Powell and Hyde Cable Car to Fisherman’s Wharf

Addendum to Technologies:

There is a great series showing currently on CNN called Race for the White House. It is directed by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti. Kevin Spacey is also one of the narrators. It analyses the most hotly contested Elections for President in American history. For those who have been watching the three seasons of House of Cards, when Kev is narrating, it is hard to tell if it is he, or Frank Underwood!


Jordie and I had a great day travelling on the Park and Hyde Cable Car to Fisherman’s Wharf. This always involves watching the car being driven onto the turntable, and then pushed around to face the other way. It is done by the Conductor and the Gripman. Today the Gripman was a woman. ( Cable Car orkers seem to be exclusively African Americans.) One pushes with hands, and on the otherside one walks backwards with their back pressed onto a back plate until the car has completed its 180 deg turn. It is then driven a few metres to the head of the queue (waiters may have waited up to an hour and a half). Passengers may get into outdoor or indoor seats, or stand indoor holding a strap or bar, or ride on the stoop, holding a bar. The ride traverses some of SF’s steepest hills, inflicting considerable tangential G-force! Wonderful SF architecture, and glimpses of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge to draw the gaze…

We had a great walk down the Hyde Street Pier, looking at the historical shipping, followed by a walkby on Pier 45 of US Submarine Pampanito and US Liberty Ship Jeremiah O’Brien. Walking on to Pier 39 with delightful “mammal-watching” of the sea-lions – lots of noisy argy-bargy for the coziest, surrounded-by-sleeping buds-spot in the sunshine. Jordie had a finish-by time due to the smell of ? fish-laced odour of sea-lion pee…..

(USS Pampanito: After shakedown off New London, Connecticut, Pampanito transited the Panama Canal and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 14 February 1944. Her first war patrol, from 15 March to 2 May, was conducted in the southwest approaches to Saipan and Guam. She served on lifeguard duty south of Yap, then scored two torpedo hits on a destroyer before sailing for Midway Island and Pearl Harbor for refit and repairs to a hull badly damaged by depth charges.)

(USS Jeremiah O’Brien: World War II : The SS Jeremiah O’Brien is a class EC2-S-CI ship, built in just 56 days at the New England Shipbuilding Corporation in South Portland, Maine and launched on 19 June 1943. Deployed in the European Theater of Operations, she made four round-trip convoy crossings of the Atlantic and was part of the Operation Neptune invasion fleet armada on D-Day. Following this she was sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations and saw 16 months of service in both the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean calling at ports in Chile, Peru, New Guinea, the Philippines, India, China, and Australia.

Then on to the Pièce de Résistance…….

Seafood chowder………

Pièce de résistance - the best Seafood Chowder
Pièce de résistance – the best Seafood Chowder


Due to lingering jet lag and interspersing quieter days with exploring days, I have exposed myself to a good dose of American TV. Enjoying CNN News, which has wall-to-wall reporting of every detail of the Primaries, with analysis of everything that each of the two Democrat contenders and Donald Trump say, with endless discussion groups following. We had determined some weeks ago to follow the primaries and the runup to the Election previously by watching the ABC’s weekly Planet America ( excellent wrap on the weeks political events in the US with great American and Australian interviewees).

Checked out Fox News briefly but seemed fairly biased to the Right on various issues, like Trump’s foray into the Abortion Issue, and not removing the “Nukes in Europe” card from the table!!……..afraid I am already biased against anything owned by Rupert Murdoch (admission: though, have succumbed to digital Australian, to keep up while away). His inherited money has launched him into such awful influence in the politics of countries. I have been thus biased since reading Hack Attack, especially about phone hacking in Britain.

The other channel I am watching is Forensic Files…….endless true life reporting of crime (murder) investigation and justice. The crimes seem to be older, often occurring in late 90s. Good fun!

Highly recommended to me yesterday was an ebook about genetic history and migration flow which has produced the Scots, which I am now reading. The Scots: A genetic journey, a very easy fascinating read.

We have a huge length of IT wires and gadgets with us. W doing a lot of photography of conference peoples, and using his laptop to photoshop and send on. I have worked out how to get my photos from the Sony Bridge Camera into my ipad (needs a Camera Connection Kit and a powered hub to achieve), and then available for WordPress play and also uploading to Flickr for safekeeping and viewing. The iOs Photos and Flickr uploaders are awful and erratic. Now having success with CameraSync App. Happy now.

Another Cable Car Journey tomorrow to Lombard Street, The Crookedest Street in the world…….

Dinner Thursday 31 Mar

We booked the Kin Khao Restaurant from Brisbane before leaving. It is situated in the hotel complex, meaning no distance walking for the 79 year old in our group, as well as being W’s favorite Asian/Thai food. It scored 250 out of San Francisco’s 4,380 restaurants, which seemed pretty good.

Pre-dinner drinks was also situated at the hotel’s Cable 55 Bar. The view from two huge picture windows over/into the street adjacent is mesmerizing, with classic San Fran street lamps framing…..

We’re coming in, Captain!


