Another busy day

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First, here’s the butcher bird from yesterday,

wondering how he’s going to swallow that

lump of meat. The crows got it eventually.

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Well, I made an offer on the Butler house today. I’m very, very comfortable about it. Excited, in fact. If I get it, it will be the absolute best house I have ever lived in, in 66 years. It’s only 3 years old, so there’s nothing I need to do. I can easily envisage enjoying that house. I’m tired, absolutely fed up, in fact, with living in poor quality houses (or flats) that “need work”. Enough! I can’t do it any more and I don’t want to. This is a new house that is fully modern and I’d be proud to have visitors.

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I took another load to the storage unit today, and I’m now at the stage of picking up the bits and pieces, all the silly detritus that hardly needs boxing.

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That’s 6 car loads worth. Doesn’t look much, does it? It occupies about 1/4 of the unit, I’d guess. I’ve tried to put the lighter stuff on top, but I hate to think what’s at the bottom of the pile.

Luckily my load wasn’t too heavy today, because I forgot to take the trolley with me. That meant each box had to be lugged in. Phew! This is all good for me, of course, good for the heart. Cardio exercise.

Phew! Tired, but getting there.

Phew! Energy fadeout at times today. The amazing recuperative powers of sleep.

I’m watching a fascinating thing at the moment. I put Minnie’s piece of meat (lamb neck slice) out at 5pm as usual, but she’s off her food and doesn’t want it. But the birds do! It was the butcher birds first, appropriately, three of them, mum, dad and baby I suspect. They tore at it and managed to get quite a meal out of it, but it’s too big for them.

But now the big black crows have found it and I think they’ve carried it away. Too late Minnie. This is the first time this has happened. Now the almond tree is filled with 28s squawking away loudly, being drowned out by the butcher birds with their incredibly loud full song. It’s nice.

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I found today that I wasted $69.95 a few weeks ago when I bought the pair of compression stockings. Grrrr!

I was put onto the local distributor, a former nurse, who operates out of a house in Warwick. She’s the wholesaler. When I showed her what I’d bought at Ocean Reef pharmacy, the only pair I was offered, she was horrified. They were far too small – no wonder I had trouble. No-one at the pharmacy took any interest in my leg measurements – they only had one pair and that’s all I was offered. The distributor is going to give them a rocket, I think, and so she should. I’ve still got scars from the cuts into my skin they inflicted.

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The move to storage continues. Geoffrey gave me a hand on Saturday and Monday and we got two loads done, so that’s five car loads of boxes so far. I’m making a dent in it, but there’s a fair bit still to pack and move. Tough going for me. I need to sleep to recuperate after each load. The deadline is 21 February. It seems far off, but it’ll creep up on me.

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I need to vacate even from my temporary accommodation in mid March for 10 days. I don’t mind too much, but Minnie is the problem.

Amazingly, a possible solution has shown itself at just the right time. There’s a ship cruise leaving from Fremantle on 9 March, going to Bangkok, Ho Ch Minh City and KL, then Singapore. I aim to be on it. An email enquiry – “we’ll get back to you within one business day!” – has gone unanswered, so tomorrow I’ll have to phone.

The unknown factor is my leg. It looked really good this morning – no breaks in the skin at all. But I need to know if it can be fixed before 9 March, or if it’s safe to travel. An email to the surgeon’s office has also gone unanswered.

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I saw through a prospective house on Saturday and I love it! I can easily visualise myself in that house. It’s ideal. We just need to persuade the present owners to sell at a reasonable price.

But as Plan B, I’m also looking at another retirement village. The prices are much lower than St Ives Kallaroo, so it would leave more funds to live on. But it still cuts me out of a reverse mortgage. which is bad news. When my funds run out, all I have left is the Age pension. You can live on it, but it’s not much fun. And there are still “terms and conditions”. I don’t like it very much.

Anything else in my price range is definitely second class to my first choice. I would be accepting “down-market”. I wouldn’t be happy.

Long time …

Geoff (Fred) W. came around and gave me a hand to pack boxes yesterday (Saturday). I remarked that this year, 2013, is the 50th year we’ve been friends. He came to the Hut in 1963. We made our trip to Britain in 1974, and the rest is history. Time flies.

We made another trip to the storage unit, the fourth so far. I’ve covered the left back corner and part of the left wall to head height, but there’s plenty of space left. I think I’ll fit all my stuff into 27 cu.m.

I was thinking of dumping my fridge and washing machine (both c20 years old), but no, I’ll decide later.

Likewise my car. Barry and I have been talking about how to update (what better subject for a former car salesman?) But the more I thought about it, the more I realised, “why?” It does all I want with smoothness, quietness and power. Bit thirsty on fuel, for sure, and the paint is very dull, but otherwise at 120,000Km, it’s trouble free and cost free. I think I’ll sit for a while.

I need to be away in part of March (I’ll explain later) and amazingly, I noticed a 14 night ship cruise from Fremantle to Singapore and Asian ports departing 9 March. Perfect! I’ll try to stay on in Singapore before the return flight, to make it three weeks. Boy, that would be good. I’ve been thinking recently, I have not been able to relax, free of worry, for more than two years. A cruise is just the ticket. Boom boom. I’ve got to find out if it’s available, first. Otherwise, Bali. But in a hotel. look forward to that!

