Monday, December 29, 2014

Stamp Tax rort

This morning I transferred ownership of my new car to me.  It isn’t a new car, but is only six months old and has done a mere 7,000 kilometres.     The transfer fee was a bit of a shock...$812.70. 
The state government is double dipping on the Stamp Tax.  On the purchase price of the car there is a Federal Tax (Goods and Services Tax), but when the state Stamp Tax is calculated, the GST is added to the price of the car and so everyone transferring a vehicle pays Stamp Tax on the GST.  How do they get away with that?

When I bought the car, the dealer gave me a fuel discount card....4c off every litre.   Trouble is that it is only redeemable at BP service stations.  In this state BP is the sole fuel refinery and it sells fuel to a number of different brand name servos who all sell fuel at far less than BP service stations.  Useless!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Reading, a thing of the past?

The main newspaper in Western Australia is not published on Good Friday or Christmas Day.  My late wife Joan was a voracious reader of books, magazines and the newspapers.  On the days preceding Good Friday and Christmas Day she would divide the newspaper so that she had something to read on those two days.  

When we worked in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s there was no television, mobile phones or computers and so we either partied or read for entertainment.  I confess I haven’t read anything much except technical manuals and on line information since our PNG days.  Our house has hundreds of Joan’s books in almost every room.  Books are getting hard to sell these days and I am unsure what I am (or my kids are) going to do with them.  Example is the huge collection of cook books Joan bought over the years.   I get frustrated trying to find a recipe in the books, but with just a few keystrokes can pull dozens of recipes for anything I feel like preparing.

Something to ponder....

Monday, December 22, 2014

New car

I picked up my new car today.  It is a Kia Optima, built by a cousin-company to my last car, a Hyundai.
Nice car with lots of goodies such as reversing camera and sensors as well as forward sensors which will help me get closer to the wall in shopping centre carparks.  
A couple of days ago I bought my son a small car at the other end of the scale for $1700.  He hasn’t had a car for five years and is enjoying his freedom from public transport.  I am hoping it will also allow him to get work off bus routes.

Is this going to be my last car?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Festive Season

This ‘Festive Season’ isn’t so festive this year.  We have agreed to a no-presents Christmas Day.   Not sure if that will work.  I have a number of Christmas cards to which I haven’t reciprocated.
In the next few days I will write a synopsis of the better times of the last year and email it to friends.  I hope that my friends will not be too upset about not receiving commercial cards.

Government schools in Western Australia closed on Friday.  The students finished the day before.  At daughter Helen’s school it would seem that some students didn’t feel their school year was worthwhile and set the place on fire.  The damage should be repaired by the start of the school year in 2015.

Every year during school holidays, bush fires, vandalism etc increases.  Is it because school kids are bored during holidays?   I don’t really need an answer to that one.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sydney hostages

There is a hostage situation in a Sydney cafe under way at the moment.  It seems that at least one Islamist has taken staff and customers hostage and forced some of the hostages to hold up the now infamous black flag at the cafe windows.

There are hundreds of state and federal police personnel surrounding the cafe and nearby buildings have been evacuated.  Roads have been blocked and a nearby rail station has been closed.  At this stage no communications between the Islamist(s) and negotiators have been disclosed.

Personally I believe this one will be a protracted situation as the cafe has plenty of food, drinks and toilets. If I were one of the hostages I would be worried that once world-wide media coverage has been achieved the ‘terrorist’ may well blow himself and the hostages up.

Whatever the outcome, he/they have done no good for integrated Muslim Australians.

