Saturday, December 30, 2017

Drama on Christmas Day

I went to my brother’s house for Xmas Day.  All of his family and partners were there and after a huge spread for lunch, bro did a Santa Claus and gave out the presents.  Mine from brother Graham and his partner Carole was a bottle of Chandon which I will look into tomorrow when my daughter Helen returns from their trip to Queensland.   Right at the end of pressie time bro Graham dropped to one knee and called his partner to centre stage.  I could see some drama unfolding there.  Bro told her that he hoped that she would accept this gift...sighs from a few people and Carole opened the new ear rings and put them on.

As it turned out, Carole knew what bro was going to do.  Laughs all round. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Great Danes

Daughter Helen has been looking after friends' dogs.  They are Great Danes....gentle giants; almost big enough to ride.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Ford/Simca Vedette sedan 1960 model

Sorting through piles of photos and negatives I found this pic of the rear of a house that we purchased in 1975 whilst on leave from teaching in Papua New Guinea.  The pic was taken circa 1960 and I wondered what make of car was in the photo.  It has an American look to it.      Just yesterday I saw a story on line about French cars and recognised the mystery car as a Simca Vedette.  
The American style is because the first models were made in the French Ford plant and sold as a Ford Vedette.  The  French company Simca took over the Ford plant and built more Vedettes, the last model being as pictured below.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Birthday pressies

For my recent birthday I received a few great pressies.  Another one was from a wonderful ex-student of mine, Krissy.

She hand-crafted me a wall hanging, suspending a vase with a plant.  I am not really a plant person so I am unsure of what kind of plant it is.  I am more familiar with edible plants.

Krissy’s mother is a skilled artist and she is interested in illustrating a short story my late wife Joan wrote some 40 years ago. The story is named ‘Another Way Home’ and I believe it is well worth publishing.  It is loosely based on Joan’s farming family in country Western Australia.  

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Green Almonds

A couple of days ago I heard very loud screeching from around 15 native black cockatoos as they demolished my neighbour’s almond crop.  I took a short video and sprayed them with water to send them off and yesterday at the local market I saw green almonds for sale. I have never in my 78 years seen green almonds for sale.  Come to think of it, I have never seen almonds sold in shells before.
Turn up your sound.

And so, Mr Google gave me a few tips for eating green almonds.  After I lightly fried them with a seasoning of salt and pepper, I consumed them tasting nothing but the seasoning.

Probably get a better result from lightly fried block soap.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Today I turned 78 years of age. I have had a fortunate life and hope to have a few more years without losing much more of my mind.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Papua New Guinea expats gathering.

On Friday I attended a Xmas gathering of Papua New Guinea expats.  There were 20 of us who had worked and lived in PNG pre independence...teachers, public servants, Patrol Officers, commercial people and plantation people.

This is a pic of we oldies, minus me; as I took the snap.

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The angry orchid

Getting a bit lazy...this is from my Facebook post

This lovely orchid in my garden gets angry when I get close.
crucifix orchard....Epidendrum ibaguense

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Willetton SHS 20th year reunion Class of '97

This last Friday night I attended a reunion of the class of ’97 from Willetton SHS.  WSHS is the largest Government HS in Western Australia and rides high on its reputation.  Many families have bought houses in its catchment area to have their children attend the school.  I was privileged to have taught there for some 14 years.

I have been to five reunions from my time as a teacher there and each one has been wonderful seeing ex-students as successful adults.   This latest reunion had just two ex-teachers attending; that year’s Year Person and me.

A few Pics of attendees.
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These 'kids' are 37 and I'm 78 next week

A wonderful night. Looking forward to the 30th.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Teaching in Papua New Guinea in the early '60s

Going on leave from the Papuan Gulf in a Catalina to Port Moresby, then by DC6B to Brisbane, Sydney and Perth, 1963.

The engine noise was so loud that a pilot wrote on a small blackboard with chalk to point out places along the coast. The blackboard was passed back to each passenger.

A wonderful aircraft I was fortunate to have three trips in.

