All done

Swan River, East Perth, June 1988 © PJ Croft 2021

Phew, thank goodness that’s all over. Yes, I had my skin cancer “excised” on Tuesday. Here it is – I’m showing only a reduced size photo as it’s a bit gruesome.

Skin cancer excision, 11 May 2021
Graft site

I was supposed to have a general anaesthetic, but the anaesthetist wasn’t sure of intubating me so they decided to do it under local anaesthetic. It was fine, I hardly felt a thing. Because they used Midazolam, my memory of it all is a bit hazy. I just remember a lot of pushing and wiping, and me being very chatty during it all. I probably talked excessively but they didn’t tell me to shut up.

I had assumed they’d take the graft skin from my backside, but without asking or telling me, they took it from my right front of shoulder. Pity, the scar will be pretty visible there I assume, but at my age, do I care? Not much.

There was no bleeding and they left the head wound uncovered, but it started bleeding the next night and got a bit messy. It looks a bit ugly now, but the bleeding’s stopped.

The other thing was that they walked me to the theatre and got me to swing up onto the table. First time that’s happened. They slid me back onto a bed at the end, though, and then I nattered away to a nurse in the recovery room for at least half an hour. I seem to be talking a lot more as I get older – becoming garrulous, like a few people I could name. Must watch that.

Surprisingly, there was virtually no pain. They’ve given me a prescription for strong pain relief but I haven’t needed anything yet, not even paracetamol.

He’ll remove the stitches in about a month, I believe. It’s a pity my GPs didn’t push harder for me to get this seen to a year ago, when it was much smaller. And that I didn’t speak up enough. And that it took three months from the time I first phoned the surgeon for an appointment to have the surgery. It grew during that time and started to hurt much more. They haven’t said anything about malignancy, but that’s what I’m worried about.

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Then I had another appointment at RPH in the city yesterday. It meant I had to get up at 6am to catch the train at 7.55am, then the CAT bus to Goderich St.

I planned my trip on the Transperth web site and saw at first that the Red Cat went straight past my destination. Then I saw a notice that it had been temporarily discontinued and to take the Yellow Cat. OK, I did that.

But that bus took me on a scenic tour of East Perth, down Wellington St, not along Goderich St. Gaaah! I had to ask the driver and he said OK, get off here, corner of Wellington and Lord St, and walk up to Goderich St.

Pheee-ew! It’s uphill and I was buggered when I reached the hospital. I was 15 mins late, but the doctor was also late, so it didn’t matter.

Then when I left, what to do? Then I realised that the Red Cat bus does go past the door, so I caught it back to Perth station. So why did the web site tell me it wasn’t running? Grrrr.

The other point about my trip was that I’d completely forgotten about wearing a mask on public transport, so didn’t have mine with me. I covered my mouth with a thick restaurant napkin I had in my bag, but there was a ticket inspection and he noticed me. He said it’s OK, then 5 mins later came back and gave me a proper mask, free of charge. That was good of him.

I have to say, there was 100% mask compliance on the train and buses (apart from me, initially). I only saw one other woman with no mask, but it was only briefly before she got off. It shows how different we are to the USA and UK. We obey the rules, and that’s why we’re almost free of the virus compared to those disastrous, rule defying countries. Fools.

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Well, that’s the way to lose weight. After all that vigorous exercise yesterday, I dropped 1.5kg.

Over the edge we go

USS Missouri, off Fremantle February 1988 © PJ Croft 2021

What a beautiful day. About 25C and almost no wind. Lemon yellow sky in the east at sunset. The photo above is because a guy I used to work with posted a shot on FaceBook of that ship he took when it visited Albany in, he said, 1990. I think my date is accurate.

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The title refers to getting ready to go up and over the rim of the bunker for my operation tomorrow, to have the squamous cell carcinoma removed from my right temple. I’ll be glad to have it gone because it’s getting quite painful – intermittent sharp jabs. No doubt it will be even more painful by this time tomorrow, and so will my backside be after they take a big circle of full thickness skin for the graft.

It’s taken three months! Three months from when I first phoned for an appointment with the specialist in February, to now. I’m upset that it’s taken that long. This is a cancer! It’s grown in the past three months, and is hurting now, whereas it wasn’t in February. Just take your time, guys, don’t worry about me.

I’ve just had the third phone call from the anaesthetist about medication and whether I can stop taking the blood thinner. It’s taken a phone call to the cardiologist (having to leave a message), him phoning the anaesthetist, back and forth. The answer is, yes, it’s OK to stop today and in the morning tomorrow, but keep taking low-dose aspirin. I’m surprised about that, because I find that makes me bleed much more.

The hospital also phoned me and I told them I’d rather stay overnight as I don’t have anyone to sleep with. I’d like to say the lady volunteered to sleep with me, but that would be a lie. However she was delighted to welcome me, so I’m looking forward to beef curry and ice cream (separately) tomorrow night, and muesli, toast and orange juice for brekky on Wednesday.

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February 1988 © PJ Croft 2021

I’m nearly finished reading the fifth of six Kindle books about a hypothetical World War III. Each book is around 550 pages, so this is a lotta reading. I guess it’s a bit juvenile of me, but I am fascinated. The author is a former US Army soldier, so he writes from a detailed knowledge.

