Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

One of those people

You find me once again in East Melbourne, gazing out at the lights of the city, while I wait for Lindsey to get back so we can meet Freyja in the pub for dinner. I am working Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday this week. And the rosters keep changing, depending on what else is happening. I am very pleased that I took copies of the week's roster or I would have no idea when I was supposed to be where !

There are some people that I know, or whose blogs I read or who come to my attention in one way or another who always seem to have things go wrong. This happens, or that breaks, or this doesn't work or that falls apart, or whatever. 

I fear I may have become one of those very people.

You may remember that I was waiting for someone to come and fix my garage door. Eventually I rang them to see when they were going to come. There was a silence, then I was put on hold. Then someone else came on the line, followed by a worried silence and I was put on hold. Then someone who I think was probably more senior came on the line. He was a bit confused. And far as he was concerned, his technicians had come on the Wednesday when they had first rung me to see if I wanted a cancellation. They had done X, Y and Z and declared the motor of the door to be beyond repair. I queried this. I had definitely said that they couldn't come. What was wrong with the motor? And how, exactly, had they got in?

The bloke said he would call me back on the morrow. And he did. His technicians weren't sure quite what my issue was. They quite often went out to rural properties to fix shed doors and just let themselves in. I pointed out that I don't live on a rural property and don't have a shed. My garage door was shut and weighted down on the inside. You couldn't just lift the door with a finger or two. As far as I was concerned it was unauthorised access, especially since I had said not to go in without me there. Also, they might say they had done X, Y and Z but I didn't know that. I wasn't there!

So I have paid for a service for my garage door but still have a non-working motor. I have declined their offer of a discount for the new motor. I don't absolutely know that I need a new motor - though I wouldn't be surprised. I don't think the motor has been serviced in all the time that it's been installed. I'll have to find someone else to do it. I don't trust trades who break into your garage when they have been told not to.


Now. Let's consider Services Australia and the Aged Care Financial Assessment team. You may have thought that was more or less resolved. I thought it was, if not actually resolved, act least almost done. You can imagine my unchuffed response when I found a letter to Jim saying he needed to pay the basic daily fee of $58 plus an accommodation fee of $223 a day. This puts us right back to last October when they first sent a Demand with Menaces. That works out at around $9000 a month. I rang them the very next morning to see what was going on. We didn't earn that much a month last October. We still don't earn that amount a month.

They wouldn't talk to me. You haven't verified your identity. What do you mean, I haven't verified my identity? You've been talking to me since last October. Regularly. Often. You know who I am !  No, no. We need you to go into Centrelink and take your driver's licence to prove you are who you say you are. New Protocol.

So on Monday I did just that. Even more unchuffed. Then I went home and rang the Aged Care people again. Oh, he said. That's not right. It can't be that much (no S--t Sherlock. Of course it's not right!)  He then explained at length what was happening, what would be done and when it might be done. He did mention, in passing, that they had had a computer upgrade last October and that everything had gone to hell in a handcart (not quite how he expressed it!). He also said that the two letters we had received that said we didn't need to pay anything more than the daily fee were also wrong and that a new assessment would be done.


I have had to summon someone to clear out the gutters, at a proposed fee of $800. Jim used to ge them done yearly by the council but they don't offer that service any more and I don't think I qualify for assistance through My Aged Care. Anyone who thinks I am shinnying up ladders and doing the gutters myself has got rocks in their head. I am also, therefore, saving up for gutter guards so the gutters don't need to be done as often. Not that they have been done often, which is possibly why they are costing so much to get done now.

The Handygirls are going to do my windows. I simply don't have the time, or more probably the inclination to do them myself. There is always so much else to do.

Also, I need to arrange a new passport, arrange a new re-entry visa, complete my citizenship application, get a police check from the UK, get my Centrelink account linked to my MyGov account, apply for a Senior's healthcare card, sort out my (tiny and minute) British pension and ...

I think I need a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down!

Lindsey, Stella and I went out to the Wendouree shops on Thursday. The Japanese cafe has turned into an Indian cafe. We went to a general, all purpose cafe for lunch. Lindsey and Stella had avocado and smoked salmon on toast. I had a pork belly salad. It was delicious - definitely not what I was expecting in a cafe in Wendouree. So many delicious, tiny morsels. I'll definitely have that again.


Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Busy Week

My busy week has been successfully navigated.

Monday was a public holiday in honour of the birthdays of my Younger Brother and my Eldest Child, plus the first anniversary of Mother's move to Ballarat. I stayed in the flat in East Melbourne overnight, which had the significant advantage that on Tuesday morning I didn't need to leave until 07:00, rather than the 05:50 that I would have needed to leave if going to work from Mount Helen.

I had taken food with me for the evening, which had the alarming (😂) consequence of setting off the rather oversensitive smoke alarms in the flat. Fortunately, I know better than to open the door out onto the landing, which would have set off the building fire alarm and cost me a Very Large Amount of Money Indeed for calling out the fire brigade unnecessarily.  No, no. No opening of the front door for me. Instead, I put a pillow along the bottom of the door, to prevent smoke seepage, opened the balcony door as wide as it would go and put my frying pan out on the table on the balcony.

The sensitivity of the smoke alarms would annoy me if I lived there permanently, although I might run an extension cord out onto the balcony so I could "barbecue" my stuff on the induction hob properly. Or, of course, use an actual barbecue.

