Life in the ‘burbs


Each taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1. Sharp, hand held, no camera shake, low noise.


Singa pano 1


At the pub the other night (Brrrr):

  • Woman: “I’m like, just over there and we, like, were wondering if we can, like, order something now?”
  • “G’day mate, I’m from Darwin and I’ve been out in the Tanami Desert and I dunno about the rules about singlets and I’m on Darwin time zone and I dunno if I you can serve me?”   Yeah, no worries, mate.

I said, “If you can wear a singlet in this cold, you’re OK, mate.”  Grin.

  • He passes me 20 mins later, breathing beer fumes into my face and says,  “Did you hear? … two baked beans travel around Australia and they end up in Cairns [pronounced Cans]”  Hah ha hah.



Goon! But not forgotten, Jim. Not forgotten Jiiii-iiim!


The good ol’ days of 2″ videotape. Those are my hands. © PJ Croft 2014

I can hardly believe it. This morning’s Goon Show was the last to be aired on the ABC! “Contractual reasons” was the reason given.

The Goons have been running weekly, continuously, for more than 30 years, the last regular broadcasts in the world. I’ve been listening regularly for about 15 years, since I retired. I used to wake at 5.30am for the Goon Show every Friday (and that made waking at that time a daily habit), and for the past year or so I’ve been pretty regularly listening at 5.00am on Mondays after they shifted it. It seems now as if that shift might have been to shake as many of us addicts off as they could before axing it.

I’ve got more than 100 episodes recorded on Mini-Discs and on the computer, and I’ve usually heard the episode before, but this morning’s was one I hadn’t heard before! (The Thing on the Mountain). Even now, the episodes are fresh. I don’t care how many times they are repeated, it’s like listening to classical music, you always hear something new in the performance.

Bloody BBC – I bet they are behind this. “Contractual reasons”. A euphemism for, We can make more money out of this than the ABC is willing to pay. So much for the Mother Country and the Empire.

I must admit I don’t listen apart from in bed because they need concentration. You can’t listen and be reading or doing something else at the same time. I guess I’ll have to find the episode titles I don’t have and buy the CDs.

This is a tragedy. Not only are the Goons gone, there used to be radio comedy every morning at 5.30am – all BBC of course, but I was a regular listener.  My Music, My Word, Round the Horn … I must admit those got a bit repetitive, but they’re all gone. Tragic.

All I can say is that RN is a rich source of programs at that time of the morning so I’ll continue listening.


To Liberal voters, what does it take to open your eyes and minds? How many lies and broken commitments will it take to make you realise that Barnett will break any promise, say anything, go back on any agreement at any time he feels like it?

His latest is to say that all the 2013 election statements that his promises are “Fully costed, fully funded” were printed by the party organisation and not endorsed by him, therefore he doesn’t have to stand by them. What crap! Why didn’t he say so last year?

The hypocrisy of the government is also on display again with the last parliamentary pay increases. Yes, it’s an independent committee that sets politicians’ salaries, but he could have made a stronger effort to ensure the CPI rise increase was adhered to. As far as I’m concerned, the unions should now push as hard as they can for whatever pay increases that police, nurses, teachers and others deserve. Any cooperation in keeping wages down is forfeited.

Worse, much worse, is the Queensland Liberal National government led by that hard man Campbell Newman. When Tony Fitzgerald QC is moved to speak out about the dangerous attacks on democracy in Queensland, and the Law Society is moved to call for the blocking of the appointment of a Supreme Court judge because he is “too close” and “influenced” by Newman and the LNP party, something is seriously wrong.

The Liberal National Party Queensland government is unmistakeably taking Queensland back to the days of Joh and all the corruption and bribery of those times.

This is on top of the harsh treatment of nurses and other essential workers in Queensland last year. Newman dished out massive job losses in government departments, regardless of their effects on these dedicated workers. This was harsh, cruel treatment.

