Duck!   © PJ Croft 2018

Wow, posts two days running. After I finished yesterday’s post all the mentally filed topics came to me, enough for a second go. Aren’t you lucky?


Aaaah, June 21, the winter solstice, the shortest day. From now on the days lengthen again, on the way back to summer. Yes please! I don’t mind the cold and rain so much, but the short days and late sunrise, not so good.


On the topic of living life to the fullest, I saw a great quote a few days ago: “Try everything, except folk dancing and incest.”  Attributed to Thomas Beecham. I don’t know if that’s Sir Thomas Beecham, the famous (NOT iconic) British conductor.

I can think of a few more things to eschew in the first category: boot-scooting, tongue (meat), visiting Komodo Island, deep sea saturation diving and so on. Take your choice. Re the second, I think that’s a given.


I’m updating my GPS navigators this afternoon. I say “this afternoon”, because both the TomTom and the Navman are so slow that I’m doing other things to while away the time. It’s taken nearly three hours so far and the Navman is still in the final stage of doing a backup after all the updates.

My TomTom is 10 years old now (I bought it in 2008 for my UK trip) and they’ve advised me it’s no longer supported. But persistence paid off and I found it would update. Especially, I keep it because it has a SE Asia map, including Indonesia and Bali, so I’m not letting it die.

I bought the Navman when it was reviewed in Silicon Chip a couple of years ago. It’s not only a GPS, it has an HD camera on the front for drive recording. I’ve been a big fan of TomTom’s ease of use and clarity, but the Navman has its own charms as a GPS map display, and it quickly became my permanent device in the car. I take the TomTom to Bali and leave the Navman at home.

The drive camera is good, but it’s not automatic. You have to remember to tap the camera icon on the screen to start it each time. Needless to say, I don’t do it very often and as sure as eggs, I’ll be hit by someone and it won’t be recording. Still, I’ve been driving for over 50 years and so far no-one has hit… Oh no, don’t say that you fool.


Last year I copied (“ripped”) all my CDs to a hard drive, all 900 odd. Of course the problem then is finding the disc and tracks to play among all the folders.

I did a bit of searching and settled on two cataloguing software programs, Helium and MusicBee. This is Helium, showing just some of my CDs. This is just 44 of them.


I tried the free version for a while and liked it, so I paid my $30 for the full version. It’s very much database driven and the programmers don’t give much handholding, so I’m still trying to use it. (It automatically found all the CD cover images from the web, how about that?!)

That’s why I use the other one, MusicBee. It’s also free and classifies all the music genres down the LH side:



It seems to be (Bee?) easier to find an album if you know what type of music it is. I’m not sure which will win out. Maybe both will bee needed.

But how great to have all this music at my fingertips. No getting up to put CDs in the player. Even more sloth…


I need to get to the airport next month and to avoid imposing on my friends again, I investigated Uber and a hire car. Uber is $90 minimum one-way! Yowch.

I found that if I book through Air Asia’s site, I can get a small car for one day for $37, dropping at the airport. I don’t think I’ll need this, but it’s a viable way to do it. A lot cheaper than long term car parking.


I’m not dead yet.


For your a-mews-ment.  (C) PJ Croft 2016

The rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I’m still here, tapping away at these keys with my skeletal fingers. Trust your sense of smell. You’ll know.


Wow, what a change to winter. April and May we were praying for rain, and boy, it’s here. This is like the winters of old, wet and cold all day and night. We don’t get this very often now. Let’s savour it.


I’ve been beavering away for the past week or two trying to fix the driver side window on my car. It was being reluctant to raise a few times in the past few months, but about ten days ago it just went bzzzzzz and that was it. Stripped teeth on the winder gear, I assume. Unfortunately it’s in the down position and I can’t get it up. (Quiet there in the back stalls, stop snickering.)

I enquired about a new winder mechanism – no, not available from Mitsubishi any more, not for a 17 year old car. No problem, I found one on the web from a parts company in Brisbane, for $152 including express post. It still took 5 days!

I decided I’d try to change it over myself, but after several hours of beard stroking and muttering, and reading the Mitsi workshop manual pages from the web, I gave up. It’s too complex for me. You need nylon spacer gauges and another assembly has to come out of the door too. I gave up and booked it into Wanneroo Mitsubishi to have it done. They are OK to use my non-genuine part and quote 2hrs and $165. It’s booked in for Friday morning.

Meanwhile, since I had the door lining off, and the winder showed no sign of driving, I decided to pull the switch assembly apart to check the switch. I found soot everywhere from sparking in the past 17 years. The terminals are thick copper, so they just needed cleaning and a needle file, but I was surprised at the amount of soot.


However, in the process, and without me really noticing, the window lock button sort of, er, fell out. When I say fell out, it fell to bits.

Boy, now that I know how to get it back together, I could demonstrate it, but it took me about three hours and several tries to get it back together and working. At one stage, I thought I’d just leave it out since I never use it, but no good, it has to be in place to bridge two contacts for the other switches to work.

Eventually I succeeded today. All the other windows work, but the driver side doesn’t show any sign of the motor working, so I can only assume it’s stuck between down and up. I’ll know on Friday. Of course it had to happen in winter, didn’t it?


Off to the island up north again soon, and looking forward to it. It’s tricky to find the low fare times, days and weeks, but I ended up on Air Asia again. I decided I’d try Malindo as their seat pitch is 50mm extra and you get a meal and seat entertainment, but when I tried to book, I couldn’t find any way to add extra luggage or flexible travel dates. I always add these with Air Asia. Therefore Malindo misses out, I’m afraid, despite their attractive pricing.


I’ve bought a 20Ah Lithium Polymer battery pack for my phone and laptop while travelling.


Would you believe the brand is “Jackery”? It comes from a Brisbane company, so I hope for reliability and good service. I would usually go for a big name brand, but this was $104 versus $170 for a well known brand. That was too good to ignore.

The capacity is 20 Amp hours! That means it could supply, in theory, 20 Amps for 1 hour. That’s enough to melt the terminals. Or, more realistically, it can supply 1 Amp for 20 hours. That’s terrific. I was thinking it might run my CPAP, but that needs 12V. I’d need another device for that.