide Oval

Another thing that I do like is that the tram line which used to go to the seaside suburb of Glenelg has now been extended through the city and down to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Not only that but you can ride from there to the city for free.

The old Glenelg tram line has been extended.

The old Glenelg tram line has been extended.

The biggest shock I had on my recent visit to Adelaide was at the railway station. That has changed so much over the past fifty years and even the past twenty since I worked there. The Pie Cart is gone, not considered good enough for the patrons of the Casino or nearby hotels. The Casino has been inside the upper floors of the station for many years but since I was there last it has expanded into the foyer, Marble Hall, we called it where the ballroom scene from Gallipoli was filmed and where, some years before that David and I had our wedding photos taken. It was weird to sit at the bar with my sister-in-law Louise and remember that and to look around to the stairs that used to lead to the offices where David worked.

Down at Port Adelaide things have changed too, most of the industry has gone and so have most of the ships. Port Adelaide has become home to several excellent museums which is great but I was angry the other day to hear that the big shed where the market has been for so many years will be demolished. No doubt something ugly and expensive will be built to replace it.

converted wharf shed Port Adelaide

A converted wharf shed now houses a weekend market.

I’ll never forget the happy times I had in Adelaide and I’ll always visit there, at least in the cooler months, because I have family and friends that I want to see but I don’t feel that it is the same place that it used to be.  I suppose I have changed too but even if I had stayed there I know I would not like the changes that have happened so I’m glad I left.

I started to write this post intending it to be a rant. I had just heard about the demolition of the wharf shed and although I was half expecting it I was still very angry about it. As  I wrote more I became more nostalgic for the city I knew. My last trip back reminded me of the things that I liked about Adelaide which is alway at its nicest in spring but I don’t feel the same way as I used to. I have never been divorced but perhaps this is what it feels like?

I believe that smaller cities like Adelaide and Hobart would do better to preserve the character they have rather than trying to become miniature versions of large cities like Sydney and Melbourne. I see scary signs of it happening in Hobart as well. Many people who read this may not agree with me, it’s progress, I know it is. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Hart’s Mill – Before and After

As I have often mentioned the built environment is a pet subject of mine. I am sure my family, friends and probably fellow bloggers get tired of my complaints about old, interesting buildings being replaced by ugly new ones, high-rise buildings being located in historic areas and  new buildings that I consider just plain ugly. It’s true that I cringe when I hear the word “redevelopment” and that I would like to boil most developers and real estate agents in their own snake oil. Of course I don’t think all redevelopment  or modern architecture is bad and I try to give credit when I see something good even though I think that parks and community spaces are usually a trade-off for more high-rise development.

I’ve posted a lot of photos of Port Adelaide on this blog in the past. David’s family has lived in or close to it for many years and David had a special fondness for it because of that. We often went there to look at the ships when it was a busy working port and later to visit the Sunday market in one of the old sheds. During that time the area became trendy and we were outraged to see apartments built right on the waterfront. On our last visit together we took a lot of photos of buildings we feared we would not see again.

Hart’s Mill was one of these places. It was up for redevelopment at that time and David and I were fearful that it would become more apartments for rich people.  This is how it looked in 2012.

On my most recent visit my sisters-in-law, Libby and Louise, took me down to the Port for breakfast and we visited a new cafe near Hart’s Mill. I am happy to say that although apartments are still a creeping menace in the Port Adelaide area Hart’s Mill is looking pretty good. It has been developed as a community space and landscaped. Renew Port Adelaide is active in the area and the cafe we went to was one of these. It is over the water with a great view of the river.

Here is Hart’s Mill today.

I still think that Port Adelaide and indeed most of the older Adelaide suburbs are in danger of being turned into carbon copies of each other full of large, concrete, steel and glass buildings. I would far prefer to see old buildings repurposed than demolished as without them cities lose their character. One high-rise on the waterfront today can turn into a dozen in less time than you would believe possible. Smaller cities such as Adelaide and Hobart don’t need to try to copy larger ones. Part of their charm is that they are different. I hadn’t intended for this to be a ranting post though. It’s nice to see something that I can feel happy about once in a while.

Further Reading

Our Port