PS: Tuesday morning.  It's over; three dead including the hostage taker.  Now comes some debate about how the two hostages died.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Online shopping

Over the last couple of months I have been buying items from an online store named Kogan.  They sell good, inexpensive products and are very efficient in their deliveries which are mostly free.   One item I ordered didn’t arrive on time and after three weeks I started emailing their help desk enquiring as to what had happened.  
They eventually sent me a notification with a photo of a signature at the time of delivery.  The signature was by someone name Michael.  They suggested that I ask the neighbours if there was a Michael in their houses.  I replied that I know my neighbours and nobody by that name lives nearby.
At this stage there was a bit of a stalemate.  I waited to see what was going to happen next, then a couple of days ago the young daughter of my neighbours rang my doorbell and presented me with the missing package.
The neighbours were having renovations by some builders and their garage was filled up with boxes and furniture etc.  Their mail box doesn’t have a number on it and my mail box is on the border between both houses.  
                            My house is on the right
The delivery man went to the wrong side of the mailbox and one of the builders signed for the package and put it on the floor amongst all the other stuff.  three weeks later the daughter noticed my name on the carton and delivered it to me.

I emailed the company explaining the details and we are friends again.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

computer project

I have just finished a roll of 600 metres of Gladwrap/Clingwrap my wife Joan bought on the 21st of December 2010.   I am happy to say that I am pleased that it is now over and I can start using the new roll with a fully functioning cutter.  The previous cutter has provoked many harsh words over the years.  The new roll cutter has a sticky leading edge which holds the clingwrap when cutting.   I am inspired to wrap as much stuff as I can now.

The computer project I have been running  for the past 12 or so years ebbs and flows.  Sometimes I have to seek more donations from friends and businesses and other times my spare room and workshop is overflowing with machines ready and loaded to go to needy folk.  That is how it is now with approximately 20 computers and seven good printers with spare ink cartridges.   In the 12 years to date, I estimate I have placed 5-600 computers with needy folk and a few dozen scammers.  After all this time it is still a rewarding project helping out others.

Friday, November 28, 2014

45 +75 = 120

It's birthday time here.  Daughter Helen's today and mine tomorrow.  Helen is having a combined party for both of us tomorrow.

The photo below was taken by my father when I was about to depart for a second round of teaching in Papua New Guinea in January 1970.  Joan and Helen joined me when I had accommodation sorted out and had built a bedroom on to the one- roomed 'donga' I was allocated at Bainyik in the East Sepik District of PNG.  The six years we worked and lived in PNG in that second round were most rewarding.... me as manager of a vocational centre and Joan teaching high school and in the last two years joining my staff at Popondetta Vocational Centre which catered for males and females.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A break-in

I was out visiting yesterday afternoon when daughter Helen rang.  I hadn’t taken my iPhone with me which may have been fortuitous, as Helen was ringing to tell me that the security company rang her with a message saying her house alarm was going off.   I have driven the 400metres to her place on a couple of previous alarm alerts and re-set the system after a false alarm.

This time however, it was a real break in.  A side window was levered out and the villain gained access and stole just jewellery at an estimated $3,000 including a few sentimental pieces given to Helen by Joan, my late wife and Helen’s mother.   This morning forensic police officers visited to try and take fingerprints, but gloves were worn.  They told Helen and James that three other houses in this estate were also done over yesterday afternoon.

Laptop, desktop computers, iPod and other valuable gear was not touched and there was not the usual vandalism often perpetrated by youth.  Obviously a pro who could conceal his loot in his pockets.

Talking to Helen this morning I told her that it could have been a bit nasty if I blundered into the house thinking it was just a false alarm.

Helen and James have adequate house and contents insurance and she is out now getting some of the pieces valued from photographs and online catalogues.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sexing Papaya

Oh dear me....some people will believe anything.   I have an acquaintance who believes one can determine the sex of an unborn baby using a piece of string with a wedding ring attached to dangle over the pre-birth tummy and noting whether the ring circles over the babe or goes North and South.  I can’t remember which is male or female, but it has got to be right 50% of the time.  

The topic came up during a recent gathering when one of the group said that he has had trouble with his pawpaws (Papaya).  Papaws need male and female palms to germinate fruit and he didn’t know how to determine the sex of a pawpaw.  My acquaintance  suggested the ring and string method. Duh!

Another puzzler...What if the hockey pokey really is what it’s all about?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Discovering ANZACS internet site

A friend, Dennis, told me of a site named Discovering Anzacs which has service and other details about Australians at war.....