Click to enlarge

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Goodbye Ravens (Crows)

I had my Mazda 929 ignition switch replaced and received a bonus free $199. service voucher to be used within 6 months. I was at first very pleased, but then thought maybe the service centre would find all sorts of other old gear problems and actually make a lot of money from me. Maybe, but still happy with Mazda. I have had 6 Mazda cars over the years and always found them to be well built with no lemons.
I have been feeding some Ravens in my backyard for a couple of years. They refuse to be friendly and lately have been annoying me with damage to plants and this morning before feeding time, one of them decided to try and eat a squeeze mop drying on an outside table.
Sorry guys, the food supply has run out.

click to enlarge

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mazda recall

In a couple of days I get my old Mazda 929 ignition switch replaced by Mazda on a recall.   I was amazed that a 1993 model car still had such a recall and free  replacement of a component.  Even more amazing was when I returned home after booking in at the Mazda dealer I could not remove the ignition key from the switch and had to disconnect a battery lead to get the key out.   An amazing coincidence; to get a recall about faulty switches and on the same day, the fault shows itself.    Creepy!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

CPAP Machine

Another sleep apnoea test at a hospital in Perth last night.  I arrived at 8.45pm, filled out a few forms and was told to get into my pyjamas.   The fitting and testing of all the 20 electrodes took about 90 minutes.  I had a bad night’s sleep and left the hospital @ 7am.   Don’t want to do any more of those.

The test was a follow-up of a previous test which showed that I had breathing problems when sleeping on my back.  On my side, hardly any problems showed up.   So last night’s test was to determine if sleeping entirely on my side still shows minimum breathing problems.  If it does, I  won’t have to purchase and use the CPAP machine, which everyone I have talked to about them, finds them very uncomfortable.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Some good and bad news

Today I received a registered letter from the Mazda car company telling me that my 1993 Mazda 929 is in a recall to exchange the ignition switch.   What??   24 years old and they still  do free repairs?   I don’t think many brands would worry about a car over 10 years old.    Next week they will replace the key barrel.   Thanks Mazda.

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love the four wheel steering in my 929

                     Over the weekend I lost my wallet near a service station.   I didn’t realise how much that would affect me mentally and economically.  Lost around $150 in cash and some 10 important cards such as my bank card, State Seniors Card, Royal Automobile Club, Australian Medicare card, HBF card, drivers licence etc etc.  The worry about getting replacement cards let me know that dementia aint gonna be an easy or pleasant time.   I immediately shut down access to my bank card as the touch and pay method commonly in use now would allow the finder to have a number of purchases each day. The rigmarole of getting new cards is going to take weeks.  

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A write off?

Yesterday afternoon I had a call from my brother Graham.  He told me that his car had been badly damaged by another car and he needed a lift home.   Graham works at a shop in a reasonably large shopping centre where employees of the shops there cannot park in the centre’s parking area, so Graham parks his BMW in another nearby street.  
When he finished work, he found a rather tatty car with the engine still running and no driver to be seen.  Witnesses to the crash saw the driver flee from the scene and one of them called the police.  When I arrived on the scene, there were two motorcycle cops and a forensic officer attending along with three tow trucks.  The cops did a search on the vehicle registration and a known villain came up.  Damage to Graham’s car is probably enough for it be written off.  A rear wheel has been pushed forward in the wheel well and two doors and a door pillar damaged. 
 click images to enlarge

Wheel/axle pushed forward

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Under the Lighthouse Dancing

Rottnest Island is around 22 kilometres from the Port of Fremantle in Western Australia. It is a popular holiday destination.  In 1997 a movie was filmed on Rottnest, named Under the Lighthouse Dancing.  A house was specially constructed for the filming and later transported to a spot on the Swan River at Bicton.

It is unknown how much the transporting and construction on the riverside block cost.  The block itself must have been worth a small fortune.  I reckon the neighbours must have been taken aback at the strange house in amongst the millionaires’ dwellings.  

click to enlarge
Film prop at Rottnest Island

Now overlooking the Swan River

Bicton Baths where I learned to swim
by myself some 70 years ago.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Can You Help

A friend acquired this mystery photo and I sent it in to our daily paper here in Western Australia to seek help identifying the place and the reason for the celebratory march over the bridge.  The West, as our paper is called, has a weekly page called Can You Help, where readers can ask for all sorts of help.  Very interesting page.

