Sunday, October 29, 2006

And in startling news just to hand

The Age is reporting that real estate agents are still underquoting.

This is almost as astonishing as the reports in The Age earlier the week that pregnant women suffer discrimination at work and that "Babies still put a bump in women's career paths."

What next? Stories that tell us "Aboriginal people are discriminated against", "Shane Warne is not monogamous" or "Many Australians are actually racist."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Picking up in a literary sense

I can verily report that Mr Tulk cafe at the State Library of Victoria does a very good breakfast. It also has nice big tables so you can spread out and read the paper or a novel at ease. The staff are lovely and the ambiance is great. It also has a very high proportion of seemingly intelligent and lovely men who sound like Gregory Peck.

In winter they all seemed to be wearing jeans and black turtlenecks and Ms Batville has always been partial to a black turtleneck. I feared that if I went back in summer they would have white legs sticking out of shorts festooned with big ugly Jesus sandals (and obviously footwear is a big thing for me at the moment). I am glad to report that my fears were unfounded and there was nary a sad sandal in site.

So girls (or boys) , if you want to check out the talent, head down to Mr Tulk, order the nice toast thing and see what I mean.

If you don't meet a nice man to have your coffee with, you can always go and sit in the La Trobe reading room, look up at the dome, open up a book and all will seem well with the world.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I recieved emails from three different friends today regarding a story in The Age that Andy Taylor has left Duran Duran. Sad that they thought they should email me. Possibly worse that I had already fully researched the story before their emails arrived.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I am forming a society for the preservation of nice footwear

Today as I was driving along in city I was indulging in that well-known female habit of checking out other women and assessing their clothing/look/hair etc. I was feeling charitable, and was delighted to spot a beautiful black velvet suit jacket with slim white piping, matched with a very nicely tailored grey frock. The wearer would have been late 20s, well groomed hair and walking along jauntily looking quite sweet indeed "How nice" I thought to myself, before I gazed down in horror to the footwear.

Light blue havaianas.

I have whinged before about the whole thongs with a suit thing, but now I have had enough! I may be old-fashioned but I belong to the suit=work, thongs=beach school of dressing. Enough crimes against fashion I say. From now on I will accost such types and shriek loudly at them until they march into Nine West and get themselves a nice pair of proper shoes.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I knew exercise was bad for you

Ha! After my smug post about my Sunday walk around the Tan I can verily report that I have hurt my leg and can't walk properly. Yes indeedy. And after walking at a pace where I was overtaken by small children on the Anderson Street hill.

The physio has told me to stay out of heels (blasphemous talk), to do stretching exercises, to ice my lower leg and to keep coming back for visits. In the meantime it actually hurts like hell.

Am seriously tempted to revert my formerly slothlike gluttonous state. Sure the clothes were a tad tight tight and walking up stairs left me puffed, but at least I wasn't in pain.

A weekend of reading, using copious quantities of ice (for leg and for gin) and grumbling to myself awaits.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

At the risk of turning this into a purely political blog...

...or of further upsetting my lovely and sensible fellow bloggers (see last post) has anyone see the article by Neil Mitchell in today's Herald Sun ?

Apparently the racist attack on a Jewish man and his children in Caulfield last week by a bunch of footy players was "not all bad news" because Neil has surmised:

  • Anybody could have been the target of this - "Jew, Muslim, Aboriginal, Asian, Greek, Italian". Apparently women can also be the target of yobbos.
  • While it was "reasonable" for the victim to object to being called a "f--- Jew " while hearing the cheer "go Nazis" we should ask if it was reasonable for him to approach the bus the players were travelling in. Neil thinks that this escalated the "clash from ugly to violent". The "good news" is that the decision to approach the bus turned out to be OK because it another person intervened. This person we are told was "not a Jew" but was "sufficiently outraged to pursue the bus". A few others helped as well and that, according to Neil, was a "statement of deceny because these people identified as unacceptable the actions of a few idiots". (Obviously without their actions, readers of the Herald Sun would have been unable to make this judgement for themselves).
  • The President of the Ocean Grove Football Club has been "decent and sensible" because he was appalled at what happened and hoped that those involved would meet the victim and apologise to him, and that they would visit the Holocaust Museum.
  • Other "average Australians" have also expressed their "outrage and committement to decency"

In conclusion, Neil tells us that the victim has been exposed to a "snapshot of Australia:we have a few yobbos, a smattering of racism, a good deal of decency, a mix of cultures, dashes of prejudice, an underlying base of fairness, an edge of danger with our blokey culture, and too much fondness for too much alcohol."

