Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Wedding etc

Well, I watched ‘The Wedding’ yesterday. I shouldn’t be embarrassed about confessing to that....millions of others watched it too.

I watched until the actual wedding ceremony then l tried to find another channel not showing TW. Not too many!

I am desperately trying to think of things that make me better than the Royals.

Hmn....I, at 71, still have more hair than all the male Royals except that carrot-topped one.

Our wedding didn’t cost as much.

I didn’t have to have to fawn to the plebs as they will have to.

Not too many people would hear about me making an ass* of myself.
There are others...I just can’t think of them at the moment.

Will the newly weds have in-law problems?
Is QE2 going to call? The conversation could go like this...’We haven’t seen or heard from you for weeks...what’s going on?’ Oh Jeez Nan, we’ve been down at Blackpool for a piss-up’.

One thing is for certain; the next few months is not the time for the proletariat to try and depose the Royals. This show will give Britain a revitalised place in the world order.

* That is the horse-like animal

Friday, April 29, 2011

There are nice people out there!

I have had a good day...quite a few people have been nice, and helpful to me.

The local branch of the ANZ bank helped me avoid filling out a long and complicated claim form to get a $260. credit Joan had in an account that had been closed. A simple phone call to Head Office and a cheque is winging its way to me. Similarly, ComBank at Spearwood where I now have a lady who helps me out with things difficult, cancelled a $20 late payment fee on my credit card. When things are all again running well, I will buy her a nice bottle of Champaigne.

The third win for the day was at an auto parts shop where a young lady gave me trade discount on a set of spark plug leads for daughter Helen’s car saving me about $25.00.

I had to get a statutory declaration witnessed at a Police Station this morning. It was to do with transferring Joan’s Superannuation fund into my name. The form looks crazy, but is a legal necessity. Here is part of the Stat. Dec.
Click on it to enlarge to readable size

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nero Wolfe

Earlier this evening here (It was two hours later in NSW), I rang a long time friend from PNG days, Graham, in Sydney.

We talked about Joan and her last very difficult days and how I was missing her. Graham said that after being so long together (46 years), I must forget that she has gone and talk to her about all sorts of things.

How true. In times when I am distracted by, say a TV Quiz show, I yell out for her great general knowledge to answer a question before the contestant can. Joan was never really into TV except for a few programs and I could rely on her to answer any general subject question. All that reading....we should promote reading more!

Her library of craft and sewing/embroidery books has already been donated to a group who will sell them off to raise funds for cancer research. Her other books numbering hundreds: I don’t know what do with. I am too old to start reading SF. Can’t have empty bookshelves all around the house though.

I may start to read Nero Wolfe again. Author Rex Stout's character was a large man who tended orchids as he solved nasty crimes. One time when we were in NY, I went to look at Nero’s fictional house near the harbour. In searching through the bookshelves I found two paperback magazines from the ‘Bestsellers’ series from, I guess, the 1970s.
I will find time in the next few days to read them and hope that it rekindles my interest in reading. In Papua New Guinea in the sixties and seventies we read because there was no TV and radio reception was poor. Today, here, other forms of entertainment are too easy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Home Security

Easter Sunday lunch was a good family gathering; Helen, James, Mike and Dorothy (Joan’s sister and husband) my brother Graham and me. Our son Martin declined as he wasn’t feeling well.
Here is a pic of Graham and me. When we go out somewhere on the weekend there is always the comment from someone Graham knows, like....... ‘Oh is this your father?’ Hell, I’m only 9 years older than him!

Today caused me a bit of a headache and ear ache. I was up on a ladder doing some plastering work on a wall when I heard a beeping sound which I traced to the keyboard of the security system for the house. The interface told me the problem was an ‘Open Circuit’. What to do???
Before long the external siren started sounding..very loudly! We haven’t used the system for about six years and any codes to stop the noise were probably in Joan’s purse, lost about two months ago. Meantime Dave next door had been knocking on the door, thinking that I might have fallen, drove to Helen and James’ house and they arrived as I was again on the ladder, ears stuffed with cotton wool opening the alarm box to disconnect the siren.

Good to have good neighbors!

The beeping continued even though I had disconnected the siren from the backup battery. I couldn’t find the key to the control box inside the house and had to force the lock to disconnect the storage battery powering the whole thing. It seems that Dave has had a similar problem and a flat backup battery in the main control box is the fault. All is silent once again and I will do without home security.

