Monday, April 30, 2007

Whining about wine

This evening we sat down to watch the ABC programme (see, I still spell the old difficult way) Talking Heads where the head was Stephanie Alexander. I f you don't know who she is, use Google with Australia selected.

The show was most interesting and we broached a second bottle of Wolf Blass Eaglehawk bubbly.

Bugger - it was corked! Not so much that we couldn't finish it, but enough to sour our enthusiasm for Australian wines and their glut-induced cheap prices. You may or not know that we do imbibe the odd bottle of Aus. bubbly? We do.

Damn it, we estimate that one in ten bottles of Australian bubbly (can't call it Champagne these days) is either corked or lacking bubbles. They must be cranking it out by the thousands daily and I guess there should be some crook ones. A mate of mine has gone over to the terribly crass screw-tops and tells me that he hasn't has a dud in years. At least with corks you have the semblance of class even if the odd bottle is dead.

You can take a dud bottle back to the bottle shop without any hassle, but it is so cheap that we end up either putting up with the taste or pouring it down the sink.

One trick we employ when we try a suspect bubbly is to say that it is very similar to a French Champagne we tried when touring France....and we did try quite a few.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Rain, rain - don't go away!

The autumn gales have started and very welcome they are. Not so much the wind, but the accompanying rain is wonderful.

After the rain a few days ago the local gardens all look much brighter. Roses in particular have responded very well. Our neighbour only has white Iceberg roses and they are covered in blooms. Even our own roses, tended as they are by a brown thumb (me), are flowering well.

We walked at Manning Park this morning. Because the sky looked threatening, I took an umbrella along and that action worked its usual magic. It didn't rain while we were walking.

Manning Lake is filling gradually, though it is still mostly dry. We find it interesting to note how the water levels are changing every few days. Today we decided to go and look at the small lake in Market Garden Swamp in Munster, just down the street from our previous house. We parked the car and walked to look at the lake. No lake, just mud.

On the way we saw a big congregation of water birds - at least 2 different species, plus a couple of pink and grey galahs all happily pecking at the grass together. Then a couple of magpies arrived and the group broke up in alarm.

We were alarmed too - the skies were about to open. Since I had not brought the umbrella along to ward off this downpour, we scurried back to the car, reaching it just in time.

Showers have continued all day and the forecast is for more of the same for the next week. I hope the Weather Bureau is right, and that the rain keeps coming. Bibra Lake is no better as yet, nor is North Lake. I think it will take many rainy days to improve their situations.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise sounds a little like a French BBQ. Our friends, Margaret and Haddon have a BF and another dog of similar size and colour. Joan found a book on Bichons yesterday at the antique and collectables fair at Claremont showgrounds. I dropped it off to their house when I went to help Haddon bring his yacht/boat home from its mooring in the Swan River.

I was reminded why I had sold my boat recently....maintenance, maintenance and more maintenance! As well as maintenance we found that every time we went out on the water, there was some problem. I am not into problems these days.

He found that the mooring chain had corroded to the thickness of a bit of fencing wire. The winching up of the boat onto the trailer was done by Mark their son. Just as well, we are both due for a bit of youthful assistance. He will spend the winter with grandsons fixing and painting the boat. Both the grandsons are very good value. Sometimes I feel that we would like grandkids, but not too often.

Our son Martin's new job sounds too good to be true. A reasonable salary,a company vehicle and a mobile phone. Damn, I would have liked that job! One opportunity came my way from a friend who owns a very successful computer business. He is branching out into digital aids for elderly people and has suggested that I might be of value to him in this new enterprise. I don't know how this would work, but we are going to talk over lunch next week. Hope that is a business lunch...I have never had one of those.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Code Breakers

I take medications for blood pressure and cholesterol. My GP (he isn't exclusively mine) is trying to control my cholesterol with a couple of drugs. One is Lipitor and the other is Jezil (gemfibrozil). Jezil is to control the cholesterol usually attributed to alcohol consumption. OK, I admit to imbibing the odd drop.

The GP upped my Lipitor from 10mg per day to 20mg per day and I am due for another blood test this coming week to see if the extra dose is working.