Beam us up, Scotty! we are finally repixellating after about 28 hours travelling. Our plane from Sydney to SF was four and a half hours late leaving due to Qantas plane “breakdown” in LA the day before,  followed by thirteen and a half hours sitting next to a man with a severe cold, which W now has. W has started his wall to wall meetings prior to the Conference proper starting tomorrow. Jordie is on his way from Fijii, and will arrive later today. We are all dining with a revered veteran colleague of W’s tonight at the hotel’s (Parc 55) Kin Khao Thai restaurant.

Yesterday bought a few groceries at a little shop about 200 metres from the hotel which clearly had several not very well-off African Americans outside and inside shop. The shop lady suggested when I left to only turn right, never left, never return at night, not respond to requests for change, but she would have apples and bananas in a couple of days. Later shopped at Westfield a block in the other direction. Worst of being OS, so many countries don’t have our basic welfare system.

Have had a severe disturbance to my ipad with Apple’s latest ios update corrupting all major browsers, preventing use of any links within them, without even downloading it. Waiting, waiting, for the promised fix for ? millions of people. Meantime, am using a low data little browser called Puffin, very grateful. Walked to the Apple shop yesterday and bought a powered hub to assist with loading photos from the Sony camera to my ipad. Always IT issues to resolve.

Foraying out later to to find Codral Cold and tabs, then walk to Union Square.

Posting photos to travel album on Flickr….

So reassuring to see some of my best Peeps at home….DE961471-3F3C-4989-87A8-CE8E9CFC98DA

Night view from our window, 32nd floor
Night view from our window, 32nd floor



Tribute to Annie Lawrie

Traditional naming patterns
Scots often named children by following a simple set of rules:

1st son named after father’s father
2nd son named after mother’s father
3rd son named after father
1st daughter named after mother’s mother
2nd daughter named after father’s mother
3rd daughter named after mother

I understand from cousin G that the naming of he and his brother in his family was in traditional Scots manner, inevitable no doubt with the confluence of two Scots families.

Mum, the third daughter in her family, however, was supposed to be named for her mother’s sister, Anne Brown Lawrie following her birth at home in Ipswich? She related to me that my Granmother, Susan, sent her husband George down into town to register her birth. By the time he got there, he inadvertantly used the familiar form of Annie, registering her as Annie Lawrie Halley. Impossible to know now how much consternation there was about this with Granma who adored the sister who had raised her, but whom she was never to see again after their separate migrations. Also impossible to know if his error was due their day to day referring to the beloved sister as Annie, or whether he had the beautiful song Annie Laurie in his mind…….

From George: I understood that Grandfather went to the registry office and told the clerk that your mother was to be named Anne Lawrie Halley. In the excitement he did not notice that the clerk wrote down “Annie”, for the reasons that you gave about the traditional Scottish song. This was not realised for some time. Grandfather was absolutely adorable when he was excited.


………….relaying my knowledge of your mother’s naming which came to me from my mother. I am not saying that it is correct. Mum would have been 7/8 when your Mum was born.

Anne herself favoured firmly being called for her Aunt.

Susan Eckford “Lawrie” named for her mother

Catherine Twaddle Dimond named for her paternal grandmother

John Mcullough named for his paternal grandfather

Annie Lawrie named for her maternal sister

Alexa Isabelle named for her maternal grandfather and  his second wife

144. Lexa Lawrie Cathy John Anne

 Other gems from George:

Did you ever go to the Saturday afternoon matinee at the wintergarden in Ipswich with grandma and him? He loved Tom and Jerry the most, any comedy with Jerry Lewis and the westerns. He would get so excited.

I may not have told you but George Tyler had an aunt, Annie Lawrie. She died at 2 due to undiagnosed influenza. Her mother never forgave herself. She grieved for that child till the day she died as did George’s mother, Susie Tyler.


Homes in the West

Westering Home
“Westering Home” was written by Hugh S. Roberton, a Glaswegian, composer and  Britain’s leading choir-master for fifty years, in the 1920s. It runs as follows:


Westering home, and a song in the air,
Light in the eye and it’s goodbye to care.
Laughter o’ love, and a welcoming there,
Isle of my heart, my own one.

Verse 1
Tell me o’ lands o’ the Orient gay,
Speak o’ the riches and joys o’ Cathay;
Eh, but it’s grand to be wakin’ ilk day
To find yourself nearer to Islay.

Verse 2
Where are the folk like the folk o’ the west?
Canty and couthy and kindly, the best.
There I would hie me and there I would rest

At hame wi’ my ain folk in Islay.
(Ilk means each. Canty means neat or trim. Couthy means homely, simple, unpretentious. Islay is pronounced “Isla”.)