What is next?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lamb flaps

Today we are having the Easter Sunday family lunch. I expect there will be food left over. I remember my parents reminding us of the kids in Europe just post WW2.

‘Eat your dinner...think of the children in Europe,’ That came out when we were expected to love the taste of tripe with white sauce.

Papua New Guineans are having a bit of a crisis because of the change from village gardens to a cash economy and eating tasty, but unhealthy food. In town centres such as Port Moresby, Kai Bars (roadside food bars) sell a very popular snack which is more than 90% fat...lamb flaps (read hogget) from New Zealand. Several politicians are spearheading a drive to have such imports banned as they can see the results of such a diet.
According to a summary report from a National Capital District workforce study, 40% of the workforce was overweight, 30% obese, 15% had high sugar levels and 20% was not involved in any physical activity. Wonder what problems the other 5% had?

Yesterday I spotted a nearby garage sale and bought a nice bicycle for $20. Helen and James bought a dog kennel for $20 also. Their dog is actually using it and I am using the bike.
The bike looks like it was purchased as an exercise tool and having been ridden once was shoved in a shed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Yesterday, Good Friday, I along with Joy and Margaret, two friends who are also without partners went to the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour for lunch. Being a nice day, several thousand others decided to do the same. We eventually found a table and had fish and chips and seafood baskets. Not bad!

This seafood thing is a Catholic tradition borrowed from the Pagans. It is an abstinence thing. It used to be every Friday. I feel sorry for the poor souls who ate meat on a Friday and are burning in Hell....and then, later the rules were changed. No retrospectivity there! Going back to the 50s and 60s everyone seemed to have fish and chips on a Friday without considering the religious aspect.

When I was a young fella, Catholic girls at Friday night parties would set aside the meat pies and sausage rolls etc until the big hand and little hand met at 12. I can't recall the guys worrying about it, but I guess I looked at the gals more than the guys.

Our family is having a lunchtime gathering on Easter Sunday at Helen and James’ new home. Brother Graham is making Ceviche, his specialty. Yum!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mole Scan

On Monday I had a MoleScan session at a local clinic. At first I was a bit skeptical about it, but was impressed when the computerised images were shown on the screen.

Dermoscopy is the use of a special skin microscope. It allows the doctor to see beneath the skin’s surface. The ability to see elements deeper within the skin provides the doctor with more information to make a decision regarding a suspicious skin lesion or mole’.

One small lesion, or rather scaly area, was, after observation, biopsied. Recently a GP had said there was nothing to worry about. We’ll see once the results come back.

The patient before me had had several moles/cancers frozen. It was obvious that dozens of others has been done before.
Another patient waiting was decked out in PE teachers’ gear and they are prime candidates for melanomas.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Boot and Trunk

A few days ago a friend of Joans rang to say that Joan had wished to give her craft and quilting books for a book sale of which the profits would go to cancer research. I didn’t know about Joan’s conversation with Teena, but was sure that she would have wanted Teena to collect them. Teena came around yesterday and we loaded up the boot (trunk) of her car with about 150 books. Later in the day our daughter Helen told me of another bookshelf in a spare room which had an estimated 300 more books. Today I loaded up my car and delivered them to Teena.
Loading the books into my boot/trunk or whatever.
The books on Teena’s loungeroom floor.

Writing this, I thought about the differences between English U.S. and English Au.

I can see why Americans call the ‘boot’ of their car the ‘trunk’, but I can’t see any way to justify calling it a Boot. The Early 20th century cars often had a metal or leather trunk attached to a carrier at the rear of the car.
Here is a low resolution pic of a trunk. In front of the trunk is what we would call the Dickie Seat, but in the U.S. is called a Rumble Seat.

On the other hand Americans call Mudguards, Fenders. Surely a fender should be a bumper bar? Mudguard seems more appropriate, especially in the early days of automobiles before Macadamised roads.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Singer Featherweight

This morning I searched in cupboards and found a couple of Joan’s vintage sewing machines. They are both quite wonderful. The Elna needs a bit of a service (by me), but the Singer is in top condition. The Singer is a Featherweight 222k model and can sell for up to $4,000. Not sure what the Elna is worth yet. The Elna is a Model #1 and is nicknamed the Grasshopper.

I photographed them on a blanket which I noticed had a lot of Joan's hair from chemo days.
The Grasshopper case folds out to be a sewing table...not bad for the 1940s.