The test is a fasting one and it seems that early morning tests are an unhappy time with lots of people with rumbling stomachs. I will front up on Monday morning at a collection centre and sit without social interaction with fellow travelers in the waiting room of Dracula. Nobody talks in these situations. . . . .'Have you got cancer' is not a topic we should explore.

The people I most admire are the nurses at pathology clinics and specialist centres who can interpret the illegible scribble that doctors learn at medical school. They should be employed as cryptologists by ASIO to decipher terrorist documents.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I have recently been revisited by a long-time companion: arthritis.

I first met the big A in the seventies and after being referred to a rheumatologist started on the trail of deciding which medication was going to help. I started out with asprin, then brufen, voltaren and every known non-steroidal medication, radio-therapy and steroid injections. After about three years of extreme pain he moved me on to the heavy stuff and a course of gold injections did the job.

Now it has returned and lodged in my left knee. Gold is out of the question as is methotrexate because of the possibility of liver damage and so I have gone back to Indocid (Indomethacin). Indocid really works well, but has nasty side effects with me. If I take it as directed...two, three times a day after meals, I get whacked out and feel like I am having a very bad hangover. So, I take it only after the evening meal and it sort of works and I come good around 9.30am.

It's not a biggy: several friends have far more debilitating health problems.

Our son Martin has just returned from a job interview where he was successful and starts tomorrow. This job comes with the use of a vehicle and so we can sell his current bomb and save us money in licence and fuel. We hope that he can make this job work.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Helen's computer

Helen visited yesterday after school and enjoyed, as we did, a lamb roast. She mentioned (as kids do) that her printer was not working and that she was unable to play short videos sent to her attached to email messages.....Kev decided to go to her house and take a look at the problems.

Easy! Her Mac iBook didn't have Windows Media Player installed to play some of those mpegs. One of the mpegs she wanted to play was a .wma file titled 'The Fremantle Dockers will win the Premiership'. It shows the heading and then a baby laughing so much the he/she falls over. Cute.
I downloaded WMP and installed it....fixed. The printer had a number of jobs queued and was having a bit of a hissy fit about all that work backing up. Solution: delete the queue and start again.

We have quite a few printers and I have refilled ink cartridges for years....I've got the coloured fingers to prove it! Canon printers with separate ink tanks were the easiest to refill. Recently Canon followed the other printer manufacturers and chipped their ink tanks to stop people like Kev cheating them out of their primary income, ink cartridge sales. I use bulk inks to refill my Canon i560 printer and they work really well....but; as soon as the print head goes on that printer I will have to buy professionally refilled ink carts for our next printer. Bastards!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Term Two - Day One

We have both been retired from teaching for more than six years, so it shouldn't really matter to us that school started again this morning.

The Teachers' Union is threatening industrial action if all classrooms are not fully staffed. The Education Department says that there will be a teacher in every classroom , even if some of them are relief teachers. Oh, yeah - posturing on both sides.

The schools that are short staffed will be in the country with little incentive for any one to fill the vacancies. They have poor housing, few facilities and usually a local mindset that regards teachers as transients, somewhat akin to gypsies, rogues and vagabonds.

In the past teachers were forced to accept such postings.

Kevin spent a year in one such town. He was forcibly posted there, despite numerous life factors that should have prevented it. His father was dying, our son was in his last year of High School and dabbling in drugs, plus I was in a promotional position. Thus his family could not accompany him to the town, and every Friday he drove to Perth to have some semblance of family life for the weekend.

Of course this bolstered the locals' attitude that teachers didn't become part of the town. I am still angry about the whole situation, even though it was nearly 20 years ago.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Conspiracy theories

After the murders at Virginia Tech no doubt there will be a number of conspiracy theories suggesting things like a staged mass shooting by the gun control lobby.

Conspiracy theories abound….J F Kennedy, 9/11 and Port Arthur to name just three.

I am unsure whether the people who concoct these theories actually believe what they say and write or if they are just planting the seeds of doubt into the minds of the gullible.

If you Google 9/11 conspiracy theories, for example, you will get a result of…
Results 1 - 10 of about 1,410,000 for conspiracy 9/11.

