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Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - Page 17

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Les Misérables by Victor Hugo VOLUME iii - MARIUS BOOK FIFTH - THE EXCELLENCE OF MISFORTUNE CHAPTER vi THE SUBSTITUTE Continued from last week

“You are right, uncle,” said Theodule. M. Gillenormand resumed:— “Cannons in the courtyard of the Museum! For what purpose? Do you want to fire grape-shot at the Apollo Belvedere? What have those cartridges to do with the Venus de Medici? Oh! the young men of the present day are all blackguards! What a pretty creature is their Benjamin Constant! And those who are not rascals are simpletons! They do all they can to make themselves ugly, they are badly dressed, they are afraid of women, in the presence of petticoats they have a mendicant air which sets the girls into fits of laughter; on my word of honor, one would say the poor creatures were ashamed of love. They are deformed, and they complete themselves by being stupid; they repeat the puns of Tiercelin and Potier, they have sack coats, stablemen’s waistcoats, shirts of coarse linen, trousers of coarse cloth, boots of coarse leather, and their rigmarole resembles their plumage. One might make use of their jargon to put new soles on their old shoes. And all this awkward batch of brats has political opinions, if you please. Political opinions should be strictly forbidden. They fabricate systems, they recast society, they demolish the monarchy, they fling all laws to the earth, they put the attic in the cellar’s place and my porter in the place of the King, they turn Europe topsy-turvy, they reconstruct the world, and all their love affairs consist in staring slily at the ankles of the laundresses as these women climb into their carts. Ah! Marius! Ah! you blackguard! to go and vociferate on the public place! to discuss, to debate, to take measures! They call that measures, just God! Disorder humbles itself and becomes silly. I have seen chaos, I now see a mess. Students deliberating on the National Guard,— such a thing could not be seen among the Ogibewas nor the Cadodaches! Savages who go naked, with their noddles dressed like a shuttlecock, with a club in their paws, are less of brutes than those bachelors of arts! The four-penny monkeys! And they set up for judges! Those creatures deliberate and ratiocinate! The end of the world is come! This is plainly the end of this miserable terraqueous globe! A final hiccough was required, and France has emitted it. Deliberate, my rascals! Such things will happen so long as they go and read the newspapers under the arcades of the Odeon. That costs them a sou, and their good sense, and their intelligence, and their heart and their soul, and their wits. They emerge thence, and decamp from their families. All newspapers are pests; all, even the Drapeau Blanc! At bottom, Martainville was a Jacobin. Ah! just Heaven! you may boast of having driven your grandfather to despair, that you may!” “That is evident,” said Theodule. And profiting by the fact that M. Gillenormand was taking breath, the lancer added in a magisterial manner:— “There should be no other newspaper than the Moniteur, and no other book than the Annuaire Militaire.” M. Gillenormand continued:— “It is like their Sieyes! A regicide ending in a senator; for that is the way they always end. They give themselves a scar with the address of thou as citizens, in order to get themselves called, eventually, Monsieur le Comte. Monsieur le Comte as big as my arm, assassins of September. The philosopher Sieyes! I will do myself the justice to say, that I have never had any better opinion of the philosophies of all those philosophers, than of the spectacles of the grimacer of Tivoli! One day I saw the Senators cross the Quai Malplaquet in mantles of violet velvet sown with bees, with hats a la Henri IV. They were hideous. One would have pronounced them monkeys from the tiger’s court. Citizens, I declare to you, that your progress is madness, that your humanity is a dream, that your revolution is a crime, that your republic is a monster, that your young and virgin France comes from the brothel, and I maintain it against all, whoever you may be, whether journalists, economists, legists, or even were you better judges of liberty, of equality, and fraternity than the knife of the guillotine! And that I announce to you, my flne fellows!” “Parbleu!” cried the lieutenant, “that is wonderfully true.”

● Victor Hugo M. Gillenormand paused in a gesture which he had begun, wheeled round, stared Lancer Theodule intently in the eyes, and said to him:— “You are a fool.”

BOOK SIXTH - THE CONJUNCTION OF TWO STARS CHAPTER I THE SOBRIQUET: MODE OF FORMATION OF FAMILY NAMES Marius was, at this epoch, a handsome young man, of medium stature, with thick and intensely black hair, a lofty and intelligent brow, well-opened and passionate nostrils, an air of calmness and sincerity, and with something indescribably proud, thoughtful, and innocent over his whole countenance. His profile, all of whose lines were rounded, without thereby losing their firmness, had a certain Germanic sweetness, which has made its way into the French physiognomy by way of Alsace and Lorraine, and that complete absence of angles which rendered the Sicambres so easily recognizable among the Romans, and which distinguishes the leonine from the aquiline race. He was at that period of life when the mind of men who think is composed, in nearly equal parts, of depth and ingenuousness. A grave situation being given, he had all that is required to be stupid: one more turn of the key, and he might be sublime. His manners were reserved, cold, polished, not very genial. As his mouth was charming, his lips the reddest, and his teeth the whitest in the world, his smile corrected the severity of his face, as a whole. At certain moments, that pure brow and that voluptuous smile presented a singular contrast. His eyes were small, but his glance was large. At the period of his most abject misery, he had observed that young girls turned round when he passed by, and he fled or hid, with death in his soul. He thought that they were staring at him because of his old clothes, and that they were laughing at them; the fact is, that they stared at him because of his grace, and that they dreamed of him. This mute misunderstanding between him and the pretty passers-by had made him shy. He chose none of them for the excellent reason that he fled from all of them. He lived thus indefinitely,— stu-

