Sunday, January 30, 2011


We've been experiencing some very warm weather here in Melbourne this weekend.
Friday night we welcomed the weekend with a bottle of champagne or should I call it a sparkling white these days.
Saturday morning was pleasant and after the morning ride, Sue needed my help to purchase more Nespresso pods at the huge Chadstone shopping centre. Let me say that I consider this experience as a form of punishment. I'm sure I have been a good boy lately but nevertheless, we battled the multitude of shoppers. The incentive of a coffee and muffin helped to soften the experience. We do love our Nespresso so I guess it was worth the trip.

We had it mind to enjoy dinner Saturday night on the deck with a light meal of prawns cooked on the BBQ. Marinated in chili and garlic with virgin olive oil - not bad at all. The salad was rocket, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese dressed with Vin cotto. Naturally we did enjoy some wine with that but I've forgotten what it was.
As Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) once said for Tourism Australia
 "Chuck another Shrimp on the Barbie"
We prefer Prawns - big ones.

A perfect summer light meal.

So I thought I might just mention another frivolous little group of wines that we occasionally enjoy called "Arrogant Frog". We've been buying these wines mainly because they bring back memories of our times in the South of France in the Languedoc region. Paul Mas is the Vigneron and he has a marvelous sense of humour. He even has a Frog Blog -

A red, a pink and a white - Paul Mas also sends us a sticky and a sparkling.
All his wines I describe as cheap and cheerful (and not too shabby)

Don't you just love his labels?
Sunday Morning - it's in the high 30s and the low overnight is predicted to drop to only 23 overnight. It seems that summer has decided to relax in Melbourne for the next week. While I write this, it's 6.00 pm and it's now 39. It should be a warm welcome for Leigh and Sophie, our friends from Paris - they arrive next week and we are looking forward to offering some Aussie hospitality. Naturally Leigh is a cyclist................................

As I rode home on the Sunday at 10.30 am, the temperature was rising into the 30s. This picture depicts a small bay within Port Phillip bay. Those little white spots on the water are Pelicans.
Sights like these make me feel privileged to live where we do.
For the previous few weeks, Sue and I have been reliving "the West Wing" one of our very favourite series. We have them all from 1 through to 7. It drives Sue to distraction that I need sub-titles to keep up with the dialogue. I think we just might be watching another two episodes tonight with coffee and cheese.

Time for another West Wing tonight.

For a Blogger friend from Belgium.
Ladybird - how about Aussie Kim??????
“I do enjoy this win, especially here in Australia, as well.
It's been a country where I've always loved coming to and where I've always been very well-received,” she said today.

Hope your weekend was relaxing and eventful.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


There is a time when you stop in your music evolution - I'm sure this true for most of us. For me, I think it was the 80s. I became responsible, bought a house, got married (again), started a family.
I was still listening to Van Morrison, Rod Stewart and Phil Collins with a sprinkling of Blues and Jazz.
We had a lot of great Aussie music which seemed a little off centre from the usual British and US music at the time. Maybe we realised we could do our own thing.
Great Aussie bands emerged - Men at Work, Australian Crawl, and others.
Australian Crawl were a local band from our Bay area. James Reyne had an unusual voice but the band wrote great songs of sun, beach, love and growing up. One of my faves was "Reckless", even people older than me (at the time) liked this song.
Here's James Reyne doing Reckless after the demise of Australian Crawl (which incidentally is a swimming style) with some "Cobbers" of his in the music industry - just having a bit of a lark together.....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Funky Feline Foto

This is our Rosita - once run over by a car and went missing for a week. Beforehand she was quite stand-offish but as the years have rolled on, she's developed a pat-me personality. We think she must have been brain damaged in the accident to have had such a change of personality. Anyway we love her as much as high maintenance Blue Burmese who is starting to lose her level of pecking order to Rosita. Go Moggy.

It's my couch, and don't even think about joining me (unless you rub my tummy).
Saturday Song sometime tomorrow
Who? Not quite sure yet.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

AUSTRALIA DAY from a different perspective

Australia Day is celebrated on January 26 to celebrate the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove, Port Jackson. The fleet headed by Captain Arthur Phillip firstly dropped anchor in Botany Bay but he established that this was not the place for a settlement so after sailing up the coast to discover Port Jackson, he returned to sight two ships flying the French flag. One of these ships contained the French Commodore Laperouse, never to return to France. In desperate weather conditions, Captain Phillips returned to claim Australia for England.

