Footscray Summer Cup, Footscray Park Bowling Club, 1 Hoadley Court, Footscray.
This was the second social play day of the revived Footscray Trugo Club I attended.
As with the first, it was held at the Ballarat Road home of the Footscray City Bowling Club – the trugo club’s temporary HQ while the club’s proper home at Buckley Street moves through the red-tape process.
It was a hot day, so I was by no means sure I’d be up for anything approaching serious competition or socialising.
But settle in we all did, for a most enjoyable afternoon.
Some temporary shelter helped – a lot!
The bowls club bar was operating, which gave me a chance to check out the gorgeous old-school decor.
After the set-up, practice hits and a few people coming and going, four teams of four players each got down to it.
The gripping, nail-biting final was won 18-17 by the Olympic Doughnuts over the Go Ruts! line-up.
The Footscray Trugo Club will be holding social days on the fourth Sunday of every month.
It’s good fun – and no previous experience is necessary!
After nine years, our Foxtel pay TV service has been disconnected.
There are a number of reasons …
One is, I simply grew weary of haggling several times a year with Foxtel staff on the phone – quite often after extended wait times – in order to get our fees down.
Our wants were simple – your basic service + sport.
No, no, no – I do not want IQ, HD, an AFL package or any other of your bells and whistles.
We have an old-school television that cannot handle HD and we have no interest in recording programs for later viewing.
For years, even though it’s been a pain in the you know where, I have been able to talk our monthy payments down from $55 or $60 to $45 or even (late last year) $35 – which we figure is about what we should’ve been paying.
But such arrangements have only ever run for a few months – after which I have had to repeat the whole tiresome process.
Every time I got on the phone to Foxtel, I was aware that I should not be merely be playing a game of bluff – that I really did need to have the determination to disconnect if a suitable pricing arrangement could not agreed upon.
And so it came to pass … when the Foxtel employee with whom I was dealing could not, even after consultation with his supervisor and then with the supervisor’s supervisor, offer me any deal at ll.
That’s it – disconnect!
But there are other factors …
As much I’ve enjoyed endless, low-cost access to an endless parade of of NRL, Super Rugby, A-League, cricket and much more, for the past year or so having pay TV has started to feel a bit like a prison.
I’ve felt tethered to the sofa.
On one night last week, for instance, there were four games on at once – yet I can hardly claim to have enjoyed the evening as I was channel surfing the whole time.
All this, of course, means big changes in our household.
No pay TV means no TV at all.
One of the most attractive things about having a pay TV package is never having to have any truck with the banalities of the laughably self-described free-to-air channels.
So – no, no, no, a millions times no – we will not be buying a set-top box or a new telly simply so we can have the privilege of watching A Current Affair or reality TV BS.
Books – oh yes, there is going to be a lot of reading.
And music – which, to quote Duke Ellington, has always been my mistress, above and a long ways beyond anything on a TV screen, including sport.
There will be a lot of music – a lot more music.
I’ve always felt that regardless of its ownership status, that Sky News in Australia plays a straight bat on political matters.
But the signing up Andrew Bolt for a nightly show, joining the equally Rightist Chris Kenny and Paul Murray, is another very good reason to pull the plug.
What are they thinking? They can, of course, have on their channel whoever they please – but I’m not sure pushing the commentary team so far to the Right is a smart move.
I have some big plans for Consider The Sauce formulating in my brain – hopefully now I will stop dreaming and start doing.
It’s never been about the money – in fact, even $60 seems pretty reasonable for the service we received.
And now it’s gone, Bennie and I may step out for the occasional Socceroos or Victory game – any one of which will cost more than an entire month of pay TV.
As well, we may also step out to see vintage movies and the like that turn us on, at ACMI or the Astor.
It remains to be seen how we will cope without pay TV … but for the moment not having it feels liberating.
A few years back, Consider The Sauce was bemused to note the rise of the Deliberate Wait.
This involves certain eateries in the CBD and elsewhere deliberately and on purpose running their no-booking operations with built-in waiting time for incoming customers.
This way, the reasoning seems to go, the punters can spend some time cooling their heels – in the bar spending money, on the stairway and even out on the street – in such a way as to sharpen their appreciation for just how lucky they will be when they eventually get to eat in such fabulously fashionable establishments.
Or so it’s always seemed to me.
But nothing to do with us, our friends, our readers and eating in the west.
Lately, though, I’m not so sure.
Stories of extended wait times and queuing, many of them provided first-hand to CTS or witnessed by ourselves, continue to arise.
Mostly, though, they’re concerned with different kinds of delay than the “make ’em wait – we’ll build hipster cache” school of thought.