pidly, as Courfeyrac said. Courfeyrac also said to him: “Do not aspire to be venerable” [they called each other thou; it is the tendency of youthful friendships to slip into this mode of address]. “Let me give you a piece of advice, my dear fellow. Don’t read so many books, and look a little more at the lasses. The jades have some good points about them, O Marius! By dint of fleeing and blushing, you will become brutalized.” On other occasions, Courfeyrac encountered him and said:—“Good morning, Monsieur l’Abbe!” When Courfeyrac had addressed to him some remark of this nature, Marius avoided women, both young and old, more than ever for a week to come, and he avoided Courfeyrac to boot. Nevertheless, there existed in all the immensity of creation, two women whom Marius did not flee, and to whom he paid no attention whatever. In truth, he would have been very much amazed if he had been informed that they were women. One was the bearded old woman who swept out his chamber, and caused Courfeyrac to say: “Seeing that his servant woman wears his beard, Marius does not wear his own beard.” The other was a sort of little girl whom he saw very often, and whom he never looked at. For more than a year, Marius had noticed in one of the walks of the Luxembourg, the one which skirts the parapet of the Pepiniere, a man and a very young girl, who were almost always seated side by side on the same bench, at the most solitary end of the alley, on the Rue de l’Ouest side. Every time that that chance which meddles with the strolls of persons whose gaze is turned inwards, led Marius to that walk,— and it was nearly every day,— he found this couple there. The man appeared to be about sixty years of age; he seemed sad and serious; his whole person presented the robust and weary aspect peculiar to military men who have retired from the service. If he had worn a decoration, Marius would have said: “He is an ex-officer.” He had a kindly but unapproachable air, and he never let his glance linger on the eyes of any one. He wore blue trousers, a blue frock coat and a broad-brimmed hat, which always appeared to be new, a black cravat, a quaker shirt, that is to say, it was dazzlingly white, but of coarse linen. A grisette who passed near him one day, said: “Here’s a very tidy widower.” His hair was very white.

The first time that the young girl who accompanied him came and seated herself on the bench which they seemed to have adopted, she was a sort of child thirteen or fourteen years of age, so thin as to be almost homely, awkward, insignificant, and with a possible promise of handsome eyes. Only, they were always raised with a sort of displeasing assurance. Her dress was both aged and childish, like the dress of the scholars in a convent; it consisted of a badly cut gown of black merino. They had the air of being father and daughter. Marius scanned this old man, who was not yet aged, and this little girl, who was not yet a person, for a few days, and thereafter paid no attention to them. They, on their side, did not appear even to see him. They conversed together with a peaceful and indifferent air. The girl chattered incessantly and merrily. The old man talked but little, and, at times, he fixed on her eyes overflowing with an ineffable paternity. Marius had acquired the mechanical habit of strolling in that walk. He invariably found them there. This is the way things went:— Marius liked to arrive by the end of the alley which was furthest from their bench; he walked the whole length of the alley, passed in front of them, then returned to the extremity whence he had come, and began again. This he did five or six times in the course of his promenade, and the promenade was taken five or six times a week, without its having occurred to him or to these people to exchange a greeting. That personage, and that young girl, although they appeared,— and perhaps because they appeared,— to shun all glances, had, naturally, caused some attention on the part of the five or six students who strolled along the Pepiniere from time to time; the studious after their lectures, the others after their game of billiards. Courfeyrac, who was among the last, had observed them several times, but, finding the girl homely, he had speedily and carefully kept out of the way. He had fled, discharging at them a sobriquet, like a Parthian dart. Impressed solely with the child’s gown and the old man’s hair, he had dubbed the daughter Mademoiselle Lanoire, and the father, Monsieur Leblanc, so that as no one knew them under any other title, this nickname became a law in the default of any other name. The students said: “Ah! Monsieur Leblanc is on his bench.” And Marius, like the rest, had found it convenient to call this unknown gentleman Monsieur Leblanc. We shall follow their example, and we shall say M. Leblanc, in order to facilitate this tale. So Marius saw them nearly every day, at the same hour, during the first year. He found the man to his taste, but the girl insipid.