Click to enlarge

When it was published, I had a number of phone calls from country people and four callers felt that it was definitely the opening of the bridge at a small town named Williams in the W.A. wheat belt and then I had a call from Julie, who is a member of the Dongara Historical Society telling me that the bridge is the Dongara Bridge over the Irwin River and she has seen the same pic in a local history book.   I did a simple search and she is indeed correct.  The march was in 1887 and was to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.  A very British time back then.
Click to enlarge

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hospital visit

Visited a friend in hospital today.  Several months ago Rob had a second hip replacement.  He has had emergency treatment seven times due to an infection and now has a temporary hip replacement which will be replaced when he is stabilised.  He was to go home today, but the surgery is still causing problems with a brownish liquid leaking from the closure.

When I visited him at Fiona Stanley Hospital I took a snack of biscuits, selected cheese and my favourite, green olives stuffed with anchovies.  It turns out Rob doesn’t eat cheese or olives or anchovies.  He ate the bikkies whilst I got the goodies.

Click pic to enlarge

Monday, September 18, 2017

Computer recycling

Had a visit from a Mercy Care volunteer, Tania, with a young lady who came to collect an iMac to help with her studies.  Alicia is a bright young lady who very quickly grasped the basics of the Mac operating system.  She does not have a modem to connect to the internet and so will connect through her mobile phone.

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I also had a visit from a fav ex-student of mine; Krissy.  She is always welcome and we both enjoy a few coffees and great conversations.  Krissy knows my kitchen almost better than I do and knows how to operate my coffee machine.
Love her visits.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Of cars and flowers

I have been doing a little work on my new toy; my Mazda 1993, 929.  One of the windscreen washer jets was blocked and so I ventured out to a Mazda dealer to try and get a replacement.  The man asked for the Mazda VIN (vehicle identification number) which I neglected to write down before leaving home.   He came back telling me that there are a range of them available starting @ $80.  I decided to clean the muck out of the jets and it is working well again.  Silly me, figured it would have cost around $8.

Flower time....Bird of Paradise.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My worm farm.

Inside my worm farm.   They like their sweets!

click to enlarge

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Australian Citizenship

Australia seems like it is having a purge of non citizens from Parliament where quite a few members of Federal Parliament have dual citizenship and have neglected to declare themselves as Australian.   
Our son Martin encountered this problem in 2011 when he was in Melbourne working for a Coles Supermarket.  The management suspended him when he could not prove his Australian citizenship. Martin Was born in Wewak, New Guinea in 1972.   The northern half of Papua New Guinea, was deemed to be a U.N. Trust Territory and at the time of leaving PNG we were required to declare Martin to be an Australian citizen.
At the time of Martin’s suspension, my late wife Joan was deceased and I could not remember if we did indeed declare him to be an Australian.   After some months of dealings with the bureaucracy in Canberra, we finally received notice that Martin was indeed Australian.  Too bad Coles couldn’t keep his job safe.

Most of the politicians caught up in the dual citizen debacle were either born in Australia to parents from overseas or arrived in Australia at a very young age.  Martin was nearly declared an alien with the possibility of being deported to his home country, Papua New Guinea.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Martin and Helen Lock

Our kids; Helen and Martin, 45 years ago in Papua New Guinea

click to enlarge

Monday, August 7, 2017

Anti Vaccinators

In the news here in Western Australia, is a story about a young man who attends a private alternative school quite close to my house.   The school has a clientele of  kids who,  it has been shown, have parents who are doubtful of the efficacy of  vaccination against such diseases and many claim vaccination to be dangerous.
This lad went to Italy with the family for a holiday and upon returning to Australia has presented with a case of measles at his school.  As there is an estimated 40-50% non-vaccinated student population at the school  there is a worry that it could spread rapidly amongst the general school population.

