Saturday, November 30, 2013


Daughter Helen is recovering from the migraine attack.  She has a supply of a nasal spray named Imigran, which seems to give relief.  

Yesterday I joined about 40 other oldies for a reunion of Papua New Guinea expatriates who all belong to the PNGAssociation, an Australia wide organisation aimed at keeping people in contact so that they can get an opportunity to tell their stories to people who will be interested.  Many people are not too interested in old PNG stories.
The venue was a hotel reception room and we shared the room with another reunion of the class of 1962 of Kent St High School.  I was amazed to see my cousin Ted at the Kent St gathering in the same room.   The noise from around 80 people recounting past times was deafening.  
At 74 I thought I might be the oldest there, but there were plenty older than me.

I will suggest the next ‘get-together’ be at someone’s house so that it is easier to converse and move around.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Yesterday was not one of my better days.   Daughter Helen had rung in sick at work with a minor migraine.  Later in the day she was woken with extreme stabbing pains in her head.  She rang me and I drove to her place and determined that an ambulance trip to the nearest hospital was necessary.  James her husband was out with one of their dogs at a vet.

I cannot recall seeing someone in such pain.  She could not think straight and was alternating between screaming and swearing.  I tried a cold compress without any relief as we waited for the ambulance.     James arrived home just as the ambulance turned up.  We got Helen out to the ambulance and it seemed ages as the ambos asked a series of questions which I felt was to determine whether this was serious enough to warrant and emergency trip to hospital.  I do know from sitting in the reception area of the Emergency Dept., that had I driven her to hospital she may well still be waiting for assessment and treatment.

After a CT scan of her head, two doses of morphine, a nasal administered pain killer and intravenous something, the pain receded somewhat.  Then came the nausea and vomiting which lost the last two painkiller tablets.   I could see improvement and so left Helen and James and came home.  She was discharged at around 9pm and given a script for some heavyweight painkillers which they filled on the way home.   Today is her birthday and tomorrow is mine.  We were to go out for a meal tonight, but I am not sure that would be wise.


Monday, November 25, 2013

A Busy Bee

I own a second story unit in a block of 18 in Orelia, south of Fremantle.  It is quite a nice 2 bedroom unit with a large deck.  Unfortunately Orelia has some major problems with youths invading such blocks of units by kicking in steel fences and jumping over walls.  Cars are damaged and anything of value not locked down is stolen.  Our son Martin is living in the unit.

There are 18 units in the block and some of the owners refuse to pay the Strata fees.  Whilst legal action has been taken on them, it is a long drawn-out problem and responsible owners have been hit with extra Strata fees to pay water bills etc.

The Strata management asked owners to attend a ‘Busy Bee’ this last Sunday with the idea of  cleaning up gardens, pool and gazebo areas.  Three owners turned up and we worked solidly for three+ hours.  Busy Bee is an Australian term for a group work session without payment.  Like me, the other two owners either lived in their unit or had family residing there.    

Mean spirited act on the part of the other 15 owners.

                                                    Not as nice as it looks

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Techno tragic

I recently bought a secondhand 17” MacBook Pro for $150.  Love; great speakers, unmarked condition.    I have an iPad, but clumsy Kev has trouble doing one hand typing on a digital keyboard.  I have other laptops and desktop computers which I should give away or sell, but I am afraid that I am a techno-hoarder.  I still have an operational Beta VCR and 30+ movies (tapes).

The Australian Prime Minister has taken a hammering from the Indonesian President after it was disclosed that Australia has been spying on Indonesia and even monitoring President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s personal phone calls, including conversations between the Pres. and his wife.   PM Tony Abbott has not really apologised and the pressure is on to either give an apology and assurances that spying will stop, or relations between Aus and Indonesia will get very frosty. Already the Pres has cancelled all military cooperation with Australia and canned the deals made about boat people heading to Australia through Indonesia.
U.S. President Barack Obama was recently caught holding the ball about U.S. spying on Germany et al. and he immediately apologised and that seems to have calmed things down.  I think everyone knows that almost all nations are doing a bit of eavesdropping on friends and enemies.  China has been doing a bit more than listening is claimed that Chinese agencies have been breaking into U.S. military networks.

Unless our PM apologises and promises to look into what is going on, the Indonesian public might well vote in a radical President next election.  Goodbye Bali!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Bachelor

I declare that I have not watched ‘The Bachelor’ on TV.   What I see online and in the newspapers is enough.  This fellow is to choose his lifetime partner in a reality TV farce.  Imaging the sniggers at parties when the happy couple arrive.  

I can see the sense in online dating for desperate, single people and those not in the 5% of the beautiful.  Widows, widowers, divorcees, ungainly, unhandsome people need a place to hook up, but to win a partner on a nationwide, very public TV show....nah!

      Wait.... 'widower, ungainly, unhandsome person'....sounds like me!

                                    I guess a followup show could be The Divorcee.

                                                           Pick one mate.