CHAPTER II LUX FACTA EST

During the second year, precisely at the point in this history which the reader has now reached, it chanced that this habit of the Luxembourg was interrupted, without Marius himself being quite aware why, and nearly six months elapsed, during which he did not set foot in the alley. One day, at last, he returned thither once more; it was a serene summer morning, and Marius was in joyous mood, as one is when the weather is fine. It seemed to him that he had in his heart all the songs of the birds that he was listening to, and all the bits of blue sky of which he caught glimpses through the leaves of the trees. He went straight to “his alley,” and when he reached the end of it he perceived, still on the same bench, that well-known couple. Only, when he approached, it certainly was the same man; but it seemed to him that it was no longer the same girl. The person whom he now beheld was a tall and beautiful creature, possessed of all the most charming lines of a woman at the precise moment when they are still combined with all the most ingenuous graces of the child; a pure and fugitive moment, which can be expressed only by these two words,— “fifteen years.” She had wonderful brown hair, shaded with threads of gold, a brow that seemed made of marble, cheeks that seemed made of rose-leaf, a pale flush, an agitated whiteness, an exquisite mouth, whence smiles darted like sunbeams, and words like mu-

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From Page 17 sic, a head such as Raphael would have given to Mary, set upon a neck that Jean Goujon would have attributed to a Venus. And, in order that nothing might be lacking to this bewitching face, her nose was not handsome — it was pretty; neither straight nor curved, neither Italian nor Greek; it was the Parisian nose, that is to say, spiritual, delicate, irregular, pure,— which drives painters to despair, and charms poets. When Marius passed near her, he could not see her eyes, which were constantly lowered. He saw only her long chestnut lashes, permeated with shadow and modesty. This did not prevent the beautiful child from smiling as she listened to what the white-haired old man was saying to her, and nothing could be more fascinating than that fresh smile, combined with those drooping eyes. For a moment, Marius thought that she was another daughter of the same man, a sister of the former, no doubt. But when the invariable habit of his stroll brought him, for the second time, near the bench, and he had examined her attentively, he recognized her as the same. In six months the little girl had become a young maiden; that was all. Nothing is more frequent than this phenomenon. There is a moment when girls blossom out in the twinkling of an eye, and become roses all at once. One left them children but yesterday; today, one finds them disquieting to the feelings. This child had not only grown, she had become idealized. As three days in April suffice to cover certain trees with flowers, six months had sufficed to clothe her with beauty. Her April had arrived. One sometimes sees people, who, poor and mean, seem to wake up, pass suddenly from indigence to luxury, indulge in expenditures of all sorts, and become dazzling, prodigal, magnificent, all of a sudden. That is the result of having pocketed an income; a note fell due yesterday. The young girl had received her quarterly income. And then, she was no longer the school-girl with her felt hat, her merino gown, her scholar’s shoes, and red hands; taste had come to her with beauty; she was a well-dressed person, clad with a sort of rich and simple elegance, and without affectation. She wore a dress of black damask, a cape of the same material, and a bonnet of white crape. Her white gloves displayed the delicacy of the

hand which toyed with the carved, Chinese ivory handle of a parasol, and her silken shoe outlined the smallness of her foot. When one passed near her, her whole toilette exhaled a youthful and penetrating perfume. As for the man, he was the same as usual. The second time that Marius approached her, the young girl raised her eyelids; her eyes were of a deep, celestial blue, but in that veiled azure, there was, as yet, nothing but the glance of a child. She looked at Marius indifferently, as she would have stared at the brat running beneath the sycamores, or the marble vase which cast a shadow on the bench, and Marius, on his side, continued his promenade, and thought about something else. He passed near the bench where the young girl sat, five or six times, but without even turning his eyes in her direction. On the following days, he returned, as was his wont, to the Luxembourg; as usual, he found there “the father and daughter;” but he paid no further attention to them. He thought no more about the girl now that she was beautiful than he had when she was homely. He passed very near the bench where she sat, because such was his habit.

CHAPTER III EFFECT OF THE SPRING One day, the air was warm, the Luxembourg was inundated with light and shade, the sky was as pure as though the angels had washed it that morning, the sparrows were giving vent to little twitters in the depths of the chestnut-trees. Marius had thrown open his whole soul to nature, he was not thinking of anything, he simply lived and breathed, he passed near the bench, the young girl raised her eyes to him, the two glances met. What was there in the young girl’s glance on this occasion? Marius could not have told. There was nothing and there was everything. It was a strange flash. She dropped her eyes, and he pursued his way. What he had just seen was no longer the ingenuous and simple eye of a child; it was a mysterious gulf which had half opened, then abruptly closed again. There comes a day when the young girl glances in this manner. Woe to him who chances to be there! That first gaze of a soul which does not, as yet,