Captain Arthur Phillip orders the raising of the English flag in Sydney Cove - January 26, 1788.
Although we celebrated Australia Day in honour of the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, our Indigenous population and sympathisers, call it Invasion Day. I guess it's from your own perspective. I think our original Australians might just have a point.

The below words are not mine - they came from an article on Pastor Doug Nicholls. I mentioned in a previous post that his son and I attended the same school in the 60s.

The following speech was reported on the front page of the Northcote Leader on Wednesday Jan 30th-1957. 'Northcote had provided a very large crowd to take part in the Australia Day celebration arranged by aboriginals and friends on Sunday afternoon at Batman Park. The crowd soundly applauded Pastor Doug Nicholls when he suggested, as his theme, that the bridge between white and aboriginals should be bridged'.
Pastor Doug Nicholls

PASTOR DOUG NICHOLLS said:“Would you take Aboriginals into your home and make both friends and workmates of them? They do it in New Zealand, even if to a limited degree”. Doug Nicholls, footballer, curator, fighter for the race of which he is a full blooded member was on Sunday afternoon, the orator. He had prepared one speech, forgot he was carrying notes, embarked upon a whimsical oration which none of his hearers could have bettered had they been white or black."

“This is a great day, this birthday of yours. We come to share it with you. Someone said to me recently that we should go to the Yarra Bank and organise a day of mourning for what happened 169 years ago. The mourning would be in memory of a great people. Those who were the old Australians. But we are happy to come here today. This place is ours you know. It reminds us that Captain Cook met our ancestors. But it also reminds us practically on this very spot they also met John Batman and signed a famous agreement. I don’t want to embarrass our councillors, but what we are thinking of is that in 1837 Batman made an agreement by which he and his undertook to make a return for a perpetual lease of 5000 acres in the Northcote vicinity."

"Do you remember what we were to get? Each year the rental was to be 100 blankets, 100 knives, 100 tomahawks, 50 pairs of scissors, 50 looking glasses and 50 suits of clothes. Bless me, I could do with a suit, but I don’t know about those looking glasses and tomahawks. Then there was 50 tonnes of flower. I can’t see any flour about. Perhaps Mayor Spain will do something about it next week” (laughter). Mr Nicholls said that since Captain Phillips landed with his cargo from the gaols of England, Australians had made great progress. The nation had become great. The cities were hives of industry and wheat and wool grew in the great open spaces.
“You are a great nation he went on. A great people. You have bridged the gulf between the old and the new, between the gaols and thriving success. But you have not bridged the gulf what Harold Blair calls the Old Australians and those who came in the middle. As I see you here today supporting the only Northcote celebration of Australia Day at a function run by Aborigines. I ask myself why this gulf between the two peoples remain. Is it because you are making it racial discrimination? You may be, you are a great people, but is there any reason why we should not march beside you?"


"Is there any reason why we should be relegated to river-bank shacks instead of being helped to rise above our present ‘degradation’ (applause). Is there any reason why one of us should not go on the council which controls the land which once was ours, or even to Canberra? A voice: Why not? We want chances, opportunities, our children to be treated like your children” the Pastor went on

'You know there is quite a difference between 1914-18, 1939-45 and 1957. Do you remember how they came to us in those terrible years and asked, "Aboriginals can you fight?" and we said, "Try us", and our blood flowed with yours in Gallipoli, Tobruk and New Guinea. But have we been asked anything since? We are different from you only in colour. Are we encouraged?"

"Do you extend to us the hand of friendship? It is these things which on this day of your birthday, we ask you to give to us after all these 169 years." Among those who supported Mr Nicholls were the Mayor, Councillor Mr A Spain, other councillors and there wives; Mr D Clancy, President of the Aboriginals Girls Hostel Committee; the famous Aboriginal singer, Mr HaExert from The Northcote Leader - Jan 30th 1957rold Blair, and the Aboriginal Moomba Choir with Isabel Kuhl and Merv Williams as soloists.

