Thursday, May 29, 2014

Computer Call-outs

A few weeks ago I gave a computer to a physically disabled young woman who visited with her carer.  I went to her place and set the computer up and she was going to subscribe to an ISP and get a suitable modem to connect to the Web.
She is a demanding young woman and has called me a number of times to get help with setting up a printer, upgrading the operating system so she can listen to radio through iTunes and asking for a USB hub to connect other devices to the Mac. She has a radio and CD player in her house. Not only that she likes country music and has it blaring when I visit.
 I suspect that she thinks I am part of the government welfare system which is most certainly not true.  
Today I have made two trips to her house to help her and just now received a phone call asking me to assign a password to her machine.    I explained that I don’t have passwords on most of my computers and suggested that unless she really thinks someone would be interested in what she has on her machine I would rather not make another visit.....nah; she wants a password.  Damn!

Of the hundreds of people who have received Macs from me over the past 14 years, this gal has given me the most call-outs by far.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tree Loppers

Over the back fence of my house there was a large dead eucalyptus tree which Crows (Ravens) would gather to await my offerings of scraps of meat etc.    The tree was large, probably  50ft high and I don’t know what could have killed it off, but today a tree-lopping team came in to remove it and another smaller Banksia tree which had also died.   They were cut down and run through  a massive grinder thing and made into wood chips.   
It reminded me of a horrific accident which occurred a couple of years ago when a young member of a tree lopping firm was caught up by a branch and dragged into a similar machine and before it could be shut down was horribly killed.

The Crows would arrive early in the morning and make a lot of loud demands for food and repeat the process in the late afternoon.  I wonder what they made of their roost suddenly disappearing.

Yesterday I had a welfare young lady bring one of her clients to collect a Mac and a nice printer, scanner,copier.  The client is from Sudan and couldn’t speak English too well and at the age of around 16 has a young baby.  It seems that her parents have abandoned her and she is fortunate to have assistance from this welfare group.  She thanked me profusely and in broken English told me that I was her father.  Hope I don’t have to pay for any wedding in the future.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fromelles France WW1

The Fromelles Project  is a project to identify the bodies of Australian servicemen who were killed in the WW1 battle using collected DNA of relatives who lost family members in that ill-fated battle. I previously wrote about this project here.

Our friend Wendy has since been advised that her uncle’s body has been identified and will soon be buried in a military cemetery with a suitable headstone marking his final resting place.  Wendy has applied for a passport to visit Fromelles and his grave.

Wendy was interviewed by a TV station.  Here is a link to that.  May not play outside of Australia.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sandwich effect

My daughter Helen invited me over to have a drink which turned out to mean a meal of Gozleme....wonderful! 

As I arrived she was doing her Semester 1 reports on her pupils. I had retired 18 years ago as a teacher and so reporting was a long ago memory for me.  She explained that she could use the Sandwich Effect which she had learned in business studies; Good, Bad and Good
 As daughter explained to me goes something like this.........

‘Look John, you are a great guy, good with the clients and you are a really likeable fella........

but the fact is that your sale figures are shit and you need to start making some money otherwise we are going to have to let you go.

But I am going to give you some more clients to highlight your strengths and hope that you can build on your innate skills on a commission-based salary’.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Souvenir tea towels

Some weeks ago I found a stash of souvenir tea towels in a drawer...around 15 in all.  I was certain my late wife Joan would not have collected them and realised that they most probably came from my mother’s house.  After retirement mother and dad did a number of overseas trips and usually collected souvenirs from places they had visited.  They visited us in Papua New Guinea around 1973, but I didn’t find any tea towels from there in the stash.

The tea towels were never brought into use....a bit embarrassing actually!  

I gave half of them to daughter Helen and the rest I ran them through the washing machine today and hung them under cover because of rain.     Looking at them again I think I will unpeg them and turn them around....don’t want any neighbours looking over the fence and seeing them.

Monday, May 19, 2014

IKEA Flytrap

Yesterday Brother Graham collected me for a visit to the Ikea store at Innaloo (that’s a Perth suburb).  It is huge on several levels.  I thought it was a church as it was Sunday and lots of people were there.

Ikea is like one of my fly traps....attractive, but once inside it is very difficult to find your way out.   Exit signs seemed difficult to find and aren’t displayed in every section.  It doesn’t help to follow the mob....they are mostly browsing.
Brother Graham bought his bedspread and some pillows at what I thought was not a real sale price and we followed a few people with loads of purchases who obviously knew where the exits were.

Neighbours Dave and Judy left this morning on their 7 week caravan trip across to 'the centre' and up to Cape York at the tip of Australia.   I gave them a nice bottle of bubbly and a couple of plastic caravan glasses (American Crystal).  I will be emptying their letterbox of its daily junk mail and keeping an eye on their place.  

                                                       Click to enlarge

Friday, May 16, 2014

What are we doing here?

Thursday evening cousin Val drove down to my place to spend a night and catch upon family news.     Val is a little older than me, and we are good friends.  During WW2 we were thrust together in Fremantle where both of our fathers were ‘manpowered’ as tradesmen for the war effort  My father and uncle worked in Fremantle Harbour which was an important submarine base during the war.
We lived as a two family unit in several houses during the war and I have many memories of that time.     Val married and had a family as I did, and it is just recently that we as widow/widower have spent time together.

                                        Val looking after Kev circa 1940

Last year we had a nice holiday in Bali.

Today we were talking about our time on this place and what we are doing here.   My dear wife Joan has gone and I have wondered what the hell I am here for?    I am lonely and although I have good friends, children and many ex students who keep in touch, I have thought that I am wasting  space. Cousin Val thinks the same way.