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know itself, is like the dawn in the sky. It is the awakening of something radiant and strange. Nothing can give any idea of the dangerous charm of that unexpected gleam, which flashes suddenly and vaguely forth from adorable shadows, and which is composed of all the innocence of the present, and of all the passion of the future. It is a sort of undecided tenderness which reveals itself by chance, and which waits. It is a snare which the innocent maiden sets unknown to herself, and in which she captures hearts without either wishing or knowing it. It is a virgin looking like a woman. It is rare that a profound revery does not spring from that glance, where it falls. All purities and all candors meet in that celestial and fatal gleam which, more than all the best-planned tender glances of coquettes, possesses the magic power of causing the sudden blossoming, in the depths of the soul, of that sombre flower, impregnated with perfume and with poison, which is called love. That evening, on his return to his garret, Marius cast his eyes over his garments, and perceived, for the first time, that he had been so slovenly, indecorous, and inconceivably stupid as to go for his walk in the Luxembourg with his “every-day clothes,” that is to say, with a hat battered near the band, coarse carter’s boots, black trousers which showed white at the knees, and a black coat which was pale at the elbows.

CHAPTER IV BEGINNING OF A GREAT MALADY On the following day, at the accustomed hour, Marius drew from his wardrobe his new coat, his new trousers, his new hat, and his new boots; he clothed himself in this complete panoply, put on his gloves, a tremendous luxury, and set off for the Luxembourg. On the way thither, he encountered Courfeyrac, and pretended not to see him. Courfeyrac, on his return home, said to his friends:— “I have just met Marius’ new hat and new coat, with Marius inside them. He was going to pass an examination, no doubt. He looked utterly stupid.” On arriving at the Luxembourg, Marius made the tour of the fountain basin, and stared at the swans; then he remained for a long time in contempla-

tion before a statue whose head was perfectly black with mould, and one of whose hips was missing. Near the basin there was a bourgeois forty years of age, with a prominent stomach, who was holding by the hand a little urchin of five, and saying to him: “Shun excess, my son, keep at an equal distance from despotism and from anarchy.” Marius listened to this bourgeois. Then he made the circuit of the basin once more. At last he directed his course towards “his alley,” slowly, and as if with regret. One would have said that he was both forced to go there and withheld from doing so. He did not perceive it himself, and thought that he was doing as he always did. On turning into the walk, he saw M. Leblanc and the young girl at the other end, “on their bench.” He buttoned his coat up to the very top, pulled it down on his body so that there might be no wrinkles, examined, with a certain complaisance, the lustrous gleams of his trousers, and marched on the bench. This march savored of an attack, and certainly of a desire for conquest. So I say that he marched on the bench, as I should say: “Hannibal marched on Rome.” However, all his movements were purely mechanical, and he had interrupted none of the habitual preoccupations of his mind and labors. At that moment, he was thinking that the Manuel du Baccalaureat was a stupid book, and that it must have been drawn up by rare idiots, to allow of three tragedies of Racine and only one comedy of Moliere being analyzed therein as masterpieces of the human mind. There was a piercing whistling going on in his ears. As he approached the bench, he held fast to the folds in his coat, and fixed his eyes on the young girl. It seemed to him that she filled the entire extremity of the alley with a vague blue light. In proportion as he drew near, his pace slackened more and more. On arriving at some little distance from the bench, and long before he had reached the end of the walk, he halted, and could not explain to himself why he retraced his steps. He did not even say to himself that he would not go as far as the end. It was only with difficulty that the young girl could have perceived him in the distance and noted his fine appearance in his new clothes. Nevertheless, he held himself very erect, in case any one should be looking at him from behind. ● To Be Continued Next Week

Observer Crossword Solution No 16 MA R K E T A E L I P V I M I S S I V R T S A MA N E N I N E P T N W H A N I C K E L O A R A W I S H E S S T I E L A ND E A A M I M F R A U P E T C A S T E R U E E F S A V E H E NGU Y A RD R K P B MA I L I R A I S A H POK Y L E E E NDOR S A R DR AG S K Y A K A Y AMP L E S U O P U S H I N I T I O RUNN E R R G RO A T L A S N A Y S S C I S L WO R S H I A O AM A W R MOR A L I

I NG C N L E A T A E T E NON R S R A H E A P A T C K L E S I S T V E D Y S R E E T N A OMA J A R G E T E R A T H O N E NU S A N B S I D E T C L F E R S C R I C K E A L I N T D I E S T RU E E P R M I G A R I R S S T A E T I D N E E YOGA V T I D E S R R F I T A T E S L M L E A K E S L I P ME S I GO S C P I E S S E S

A R E E R G T A P X H Y E N A ROP H Y N ME O O M E E N T S E A V E S H E A DMA S T E GOD S O T C R P R E F E R S E NCH B E T A N A EM I A V E A L L S E S T OW AW A Y N C O S M OGO HO T U P M I T E S I S H V M NCO E ME R A T E WH I S N WO N F E MA R S E K E F OO T MA D R F B E N E U S S I F I I N A P T C L I P A L I B I P E T T Y E SO Y A OS S NOE L R I B T T D I OR AWA C V I OC N R A T I ON CUD F E GOO I F F E R S P UN E E R MA U L S D O O L E U D I GR E S S E P P E D N S I N S T E P S A S CO E X E M T E N S I ON M I N I I L C T A CHOME T E GH T B R A S S H K O Y E OD I UM D T O S N B R A T S T AGE S Y E F