The point is, his fictional writing is very close to what’s happening right now. Russia has massed troops on the Ukraine border and uses the excuse that they have to support the Ukrainian rebels who want East Ukraine to separate from the main part, ruled from Kiev. True. Russia mounts an attack and invasion, thinking NATO won’t react too much.

But the US and NATO intervene to help the Kiev government and pretty soon it turns into a real shootin’ war.

China sees the US tied up and decides it’s time they invaded Taiwan. But first, North Korea decides they will start a war with the south, and uses nuclear warheads over two military bases. That starts a big fight and then North Korea launches ICBMs against the continental USA, obliterating Oakland and San Francisco.

From then on, it’s on for young and old. India joins the war on the side of Russia and China, as does Indonesia, but neither of these countries has modern equipment and loses battles.

It’s literally a long story and I am heavily engaged in reading it. It’s looking like nuclear weapons might be used at the moment. One book to go.

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Like these? They are tea cups. They’re advertised on https://tenmokus.com/collections/ and I’m tempted to buy one or two. Unfortunately, they’re quite expensive, AUD$35 to $50 each, plus postage. There’s a large collection, these are just the ones I like. I’d only need two. Hmmm.

Double brrrrr

I’m chilled. It only takes one degree to be noticeable and I’m going to need my cardie tonight. Byoot day, though. Can’t complain. Yet I am complaining.

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Did you get my joke yesterday, about car keys only coming in one colour, khaki? Ho ho ho. Well, today I saw this on AliExpress:

Those clever Chinese, a khaki car key. At $5.52, I’ve ordered one, so I can joke about it.

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A couple more car things:

  • Phwoooaaar. My car has a very plain aluminium gear shift knob and I’d been daydreaming about a nicer one. I found this on AliExpress. It’s only listed for Toyota and Lexus cars, but it’s only an 8,8mm screw thread and at $11 including postage, I thought I’d take the chance that it will fit mine.
  • The exterior mirrors fold in automatically when you turn the ignition off. Or you can tell them to fold in by pulling on the mirror adjustment switch in the arm rest. Why? So you can thread your way past them in a tight car park?
  • When you put the car into reverse, the external mirrors fold down a little, so that you can see the ground and rear wheels a bit better. Up again when you go to neutral or park.
  • I’ve been thinking of putting it through the car wash, and when you do that, you have to think about the radio antenna, Well, there is no external antenna to worry about on this car. It must be embedded in the rear windscreen, I suppose. That’s handy. Wherever it is, the radio reception is great, especially on FM. I drove up around Yanchep yesterday and the FM never faded once.
  • Although this is a coupe, the rear seats both fold forward to allow free access through the boot. Or half fold, for your skis, ho ho.
  • The battery is in the left side of the boot, behind a fold down panel, which means it stays nice and clean. Long run for the cables – I wonder what the voltage is at the starter motor when it’s cranking? It starts instantly though, so I’m not worried.
  • Browsing AliExpress, I noticed spark plugs for sale for Peugeot 407 and started to check them out. Then it hit me – this is a diesel, it don’t use spark plugs. Dumbo.
  • Re my mention of the strange wheel “nuts”, i.e. wheel screws, and my question about how you hold the wheel in place while you screw the er, screws in, a friend pointed me to these:
  • You take one of these (pink one for pink wheels…) and screw it into a hub hole, then guide the wheel over the pin to hang it in place and align the holes for your wheel screws. Logical, but why do it this way in the first place? Apparently VW and Skoda European cars are the same. Very odd.
  • Thinking of changing the colour of the car, as I have been, and thinking of getting it spray painted, someone said why not get it “wrapped”? Yeah, maybe. I know a bit about this, but I’ve been worried about longevity of the wrap material, but I should find out more. One benefit is I believe it’s cheaper than paint, and another would be that I could get any colour I wanted. I’ve said I want black, but I do like the very deep sea-green/blue that I’ve seen on Holdens and GM cars. I should check it out.
  • That black car with the tan leather upholstery and sunroof that came up for sale in Sydney a couple of weeks ago is still on the market. I thought it would sell quickly, but it hasn’t. His price is right up there, $8,990. I would pay that.

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Enough about the car. As you can tell, I’m very pleased that I found it and got it, especially as it only cost half what i expected to pay. I’ve never seen another one in Perth. I like standing out from the crowd.

More on the Chinese threats against Taiwan. I truly believe that there is a real danger of a shooting war in the next few years, almost an inevitability.

The Chinese are building up their naval forces to an alarming level and inch by inch, they are taking the steps they need to assert their control. Their unlawful takeover of what they call their “nine dash line”, i.e. complete control of almost the entire South China Sea, has allowed them to build effective “aircraft carriers” on their sand islands near the Philippines. They have been building aircraft carriers and submarines as fast as they can.

They have clearly shown that they have no regard for international law. They will lie about anything and accuse us of lying.

China cannot be trusted in any way. They will lie, cheat, steal any way they can. They are constantly trying to infiltrate our society. That Belt and Road Initiative is just a way of weaseling their way into other countries, then tying their economies up in massive debt and legalese. How the Darwin Port Authority could have fallen for their trick of leasing the Darwin port for 99 years is beyond comprehension. I am all in favour of cancelling this and the Victorian government’s BRI agreement.

