On The Home Front


I go to my club’s gym in the city (Sydney) three times a week, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Set off between 3.30 pm and 4.30 pm. My bus is supposed to come each ten minutes. Whether it does or doesn’t, it is always crowded. I always have to stand and often complain to the driver urging him to inform his superiors that more buses are needed. Last Friday, the first bus to arrive took no one even though a couple of people got off. Too full, the driver explains. Don’t want to be awful or anything but it seems to me that most passengers are not that long off the boat.

Fine, I know we had a recent plebiscite and overwhelming agreed that we need another 200,000 migrants per year; but where are the extra buses is what I want to know. We didn’t have a plebiscite you say. Hmm? Well, anyway, we have to put our trust in the government and federal treasury who know what’s best for us.

Call into the supermarket when returning home. Want just three oranges to make three screwdrivers. One orange per drink means that you can taste each double vodka. Sadly, and forlornly, now living alone, I fend for myself. Do the shopping and such. Mind you, still wouldn’t be able to answer the gotcha question reporters ask of budding prime ministers; to wit, what’s the price of a bottle of milk, or loaf of bread, or a dozen eggs. Usually buy a number of items and take no notice.

This time, however, it takes me by surprise; $6.55 for three oranges. That’s steep, I think, forgetting about the ravages of inflation, and query the charge. The Indian girl at the checkout is very nice but I can’t understand a word she says. I apologise to those who I’m holding up. One chap agrees with me that the price seems high. Another impatiently looks for another checkout. Good luck, self service is the go these days. Finally, I shrug, and agree to pay the “exorbitant” price, while yet again voicing my surprise. A woman says, sympathetically, “welcome to Australia.” Maybe my Liverpool – England accent fools her into thinking I’m a recent arrival; though judging by her likely age (early forties?), I’ve lived here much longer than she has.

Each orange cost me $2.18. Checked on the price in the U.S., you can check on anything these days. Came to about $1.15; nevertheless, I bet they complain about that.


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Old School Conservative
Old School Conservative
February 25, 2023 4:00 pm

A woman says, sympathetically, “welcome to Australia.”

Perhaps your accent stimulated this comment but it’s also generic expression meaning “what a f*#@&d up place we’ve become.”

Vicki
Vicki
February 25, 2023 4:04 pm

Wow, Peter. That is really a sad post – for so many reasons.

But it does reflect the rapidly changing society in which we live – socially, economically and politically. And that change is accelerating at a frightening speed. Is anyone noticing out there??? You would think so – but most of my circle are too concerned about their overseas trips and now their self funded superannuation funds!

Petros
Petros
February 25, 2023 4:29 pm

Buy orange juice. Put it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Good back up for when the prices are exorbitant.

flyingduk
flyingduk
February 25, 2023 4:39 pm

And today in Woolies at Werribee… a small slab of AAA batteries = 31$, or 1.97 for each battery!! FMD

Damon
Damon
February 25, 2023 4:43 pm

Don’t worry Vicki, Labor will have another go at franking credits before the election cycle is over.

Gabor
Gabor
February 25, 2023 4:52 pm

flyingduk says:
February 25, 2023 at 4:39 pm

And today in Woolies at Werribee… a small slab of AAA batteries = 31$, or 1.97 for each battery!! FMD

Are they rechargeable?

hzhousewife
hzhousewife
February 25, 2023 5:20 pm

And to think the district around Mildura was recently bulldozing oranges, no pickers.

mem
mem
February 25, 2023 5:35 pm

Pete, Here’s a thought. If you give up the gym you will make a saving $’x plus the bus fare. Buy one of those new fangled pedometers and walk 5 km or such per day, thus avoiding the ugly bus scene and getting fit at same time. Obviously you enjoy your screwdrivers. Don’t have to give these up but find a local greengrocer where you can buy a bag of oranges at much lesser price, that will last a week or two.
PS Enjoy your posts, you write so well. Keep happy.