I delivered a Mac Laptop to a young (16 year old) lass this afternoon. She is a mum and with her man living in the family residence. She is lucky to have a sympathetic mother and I have a feeling that things will work out for them. She is still at high school and the computer is just what she wanted....bluetooth for their phones and WiFi for MacDonalds.....and of course a machine to do assignments on. I also gave her a thumb drive so that she can take her work to school and print it out without the cost of buying a printer and the subsequent inks at outrageous costs.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A worthy cause

Each time I place a computer at a needy person’s home I wonder what I will find when I get there. This morning I delivered a Mac to a family in Cloverdale. They were most grateful and I was pleased that it was a worthy cause.

Their situation is not at all good. The husband has only one leg and his wife is mentally challenged. They have two children and one of them is 5 years old and severely affected by autism and other mental problems. They live in a rental property owned by the State Housing Authority...’Homes West’. I was told of their need for a computer by a welfare lady who is the wife of a colleague. Fortunately the husband is going to be present for most of the time the kids will be on the computer to make sure they do not create any headaches I have to repair. I will search out some simple educational games for them. They will not be connecting to the WWW.

I try to be altruistic in my Mac giveaway project and not worry about whether the mac will be sold on etc. No problems with today’s gift. The wife had prepared a thankyou card for me and the welfare lady..nice!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An in-service course

Tonight I watched a program on ABC (au) about a family which eventually had to commit their wife and mother into full time care. It was about Alzheimer's Disease, but essentially about a family breakup.

I am still hurting badly about the death of my wife, but I am grateful that she did not suffer the indignity of dementia.

I would like to see some statistics about dementia sufferers.....are more intelligent people less prone to dementia?

Joan was fully aware of her situation and was at no time delusional...perhaps hopeful beyond reason, but not seeking out help from a mythical God.

I miss her terribly.

Today I ran a short in-service course for teachers at a special needs school for staff who are unfamiliar with Mac computers. It went very well and all of the participants had fun with the operating system and the nice things that come with Mac. I had many thankyous for the short session. I didn’t get paid for this PD. The school is having problems with the W.A Education Dept. internet server as they are decidedly Mac unfriendly. It will get better as Mac is having a rebirth in W.A. schools.

An IT boss at the senior high school I taught at for many years, wouldn’t let a Mac computer on the school network and has just purchased a Mac laptop. Say no more!

Radical man!

The weekend was ‘full on’. We made a number of trips shifting Helen and James’ stuff into their new home. There is still a lot more to come, but they can do a bit each evening coming home from work. The new house is starting to look lived in already.

I am going to sell Joan’s sewing machines. She has some class machines...embroidery, designer, overlocker and several valuable vintage sewing machines. I took advice from a sewing machine specialist Joan told me to consult and it seems that like cars and computers the value of each item has dropped dramatically. Joan did tell me that she had bought a Husqvarna Designer SE machine, but wouldn’t tell me how much it did cost. I do know that she had it insured for $9,000.00. The SM specialist tells me that there is now a new model and I could, at best, hope to get $3,000. C'est la vie!

A good friend from Papua New Guinea days emailed last night to tell me he had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. This morning he Skyped me and we had a long talk about PC and specifically what his urologist said and what my treatment was when I had prostate cancer. I had what was called ‘the gold standard’...radical prostatectomy and fortunately, the cancer was removed with the prostate. Albert was told that he could do nothing...’watching and waiting’ and he would almost certainly get another 10 years. Alternatively he could have the radical prostatectomy; be free of the cancer, but may have impotence and incontinence. He sounds like he is going for the radical prostatectomy. Faced with that situation again I would do the same. Get rid of the beast!

Friday, April 8, 2011


Our neighbor Fiona called me to the fence to chat. She told me that she was feeling a little uneasy because she thinks Joan may be trying to contact her. It seems that there is a dove which perches on our letter box which is where most of the conversations between Joan and Fiona took place. She can park her car right alongside the letter box and almost touch the dove before it flies off. Joan had told me that if there was ‘something or somewhere’ after death that she would prefer reincarnation. It would be my luck to come back as a cockroach or a blowfly.

Yesterday I went to W.A. Newspapers to collect 5 late model Macs. The newspaper prefers to give their cast-offs to me rather than to staff or people who would later seek help if something goes wrong with them. I am obliged to write to my contact at W.A. News, thanking him for the gift and noting that they will not be sold, but refurbished and given to needy folks.

