Odalan ceremony, Sanur

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Odalan ceremony, Sanur, 4 june 2016    (C) PJ Croft 2016

This is an automated edit produced by Cyberlink Power Director of the Odalan Balinese ceremony last Saturday 4 June.This is the first time I’ve used this program so I didn’t know what the result would be until it was done. It’s not the best I can do, I’m afraid, but as it takes so long to render and upload (more than 6 hours), I’ll have to redo it later.

This ceremony was special, apart from the regular 210 day interval, it was a once in 30 years celebration as well, so we were privileged to be there and to have such intimate access.

Sorry, I’ve removed this video because it’s not good enough. I’ll remake it and post it next time. PJC

The parade preparations had been in progress literally all week in the street, Jalan Kusuma Sari leading to Semawang Beach, outside our hotel.

The crowd started assembling at about 1pm and the procession set off about 2 o’clock. It made its way to the beach, about 250m, with a solemn ceremony there, then came back around 4pm. At one stage in the return, we were hemmed in so tightly that we couldn’t go forward, back or sideways. Being right next to the gamelan orchestra made it very exciting for me, as I love this music.

All the video was shot in 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels, 25p) on a Panasonic FZ1000 stills camera. Nice machine!

I’ve used Xilisoft Video Converter to reduce the frame sizes to 1280 x 720 so as to be able to upload the result to Vimeo. The music, particularly, has to be replaced, of course.

Home, safe home

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Ketewel Beach, Tuesday 7 June 2016.    © PJ Croft 2016

Crumbs, what’s going on? News from a Bali web newsletter, Coconuts Bali, http://bali.coconuts.co/, that king tides and freak waves have hit Bali near where I was last Tuesday. Two tourists, on the beach at Ketewel for a flower ceremony, were dragged out to sea and drowned. One was a 68 year old guy.

There’s been flooding in Kuta and near the airport.

This must be a side effect of the giant storm that hit the east coast of Australia, I’d guess. Looks like I got out just in time.

canggu_monster_wave_fb

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Also news that Air Asia have decided to end flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Bali. Good! I read a Facebook post last night that said much of the bad behaviour in Bali could be due to the low standard of tourists from Perth, where it’s so cheap to fly to Bali for a holiday that any low-lifes can afford it. She said because it’s more expensive to come from Sydney or Melbourne, you get a higher standard of intelligence and behaviour! This was written by a Melbourne woman.

This is why we in WA get so sick and tired of the condescending attitudes of “eastern staters”, with their weak jokes about needing passports and being “two hours behind”.

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Kuta Square

I’ve been ruminating on the differences between here and Bali in the last couple of days. You get used to life up there, and can feel the difference back here.

  • the driving, of course. Rigid adherence to the rules here, vs anything goes up there.
  • the higher speeds on the roads, leaving little margin for error, vs an average of 40km/h, slow enough that you can recover from errors.
  • the easy going, give way attitude of drivers up there, vs the anger and aggressive driving here. Sick of it!
  • the ease of understanding speech here, vs the many difficult conversations and misunderstandings.
  • the clarity of pricing, vs the feeling of often being deceived or getting a poor deal.
  • the peace and quiet of being left alone in shops, vs the excessive attention in Bali.
  • by contrast, the feeling of being invisible here when I do need help, vs the instant attention up there.
  • the huge range of quality goods up there, vs the same old boring, sparse, restricted range of low quality junk here.
  • being able to drink the water and eat the food without worry here. I must add that I haven’t had a problem in Bali for many years, however.
  • being able to use taxis everywhere up there, vs taxis being almost impossibly expensive here. And unavailable in my area!
  • the clean, dry air, vs the warm, moist air up there. Which is better?
  • the feeling of chaos up there, but wonderful chaos, vs the feeling of sterile orderliness here. Boring, boring.
  • you can get tradesmen who want the work, vs arrogant pricks who think they’re the boss and you’re the servant.
  • you can get any item you want here, especially hardware, vs endless frustration over illogical shortages up there.
  • you can walk out onto the street and get a good, cheap meal, vs having to drive a long way for indifferent, expensive food.

I could go on, and I think I have the best option available, which is to go up for relatively long periods and come “home” when it gets too much, to rewind and reset for the next time. Pretty good.