This is the Liberal Party way. Harsh, cruel government, voted for by the type of people who think all unions are bad and “Laws are for other people. Get out of my way, allow me to make myself rich and some of it might rub off on you”. The old saying that the rich are getting richer is definitely true, but it’s at the expense of the poor, even in this country.

If you voted for it, good for you, but I didn’t. I’m affected – I’ll be losing my Seniors concessions. While Liberal parliamentarians will be smoking their cigars and counting their pay rises and investment bankers will continue to get away with insider trading and fraud.

Also coming from the federal Liberal government is a repeal of the law that financial advisors must work “in the interests of their clients”. In other words, for a Liberal government, advisors do not by law have to have the interests of their clients uppermost. How can any of us now have confidence in any financial advice? The way is open for kickbacks, frauds and secret commissions, as happened at the Commonwealth Bank.

I spit.


Feeling a bit better today, and I know why. I’m almost pain free for the first time in over two weeks.  My left ankle and foot have been very painful, enough that I’m having to use my stick just to get from the bed to the bathroom. I was hobbling all the time and getting shooting pain and constant aches. Strong painkillers were not having much effect. I think it was caused by a pinched nerve up in my left hip area and by shifting my position and repadding my chair, I seem to have made some progress in fixing it.

Chronic pain. It’s insidious. It has a greater effect than just the pain itself, it also affects my mood, badly.

I wasn’t aware until recently that paracetemol doesn’t work for everyone. So that’s why my Panadol Osteo never seemed to have any effect! I asked the chemist the other day and she confirmed it – she said Panadol definitely doesn’t work for her either.

I’ll be danged. All these years when I thought it might be working, it was probably just placebo. Grrr. The problem is, I can’t use ibuprofen or aspirin either due to the other meds I take, so that doesn’t leave much at all. She said codeine is addictive, and I find Tramadol has little effect either.  I’ll have to ask the doc. Medical marijuana is the answer, I reckon. Not that I’d know.


I’m in a quandary. I’m compiling an electronic version of our school magazine for our 50th anniversary reunion in October. I’m on a small committee (6 of us) and we discuss how things should be, and because I’m pretty computer “literate”, I’ve got the job. I’ve been calling for contributions for the past four or five months (tell us what you’ve been doing in your life for the past 50 years) but out of 150 emails sent out, I’ve only had 16 responses, and none from the committee members.

I would have thought people would have a fair bit to write about to cover 50 years, but all the responses have been no more than one A4 page and one photo, usually less and no photo.

Except mine, as you may gather. I’ve written 40 pages with about 30 photos. How can I write less? I remember it all and I have hundreds of photos, hundreds. It’s mostly about my life at Channel 7 of course, but the last 15 years since Channel 7 have been interesting too. I’ve been back over it to see if I want to drop anything out, but no.

As well, I’ve written another 20 pages about what life was like at the Boys’ Hostel in Northam, with several photos. Twenty pages! I could have written more, and I’ll probably add some. I’ve also included scans of my old school reports, certificates, references (from school times) and a 1966 letter home. I also have plans for at least another 20 pages of other material, and I’ll be going up to Northam soon to get present day photos.

But I feel as if I’m in a foot race and I’m sprinting away, then realising there’s no-one beside me. I’m looking back and there’s no-one coming up behind me either, they’re all just standing at the start line. I’m saying, “Come on, where are you?” I’ve suggested things for people to write about and put the magazine in 100 page prototype form up for them to look at, but I get no response at all, no comments.

It’s a bit disheartening. I’ve said I don’t want it just to be Pete’s magazine, but I get no response. Too bad, it’ll be my magazine, then.


Due to the consecutive failure of two cheap coffee makers bought from Woolies, I’ve been without one for a while, but I missed it. I weakened and bought another $49 one from Coles the other day. (I got a full refund from Woolies.)

You can’t tell anything about it from the pictures on the box, but I’ve found that (a) the capsules it uses are unique – you can’t use any except its specific brand; (b) it has a small water container that holds no more than two cups worth, so I’m constantly refilling it; (c) it only makes demi-tasse espresso sized cups, not the full cups we’re used to; (d) they’re not very hot out of the machine; and (e) it’s s-l-o-w. You have to wait.