Cr Spain said Northcote owed Doug Nicholls
"The Prime Minister, the other day, claimed that Australia was a land without class distinction. We know how wrong he is. We know not only what happens here, but we have reports about other Australians in Western Australia.
In two wars, in industrial and primary development we have shown that we have courage, initiative, skill and leadership.
I can only join with Doug Nicholls in asking "When we have all these things - is the little matter of doing justice to our relatively few Aboriginals too big a task us?
Surely it would be rubbish to suggest such a thing."(Applause.)
"This afternoon shows that this is a cause which has caught the imagination of the people," Cr. Spain said
"Let us hope this is the beginning of wiping a blot off our splendid record."

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Saturday morning I decided to go to my track training session early and take a ride on my road bike. The indoor velodrome is in the municipality of Darebin. I grew up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne in Preston. It now comes under the district of Darebin. (pronounced Darrabin)
Recently it was commented by one of our fellow bloggers that we seem to have a lot of our suburbs named after English towns. That's true and both Preston and Northcote are such suburbs. Friends in the Loire have connections in the UK and Michael showed me his book on Preston, (G'day Mikee)

From the Darebin historical website
The social history of Darebin begins with the Wurundjeri people - the traditional owners of all the lands and waterways in Darebin. The Wurundjeri are part of the Kulin Nation & one of the 8 clans that form the Woiwurrung language group.
1839/40 � Government land sales in Northcote area. Early purchasers included William Rucker, (Ruucker's Hill) Thomas Wills, Job Smith, Michael Pender (Penders Grove and Penders Grove Primary School) and other speculators.

At 7.15 Saturday morning I took the road bike out of the car and started riding towards High Street, Northcote.
I had in mind to see how much High Street had changed since my teenage days. I remember times of going to the matinee sessions at the local theatres. From memory I can count maybe five in the 7 kilometre stretch along High Street from Westgarth to Reservoir.
There was the Westgarth Theatre that still operates to this day. At the top of the hill (Rucker's Hill) going north was the Northcote Theatre and although the grand building still exists, it  is now a reception centre as is the next one in Thornbury.
The Northcote Theatre, THEN.....

Today - yesterday really.............
 As I rode towards Preston, I was searching for the theatre that I went to often. In my teenage years it became a dance hall. It seems to have been demolished as I could not locate it. High Street then rises again towards the suburb of Reservoir where the last movie house used to be. As kids, we often went here when we moved from Preston to Reservoir. It was fun to roll our Jaffas down the aisles.
The Westgarth still going strong almost a century later.
A closer view. The Westgarth has take on a bit of a cult Culture these days and does the occasional specific festival - I can't explain how many times the Blues Brother have played here.
A Woody Allen festival would be an annual happening.
It's strange to revisit your roots. You get a feeling of both a certain belonging yet not belonging as you've moved on. Still the memories are still there.

Further up the road in Thornbury was this grand Movie house now a reception house,
restaurant and cafes below.
Some further facts about Northcote:
In my primary school years I met kids of my own age from many different nationalities. Not far from home was a migrant hostel and the children went to my school in Preston.
Many were from Italy, Greece and the UK. Several of the Italian kids joined our cycling club when we were teenagers. Some are still my friends today.

From the Northcote Historical Society website.
Today Darebin’s Italians have a range of organisations such as clubs, senior citizen clubs, Churches, cultural, sporting, social and welfare groups. It is common to hear Italian spoken in the street and the language is taught in many local schools. There are numerous Italian shops and businesses all through Darebin. The children of the ‘50s and’60s immigrants now walk many paths in life from trammies to pasta manufactures to doctors, concrete magnates, lawyers, accountants, teachers, politicians and artists.

After Primary School I went to study fine art at the Preston Technical School - One of the Prefects was Ralph Nicholls, an Aboriginal boy and son of Pastor Doug Nicholls. Australian Rules Football drew his father, Doug Nicholls to the local area from the Murray River region, then to religion and he became an advocate of black/white relations. His achievements would require a post of its own and still not do him justice. He is still looked upon as a son of Northcote.

It’s here where Doug’s association with Northcote began. In his first game for Northcote against Brunswick 9000 people turned up to see an aboriginal play footy. He had the spring of a kangaroo, the speed of an emu and the battling strength of a murray cod. In no time the crowd was on its feet. Doug played exciting high marking ‘marn grook’ style footy and everyone forgot that he was black. Doug always played the game and not the man, his opponents were his friends. In 1929 Northcote won its 1st premiership with Dougie the star recruit.