N U N N E R Y E A S T I R R D O R M I T O R Y G C L O S E B A R M R E S T

D EM MA T I S T H A S E S D S T E H S T E R L A D L L A CON EWD L R L PO S L F L L L I A CH K R E A R E E D I H L E L L L U L E S ON E A D C X T E O B I N O S S H S M A R I I D I NG GE POS

H A R B I NG Z E U M A ME CC A L I S H AGGA S N EWE R O T E S OA B A OW L A I R I E R L R N N I MB S E R I F L S S D I L A P A S T C C Y S R E E K T U B A S E R R I ND OW E D Y E O L E E O D AWD L AGS B E G YM R K E N A R A B I C O L C T H S A L S A C T A D H A I R E A D E R C AM B N I S C S R E A MA J E S E D E L E D AM L E AM NOS E I N T O J Z E N A V A I S P Y D Z T R AMA Z CORG I I G M OR A N E E P AGE G N T ROU I L E A OP A R A NU P L Y MOB S T A L ON E A RM U N X S HR E DD I

E R O A RD I F S E T E L E P T E D S G L P E E D E P T A A T I L E M N E R T Y R A D Y L

A E S C GE N ND U S D E R A N NG


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Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - Page 19

NO MORE SPEED HUMPS Hawthorn Road, Forest Hill Proposed Traffic Treatments Whitehorse City Council intends to inflict more frustration on motorist by installing 7 new speed humps between Springvale and Blackburn Roads and yet have approved the building of 19 double-storey properties now in progress (on the north Side of Hawthorn Road) between Springvale and Mahoneys Roads, thus increasing traffic volumes substantially considering the huge number of double-storey properties already erected and being erected on the south side of Hawthorn Road (forecast 70+) COULD IT BE TO RAISE MORE REVENUE FOR THE COUNCIL AT RATEPAYERS’ EXPENSE AND NOW WE AS RESIDENTS ARE CONFRONTED WITH THE NEED FOR SPEED HUMPS AND THE ASSOCIATED COSTS TO CONSTRUCT? OR MAYBE SPEND BUDGET ALLOCATION MONEY BEFORE THEY LOSE IT?

QUESTIONS STILL NOT ANSWERED BY THE COUNCIL ● WHY DO WE NEED 7 MORE SPEED HUMPS TO BE INSTALLED BETWEEN BLACKBURN AND SPRINGVALE ROADS AND WHERE ARE THE STATISTICS FOR RESIDENTS TO REVIEW AND WHICH WILL DEMONSTRATE A PRESENT THREAT TO SAFETY? ● WHAT GUARANTEES WILL THE COUNCIL PROVIDE THAT SPEED HUMPS WILL ELIMINATE COUNCIL PERCEIVED RISKS TO SAFETY ? ● WHEN WILL THE RESIDENTS RECEIVE A SUMMARY OF RESPONSES TO THE SURVEY THEY STATE WAS EXECUTED. WHERE YOU PROVIDED THIS ?????? ● WHAT OTHER OPTIONS WERE CONSIDERED TO THAT OF SPEED HUMPS ???? ● WHERE IS THE ANALYSIS OF OVER POPULATING THE AREA DUE TO COUNCIL APPROVALS FOR BUILDING OF MULTIPLE RESIDENTS ON PREVIOUSLY “ONE HOUSE BLOCKS” AND IN FACT “GREEN BELT LAND” VERSUS RESULTANT TRAFFIC VOLUME AND ROAD SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS ??????? ● WHAT IS THE BUDGET FOR THIS WORK ???? WE ENCOURAGE ALL THOSE OPPOSED TO THIS PLAN TO WASTE RATEPAYERS MONEY AND INFLICT UNNECESSARY FRUSTRATION ON MOTORISTS TO CONTACT THE WHITEHORSE CITY COUNCIL ON (03)9262 6333 Mr Chris Bur / Arthur Tsoutsoulis or email customer.service@whitehorse.vic.gov.au

ACT NOW


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Victoria Pictorial

Historic Photo Collection

● Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville. 1956.

● Collins St, with Town Hall and Manchester Unity building. 1956.

● Flinders Street, showing Princes Bridge

● Collins Street, from West End. 1956.

● Bourke Street, looking west

● Front view of Exhibition Buildings, Melbourne. 1956.

● Looking to Princes’ Bridge, from near boat sheds. 1956

● Town Hall, St Kilda, where Olympc fencing events were decided.


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Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - Page 21

Open Monday-Saturday Also open on Sundays by appointment


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Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - Page 67

THREE DIFFERENT SIZES AVAILABLE


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Places To Go

Waikerie, South Australia

bensonpk@riverland.net.au


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Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - Page 69

Travellers’Good Buys

with David Ellis

What really happened to PT 109?