We will be catching the Calmac ferry from Kennacraigh to Port Ellen on the Isle of Islay, and staying for two nights at Iskernish. Cannot wait to meet the canty and couthy and kindly folk there……

In 1992, I moved to my home at 9 Cribb St, Sadliers Crossing in Ipswich, staying for the next eight years. It was a lovely old place with beautiful Huon pine floor boards, providing a warm secure “couthy” home. I was immediately taken with the fact that the house had a name and a name plate on the front verandah……”Westhaven”, a safe place in the west! Auntie Lawrie lived 10 minutes away (such a sweet carer for Tom on a couple of occasions when he was unwell and couldn’t go to school). Mum (Anne), for many of those years would drive westering to us, cook a weekly roast, do some house-work, and polish the brass front door-knob and knocker. She certainly loved a home with those appointments. She had lovingly kept the knob, knocker and brass bell at Clayfield for some 45 years.

The other nearby home in that West was Raith[1] at 34 Roderick Street. This name is clearly associated with Kirkcaldy, both historically, as below; but also now – it has been the home of the Raith Rovers football team for over a hundred years. I wonder why exactly Susan and George chose that name for their house. Perhaps it was a relatively common house name in Scotland, based on the old Gaelic meaning, a small fortress. It was very “couthy”, as can still be perceived from photos which J and M took a couple of years ago. Looking at them is immediately transporting back 50+ years.

House description in the Ipswich historical walk guide
House description in the Ipswich historical walk guide
34 Roderick Street
34 Roderick Street
Granma Halley. I remember when this was taken with the getting and placing of Uncle John's orchid....
Granma Halley. I remember when this was taken with the getting and placing of Uncle John’s orchid….
Granma Halley, Carol Robyn and Mrs Sellars at the house front steps
Granma Halley, Carol Robyn and Mrs Sellars at the house front steps
Susan with three daughters and babies. in the lounge room...? christening day
Susan with three daughters and babies. in the lounge room… christening day
Extended family in the back yard
Extended family in the back yard, minus Cathy who doggedly refused to comply and is just off camera to the left!
The Back
The Back, J and B
The side....intense for playing chasy...
The side….intense for playing chasy…
Stairs to the underuse, mainly used by me with others for secret inpections of Uncle John's magazine room....
Stairs to the underhouse, mainly used by me (with others) for secret inspections of Uncle John’s magazine room….
Remember trailing up and down this hallway, often behing Granma or Mum...
Remember trailing up and down this hallway, often behind Granma or Mum…
Fantastic sized kitchen, still recognizable inpite of the loss of the original personality...
Fantastic sized kitchen, still recognizable inspite of the depersonalization

256. 34 Roderick Street24 252. 34 Roderick Street20

Enviable, now neglected linen cupboard
Enviable, now neglected linen cupboard
Me on the verandah at "Westhaven". Very couthy!!!
Me on the verandah at “Westhaven”. Very couthy!!!

No apologies for The Corries again, they were the best. In fact, there will be more..

[1] Raith (Scottish Gaelic: rath, “fort” or “fortified residence”) was an area once stretched from south of Loch Gelly as far as Kirkcaldy and the Battle of Raith is said to have been fought here in 596 AD. Raith House and Raith Tower sit on Cormie Hill to the west of Kirkcaldy and several parts of the town are built on land formerly of the Raith Estate, although the modern housing estate bearing the Raith name dates from long after the origins of the team.



National Anthems……. and O Flouer o Scotland

I have long admired the New Zealand National Anthem, God Defend New Zealand. It pays immediate and historical homage to its native people with the Maori version always sung first, followed immediately by the English version. Both versions have had a long and honoured trajectory to National Anthem status (1977). The English poem was written prior to 1876, the music chosen in 1876, and the Maori version was written in 1878.

Apparently New Zealanders think that few New Zealanders know the words, but youtube footy footage might suggest otherwise.

What a powerful package!

O Flouer o Scotland, was written by Roy Williamson of the folk group the Corries, and presented in 1967, and refers to the victory of the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, over England’s Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. So this song is steeped in history, as well as being rooted in the contemporary. The Flower of Scotland (when will we see your like again), refers to those men of 1314 who fought and died, and todays finest of Scotland, too. The words acknowledge needing to leave the appalling losses of the past in the past…….”But we can aye rise nou, An be the naition again…..”

Sung at football openings, the crowd ALL seem to know the words, and to access and express the emotion – grief, anger, resilience, pride, of past and present singing their “anthem”.

Watching numbers of renditions of this anthem, it seems universally rousingly sung in the light Scots dialect, not plain English. Crowds will often call back after certain lines: after the words “and stood against him”, you may hear “(a)gainst who(m)”; and after the words “and sent him homewards”, you may hear “whit fur?” (“what for?”).

What  a fantastic contribution by Roy Williamson who died tragically young from a brain tumour. He probably did not foresee what would happen to his folksong.

Politics and economics aside, in their heart of hearts, they are independent of England!

With sadness, I agree with Wikipedia about Australia’s National Anthem:

“Both the lyrics and melody of the official anthem have been criticised in some quarters as being dull and unendearing to the Australian people. A National Party senator, Sandy Macdonald, said in 2001 that “Advance Australia Fair” is so boring that the nation risks singing itself to sleep, with boring music and words impossible to understand. A parliamentary colleague, Peter Slipper, said that Australia should consider another anthem.”

Perhaps the next opportunity to get it right might be when Australia becomes a republic!