However, the coffee is quite nice, so I’ll stick with it. I often leave some cold coffee in the cup anyway. For $49, lump it mate.

More history

Some more of my old shots.  Hardly historic but they ain’t gettin’ any newer.


Fremantle men’s barber, April 1976
© PJ Croft 2014


Fremantle January 1991    This is a film scan.  The sunlit building was very burnt out but the magic of digital highlight recovery has brought some detail back.
© PJ Croft 2014 


Alley, Fremantle January 1991
© PJ Croft 2104


Fremantle January 1991 © PJ Croft 2014
Again, digital magic allowed me to pull the perspective up and crop creatively.


Fremantle June 1989 © PJ Croft
The file name says this is Ektachrome 1000ASA. Wow, advanced for its time.


Fremantle Port Authority January 1976 © PJ Croft 2014


Fremantle pub December 1990 © PJ Croft 2014

I have a lot more to come.


I’m spending all my time doing the magazine for our reunion in October.  Crumbs, it looks like being my magazine.  I’m writing and illustrating like crazy.  I’ve written 40 pages on my own experiences in the past 50 years, and now I’ve added another 20 pages on Life at the Hut, with photos.  Plus I’ve still got all my old school reports, exam certificates so I’m scanning them and putting them in. Plus old references with historic signatures, and even a letter I wrote to home in January 1966.

I don’t know how people are going to feel about this.  It’s all about me, but what else can I do?  I want to make it an interesting magazine but no-one else is contributing anything!  I’ve only had 16 responses to our call for life stories (out of 103 who have responded to our email invitations), and all of them, ALL of them, are only about half a page and one photo, some not even that.

I feel as if I’m in a running race and find myself way out in front.  I look back over my shoulder and see a few people walking slowly behind and I’m saying “Come on, where are you?”  I don’t know what to do.

I think I’m going to say bugger it, I’m doing the work, if I want to put it in I will. I’m going to make another appeal, but I’ve already said “send me lots of material – there is no limit to what I can take”.  But I’m not getting anything.  Too bad.

Quiet time


Fremantle April 1976 © PJ Croft 2014
A recently rediscovered image that will be historic one day. It is already, to some extent. I have thousands of images of WA. It seems a pity, but when I die, all this will be thrown out and lost. No-one wants it.  No-one is interested. I just noticed – that’s my red MGB parked at left. Top off on a sunny day. Nice car to drive.

I’ve been quiet lately, sorry.  Quite busy.  Damn legs playing up a fair bit (diabetic effects, minor ankle sprains) meaning confinement to home a lot. Constant work at the computer, doing things like the Avon magazine for our reunion in October.  I’m using Serif Page Plus X7 DTP software for that and I’m pretty impressed for such a low cost program.  I doubt I’m using it to its full potential.

I’m also discovering more boxes of CDs. Holy smoke, I must have well over 1,000, probably more.  Many of them are favourites but I really must do a ruthless cull.  I’ve got a friend who’s said he wants anything I don’t want, so that makes it easier.

I also have two hard drives with around 250 DVDs in “ripped” form.  These don’t take up much space, obviously, but I do wonder why I’m keeping them.  But dammit, I’ve just scanned the drive contents at high speed and I’ve seen all sorts of titles that make me think, “Oooh, yes, I must look at that.”  Episodes of Rumpole, for example, and …  bloody hell, I’ve just looked at the list more closely and I want all of them!  That’s why I kept them in the first place.  So there’s the rest of my life mapped out, watching 250 DVDs, some with multiple episodes. Hah!


CIEUX — that’s the number plate of a car at the medical centre carpark.  I guessed, correctly, that it belongs to the lovely Isobel, the French receptionist behind the counter.  She has the most beautiful French accent.