It was a great little ride through memories of my childhood. I'd really like to take Sue back to show her the environment I grew up within. Could I go back to live. No, I like where we are now.
But those memories still linger.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Saturday Song - Glenn Sharrock

I’ve been on You Tube looking for a Saturday Song post and found one of my very favorite Australian singer/songwriters. He’s name is GLENN SHARROCK.
As a teenager I remember piling into a Morrie Minor to go to the Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds at Festival Hall in West Melbourne. The area was a bit of a “dive” back then but what did we care – we were invincible.

THE TWILIGHTS - a song about finding that allusive partner.

Glenn was then the lead singer of the Twilights and the band was basically a Beatles inspired band but grew from that to write and perform their own material. Terry Britten, a member of the band has become a song writer for many US singers such as Tina Turner.
Back to Glenn – after the Twilights he became a member of what was then described as one of Australia’s super groups, Axiom with another great songwriter, Brian Cadd (more about him in another post).
Axiom had a few hits and a time in the UK before disintegrating.

AXIOM - a song about a father's amazement of his daughter.

Glenn then met up with Mississippi (that’s the band name) songwriter/singers Goble and Birtles. Mississippi recorded one only album. I have it. Did I hear you say, “I’m not surprised.” These two guys had lovely melodic voices.


Not sure how Glenn met these two but what happened next was Little River Band.


Sure the band was middle of the road and very FM but I now listen to them and I float on their great music and fantastic lyrics.

The songs written by Glenn showed his enthusiasm for the band, the traveling, the countries where the played and later the jaded feeling and the homesickness he felt.


Home on a Monday – Listen to Glenn’s homesickness – the changes of rhythm, it’s one of my favorites. You can tell that Glenn is a bit of a homebody.
Glenn now plays around Melbourne and Australia. He hasn’t lost his love of music or his voice.

GLENN wrote and performed the title song for AMERICAN FLYERS, a film with Kevin Costner about cycling - now you know Glenn is a favorite of mine.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My apologies for not posting since Friday. I really enjoy blogging, to me it's a form of relaxation, a bit creative, but as well as that, I enjoy the feedback from readers.

Since returning to the workforce after the holiday leave, the workload has been quite heavy with some burning of the midnight oil. I don't want to wish time away and I've probably mentioned that retirement looks good. Especially when I read the blogs of those already enjoying retirement.

What's the point of all of this - Well I hope to get back on schedule with the regular posts soon. But until then here's a few scenes of our local area on postcards.

I ride down this road at least four times a week. It once had some lovely old beach style homes built in the 1890s to the 1940s before the War. It recent times so many of these quaint and sometimes grand homes have been demolished to make way for the Nouveau Rich to build their concrete and glass two and three level homes overlooking the bay.
I guess if we had the finances to do the same we might consider it but I feel that the area is losing some of its charm.
The building in the foreground of this postcard no longer exists.

Next beach down from Hampton is Sandringham which now is home to a grand Marina housing some of the best sailing boats in the state.
Further down from Sandringham is Brighton Beach. This postcard looks like it might be from the late 1800s or early 1900s from the clothing depicted.
Just a little way of the beach area is Dendy Street, Middle Brighton. I'd say the postcard is from the 1920s maybe. I know this street well and the building to the left still exists. The railway gates have been replaced by modern automatically operated boom gates. Previously a man would come out from his signal box and manually open and close the gates.
Hopefully I expect to get back to our usual blog routine by Friday.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Saturday Song - The 3 Dames

You ask - what does a "baby boomer" know about opera singers. Well, I can tell you, very little but as I get older, there's not much being released by my old 60s/70s favourites so I look elsewhere. Its also a learning experience and a history lesson sometimes. So lets start by saying I have no real knowledge of these three famous Australian Divas. Well maybe one, the third on the list.

Dame Nellie Melba
Dame Nellie Melba came to my attention many years ago as I rode through a hamlet in outer Melbourne called Coldstream. I know why it is called Coldstream as it was always one of the coldest parts of the far outreaches of the city.
The Dame, or Nelli owned a home of several acres on the fork of the road in the Yarra valley where we trained.
There's not much film footage of Nellie these days, but I did find this on You Tube.

