Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Monday, July 31, 2023

Sunday lunch and Form Filling

I really should be more careful what I say!

I went into work last Monday to interview for the new receptionist, only to find that one of the existing receptionists was off sick, leaving just one on the desk. So I did spend some time on the desk, as well as interviewing the potential receptionist. I was rostered on the desk on Wednesday, and on Friday. Busy at work then!

(This week I am working Monday, Wednesday, Friday AND Saturday, although I wasn't on the desk today. More interviewing and inductions, plus some one-on-ones with new-ish staff and some actual admin!!!)

I had a good weekend. Lindsey was doing a webinar on Saturday morning and I couldn't be bothered going to the market. I had bought a Wilson's Mystery Box during the week so didn't need any veg. Lindsey and I did go out to the mushroom farm in the afternoon. Jim was delighted to see me when I went to visit him later bearing a gigantic jam donut. Stella was also pleased to see me but she didn't get a donut.

Lindsey, Stella and I went for lunch on Sunday to a new-to-us pub

Lindsey had seen a good review on Facebook so we thought we'd give it a go. It was very quiet, although we did get there early and it filled up while we were eating. The food was very good, the chips exceptionally so. The staff tell me that the mashed potato is the best in the whole world. We will go there again and I will try the mash. I've added it to my list of Sunday pubs, although it is on the other side of town, out near the old cattle yards, funnily enough.

I have had a sudden burst of domestic admin activity. Prompted by Jetstar's "buy an outward ticket to Japan and return for free" offer, I have actually applied for a renewal of my passport. Jetstar has these offers two or three times a year and I would like to take advantage of the next one. I acquired hard copies and an e-copy of new passport photos. I found the online form. I woke up my British bank account. to pay for it. While I was about it I also filled in the British police certificate form for my Australian citizenship application (the website is finally back after many weeks of being down after some sort of hacking attack) AND I filled in the identification form also for the citizenship application. I need to get that countersigned and also to wait for the new passport and the police certificate to arrive and then I will be good to go.

Once I have done that, I think I only have my British pension (which will be teeny tiny, if anything) to apply for and following that my Centrelink senior's healthcare card. And that, I think, will be all the form filling I need to do for now. I think! (Jim's Centrelink issue is trundling along but I have given up worrying about that. The care home people are dealing with the alleged overdue $32,000 and I have stopped arguing about the daily fees -  at least for the time being.)

Monday, July 24, 2023


I was once again working on Friday and, once again, went to Ghost's house after work.

This time I got my pizza. Not a Carlton pizza - I still haven't made it into Carlton. I realised, as  I was driving  along Plenty Road, that I had forgotten to get milk, so I called into the supermarket in the next shopping complex along. I was tempted into a small pizzeria on my way back to the car. And the pizza was delightful. I probably wouldn't feel the need to return to the supermarket which wasn't very exciting (although it did have milk). I might be tempted back to the pizzeria, although the pizza shop in our shopping complex also does more than acceptable pizzas.

Ghost was surprisingly pleased to see me on my return. Lots of snuggles:

I took the train into the city on Saturday morning, from the Westgarth station which is a five minute walk from Ghost's house. It was a bit confusing, though. There was a big sign indicating that there was a bus replacement service but it wasn't clear where the bus was operating. The platform sign didn't say anything about buses, just that the next train was due in a few minutes. One grumpy woman stomped off to catch a train from somewhere else. And elderly gentleman sat serenely on the platform, waiting. I decided to follow his example and just wait. If worst came to worse, I could always take a tram.

The train arrived. I got on. And got off at Flinders Street because that's where the train said it was terminating. Apparently, that was a mistake and it was going through the City Loop. Didn't matter. I caught a tram up to Melbourne Central. I could have easily walked it but tram trips are free in the CBD and in any case I have a Senior's Myki card so public transport is free for me on weekends anyway.

I had a good potter around Melbourne Central. 

I found the Oriental supermarket by the station entrance. Freyja tells me there are others dotted about. Must go hunting for them next time.

