Busselton lightning 1993.   © PJ Croft 2017

What a rotten night. I got to sleep at about 11pm but was woken by a power failure at 12.52am. Most people would sleep through such a thing, but my CPAP blower goes off and suddenly I can’t breathe properly. That wakes me quick smart.

It stayed off until 3.30am! No light to read by, a bit of restless leg syndrome, a too warm-too cool feeling, diabetic pain in my feet, it was bad. Luckily my battery radio worked.  And I was able to read the Economist on my tablet.

But my house alarm was driving me nuts with a beeping sound from the keypad. I must admit I’ve been lax in not getting around to changing a faulty sealed lead-acid battery for “keep alive” power, and that meant one of the keypad panels had gone haywire and was beeping incessantly.

Finally, the power came back on at 3.30am, but that meant one of my hi-fi amps came on with FM noise at high volume. I had to get up to turn it off. But I couldn’t make the alarm panel shut up. It was only a beeper, not the house screamer. At that stage.

Eventually I could stand it no longer so at 4am I got the ladder and climbed up into the closet to open the alarm cabinet and reset it. I turned the mains power off but when I tried to open the cabinet, it triggered the full bore house alarm! It is LOUD! I couldn’t stop it.

I couldn’t get one of the screws holding the door out. Damn. Eventually I got it, but my house alarm was going off for more than 5 mins at 4am. Sorry, neighbours. Mind you, I wasn’t the only one – each time the power fails or is restored around here, several house alarms go off. Everyone has an alarm, they were part of the estate houses when they were built in 2004, along with good reticulation watering systems, which is great. Unfortunately, alarms going off are such a common thing that no-one takes any notice of them. Thieves could just ignore them, really.

Anyway, eventually I got the alarm cabinet door open and unplugged the battery. Still the alarm was going! It finally stopped when I unplugged the mains power again.

Sleep was out of the question now, so I made coffee and settled down to look at the computer. Damn! The power went off again at 4.20am! It stayed off, so I tried to get back to the bedroom and literally walked into a wall and door, it was so dark. No damage, luckily, and the power came back on just as I was feeling my way into the bedroom.

So now at 5am I’m wide awake and internet browsing, which means I’ll have to daytime sleep again. I’m trying not to do that, but …


A couple of years ago I remember thinking that the world was going to hell, that we were witnessing the end of this civilisation.  Little did I imagine then how bad things would become in just two years.

  • The Middle East, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iran all either in full blown war or threatening it.
  • Turkey voting to have an absolute dictator in charge, with unlimited power, in place until at least 2029. What are they thinking?!
  • North Korea making credible threats of a nuclear strike, and no way to stop them except a pre-emptive military strike.
  • Britain and Brexit causing a massive problem for Europe, with Russia rubbing its hands with glee and sizing up the opportunities for trouble it presents.
  • This will mean a further decline of Britain as a world power. Their armed forces used to be a serious factor in keeping the peace, but they’ve been decimated by budget cuts for years. They’re building two new aircraft carriers, but they have no aircraft for them! Their navy is a shadow of what it used to be. Tragedy.
  • China militarising the South China Sea and threatening anyone who dares to challenge its land grab.
  • The US rejecting all the scientific evidence for greenhouse gas emissions and undoing all the good work of the Obama presidency.
  • An absolute idiot, uneducated, unintelligent, untrained in history and diplomacy now in charge as US President.
  • The decline of quality journalism and the seeds of distrust deliberately sown by the US president.

and the list goes on and on. I was pessimistic before, but I’m downright scared now. This will not end well.


By the way, I’m dealing with a dietician at the moment, not a dietitian. I was unsure of the spelling so I looked it up. Dietician with a c is the UK English spelling and dietitian with a t is the US spelling. I’ll stick with UK English, thanks.


After all that, I had an hour’s sleep then went to Joondalup for brunch. I wanted to use my birthday present from friends, which was a Dymocks voucher card. Nice.

I bought “Paul Keating, The Biography” with the card. It’s a massive book, 650 odd pages and will take me months to read, but I’ll read it. In my opinion, Paul Keating is the greatest prime minister Australia has ever had. Unfortunately he had a foul mouth and an acid tongue in the 1980s, which put most people off, but underneath that unlikeable exterior, he was and still is one of Australia’s great thinkers and doers. I wish he was still in politics now.

I also bought a couple of books on science, “50 Ideas of Einstein”, and one called, “You Probably Thought This Was Simple, But It’s More Complicated Than That.” Great title. It’s about skewering some of the more silly and outrageous scientific misconceptions in the popular press and media.


Then I visited Woolworths supermarket. I did this only because I know they have a made to order Japanese food kiosk. I saw a TV program a couple of weeks ago about a hugely overweight Aussie guy who goes to Japan for two weeks to learn about the Japanese diet. He spends his two weeks eating nothing but their food and learning how to prepare his own, does a lot of walking in the process in Tokyo, of course, then comes back to Australia (Brisbane) and does another month on his own Japanese cooking.

Result? He loses 24kg weight and all his blood tests, lipids etc head back towards normal.

My blood tests and lipids are brilliant, no problems there, but I have a bad weight problem. It’s occurred to me that if I went to Joondalup every three days or so and bought my Japanese food at this kiosk, ready made, and stocked my fridge with it, I might be able to replicate this. I like Jap food and I reckon I could live on it, especially if I cooked my own okonomiyaki, vegetable omelettes. I regard cooking as a waste of valuable time, so I don’t want to go that far. Just a thought. I chatted to the two oriental-looking staff and they sounded encouraging. Which they would, of course.

But then I made the mistake of buying some general groceries. I say ‘mistake’, because it’s my experience that Woolies will try to rob you any chance they get.

Sure enough, when I checked my till receipt as I left the store, as I always do with Woolies, immediately I found two major pricing errors, in Woolies’ favour of course.

Two tins of soup which I’d taken from a corner shelf and marked at $1.68, scanned at $3.59 each! And two packets of hard crackers from a basket, marked as 2 for $6, scanned at $6 each! I had specifically asked a staff member as the price tag was vague, and I was assured that 2 for $6 was right. It bloody well was not!

So that was pricing/scanning errors totalling $19.18. This is not trivial and I am fed up with Woolies. Don’t shop at Woolies supermarkets unless you enjoy being ripped off! It happens every time for me. I won’t shop there these days. This has been going on for years! I will have to write a letter of protest to the management. Or put it up on Facebook. Hmmm. Coles, on the other hand, are exemplary. I don’t usually bother to check my receipts because they almost never make an error. If they can do it, why can’t Woolies, and why does Woolies never improve?



2 comments on “Aaaaarrrrgh

  1. Re China, have you seen John Pilger’s film ‘The Coming War on China’. Explains why the Chinese government wants to have its own overseas bases, the US has a ‘noose’ of bases in countries around China ready to attack!

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