■ It is generally only the more adventurous make it to remote Gizo in the Solomon Islands, a magical place of some of the world’s best fishing and wreck and reef diving, and from where you can venture a further 10kms to a miniscule dot shown on most charts as Kasolo Atoll. For this sandy speck Kasolo is better known to the world as Kennedy Island – the place where a-then 26 years old John F. Kennedy, commander of the US Navy’s motor torpedo boat PT109 and future President of the United States, together with ten of his crew, waded ashore in pitch-blackness after their boat was rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri on an August night in 1943. Sixty-two years later the Australian expedition cruise ship Orion became one of a growing number of boutique and smaller cruise ships vessels to visit Kasolo as part of Pacific Island cruises, giving its just-100 passengers the opportunity to walk on that very beach on which Kennedy and his men came ashore. For decades South Pacific adventurers have laid claim to finding and even salvaging the remains of PT109. But their assertions are in fact their imaginings: what’s left of PT109 lays a virtually impossible-to-reach 374 metres below the surface 4km off Kasolo. PT109 had been one of fifteen PTs sent from the US Navy’s base on

● Commander President – John F Kennedy (extreme right) and crew of P109.

Wines & Liqueurs

with David Ellis

‘Tween drought and deluge ■ Hopefuls who flocked to Central Victoria’s Bendigo with the 1850s gold rush brought with them not just a hunger for gold, but for the good life they hoped it would bring – and within five years of their arriving, others drawn by reports of the area’s wonderful agricultural lands were equally rushing in to plant wine grapes to ultimately slake the thirsts of the newly-rich. Today the rolling hills of the Bendigo region continue to produce exceptional wines, amongst them BlackJack Vineyards whose Chortles Edge label walks off the shelves as a wine that truly overdelivers at its price point. Their just-released 2010 Chortles Edge Shiraz is a great drop, made from a vintage that was quite remarkable: 2008 and 2009 had both been bleak drought years, while 2011 and 2012 were years of torrential deluges. “You could almost say 2010 was an idyllic vintage squeezed-in between those other years,” says Ian McKenzie, who shares ownership and winemaking duties at BlackJack with Ken Pollack. “The rain we got in 2010 came just at the right time, falling mostly at night to refresh the vines and slow ripening a bit, giving us perfectly-conditioned fruit,” Ian says. And the resultant wine shows it with lots of juicy shiraz fruit flavours and nice tannins to finish – making an enjoyable drop to enjoy now or to develop further over three or four years. Excellent value at $18, this one has “big steak off the barbecue” written all over it.

One to note ■ Fifth Leg’s 2012 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc made from fruit from across West Australia’s various growing regions is a wine filled with varietal zesty and vivacious fruit flavours, and highlighted with tropical notes of lychee and passionfruit. So-named after the fossilised remains of a Tasmanian tiger with a bizarrely fifth leg were found near parent company, Devil’s Lair Winery in Margaret River, this is a label to keep an eye on for good value, fresh and easy drinking wines. Pay $17.99 for the 2012 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy with seafood, or cold roast chicken and salad.

Pictured ■ Bigsteak off the barbecue written all over this Shiraz ■ Seafood, or cold roast chicken and salad, will go ideally with this one.

We’re archived on http:// vintnews.com

Rendova Island to harass a Japanese convoy that had dropped thousands of troops on nearby Kolombangara Island, as Japan planned to attack Guadalcanal, and ultimately Australia during the Pacific War. But in the inkiness of the night, the Amagiri rammed the little 25-metre PT109, splitting her lengthwise, her fuel tanks erupting in a massive fireball. Two men went down with PT109 and after clinging for a time to the upturned boat, Commander Kennedy and ten others swam and drifted to Kasolo – which locally means Gods of Paradise, and which most certainly must have seemed Paradise to the shipwrecked sailors. And extraordinarily, Kennedy had towed one of the more-badly injured the entire 4km by the strap of the seaman’s life-vest clenched in his mouth. Realising the minute atoll offered little safety, the group next day swam two kilometres to Olasana Island, from where Kennedy and crewman George Ross swam another kilometre to larger Nauru Island in the hope of finding American troops. But they were surprised to be confronted by two villagers, who said they were working secretly behind the 12,000-strong Japanese enemy lines with the extraordinarily brave Australian Coastwatcher, George Evans. Kennedy needed to get a message to his base on Rendova, now 60kms away, and one of the villagers, Biuku Gasa came up with an ingenious idea: he gathered a green coconut and showed Kennedy how to scratch a message into its surface with a piece of sharpened sea-shell. Kennedy engraved: NAURU ISL / COMMANDER / NATIVE KNOWS POS’IT / HE CAN PILOT / 11 ALIVE / NEED SMALL BOAT / KENNEDY Gasa and his mate Aaron (Eroni) Kumana then paddled their canoe 60km to Rendova with the bizarre coconut message, and under cover of the next night’s darkness another PT rescued Kennedy and his crew. American dive-holiday operator, Danny Kennedy (no relation to JFK) has lived at Gizo for a-near 30 years and was part of the team led by Dr Robert Ballard (who’d earlier found the remains of the Titanic,) that finally found the few remains of PT109 in 2002. Danny told me when I visited him in Gizo aboard Orion that despite all the claims by others, all that was sighted by Ballard’s ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) was a brass torpedo tube in 374-metres of water, and possibly a torpedo. Being of timber construction all else had succumbed to the sea, or disappeared under sand and coral debris; the ROV nudged the torpedo tube but was unable to move it, suggesting it was still attached in some way to PT109. Ballard and Kennedy will not reveal the exact location of PT109 saying they respect it as a war grave – and in any case, it’s way too deep to dive. Orion will re-visit Kennedy Island in March 2014 as part of a 21-night cruise to PNG, Vanuatu and the Solomons; details travel agents. For information about Gizo diving, fishing, WWII wreckage tours see www.divegizo.com