More than 3000 books on 9/11 have been published; many of them reject the official consensus that hijackers associated with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda flew passenger planes into U.S. landmarks.

On Port Arthur: Google Results 1 - 10 of about 605,000 for Port Arthur conspiracy. Here is the
Wikipedia link.

JFK conspiracy theories have been around for a very long time and Google results show 1 - 10 of about 1,090,000 for JFK conspiracy.

I get very angry at people who promote conspiracy theories. I recall a teacher colleague who taught Social Studies regurgitating the holocaust deniers’ diatribe that there was really no concrete evidence that it occurred. That made me feel sick.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Maggies Again

When we went walking at Manning Park this morning Kevin, as usual, carried a plastic bag for picking up rubbish. This caused great excitement amongst the resident magpies who gathered around us, hoping for largesse. We disappointed two groups of them. We also collected a full bag of litter.

As we neared the carpark we had started from, we encountered a lady with a plastic bag. She admitted that she was the maggie feeder and we told her that she was eagerly awaited. I was tempted to backtrack and watch feeding time.

The maggies who were visiting our backyard have obviously found a better feeding ground since we haven't seen them for about a week.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Reunion and Bali progress

Every year Laurel, who was my teacher in Standard 2 and is still extremely sprightly though now in her eighties, organises a reunion for women who once lived in Wongan Hills. Her assistant organiser is Judy, who was my best friend in primary school.

The reunion has been going for 10 years or so, but my sister and I didn't find out about it till 3 years ago. This is the third one I have been to. Our cousin Sylvia came too.

Dorothy and I left Wongan in 1954, so we don't remember a lot of the people who go to the reunion, but it is good to catch up with those we do know. This year there were more of them than usual. Two of them were Judy's sister and mother. Judy's mother is 93, but is very alert and though a little unsteady on her feet, quite robust. It was a very pleasant gathering.

Kevin dropped me off in Perth and went to a meeting of the Fawcett Foundation. It appears that we may be able to make a little progress in regard to the computers that he sent to Bali over a year ago. He has been promised information about where they actually are and about the power situation at the school. Once we have that we will make a quick trip and set them up. We have been promised assistance with transport and an interpreter. The school is about an hour from Kintamani in a very poor area and the teachers do not speak English, so an interpreter is essential.

We hope that this will work out. It has been very frustrating not knowing what was happening after all the work in collecting and packing them.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Parental Dependence

Our son Martin falls into the category of parental dependence. Yesterday his visit to CentreLink to get back on the dole was stymied by the fact that he didn't produce a birth certificate. We thought this was a little strange as he has been a frequent benefactor of the welfare system. CentreLink told him that the system had changed and they needed to view his birth certificate.
Martin has a filing system for his documents akin to a rubbish bin. He couldn't find the birth certificate, so he visited us (to use our phone) to try and get a new extract. Problem!!

Martin was born in pre-independent Papua New Guinea and after searching local and national records there seemed to be no Martin Lock registered. As Papua New Guinea was a United Nations Trust Territory, Martin was not automatically an Australian citizen. Going on leave from PNG in 1973 we were all required to get a re-entry permit to return to PNG after annual leave and we had to declare Martin an Australian citizen. I believe we could have made him a citizen of any one of the countries in the U.N. but we chose Aus.

Soooo, to get an extract of his birth certificate I contacted the Papua New Guinea Consulate in Queensland only to be told that I should apply to the Papua New Guinea Births and Deaths Registrar in Port Moresby. I rang them and was told that for K22 (about A$ 10) I could get an extract posted to us. Pretty cheap as an Australian Birth Certificate costs $40! Trouble is that they will only accept a bank cheque in PNG Currency, the Kina and the Combank wants $20 to draw the cheque.

Martin was searching his trunk of junk for the original and found 12 pieces. He took it down to CentreLink and they then told him that they didn't really need to see his birth certificate. Well bugger me! Today's little exercise cost a lot of dollars.

We still don't know if there is any evidence that he is an Australian citizen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Judicial System

I am regularly surprised when I read the daily paper and a case is in the news of some event that took place two or three years ago. It does recycle news and rekindle interest in that case. Every now and then I think 'whatever happened to that axe murderer who chopped up his mother-in-law and made her into pies for the school fete?' And there he pops up in the paper, now on trial and we read through all the statements and remember the initial charges.

