Where is this? Answer at bottom of post.

I was a bit too pessimistic about the comet, ISON. It seemed yesterday to have boiled away as it passed behind the Sun, but today it seems it lives! They’re not sure what they’re seeing, but something has reappeared to the right of the Sun and is getting brighter. It’s nowhere near as big as it was, but they reckon we should be able to see it in the next week, before dawn. The tail should be pointing straight up and you should be able to see it without binoculars or telescope. Likewise at sunset, but the tail will be horizontal and not as easy to see.


I’ve just walked via the chemist to drop off the latest letters for the previous owners of this house. Even after 7 months, there are still letters coming to this address from the City of Wanneroo. I would have thought that would be one of the first addresses to be changed.

Not that I mind. It’s no trouble because I’m going there anyway.


Then to Coles for a few groceries. I’m still not over Minnie, y’know. Every time I walk past the dog food cabinets or shelves, I’m reminded. It’s still hard.

I see the Pet Rescue ads and I get tempted. But for the first time since 1998 I can go out freely and not worry about food or feeding time, and think about going away without worrying about how to take care of Minnie or Boopsie. I’m still grieving, though. It still hurts.


Hmmm. I’ve just read an interview with Terry Jones of the Pythons. He’s 71 and his (second) wife is 30. There’s hope for me yet. She’s Swedish, so maybe I have to go there?


Answer to quiz?  Esperance, WA from space. I would never have guessed.


Making a stand

PlaceholderFrom among my collection of idiotic messages

As part of fitting out my house, I needed a pair of speaker stands. I used to have a good pair but I gave them away in the big clear out. I was reluctantly thinking of buying a new pair, but they’re not cheap.

There’s a “Bring out your dead” pickup in this area at the moment and I drove around a few days ago. There was a pair of speaker stands on a verge. Not very nice ones but they would do so I grabbed them.

Then yesterday I walked to the shops and examined another pile nearby. Stap me, there was another pair, in good condition and better than the others. I grabbed them too. A bit of car polish and they’ll be good as new. One man’s trash …


I saw the orthopaedic surgeon yesterday about my shoulder and C6 vertebra. It’s not really painful any more, leaving only a bit of numbness and tingling in my left thumb and forefinger. He checked me thoroughly (hands on) and showed me the CAT scan. It shows a fair sized bone spur growing into the opening of the vertebra.

But he agrees with me and my GP that surgery is not warranted at the moment. He’s ordered an MRI to see the spinal cord more precisely, but doesn’t think there’s a problem yet. I agree. Any surgery would be pretty invasive and near the nerves. No thanks.


Damn, missed another comet. Comet ISON passed behind the Sun yesterday and was expected to be bright next week. But it seems to have broken up and won’t be shining now. I tried to get up before dawn a few times during this week to see it as it approached the Sun, but I always went back to sleep. I wish comets would keep normal daytime hours.

About a foot

Musee d'Orsay 11Sep08Musee d’Orsay Paris  © PJ Croft 208, 2013

I badly need my toenails cut. I’ve been told by Silver Chain and a podiatrist, No! Don’t do it yourself (for a diabetic, too much risk of accidental wounds and infection).

There’s a podiatrist just across the road from me, walking distance. I’ve been there four times so far, and each time, the treatment room door is closed and I can’t talk to anyone. Today I made my fifth visit and finally found the lady. No, there is nothing available until mid next week. But it only takes 5 minutes, I said. Sorry, she said, we’re booked, double booked and triple booked.

Dammit, I’m going to do it myself as I’ve always done.


We, the Reunion committee, checked out venues for our 2014 50th Anniversary Reunion yesterday. The choices are the Rugby Club in North Beach, a hotel in Bayswater, the Rose and Crown in Guildford and the High Road Hotel in Willeton.

All have plus points and minus points. North Beach scores for exclusive use but is very expensive and doesn’t have any accommodation within about 3Km. Bayswater scores for cheap food and having motel units, but it’s not fully private use (it’s a hotel on Saturday afternoon). The Rose and Crown has great character and good accommodation, but the function room is awful. And the High Road Hotel is good, but not exclusive and the food is a bit dear. We’re weighing things up. We’ve got until October next year, FGS.

Btw, we have over 150 (by some measures, nearer 200) former 1964 students on our list and nearly all of them have been contacted. Amazing. This is 50 years on!


I finally got to see a report from a physician who examined me on 23 September. What a waste of time and money. He just regurgitated what I told him – there is no insight. I could have written a more comprehensive report.

But he included what I can only call a fabrication of something he says occurred in the late 1960s. I didn’t tell him! I wonder where this fairy story could have come from?