It may not happen before I fall off the perch, but I truly believe that we are going to be involved in a shooting, red hot war with China very soon.

Brrrr

In this car, I like black.

Yes, I’m a little chilled. Only two days ago I was hot and sweating on a 29C day. It rained steadily last night and today it only made 20C, and I noticed it. And it’s May Day, 1 May, two months into autumn so it’s about time it cooled down. I believe it’s official, the seasons have shifted a bit. Summer starts a bit later and lasts longer, and our “winter” is a bit delayed compared to 40-50 years ago. I remember what it used to be like.

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I’m writing this at 1am, unable to get to sleep. I tried for an hour but I couldn’t stop my legs and feet squirming and shifting. I haven’t used Phenergan for the whole week and feel a bit better in the morning as a result. I’ve just had a cup of Roogenic Tea to test its sedative claims. I’ll let you know.

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More car trivia:

  • When I mentioned that I found a fusebox in the glovebox, I forgot to mention that I also found the security wheel nut adapter. This car, being French (sniff) has different wheel nuts.

    All cars I’ve ever owned have had wheel studs (threaded bolts embedded in the wheel hub), and when you mount the wheel on the hub, you apply and tighten nuts onto these studs.

    Not this car. This car has threaded holes in the hub and you fasten the wheel onto the hub using bolts, like this.
Peugeot wheel bolts.

I haven’t actually tested this yet, and I hope I won’t have to. How do you hold the wheel in place and centred before inserting the bolts, for example?

The other thing is that each bolt has a plastic cap press fitted over it, hex shaped and chromed. They look like nut heads, but you can’t get a socket over them – not enough room. You have to use a small plastic tool to pull these caps off first. I haven’t found that tool yet.

Clearly one bolt on each wheel has a different shaped head, which requires this adapter to undo it. I’d better test that soon.

  • I forgot to mention that this car has auto headlights (as soon as it gets dark enough they come on low beam, which means in underground carparks), and self-steering headlights so you can see around corners, and auto rain sensing wipers. It all seems a bit much, I think, but … merde chaude.
  • Another thing is that when you open the doors, the frameless windows lower themselves by about 10mm, and when you close the door, the window raises itself again so as to fit under the rubber water seal around the top edge. Clever.
  • The boot – there’s no key hole to open the boot. As long as the doors are unlocked, you press the centre of the “0” in the 407 badge and click, the boot unlatches. Subtle.
  • The tyres have pressure sensors in them, to warn of low pressure or a puncture. When you turn the ignition on, it goes through a self test (how computer geekish) and one of the readouts is “Pression”, French for pressure, in case you hadn’t guessed. Strange how everything else is in English, but they left that one French word.

I’ve found a place which can supply Peugeot car keys, cut and programmed to the car. $95 each. The only thing is, they only come in one colour, a light brown. It’s called khaki. 🙂

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I had the house valued last week to satisfy the bank and oh dear, it’s a bit lower than the valuation two years ago. In theory, I’ve dropped $110,000 on what I paid in 2013. Too bad, I would have paid even more at the time and I definitely have not regretted my purchase. This is absolutely the best house I have ever lived in. I love it.

But I hope the upturn in the property market lately will show through on this place soon. It doesn’t really matter, as the only time this place will go onto the market is after they take me out of here in a wooden box.

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I’ve realised that I can read Kindle books on my Samsung tablet quite cheaply, around $7 – $10 per book, and I’m a bit addicted at the moment to a series of six books by the same authors about a fictional World War 3. Yes, it’s a bit juvenile, but I used to love reading “war comics” when I was a kid and this is a bit like that, without the pictures and cartoons.

I’m halfway through the third book at the moment. The writing is a bit pedestrian (“The Commander smiled as he visualised the torpedo heading for the Chinese ship.”) As if.

But the authors (there are two) develop their theme that Russia attacks Ukraine, NATO and the US respond and it develops into a very hot war in Europe. Then China sees their chance to make an alliance with Russia, which has actually been in the planning for several years. North Korea uses nuclear weapons, ICBMs, and one gets through, vapourising San Francisco.

Then China invades North Korea from the north and badly damages the US fleet. They also take the chance to invade Taiwan, which quickly falls as the US is too busy to come to their aid. Likewise, massive Chinese forces invade and capture Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (with almost no opposition from all those except Viet Nam).

Meanwhile, the Chinese call a meeting of all the SE Asian countries, including India and Indonesia, and applies pressure on them to form a SE Asian Alliance with China. That means Australia and Indonesia become enemies. I’m just starting to read that at the moment. Two old Indonesian fighters are shot down by the RAAF F35s over Bali airport. Wow.

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All this makes me think – if it does come to a shooting war with China in the future, a big war, one thing they will need is massive quantities of steel to make new and replacement armaments, tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, ships, and ammunition. Steel is made from iron ore. Who supplies the iron ore? Western Australia does.

If I were a Chinese war planner, I would be planning on how to secure the WA iron ore supplies. China has the forces to overwhelm anything we could do to defend our ports and mines.