Not only was she famous as an operatic artist but also for her many farewell performances. The term as many farewells as Dame Nellie refers to someone that can't quite retire.  She also had a desert named after her, the Peach Melba.

The Peach Melba

A statue of Dame Nellie on the waterfront in Melbourne's Docklands
 Dame Joan Sutherland
Dame Joan Sutherland grew up in the Sydney suburb of Waverley and in 1947 she had her debut starting a career that took her to many countries and meeting many people. Her last performance was in 1985.
She passed away last October at her home in Switzerland.

Dame Edna
Australia incidentally has several Dames but one self appointed Dame is famous all over the World. Accepted by many other true dignitaries despite her rather dubious title, she is the most well known Australian Dame.
I of course mean Dame Edna.

Now that's something I can't improve on so let's leave it there.
Well except for this one - very funny.

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Yarra River

The Yarra River runs through the middle of Melbourne. I was travelling to an appointment for work when I was driving along the Boulevard beside the river. I thought there might be a pic or two for the blog.

The bridge in the background is one of the early ones that crosses the Yarra. Being not very wide, it is now a pedestrian bridge and from where I took the photo is the "Tan", a running track that circles Melbourne's Botanic Gardens.

Looking in the opposite direction towards the CBD, the tall buildings of Melbourne were covered in a mist from the encroaching drizzle that afternoon. No matter what the weather, the Yarra always looks interesting.
 Not only was I off to an appointment, but I had just come from one on the banks of the Yarra in an area called Southbank. It was a coffee meeting at one of the many cafes that line the river in that precinct.
I'm always taken by statues, sculptures and unusual pieces of art. Within the arcades of Southbank, there are many unusual pieces to be seen - these large metal fish hang from the ceiling and most probably give tribute to the many fish caught by our indigenous people who originally lived by the banks of the Yarra River.
The Yarra has seen a new life over the past several decades. In the early years of settlement, it became a drain for industry further up the river. Places such as Tanneries and Slaughter Yards.
Many of the fish and even Platypus have returned to a cleaner river upstream. On occasion, porpoise have even said hello in the lower sections.

It's now 10.51 pm Thursday night and it's still 25 degrees c with an expected low overnight of 22 degrees c.
It's been raining most of the day with maybe a less wet weekend before more rain is forecast for next week.
Time for bed - Goodnight.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More than France and Germany Combined

That's what the Premier of Queensland said on the news today. The floods in Queensland now cover an unimaginable area of our northern part of the Australia. The size of the flood area is the size of those two countries combined.
I've relented in commenting on the crisis through the blog as I like to only be positive. I don't normally blog for a Thursday post but I'm moved greatly by the film footage I've seen over the last few days.
We are fortunate that the amount of deaths to date is still less than twenty but even one is too many, especially when children are included in that count.
The scenes of what the press describe as an inland tsunami rushing through the streets of Toowoomba are just too difficult to imagine without seeing it on TV.

Our state of Victoria has also had flash flood warnings and a street within the Melbourne CBD where I had an appointment this morning was under water.

This time two years ago we were suffering from drought conditions - we had catastrophic bushfire on the outer reaches of Melbourne and many other areas of the state.
While Queensland and the southern part of New South Wales are suffering from flood conditions, to the west of Australia, they are having bushfires.

I have a friend who works with Red Cross Australia - he is serving a twelve month term in Pakistan within one of the hospitals. He was there during their flood crisis. Its crazy!!
If anyone has relatives in Queensland (and I know some do) I hope they are OK.

Mother Nature seems to have some issues.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Luberon - Bonnieux & Lourmarin

We wanted to see Gordes in the Luberon, but we didn’t – it happens that way sometimes. You go out with an initial plan in mind and it changes, for no reason in particular.
The adventure continues in a different direction and the experience is just as enchanting – most times.
This was one of those enchanting experiences. As for Gordes, we’ll never know.

From Bonnieux on a clear day, I believe you can see Mt Ventoux. The town of Sault is one way to the summit that in the past, Tour de France riders climbed the giant of Provence.

