Monday 5 August 2013

The cemetery is in Cemetery road.

And appropriately enough, Cemetery road is a dead end.
I snapped these pics while out riding my bike, which is my latest secondary passion.
I say secondary because I have a simple enough philosophy these days, "surf when you can, work when you have to".
So work is my top priority, then surfing.
If I have got my work done and there is no surf, then I literally get on my bike.
When I saw this signage, I at first thought it a bit redundant, but then was reminded of my ex-wife's confusion when we returned from Vancouver to live in Sydney.
Syndey is an organic city, with roads, streets and alleys disappearing up and down vale, round corners, changing names as they go and with numbers placed on houses apparently by a chaos-theory practitioner.
Vancouver, where my ex was from, is far more ordered.
The avenues are numbered and the streets have names.
Thus, a friend giving direction to their house may say "head for Commercial and First".
Meaning they are located near the corner of First Ave and Commercial Drive.
House numbers are an additional aid, going up by 1600, that is, the first housing block on a road is 1600, the next block has numbers starting at 1700, so if you just have an address, say 1812 West First, then you know which block it's in.
Many then say why not number the streets and the avenues and make it even easier.
Well apart from removing the charm of a corner like Maple and Third, Calgary did do this and this led to confusion of it's own, if your directions were for 4th and 194th (yes, Calgary has a 194th st), you better make sure which is which or you will be  a long way from your destination.
Which also reminded me of a conversation I had with my friend in Trevor in Vancouver one stoned Sunday.
I was telling Trevor something about my native land and mentioned The Great Sandy Desert and the Snowy Mountains.
Trevor then looked at me amusedly and said, "do you have The Big Wet Ocean or the Large Green Field as well?"
My dope-addled mind grappled with his question and I got the point, talk about naming something what it is.
Great and Sandy, this desert
delivers what its name promises.
The dry geographic feature first named is indeed, Great in size, Sandy in composition and a desert to boot.
The Snowy mountains are, or they were at that time at least, snow capped.
This then led me to examine some of our other names and so:
The Great Barrier Reef is a reef that forms a barrier and it is truly great any way you wnat to use the word, in size and visual splendour.
The Great Ocean Road fills all three words of its name accurately.
The Blue Mountains are blue-the blue is from the eucalypts from the area which reflect more bluish than green light.
Deep Creek, South Australia we suspect is deeper than the next creek over.
The worst place name in Australia previously referred to in this blog, Dismal Swamp, is pretty dis...
Actually, I just looked it up on Google images and it's not too bad to my eyes, but I realised that it was most certainly named by an Englishman, all of who saw Australia in the early 1800s as nothing more than a hugely desolate wasteland, and no doubt Dismal copped the brunt of that.
Long Reef in Sydney is long, well longer than some other reefs, there are no Short Reefs for instance.
Little Bay is little and so it goes.
I might add since we are in the geographic area, I heard on the radio on the weekend that Royal Prince Henry hospital in Sydney's south-east was originally called The Coast Hospital, a much more charming and accurate name than the one bestowed once some damned monarchist got hold of the naming rights.
So why do we name things so obviously?
Well my ex-wife for one will tell you that giving something a name that reflects its appearance is much better for a newcomer to navigate with than naming it, as is common, after a person.
Thus one suspects we could pick Little Bay out easier than we could Byron Bay.
Hopefully, your colour gradations are adequate, and I ask if you can tell which of these two pictures is of the Blue Mountains?
So just because I am a nerd really here are some naming things.
Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart were named after notable British gentlemen of the day.
Brisbane, and I'm sure any Queenslander reading this will gnash their teeth to learn, was named after the then governor of NSW, Sir Thomas Brisbane.
Adelaide was named after the German bride of King William the fourth, who rejoiced in the fully splendid name of Adelheid Amalie Luise Therese Coralin of Saxe-Meiningen.
Perth is named after a county in Scotland, Darwin for the scientist Charles Darwin and the only (belated) indigenous entry to the list of capitals etymology is Canberra, "meeting place" in the local indigenous dialect.
Of course if we'd known we would have asked what is your phrase for "phenomenally boring heck-hole in the middle of nowhere that no-one cares about", but none of us can see the future can we.
Side Note on Psychology: Intelligent people leave Canberra, only nutjobs go there.
Of the other major cities, Newcastle after the English industrial centre in the north-east, Wollongong is from an aboriginal word woolyungah meaning "five islands", Parramatta, Australia's second city means Place of the Eels and my old home town was named for the Earl of Bathurst.
In Queensland all the major towns are English derived, notably, Townsville, Cairns, Gladstone and Rockhampton with the exception of Bundaberg, which is a composite of the name for the local aboriginal people, the Bundas, and Berg, a common ending meaning town, as in Edinburgh and Pittsburgh.
In Victoria indigenous naming finally got a foothold with Geelong and Ballarat. Although Bendigo sounds to my ears an aboriginal name it is in fact named for a local (white) shepherd, famous for his boxing.
Tassie has all English names with Queenstown, Launceston and Devonport.
South Australia has a mix with English names with Port Augusta and Victor Harbour, whilst Whyalla, Coober Pedy and Coolgardie are indigenous, with Coober Pedy meaning white man's hole, water hole that is, no salacious giggling please.
Western Australia has white names on the coast with Geralton, Bunbury and Port Hedland, whilst Kalgoorlie is an indigenous term for (most likely, "Place of Silky Pears").
I asked various friends what they thought was the commonest street name in Australia and the various guesses were: Boundary, my Aunt Jen, High, from surf friend Ivan, Smith from Tom and Scott, Main from someone whose name escapes me, Ocean, from me, Station from Warren and Railway from Becky.
Well the answer is none of these, but Park.
This rather mundane entry highlights the lack of imagination when it came to naming streets in Australia, I tried "Funny Street Names Australia" in my search engine and only got North American and British sites, Butt hole Road in Doncaster England was probably the best, but the residents clubbed together and had the name changed to Archers Way.
The best name I saw with my own eyes was on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada and was Twiggly-Wiggly Rd, Nanaimo, we suspect named by a local councillor's five year old child.
However if our streets stick to the middle of the road, our town names throw up some crackers.
Burrumbuttock, Tittybong and Delicate Nobby are three redolent with mirth, Useless Loop in WA seems like a place not to drive, Boyland, Qld we suppose has male gay visitors patrolling some rich pickings and Bland Shire would be a better name for Canberra.
Mind you, the English have it over us with town names as well, with Cold Christmas and Nasty leading a list that includes Foul End, French Beer, Splatt and Watery Bottom.
And segueing neatly, I learned at pub trivia that Schizophrenia means literally "broken head".
Schizo- has the same word root as schism, meaning to cleave in two, -phrenia from the same source that gave us phrenology, the crack pot victorian-era "science" of telling criminality by the shape of someone's head.
A broken headed dork under
the sign to Broken Head.
I didn't plan that stupid look on my face,
 it happened all too naturally.
And so last weekend I went on a cycle with Pharmacist Fleur and her friend Janet, we did a very popular ride in this area to Seven-mile beach via Broken head, and very appropriate to for a loony like me to pedal my broken head over Broken Head.
I'll close with some pictures of the ride and stop writing as these pics cannot be improved by me wittering on interminably.

Uphill over Broken Head.

(Above and below) End of the outward leg at Seven Mile Beach.

Fleur won the first sprint point (Please note Janet didn't know she was in a race).
But Janet was Queen of the Mountains.

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