Our only hope would be that the shipping lanes between WA and Shanghai are very long and pass through narrow straits. China could probably fly troops and equipment here to take the mines and ports, but getting the giant loaded ore ships back to China would be very difficult.

Makes me think. But I’m too sleepy now to expand on this.

Smoke gets in your eyes

KONICA MINOLTA A2 DIGITAL CAMERA Perth, 19 January 2005 © PJ Croft 2021.

We’re nearly two full months into autumn and it still feels like summer. It’s been warm today, 29C, humid and smoky all day so far. It’s very nice! The nights are just right, warm enough to start on top of the covers, then just cool enough pull them up around 3am.

I’ve decided to wean myself off the Phenergan anti-histamine. It’s only the smallest pill size, 10mg, but I don’t want to be dependent on it. The first night, Monday, was OK but I couldn’t get to sleep last night. I must have slept though, because I remember quite vivid dreams.

I’ve bought a web-advertised herbal tea called Roogenic, supposedly an Aussie Aboriginal mix. It’s supposed to be guaranteed to knock you out but they say it can take up to two weeks for it to work properly. Yeah, I’ll bet. You’ve talked yourself into it by then.

I’ve tried one cup and it tastes quite nice. It’s interesting that they say on the packet you can re-use each bag three or four times. That cuts the cost down. We’ll see.

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I’ve been plagued by my mouse intermittently locking up on this desktop PC for the past couple of weeks. Sometimes unplugging and replugging the USB cord would clear it, sometimes not and a full reboot would be needed.

I was a bit baffled for a while as I was getting messages about a USB port being faulty. I was pretty fed up, too. It was happening every 30 secs or so.

To cut a long story short, it was the bloody mouse itself! Don’t look for complicated answers, try the obvious first. Anyway, it was a Microsoft mouse, so that’s probably the reason. Time I bought a new one anyway.

Nonetheless, I’ll take this faulty mouse apart. It could well be that it’s just full of gunk. Nothing to lose.

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King’s Park 19 January 2005 © PJ Croft 2021

French cars! When I was buying Le Pug, we needed the VIN and engine number and initially couldn’t find them on the car. Usually there’s an aluminium plate on the engine compartment firewall, but it’s recessed on this car and we couldn’t see a plate. Strangely, the guy I bought it from said he hadn’t received the licence paper from the previous owners. Zzzzz, my teeth chattered a bit at that, but he went on-line and found the details on the Dept of Transport website.

Anyway, we got the numbers enough to fill in the paperwork and found a number on a sticker on the driver’s door pillar.

Well, today I lifted up the boot floor to look at the spare, and there was the aluminium plate with the VIN, riveted to the floor of the spare wheel well. Cunning Froggies. Date of manufacture 08/2006.

While I was there, I found the electronics box which connects the rear ultrasonic parking sensors, which are not working on my car. It’s in the spare wheel well. I’ve been reading up (on the web forums and YouTube) about faults with these sensors and it should be an easy enough fix. Apparently water gets into the sensors mounted in the rear bumper and failure of just one will kill all four. A complete set of four from AliExpress is only about A$25. I’ll just look for bad contacts before I splurge on a new set.

I’ve also found a YouTube video clip by a Belarussian guy (spoken in Russian but with subtitles), who runs a wreckers shop selling a huge range of broken down engine parts, and one whole half-hour segment is on my 2.7L V6 Twin Turbo diesel engine.

Unfortunately, he reckons it’s a piece of junk, unreliable, prone to catastrophic breakdown. That was encouraging!

I can’t remember exactly what he says (I’ve saved the clip) but apparently some bearings can shatter and obviously bits fly around between cylinders, valves and pistons.

Note that this engine is shared between Peugeot, Citroen, Jaguar and Land Rover, so I think we’re in illustrious company there. If there really was a major problem, surely they would sort it out.

Anyway, this guy recommends using a lower viscosity oil, 20W5 instead of 30W15, but of course he’s living in Belarus, a far colder place than here. Maybe I can find a French Car forum in Australia to ask the question.

Another thing I’ve found is the fuse box in the glove compartment (nicely disguised) and the OBD connector in the centre console arm rest, with a plastic cover disguising it.

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Boy, it’s a lively engine. It’s a bit flat when you first take off, but as soon as the revs hit 2000rpm, ZOOM! It feels as if it would rev forever, although being a diesel, the red line starts at 5000rpm and stops at 6000rpm. It’s not a high revver, but it spins up freely.

I was always worried about the indicator stalk being on the left, even daydreaming about devising a ring to go over the steering column to make it work on the right, but in truth I adapted from the word go. I’ve accidentally activated the wipers (right stalk) a few times, but generally I have no trouble using my left hand.

It’s odd, isn’t it? I’m right handed and can’t usually do things very easily with my left hand. Yet we right hand drivers have no trouble at all using our left hand to change gears, and I would actually have trouble using my right hand if I were in a LHD drive car. Obviously, it all depends how you learn when you’re young.

I’m always astounded when I see a violinist using his or her left hand at lightning speed to manipulate the strings for chords, at the same time using the right hand on the bow. What a skill!

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What did we do before YouTube and the web? It is just fantastic.