My view on Monday night:

On Tuesday night I stayed at Ghost's house. I had a take away for dinner. No smoke alarms to worry about. Ghost was pleased to see me. She was also pleased to see cat treats and for the electric snuggle blanket to be turned on.

My Tuesday night view:

That's a cat treat packet at her feet!

Wednesday night I was back at the flat then on Thursday night, having run out of cat feeders, I returned home after work

Thursday night view:

It was busy at work during the week. I am not used to working full time any more but it wasn't too troublesome, just a bit tiring. Plus, of course, it was only a four day week. The individual days were quite long, though. It was a bit like being at SHU in October, only no students and no classes. Just the constant jangle of the telephone and lots of people milling about.

I was quite glad when it was Saturday and there was no need to leap out of bed and rush around, ready to leave at a specific time. It was a nice leisurely start to the day.

It seems that the Bridge Mall market has decided to expand its empire and to open not only on the first but now also on the third Saturday of the month. I think they also decided to keep this a secret. I only knew it was open on Saturday because somebody mentioned it on Social Media. I believe it started last month. Who knew?

It was only a small market, but we scored a Tim's toastie and a wander around. I wonder if they had also failed to tell the stall holders, as well as the shoppers. I expect it will grow, given time. And it's no hardship for us to swing by. It's on the way to, or close by many of the places we regularly go to.

It was a quiet weekend, on the whole. I didn't do very much apart from some shopping and visiting mother and Jim. I caught up on an Everest of washing, did a little tidying and cleaning and more or less pottered the weekend away.

A three day week at work this week. I'm glad that today was not one of them. It was under 0d when I got up this morning and the car was covered in frost. The garage door isn't working properly and I have weighted it down shut so unauthorised intruders can't intrude in an unauthorised way. I have arranged for someone to come and fix it - although they haven't offered any suggested dates yet. I suppose I should chase them up and see what they're doing.

I also started looking for a window cleaner this morning. Online. Through a website. The first person to contact me gave an initial quote of $220, preparatory to them coming out and having a look to see exactly what needs to be done. $220 seems an awful lot to have your windows cleaned. I'm sure it didn't cost anything like that to have the windows cleaned in Tupton, although there weren't as many windows to worry about. I suppose I really should do it myself. It's not arduous work, nor dangerous. Clearing the gutters, on the other hand, is definitely something that needs doing and that I am not going to do myself. I am much too old to be shinnying up ladders.

Things I saw on a shop wall in Ballarat on Saturday:

Monday, June 12, 2023

Winter Weekend Roundup

There is something about pottering around the Zoo Drive market in winter that I rather enjoy. It was cool, damp and muddy on Saturday. Lots of people with toasted sandwiches, hot drinks, donuts, in their coats and hats, apparently having a good time. Lindsey and I shared a Tim's Toasties cheese toastie and wandered around.  There were dogs on leads, small children in boots splashing in puddles. I think something about it must speak to my inner Englishwoman :-D

We went out to the (very busy!) mushroom farm and had a hot chocolate after doing the shopping.

We went to Petstock, Bunnings and Dan Murphy's.

We called at the bakery, where they were selling 24 party pies/pasties/sausage rolls for $30. We might have bought 48 to share. Rupert and Hugo are enjoying the sausage rolls.

Yesterday we went out to Elaine to the Farmgate shop for some lamb and then Lindsey cooked up a Sunday roast for Stella and me, which we followed with a lemon and blueberry cake that Lindsey bought at the market.

A good winter weekend.

I got home on Wednesday at about 8:15. I poured a glass of wine, lit the fire, sorted out something light to eat and sat on the couch with the cats to watch Masterchef on catchup. Suddenly, there was a noise outside, the wind picked up and there was a flash of lightning. Not long after, the rain came, rattling off the top of the fire chimney and the roof. Then there was an enormous flash of lightning followed immediately by an almighty crash and the house shook slightly. Whiskey instantly moved under the couch instead of on it. Brandy looked a bit worried and came and snuggled up tight to me. I wasn't particularly worried, although I did listen to make sure the rain wasn't making an unauthorised entry into the house!

And just as suddenly as it came, the storm went away. There were 24ml in the rain gauge on Thursday morning.

Enjoying the electric couch blanket,
after the storm had gone

I forgot to tell you. Sunday of last week, Stella, Lindsey and I went to the Crown hotel in Buninyong for lunch. I had been in there once before, around 15 years ago. I don't think Lindsey had ever been in and Stella certainly hadn't. And it was lovely. The food was delicious, the staff were friendly. There were lots of locals in, some having birthday parties. We will definitely go there again. It's most certainly on The List.

Speaking of lists - a few weeks ago I made a list of country pubs, cafes and wineries to go to, based on a pre-covid brochure I had in the spare room. It was a paper list of appropriate businesses that seemed still to be trading. I wonder what I did with it!

It's a public holiday today, for the King's birthday. I know that's actually in November, but most Australian states and territories seem to follow the British habit of marking it in June. It makes more sense in the UK, it's true, but it is quite nice to have a winter public holiday. Partying doesn't only have to be done own the summer.

I don't have any party plans today. I will go to Melbourne later this afternoon. I have a very  busy week at work coming up and will stay in Melbourne until after work on Thursday. Cat and house sitters have been arranged. I am very pleased that today is a public holiday. I might not be partying but I am also not at work, which would have made this week even more complicated.

Sunday afternoon kisses with Hugo

Rupert on the couch