However, all that depends on my leg. It’s still heavily pressure bandaged. I need to get the vascular surgeon to either operate, or give me the all clear.

One of the stop-off ports is Port Hedland. Well, I’ve never been there so I should reserve judgement, but Port Hedland???

I feel better now!

I had my appointment with the cardiologist today and I’ve got the all-clear. No congestive heart failure. No thyroid problem. Liver function is fine.

There’s nothing wrong with me except my weight, and stress! Well, this alone is a big relief. My heart is fine. That’s been my feeling – sure, I get short of breath and tired, but I’m carrying two bags of cement with me at all times.

Now I go back to vascular guy and say, “Fix my leg vein please.”

Where there’s smoke …

Postscript, Friday 1245pm: I did actually “evacuate the area” yesterday. I’m sure I would have been OK, but the radio was saying to either get ready to defend, or leave. I chose the coward’s path. That’s the first time in the whole 26 years that I’ve felt the need, although there have been fires before.

I just grabbed my wallet and bag, laptop, a couple of bottles of water, a wet towel, a radio and got Minnie into the car, with a big bowl of water for her. She was quite excited – it’s the first time she’s had a car ride in quite some time. She went up the ramp first time. We just drove to Marmion beach car park – it’s a dog beach there, but there’s no way Minnie can manage the steps. Even so, she sniffed the air and grass for a long time and looked all around, then plonked herself down. It was very windy. The choppers were snorkelling from the ocean to the south.

I got her back into the car and went home to check, (and found I’d left the back door open!) then went to visit friends in Innaloo. I used to take Minnie there because they have a very nice Staffie, and Minnie fitted right in. She ate Winston’s food, drank his water, pee’d on his patch and felt right at home. Winston was very respectful of Minnie’s age, much more than he used to be. It was good.

When I got her home at about 9.15pm, she sat down a bit hard when I lifted her out of the car, and she didn’t want to move. She just stayed there behind the car for about 10 minutes before she was ready to move. She was pretty tired by all the activity.

My house ponged of smoke! And my car for that matter. But it’s all over now. I haven’t looked, but I think they stopped the fire before it burnt the whole bush area. I’ll go and look later. What a beautiful day it is today.

UPDATE: the radio is saying the fire is in the Trigg bush, and being pushed north by strong wind. I may need to drive away from my house.

Hey, live blogging! I’m breathing smoke at the moment, and it’s not my neighbour. Something to the west of me is well alight. Smoke is billowing over my house. I suspect the Trigg Bushland Reserve, the bush between me and the coast, is on fire.

First thought? Get the camera! Possibility of some great shots.

Second thought? If I get worried, put Minnie in the car with my camera gear, grab my wallet, I.C.E. bag, and abandon the house. Let it burn! The house itself is insured. There’s still stuff here I’d be sorry to lose, but most of the valuable stuff is in storage.

Third thought? This blog.

Fourth thought? I was here last time it burnt in 1991, I think.

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This was the aftermath of that one. It looks bad, but the regrowth in a few months is tremendous. The bush really comes back as soon as some rain falls.

Especially, the grass trees send spears up like crazy, and they bend in all sorts of weird angles. I was too sluggish to catch it last time, but I won’t miss it if it happens again.

Update: It seems the fire is south of Karrinyup Rd, near Elliott Rd and St Mary’s School. No danger to me at the moment.

Hot to trot

Bairds 1968There was a question in the West recently about Bairds.
It took me a while to find my photo, but this was Bairds
in late 1968. This is the corner of Murray and William Sts.
It's all changed now. This was a very dull building,
but I hate the present replacement.

Funny how it works out. A week or more ago, I was worried about having to move out of this house before I had somewhere to go. Barry asked the buyers if it was possible to grant me a week’s extension. They seemed agreeable.

Then the pressure came off me – I’ve arranged to stay with friends in Scarborough until I work out where to go. And I rented a storage unit to put my stuff. My problem seems solved, temporarily at least. Big reduction in stress levels.

Then yesterday, a request came through from the settlement agent – could the buyers have a week’s delay before they move in? Ha! No problem. So I emailed back and said, no pressure from my end – delay as long as you like. Make it a month if you want to.

So I still don’t know what’s going to happen, but being able to say at my friends’ place in Scarborough makes it all easy. They live on the top floor, and I’ll use a bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor – easy. Minnie’s my major concern, of course, but they know her and she’ll use their small paved backyard. I’ll set up a sandpit for her, with “a bit of her smell” from this place to make her feel at home.

As it happens, each of them is going away on a trip for a week to 10 days, at different times, so I’ll be the “guard dog” for their villa for a while.  Phew! What a relief.

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These storage units are interesting. What a way to make money! All you need is land, and to build metal sheds with roller doors. We, the clients, supply the padlocks. There are PIN coded metal gates for entry and exit and two staff in the office, and that’s it. Sit back and watch the money roll in.

