Sunday, March 29, 2015

1942 Ford GPW Jeep

I have owned three Jeeps; two were wartime Jeeps and another was a postwar CJ3B remodelled from the wartime Jeep.

The three Jeeps were found in Papua New Guinea where I taught for almost 10 years in a split service starting in 1961 and finishing in 1975.   I shipped home to Western Australia the  last Jeep I owned in Popondetta a town in the Northern District of PNG.  I rebuilt it over  couple of years and eventually sold it to a colleague who still uses it on his farm.

The Jeep story is quite amazing.  The U.S. government’s military needed a small, light 4 wheel drive do-all vehicle.  In 1941, one vehicle manufacturer submitted a design which didn’t quite fit the bill.  The design was given to Willys and a series of modifications created the MB.  The vehicle was called a GP (general purpose) vehicle which became Jeep

Two companies built the Jeep, Ford and Willys and a total of 640,000+ rolled off the production lines; 30 per hour.  I believe that most of the Jeeps used overseas never returned to the U.S..  There were many in PNG post war and my hometown, Fremantle in Western Australia, saw plenty of Jeeps during WW2.  I can remember them buzzing around the streets regularly.

I am sorry that I sold my jeep.  Great basic machine.

It is a Ford Jeep and the Ford company marked almost every part with the Ford logo.  The true Jeep enthusiast will notice the right-hand drive.  No RH drive Jeeps were made in WW2.  I converted it to RH drive to licence it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Losing it

Today I decided to drive to Perth city to sell some old gold jewellery bits to the Perth Mint.   The total amount was less than an ounce, but I thought I should sell it before I lose my mind completely.  
I googled the Perth Mint site and found that I need a few  bits of ID.....passport/drivers licence, a recent utilities bill; gas/water/power showing my address and name. 

Jumped in the car and drove the  23 kilometres, parked the car and found I had brought all my ID, but not the jewellery.   Doh! 

The Perth Mint is a lovely old building opened in 1899.   It mints coins and medals and sells gold bars to people who think WW3 is imminent.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Midnight in Paris

I have just re-watched a wonderful movie for about the fifth time and I am convinced it is the best movie I have ever seen.  Looking through a few glasses of almost two bottles of of Seaview Brut, I may, however, be influenced by alcohol.

Midnight in Paris is one of Woody Allen’s best movies.      Get it (anyway you can) and enjoy it.

I am influenced, of course, by the month we spent in France and experienced first-hand the people and country-side of that wonderful place.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Food from China

Australia has been experiencing an outbreak of Hepatitis A brought into the country in frozen berries imported from China.   The berries were processed and packed in Shandong Province which has a high level of pollution from a number of sources.  
Yesterday I bought a packet of Salt and Pepper Squid to have as a snack.  It was bought from one of the two big players in the grocery market.  Tasted good, but as I read the info on the side of the pack I found that the squid were from New Zealand, sent to China and processed and packed there. 
I am unsure as how much extra they would have cost if they were processed and packaged in NZ or even Australia?   I would pay the extra.

Recently I have been buying bananas grown at Carnarvon, 909 kilometres North of Perth, Western Australia.  They are about half the size of Queensland bananas and often don’t look as good as Qld bananas, but they are sweeter and have softer flesh which I have come to prefer.  A few days ago Cyclone Olwyn destroyed all the Carnarvon banana crops and it is going to be up to 24 months before more Carnarvon bananas are available.  Damn! 

Pic from Farm Weekly

Thursday, March 12, 2015

To die alone

A couple of days ago our son Martin rang to tell me that the unit above his was leaking a considerable amount of water over a balcony into woodwork in his/my unit.  I suggested he go upstairs and mention it to the tenant above and see if they could work out what the problem was.   He didn’t respond to Martin's knocking and so Martin decided to leave it a day to put a note on his door.

Early this morning police arrived and Martin talked to a policeman who told of the death of the tenant estimated to be several days before.  The police told Martin that it did not appear to be foul play and until the coroner does an autopsy it will be called a non-suspicious death.  Sad to die alone.

Update:  Martin just phoned me to tell me that a police Forensic Squad has cordoned off the unit and is conducting investigations.   Our man might not have died alone.

Monday, March 9, 2015

10th Light Horse Brigade sculpture

Over the last few weeks I have noticed a wonderful roadside metal sculpture near a business a short drive from my place.   I decided to take a couple of photos of it and hopefully find out where it is destined to live.  My photos were somewhat spoiled by a busy commercial background from nearby businesses. 

                              click photos to enlarge

I noticed some signage on the nearest building which suggested that it was of their making and went in and asked a few questions for this blog.  The owner, Albert de Boer, invited me into the inner sanctum of his business ‘Forever Shining’ and gave me a thirty minute rundown of their products and manufacture of memorials of all sorts in a wide variety of materials; glass, granite steel, stainless steel and a few other mediums my 75 year old brain has forgotten.  I mentioned that none of my friends would probably commission a headstone as we were probably going to be cooked.  Albert, in sales mode, suggested an urn for our ashes. 

 The sculpture is a life-size horse and mounted soldier of Australia’s AIF Light Horse Regiment and is to be installed at the Western Australian wheatbelt town of Kondinin.  It is to be installed so that at the dawn service commemorating The Light Horse Regiment the dawn sun shining through the sculpture will create a silhouette.

           This is how it will look at the Dawn Service

            The plaque to be attached to the sculpture

On their site, found here, one can even create a headstone, urn etc, choosing materials, size and artwork and can at any time get an estimate of the cost by pressing a button.  There is a demo for you to check the process out.  Great stuff from a business I and my friends knew nothing about.   The office is very techo with a staff of graphic artists and artisans. Drop by their site and make your own headstone……

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Brendan from Texas y'all

Over a few weeks I have had  visits from a friend and teaching colleague, Brendan.  Brendan is living in Houston, Texas with his wife Tracy who works for Chevron as a Health and Safety consultant.  Tracy was transferred to Houston and Brendan of course, went with her.   They have been there for around 2.5 years and look like spending another three years there.

Brendan gets part time work with Chevron as a Cultural Consultant, advising Americans who are being transferred to Australia about the differences they will encounter in the land down under; and from what Brendan has told me, there are plenty.

For the the last few weeks Tracy has been in Japan on company business and is heading back ‘home’ to Texas and Brendon flies out of Perth on Friday.  Great catching up with both of them.