Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The bastard disease

Some time ago a friend, Merv, offered to rebind a very old original book we have here.  It is ‘Captain Cook Voyages’ published in 1790.   Merv belonged to a bookbinders association and did a great job restoring it.
I was remiss in not returning to visit Merv and finding the book in a bookshelf a few days ago thought I should drop in on him. I bought a nice bottle of red and fronted up to  have a coffee and chat.  His wife Juliana opened the front door and informed me that Merv had died recently.

We had a cup of tea and biscuits and she told me of his death.  I had not known that he, like me, had a Radical Prostatectomy.  I also didn’t know that Merv was a Haemophiliac which gave him lots of problems.  After his Radical Prostatectomy it was discovered the the cancer had metastasised into his bones.   Juliana told me was stoic and rarely complained of his condition.  His treatment gave him quite a few years before he succumbed to the disease.  A nice man!

Today is the third anniversary of my wife Joan’s death.  Daughter Helen is visiting to cook a meal for us.  I expect there will be a few tears.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

construction site

Daughter Helen and hubby James are having some major earthworks done in their backyard in preparation of a spa installation and garden areas.  It should all be finished Monday evening.   Then there is the cleanup.  The concrete pad where the spa will go needs a bit of maturing before the spa can be installed.

Some early construction pics...

Their dogs, Ruby and Rosie, have not been able to have their usual run in the backyard and Helen brought them over to our house for a play.  She also brought her washing to hang here because of all the dust the tradies are creating.  Ruby is fascinated with the water jetting from a hose.   Check out the small video here.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pony Tail

Some 9 years ago my late wife Joan, bought a plant named ‘Pony Tail’  (Beaucarnea recuriata).    It has been living and growing in a large pot at the rear of our house, and after all that time, has just developed a large flower head.    It doesn’t look too good, but I will wait to see if the flowers are attractive and if so, harvest any seeds which develop.

                         Joan would have been excited to see this change.

                        Click on the photos to enlarge them

I had no idea what this plant was called, so I went to my local Bunnings store where a horticulturalist found one for sale in the garden section and I wrote down its name so that I would appear smart.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Home from hospital

Our friend Joy is at home recuperating after three days in hospital following her fall down a steep set of stairs in her home.  When I saw her a couple of days ago I hardly recognised her.  She has two black eyes, cuts and bruises to her head, arms, hands, knees and feet.

It seems that she must have fell and rolled down the stairs ending up on the lower ground floor bleeding and unsure how it all happened.  This was at One in the morning and she had no need to go downstairs from her bedroom and cannot think what caused her to do so.     Fortunately her grandson who is living with her, heard her and rushed to stem the flow of blood and rang an ambulance.  The medicos at the hospital did extensive X-rays and a CT scan and amazingly she has no broken bones.  They believe that she may have had a seizure and have scheduled a visit to a specialist for heart ECG etc.  She has been told not to drive for three months or until she gets the all clear from tests.

Years ago when her husband John was still alive I gave him a home-made gift voucher offering a lifetime (until one or the other dies) of computer support and I have added to that, general household Mr Fixit jobs and now message runner when Joy needs me to shop or drive her somewhere.  She also has lots of immediate family and friends to help out as well.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Macs to go

Over the last couple of weeks I have been restoring a number of Apple computers readying them for distribution to needy folk.  They were given to me by a primary school, a printing works, a newspaper and a couple of individuals.   
Most of them are a bit old, but so am I and I still work reasonable well.  One laptop was a surprise gift as it is a late model MacBook Pro. Thanks Susan.

  I would have liked to keep it myself, but I have a couple of rules for myself when it comes to such things....I can’t keep them, give them to family or friends, or sell them.

I was holding out giving this to just anyone; it had to be someone who would benefit from a nice machine for study etc.  Then along came Kelsey who has been accepted into Murdoch University this year.  I felt she filled the bill and she was most grateful to get a very nice machine which will see her through university and beyond.

Today we (the few oldies who get together once a week for a cuppa and cake) are going to be down by one member. Last night, Joy had a fall down her stairs and was collected by an ambulance and taken to hospital.  Nothing broken but cuts and bruises has her remaining in hospital for a few days.  Get well soon Joy.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Senior moments

Friday afternoon, we (a group of 5 oldies) had our weekly gathering over tea and cakes.
It is most comforting to have these friends to converse with; especially as they all struggle to remember names and places.  I am not alone!
I had a couple of very senior moments this week.  I followed a recipe from daughter Helen to cook a Moroccan Beef Stew.  It turned out pretty nice except it was a bit watery, so I decided to thicken it with gravy powder and cornflower.   I mixed them together with cold water and poured it into the stew.  A Vesuvius-type eruption occurred and the stove top was flooded with stew.   What the....?  I checked the pantry and I had grabbed a packet of Baking Soda which was next to the cornflower.  It reacted with the lemon juice in the stew.   

The second SM was probably a regular for single men.  I carefully checked all the pockets of the clothes I dumped in the washing machine, but didn’t see two new tissues that went in with some handkerchiefs.  The cleanup of all the clothes near the clothes line made the green grass look like it had been snowing.   Only one more day of this week to get through.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tiger Shark

Fremantle Harbour had its own resident Tiger Shark for some time during the second world war.  Efforts were made to kill it off, but they were not successful.  I never heard that this Tiger Shark itself killed anyone.

                                  Dutch submarine Tjigerhaai  (Tigershark)

In 1964 I taught at Madang Technical School in Papua New Guinea.  The school was a boarding school and I thought I would catch a shark to augment the student rations.  I set a drum line near the harbour entrance and the following morning took a school boat with a couple of students up to the harbour mouth to check the line.  We had caught a large Tiger Shark.  We towed it back to the school boatshed and I started to cut some filets to cook for breakfast.  The students would not eat it because they all knew someone who had been taken by a shark at their coastal villages.  I tasted some, but it had a strong ammonia smell/taste.

I am ambivalent about the state government’s catch and kill policy for large sharks, but I do know that you ‘never smile at a crocodile’ or go swimming with a shark.  Mamalian sea creatures seem to be happy around humans.  Protesters should visit an abattoir.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Crepe Myrtle

This afternoon I was talking to my neighbour Dave over the side fence.  I asked him what the nice red flower was near the fence.  He told me it was a Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)     

When Joan was near the end of her time, we had a conversation with Dave and Judy about the need for more street trees.  Joan said that she liked Crepe Myrtle.    They planted one there for Joan.  I didn’t know that and this is the first time I have seen it in flower almost three years since her death.

 Thanks Dave and Judy.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

To Bee or not to Bee

Helen and James have a large spider in their back yard.  It doesn’t do much travelling, just sits in its web waiting for bees to get caught up in the web.  

Monsanto is copping a bit of flack from the greenies as they reckon Monsanto chemicals are about to kill off the world’s bee population and we will soon be without food.   Spiders like this baby kill a few bees and with Monsanto, we may have to hand pollinate every vegetable, fruit and flower.  Good for employment!    Just kidding!