Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Maintenance is ongoing

Western Australia has a water problem.  Our rains no longer fill dams and we rely heavily on ground water and desalination plants.  The Water Corporation offers free watersaving shower heads, two to a residence on a bring in your old one and get a watersaving model basis.   I collected my second one today and installed it (with a bit of swearing) at my unit at Quinns Rocks. 
The renovation is going slowly but steadily.  I have a quote to remove the three large palms, grind the stumps out and remove all the mess.  I had an idea that the quote would be around $4,000, but was very thankful to find the man will do the job for $1332.   I  guess he has the gear for the job and maybe he has no work on at the moment.
Cleaning out the gutters is the next contract job for both units and it looks like it will be a difficult job as the roof tiles almost cover the gutters.  The quote might not be as generous as the palms.  An aircondition unit is to be installed for around $2,000 and I think the couple in the rear unit will probably ask for one once they see it being installed.

 Probably another two weeks work before it can be offered for rent 

Desal plants in Australia.  Click to view

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Keeping busy

I own a couple of rental properties in a northern suburb.  Both are 3 bedroom dwellings on a single block.  They are probably 40+ years old and starting to need serious maintenance.  One of the units has been vacated recently and I have started maintenance on that one before being able to rent it again.    I have found quite a few problems inside and outside the unit and have started daily trips from my place to get things up to a reasonable standard.    Outside there are problems with three monster palms dropping  fruit in the nearby roof gutters which has caused an overflow and  flooding of the roof eaves.  A contractor will be sought to clean out rubbish from the gutters of both houses and a tree person is to give me quotes for removing the palms.  They are huge and old leaves; or are they fronds, look inviting for some miscreant to set alight.

click to enlarge

Inside there has been a problem with shower tiles leaking water through to an internal wall.  I have sealed the tile grout and some patching and painting on the damaged wall is necessary.   I have repaired a toilet cistern and changed tap washers in all the taps.  Next is to have new curtains made and install a front door deadlock.  Most of the window fly screens need replacing.
The tenants in the rear unit have been there for years and look after their unit as though it was their own.  Don't want to lose them.

I’d like to sell them both, but the housing market has crashed here.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Working still at age 102

A local Western Australia university (Edith Cowain University)  has decided that a honorary staff member should retire and work from his home.   He is 102 years of  age, which surely must be a record.  Hope he doesn’t die before he sees himself in the Guinness Book of Records.
He doesn’t want to leave the university campus, but the university thinks he may be at risk travelling to and fro from his home every day.  He catches two buses and a train to get to work.   He was awarded The Order of Australia this year and feedback from the public generally wants him to remain at his post.  I listened to a radio interview with him and he still has all his marbles and works with the Centre of Ecosystem Management as a research associate.   The university has offered to set up his small home as a workstation, but he feels he will last longer if he is in contact with fellow academics.

I retired at 59 years of age because I read that an early retirement can lead to a longer lifespan.  I have reached 76 years and even though I loved teaching, I am glad that I retired when I did.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ernest 'Shiner' Ryan

Recently reading an article in the local daily paper about Ernest ‘Shiner’ Ryan, I was reminded about my contact with Shiner.   In the last year of WW2, we (Mum and Dad, me, Uncle Jack, Aunty Gladys and cousin Valma and grandpa ) lived next door to Shiner Ryan in South Fremantle.  I cannot recall the sleeping arrangements in our unit, but I am sure there were just two bedrooms. 

Shiner was Fremantle’s own crook.  He had served time in jails across Australia mainly for theft.  
Under a staircase in our unit was a pile of canned fish with the labels removed.  Cousin Valma and I would play on what was later explained to be stolen fish, courtesy of a couple of Shiner’s U.S. servicemen friends.  At the age of six in 1945 I was not curious enough to ask what all those cans were doing there. I am guessing that it was a keepsafe operation.
The south Terrace unit we lived in, built in 1870

I remember the excitement when VJ day was declared.  South Terrace became a speedway of cars, jeeps and trucks roaring up and down past our place.’ horns blowing, bugles blowing and lots of singing and yelling out.

By 1947 Dad had built our house in Bicton, an outer suburb of Fremantle.   In that year, along with just about every other local youngster,  I had my tonsils removed in Fremantle Hospital.  I recall mother collecting me from the hospital and on the way home visiting Shiner Ryan in his flat.   Whilst sitting at his breakfast table he unscrewed one of the legs to show us how he kept his money safe in the hollowed-out leg.   Later as he saw us off at street level, he commented on a car which was parked with the engine running saying…’In my day that car would be stripped and in the river’.  

Shiner was a bit of a folk hero.  He married late in life.  That marriage lasted about 8 hours.
The popular 'Shiner' Ryan

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bathroom warm again

I found a ‘sparky’ to install and wire a new bathroom heater/light/exhaust fan in one of the bathrooms.  The one I bought is the same brand as previously in the bathroom and although there were much cheaper units, I kept with that brand as the ceiling cut-holes are the same size.    All done @ a price of $150. cash in hand.*  The new unit cost $240. and other brands roughly the same size and capacity sold for as little as $99. 
The man made use of an existing light switch near the doorway to the bathroom, then pushed a four core wire down the conduit alongside the existing switch wires.  The new switch has four buttons to operate fan,heater x2, light and the young sparky suggested I give away having two levels of heating and use just one and have that switch operating both heating lamps.   Works well and I have now returned to my own bathroom.

  OK, I won’t write any more Home Handyman stories.

*common term for these jobs is 'a cashie'.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Home Handyman problems

My sister Shirley has returned to her home in Esperance  at the bottom of Western Australia.  The FESS procedure was successful and after a couple of days here in the city she felt it was safe to return home.

I have a home handyman problem with a bathroom light/heater/exhaust unit which is probably 16+ years old.  The unit was installed after construction of the house and used a remote control to activate each part, as it isn’t ‘hard wired’ in.  Over the last month or so I had to be precise aiming the remote control at the receiver and then the whole thing died.   I figured it was the remote control, but after a bit of Googling, found a method of testing the remote.  The testing relied on a camera to record the infra red beam.  I used the built-in camera on an iMac computer and saw the IR light as I pointed it at the camera lens.  Smart stuff!  Sooooo, the remote is OK.  I guess that means the receiver is probably dead.   Trouble is, this model  has not been made for years and there are no spare parts available.
click to enlarge

Getting a suitable replacement which is controlled with a remote which will fit the exact size of the hole which will be left by the current one, is going to be difficult.