Not so in China, the world's best executioner. The time between arrest, trial and execution in capital crimes is relatively short. And I would think there is not too much publicity about the trial or execution. Organs are harvested from Chinese prisoners when executed, and for a fee I can go to a specialist hospital and receive a kidney from an axe murderer. I have read that prisoners are prepped and blood tested for the harvesting of organs before their executions. In some cases money for the organs is given to family.

There is a lot of death about this week with another mass shooting at an American University.
We have had video and graphic reporting on the shooting and I think it will be going on for many days yet. Joan is concerned that the mass murdering going on daily in Iraq doesn't get very much publicity, compared to the amount of media space devoted to this occurrence, yet in all cases the victims are equally innocent.

We have had some nice rainfall over the last few days and the Maggies have not visited since then. I figure that they are finding enough earth worms coming to the surface after the rains.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rebecca Bauman

Today James (a colleague from Willetton SHS) and myself, met up with Becky at the Subiaco Hotel for a reunion. James was Year Master for the time Bec was at our school and I had the privilege of teaching her photography. What a gal!

She was very diplomatic saying that I hadn't changed in the eight years since I had seen her last. Liar, liar!

She has changed. She is now a sophisticated young lady, world travelled and independent.
In school she had a lip stud, and now she has no such accoutrements...not even a hidden tattoo.

She is an artist graduate and has been instrumental in organising the Festival of Perth and has been employed by art galleries. That business is not given to full employment in 'Dullsville' Western Australia. She is considering moving to Kennett Country, Victoria, where there are more job opportunities.

I have kept in contact with many of my ex students from Willetton SHS but Bec stands out as an outstanding young lady.

Hope we keep in touch.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bali woes

I mentioned previously about a project at a school in Bali where we have set up a number of computers, desks and chairs. We also sponsor a lad in that school. The school is in a very poor area of Bali near the Kintimani volcano. Over the few years we have been sponsoring the lad, we have never received a reply to letters and gifts we have sent. We can manage a letter in Bahasa Indonesia with the help of a Malay teacher we know and have said that we would like to hear news of his progress. Nothing.

I have also dispatched another shipment of computers and peripherals and paid to get them transported up to the school and set up by a local teacher. That shipment was about 18 months ago and we have not heard whether they even got to the school, so I decided to put a bit of pressure on the John Fawcett Foundation to find out ...a. whether the lad is actually getting our letters and presents and, b. what has transpired with the second shipment of computers.

Today I had a call from the local contact for the Foundation and he informed me the the lad and the Head Teacher are not much interested in writing to us and the computers have not been installed because they could not find a MacIntosh technician. All they had to do was plug them in and press the start button.

John Fawcett is in Perth for a meeting of the Foundation and I am going to the meeting on Friday to find out what exactly is the problem. We have decided to go to Bali soon to sort out this long running problem and will be looking for assistance from John Fawcett with an interpreter and transport up to the school.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Footy

Yesterday afternoon my brother Graham rolled up at 5pm with his sleeping kit to watch the western derby between the Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers, and that we did in the company of a few bottles of Victoria Bitter Classic.

Graham is an Eagles fan and in true believer form does a bit of yelling at the opposition and any umpire who gives a decision against his team. Lots of one-eyed fans yell at their TV screen. His team won the match. There are nice guys and rough-heads in both the Dockers and the Eagles. I reckon the coach sorts out who gets to be good player/bad player. There was a fair bit of biffo in the first quarter as usual then it went on to be a good game of footy. Graham cannot understand how I can be a parochial Western Australian and follow both teams. I get to be satisfied with the outcome no matter who wins the derby.