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I saw the doctor yesterday and although my left foot was worrying me, after treading on that coral at Sanur last Sunday, it seems to be just bruising. The two small cuts are just that, no infection and nothing embedded.

But diabetic foot pain is becoming a real problem. It is chronic pain, no doubt about it, unrelenting burning, stinging, aching, with intermittent jabs of nerve pain so strong that I sometimes cry out. Paradoxically, my feet and lower legs are becoming increasingly numb. The feeling is of wearing socks all the time, when I’m not.

My pain relief options are very limited: no aspirin, no ibuprofen, paracetemol hardly touches it, tramadol has an undesirable side effect, so the only thing left is codeine, which is addictive and loses its effect over time. I’m onto Panadeine Forte now, with an extra Panadol as well, every 4-6 hours. Booger.

The bursitis in my right shoulder is better after the steroid injection last month, but it needs to be repeated now. And I have moderate to sharp back pains in my right side, and hip, so an MRI is needed to see if there’s anything wrong. I was nearly crippled by this back/hip pain in Bali last March. Luckily it resolved itself. Dang, gettin’ older ain’t fun. It could be worse, though, I realise that. I’m getting off lightly.

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I got talking, briefly, at the airport in Bali, to a woman from Perth who lives on Lombok and owns a hotel there. We were talking medical things and she assured me that I could get medical insurance to cover me in Indonesia from Prudential. They’ll cover you up to age 80.

The bad news? The premium is $5,000 a year. I think I’d rather bank the money and take my chances, thanks. In two years I’d have saved enough for a medical evacuation flight.

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OSMO1

Now to have another attempt at getting my DJI OSMO camera going. I bought it just before my trip in early May, but I have yet to see any pictures out of it.

It uses your phone as the controller via wi-fi, but it requires registration on the DJI website in China first. Every time I try to register, some error message comes up. I’m sick of it!

I have got onto their customer chat system, and to their credit the response was very fast. But they kept asking me to supply information that I’d already told them, and stumbling over my answers, to the point where the battery of the camera ran down and I had to end the session. I meant to get back to them, but my attention was constantly required elsewhere. Now I have the time to try again.

I think part of the problem may be that my phone is not 3G or 4G internet data enabled, relying on a wi-fi system to connect to the internet. But the camera requires a wi-fi connection to the phone too, and you can only have one connection open at a time. Conflict. Not sure how to resolve that one.

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Sanur Shanti beach

Shanti Beach, Sanur     © PJ Croft 2010, 2016

Perth, home again

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Trompe l’oeil.   Villa at Ketewel.

Yeah, back home, and freezing. It was 16C at the airport at 1pm and sunny, but in the late afternoon it got down to 13.6C at one stage, so the radio said. I’m cold. I’ve got the reverse cycle aircon on, set to 26C, ironically the same temperature as we were setting in the hotel room. And the aircon controller was exactly the same in the hotel as mine here.

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I had to leave for the airport at 7am and Made, the driver, was there right on time. He’s a good bloke, speaks well and clearly. We passed a motorbike accident on the way, not serious, luckily, just a rider who’d come off on the Bypass and smashed bits of his bike. He was OK. That’s the first I’ve seen in many years. Made was saying that although Bali driving looks crazy, it all works because they don’t get upset with each other, they all give way eventually, and it’s true.

At check in, they said I only had a standard ticket, and would I like to upgrade to a premium one, “only 50 Aussie dollars”. It gives you priority boarding, personal help with immigration (no queuing), access to the T/G Lounge (I never found it), a private car to the plane and help with the seating. Also your baggage is first off the plane at the other end.

Well, I was in a weakened state so I paid it, despite believing that I’d already upgraded a couple of days before for A$22. I’m going to pursue this, as I reckon I’ve been dudded.

I certainly got whisked through customs, but I never found the T/G Lounge, whatever that is, and still had the long, long walk to Gate 10.

There I was asked to sit aside while all the other passengers went through, then, sure enough, a small bus pulled up and it was just for me. I was the only passenger on a 20 seater. Bizarre. They drove me to some concrete steps and the guy carried my heavy cabin bag up, which was good because I’m having increasing difficulty with stairs.

