Friday, May 29, 2009

Swine Flu positive result

Our friends Sean, Denise and their kids have received notice that they are positive to the Swine Flu.

'NSW Health finally came back with our results and we are positive H1N1. We will be in quarantine until at least 1 June. Other than that; we are doing fine and life goes on, albeit in a smaller space than we would prefer.'

The are confined to their luxury caravan for a short time. Hope the kids don't go Stir Crazy.
The only commiseration I could offer was that when they get over this mild form of Swine Flu they will probably have anti-bodies which will make them more immune from any further variants.

Sean is an ex student of mine from around 1982 at Rockingham Senior High School. We have kept in touch through the years and stayed over in each others house on each side of the country. They recently sold their house and had a caravan custom made for their round Australia odyssey. The cruise on the Pacific Dawn was an aside; one they will remember for a long time.

We did a cruise to the same Pacific Island ports on the Pacific Dawn last year. Even then passengers were obliged to use provided antiseptic hand gel at dining stations. There have been stories going around for years about deadly diseases spread by handrails on the many staircases on board. We didn't concern ourselves too much at the time, but I reckon right now some folks would be wearing gloves.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Booked for Bali

Joan has done all the on-line booking and payment for our Bali trip next month. We are flying with Garuda, the national airline of Indonesia. Garuda doesn't have a great record when it comes to landing on airstrips. They sometimes tend to land on the bits that don't have any tarmac. We have flown with Garuda a few times and I am hoping that their international flight aircraft are serviced better that domestic ones and that their pilots are more experienced than the internal airlines. We thought of flying Qantas, but Garuda does Business return, Perth to Bali for $1310 and Qantas wants $8,024.34 for the same flight. I just hope Garuda maintenance has nailed the wings on with good strong nails. We are booked into a very smart beachside hotel in Sanur for the seven days.

On another flight this week a young family brought Swine Flu to Western Australia. The family of ten...a young couple (the husband is 30), his wife and their 8 children have unwittingly put the entire passenger complement into home isolation until everyone can be tested. The newshounds have gathered outside the home of the infected family which has made the wife a bit cranky and she apparently spat at photographers through a slot in her hijab. A local football team was also on the same flight and players, trainers etc returning from a drubbing in the eastern states is also under scrutiny. I don't suppose they will be required to stay home.

We had a similar experience when we returned to W.A. from six years in Papua New Guinea in 1975. Our son Martin contracted typhoid somewhere, and we were isolated from family and friends for about a month until he got the all clear. We too were hounded regularly for updates on our condition.

Friends of ours; Sean, Denise and their two kids have just returned from a South Pacific cruise and they too are caught up in the Swine Flu epidemic. There was an outbreak of the flu on the ship and all the passengers, some 2000, are required to remain in home isolation with anti-viral drugs for a week. They seem quite happy as they are still smiling from their big adventure.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A cool wedding

Geoff and Bea were married on the bank of the Swan River near Blackwall Reach. It didn't rain, but it was cold. Bea has recently come to Australia from Canada so she thought the weather was just fine. The celebrant was a Bronwyn Bishop lookalike and gave them their money's worth with a long ceremony. I took the photos and I can attest that it was brass monkey weather.
My brother Graham; Geoff and Bea and Graham's partner Faye being ministered to by 'Bronwyn Bishop',

This morning I went to our son's unit to do a bit of maintenance. We installed a new rangehood and surprisingly it went together with ease and it looks very nice. Next we changed some tap washers and replaced a rubber seal in the toilet cistern. Finally I filled a small area of burnt formica on the laundry benchtop with plastic car bog and smoothed it off. Martin, our son, says that a cigarette lighter was faulty and it caught on fire...Oh yea! We also measured up the floor space where there is crappy linoleum. That will be replaced with better quality linoleum soon. Pity we can't claim repairs against taxation as we are virtually giving Martin free rent.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Amy has passed on

Amy Sweetman has died. She was 91 and had lost most of her thinking ability. Amy put up with a fair bit of Kev as a teenage neighbour...noisy cars and motorbikes and of course a one-year outdoor trumpet practice. I liked her and the family. Gail, a daughter, was a very comely gal who became an Air Hostess and died in a major aircrash in the north of the state.

Brother Graham and I will attend her funeral as they have done the same for our family losses.

I have a couple of photography jobs tomorrow; one of which is a wedding. This is a strange wedding which has only four participants.....the happy couple and my brother and his friend as witnesses. The ceremony is to take place on the banks of the Swan River and I hope the weather holds off for at least the time frame of wedding and pics. It is not a biggy as there are only six people, the bride and groom, my brother and partner as witnesses and the celebrant.

Not too many worries about this wedding. Some of the weddings I have photographed in the past have been quite stressful. Imagine if you will, a large Italian wedding where you stuff up the camera settings and have to leave the country before the aggrieved family puts out a contract on you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There is always someone worse than you

Today I went to our son's's actually our place that we rent to him on a non taxable, almost none-income basis. I hired a carpet cleaner and took a new set of tap furniture to replace taps in the kitchen. His carpets were like the floor of a cocky's cage but they came up pretty well. The new taps look pretty smart but they stand out like a toilet in a desert compared to the rest of the kitchen.