Have they not heard about Polio?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sleep Apnoea

I attended the specialist monitoring my Sleep Study.  He outlined the various treatments which are standard for Sleep Apnoea management and their % effectivity.
The treatment which suits my case includes Posture Modification; CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), MAS...virtually an expensive mouth guard to extend the lower jaw and Nasal Resistive Patches. He ruled out surgery of the throat.  Thanks for that Doc.
The Dr also reminded me that during the overnight study I spent 3.5 hours sleeping on my back which is where I had the 27 non-breathing episodes. When I slept on either side of my body I had almost no breathing interruption.
So, we decided to give a two-month trial of the Posture Modification method and at his suggestion I purchased a plastic block which when fastened onto my back is to make it so uncomfortable that my brain tells me to sleep on my side. I stopped off at a $2.00 shop and bought a dogs toy which has hard lumps all over it.  Last night I placed that inside a tight T Shirt on my back and I did not wake once during the night.  

After two months I will have another overnight study done to assess the results.
Click to enlarge

Monday, July 17, 2017

Mazda 929 1993

I bought myself a present.....a 1993 Mazda 929. It was just $3,000 and runs quite well for its 24 years. Done just 145,000 kilometres. There are a couple of things to get it back to original condition.  One is a driver's door window motor.  I have sourced one and will buy it during the week.
I have previously owned three 929s so know my way around them.  The body and paint is in good condition and the interior is good for its age. 

I like it!
Click to enlarge

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The State Engineering Works

This last Friday I had a meeting with a lady who was documenting memories of the long-gone industrial strip at Leighton, near north Fremantle.  I was an apprentice Turner Machinist starting my 5 year apprenticeship in 1953 at the State Engineering Works. The SEW was a large state government owned establishment.  When I worked and trained there it had around 600 employees in carpentry/joinery, metal machinery, foundry, pattern making, boilermaker, draughting, meter shop departments.
During WW2 the SEW gained some large machinery from the USN to service U.S. Submarines homed in Fremantle Harbour.  Bren Gun Carriers were also built at the SEW during the war.

I was asked a number of questions about how I selected the SEW to commence my apprenticeship and the background of my family and about the many projects I had either worked on or observed.  The information gathered is to be collated and some sort of report is to be made.  The SEW was situated on prime elevated land in Rocky Bay, probably the nicest part of the Swan River and at the time of me working there, there were rumours that the Liberal State Government would close the SEW and sell the land off to developers.  Much consternation by labour unions and the Labor Party in opposition.  As it happened, it was the Labor Government who eventually sold the State Engineering Works.

I guess it was no longer an era of government in competition with other engineering companies.  
In the last couple of years of the SEW, one of the projects was the casting of the winged keel for Australia 2, the winner of the America’s Cup in 1983.  The U.S. had successfully defended the cup for the previous 132 years.
Click to enlarge
from Google Earth

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sleep assessment

I have just returned from St John’s hospital after an overnight sleep assessment.  I arrived at around 8.45pm and descended into the bowels of the hospital to try and find the Sleep Unit.  After being redirected several times, I found it and was allocated my room and told to get into pyjamas ready to have all the electrodes attached all over my body.  For info about all those wires see here.
The sleep technician, Marikah, attached all the electrodes and went to the control console to test the connections.  There were a couple of electrodes that had to be replaced and then the function test began.  Blinking of eyes; eye movements, pointing toes etc, all passed the test.  I found the tangle of wires a bit constrictive of my usual tossing and turning during sleep and the duty technician had to visit several times during the night to change or reset electrodes.

Both young lady technicians were pleasant especially Marikah who had around 50 minutes with me setting up and testing all the wiring.  We covered a few stories (admittedly, mostly mine) whilst she was with me.  At one stage she took my blood pressure and it was 166 over 85....a bit high!     I attributed it to having a very attractive technician fussing over me.

Click image to enlarge

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Memories of a wild land

Yesterday had a visit from a friend Greg, who recently returned from one of his regular business trips to Papua New Guinea.  He brought me a most welcome gift package of two PNG coffee mugs featuring the names of 20 provinces of PNG and a collection of PNG newspapers all in a ‘Steamies’ shopping bag.  Steamies is a large department store which as well as supplying townspeople in Port Moresby with their goods, ran a small shipping line supplying goods to coastal government stations around the coast of Papua when I first taught in PNG starting in 1962.

In the 10 years I taught in PNG, I taught in six of those provinces.