Then he carried on through to my seat (26C) and settled me in. OK so far. But all the seats around me rapidly filled up, so my dream of having a row to myself was dashed. The plane was virtually full.

We arrived 15 mins early to Perth (1225 instead of 1240) but although my bag was marked Priority in red and yellow, it was nowhere near first off.

No matter, as I had nothing to declare I was straight out the doors and onto the pavement by 1255. Not bad, compared with the old days.

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Sorry to repeat this picture, but I like it.  (C) PJ Croft 2016

Despite the cold, I’m pining for the heat and humidity already. I have an appointment with a specialist on 1 July, with an operation to follow soon after, I hope, to have my gastric band removed. It’s causing problems, I suspect. I also have a couple of other problems that need seeing to. I hope and expect that my friend will come back to Perth soon, but she’s not going to like this weather, that’s for sure. I’ll go back to Bali as soon as I’m able.

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On the drive to the airport I asked Made about the ginormous construction that can be seen on the highest point of the southern peninsula of Bali. Even while it’s being constructed, it looks enormous and can be seen from miles away.

He said it’s a new statue of the Bali/Hindu style, and will be eight times taller than the Statue of Liberty. Huh? He said it’s going to be the tallest statue in the world. Already, you can go up to the first viewing level, while it’s being built.

Well, good luck to them. In a land where people are desperately poor and have no social benefits in sickness and old age, a huge amount of money must be being spent on this one statue. Hmmm.

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This new power pole is not set into the ground, and is supported by those two concrete slabs. It definitely seems to be in use. I guess they’ll finish it one day. That’s our hotel, the Artotel, in the background.

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For those members of the Misplaced Apostrophe Society, take a look at this menu. Smoothies’s ?

But that’s not as bad as a WA yoghurt called Chris’ Yoghurt. It’s Greek. It sure is. Chris’ ???

Bali, Sanur, day 25

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That’s a charter yacht.    (C) PJ Croft 2016

My last day here today. Slight change of plans, need to get home for medical reasons, had a ticket that I had to use or lose, so I’ll be home after lunch tomorrow. And back to the winter. I’ve actually adapted to the warmth here. The locals are complaining of the heat, but I seem to tolerate it OK.

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I was holding onto that boat bobbing in the water only 30 mins beforehand. The tide went out rapidly. Around 5pm.

Medical reasons? One is that I did some ocean wading on Sunday afternoon and I managed to damage my left foot.

We’d bought cheap plastic sandals to protect our feet in the ocean, but due to a silly mix up, I had one small (lady’s size) sandal on my left foot. I thought, “Funny, my foot’s swollen normally, but gee, this is tight.”

Out in the water, it came off, so I hobbled on over the big sand ridges littered with pieces of coral rock. I trod on one, and it hurt, so we checked later and found two small marks. We’ve cleaned it up very carefully and applied band aids, but it’s bruised and sore. Not inflamed, thank goodness, but I need to get it looked at asap.

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Think they might know where the fish are?      (C) PJ Croft 2016

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Who dat dere?        (C) PJ Croft 2016

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Today we went out to two areas north-east of Sanur to get a feel for the areas as potential long term living places. The first was Padang Galak and the second was Ketewel. Both are very rural, very traditional, but with some big villa and hotel developments out there.

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Padang Galak beach looking toward Sanur.   (C) PJ Croft 2016

The best thing, for me anyway, was that a couple of them are right on the beach front, with the strong sea breezes and sounds of crashing surf. The sand is black, and parts are very rocky, but I would love it out there! It’s quiet and rural, yet only 10 – 15 mins away from Sanur and Denpasar.

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Villa for rent. Only the wealthy need apply.  Ketewel.

There was a slight problem of cost. Both were set up as daily, weekly or monthly rentals, not for long termers. They are quite out of our price range. This was only a fishing expedition, however, just to get a feel of the area.

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Phwoooaaar.

Made, our driver, pointed out a tree next to small creek as we drove past. “Bad spirits”, he said. “No good place. Don’t come past here after dark, and especially not alone.” Why? He could feel the bad vibes. Accidents  can happen. Amazing.

Panorama

Imagine having this as your private pool.  Ketewel.