At last my house is coming into a semblance of order and comfort. I’ve added cabinets to put things in, drawers – ditto, comfortable chairs, my TV and hi fi is now in place and each bedroom is fully usable. The bench tops are becoming cleared, the cooktop cleaned, the dishwasher is in full, efficient use, the garage is slowly being cleared and I have a list of relatively small things still needing doing. I have two fully usable spare (rentable?) bedrooms now. I finally got my car CD/DAB+/AM-FM radio into the dash in my car today. Fantastic. Junk pickup started today, so I got rid of an old bookcase that was not up to snuff and some other small items. I’ve replaced the corroded shower heads, am now planning my moves to strip and re-varnish my bathroom bench top and replace my awful tap-ware and get a grout specialist in to fix the old sealing grouting. Good stuff.


I’ve spoken of coincidences before. Here’s another one.

This afternoon at about 5.10pm I bought the DVD of The Tempest, Shakespeare’s play starring Helen Mirren. (It was only $5 at Coles)

Now, 90 mins later, I’m reading The Guardian on-line:

[Aldous Huxley’s] Brave New World was published in 1932. The title comes from Miranda’s speech in Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “Oh, wonder! / How many goodly creatures are there here! / How beauteous mankind is! Oh brave new world, / That has such people in’t.”

They just keep on comin’.



Top Gear Monday evening:  the guys had £6,995 to spend on the UK’s cheapest car, a Nissan Pixo or something. They said, hang on, what’s available second hand for the same money?

Answer?  A Mercedes CL600  V12  2 door coupe:


and a BMW 850 Ci V8 2 door coupe:


For less than £7,000 or $12,000 !  I’ve never been aware of the BMW 850 before, but I fell instantly in love. I want one.

But another web site showed close ups of the chosen car – bit tatty. Broken grille, paint damage, deteriorating rubbers, oily engine etc. But I’m sure if you paid a bit more you’d get a good one.  The Merc? Looked good, but all Mercs look the same and they’re common around here. No thanks.

I wonder if you could go to the UK, buy a car, tour around in it for two or three months, put it into storage with a friend, go home, go back after the required 12 months of ownership and bring it home tax free?  I can dream.



A V12 version is available too. 
Expensive to service and fix though.

Btw, that was Series 17, episode 3 which went to air in Britain in 2011. We only get it at the end of 2013.




Galahs, Trigg bushland, Fuji S-100fs at 400mm hand held, 2007  © PJ Croft 2013

I was driving on Marmion Avenue on Thursday when I saw what looked like a newspaper page fluttering in the centre of the road. I was nearly going to drive over it until I realised it was a galah that had just been hit by the 4WD in front of me. The poor bird was lying on its side flapping its wings, dazed. I managed to avoid it and tried to think how I could stop, but I couldn’t.

That sort of thing really upsets me. The older I get, the less I can tolerate cruelty to animals, or animals in pain or terror. I cannot watch those ABC clips of the cattle being slaughtered in Indonesia and now Madagascar.

I felt sad that night and I had a dream, but it wasn’t a bird, it was a sheep lying on the road with its legs trussed together so it couldn’t get up. I went and tried to comfort it, but I can’t remember what else happened.


Speaking of dishwashers, I can’t get mine to go. It has a warning LED on – Salt. Apparently you have to add salt in the base tank, about 2Kg when you use it first time from new. Evidently it needs more now. But you try and buy “dishwasher salt”. Not available, not in supermarkets, not even from an appliance shop.

I’ve ended up with 2x 1KG bags of rock salt. We’ll see what happens. But getting it into the tank is going to be fun – you’re supposed to have a special wide mouth funnel that comes with the washer from new, but I didn’t get it with the house. The tank is full to the brim with water. I’ll get there. Why salt?

UPDATE 4.30pm: I added a 1Kg bag of salt without any trouble with a cutoff funnel. Still the Salt warning LED was on. I added the second bag, which overflowed the container a bit, and hey presto, no more warning light. It was all systems go. So now I’ve done my first ever dishwasher load and although it took a long time (2h 40mins) the result is superb. Better than I can do in the sink, because the rinse aid leaves everything mark free and sparkling. I think I can get used to this. As they say, It uses far less water than a sink wash. Good stuff.


Similarly, the taps in this house are terrible. Spiky handles with sharp edges. I want to replace them but the handles have a “concealed fixing” that you need a special tool for. Did it come with the house? I haven’t found it. Can you buy one? Nope.

And the very stylish bowl shaped basins have a non-removable plug. Rotate it and pull it up and it’s open. Rotate it a bit and it falls closed. But they’re black with gunk and don’t seal properly. Can you buy replacements? Nope. Can you tell me how to get it out? Work from underneath, removing the waste pipe, and you may need to cut the seal where the basin meets the bench top and lift it out. Then you can unscrew the plug assembly from the bottom. What?! This was a plumber’s advice in the hardware shop. It looks as if that’s the only thing I can do.


I bought another new digital camera yesterday, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70. It’s a fixed lens with an SLR styled body, but its claim to fame is that the zoom goes from super-wide 20mm to super-tele 1200mm at the long end. This is an amazing 60x ratio.

Here’s the widest view.


Image20mmImageHere’s the longest zoom, 1200mm, handheld of course.

Image1200mm handheld
Image1200mm handheld.