I had lunch in the food hall, from a Japanese place. 

Katsu don for lunch

I had a quick wander through The Emporium and made my way to one of the Daiso stores in the CBD.

Enough shopping. I went to Bourke Street, intending to catch a tram back to Ghost's place. This seemed to be more difficult than I had anticipated. There was a small group of people sitting or standing on the tram tracks, bearing placards, chanting and being inconvenient. The trams seemed to be reluctant to run them over, so weren't moving. Then the police arrived and started moving them out of the way. And the protesters stared banging drums and shouting and generally making a lot of noise. I left them all to it and went back to the trains, which were unimpeded by noisy protesters.

Freyja tells me that the anti-vax people often clutter up Bourke Street on Saturday afternoons. It seems a bit odd to me. Unless you work in health or aged care or a small number of other professions,  I don't think it is compulsory to be vaccinated against anything, apart from childhood vaccines and even they aren't compulsory - it just limits what children can do if they are unvaccinated. Apparently they are fighting for our freedoms. They weren't fighting for my freedom to travel on the tram! There weren't very many of them. My feeling was that the people standing around watching outnumbered the protesters by a long way. One of them was carrying a large banner bearing a cartoon image of Donald Trump. "Do you miss me?" it asked. No. Not really. Can't say that I do.

Freyja, Simon ad Ross were due back at 6:20 on Sunday morning. There is not a huge lot of traffic going out to the airport at that time on Sunday morning. Their plane was slightly delayed, and then they were delayed disembarking by some sort of emergency. I had coffee and did some Japanese practice while I was waiting. Then we went back to their place, everyone got organised, then I packed the car and came home.

Brandy and Whiskey were very pleased to see me :-D

They hadn't been starved on Saturday.
Julia called in to feed them

Better get moving. I am heading into work today, although I am not expecting to be on the desk. We are interviewing for a new receptionist and then I thought I might try and catch up with some of the other stuff I'm supposed to do but which is being neglected.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Pizza - Thwarted

I was in Westgarth over the weekend. I worked on Friday, before heading to Ghost's house for the weekend.

What shall I have for dinner on Friday? I considered pizza, but then thought: I'm working tomorrow until 12, 12:30. I might not have pizza tonight. I might go into Carlton tomorrow after work and have pizza for lunch in Lygon Street, and have a potter around the shops.

This sounded like a plan, so I bought chicken and chips for dinner and went to Westgarth, where I was greeted by Ghost, who seemed a bit confused to see me but was happy enough.

We weren't very busy on Saturday. Well, *we* weren't but pathology was. The waiting room was crammed full of people and they were all for pathology. Midday came and went. 1pm came - and went. We didn't finally get out until nearly 2pm. The pathology person suggested that I might have closed her check-in system earlier but it's not actually my job to do that. They are an entirely different company to us and we aren't supposed to interfere with their checking in system. They are supposed to manage it themselves.  But next time I might suggest at 11:30 or so that it might be a good idea.

I didn't go into Carlton. I couldn't be bothered at that time. I went into Clifton Hill instead and bought a fish pack for a very late lunch or early dinner. And I must say that I very much enjoyed my fried fish, calamari ring, steamed dim sim, chips and potato cake.

But it wasn't pizza.

I am told there is a very nice pizza place in Clifton Hill but I didn't know where it was and I couldn't see it on the street I was on. Freyja says that if I had gone around the corner, following the tramline, I would have found it. Never mind. Another time.

So. What to do on Sunday morning. The options, as I saw it, were: Have breakfast in the Four Beans cafe round the corner; go to the Sunday market in Alphington; go to La Manna; go to Carlton; stay in the house, have a cup of tea and then head back to Mount Helen.

I considered this and decided to have breakfast in the Four Beans cafe, while I thought about the rest of the day. It was a glorious morning for a little walk. There were lots of people out taking in the air and walking their dogs. There were quite a few people in the cafe, including a family group who appeared to be having a celebration breakfast of some sort.