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Bali, Sanur, day 25

 

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Sanur sunrise Friday     (C) PJ Croft 2016

Sunday morning in the restaurant trying to feel better after one too many drinks last night. It is so pleasant, sitting here open to the street, watching the people come and go, carrying things, food, flower arrays and baskets to and from the temple 50m away. The traffic is blocked off, so except for the odd motorbike or scooter, it’s quite quiet.

Speaking of scooters, how about this?

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It’s a Yamaha NMax 150cc in Burnt Titanium colour scheme. About $4,000 in Oz.

If I were in the market, I’d look closely at one of those. Yumm.

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We went to see a couple of long term rental properties in Sanur yesterday. We’re a long way from doing anything yet, it wouldn’t be until much later in the year, but we were recommended by a friend so we went along.

Finding the friend’s house in the maze of narrow streets was task number one. The taxi driver threaded his way back and forth, looking for Gang III, and we eventually found it after going into the wrong house and asking for directions.

An agent was there and we were asked to be pillion passengers on their scooters, but I just can’t get my leg over, if you’ll pardon my expression, so we got another taxi. Again, left, right, back, forward, reverse, a maze of streets, at one stage having to fold the car’s mirrors inwards to squeeze through.

When we got to the first place, we found it was still being renovated. That was OK, but the bedrooms had no windows. No, no, no. Then to cap it, we found it was only for sale, not for rent. Sorry, not for us.

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(C) PJ Croft 2016

On to the next place which was better, more open, but it immediately struck us how much noise there was from the street just over the wall. I think I might have been able to tolerate it, tune it out after a while, but it didn’t have any positives, so bye bye.

After that we returned to the hotel and looked webwise for properties for long term rentals. There’s plenty available, so we bookmarked a few. But this is in the future.

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Bali, Sanur, day 23

What a day this has been. I’ve been up since 4.30am (with a sleep later to make up for it) to see the dawn. Then at 12.30pm the Balinese Hindu religious ceremony of Odalan started in this street. More on that in a minute. All up today, I’ve shot 75 images and video clips in the morning, and another 104 this afternoon. I’ve drained the camera’s battery twice today. Read on …

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Gunung Agung at 6.17am     FZ1000    (C) PJ Croft 2016

I’ve done it at last: I got up before dawn and was on the beach for the sunrise. I’ve been trying to make myself do it but Morpheous kept intervening.

It was still completely dark when I walked down to Semawang Beach at 5.33am. How do I know the time? It’s recorded, along with the date, and a mass of other details, with every image I shoot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(C) PJ Croft 2016  Olympus E-M1

At first, there was orange street lighting spoiling everything, but it went off and I got the crescent moon rising.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(C) PJ Croft 2016     Olympus E-M1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(C) PJ Croft 2016   Olympus E-M1

Then the sun made its entry.

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(C) PJ Croft 2016     Panasonic FZ1000  6.33am

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(C) PJ Croft 2016  FZ1000     6.38am

… and illuminated the mountains.

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(C) PJ Croft 2016  FZ1000  6.47am

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(C) PJ Croft 2016   6.17am    FZ1000

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Walkin’ the dog(s)    (C) PJ Croft     7.04am

So after this, it was back to the hotel, just a slow five minute walk, then a cold shower, breakfast, then another two hours’ sleep. It was a good morning.

But the best was yet to come.

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He looks a bit angry.    (C) PJ Croft 2016

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After the sleep, V called me to come and see the street scene. Today marked the start of the three day festival of Odalan, celebrated every 210 days by the Balinese Hindu calendar. But I was told that this year’s festival is especially significant at this temple in our street, being celebrated once every 30 years. We are multiply blessed.

The complete schedule is up on a large board outside the temple, and today started with the assembly of a large procession to walk down to the beach. All images Copyright PJ Croft 2016.

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The gong’s all here..

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The board behind the girls records the donor name and amount of donations to the temple.

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The high priest conducting the ceremony at the beach. This was very solemn.

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He called for prayer several times.

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There was time for play.

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At this point we were completely hemmed in and blocked by the large procession.

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Cymbals from the gamelan orchestra.

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The new co-exists with the old.

As I write this on Saturday morning at the breakfast table, a gamelan orchestra is playing in the front of the restaurant only 75m away. Wow. I love this music. Unfortunately, this hotel insists on playing Western music through loudspeakers in competition. Duh.