One problem with my car, and Peugeots in general, I think, is that the LCD in the centre of the dash, between the instruments loses its bits. That is, the dots don’t light up like they did as new, making the numbers hard to read.

I saw that replacement LCDs are available on AliExpress for about A$40 but I thought, kerrumbs, how on Earth do you change it? Do you have to get down under the dash and work by feel?

Well, no worries. It turns out there are three small holes at the top edge of the instrument binnacle, which if you poke a screw driver in there, pops some plastic retainers up and allows you to pull the whole instrument cluster forward and out. Behind, there’s one plug and socket and once disconnected, you’re home free.

The clear fascia likewise pops off with plastic clips, and the PCB is then exposed. A few more plastic clips and the LCD comes out. Pop the new one in, insert its flex connector and put it all back in the reverse order. Easy. I’ve ordered a new LCD and can’t wait to try this.

Another thing you can do is change to colour of the LEDs in the dash, which are all orange. There are rather a lot – 12 – and they’re surface mount so not easy to unsolder and resolder. I don’t want to do them all, nut having white LEDs behind the LCD would be nice. I’ll think about it.

The other thing I’d really like to change is the graduations on the speedometer and tacho. The tacho’s OK, but the speedo major markings go 0, 30, 50, 70, 90, 110 and so on (to 250km/h, actually, and it will do that too).

I don’t like that – I want 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 etc. I’d also prefer a plain black background (it’s a subdued pattern at the moment) with simple white bar markings, like the Verada has.

Therefore, I’m trying to think of a way to print a new card to replace the existing one. It’s easy enough to use the existing one as a template, but finding a suitable material to print on is the test. Cars get pretty hot, so it needs to be heat resistant. I’m thinking about it.

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The other thing is to buy a new AliExpress car radio/CD/DVD/satnav display device to replace the very basic Peugeot one. 7″ Android 10 Car GPS Stereo For Peugeot 407 Auto Radio In Dash 1 Din Navigation DVD WiFi Audio Video Headunit Rearview Camera|stereo gps|radio rdsin dash android – AliExpress

It’s not cheap, about A$550, but I’ll save my pennies and make a wish. The swap-over and installation looks to be particularly easy compared to all the hassles of making up adapters for the Mitsubishi and the Honda.

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Speaking of the Honda, phew! I nearly lost another battery. It had a new battery about two months ago after I accidentally flattened the first one, which was only a year old. I haven’t been using the car lately but I was monitoring the battery voltage and it looked OK.

But on Monday I checked it again and ooops, it was down to 5,2V. Wow, how did that happen? I got the charger hooked up quick smart and after about 36 hours of charging, it looks good again. Phew, I would have smitten myself mightily if I’d killed this battery too.

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It’s breaking my heart, but I’m clearing out all the stuff my former partner left here in the past five years, tossing a lot of it in the bins and taking a lot to the charity shops. Boy, there’s a lot! Masses of clothing, folders of papers, jewellery, trinkets, sandals, soft toys, cushions, books, CDs, cassette tapes, pyjamas, underwear, kitchen goods, appliances, glassware, bowls, incense burners – holy smoke!

Honey, you only have to say a word and I’ll stop the disposal, but when you say you won’t come here again, what am I to do? Speak!

And yet another one

Sydney North 1978 © PJ Croft 2021

This time I mean – another lockdown. Yes, a guy who came in from Victoria and went through hotel quarantine in Perth, has tested positive and developed COVID after returning to Melbourne. Unfortunately, after he left quarantine in Perth, he moved around the city for five days, as he was quite entitled to do, and then flew back to Melbourne, again as he was allowed to do, before developing symptoms.

So the government have listed all the places he visited while in Perth and infectious, and we have to go into a three day lockdown from midnight tonight. That means the long weekend has been kiboshed and all Anzac Day services on Sunday have been called off.

Lucky I did my grocery shopping last Tuesday, and a bit more today, even though I/we didn’t know about this lockdown. I’ve got enough beer for the weekend (public holiday Monday) so I’m set.

Interesting to hear Dr Norman Swan on the radio just now saying that a federal government committee is giving wrong advice – that there is little chance of aerosol transmission and hence masks are of little benefit. He says that’s just plain wrong and there is clear evidence for airborne transmissions.

He also said that last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, there was good cooperation between the governments and scientists and doctors, resulting in good decisions and Australia’s excellent results, but the cooperation has broken down. Now, decisions are being made on the basis of what’s good for the economy, not what’s medically right, resulting in bad decisions about masks and hotel quarantines.

Dog help us.

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Sydney 1978 © PJ Croft 2021

I am ashamed of this federal government and our pig-ignorant prime minister Scummo. He and his coal and gas loving mates are dragging the reputation of this country through the mud in the international greenhouse gas reduction stakes. He is embarrassing us! Australia used to be a leader in “doing the right thing”, i.e. in taking the lead in international aid, health initiatives, alliances and peace keeping and so on.

But this country is now one of the slowest and most recalcitrant countries in greenhouse gas reduction action. I am embarrassed. These fools in government in Canberra do not speak for me!

I can only repeat, conservatives are of low intelligence and are simply afraid, afraid to face reality, wanting to hide from the facts, unable to cope with change. Just fucking dumb, in other words. If it didn’t affect me, then let them be, but it does affect me, it affects everyone and their children and grandchildren.