  I went to the search panel and typed in my grandfather’s name and although there were a number of Maurice Lees listed, his was the first to show up.  He enlisted with his brother to go to the Boer War in South Africa in 1902.   His enlistment document shows his personal details including his age, which he told them was 20 years of age.   He was not actually 18 at the time and he and his brother, both underage were returned to Australia.  They both returned to the fray after hitting the age of 18.  

I have his original enlistment document and discharge document where it shows he received a five pound gratuity for his service.  Doesn’t sound much, but in the early 1900s it was probably worth about $400 Australian in today’s money.

Grandad's entry can be found here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Gope Board (Hohao)

In 1963 I was HT at Arehava PS in the Gulf of Papua.   I asked a carver to carve me a traditional Gope Board.   The fellow who carved it had lost a leg and I thought it must have been a crocodile that took it, but he told me he had an infection and eventually had the leg amputated.   I  imagine he was transported to the district HQ of Kerema where there was a hospital of sorts.

When I was on leave in Australia that year I gave the Gope Board to friends Margaret and Haddon.  Later when I returned to W.A. I borrowed back the original and made a copy.  Margaret and Haddon later gave me back the Gope Board and so now I have two.  The copy lives outside on a wall the other original is inside out of the weather.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Can You Help

A few weeks ago I contacted The West Australia, our daily newspaper.  They run a 'Can You Help' page in the Monday edition.

Some 25 years ago, I had collected some photos of a WW1 soldier and thought I might find out who he was by using the can you help column.  The person who manages that column, Jenny, thought it was a long shot as there was no surname just the name Frank.

This morning about 6.30am I received a phone call from a relative of Frank telling me that he has all his records and details of service.   It will be interesting to meet with him and find out more of Frank.  There might be something significant worth writing about.  Click the photo to enlarge.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Busy Bee

Yesterday was designated a Busy Bee day for all the owners of units in the block I am housing my son.  I have attended every one of these things over the years and it usually turns out to have a turnup crowd of three or four.  This time there were only two of us there to do gardening  and general cleanup that the regular gardener never does.
There are 18 units in this block and for just 2 owners to turn up is very poor.  Instead of doing gardening, we, as well as my son, repaired the rear metal fence which is regularly kicked in or out, depending whether villains want to get in to thieve and vandalise or to make a gateway for tenants to take a short cut to the town centre.

We know that this is just another temporary repair but hope the several dozen metal screws with which we secured the steel sheeting will cause them some problems when they next kick it in/out.

Once we finished the fence repair we declared it all done and departed.  I would rather have every owner pay $50 and a professional job done but unfortunately the collection of those subs would not be easy.

BTW Australians speak English and although we have no real distinguishing accents, each state has different terms for some items.   A Busy Bee is a volunteering work party at no payment at least in Western Australia.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Melbourne Cup

Two horses died immediately after competing in this year’s Melbourne Cup.
One horse was spooked by a flag waving child and broke a leg when it kicked a fence.  
Another horse, Admire Rakti, a champion Japanese horse favoured to win, struggled during the race and died in its stable immediately after the race.   An autopsy revealed that Rakti had died from a heart attack.

In the 1930s a champion Australian racehorse, Phar Lap, died on a visit to the U.S..  Rumours at the time had the Americans poisoning Phar Lap.  I remember my grandfather telling me about how the yanks had killed our Phar Lap.   Other stories had gangsters involved in the death of Phar Lap to protect their illegal betting shops.

Phar Lap was inspirational for most Australians struggling through the depression years of the ‘30s.  Googling Phar Lap gives 443,000 results .

A 1983 movie tells the Phar Lap story

Will there be a conspiracy theory about the death of Admire Rakti?

Monday, November 3, 2014

WWW instructional videos

The WWW has become an educational treasure trove.    I have found a number of youtube instructional videos.  ifixit is a site with detailed instructions to fix just about any item from kettles to iPads.

Couple of examples of other instructional videos.  One here by a father to his here

                                 And try this one as well....