I asked her about the number plate and she said it means (the) heavens or sky.  Pronounced see-yuh. Sky on its own is ciel (see-el).  That explains my Lyle Mays CD’s title, Cielo e Terra, Sky and Earth in Spanish.

She said her number plate is also the name of a small village near her home in France.  Nice.



Fremantle Custom House April 1976 © PJ Croft 2014. HMC – Her Majesty’s Customs. Quaint.


I had a visit from an old friend from Channel 7 yesterday.  He actually resigned in 1989 so it’s been a long time.  He’s 55 now and has decided to ease off the work and take a couple of days off a week to do things he wants to do.  Luckily he has a supportive wife, even though they have a son to bring up.

He confirmed what I knew – he was one of a string (well, three) of graduate engineers who’d been employed successively with the long term aim of taking over as the next Chief Engineer.  The trouble was, no-one ever told them.  That was the way Channel 7 management worked in our area – don’t communicate!  Don’t tell people what is expected of them. Just, sort of, y’know, let ’em find out.

The trouble was there was another engineer who was never going to leave and despite not explicitly having the title of Deputy Chief Engineer, regarded himself as such (these things were not spelt out clearly).  He blocked the path of any potential rival.  He was capable of terrible skullduggery and bullying.

The result was that these young engineers lasted a few years but got fed up, saw the future and resigned.  My friend yesterday said that when he did, the Director of Engineering was told by the Managing Director to “throw money” at him.  “How much do you want to stay?” in other words.  My friend said it was too late, he’d already accepted another job.

That confirmed what another ex-TVW engineer told me last year, same story.  He was really good, a great people manager and a good electronics brain too.  But he was on $25,000 a year!  (This was in the late 80s)  He said he just couldn’t live on that money and I agree.  Secretaries made more than that.  I was on about $40,000 at the time.

So this good engineer resigned and got the same spiel – “Oh, no, you can’t leave, we were planning for you to take over the Chief’s job.”  “But you never told me, and I can’t live on what you’re paying me.”  “Oh, well how about $50,000?  With car?”  “Sorry, it’s too late, I’m setting up my own business with another mate and we’re too advanced.”  So we lost him.  Mostly because no-one had the foresight or courage to spell things out.

That typified the company.  Don’t tell people what you expect of them, don’t give feedback, don’t do performance reviews (I never had one in 33 years as a tech!)  Then when they get fed up and resign, either go into shock, or don’t try to hold on to them.

Only once, late in my career, was I given a job description, and that was a result of being asked to write my own!  I cannot recall ever being told how I was performing or getting any feedback on my job. There was never any praise.  Pathetic, absolutely pathetic.  And always suffering the blocking and sabotage of that weird engineer who only ever ate his own sandwiches with the crusts cut off out of his biscuit tin and drank Fanta.  Never any tea or coffee, just Fanta, every day for over 30 years that I knew him.  Talk about Dr Sheldon Cooper!  This was Sheldon without the humour.  I was hugely relived to get out.

It’s great to still be friends with these guys after so long, too.  The one yesterday told me he regarded me as having much greater knowledge than him when we worked together, and that tallied with the other one last year saying that he regarded me as his mentor when we worked together.  My jaw dropped!  Really?  I never knew.  It’s nice to know now.  Pity I didn’t then 🙂


I’ve had my eye on a watch at the local jewellers for some weeks.  It’s just a Casio analogue/digital, but I find it appealing.  Casio is usually far too gross for me, but I like this one, one of the very few in their range that I could wear.



ImageThe price in the jewellers is $159.  I checked on-line and the price is $78, plus $14.95 shipping.  That’s too big a difference to ignore, so I’ve ordered on-line.  I don’t see any jewellers shops closing their doors for lack of business, so I don’t feel bad about it.


Likewise, my order for the Panasonic GH4 was cancelled because they can’t get stock, so that opened the way to order the other camera I want, the Sony RX10.  RRP $1,499 plus delivery costs.  I’m paying $1,096 including delivery.  I can’t ignore these kinds of savings.