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I don’t generally buy things from AliBaba, the Chinese web site like Wish.com, but something led me to it today and I’ve realised that they sell a huge range of things for my Peugeot 407.

Such as:

It’s a replacement LCD readout for the centre of the instrument cluster. Mine is missing many dots and is very hard to read sometimes. I’m sure it’s going to be tricky to get the instrument cluster out in order to do the job, but I believe there are YouTube clips telling how to do it.

The key I got with the car (just one) has mashed buttons for door lock/unlock. For $5.07 plus postage, I can swap the outer case with its new buttons. I’ll still only have one key but it’s a cheap fix.

Just doing a search on “Peugeot 407” has brought up hundreds of results for LED lamps, cosmetic items, sensors, engine fittings, brake pads, everything. Very interesting.

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Pet Peeve of the Week: in the text above, I had to write that something “led me to” something. What has happened to the world? So many people, including journalists in major newspapers and periodicals are writing “Something lead me to” … L-e-a-d as in the elemental metal, or a dog’s lead, or a detective’s lead.

For goodness sake, it’s “led to”, not “lead to”. Lead to is the verb, as in this path will lead to the main road.

Another one!

Venice, 2008 © PJ Croft

The Economist magazine always makes up clever subheadings for their stories, and for cleverness, I reckon this one takes the (fish)cake:

Fish tongues, a Norwegian delicacy harvested by children
The piece of cod that passeth all understanding
I laughed out loud.

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It’s happened again! The sixth time! Once again, I’ve had my money refunded via Paypal for my order for Sony Clié batteries. No explanation, no accompanying email.

It’s beginning to look like these batteries are unobtainable, rendering my device to the status of paperweight. Booger.

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Also once again, my trip to Joondalup yesterday, for what I thought was going to be the actual operation to cut the Squamous Cell Carcinoma out of my temple, turned out to be another false trip.

At least the surgeon was there this time, but all he did was take another look at the lesion, tell me that a skin graft would need to be taken from somewhere to cover it, and fill out the hospital admission form. That’s right, I’m going to have it done in hospital and be anaesthetised. That’s good, because I’m pretty nervous about them cutting a deep hole in my head.

Anyway, I then had to fill out another form for the hospital, and my job will be done on Tuesday 11 May. Crumbs, waiting, waiting. And they charged me $70 for this visit.

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Dang!

This is the one I want.

Hah, a week after I bought my Peugeot 407, another one has come up for sale that’s much more like what I wanted, albeit at a much higher price.

When I was thinking about Mercedes, I was sick and tired of them all being black. What’s wrong with people, I thought? Don’t they want any colour in their lives?

But now that I’ve bought my silver 407, I want black. To me it looks much more elegant and sporty. But look at this!

I love that leather colour! That’s what I want! And, it’s got a sun-roof. I haven’t seen another one advertised with these features so I thought it was European spec only. Yet here it is, for sale in Sydney and it’s done 8,000km less than mine, 126,000. It’s the 2.9L petrol version, non-turbo.

The bad news is that the asking price is $8,990, and it’s in Sydney. Dog, I feel like trying to change over. At the price I paid last week, $4,400, I think I’d pretty soon get a buyer here for mine.

On the other hand, a respray of mine to black would be a damned sight cheaper, counting the cost of going to Sydney and driving it back. But then I lose the fun of that trip.

Also, there’s another one came up a few weeks ago that’s black with white leather upholstery, very nice too.

This one’s in Melbourne and the ad was removed last week, so I thought it had been sold, but it’s back. It’s a dealer, so they probably had a buy that fell through. This one’s $7,495 so you can see I got a real bargain last week. Assuming there’s nothing serious wrong.

There are only two main things: the air-con doesn’t get cold and the ultrasonic parking distance sensors don’t work. Obviously, neither stops it being driven and can wait to be fixed.

I drove it a fair distance yesterday (to Ascot and back) and it’s a nice drive, but there’s a bit of vibration and a slight shuddering at times, nothing serious. Also there’s a lot of air buffeting if you have the windows down, seemingly at any opening. Even opening the passenger side a bit doesn’t seem to help.

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We had our two-for-the-price-of-one Northam Senior High School 2020/21 Reunion yesterday. We had to cancel last year due to the virus but we held the annual event this year. It’s amazing how we’ve stayed in touch all down the years.

This is the class of 1960-64. I’ve heard that a couple of other groups have occasional reunions, but we hold ours every year by popular demand. We’ve heard from a couple of former teachers that we were a fairly outstanding group of students and I think we’re proving it. We’ve haven’t produced any geniuses or Nobel Prize winners, no doctors, one lawyer, a couple of good science support people and several teachers, and several nurses. And farmers.

This was our 57th year, so we’re coming up to 60 years in 2024 when we’ll all be 77 (all born in 1947). There are quite a few names in red ink in our database of 216, red for deceased, unfortunately.

The school is holding a big reunion on 15 May for the school’s centenary. It will be at the school in Northam. Strangely, many of us are in two minds whether to go. It covers all years and obviously, there will be hundreds of people that we don’t know. We feel that we get enough from our own reunions. Apparently the head mistress is being fairly prescriptive about what will happen and we don’t feel we need to be pushed around.