This afternoon is the big day when Helen and James take possession of their new house. We did the final inspection on Wednesday evening and I was further impressed with some features that we didn’t notice when they first made the offer to buy. Looks like a heavy weekend of cars and trailers shifting furniture etc from one place to the other. I need some exercise.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Libya in suburbia

The local paper once again praises Western Australia for being the best or worst at something. This time we are the nation’s worst at merging on entering a freeway. Don’t know how they decided that, but I found this gem which may well apply to us here....’I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!’

This afternoon I thought I was in Libya. All that was needed to make it real was a bit of gunfire. Quite close to our house was a pretty fierce bush fire which destroyed a house and damaged four others. TV channel helicopters hovered for a couple of hours filming the action as water bombing helicopters swooped low over our house en route to the fire. I don’t know where they sucked up the water, but it was black and dirty looking. The nearby Bibra Lake is as dry as an airstrip so they must have gone to other nearby almost dry lakes.

The police arson squad thinks this one was deliberately lit. The fire started just after school was dismissed for the day. Kids get bored. School holidays present lots of problems for shop owners. Say no more!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Of sheets, fruit, Tapas and a nice Gal.

I changed our/my bed sheets this afternoon. Fitted sheets are always a problem for me. I nearly always get the base sheet the wrong way around and today I came up with a Kev solution. Put a large ‘B’ on the bottom of the fitted sheet with a permanent won’t be seen unless someone spots it on the washing line. Not sure Joan would approve of that though.

The last few days have seen quite a few flowers on my passion fruit vines. The bees don’t seem interested in them so I’ve been hand pollinating the flowers with a feather. There is a one-day window of opportunity to pollinate PF flowers and I am having success and about a dozen flowers are developing fruit. The vines are just starting to flower, so I should have dozens of fruit in a few weeks. Click the pics to enlarge them.
As the pollinated flower wilts, the new fruit is shown.

Over the weekend I received a floral tribute from a wonderful young lady named Katrina who over a few years has donated Mac computers for my giveaway project. She is the Office Coordinator for an organisation for native land titles. I was greatly moved by her kind thoughts. The media highlights the low-lifes of the world and there are plenty of them, but I think we good people far outnumber them. Katrina is one of us!

A pic of some of the tapas from Saturday’s lunch.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A double birthday celebration

On Friday I had a few friends around for lunch. The are the ‘usual suspects’, good friends who have known each other for a long, long time. The numbers are dwindling....some have died or unable to attend. John is in care and is now past outside trips. Lots of stories and laughs; a good afternoon!

Maybe I should stop taking photographs at these events.

Here is the latest....we don’t look too bad, eh?

On Saturday, we, Helen and James, Martin and I met up at the Gypsy Tapa restaurant for a lunch to celebrate Martin’s 40th and Joan’s 69th birthday. Joan had planned on dining at the Gypsy Tapa before she was bed ridden. She would have liked the variety of tapas, but I would still have whinged about the cost. A lot of people dining there would have topped up with a burger on the way home. I paid for the four of us and with a couple of beers it cost $150. I guess the experience of it all and the definitely hippy waiters could have been interesting to some. I have never seen more metal studs in all parts of the face, nor a collection of op-shop clothing such as this. Sorry, I lie; JB Hi Fi seems to appoint only staff who are so adorned with heavy metal and crazy haircuts.

Helen and James dropped me off home around 2pm and I decided to drive down the freeway about 20 kilometres to visit an ex-student who has built a house on a newish estate down there at Baldivis. Jayd works at the Public Trustee in Perth and has flexible working hours, so can go early to the train station nearby and be in Perth in 30 minutes. Her house is nice and the surrounding area looks very civilised. I don’t know whether at times she feels a bit isolated down there...I didn’t think I should have asked her. Lovely gal!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I'm doing OK!

Yesterday I signed up to get a roof-top 1.5kW solar power system. Australian government subsidy on this system is considerable and it will end up costing all up just over $2,000. The government is soon to reduce the subsidy, so now is the time to sign up. It is hoped that it will halve my power bill and on times that I may go away, sell back power to the grid.

Joan wanted us to get a solar system even when she knew she had little time left.

Several friends have told me that Joan expressed concern about how I will manage when she went. Joan, I’m doing OK!

Today I am having a few friends around for lunch and doing a culinary re-run of Joan’s wake.....finger food such as dips, pizza, party pies, cocktail frankfurts, fruit and drinks. I was going to BBQ, but today threatens a hot one and I figured it would be better inside in airconditioning.

Joan and Helen when we were all younger.