All the lake shots were taken from the same position. This is not the greatest picture quality camera, just a take everywhere camera to have fun with.

This is Butler, near my place. I’d just walked to the newsagent to buy the papers.


I went to the rugby club last night for the first time in about 5 months. It was to check out whether it could be used as a venue for our 50th anniversary NSHS reunion in October next year. The answer was yes, no problem, although the cost to hire is $550 plus $20 for cleaning afterwards. I shall report to the committee tomorrow.

All I had to drink was two low alcohol schooners and a LLB over two hours.

What’s next???


Ain't that nice? It's a fractal I found on the web.

Brrrr! This has been the hardest year of my life and I was saying to the doctor last week, “Holy smoke, what else can go wrong. What’s next?”

Well, how about another kidney stone? On the left this time. No blood, just a strong ache and some very sharp pain for nearly three hours this morning that had me getting the bag out ready to go to hospital. But it’s faded away now (3pm), so I’m left to wonder, has it gone through, or is it still to come? It’s a fearsome thought.


This suburb name was chosen by the City of Wanneroo in 1979. The name honours John Butler who is the first recorded explorer of the area (1834). Butler settled in the Claremont area, and Butler’s Swamp, now renamed Lake Claremont, was named after him.

I wondered where it came from.


Coool tiles. My whole living area and passages are large smooth off-white tiles and in this weather, it’s great, nice and cool to walk on.


I still haven’t used the dishwasher since I’ve been here, but today I opened it up and had a good look for the first time. I found a knife belonging to the previous owners. She works one day a week at the pharmacy  across the road (yes, she’s a graduate pharmacist), so I’ll give it to her on Sunday.

Funny, I always wanted a dishwasher, but now that I’ve got one, I don’t use it. Duh.

Cabinet meeting


This is my new kitchen cabinet. This house has a b … awful kitchen, not that it bothers me very much, I hardly ever cook. But the shelves and cabinets are too high and there’s not enough of them.

So at last with this I have somewhere to put all my crockery and glassware. I hope to get glass doors to go on the front, but nothing yet. Beautiful high gloss white lower doors. IKEA Besta. Yes, I know the shelf spacing is out. To be fixed.


I saw the doc last week and he agreed that I can go off the Lyrica to see if it will stop my tremors. I can hardly write normally or hold screws and a screwdriver (but I do eventually). The question is, will the shoulder pain come back? I have an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon on the 28th.

Update: the tremors haven’t stopped, they’ve got worse if anything, but the shoulder pain, although noticeable, is OK.


Do you know you can buy a cabin on an ocean liner and cruise the world permanently? Just as if it were a flat or unit. Some are only about US$275,000 for permanent ownership (owner ship, yeah). They’re small, but bigger than a cabin, with a double bedroom, bathroom with shower and bath, kitchen and lounge/dining. Fully furnished and with no ongoing maintenance fees. You don’t get a balcony for that price, though. That’ll cost you about US$1m.

Just dreaming.


It’s been a day of LOUD music from somewhere around here, I suspect the pub. It started about 11am and thankfully finished at about 3.30pm. Just boom box bass stuff.

Then about 3pm I heard a loud thud on my bedroom window. I thought it was a soccer ball or a rolled up heavy newspaper, but I think now it may have been a bird hitting the glass. It’s covered in mirror film, so it could well be. It was lucky it didn’t break.



The Angel of the North. 
It's next to the A1 motorway in England. 
I saw it twice while I was there, 
once on the motorway going north
and again from the train going south.
This is not my picture, btw.

Bother! Yesterday I summoned the energy to go to the beach stairs for the first time in a coupla months, only to find them cordoned off with a sign saying “Closed due to a washaway.” So I did a cliff top walk instead, only to find another beach access point closed off as well, without a reason.


Oh well, I went and walked around Bunnings instead, to buy new rubbers for my sink plugs, which are stainless steel, like strainer baskets. “No Sir, you can’t buy the rubber seals. You have to buy the whole plug.” OK, they’re only $4.95, but what a waste.


My shoulder pain is a lot better, perhaps due to the drug Lyrica that I’m on, but the side effect is hand tremor. I don’t know for sure, but it only seems to since I started it. It makes it hard to hold small screws and hold the screwdriver steady. I’ll ask the doc. I have an appt with the orthopaedic surgeon on the 28th, so we’ll see what he says.


My sleep is very erratic these days and I’m hearing a few odd noises, like scuttling sounds, with a small rattle of the micro-venetian blind occasionally. Today I heard a click, exactly like one of my sliding door latches. A bit worried, I went out to the kitchen, but all was well, except that the latch was in the locked position. Huh? How would it be this way if the door is open? (I’m talking about daytime, not during the night.)

I think I have mice in the ceiling too. There’s one small mouse running across the floor occasionally. They’ve only shown up since Minnie’s been gone, and neighbourhood cats as well (they wear collars).

I won’t rush into it, but I could weaken and get another dog. This is too hard.