DSC-RX10-Cyber-shot™ Digital Camera-RX Series

It’s a start


The new back lawn

I realised yesterday that I haven’t shown you my revamped side and back areas.


The side, formerly unusable.

It cost more than I wanted, but once I started, it had be finished.  I’m buying plants for it now, and with the richness of that soil and the reticulation, I hope to have a lush garden soon.  That’s a curry leaf tree at the back corner.  Regardless of the uses, I just love the look of it.  I’ve also bought some veges, lettuce, broccolli, spring onions and tomatoes so far.


So the Catholic Church doesn’t want to do birth control at the new Midland Hospital.  Is this the same Catholic Church

  • that sexually and physically abused thousands of children for nearly a hundred years in Australia and Ireland;
  • that carried out unauthorised medical experiments on young children;
  • that murdered hundreds of young children in Ireland;
  • that covered up all the deviant priests’ crimes;
  • that practised sadistic cruelty in convents and seminaries;
  • that refused to admit that these things were going on;
  • that denied liability for decades;
  • that amasses vast untaxed wealth;
  • that harbours embezzlers and fraudsters in the Vatican;
  • that builds vast monuments at huge cost, dripping with gold and precious jewels;
  • that dresses its priests in obscenely expensive robes, gowns and finery;
  • that harbours child molesters in the Vatican;
  • that preaches against birth control in desperately poor countries.

Yet they say this is all done in the name of God, to the glory of God.

In my opinion, religion is the number one evil in the world.  Just look at Iraq today, Sunni vs Shia, cruelly fighting in the name of Allah.


What a dilemma.  I got an email saying there is no stock available of that Panasonic GH4 camera and they don’t know when there will be.  They offered to refund my money and I said YES.  It hasn’t come back yet, though.

But what a choice I’ve got.  There are some fantastic cameras available now –

  • the Panasonic GH4,about A$1650
  • the Sony RX10,about A$1050
  • the Fujifilm X-T1,about A$1700
  • the Pentax K-3, about A$1200
  • the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000, just announced today, about A$800

I want all of these!  The standard of cameras has never been so high.  Film?  Forget it.  Digital is so good now that the lenses have had to improve to keep up.  And they have.  This is great.


It’s too late


© PJ Croft 2014

“Prime ministers Tony Abbott and Stephen Harper say they do not want to harm economy in the fight against climate change.”

Not all Conservatives are stupid, but it’s a pretty good bet. 

  • First, what’s to say efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions will harm the economy? The so-called “Carbon Tax” brought in very little tax revenue precisely because it was working!  Big emitters took steps to cut their emissions so that they wouldn’t have to pay the tax.
  • Second, what about all the job creation possibilities raised by the development and manufacture of new technologies in the fight against climate change?  This is something this country is very good at.  Except that this government is anti-science, doing a good job of crippling the CSIRO and the CRCs, the very organisations we need to develop new technologies. 
  • Third, he wants to put off any efforts to tackle climate change until some time in the future, as if delay won’t matter. 
  • Fourth, always ask yourself who stands to benefit.  Answer: the rich.  The Conservatives’ mates.

We have a STUPID prime minister leading an evil and stupid government.  Too bad about your kids and grandkids.


A couple of humorous pics:


Abu Dhabi airport. © PJ Croft 2014

What’s 8 minutes between friends?  But which one is right?  And which one does the airport operate on?

(A frame grab from my video of my stopover in Abu Dhabi in 2008.)


© PJ Croft 2014

On the Venice to Milan train. Busto Arsizio?  Toilet this way, sir.

(Another frame grab from my 2008 trip.)


Dolphin4 MMia87

Monkey Mia dolphin 1987 © PJ Croft 2014 You can’t get this close any more – they won’t let us near the dolphins now.

I’m left gaping.  I’ve written before about how I seem to notice many more coincidences these days.  Yesterday at the doctor’s surgery, I heard the word “mylo” for the first time.

This morning, the lead article on a photography web site I check every day has the following:  “… I went to visit Mylo Development LLC, a Seattle-base software start-up.”