Page 70 - Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 24, 2013

www.MelbourneObserver.com.au


www.MelbourneObserver.com.au

Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - Page 71

Telstra Testimonials Send your contribution to editor@MelbourneObserver.com.au

Melbourne

Observer

● ‘Telstra testimonials’ is a weekly section of the Melbourne Observer, where we hold the national communications company to account. Australians are sick and tired of service breakdowns, and a poor customer service attitude. Telstra needs to lift its game. Delays of hours to speak to one of Telstra’s representatives - often located in faraway countries - are commonplace. Every week we will forward a copy of the Melbourne Observer to David Thodey, CEO of Telstra, Locked Bag 5639, Melbourne, Vic 3001. Mr Thodey and his staff are always welcome to comment on, and fix, the complaints listed by Telstra customers on this page.

Bigpond out

Why the costs? ■ Janet Wilson asks Telstra: “ Why have I been charged a port fee on a phone that I got on a plan over two years ago that I was told was not locked to Telstra? “And then when it was the woman I spoke to also stated that there was no fee to unlock.”

7-day delay ■ Telstra have so many complaints, there is now a delay of at least seven business days to deal with new complaints. See ‘Still Waiting’ (below).

Unresolved ■ Greg Fullard writes: “You call this customer service 10 min shy of two hours on hold. Your service is shit.” ■ Jonathan Barwick writes: “I'm paying twice as much as I did with Vodafone for even worse service, worst decision I've ever made.”

Still waiting

■ Telstra’s week included a general failure of its Bigpond network. “Fortunately no emails have been,” said Telstra employee ‘Greg II’. “The backlog in our servers should be processed and appear in your inbox overnight.” Earlier, Telstra had posted this message: “We are experiencing a technical issue which is impacting a number of our online services. This is being worked on as a priority to restore as quickly as we can. “Apologies for any inconvenience.” Cold comfort if you could not access the internet, to read the online message. Kathe Lindsay-Newey said: “Yes, still missing four hours of e=mails. I know that because I sent myself emails. They went out but haven't come back

Going to Optus

■ Chloe Jones writes: “You are still yet to solve a problem bought to your attention over two weeks ago now. “I emailed someone from Telstra last Thursday, still haven't heard back. “I also received an email survey on money which asked me if my problem had been resolved. “I answered no and explained what and what was still an issue, I received a message telling me that I will be receiving a call back very shortly yeah, that was Monday. “Funny, you can send me reminder texts/emails about bills due to be paid, but don't have enough time to solve an issue with the service you're providing? “My bills aren't getting paid until something is done about this, and if it takes too long, Optus it is I say.”

● Telstra CEO David Thodey told to “pull your finger out” by customer Karen Luck (below)

More promises ■ Laura Darvill wrote: “Hey, I've had no internet since Saturday and have been promised it would be back a number of different times the latest being last night. I'm still without and am wanting to know what the go is.”

No return call

Not working

■ Pradeep Oommen Kurien writes: ”More than two months and counting ... still issue not resolved. Even your complaints department has not responded for a mail sent on April 7 with proof that the speed of internet I am getting is 0.24mb or less.”

■ Clayton Burns writes: “Hi, I'm having a problem with finding out my data usage. “For the past three days every time I try to find out how much data I have left it tells me it's not available, and to try again in a few minutes.”

Language please

Took 5 months

■ Michael Hoogland had a postscript to a message he sent to Telstra: “by the way, I speak English with Australian slang, not freakin' ‘Engrish’, Hindi, Urdu, Mandarin or whatever all your operators speak ... hard enough to get my message across when I am frustrated, yet alone deal with someone whom I cant flaming understand!”