 

Bali, Sanur, day 22

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Sanur Dawn. (C) PJ Croft 2016

A frustrating day today, but we made a bit of progress. I need to get an extension on my Visa on Arrival, so it was off to the Kantor Imigrasi to start the process. It requires three visits: this first one to lodge the passport and papers (copies of documents) and to fill out the initial form.

Unfortunately we followed a web description and went to the office (Kantor) at Jimbaran, south of the airport. It cost a $12 taxi ride to get there, only to be told that as I was staying in Sanur, we had to apply at the Denpasar office. Journey wasted.

So it was off to Denpasar, this time fixed price $10. It was a magic day and I enjoyed the ride along the amazing concrete freeway across Benoa Bay. It’s a terrible thing, to have built this monstrosity over this beautiful bay, but it’s done and it cuts a lot of time off the trip. Today, I enjoyed the views of the mangroves and the fishing boats.

We got to the Denpasar office in time before their lunch break and I filled out the form we’d been given. I had all the photocopies of my passport etc, and my flight home on the 29th, so it was just a matter of handing them in, filling in another couple of forms and handing my passport over. I’m not too happy about that, but there’s no choice.

I was given a receipt (yipes, where is it?) and we were told to come back on 7 June for step 2, photograph and fingerprints.

Well, 7 June is the day before we’re due to check out of this hotel and, in theory, go back north. Obviously, that will have to be delayed. I should have started this process days earlier, but, y’know …

So since we’re not all that happy about this hotel, we’ve booked into my favourite, the Taksu for four more nights in Sanur, hoping the visa extension will be completed by then. We’ve reserved a big 40m2 room on the ground floor opening onto a patio with all the ferns and greenery, and next to the pool. It’s much bigger than this cramped room. We both love it and are looking forward to it, very much.

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We started to walk back along Jalan Danau Poso to this hotel, but we both felt the heat and some pain, so got a taxi the rest of the way. The meter showed Rp7000 and was still showing that when we got here, so I gave the guy double that, at least.

The street outside our hotel is blocked off for a temple festival in a day or so. Good! They’re playing a lot of gamelan music from the temple, but it’s only recorded stuff at the moment. I really hope for some full gamelan orchestra music. I love it.

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After a sleep and cool down, we’ve had a swim in the roof top pool and I was able to point out the Southern Cross, very clear in the southern sky. Nice!

Indo girl 1980

Natural beauty. (C) PJ Croft 2016

Bali, Sanur, day 21

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The view from our balcony 10 minutes ago.

A pinch and a punch for the first of the month.

This has been a pretty frustrating day. I need to extend my 30 day visa and to do that I have to have an air ticket home on a day within another 30 days ahead. I had to make a new booking, in other words.

Aaaarrrrgh! Try booking a ticket direct on Air Asia’s web site. It is frustration plus. It took more than two hours, due to congested wi-fi, constant stupid web error messages, inability to let me change my credit card details and so on. Ugh! Ugh!

As well, not Air Asia’s fault, when I tried to use my main bank’s credit card, they use two factor authentication. That means I have to click on a Get Netcode button which sends a number to my mobile phone. But my mobile phone is on my Indonesia SIM card. It won’t receive that code. I tried switching SIM cards but … Dead end.

So I tried to use my other card on my other bank. More ID required, negotiable this time, but due to other error messages, I kept having to re-enter the details. Aaaarrrrgh!

Eventually I got there, with the help of V, but having started at about 1130 am we didn’t finish until after 3pm. This was not fun.

That made it too late to go to the Immigrasi office to lodge the extension application. That’ll have to happen tomorrow morning, as early as we can make it, because they say they’ll only handle 500 per day and they were near that limit by lunchtime today. They go to lunch from 1200 to 1300, of course. No thongs or public displays of affection are allowed in the office either. That’s a pity because my thongs and I are very close friends.

Anyway, I have a new booking on Wed 29 June.

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V’s dislocated toe is much better, but looking alarmingly blue due to bruising. We got a doctor last evening and he pronounced it non-life threatening, so that’s OK then. Keep taking the tablets and call him in the morning.

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Nice!

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Patience, m’boy. (C) PJ Croft 2016