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Rolling Stones

Last night the Rolling Stones played to a large Perth audience.  They have a second show on Saturday night.
A pic of the Stones on stage.  Clean living keeps them looking good(?).

                                                       Click to enlarge
 Friends have a daughter who is a singer and she was in a guest choir on stage for... You Can't Always Get What You Want.

I didn’t attend.  The Rolling Stones have not been big on my playlist.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Willie Wagtails

I have lots of birds visit me.   Regulars are crows (actually ravens)
and willie wagtails (Rhipidura Leucophris).  It is baby time here with baby wagtails out of the nest and being fed by mum.  The crows, always after some easy prey, are harassed by adult wagtails and eventually move on. The harassment has been ongoing for possibly two months and I am guessing it is to keep the crows away from nests.

A couple of baby wagtails waiting for mum to return with food.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Local Apple Store

I have just returned from a visit to the Apple Store near my house.   My 27” iMac was presenting with a white/blue screen and after asking Mr Google, it seemed that it might be a faulty video card.  My appointment time was 3pm and the Apple Store was packed.  A young ‘Genius’ hooked up my Mac to their diagnostic software and in a couple of minutes it told us that the video card was faulty.  They will fit a new card and call me when it is ready in a couple of days.  I had forgotten that I had taken out an Applecare policy and it will be covered by that.

PC people (those who use Windows computers) heap scorn on Apple and the store with its genius younguns, but I have, in the couple of times I have been in the store, been suitably impressed.  So there!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Designing Women

Yesterday evening I attended the opening of an exhibition of fabric art held  in Melville.  The group is one my late wife Joan belonged to and I have quite a few wall hangings of her work in our house.  The group is named Designing Women.      Joan’s sister Dorothy is also heavily into fabric art and she had seven pieces on exhibition.   I am not big on art in general, but a few of these pieces I found most interesting and attractive.

One of Dorothy’s was about her father’s hand-built house on his newly acquired farm in Western Australia’s wheatbelt.   The photograph of the small house was surrounded by hessian (wheat bag) strands of wool (shearing sheep) and golden threads telling us that Ted McHugh was a gold miner near Kalgoorlie to raise the money to buy the farm block.
                                                         Click to enlarge

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Printer repairs

A few days ago I was given a couple of nice printers both with some faults which I thought I might get going to give away with my computer project.  One is a large Brother A3 scanner/copier /fax which I am sure will make coffee as well.  I managed to get it working and need to read up on all the functions.   Fax??  Does anyone still use faxes?

  The other one is also an all-in-one, a Canon, which presents with an error message ‘B200 Print Error’.  I Googled that error and found a solution on a video by a fellow in Holland.  It certainly is a quick fix.   See the short video here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

1928 Hudson

Our son Martin lives in a 2 bedroom unit I own.  It is part of a 18 unit block.  When my wife and I bought the unit some ten years ago we never envisioned the problems it has given us.   This block is in a low socio-economic area and has problems both from within and without.  The rear steel fence is kicked in/out either from tenants using the gap as a easy path to the local shopping centre or youth breaking in to damage vehicles etc.  

Last night one of the tenants who is know to break down the rear fence decided to seriously bash his partner.  The screams and foul language brought out nearby tenants who demanded that he stop beating his partner.  He made numerous threats to the bystanders until the police arrived.  The woman was taken by ambulance to hospital and the man to the police station.  He will probably not be charged with assault as in many of these situations the partner is either afraid to prefer charges or needs the support of even a violent partner.

Martin is concerned he will be a target of this violent man.  It is not politic to mention that this is an indigenous couple.  Enough of this drama.

And now something nice. A 1928 Hudson.  Quality car which would still look good on today’s roads.

                                      click to enlarge

This pic is from Shorpy, the 100 year old photoblog.  Well worth a look and free subscription for a daily posting of interesting photos with a story.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

UWA Memorial Ceremony

The Memorial Ceremony held at the University of Western Australia was a major event.  I estimate that there were 500+ attendees along with current medical students and a large group of Professors.