This morning we; Graham, Joan and Kev went for a walk around North Lake. Graham does a pretty good imitation of John Howard and rocketed off at a Prime Ministerial pace. Just as well, because with a little headache, I was not in any condition for polite conversation.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Late again

Most of yesterday was spent with our son Martin swapping parts from a second unlicenced car to his licenced bomb: doors, seats, tyres, engine bonnet,interior carpet and lights. His bomb is still dripping oil and blowing a bit of smoke out the rear. The other car I bought for $80 has an excellent engine and I should remove it and install it in Martin's car, but I have lost the energy to go through the whole operation. Yesterday's little exercise was good for both of us. We have not made a cooperative effort together for a number of years. It was good for our relationship and good for me in as much as I was lacking a good project to keep me busy. Of recent weeks the most taxing task for me was trying to unwrap the daily newspaper from its cling-wrap.

We wont keep the car body when we have salvaged all the good parts. I will advertise the other spares for a couple of weeks and then sell the body. Scrap metal merchants pay around $35 for anything on wheels and they come and collect it. Not bad! All in all, that $80 has given Martin three good tyres and a load of good panels and interior.

If our neighborhood wasn't a bit upmarket, this wrecking business could be a good source of tax free cash.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


The Australian Magpie is a very common bird and a group (?) of them have suddenly dropped in on us for food. It is quite flattering that these birds deign to honour us with their presence. I firstly fed them some scraps of cooked meat and they picked it over eventually eating it all, so I thought I would go and buy a dog salami. It isn't really a Salami, or as the Americans call it, a Bolony. It looks good enough to slice up for a stir-fry, but the maggies don't fancy it all that much so I dumped that in the landfill bin and sliced up a small amount of the pork fillet which is/was for this evening's stirfry. The maggies loved it and a couple were so keen that they were eating out of my hands.

Maggies can get a bit mean around breeding time and many people are 'swooped' by a maggie as they pass by a nest. They are like an exocet missile, (you remember the Falklands war) very silent until they hit your head with a sharp beak. People in the know wear a hat and wave their hands around to discourage these attackers when passing tall gum trees.

When I was a kid, there was a friend whose family had raised a maggie by hand and it was a frightening watch-bird; much like a nasty rooster.

I expect that I will be reminded to attend feeding by beaks tapping on the glass door to our BBQ area.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Collecting Bottles

Every time we have driven out onto Phoenix Road in the past few days we have seen a bottle lying on the verge. It was the same one, but at least no others had been added. We never stopped to pick it up though, because the intersection has quite a volume of traffic and there was usually someone right behind us.

This morning we got up fairly late and we needed to do a short walk because of other appointments, so we decided to walk down to the intersection and pick up the bottle. We saw a council worker slashing grass at the park, and when we turned towards Phoenix Road we saw another, mounted on a lawn mower, just crossing the road to the verge where the bottle lay.

He started mowing, then got off the mower and picked up the bottle. Foiled! we thought. But he just tossed it into the shrubbery and continued mowing. Kevin went and picked it up and a couple of others as well and we returned home.

Now we are wondering why the council doesn't supply each mower with a bag. If the operator is going to get off the mower to remove bottles from his path he could just as easily toss them into a collection bag as into the nearest shrubbery.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Australian Army Museum

I mentioned an eBay purchase I made of a commemorative booklet named 'Moresby Mice'. When I received it by post I was quite disappointed and decided to donate it to the West Australian Army Museum in Fremantle. Whilst it is not a wonderful booklet, it should be kept for posterity.

Today I went down to the museum which is housed in an army barracks near the harbour. The museum has a number of tanks and scout cars on display in the parade ground ....quite impressive although slightly tatty. I fronted up to hand over Moresby Mice and was ushered into an office where a chap wrote down details of the booklet and I signed one of those museum documents relinquishing all rights of ownership etc etc. I was familiar with that document as I had donated some other WW2 stuff before.

I have thought of donating my grandfather's Boer War medals and discharge papers but they are still something that should stay with family, although there are fewer of us left these days.

I intended looking over the exhibits, but there was still one hour to opening so I returned home. I looked the museum up on the internet and the exhibitions looked a bit ordinary with dummies dressed in uniforms and a bit of equipment in the background. I'll check it out later.

My uncle, who retired from the W.A. Police Force as a superintendent in January 1976 left us his badges of rank and the Queen's Police medal and various pieces of uniform paraphernalia. I recently decided that the Police Museum should have this impressive collection and the curator was most grateful. I shall arrange a time to deliver it to them.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Sunday Barbecue

It's all over - everyone has left, and we have washed up the glasses and dishes. Funny how few entertaining china and glassware items actually fit in the dishwasher.