■ Michelle D'Croix writes: “Since the Nov. 26 last year, i have been trying to get ADSL connected via Telstra (Optus wasn’t an option). “I have spent maybe 20+ hours on the phone to people in Adelaide, India and beyond, telling and retelling my story countless times. “I have had to identify myself for an account I didn't have. I have even been asked to go out and check if there's cabling on the road. WTF I was looking for, I have no freakin idea. “I have spelt my street address maybe 30 times. I have waited for three technicians who haven't turned up. “Finally, finally we have internet. I live in the middle of the goddamn city. “Telstra 24x7, I'm sorry but your service is beyond ridiculous. Your tech bloke Keith Maling on the other hand should be promoted to the goddamn CEO. “He came here at 430pm today, and came back twice - the last time at 645pm to sort us out. if you don't promote him to CEO, then at least give him a freakin payrise. “We now have internet!”

L-o-n-g wait

● Pranay Desai took a photo of his phone at the 48-minute mark of waiting to be answered by Telstra ■ Pranay Desai said: “Waiting for Telstra Call Centre to pick my call ... 48 minutes and counting.” ■ Pranay was later told online by ‘Steph’ of Telstra to lodge his complaint, but he would have to wait more than a week: “Regrettably they have a seven business day wait to be able to provide assistance on new complaints by our Case Managers either via phone or online. “However if you lodge it online, you get a reference number, and a Case Manager will contact you directly.”

Week’s delay ■ Stella Hartley writes: “App hasn't worked in a week. Have deleted and reinstalled, still nothing. “Customer services were calling me back ... when I called them at 3pm. Needless to say, I am still waiting.”

● Telstra customer Greg Lomas said he received this message at the company’s ‘Live Chat 24x7’ service: “After two hours waiting I get this screen, thanks for wasting my time.” “Unfortunately the Live Chat service is currently unavailable. We’re sorry for the inconvenience and hope to have things running smoothly again soon. Please try again later.”

■ Karen Luck writes: “ Well I have been on the phone for 2 hours and 32 mins and of that I have been on hold for just under 2 hours! “This is the fifth time I have contacted Telstra to provide some information on a previous bill and no one seems to be able to understand or help me. Full of contradictions. “Maybe Telstra should train their staff a little better with the same information. Don't understand why I can speak to a managment in Australia!” ■ Later, Karen wrote: “It's now been 3 hours and 15 mins, I am speaking to a supervisor '’off shore'’ and I have now requested to have the matter escalated to a 'manager' (which was done last week and I was told I would have the information within 24 hours and here we are a week later!). “Of course a manager is not available at this time and will have someone call me tomorrow. What an absolute joke. “You can not tell me Telstra that you can not express post or courier my information. “I find it unbelievable that someone can not press the print button, walk to the printer and organise 'special delivery'. “This matter has been going on for over two months! Pull your finger out David Thodey!”

■ Shannon Davies writes: “This is getting beyond ridiculous now! Ten working days to get an unlocking code for a phone that I was told would take 3-5 business days! I have called everyday since lodging the request on April 6. “I have spent at least 3-4 hours trying to speak to someone who can fix this. I ask to speak to a supervisor and they put me on hold "to go find one" and never return. “No one is willing to do anything. All I get is ‘I’ll send the request urgently. That has been sent five bloody times! I'm now beyond angry!”

These are all real stories. Customer ‘feedback’ sourced from Telstra’s 24/7 page on Facebook

‘Insulting’ ■ Terri O’Neil writes to Telstra: “Today I received a letter from you trying to 'tempt me back' by offering me a special deal for 'seniors' (yes I am one) which includes a "... wi-fi modem - making it easy to look up recipes in the kitchen or read the news in the lounge" and offering me 5GB of broadband. “I find this patronising attitude towards more mature adults and their internet use, extremely insulting.”

‘We will leave’ ■ Nicole Addamo writes: “We cannot even open a page since March 24. You say we used all our 5gig but we hardly use the net and not even You Tube or download. “It's ever since we received a letter from you, about two months ago saying to update our details as you would like to get in contact with us. “Also when it rains the net goes away to nothing. I'm going to move to another company soon. You even threatened us on the phone yesterday saying if we go else were, it will cost more and there is a release fee. You also said it will take months to change over. “Telstra this is beyond a joke! I don't like being told “oh you can upgrade to $105 deal for 200gig!” What the hell will we do with 200gig when we don't even use up 5gig, yet you tell us we have. “How? Please explain? We don't download or watch movies. We only use it to check e-mails a couple of times and Facebook. We don't even use apps! Fix our net or we will leave.”

Messages lost ■ Maya Venturini asks: “Hi, I am randomly having trouble with SMS messages I send not being received (even though it says they have been delivered) and SMS messages other people send me not being received. “Any ideas what's going on or how I can fix?” Got a complaint about Telstra? E-mail to editor@ melbourneobserver.com.au or mail to PO Box 1278, Research, Vic 3095


Page 72 - Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 24, 2013

www.MelbourneObserver.com.au

Melbourne Observer. 130424B. April 24, 2013. Pages 17-22, 67-72  

Melbourne Observer. 130424B. April 24, 2013. Pages 17-22, 67-72

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