I had been in Winthrop Hall before to sit public examinations back in 1959 and it has, as I remember it, not changed much.  Lovely old building!

There were five major speakers who gave thanks on behalf of the university and the wider community for the donation of 175 bodies to the Medical Faculty. This Memorial is held every three years for the donated bodies of that period.
All the names were read out by a group of students and another group gave every person assembled a long stemmed white rose.   Refreshments were served outside near the large reflection pond.

It was not politic to take photos during the memorial service, but I snapped one as the ceremony finished.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mike Treasure

Tomorrow I am attending a dedication ceremony for my brother-in-law Mike.  Mike died  just over three years ago and as he wished, his body was given to the medical school at the University of Western Australia.
This ceremony, held at UWA in Winthrop Hall, is a dedication to all those who also gave their body to UWA over the last few years.
Mike in 1980s rig

I have thought about what I want to happen to my body.....join the worms; have a BBQ or let the Uni students play with my bits?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Vietnam Bachelor

This coming weekend brother Graham is off on a two-week trip around Vietnam.  It is a singles trip and he has just found out that there are 8 females and one male on the tour; shades of the bachelor.   

I helped bro set up an Enduring Power of Attorney document in case ‘anything happens’.

I have not watched The Bachelor’ on TV where one fella gets to ‘try out’ 24 beautiful single women.  The degrading spectacle of females fawning over one guy in the hope he would marry them is pretty peurile.    I wonder whether all the gals were told that he has two companies in Perth city hiring out male entertainers.  I have seen some footage of the Bachelor himself ‘entertaining’ female guests.

I wonder whether brother Graham will be the Vietnam bachelor on his trip?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tahitian Lime

I had been thinking hard about what I would buy with the gift card given to me by three lovely young ladies.   The card was to be redeemed at a garden centre, so I visited one of the chain which is quite close to me.   I found what I really needed; a Tahitian Lime tree.  No problems about whether I will be around for the fruit....there are flowers and young limes already showing.    I had a good sized pot and gave it a dose of a special citrus fertiliser.

I also have a cumquat bush in my front garden which is showing a bit of stress with yellow leaves.   I had intended transplanting it into a pot, but the roots felt like they were down deep, so I decided to give that a dose of citrus fertiliser as well.  At the garden centre the man I talked to for advice about the cumquat suggested dosing the leaves with diluted  molasses.   Can’t hurt??    This cumquat bush has sweet fruit which is not the norm.  Cumquats are usually used for marmalade or eating whole if one wants to determine if one is still alive.
I also transplanted a mango tree which has not grown at all over the last three years.  I will give it lots of love and hope it actually gives me fruit before I ‘cough it’ as my grandfather would say.

This last Sunday I hosted a gathering of oldies who were once young Boy Scouts and then Rover Scouts.   I catered for an afternoon of gluttony.  Lots of dips and biscuits, olives, celery boats with curried egg filling, party pies, baked chicken wings, pizza, cheese, salami, pickled onions, saveloys (little boys), a nice punch and a large fruit platter.   After all that I forgot the tea and coffee.   I bet they are still talking about not getting tea or coffee.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What's in a name 2

I have just watched the AFL (Australian Football League) final on TV.   I am not a big sports fan, but I think there is not another code that is as tough as AFL football.  No padding or helmets; just hard  ‘at it’  for 15 - 20 minutes a quarter.

The two teams playing out the finals were, before this game, pretty well equal, but one team, Hawthorn, was a clear winner.  I surprise myself that I enjoy the game.

One of the players has a name of Jarrad Roughhead.   Strangely he doesn’t look too ugly.  He is a big man and must have had to fend off jibes about his name in school.
Another name which springs to name is Teresa van Lieshout who is a failed career election candidate.  At present she is a contestant in a bi-election in a seat in the Western Australian Parliament.  I see her name as Teresa van Lie Shout, which she does do.
But a recently released serial rapist has the most apt name of  Patrick Comeagain.