CrazyOldRanga
CrazyOldRanga
February 25, 2023 5:49 pm

Interesting that you checked the orange price in the United States but not England, where you originate. Any reason? Maybe check prices around the world, or close to home like NZ.

WolfmanOz
February 25, 2023 5:50 pm

Great post Peter Smith, depressing though – maybe you need a “Voice” ! ! !

Although, second thoughts, you skewered that other “Voice” superbly with your recent article in Quadrant.

Shy Ted
Shy Ted
February 25, 2023 6:41 pm

A real scouser would have given her a Liverpool kiss.

mem
mem
February 25, 2023 6:42 pm

Oranges are seasonal produce. Hence price differentials occur between hemispheres and weather zones, even in the same country at certain times of the year. Many people think they can get fresh produce of their choice all the time. Not so, although growing techniques and the development of new varieties that fruit earlier or later has extended the production seasons. Hot houses extend production of some produce eg tomatoes but not for tree fruit (apples, cherries, pears, apricots , peaches, plums) as it is not economical or practical. In Australia we are fortunate to have several weather zones so we can exploit this to grow fruit and vegetables to supply from different areas for many months of the year. Oranges unfortunately like a bit of frost, then clear sunshine, slightly sandy soils, so mostly grown in Murray Valley near Mildura, some parts of WA and a few other areas. Then when the season runs out, we have to turn to imports. Prices rise.

Christine
Christine
February 25, 2023 7:04 pm

“…..ice cube trays and freeze it”
As simple as that. What a good idea!

mem
mem
February 25, 2023 7:21 pm

Christinesays:
February 25, 2023 at 7:04 pm
“…..ice cube trays and freeze it”
As simple as that. What a good idea!

Beware, Vitamin C dissolves when frozen. Most other vitamins and minerals will survive but not Vitamin C. It still tastes good though.

HT
HT
February 25, 2023 11:00 pm

flyingduk says:
February 25, 2023 at 4:39 pm
And today in Woolies at Werribee… a small slab of AAA batteries = 31$, or 1.97 for each battery!! FMD

I’m an amateur photographer, and so I go through AA’s pretty quickly. Most photographers learn quickly to buy quality, rechargeable AA’s. By quality I mean Eneloops. I still have Eneloops going strong (they still recharge above 1900mA) after 12 years of use in the battery grip and/or speedlights and powering Mrs HT’s Christmas lighting, and Mrs HT just generally abusing my AA battery stocks on grandchildren’s toys, torches etc >:( Expensive (although compared to what you just paid maybe not?) to buy initially however they are the one exception to one of my Golden Rules, “Nothing green ever works”.

I even got a high end charger to groom them because these things have saved me $.hundreds over the years running my home studio on speedlights.

Eneloops, if you get them get the white ones, the black “Pro” versions are different chemistry meant for particular use cases.