Bloody hell.  Totally unrelated.  Less than 24 hours.  It’s uncanny.


 I’ve just done my grocery shopping at Woolies and once again, the till docket was wrong.  I make it a habit, out of necessity, to sit down and scan the docket after I leave the Woolies store and before I leave the shopping centre.  I find so many scanning errors from Woolies that I’ve become very wary of them.  Virtually all the errors are in their favour.

Today it was two marked down items. One scanned at the markdown price, the other at the full price.  It was only $2.90 but I get annoyed.

Yesterday it was Target Whitfords.  I bought three document boxes marked down from $12 to $10 but further reduced to $5, plainly marked as such.  I was charged $10 each.  Grrr.  It’s so annoying that I have to go back!


What a winter here in Perth …  24C, warm and sunny, almost no wind.  It’s nice, but we need rain.


I phoned the gastric surgeon’s office today and asked about a refund of the $1500 fee I’d paid.  It turns out I’ll get it back less 10%, so $1350.  That’s a relief.  That’ll almost pay for that camera I want. Heh heh.

I know, I know, not another camera.  Well, it’s my main interest and this is a new model being reviewed as almost the perfect camera.  It not only shoots very high quality stills, it also shoots the best video this side of a $30,000 pro video camera.

It exceeds broadcast quality (i.e. the data rate is high enough that no quality will be lost in editing and broadcasting, mainly). 

In video rig. Model costs extra.

It’s a Micro 4/3 camera, which means the four lenses I already own for my Olympus cameras will fit.

Unfortunately, stocks are very hard to come by and it looks like I’ll have to wait at least a week.


The landscapers came and finished the job, so it’s all over.  I’ve got a very neat job.  But I didn’t get what I wanted!

I realised that I got what the landscaper wanted me to have, that is, what was most convenient for him.  Pavers?  I ended up with the ones he first showed me, not the ones I wanted.  Lawn? I got Sir Walter when I never even mentioned it.  Limestone blocks?  I showed him a picture of a wall of two rows of 200mm high blocks, but I’ve ended up with a single row of 400mm ones, big thick heavy ones.

Ah well, it’s a vast improvement on what was there before and with nice rich soil, fully “sprinklerised”, I should be able to make a lush palm and fern filled garden.  I’ve already planted a West Indian Lime and I reckon I’ll put a lemon and orange tree in as well.  Plus maybe a peach and apricot.  Plus flowering plums along the back fence.


I continue to be plagued by that engine hum I mentioned.  It’s a constant 24/7 sound like a generator running.  But I did notice when I was in the city hotel last week, I could hear it there as well.  Huh?  I don’t know whether this is just some ear bug I’ve got or if it’s real.  The only way to find out will be to put a microphone outside with a high quality recorder.  I’ll think about it.


I’m a bit browned off with radio and TV reception in this area. AM radio is virtually unusable – the ABC signal is far too noisy.  Considering I’m still in the metro area, this is a bit weird.  TV reception is OK most of the time, but it’s obviously marginal.  On a wet night, I can just about forget ABC-TV.  My stereo amp has an AM and FM tuner, but connecting it to the TV socket on the wall produces zero for FM.  AM doesn’t need the socket, but it’s quite noisy.

OK, the AM stations are replicated on digital, DAB+, and during the summer that worked fine.  But now that the weather’s changed, with lots more water in the air, it’s gone to shit.  I’m battling to find a good signal and it fades all the time.  I’ve finally found a place in the room where it seems to hold up, but it’s not the location where I want the receiver to be.

FM works OK most of the time, but the ABC programs are not on FM except for ABC Classics.  I want 720 and RN.

The answer is an external antenna, but getting the cable into the house will be tricky.  It’s not like an old wooden house where I could just drill a hole in a window frame or something.  I do have a plan, but it’s messy.

Even in the car, AM reception is very noisy and full of whistles.  FM is mostly OK, though.  This is what I get for living up in the sticks.