The other factor is the weather. As the farmers said yesterday, mid May is when the rain usually starts. I’m not sure. I wouldn’t mind going for a drive (in my new wheels) but I may not stay long. A couple of the ex-Toodyay boys (who used to get the bus to Northam) are planning to book hotel rooms in Toodyay and have a drinking night of it. I could be in that.

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I had another wasted trip on Friday. I had to go to Joondalup anyway so I thought I’d go on to a place I’d checked out in a Morley shopping centre that does replacement keys for modern cars. I checked with them on Facebook Marketplace that they could supply my Peugeot key and the price. Yes, $99.50, no problem.

So I made the quite long drive (everywhere’s a long drive from Butler!), found what I thought was the right shopping centre (it’s dense around there) and went in to find the multi-service kiosk.

Wow, it’s like an Asian marketplace, densely packed with small shops like a Malaysian or Indonesian shopping arcade. It was rather nice actually, with all the smells of spicy foods, Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, Lebanese and so on. And small shops packed with brightly coloured and LED-lit cheap electronic stuff, just like Singapore. Nothing that interested me, I’m afraid, but if I need any LED strings or lights, I know where to come.

After a long search down narrow aisles, I finally found the multi-service kiosk but they didn’t know anything about the key I wanted. “No, cannot.” Wasted trip. Maybe I had the wrong shopping centre because there is another one across the other side of the main road.

Anyway, I had a very nice lunch of my favourite, Malaysian Kueh Teow. It wasn’t nearly as good as the one I had in Mandurah some years ago (with my cousin Tom, hi Tom), which I think was the best I’ve ever had. By then I was too tired to try to cross the busy main road so headed for home. There are plenty of other suppliers.

Oh, I forgot, after my rant about my four failed attempts, or was it five, at buying Li-Ion batteries for my Sony Clie, I found another supplier whose web-site said they have stock, so I placed yet another order. So far, three days later, all is quiet, no rejected payment, so maybe this time I’ll be successful.

But the price! I ordered two and the total, with postage, came to just under A$100. I was probably silly to have ordered two, but given how scarce they are, I’m sure I’ll be able to sell one on if I decide to.

Assault & battery

It’s happened again! I wrote in the last post about the difficulty ordering replacement batteries for my Sony Clie PDA, and how my orders always go wrong. Well, I found another supplier in the USA just after writing that, and at a good price, so I placed an on-line order for two and got a very pleasant reply email confirming my order and saying they’ll be despatching them soonest.

Well, today I got an email from Paypal to say that my money’s been refunded. Nothing from the battery company, just the refund with no explanation. That’s the fifth time! What do I have to do? Keep trying, I guess. I must get a result sooner or later.

I bought this device in 2003, by the way, and I think it cost about $1200. No, not that much – can’t remember. It’s a bit like an iPad, I guess, long before iPads were invented. It has the digital camera, video recording and playback, a voice recorder, music playback, note taking, phonebook, Bluetooth and so on. Palm operating system. Very advanced for its time. But it didn’t take off, probably because it was too thick and heavy. I didn’t use mine much, although I did take some nice photos, before I ever got my first proper digital camera. I’ve still got it, obviously and I’ll probably advertise it on eBay. Plenty of people have a nostalgic desire to own one.

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I had my vaccination on Tuesday and I did notice some side effects yesterday. My arm was a bit sore and I felt more than usually tired (although I always feel tired, due to the leukemia, I think). It also felt a little bit like having a cold.

But it’s all gone away after a good night’s sleep. No problems now. I’m very glad I’ve had it.

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I was all keyed up to have the skin cancer removed from my temple yesterday, but that was another damp squib. The surgeon wasn’t there! I didn’t have to wait too long this time, and once again was asked to wait in a really cheap looking examination room. After about ten minutes, a different doctor came in and he knew nothing about my case, asking me what had happened. I explained and said I wanted to know the result of the biopsy. Oh, OK. He looked it up and yes, it is a squamous cell carcinoma. It will have to be removed and probably a skin graft put over it. Well, whoopee, I think I already knew that.

So he led me out to reception again and asked me to make an appointment for next week when the surgeon will be present. So next Tuesday it is. It was a wasted trip, but at least they didn’t charge me this time.

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My “new” car, Evie le Pug, needs new keys. The one key I got works, but the remote lock/unlock buttons are mashed. I’ve found several local suppliers, a couple of whom say they can do it, so I’m probably going to Morley tomorrow to buy two new keys at $99.95 each.

After some more driving, I find it’s enjoyable with good handling and plenty of acceleration, but I wouldn’t call it a smooth ride. There’s a fair bit of NVH, noise, vibration and harshness. There’s a little bit of front wheel wobble, so it looks like a wheel alignment is needed. I haven’t checked tyre pressures, they may need adjusting. There’s a suspension switch for “S” – Sport and it doesn’t seem to do anything, so maybe it’s on?

Many of the switches in this French car are a bit strange, so I think I need to study the handbook.

Bon jour, je presenté Evie

This is a web photo, but mine is exactly the same.