Click images to enlarge

Inside the cups...'it's finished'
Pidgin English

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Visiting Ralph in care

My friend Dennis and I visited another oldie in a nursing home Wednesday.  We try to make a weekly visit and also catch up with him (Ralph) when his wife collects him to get together for our weekly gathering of oldies.  
Ralph’s residential is quite nice.  It houses and cares for, around 100+ clients.    The building is largely powered by massive banks of solar panels. Ralph has his own room and the carers seem to be nice people mainly it would seem, from the Philippines and Southern Africa.  Ralph can no longer walk and has only around 10% sight.  He has been in care for approximately six months and seems to be coping reasonably well.   In the home is an elderly woman who hovers near the front door and attempts to escape when visitors are entering and leaving.  The main office is near the door and a call for a carer is made to thwart the escape.

Another friend’s father was in a similar situation and that establishment had built a replica of a bus stop and shelter within the grounds.  Most would-be escapees just sat waiting for the bus to Fremantle.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Conversing with Siri

Yesterday we had our weekly oldies gathering at Joy’s house. I enjoy them immensely. It is very comforting to see that the other 5 in our group are also losing words and names of things.
One of the ladies told us of using her iPad with her grandson where Siri suddenly said...... ‘I didn’t understand what you wanted’. She quickly entered into a somewhat mixed up conversation with Siri and her grandson loudly told Siri to “F-Off”. Grandma gave him a clip around the ears and apologised to Siri for his rudeness. She didn’t tell us what Siri’s reply was. Laughter all round at that one.
I imagine that Siri’s programmers have thought up a range of answers to that sort of question. When I have asked Siri if she loves me, there have been a few varied answers, none of which have been ....’Yes’.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Being old aint no picnic!

Yesterday my GP read me the results of the overnight Holter test.  It seems that there were frequent intermittent periods of atrial bigeminy. Another discovery was that I may have Sleep Apnoea found in the SBD (sleep disordered breathing) screening process.
I now have to visit a specialist for further advice.  Damn!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

DNA Ancestry test

Today  I received the results of my Ancestry DNA test.  It is nothing too exciting.  I figured that as both sides of my family; the Locks and the Lees emigrated to Australia from England around 1900 the results would show a Western European/Irish connection.  The lower part of Britain including Somerset is highlighted and that is where the my Locks originated.   Before that no clues.

Click to enlarge
The possible relatives shown are contactable
but mine are rated as possible/probable relatives (40% at best)

Both of my families emigrated to the Australian
east coast and then moved to Western Australia.

Of interest was a list of approximately 8,800
probable distant cousins with an email portal
to contact any one, or all of those named. I have
already mailed one person with a familiar name.
A few of the many.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Holter Monitor

This morning I had a Holter Monitor attached to areas near my heart to record heart rate and rhythm over 24 hours.  I had previously had an ECG (electrocardiograph) which showed some abnormalities.

I am having this test to get answers as to whether my heart beat/rhythm is likely to put me in Stroke country.      Results tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Gopher repair

A friend has had a small accident on her Gopher (Go For).  A plastic shroud has been broken and I am doing a rough repair job on it.  Should be back in action in a couple of days.

I am not sure what these things are called in other places, but I believe Gopher is an Australian description/name.

This is the first time I have driven a Gopher and I am looking forward to owning one in the not too distant future; not!!

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

A few more old pics

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HMS Adamant and subs
Fremantle Harbour 1945

US subs and mothership
Fremantle 1945


British migrants disembarking
at Fremantle 1947

HMS Victorious departing with Australian
war brides


Sunday, April 23, 2017


My lemon tree is producing hundreds of juicy fruit and I have been giving them away to friends.  Last year it bore so much fruit a branch broke off.   I guess I should prune it back sometime.
Click to enlarge

I also had a Tahitian Lime tree in a pot and of course, it eventually became root bound.  So, I dug a hole near the lemon tree, prepared the ground and transplanted it.  I was worried that it might not like that treatment, but with constant heavy watering it has survived well and is showing new flowers and small fruit.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Just a few photos

Just a few photos...Click to enlarge

My father with Helen
and Martin at a Haus Tambaran
1973 Sepik District, PNG.

1923 Bugatti at Molsheim  Auto Museum France

Fred C Ainsworth USN supply ship
Fremantle Harbour 1945
Kalgoorlie goldfields.
Exchange Hotel Kalgoorlie
Western Australia