                                            Sorry there's only one winner.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tomato fails

I dabble at growing vegetables.  My tomatoes are healthy, but insects have attacked most  of the fruit making them mostly inedible.    They look OK as they hang there, but underneath the tricky little bugs have ruined them.  I spray all the new fruit with a gentle insecticide Pyrethrum.  The label advises that there should be a one-day withholding period before picking the fruit.  I notice that a second ingredient is Piperonyl Butoxide which is nasty sounding stuff which was the main ingredient of fly sprays in the 1950s/60s.

It is hardly worth growing tomatoes, when at this time of year here, they sell for $5. per box. 

There is no way that ‘organic’ and regular market garden tomatoes don’t get sprayed to keep the bugs off.  They, of course, use organic insecticides and managed insect control....Oh Yea?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Newmont Boddington Gold Mine

Yesterday daughter Helen and I drove to the Newmont Gold mine at Boddington.  We, and about 500 other people, were guests of the company which was opening the minesite to family, friends and partners of workers at the site.  The mine is 130 kilometres from Perth in Western Australia.  Boddington is an open pit mine,

Everyone was outfitted with safety gear and we boarded buses for a guided tour of the complete site.    Blasting was suspended for the day, but the mine was otherwise working.    There are two main pits, three crushing plants and a processing plant where the flotation method extracts gold and copper from the final finely crushed ore.  It was a great day.  I cannot remember all the figures of production, so I suggest you watch this YouTube presentation.

The campsite has much to occupy off duty workers which on average total around 1200.  Sports, gymnasium, a wet canteen and a very nice dry canteen (mess) with plenty of nice food. A couple of stats that I did remember were that the canteen did 300 pies per day and 1000 chickens a week.   Watermelon was talked of in tonnage.

We were invited because James, Helen’s husband, works there on a two week rotation (one week on; one off) The tour ended with a BBQ and salads and drinks. Good day!

Unfortunately there was a plague of bush flies.  They don’t seem as smart as city flies and were easy to slap down.
                                               Click photos to enlarge them
                                                         One of two pits
                                                             Dump truck
                                          Helen in front of Dump Truck wheel
                                                       Water truck
          The initial crushing plant which reduces the rock to football size
                                     Trucks tipping ore into initial crusher
                                                Massive cable shovel
                                           2.5 kilometre conveyor belt

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

'Tight Arse Traveller'

I have had a sudden rush of people turning up to collect free computers from my place and yesterday had a phone call from a chap who asked if I could come to his house to repair his PC.  I explained to him that I was not a PC expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I would have a look at it for him.  He got my name from a librarian at his Public Library.  He was given my name and phone details and told that I repair and distribute computers.  I cannot imagine how the librarian had my details. 

When I went to his house we cranked up the PC and it made a noise which indicated that the RAM (memory card) was not working.  I brought it home and when I opened it replaced the RAM with one from my it now works.  The rear of the box was facing a window which he leaves open to the weather and it has rusted some of the exterior bare steel panels and I believe affected the RAM slot inside the box.  I took it back this morning and he was delighted that he didn’t have to call a real repair man.
                                               My RAM collection

He is 71 years of age...almost three years younger than me and could talk underwater. He is a self described ‘tight arse traveller’ having made many world trips on the cheap.  He flies at night so he doesn’t need a hotel bed; takes his own bowl and breakfast cereal and seeks out other travellers to share a room on the cheap.  On a recent trip he slipped into Burma for a look  and got out without being caught without documents.  Friends maintain that if he were caught and jailed, he would be in first class accommodation compared to his regular doss houses.

Good talking (listening) with him!

Monday, November 4, 2013

A not so wonderful day

Today has been a mixed blessing.   I joined my brother Graham for a lunch at a nearby tavern.   The food didn’t have the taste  I was used to; sort of like I experienced with my dear wife when she was going.  I have lost the ability to cook creatively (if I ever had it).

I came home and continued cleaning out residual memories from cupboards.  I found a package of sympathy cards from Joan’s  funeral.  I will have to find addresses for the senders to send them the URL for our family  blog to tell them how I/we are going. 
That was  very upsetting.

I have lots of people who support me in times like this, many of them ex-students of mine.  A young lady at the bottle shop I frequent is a most pleasant gal.  I enjoy her bright, young,  vibrant personality and I wish I could drain off some of it to me.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A room for visitors

Our son Martin is finally in to my unit at Orelia.  He has found that getting to work by bus is relatively easy, but costs him around $60 per week.   I had to remind him the fuel and associated expenses of running a car would be far more than $60 per week.
I had a full-on clean up of what was Martin’s side of my house and it is now ready for visitors.....if I had any... sniff sniff.  Sister Shirley can come stay with me next time she travels up from Esperance to hit the big smoke.

I recently lost my car in a large shopping centre car park.  Easy enough when most cars are silver and similar size.  I then thought that I would design an App for iPhone and name it ‘find my car’.    I did a search for iPhone Apps and there are dozens already available.  Too late Locky!