The day started out by leaving St Remy in the direction of Gordes, via L’Isle sur la Sorgue. We were told that there was a market there but we couldn’t find it and drove round in circles until we became bored and decided to move onto Gordes. As we drove down the motorway for no other reason than liking the sound of a village called Bonnieux, we turned right rather than left to Bonnieux.

As we neared Bonnieux the first impression was of the chapel on the lower slopes below the village, its steeple prominent on the horizon.

The church just below the cafe in Bonnieux and in the background is the hilltop village of Lacoste and the ruins of the Marquis de Sade's castle. He also lived in another castle in Paris. It was the donjon of Vincennes.

Sue suffers from RA so I occasionally will drive into a village, drop her off at a café and park the car below. Usually I’m hopeful that she will have an espresso or a glass of wine waiting for me on my return. Being close to midday, we enjoyed a snack and a glass of wine by the roadside. The outside area overhung the steep incline overlooking the Luberon valley. The church steeple was just below us and as we looked across the valley with a clear blue sky above us, and we could see the hilltop village of Lacoste. The ruined castle was once the home of the Marquis de Sade.
Bonnieux was also featured in parts of the movie “A Good Year” starring Australian actor Russell Crowe which was based on Peter Mayle’s book of the same name.

Did you see the movie - with scenes of the Luberon, Gordes and Bonnieux.

Here's the trailer for the movie.

After lunch I returned to the car and drove back to pick up Sue, then we drove back through the village exiting from the other side to discover our next adventure.
It turned up in the form of Lourmarin, a village set on the lower levels of the Luberon. Lourmarin had a peaceful but a very touristy atmosphere about it. The village had a really nice feel, with cafes, restaurants and crafty type shops. As you walked to the lower part of the village, an Abbey and Chateau appears. The Chateau had been extensively restored and today is both a learning centre and residents to the arts with concerts being a feature.
The village of Lourmarin was on the floor of the valley with a much flatter terrain. More people were about enjoying the craft and antique shops, cafes and restaurants.

But it was a village where you could still find your own quiet spot.

The Chateau of Lourmarin

According to the legend, Lourmarin was dug by a dragon in a gorge. The famous writers, Henri Bosco, the troubadour of Luberon and Albert Camus were seduced by this village and made it their final abode.
There’s so much to see in the Luberon and I’m sure that even a week couldn’t do it justice and we only took a day trip. We missed Gordes, Lacoste and the many little villages set in the hills – hopefully one day there will be a next time.
Returning to our villa in St Remy we had dinner, a bottle of local wine (as we do) and then we wandered up into the square on the balmy Provence night to have coffee and an after dinner liqueur (that knocked our socks off) at our regular café. That night we had a little chat with the waitress and made a connection – nice.
It was a very good day.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


I probably should have more accidents - well I'm lucky not to have any due to my usual past time of searching for faded signs (while driving or riding my bike). Sound's a bit like a C&W song that Willie Nelson would sing. Ohhhhh, faded signs - nope, I can't find a rhyming word that incorporates a dog or horse. I'll let that go.

Anyway back to faded signs, they promote questions, offer some history but are shy and hide their past well.
Take the one below for instance. I found it above a shop in Sydney Road, Brunswick on our recent shopping spree.

Nestles, in my childhood days was always pronounced as Nessles, but today we call it Nesslay. How things change! However the general logo remains similar although the font has changes slightly. Why fix it if it ain't broken.
I discovered a little of Nestles' history from their website.
Henri Nestlé gave his name to what is now the world’s largest food and beverage business, with over 280,000 employees, 456 factories in 84 countries and sales of more than $110 billion in 2008. In our region, Nestlé products have been available since the 1880s and by 1906 Australia had become Nestlé’s second largest export market..

The other faded sign didn't come from an old building but this time from an old bike. Old bikes are being resurrected around Melbourne and rather than paint this one, it's owner wanted to retain its paintwork, with its old style (almost art deco) font and pin striping that was very popular of the time.
My first racing bike was a Healing. I pulled it down from the rafters of our old garage. It belonged to my father and initially I raced it as it was - until later it was painted in a more modern way - wish I still had it in its original paint like this one below.