We got up a little late this morning so we didn't go for a walk. Instead I spent four hours in food preparation. I had planned a Greek style Easter feast. First I removed all the fat and boned the leg of lamb, made slits and inserted garlic and rosemary and prepared a marinade for it and sat it in the fridge. Then I made two dips: homemade hommus and an olive and walnut tapenade to be eaten with Turkish bread. I peeled potatoes and marinated them in a lemon and herb dressing, then prepared a dressing for the cauliflower and beans which were to be the side dish. Kevin helped by juicing lemons - I needed about one and a half cups for the various dishes. We cooked the lamb and potatoes in the barbecue.

I love having the things that I need growing in the garden. Today we harvested lemons, parsley and rosemary. I noticed the mint is doing well and I will use some of that soon.

I catered for eight, but we were only five. There is not a lot left over though. I am really tired, but I have less than 5000 steps on the pedometer.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Carters Little Liver Pills

Easter can be a bit taxing on the Bod. I was given a vial of Carters Little Liver tablets by a friend a couple of years ago and they may get used before Tuesday. Carters Little Liver Pills are not actually for Liver stress, but Headache, Biliousness and Constipation. This lot are also probably 40 years use-by date on this little bottle!

Reminds me of all the snake oil medicines sold in health shops and even pharmacies. Take a look in your local pharmacy; tabs for Mr Atlas type muscle growth, nerve tonics, 200 arthritis cures and a plethora of tonics touted by well-known sporting and media personalities.
Who needs snake oil?

Pharmacies don’t sell the shark cartilage cure for cancer. You have to go to a private address where a very genuine fellow will tell you how the medicos are trying to stop him saving lives. He will sell you a cure for around $500.00.

Then there are the liniments that don’t actually tell you they are NOT made from goanna oil or the Balm that is NOT actually made from Tigers.

In my seemingly long life, I have seen all sorts of cures for ailments ranging from ingrown toenails to cancer. I have seen primitive people believe in the most simple trickery performed by a sorcerer.

It seems that even in this age of universal education, educated people are still willing to give anything a try.

Friday, April 6, 2007

A Domino effect

The pinball machine that was languishing in the storeroom has made the move into the house. It has been repaired, and the gaudy paint job touched up.

To make room for it in the study we had to move out a cupboard in which Kevin's cameras were stored. That was moved first into the dining room, but it didn't look good, so we decided to move it into the hallway. It looks fine there. This move involved a bit of rearrangement of art works as well.

We had to move the second computer desk against the window in the study, so we can no longer use the cupboards in the back. That meant all the old Edison cylinders needed another home. While we were moving things we moved the Edison player itself to another position in the dining room. We also moved the antique tea trolley which was by the front door into the dining room and we like the look much better. The Edison cylinders can now go into the tea trolley cabinet. Then we will have to move something else to take its place near the door . . .

Thursday, April 5, 2007

PBY Catalina

During the week there was an article in the 'West' about a recent acquisition at the Aviation Heritage Museum in Bull Creek. I went to the museum today to take a look at that wonderful aircraft, a Catalina PBY. PBY stands for Patrol Bomber and the 'Y' is Consolidated Aircraft's Manufacture Identification.

The plane was rescued from the side of a road in Texas, restored and shipped to W.A. in a number of containers by the U.S. Navy. Volunteers assembled it inside the museum hangar. It is kitted out as a wartime aircraft with machine guns front, sides and under the tail.

The Aviation Heritage Museum has a massive amount of stuff on display and much documentation about aircraft both military and civilian and the people who flew them.

I remember the Catalina fondly as I had a number of flights in them when I taught in the Gulf of Papua. In the early 60s there were no airstrips in most of coastal Papua and TAA operated two or three of them to outstations. I recall one trip to Port Moresby on the 'Cat' with around 20 passengers and their luggage. The 'Cat' made a ten minute run out to sea before bouncing off a wave and gradually climbing to height. They were very noisy as there was no sound insulation and the two huge radial engines were virtually only half a propellor's distance from the passengers. The co-pilot informed passengers of features below by passing a card message board back and once read it was passed to the next passenger. The same method was used on bare-bone DC3s.