HT
HT
February 26, 2023 12:07 am

Completely out of left field I suppose, but today I wrangled another shopping trolley into the car-park. You know, one those basters contraptions that you need to push at an obtuse angle for it move it the same direction as you…
It reminded me of how Australia is moving backwards. When I was young, my world was very small, our family couldn’t afford a car and our mobility was limited, to say the least. Public transport was poor in terms of its quality and frequency, to say nothing of its safety (gangs owned the bus and train networks, and you took you life in your hands to use a railway station after dusk). The annual big holiday for most was a week in Rosebud or Dromana, only the very wealthy could even dream of an overseas holiday, that was a life undreamed of; we went to school locally, worked locally, fruit and vegetables were only available as the local seasons permitted, gas meters took coins to operate and we couldn’t afford the energy to have a hot bath more than once a week, etc etc. I could go on, but suffice to say our world was very, very small, and the minutiae of our life was dogged by poverty, shortcuts and make-do’s such as shopping trolleys that needed to be wrestled into submission, although we had to carry the brown paper bags home because, you know, couldn’t afford a car and public transport with kids carrying brown paper bags full of groceries, seriously?
Australia is getting small again, basic stuff we thought we grew past is resurfacing. Mobility is getting crazy expensive again, public transport for most of us not living in the city circle is poor, at best. Try travelling as I recently briefly contemplated, from any major regional city to another large regional city – best of luck.
Energy is so expensive now my grown-up kids with kids of their own now are literally choosing between hot water for regular showers or paying the extra $1,000 a month recently added to their mortgage courtesy of successive governments that think an economy isn’t a vital component of a healthy society, but allowing violent youth free reign to terrorise the general population is a good thing, provided they check the right identity box off. We now even have a prime minister participating in a hedonistic freak show in Sydney by people whom I care little about other than asking, politely, “to please keep your sexual identity private like the rest of us, or at least please don’t proselytise your particular pervasion, kink or sexual prelictlivities such that children see it as a fashion accessory as opposed to a serious life choice with enduring consequences.”
My daughter is a Registered Nurse and Midwife, she has lost her career because although she has all over “standard”, long accepted vaccinations and believes, nay, prescribes well accepted health regimes for those she professionally cared for, chooses to not be vaccinated for Covid (she wants another child and has decided the Covid vaccination represents a poor risk/benefit for her personal circumstances).
We are going backwards as a country, fast. And no-one seems to give a f’k. I’m somewhat agnostic, but I see clearly now the genesis of the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the West is soaking it in.

Sorry for the rant, its probably borderline unhinged and poorly constructed to boot, but I had a little time on hand and just thought I’d shake my fist at the universe.

C.L.
C.L.
February 26, 2023 12:23 am

All the pics and vids have appeared of Albo at the gay march in Sydney, though.
That’ll help.

Wally Dalí
Wally Dalí
February 26, 2023 1:31 am

Righteous, HT. Good observations, I’m not old enough to have seen the contrast… but yes, we’ve gone in a nosedive from being a very healthy, high trust, high freedom society to what is by all accounts a literal Fascist state.

Gabor
Gabor
February 26, 2023 6:08 am

HT

Sorry for the rant, its probably borderline unhinged and poorly constructed to boot, but I had a little time on hand and just thought I’d shake my fist at the universe.

Nothing wrong with that, shaking your fist at the universe is probably more useful and effective than shaking it at the government.

We don’t know how the universe reacts, we do know how governments do.

duncanm
duncanm
February 26, 2023 8:22 am

flyingduksays:
February 25, 2023 at 4:39 pm
And today in Woolies at Werribee…

duk — I wonder if you’ve bumped into a (politically pissed off) relation of mine down Werribee way — we need to get in touch.

duncanm
duncanm
February 26, 2023 8:24 am

hzhousewifesays:
February 25, 2023 at 5:20 pm
And to think the district around Mildura was recently bulldozing oranges, no pickers.

not sure if I missed the ‘/sarc.

This is exactly why they (and much other produce ) is now expensive.

Diogenes
Diogenes
February 26, 2023 8:27 am

Completely out of left field I suppose, but today I wrangled another shopping trolley into the car-park. You know, one those basters contraptions that you need to push at an obtuse angle for it move it the same direction as you…

I find easier to pull rather than push. A trick an old timer at Bunnings told me.

Damon
Damon
February 26, 2023 12:02 pm

I too, do not notice the price of individual items, but I do notice the bill. For a single man, $60-80, compared to $20-40 only a few years ago.

Ed Case
Ed Case
February 26, 2023 5:59 pm

And to think the district around Mildura was recently bulldozing oranges, no pickers.

If they’re bulldozing the trees, it means cattle pay better than oranges.
It’s happened a lot with apples and stonefruit too.

Basically, the best days were when the fruit was canned, since the supermarkets went from variety to fresh food, the farmers have been eaten alive.

Real Deal
Real Deal
February 26, 2023 8:25 pm

This time of year most navel oranges are US imports from California. They have been in shops around January to March since at least the mid 80s. Once our local navels come in around May they get a lot cheaper.

Pyrmonter
February 27, 2023 9:41 am

Toddle down to Pitt St Mall or MetCentre. The small footprint Woolworths has oranges at $1.78/piece.

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