From the Net:
 A. G. Healing Commenced building & selling Bicycles in Bridge Rd Richmond Victoria 1907 - From which the A. G. Healing empire developed - selling electrical appliances (remember the Healing Golden Voice radio) Healing Cycle division was sold to General Accessories in 1959.

More faded signs to come and even some from our "Wednesdays in France".

Saturday, January 08, 2011

John Farnham - Saturday Song

John Farnham may not have been heard a great deal out of Australia. He started his singing career with a novelty song in the very late 60s or maybe the early 70s called "Sadie the Cleaning Lady" and its come back to haunt him over the years.
Back then he was known as Johnny Farnham but over the years it became John.

After the Little River Band became very popular in the USA and toured throughout, the lead singer Glenn Sharrock decided to leave the band and John Farnham filled the spot. This lasted a couple of albums before John left the band to continue his solo career and he took on the persona of Whispering Jack.
In a long Outback jacket and Drover's hat, he belted out some of his best songs.

Close to his retirement, John did concerts with stage show stars such as Anthony Warlow who had the lead in Phantom of the Opera in Australia. John also sang with Olivier Newton John at the opening of the Sydney Olympics. John has retired a few times but comes out of retirement and has gained a reputation of the "Dame Nellie Melba" of the pop world. Now there is a subject for a future Saturday Song - Anyone out there familiar with our Dame Nellie?

Although his fame didn't travel outside Australia except for the period in the US with Little River Band, he has given Australians many years of musical pleasure. He loves Australia, and is a true homebody. I don't believe he had any desire to have International fame. Just the same he has sung with many Internationally famous singers when they have visited Australia and they hold our John in high regard.

Friday, January 07, 2011


No Funky Friday Foto today - replaced with Foodie Friday.
We went to an Italian Specialty shop on the other side of town on Thursday to buy some hard to get ingredients over our way. Well maybe not but its fun to shop in this predominately Italian community in Brunswick.
My father use to sell smallgoods up and down Sydney Road, Brunswick when I was a kid. Very few of us WASPS ate Italian food back in the 50s and 60s although during the 70s our eating habits were changing.
Mt father is still a meat and three veg man and is not a big fan of pasta or pizza.
In particular the University students would frequent the small Italian cafes in Lygon St, Carlton because they were cheap to eat at - not today. So eventually from those days, we became more adventurous with the influx of immigrants from Italy, Greece, Turkey, the UK and other parts of Europe who wanted to make a new life for themselves.

Sue talked me into the expedition to Mediterranean Wholesalers and while she bought the food, I bought the wine. What a partnership.

Both Montalcino and Montepulciano are areas of Tuscany we've written about before.
Love their wines.
We bought one of each on our buying spree.

But the Montipulciano above should not be confused with the Montipulciano d'Abruzzo. Montipulciano being the grape variety not the area. Abruzzo is a more southern region of Italy.
We tried one last night - it was a great bottle of red at under AUS$6.

I will be interested to try this. I haven't seen it before.

I always buy dried oregano in bunch, like this, but I hadn't seen dried sage before in bunches. They also had bunches of dried thyme and chillis. The cheese is some parmigianno and pecorino(mentioned later)

Pasta, yes just pasta but if Leon could have his way, he would have pasta every night.
True Sue
Italian Arborio rice and some Spanish rice for paella. (I feel paella coming on)

I first filled the par cooked shells with a  beef ragu.

Then a thick tomato sauce with some basil from the garden.

This is delicious. Its a sheep milk pecorino from Sardinia, which I used to make ..

A thick and cheesy sauce to go on the top.
A sprinkling of Parmesan and into the oven.

Twenty minutes later it's ready. It was very nice! 

I missed all of this as I had my first come back race since damaging my back six months ago. I'd arrived home to witness that lovely dish of pasta demolished and mine in a dish to whack in the micro wave. There was one glass of Montipulciano dÁbruzzo left in the bottle. Not too bad really for six bucks a bottle. I wish I had bought a dozen now.

I'll post a Saturday Song tomorrow night of an Australian Icon of the pop scene from the late sixties to current times. He's sung with many greats over the years and also been a member of an international renown band during the 80s. He multi-talented and if he wanted, he could have had an international career.
But no! He's home grown and prefers the home life here in Australia (and Melbourne). I think you'll like his boyish charm.