And so, tonight I rang Val and said that I would book an nice villa in Bali away from the madding crowds and we should get on a plane and have a week there.  Without hesitation she agreed.   That seems a better option than worrying about what we are here for.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Budget

The Australian Federal Budget has been released and checked out by all and sundry.   It has, by and large, been panned by both those who know what they are talking about and the rest of us too.

The new government has told the citizenry that we all must help clear up the huge debt left by the previous Labor government.   Did we know that was coming?  
The high income people are being told that they too must help out with a high-earners tax called the Temporary Budget Repair Levy.  Poor buggers!  A person earning $200,000 pa will be up for an additional tax of $400.  Doesn’t sound too taxing to me!

The government has also decided that high earning female employees will get a Maternity Leave Allowance of $50.000 for adding another privileged child to the population.

                                                   Click the pic to enlarge

Youth unemployed are going to have 6 months to find a job before being eligible for the dole.  I guess that is to get all the surfies, graffiti ‘artists’ and scateboarders to actually look for work.

It is estimated that the budget will cost me around $380 per year.  I can wear that.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


I received a small bonus in yesterday’s mail.  The Office of State Revenue wrote to me enclosing a cheque for $629.75.    Unfortunately it was my own money and it seems that I had done an electronic transfer and  pressed the send button twice.  It is nice to know that someone in there didn’t just pocket my mistake.

I am collecting family photos from various places around the house and on computers and in other most unlikely places.   A cousin who lives near Albany in the south of this state is doing a pictorial family history.

Whilst rummaging for photos I found a shot I took at a sports day at Willetton Senior High School where I had a most pleasant 13 years.  These ‘kids’ are now probably around the mid 30s with kids at high school or beyond.    Willetton SHS is this state’s largest high school and in the time I taught there it was a pure pleasure to have been able to teach many students like these.  I have taught at a few rough schools.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ruby and Rosie

last night daughter Helen visited with Ruby and Rosie.   I looked after Rosie whilst Helen took Ruby to a Vet to have a damaged toenail removed from her foot.  Rosie didn’t know what was going on and searched my house thoroughly looking for her mate.  When Helen brought Ruby back she was wearing a collar and bandaged paw.  The vet also supplied a plastic sock to protect the bandage when Ruby needed to ‘be quick’...toilet stuff.

Rosie was intrigued by the large plastic collar and commented with a few growls as if she thought it was a different dog in the house.     Helen has gone to work this morning and James is at work on site at a gold mine, so I will go to their house and put the sock on Ruby’s paw so that she can ‘be quick’ in their back yard.

Helen brought around a nice curry which we demolished whilst watching one of the several cooking shows on TV.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Last night I watched a TV program about the Eider ducks.  I confess that I didn’t know their association with the name of the Eiderdown quilt.  It showed indigenous people in the arctic harvesting the down from the Eider duck’s nest and using it to make padded jackets and quilts.
The word eiderdown is not in common use these days and more common is the quilt or Doona.  Oldies would probably use eiderdown to describe a doona. Info on Eider Ducks

Another bit of information I picked up from TV last night is that New Zealand has a diesel fuel tax; not on the price of the diesel, but on the number of kilometres driven by owners of diesel fuelled cars, utility vehicles and small trucks.  It is incumbent on the owners of such vehicles to pay regularly for the kilometres driven.   Must be difficult to police?

In Australia, diesel fuel is always more expensive than petrol, and diesel vehicles cost more to purchase.  The extra fuel economy is, in my opinion, cancelled out by the price of the fuel and the vehicle.

Friday, May 2, 2014


Yesterday I visited a couple of local OpShops.  I was looking for some casual trousers size 34” with a short leg.  Most new casual trousers have huge amounts of fabric around the legs...enough to make a second pair of shorts.  I found some which seemed perfect, but when I tried them on at home they were about 3” short.    Not sure if they meet the young ones’ criteria of short longungs or long shorts.   I guess they will be for around the house dress.

Whilst I was in recycle land I saw a few videos and I bought four @ $2. each.  One of them was Sleepless in Seattle.  Loved it!    I had seen it before.   Where has that darling Meg Ryan gone?  I can’t remember her in anything else after that movie.

Back to the trousers problem. At 74+ I have tried to wear bracers to support my Tushless body.  I can’t do that and so it is either a constant trouser haul to keep my duds up or a belt tightening that is most uncomfortable.

Update on Meg Ryan.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Blue Ginger

Some time ago a friend, Joy, gave me a Blue Ginger plant.  It is quite beautiful and that is coming from a person who normally considers plants that can’t be eaten as useless.  Info here.

Today our green waste heap was collected by our local council.  I had earlier cut down a tree which was rubbing against a fibro fence creating an annoying noise for our neighbors.  My chainsaw was blunt and so I had to do a fair bit of hand sawing which resulted in some stress to my right shoulder which was badly damaged in 2001 when I fell five metres from a ladder.  My GP suggests that it is not too serious and has prescribed Panadol Osteo which hasn’t eased the pain much as yet.

Another job was a rusted out downspout from a gutter on my workshop.   The gutter had collected years of leaves and blocked a steel downspout causing the corrosion.  I tried to get a roof plumber, but decided to do the job myself.  The price of galvanised steel downspout and elbows etc was going to be around $140 so I went plastic, costing around $50.  The good thing about plastic is that it all fits together perfectly and will certainly see me out.  It stands out in white, but this job is at the rear of the workshop in amongst a jungle of plants and cannot be easily seen.
                    Plastic downspout and what is left of the spindly tall tree