We have to replace the range hood in his (our) kitchen. It is not an exhaust system merely a recirculating one which will require much more cleaning. We thought we would be up for quite a few dollars, but we found that $80 bought us a smart looking replacement unit. Will Martin regularly clean it? We live in hope.

I left Martin cleaning the carpets whilst I went to buy him some food and household supplies. The shopping centre is named the Kwinana Hub and ever you are feeling a bit down or think that you are not a fashionista you should take a trip to Kwinana and spend some time amongst the folks at the Kwinana Hub. I guarantee you will feel much better after seeing how the other half look. Tattoo town!

We have been thinking about getting a solar electric generating unit. With the government subsidy of $8,000 dollars, a 1 kilowatt unit installed would cost about $2,450 and feed back surplus energy into the grid. If we were grey nomads and went on regular caravan trips like my cousin, we could be getting payment cheques from Western Power on a regular basis. The only trouble with setting it up on our roof is that the the North facing roof is at the front of the house and we don't really want to spoil the look of the roof with a large glass box. There might be enough room on the garage roof which faces in a north easterly direction. Got to make a decision soon as the economic downturn has caused the government to discontinue the subsidy in June.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A weekend of losses

There were a few losses this weekend. Both W.A. footy teams lost to those brutish eastern states teams...Boo!

Then there was a loss for the Australian Labor Party in the Fremantle by-election. The Greens won that one ending Labor's 85 year strangle-hold on the seat. The demographics of Fremantle has slowly been changing from a workers' town to a Latte sipping mob with the odd hippy dreadlocker thrown in.

Lastly the referendum on daylight saving was lost to the no vote. My goodness there are already gloating letters of the naysayers hitting the paper. My brother Graham has a friend who was ready to slash his wrists if the Yes vote won out. Bro commissioned me to make up a label for a bottle of Sunlight dishwashing liquid to give to his mate.
Click on the image to enlarge.

This morning we were casually going about our morning activities when the doorbell heralded the surprise arrival of my cousin, his wife and another couple we spent time in Bali with some years ago. It shouldn't have been a surprise as I had arranged the day and time for the visit last week. Duh!!
Fortunately we had some cake and plenty of tea bags and we were forgiven and a pleasant morning ensued.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The referendum on Daylight Saving

We have just returned from voting. There are two polls on at the moment…the election of the member for Fremantle and the Daylight Saving referendum. We are not in the Fremantle electorate so only had to do the Daylight Saving vote. We both voted for it by placing a YES in the space. As we left I thought it would have been interesting if we were given a preferential vote on that ticket.?? No, but yes is my second choice.

Last night Joan and her sister Dorothy went to the opening of the Cockburn City’s ‘Showoff 5’ exhibition. Joan has three pieces in the exhibition. Showoff is in the refurbished Community Hall on Rockingham Road.

In the last few days I have received offers of 15+ computers for my give away project. They are eMacs and all in good order. They come from an advertising/publishing house and have plenty of RAM (memory) and very nice inbuilt speakers. I am trying to get our son interested in helping me so that he is not just idling the day away on his own. We’ll see!?

When our daughter Helen was studying at university she worked part time at an optical laboratory. I was able to get new glasses fitted to my old frames for either nothing or a carton of beer. Helen no longer has contacts there and so I need to get new glasses from an optical dispenser. TV adverts about a ‘cheap’ deal for glasses led me to SpecSavers.
Glasses aren’t cheap anymore. To get new multi-focal lenses fitted to my old frame costs around $350 for the lenses and an extra $99 for Reglazing. I thought reglazing only applied to windows!

It might be a good deal to have a week in Bali, get new glasses, a dentist to work on what teeth I have left, buy a few copy watches and DVDs and relax in the hotel and do a few tours. Mid year is around the coolest months for Bali. Don’t know how we lived in Papua New Guinea with all that tropical humidity without going ‘Troppo’.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers' Day

Our daughter Helen treated us to lunch for Mothers Day. We went to an Italian restaurant in Fremantle named Sandrinis. Good food and service. Helen's boyfriend accompanied us and I must say he is an easy going likeable bloke. I didn't realise how popular Fremantle is on a weekend. The place was packed out!

The origin of Mothers Day is not new. This link takes you to the Writers Almanac and if you use the 'Listen' button you can hear the text read by Garrison Keillor. We are subscribed to the Writers Almanac and get a daily dose of poetry and history.

When we returned home from the Mothers Day lunch we opened a bottle of bubbly and (I) settled down to watch the footy. Not a bad match with a little bit of Biffo to keep things interesting. The right team won! Later I decided to try a recipe using Angel Wing pearl meat. We had read about this 'new' shellfish and thought that it was about time the flesh of pearl shell should be used as food. Wrong! The pearl shell has a muscle to open and close the shell, but it also has a huge amount of guts in there. Foul....don't bother with it.