Nuff said.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Changing GP

I have filled out an information form for a new GP.  I don’t who I will get as it is a group bulk-billing practice with a number of GPs working there.    One of the questions asks how many standard drinks of alcohol do I have in a week.  Eek!   Do I tell a porky or the truth?
In fact I have gone down the middle on that question giving a figure that is more along the lines of an easy week. 

The reason I am changing GPs is that this Practice is close to my home and my regular GP doesn’t bulk-bill (read free).  The regular GP also only gives me three repeats on scripts (the original and three repeats)whereas this practice gives the full five repeats.   Seems like a bit of overservicing on the part of my previous GP.   I haven’t abandoned him, but will see how the new person(s) works out.

Tomorrow, daughter Helen's Pre-Primary class is performing their small act for the entire school.  The kids and their parents are very keen and Helen hopes there are no slip-ups.   All the kids think the boat I made and the costumes for the fish and the crayfish are great.  School holidays for two weeks commence tomorrow.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A good pickup

I had a win this morning.  I went to a small recycling depot to dump some recyclables.  Whilst there I looked over the large container of computer gear.  I grabbed a HP all-in-one hoping that it may just need new cartridges.   When I matched a power-pack from the dozens I have in my workshop, I discovered that one of the cartridges had not been inserted correctly and was causing a jam of the carriage on the plastic surrounds.  I managed to slip a knife through a slot at the front of the printer and reseat the cartridge.   When the carriage was able to move into its home position I noticed that the cartridges were the same as two I had previously ordered from China.  They have been sitting around, with me wondering what I had bought them for, so I inserted the new carts and now have a good printer/copier/scanner for another donee.

Brother Graham has a pet dog named Dougy.  Doesn’t have fleas; doesn’t need food and doesn’t defecate on his lawn.  He even nods his head affectionately when one gives him a kick.
During the week just past, I had occasion to pass a new housing estate.  It is large and there are some large dwellings there.  There are however, some quite small houses with barely enough room for a rat to run between them.  They must be inexpensive?

In today’s paper there is a photo of a woman named Teresa van Lieshout posing on a beach in a Bikini.  She is a candidate in a bi-election for the seat of Vasse in this state’s south-west.  Teresa has had a couple of unsuccessful attempts at getting into Federal Parliament and now she is trying to get into State Parliament as an independent.  She was recruited to run with Clive Palmer’s party, but was dumped by Palmer the day he met her.  She then joined The Australian Protectionist Party, a right wing outfit.
The seat of Vasse is vacant because of the resignation of the incumbent, Troy Buswell.  Troy got himself into a bit of strife after crashing his government car into a few parked cars whilst driving home from a wedding.  Come back Troy...all is forgiven.

Check her out on You Tube and Facebook unless you have a delicate stomach.  For a devout Christian, she has a bad mouth and if you are not exactly on her side 'you will go to hell'.  Posing in a Bikini is a cheap shot.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Unexpected thanks

A couple of days ago I received a thank-you card from three young ladies.  They work for a welfare agency and make regular visits with clients to collect computers and printers from me.   The card contained a gift voucher for a Garden Centre valued at $100.00.
Click to enlarge
With all the 500+ Macs I have distributed over the past 14 years, this is the first time I have received a follow-up thanks.   I get pleasure out of seeing a satisfied ‘customer’, and never expect such generosity of anyone.   I work with as much Altruism as I can and expect no reward.

I now have to decide what sort of plant to buy with the voucher.  If I buy a fruit tree will I be around to see it bear fruit?
I sincerely thank you, wonderful ladies. 

This morning Dennis and I drove up into the Perth hills to collect 16 older Macs from a primary school.  They were pensioned off  years ago and the computer lab runs nice new iMacs.   
Ready for a cleanup and test.
These eMacs are a bit slow, but there again, so am I.   They will go to people who want to do regular browsing, email, word processing and printing.  I have other machines which are good for more advanced work.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kids' stuff

Our daughter Helen’s Pre-Primary class is to present a small act for the rest of the school.  Based on a reading book, there will be grandpa and his grand daughter going fishing and catching ‘one pot of mussels, two big crayfish and three fat snapper.’