Though I suspect the hour-and-more wait times to get into a certain new CBD dumpling joint certainly fall into that category.
I have a friend who waited more than hour for food at a barbecue festival.
More recently I’ve been told that wait times for the new Willy Friday night food trucks extended, in some cases, beyond 40 minutes.
Surely anything beyond 10 minutes for a bowl of noodles or some such from a food truck defeats the very purpose and ethos and fun of food trucks?
On a more prosaic level, I regularly spy weekend groups of people waiting on the street for tables at a groovy inner west cafe, the coffee of which I find undrinkable.
And over in Kensington, I regularly see a dozen or more people waiting in the foyer or on the street for a table at Laksa King – early evening and early in the week.
Terrific food, indeed, but …
As Bennie has pointed out, we do indeed sometimes wait for a table – but only very, very rarely does that extend beyond waiting for a recently vacated table to be cleared.
Mostly, we’re very happy for ourselves and our fellow westies that waiting – be it for five minutes or five days – is simply uncalled for.
“If one place is busy, go next door” is our default rule of thumb.
Last weekend, I visited one of my very favourite places only to find it more crowded than I had ever before witnessed.
“Uh oh,” I thought. “I’m going to be waiting forever …”
However the staff assured me I’d get my lunch within 15 minutes – that’s OK then, I can live with that!
As things eventuated, I got my goodies in 10 minutes.
Later, I asked the co-proprietor – a man with much experience not only in running this particular cafe/shop but also of coping with the demands of markets and festivals – about long wait times.
For him it’s simple: It’s all about prep work – or lack of it.
And he stressed how important it is – he wants customers to return.
So while this kind of madness continues to pass us by, I still do wonder about whether punters who cop it have some sort of masochistic streak and whether some operators simply haven’t got their act together.
Either in terms of getting customers seated or in providing them food in a timely manner …
She’ll do you a do or a haircut with a smile and skill.
Lina’s Hair Salon is at 1/7 Kinnear Street, Footscray.
What Lina cannot do is provide with you with a lunch or a dinner – or even a snack – of barbecue.
Which is quite at odds with a recent listing on Urbanspoon.
Whatever the origins of this mystery, Lina is being a good sport about.
She is, however, fielding phone calls from barbecue fans wishing to book tables.
But at least I know where to go to get my next haircut!
It seems unlikely at this point that the possibility of about 200 apartments going up on the site of what is currently 501 Receptions will generate the same kind of uproar that greeted the developmental threat to the Dancing Dog building.
Still, doing a story about those plans has seen me engage in a number of interesting conversations about urban living and planning.
No one I’ve talked to is opposed to development – but that support usually comes with a proviso that new buildings be of high quality and intelligently designed.
There’s the rub …
One intensely interested West Footscray local also brought into focus for me the fact that the 501 Receptions proposal is just one of many changes taking place within a very small area.
I had been at least subliminally aware of most of them, unaware of others – but taken as a whole, they certainly signal a neighbourhood in transition.
What is driving these changes?
Is the demand really there for so many apartments and townhouses – or is there always an element of guesswork in such investments?
I wonder, too, if there is a cadre of long-time landlords and property owners who have been passive investors for decades but who are suddenly feeling the inclination to cash in.
If so, why?
On Barkly Street – between 501 Receptions and Dosa Hut/Dosa Corner, and amid much commercial activity of various kinds – there is a surprisingly high number of residential properties.
I wonder what their future is in a time of neighbourhood flux.
Likewise, how secure is the future for the old Barkly Street churches?
Opposite 540 On Barkly stands what can accurately be called a paddock.
It bears a “for lease” sign.
Further along, and opposite Ovest, is another vacant lot, this one not so big and without signage.
There’s another paddock on the corner of Clive and Russell streets, behind Dosa Corner.
What was once a funky ’60s-style church is now definitely earmarked for apartments, I’m told.
Further along, opoosite West Footscray Vet Clinic, stood for many decades a neighbourhood mechanic.
I’m told that one minute a few weeks back it was there and about 30 later it was gone, the land destined for … apartments and/or townhouses.
According to the vet clinic folks, “people who have been bringing their animals to us for years had been taking their cars there for years”.
Back in the village, the two shops between Dosa Hut and the paint shop are to become townhouses, six of the eight already sold, according to the sign.
According to a post on the Barkly Village Facebook page, the defaced property next to the laundrette is all set to become an amusement parlour – “primary use seems to be for billiards and games machines”.
Also in the village, GM Manchester is adorned with “closing down” signs.
The short-lived Akshaya Indian street food enterprise is giving way to a WeFo branch of Biryani House.
When I have a peek, they look like they’re just about ready to roll …