Mine is a 3 x 3 x 3m unit, 27 cu.m., and I think it’ll take all my stuff. I’ve made two trips using my car so far and taken about 3 cu.m. I reckon. Hard work for me! I’m seeing the cardiologist tomorrow and I think I may have a problem – no chest pain at all, but I have an endurance of about 10 minutes before I have to rest. Thyroid? Could be. We’ll see.

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It’s certainly making me think again about what’s important in my possessions. Not much! Bin, bin, bin.

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So disappointing to see the Barnett government slashing science funding again. Their attitude is clear, yes, we must call ourselves the clever country, but the government is not interested. In my opinion it’s because the government is composed of lawyers and accountants who look down their noses at anything and anyone related to science, engineering or technology. I saw far too much of that in my working lifetime. Stupid references to “Oh, I leave that to you boffins.” OK Kev, that’s why I pushed you as hard as I possibly could in union matters, and why I held you in little regard. Ignoramus.

Stellar!

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Well, I’ll be danged. An item appeared in the West on Wednesday about this:

Retired oil executive Dr Jim Buckee, who gained a BSc Honours at UWA 
in 1967 and a PhD in Astrophysics at Britain's Oxford University in 1970,
has made the stellar donation [$2 million] to fund UWA post-doctoral
research for what will be the world's biggest radio telescope -
the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Thing is, I know this guy. Or used to. He was at Kingswood College in 1965 when I was there. Our paths sorta diverged after that, but anyway …  After I started work at Channel 7 in 1966, he phoned me up one day and asked if he could come out and have a look over the station. No worries, I said. It was easy in those days. I don’t think I even needed to ask permission.

So he did. I remember the day well. He would have been one year older than me, so in the third year of his first degree, I guess. I remember particularly we talked about the high power valve servos of the videotape machines. Not that I was an expert then at only 20 or so.

He done well, dinn ‘ee? Degrees and doctorates comin’ out his ears. And $2 million bucks to sling around. Good on yer, Jim.

Minding my own business!

Wot a day! I’m knackered at 7.30pm. I’ll sleep well tonight.

First, I packed a car load of boxes of my stuff and went to Osborne Park where I booked a storage unit, 27 m3, for a month. Trouble was, by the time I’d been through the booking process, I’d run out of time, and then I couldn’t find the unit, so I had to come home. I had a doctor appointment at 3pm and that took priority.

That showed why I had been feeling as if my leg had flies crawling under the bandage – I sorta did. My leg has ulcerated again and it was crawling with maggots!

It sounds bad, but I’m not shocked. We know, now, that these little critters are quite clean and good for us. They eat dead flesh, so keep the wound clean. The nurse and doctor didn’t like it much, though. It’s all cleaned up and re-bandaged, so we’ll keep the antibiotic going and hope it improves. It’s a bit painful, but not too bad.

I’m afraid it means Silver Chain and pressure bandaging twice a week again, though, indefinitely.

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A Bad Day

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The above represents where I feel my head is at the moment. No, not that bad, but pretty tense.

My move seemed easy. I had it all planned in my mind. But once again, I’ve fallen into the trap of “assuming” that something is true. In this case that freehold means freehold, free of hidden charges. It turns out there are “deferred management fees” which accumulate until you move out, either in a box or in an ambulance. If I’m in a box, I don’t care, do I? But it affects the residual value of the property for bank purposes – i.e. reverse mortgage. Maybe I’m worrying too much, but I’m on edge again now. I’m committed to moving – too late now. Hmmm, I hear you can buy cheap villas in Bali?

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So nice to be cool! Changes my whole attitude. More energy. A web site made a big splash today about how the weather has changed. But all the article was about the eastern states – WA didn’t rate a mention. I had a rant in the comments section. The ABC is one of the worst offenders. We don’t rate in their articles.

In that vein …

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Scotland  © PJ Croft 2013

Ain’t that peaceful? © P.J.Croft 2012  That’s Stromeferry, Scotland. Nice and cool. It felt like Bali in wet season here yesterday  morning.

I had the leg vein ultrasound yesterday and it was easy – much easier than the one I had in September. I didn’t even have to lie down – it was done with me sitting on the bed and standing. The result was, yes, she could see a vein that would be causing the problem, letting blood pool low down making my left leg swell. I have another examination on Friday (why? I dunno) and see the surgeon next week, so I hope for a fix. They had to peel the remaining stocking off, so I’m blessedly free at this moment. I’ll investigate a “putter onner” to see if I could wear them again. There’s no way I can get them on now without assistance.

Best thing about yesterday? Parking right outside the door of the clinic! Easy for once. That SJOG area around McCourt St is a nightmare, but this was further west.

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Gloom – Barry has investigated the retirement village and it’s much more complicated than I thought. Freehold doesn’t mean freehold. There are hefty ongoing management fees. They are out to extract all they can from vulnerable aged people who may not be prepared or able to comprehend all the legalities. That’s me – it’s tempting to just say yes, but the fee structure has hidden traps. Thank goodness Barry is helping me.

It means I may have to rethink where I’m going, and with having to move out of this house in about a month, suddenly stress levels have risen again.

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