I got the job of constructing a cardboard boat, Helen is making the mussels, one of the parents is making the fish outfit and Helen’s friend Maria is making the crayfish suits.

Maria's worksheet
Under construction

Monday, September 8, 2014

Internet advertising

The internet is host to lots of weak advertising such as for  ‘the doctors hate her’ magical skin rejuvenating creams.

A few here.....

Yesterday was Fathers’ Day.  Our daughter Helen and husband James had me and my brother Graham around for a late lunch which went on until after dark.  Great food and company.  

Photo of Helen with my late wife Joan on a wire bridge near the Wosera Papua New Guinea, circa 1971.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Helping the budget deficit

The state government is in a bit of a financial bind.  So yesterday I thought I would make a donation to help out with Western Australia’s budget stress.

I have been a good boy for many years and being caught for speeding is a bit silly.   I have a sophisticated GPS with a woman somewhere in there telling me when I exceed the speed limit.  Must remember to turn it on even when I don’t need directions.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Spring is here

It is officially spring here in Western Australia.  Birds are mating, flowers are flowering and I have planted my broad beans (a bit late...but?)

A few pics of stuff in my garden.....Click to enlarge the images

It looks as though I know my plants well, but that is not so.  I had to ask my friends Marg and Joy to tell me what I was looking at.  I did figure out the lemons though.  The red spikey flower is a Bromeliad; the 'Bird of Paradise' is a Strelitzia and the yellow flowers are on a Aeonium.  The red flowers/fruit? are on a broad leafed unknown.

My lemon tree has dense foliage and is producing extra large lemons.   In the years we have been living here I have not seen lemons as large.  I have looked at my neighbours’ lemon trees and they seem to produce lemons of  regular size.  Don’t know what is happening here.

This week sometime I have to drive up in the hills above the city to collect 15 computers from a Primary School.    They are oldies, but goodies and well suited to the people I give them to.  I was going to have to make two trips to collect them as I can’t fit all 15 in my car, but my son-in-law, James has a large ute (pickup truck) and volunteered to drive me there to get them in one trip.  Thanks James.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Long time no see

A couple of days ago I contacted a couple who live in Queensland.  We knew them well when our two families were on the same government station in the Sepik District of Papua New Guinea; Maprik.
Bob and Marion lived on the station and we, Joan, Helen and Martin, had a house in Bainyik, some 5 miles from Maprik where the Vocational Centre was.  I was the manager of the centre.   Bob was a teacher at Maprik Primary A School.  In 1973 Bob and Marion transferred up the Sepik River to be HT of Ambunti PS.  That was 41 years ago and the last time we saw each other.  If my wife Joan were still here I am certain that we would be on a plane to visit Bob and Marion next week.  I will make my way east some time soon.
Bob and Marion tell me that I did see Bob, at least, in 1975 at Kwikila when I was en route to a wedding at Hula in the Central District of PNG.

Recently I have noticed a sudden drop in my download speed from my provider, VividWireless.    I would normally get speeds of 5-8MB download, but it had dropped down to .16MB.    VividWirelss provides a 4G service wirelessly from towers and ‘mirrors’ throughout Australia.   
Their techies talked me through testing speeds at various locations around the house which was done by using a laptop logged in to a site   It comes up like to enlarge.
In the BSID part of the panel, 9f-10 shows the tower at Coolbellup (a local suburb) is the one I am connected to.

There are other panels, but moving around the house with the modem told me/us which tower we were connected to and which gave the best signal.  When a tower was found I had to do a speed test at and it gave download speeds for each position.  If you are going to do the speedtest, look carefully as it is easy to click a download for some other worthless piece of software.   Eventually I took the modem back to its original position and shifted it 2 metres to the right and I now have a reasonable download speed of around 5.8MB.   Whew!

My modem (Home Gateway) showing  signal strength.