Helen had a search out in our store room for a book on Chickens for her pre-school class. She found it and the book had some nice illustrations of roosters.
Made me think of the little ditty by Ogden Nash 1902-1971....... The Rooster is a boisterous hoodlum, His battle cry is Cock-a-doodlum, Hands in pocket, cap over eye, He whistles at pullets passing by.

I suggested to Helen that she ask her kids for help about which came first; the egg or the chicken. I can recall my grandfather posing that one to me when I was about six. I still haven't worked it out.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Daylight saving

The referendum on daylight saving in Western Australia is to be held this coming weekend. Every day in the local daily newspaper there are arguments for and against daylight saving and in a public forum a bit of nasty slanging was thrown around between opposing proponents. Not much chance of Palestinians and Israelis finding peace when there is bitterness about such an issue as daylight saving. We are quite happy about daylight saving and I enjoy reading the letters page with the pathetic anti-daylighters' reasoning.

I have, this week, received a couple of offers to share in large lumps of cash. We are reasonably well off, so I will forward these emails on to any readers who might like to 'cash in' on this opportunity.

The texts of both messages are here....

There is an issue with the Western Union® Nigeria,the sum of $1,000,000.00 USD was credited to directed in cash,your email address was tagged the owner.


I am SGT Joey, with the US Army in Iraq, we have 20,000,000.00 USD and we want to move it out of Iraq , respond for complete detailed plan as you will be entitled to 8 Million USD.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More on Maggies

We have three groups (tidings) of Magpies and not quite a 'Murder of Crows' visit daily for scraps. I like Magpies but they like using our outdoor furniture as their toilets. I have been cleaning the chairs daily with what looked like two different forms of bird poo. One lot is the white greasy stuff that embeds itself into the mesh of the chairs and the other is a dry looking smooth dollup about the size and shape of a small olive. Just today I was shown the difference between these cast-offs when one of the Magpies disgorged an olive shaped lump on the glass table. It would seem that when maggies dig for worms etc they ingest a lot of other material which is separated and chucked up. I feel a little like Charles Darwin when I hypothesize on my backyard observations.
Hope you aren't eating at the moment?

Joan has had over a week of bad flu symptoms with coughing and aching body bits. She slept in another bedroom for that period and tonight feels well enough to move back in with me. I was getting quite used to spreading myself over the Queen sized bed.

Our friend Haddon has had some good news with the latest result of his PSA test. It has dropped from 67 down to 36. Last year when he had both a flu and pneumonia injection at the same time he had a similar result so he tried it again this year and voila! His oncologist doesn't seem to think there is any correlation??

Today I visited John in his nursing home. He greeted me at the door saying that he hadn't seen me in months. I gave him a haircut, and shave and had a bit of a chat with him. He also had a chat with me but unfortunately we were talking about different things. John was an academic at a university before he retired and he has a good scientific vocabulary and to the casual observer he would seem to be speaking quite sensible sentences, however in the space of one sentence the topic can change three or four times. Very sad, especially when he does have brief moments of lucidity.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fremantle Arts Centre

Kalamunda was popular this weekend. I had to drive up there on Friday evening to collect ten Macs destined for landfill. They are all good machines and I still have plenty of people on my list who are waiting for one.
And yesterday we travelled up to Kalamunda again to go to a large market. Kalamunda is a lovely village and except that it is quite a way from the ocean, prone to bushfires and pretty warm in summer, we could happily live there. The market was packed and parking was a problem. I don't think I have seen so many jewellery stalls.

We had to leave before midday as I had a chap coming to collect a computer early afternoon. He turned up early because he wanted to get back home in front of TV to watch the Derby between the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles. As soon as he left, we went into Fremantle to look at a couple of exhibitions, one at the old George Hotel and a couple at the Fremantle Arts centre. A lovely ex student of mine, Rebecca Baumann, had a showing and being an artistic philistine, I must gently ask her what it was all about. Whilst there we visited the small museum and looked at a permanent exhibition about immigration to W.A. Even though I knew about the migration policy after ww2, this exhibition illustrated the hardships the 'New Australians' encountered. We also spent some time in the Sound and Light exhibition which has been the baby of Richard Rennie a retired teacher. It is a superb collection to rival that section of Sydney's Powerhouse Museum.

The Fremantle Art Centre is a wonderful building constructed by convict labour from 1861 to 1865 as a purpose-built Asylum for the Criminally Insane.
The building was designed to accommodate......'sixteen Imperial lunatics [convicts]; six Colonial lunatics; one Colonial lunatic prisoner; nine Colonial female lunatics'.

There were a couple of dodgy deaths of inmates in the early 20th century and eventually patients were transferred to other institutions around the city and the building became a home for Old Women up until 1942 when it was taken over by the U.S. Navy as their W.A. headquarters. After the war, the building fell into disrepair and The W.A. Education Department wanted it demolished to get the land for sports fields for the adjacent John Curtin High School. Big hoo-ha about that idea and it was eventually restored as the Fremantle Arts Centre. It is a wonderful building and we are lucky that some people saved it from the 1960s 'out with the old' movement.