Well, I feel better.

Anyone else want to stalk the Ocean Grove Football Club next year. We can turn up to their matches, laugh at their physical appearance and crack jokes about the deaths on the Melbourne-Geelong Road and the Pyramid Bank collapse. Let's make sure we do it in full view of their children as well, for good measure.

I need a gin.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Spot the inconsistency

It is five years since the Siev X sank with the loss of 353 asylum seekers. On Friday the Age published this photo of Hazam Al Rowaimi who lost his mother, wife and children when the boat sank off Australian waters . At the time Australia's then Immigration Minister, then Defence Minister and the Prime Minister John Howard announced that a number of children on the vessel had been thrown overboard. This was later found to be untrue, but not before it was an issue at an election which John Howard was returned to power.

Apparently a Commonwealth Government Agency have stopped plans for a memorial in Canberra on the basis that it can't be erected until 10 years after the event.

It has been six weeks since Steve Irwin died. Apparently our Prime Minister John Howard has said he would be holding discussions soon about a permanent memorial as "I certainly know that the people want it and we've had some very good suggestions and I hope we can come up with a sensible proposal."

Ms Batville could single-handledly end the drought

What a day of accomplishment for Ms Batville. This time last week I was getting out of bed (for the second time - having retired back to bed after my initial effort of eating breakfast and reading the papers).

This morning I have already devoured the papers, walked around the Tan and done the supermarket shopping. Ms Batville is not a natural exerciser so this constituted my fifth ever walk around the Tan, and the second in three weeks. I was a slow time of 40 minutes all the way around, but I made it up the Anderson Street Hill in better form than last time. Sure small children passed me, but hey, it is a start.

The strange thing is that everytime I have walked the Tan it starts raining just as I near the end. And not just a drizzle, rather a full on genuine "we need rain like this" rain. The sort of rain you get when you decide to wash the curtains or rugs and leave them on the line to dry out.

From now on I will attempt to walk the Tan twice a week, to the point where I can actually run the damn thing. This will hopefully help me lose those pesky extra few kilos, and will be my one woman effort to help Victoria's farmers by ending the drought.

PS - If you were on the Tan this morn and saw someone walking along grinning inanely to themselves, that was me. Most unexpectedly Murray Head's "One night in Bangkok" popped up on my iPod, and I was amused to think how the hell it snuck on there.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Its hot isn't it

Bad things about very hot and windy days in Batville and the rest of Victoria in October:

  • Body Odour on the tram;
  • Body Odour in lifts;
  • Girls wearing thongs with their suits in the city;
  • Toenails in thongs with dodgy half-applied half-worn toenail polish;
  • People saying "Its hot isn't it"
  • Bushfires (already!);
  • Further drought for farmers;
  • Wind blowing sand from tram tracks into your eyes
  • Increased likelihood of Stage 2 water restrictions;
  • Coming home to a hot house;
  • Finding out you haven't quite lost those pesky few kilos that you can cover up in your winter and autumn clothes.

Good things about very hot and windy days in Batville and the rest of Victoria in October:

  • Having a cold beer when you get home from work.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stupid tips Part 1

I have a very small garden which over the last few years I have to come to love. I potter about and lose all track of time. I also have a pair of green and pink check gumboots which I adore so will welcome any excuse to wear them. At the end of a hard afternoon in the garden I can sit in my gumboots, downing a restorative cocktail and I don't have a care in the world.

The most frustrating thing about gardening is that it usually looks ragged and half-eaten due to a never-ending plague of snails. I've tried leaving out beer which is supposed to encourage them to some sort of drunken suicide but have never found this to work. I also realised once that this technique has too many parallels with young men and their first cars so it makes me uneasy (I know - possibly an odd reaction). So instead I bait them and ever so often I go on a rampage, hunt them out and crush them to death. I can pretend they are some of the arrogant idiots I occasionally have to work with. Even more satisfying is to apply salt to them and watch them foam up and die but this takes planning (after all who walks around with salt on them). I was reading a gardening book recently that suggested this was a cruel practice and a more humane way to dispose of snails was to put them in a plastic bag and then into the freezer so they could "fall asleep gently". WHAT? They are snails not endangered cute baby seals. As my dear old Grandad would say "What a load of rot!"