I enjoyed my Sunday breakfast and decided not to go to the market or into Carlton but to have a slow morning and then to head home, via La Manna - where I spent a lot of money and more or less filled up all the space in the freezer that I have carefully created over the past few weeks!

I still haven't had that pizza, though. It's on my list of things to eat this coming weekend!

This week marks the third anniversary of our purchase of our house. I was quite surprised to get a message from the estate agent congratulating us and inviting us to have the place valued in case we should decide to sell it at some point. I hadn't realised that the three year anniversary had come around so quickly. I have no immediate plans to sell though. Far too much like hard work. And I don't think Stella would be absolutely delighted if I sold up and moved elsewhere a mere year after she had come to Ballarat

Sunday breakfast:

Saturday, July 15, 2023

I really don't know what happened to last week. It seemed to just vanish.

Wendy came up last weekend. She came up on the train on Saturday. Lindsey and I picked her up and we went out to the market by the lake. It really is by the lake at the moment. The paddock it's usually in is waterlogged so it's moved to the path alongside the lakeshore for the rest of the winter. I have to say, it's much easier to walk along a wet path than it is to slither about in the mud.

It was busier than it seems in these photos:


We went out to lunch with Stella on Sunday. A return to the Golden Point. My lamb shoulder was delicious - but it needed mashed potato on the side. Had I noticed when I ordered it I would have asked for some. As it was, I had to steal some of Stella and Lindsey's chips!

Wendy stayed until Monday lunchtime. I was working on Wednesday and Friday (and today - I must have a shower and get dressed soon). A Handygirl from Delacombe came and washed the front windows. I really must do the rest myself. It was rather nice watching someone else washing the windows (and the cats were fascinated) but it is quite profligate. I spent some time up at Hill House with Rupert and Hugo. I visited Stella and Jim. I seemed to be remarkably busy with various bits and pieces

Not being busy!

And now I must have that shower and get dressed. I am in Westgarth so it will only take 20 minutes or so to get to work but I am definitely not ready for the day. First, though, another cup of tea. 

Monday, July 03, 2023

Catch Up

 I have been back out to Centrelink. They wanted me to fill out a form making me an official representative for Jim. I thought the Power of Attorney did that, but they have their own form which, apparently, trumps the PoA. It does mean that they will send copies of correspondence to me as well as to Jim. It also means that I can provide a code to prove I am who I say I am, rather than answering a raft of questions. It finally means that I have definitely proved my identity, Which I thought I had done anyway, but apparently not enough.

While I was there I was given a linking code to associate my Centrelink account with my My Gov app.

Life really was a lot less dramatic before I had any association with Centrelink!

I was working on Saturday. It was very, very quiet. It was also the middle week of the school holidays. I assume people had better things to do than to come and see the doctor. The phone calls were about things happening during this coming week rather than for Saturday. Even Melbourne Pathology was very quiet and that is usually very busy on Saturdays.

We finished on time and I came home via the Woollies in Bundoora. Lindsey, who had come from East Melbourne rather than Mount Helen, went via La Manna. I got home and made a Hairy Bikers' old fashioned chicken stew. I used to make it quite often, when we lived in Tupton. I don't remember having made it since we came to Mount Helen. If I have, it's only once or twice. It's enough for four and there's only one of me. The other three portions are in the freezer. I have the makings of a HB lamb curry and a fish gratin. I'm not sure I have enough freezer room though. I may need to reorganise the freezer and see if I can fit a few more containers in. Otherwise, I'll have to eat fast!

Matthew, Belinda, Sage and William were in town yesterday. Ian, Lindsey, Stella and I met them in the Buninyong pub for lunch. There were options for the vegetarian, vegan and omnivores. The plates were delicious and plentiful. There were lots of vegetables with my steak and fondant potato, which is not always the case with pub meals. I did not require anything more than a sandwich in the evening.

It was disappointing that there was not a
pot of gold in the surgery on Saturday morning!