Meet M’selle Evie, my new French girlfriend. She’s a Peugeot 407 Coupé. I’ve been looking at them on-line for months but they all seemed to be in the eastern states. I assumed they hadn’t sold very well in WA – they never came up locally. Well, now she’s mine!

Suddenly last Saturday, there she was, on Carsales, in Manning on the south side of Perth. I could hardly believe it, the model I wanted with the engine I wanted, and at about half the price I expected to pay, compared to all the ones in the eastern states.

Again, a web photo.
This is my actual car. I’m calling it Evie because the number plate is 1EVI.

I picked up the phone and arranged to come and see it. The guy said he’d had lots of enquiries but no-one had turned up yet. I said “I’ll be there in an hour.”

When I got there, it was still untaken and I said, provided there’s nothing major wrong, I want it. So we talked about it, I went and got some cash for a deposit and arranged to come again on Monday, that’s yesterday, with the balance. Price? $4,400. It’s not exactly a big outlay for what is a very fancy car, in excellent condition, only 133,600km.

So what is it? It’s a 2006 Peugeot 407 Coupé, with a 2.7L V6 twin turbo diesel engine. These were $72,500 new in 2006 so it’s depreciated as far as it’s going to go, I think. Due to their relative rarity, they may start to increase in price.

It’s all leather upholstery inside, with every driving feature you can think of: six speed automatic with Tiptronic manual, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, electronically controlled dampers for Sport or Comfort mode. Emergency Brake Assist, power seats, laminated double glazed windows for sound insulation, JBL sound system, automatic headlights when it gets dark, automatic rain sensing wipers, air con of course and heated seats … you name it, it’s got it. No tow bar though.

The thing is, being a diesel, torque is 440Nm at a low 1,900 rpm and power is 155kw (208HP) at only 3,500rpm. That means it’s powerful at lowish revs, right where you want it. And it pulls hard when you’re trying to idle along in dense traffic.

It has two gauges for temperature – unusual. One is for water, of course, is the other one oil temperature?

It has a couple of problems – apparently the aircon doesn’t get cold and the parking proximity sensors are not working (there’s a switch to switch them off low down on the dash – I wonder if the guy had switched them off and didn’t realise it – he seemed a bit clueless about the car).

I was a bit concerned that it seemed sluggish to move off from stopped, at first, but I realised after a while that it was switched to Snow mode, shown by a snowflake symbol in the dash display. That meant it started only in second gear, to avoid slipping. No wonder it felt funny. Switching that off made a big difference.

Being a French car, the damned turn indicator lever is on the left and the wiper wand is on the right. However, I drove home the long way last night, via Fremantle, taking about an hour, and I was soon used to it.

I am pleased as Punch! It fits what I wanted – a very stylish car, a 2 door coupé (I don’t want four doors! Four doors are for family men with kids! I’m a bachelor!), a rare car – I don’t think I’ve ever seen another one in Perth. It says “rare”, “unique”, “style”, “taste”, “discernment”. And at a very cheap price too. The guy said he wanted a quick sale. He got it.

Now I have to sell Vera, the Mitsubishi Verada. I’ll say I want a quick sale too, I’m ready to haggle. $2,900 and I’ll come down from there.

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My car is silver, to my mind a very boring colour.

I want one like this, black. I wonder what it would cost for a re-spray.

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What is it about battery suppliers? I’m looking for replacement LiIon batteries for my old Sony Clié PDA (Personal Digital Assistant).

sony clie」的圖片搜尋結果 | New technology gadgets, Electronics gadgets, Retro  gadgets
Sony PEG-NZ90 Clie. It has a 2Mega Pixel digital camera.

I found a supplier in the USA, New York, I think. I ordered two batteries and paid on Visa. A month later, no explanation, no email, just a refund into my account. I assumed no stock.

Last year I found a stockist in New Zealand so fired off an order, paying by Visa. Nothing happened for about two months, so I said, “What’s happening?” The guy said, “Uh oh, I’ll check the order.” Again, no answer for a month or more, over Xmas and New Year. I enquired again. He was on holidays. I enquired again a few weeks later.

“Oh, sorry”, he said. “We don’t send overseas. I’ll refund your money.” Don’t post overseas? From New Zealand?! Anyway, I got my money back.

Next was a supplier in the UK. There was some foul-up when I tried to order, but the answer came back, “No stock, sorry.” There was nothing on their web site to say no stock.

Next was a Canadian web site. It all looked good so I ordered two batteries, for a total of A$54 and got an order confirmation email. Again, I waited two months with no delivery, so I shot an email off last week asking why.

No reply, no explanation, but I’ve noticed a refund into my Visa account from them, so at least that’s something.

Four attempts, four fails. What is it with these companies? I’ll try again.

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I’m having my Astra Zeneca COVID vaccination at 2.15pm today, and I’m looking forward to it.

But I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. I go back to the doctor to get the result of the biopsy on my squamous cell carcinoma, and I assume the operation to cut it out. From what I’ve been told, he will cut 1cm out (wider) all around from the roughly circular lump, which is going to mean a hole roughly 3.5cm in diameter in my right temple, and probably quite deep. Ugh. It would seem to me that he’ll need to do a skin graft to cover it.

I guess I’m nervous about the unknown. I’ll know tomorrow.