I am obviously not a very humane gardener. I will however continue on my search for appropriate and effective snail eradication techniques.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Differences between Melbourne and Sydney

Now don't get me wrong - I like Sydney a lot and don't buy into the whole city-bashing rivalry thing. I don't choose to live there being more of a Batville girl myself, but I appreciate the city.

Interesting though the top news stories currently at The Age v The Sydney Morning Herald . The Age's most viewed story is Snaps show Mars rover on brink of discovery with nice photo of a crater photographed by NASA. The SMH's most popular story is entitled Bras keep abreast and tells a story about how Berlei have conducted a survey and discovering that Australian women's breasts are getting larger.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Things you may not want to know about Australia's former first lady

Since praising the wonderful Margaret Whitlam a few weeks back I have contemplated buying the new biography of her.

I happened upon a story about the book in a copy of the Australian Women's Weekly which is not my normal reading pleasure. Anyway you can trust the Weekly for a nice, non-controversial story. Imagine my surprise when I happened upon the following paragraph:

Certainly, a less secure person than Margaret would have stepped back from revealing some of the more intimate truths of a 64-year marriage - whether, for instance, she was able to have an orgasm on her honeymoon; whether Gough was, in fact, a good lover; and whether she ever fancied another man. On all three counts the answer is a resounding, "Yes".
Well, my giddy Aunt. This is not the sort of thing you expect in the Weekly! And Margaret! Gough! Their honeymoon! Crikey!

Now we know there might be more in that famous Nicholson Cartoon was after an earthquake during the Whitlam's trip to China in 75.

But wait there is more in the Weekly:

Not only was Gough a good lover, he actually read her poems by
Keats, Shelley and Byron when they were in bed together. "I suppose you'd call
it foreplay and I just thought it was lovely".

Gough you ole romantic devil you. Surely even die-hard Lib women would read that in envy. Bet Malcolm never did that for Tammy, and I'm damn sure John Howard doesn't...sorry can't finish this sentence. Will go and wash my mouth out.


I am a fan of old Hollywood films and love a good old-fashioned dish-the-dirt Hollywood biography, particularly if it is written by or about an actor or actress who is largely forgotten about today.

Sure it is a strange and unfashionable habit that is possibly more suited to a gay man or a sad old bloke with a bad toupee (hello Bill Collins) but what can I say - I love the old goss. Even since I read Evelyn Keye's autobiography to escape the horror of a caravan park holiday when I was twelve I had enjoyed this guilty pleasure. Poor old Evelyn called her book Scarlett O'Hara's younger sister for all those in the bookstore who asked the question "Who?"

I had reason to leave Batville this week and travel to the Sticks. One compensation of country travel is the discoveries you can make in second hand bookstores. Imagine my excitement at the following purchases which added up to a grand total of $14.

I have no idea why Stewart Grainger has called his autobiography "Sparks fly upwards" but I am sure I can report on this soon. Strangely if you had asked me last week what I knew about him I would have said bugger all really but I would have guessed that he was married to Jean Simmons (the actress, not the lead singer of KISS). Scanning the book I was able to confirm this. Why did I know this? How did this piece of truly useless information stick in my brain when I can't remember to buy coffee when I run out? Very odd.

As for the other book I have always liked Sheilah Graham even since I saw the movie they made about her and F Scott Fitzgerald Beloved Infidel. Gregory Peck played Fitzgerald very unconvincgly but Deborah Kerr was wonderful in her kind English way as Sheliah.

A weekend of reading bliss awaits.

No Roulettes, but plenty of fun (but not if you are a Swans supporter)

Well the AFL Grand Final has come and gone. I am devasted to report that there was no Ms Batville viewing of the RAAF Roulettes which is so sad I have taken a whole week to recover. Almost as bad was that John Paul Young did not sing "Love is in the Air" instead choosing "Yesterday's Heroes" which was a very strange choice given he was sharing a stage with Brian Mannix.

Highlight of the pre-game entertainment was not Irene Cara although she tried hard, but rather Sean Kelly (Models) snarling his way through "I hear motion". I had a HUGE crush on that man in 1986 and it haunts me still. Why Wendy Matthews left him is beyond me. He still has that rock star charisma, unlike his fellow band-mate poor old James Freud who is looking a tad corpulent these days.

Commiserations for all those Sydney fans. A one point is a hard thing to stomach. Always sad to see the post-game heartbreak, it is usually the closest thing some Australian men come to letting out their emotions. Thanks anyway for pouring your tourist dollars into Melbourne when nursing your thoughts over a few beers.