This Photo is of the TAA 'Cat' in Kerema Bay awaiting passengers arriving by barge in 1963.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Better late than never

Yesterday I fell for the glossy brochure/cheap price offering from Harvey Norman. I bought their advertised 5 Megapixel Kodak digital camera for $99. It looked good and I thought it should do as well as Joan's 4 Mp Canon camera....not so! The lens is probably made out of rejects from a contact lens factory in the Peoples' Republic as the on screen results look like a pic from a mobile phone or a security camera.

We have a drawer for such purchases. Much like the cupboard with the ice cream maker and the food dehydrator.

On our walk this morning we did the beach around Woodman's Point and on the north side of the point saw a dolphin and her baby about 3 metres from the water's edge in very shallow water. Who needs Monkey Mia?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Beatles line: Will you still need me when I'm 64?

We don't need to worry about that anymore - today I turned 65. If I were still working I would retire. I did have a super policy that matured today - I organised its rollover a couple of weeks ago, so we will have a slightly higher income now. I can't imagine why I thought I would continue working to age 65 when I took it out 26 years ago.

So what did I do on this important birthday?

We went for a walk this morning as usual, but instead of going home we had breakfast at the Coogee Beach cafe - pancake stack with berries. Yummy, but neither of us could finish it. I don't think we will get into the habit of breakfasting out.

I had an appointment in West Perth with a plastic surgeon this afternoon. The referral was made more than 6 weeks ago and I accepted the date because the alternative was an appointment in June!! Please don't get excited - I am not having a face lift or a boob job, though either or both might be a good idea. Instead I am having a small operation on my left thumb to remove a cyst that sticks out and has damaged the nail bed.

The appointment was at 1.45 pm. My sister had invited us to afternoon drinks and a barbecue to start about 3pm. The surgeon sent me to have an Xray at the practice just behind his offices. We were given directions that involved quite a long walk - not a problem, I welcome any opportunity to add to the daily tally. An hour and a half later I returned to the surgeon's, clutching the films.

In the meantime Kevin had had to feed the parking meter two or three times and had discovered at least three different routes from surgeon to Xray place, all much shorter than the way we originally took. It's a shame that we are unlikely to ever put this local knowledge to use again.

I rang Dorothy at 4pm to apologise for the delay. We finally got to their house about 5pm, having coped with afternoon traffic on the Mitchell Freeway (I have often heard on the radio that freeway traffic north is moving well except near Lake Monger, and we experienced this today - still don't know why though) and parking at Carine Glades shopping centre. Why Carine Glades? I will explain on the other blog.

We had a great meal at Dorothy and Mick's. Lots of lovely bubbly for the birthday girl ... Kevin was abstemious so he could drive. All in all I have had a very happy birthday.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Betacord still going

We still have a number of bits of movie viewing technology, starting with a super 8 film projector, a Betacord VCR, a couple of VHS VCRs and a DVD players in each computer and attached to our plasma TV.

A spare room houses the Beta tapes and the VCR and occasionally I slink off into that room to watch a movie from my nice collection. Then it happened...the Betacord cacked itself and started chewing up tapes. I dismantled it and found that although it played OK as soon as the tape was supposed to return to the cassette it wrapped itself around all sorts of bits inside there.

What to do??? I have a second Beta VCR of the same model for spare parts and could have found someone to fix it, but the costs are about $100 for a tame technician to do that job. Kev bought a Quokka (a weekly advertising paper) which is free for advertisers and $2.50 for buyers to purchase. There it was for $100...Toshiba Betacord with remote and 80 movies, including five head cleaning tapes. I raced out to Maddington and grabbed it. It works really well and I am gradually going through the tapes and dumping older tapes that will soon give my machine trouble.

Not one XXX movie in the lot!

I am thinking that I will buy a gizmo which allows me to digitalise them and burn the best of my tapes to DVD. I guess by the time I get around to that, DVDs will have gone the way Betacord went.