And the ninth is how blunders like this get past the editorial process at the West.

The morning after the 55th year reunion: yes, it’s 55 years since we finished our final year at Northam Senior High School and after one for the whole school held in Northam in 1979 to coincide with WA’s 150th, we started our cohort’s reunions. There were almost no computers or printers and no email back then, so a small group, (not including me in those days) sent out paper letters by snail mail. There was a pretty good turn out, including several teachers but sadly several have passed on since.

1979 Reunion at Ascot Inn

We now have a database of 207 former students (i.e. anyone who attended NSHS in the 1960-1964 wave) and these days, we meet every year as the names in red ink as deceased grow in number. One of our very well liked and admired colleagues died just a few days before I sent out this year’s first email notice.

Our total yesterday was 37, although there might have been a couple of extras and a few didn’t show. We still meet in the same location as the old Ascot Inn, now rebuilt and renamed the International on the Water Hotel.

As usual, although I took my “proper” camera with me, and had my phone camera and my Android tablet, I took not a single photo! What’s wrong with me? One reason was that we stayed inside in a dining area and the chairs were packed so tightly that it was hard to move around. Oh well, next year. One of the other guys took a lot of shots with his camera so I hope to be able to show his soon.


I had the pleasure of providing the transport for one of our best and most remembered teachers, our maths guru Dr Norm Hoffman. He’s 87 now and I can assure you he’s as sharp as ever. It made for good conversation. I was happy to tell him that reading books on maths is one of my main interests these days and there has been a small explosion in the numbers of books of popular maths. I don’t claim any expertise, and I well remember my own aphorism, “The only reason we do maths is to do more maths.” Well, I take that back. There is a lot of maths in electronics and I came to need the understanding in my work.

I’ve just finished a biography of Sir Isaac Newton, one of the inventors of calculus (also claimed by Leibnitz), and what an interesting man he was. All we seem to remember him for is gravity and a falling apple, but he was much more than that.

It turned out yesterday that Newton and Norm Hoffman share a distinction, that of both being born on Christmas Day. Just a few centuries apart, that’s all.


I drove the Honda MDX and damn, it’s going to be hard to part with that car. My new door switch and handle assembly works and looks fine and the car polishes up very well. I’m slowly fixing all the little bits of damage and cleaning off the signs of neglect by the previous owner(s). It’s obvious that someone had a large can of white paint on the back seat at some stage, as there’s a fine white ring left, with some on the carpets as well.

Today’s assignment will be to replace the door locking motor mechanism on the right rear passenger door. I have the part, $15 including postage from China. I also have a set of chromed plastic letters, M-D-X to replace the missing logo from the tailgate, and another packet of 10 LED lamps arrived for the interior and exterior wedge base lights.

One thing you have to realise with these LED lamps is that they’re polarised, i.e. plus and minus, so they have to go in the right way. Incandescent lamps could go either way but not these. However, once in, they should never need replacing again.

Aaah, marvellous internet and eBay. How did we exist without it?


Before I gave up my idea last year of buying a prestige Mercedes and buying the Verada and Honda instead, one of the cars I fell for was this one:

That’s real woodgrain, not plastic.

As you can see it’s in Sydney and it’s at least 5 months since I last looked at it, but it’s still up on the car sales web site! The price has dropped a few thousand too.

Phew, the hots are still there. I yearn to go to Sydney, buy it and drive it slowly back to Perth. However, the cost of insurance alone is almost prohibitive (around $1400 pa last time I enquired) and it obviously doesn’t sell easily, so quite apart from any mechanical issues, it would be a financial sink-hole. Even so … what a pleasure that would be.


Someone asked me yesterday what I do about travel insurance. I said, these days I take the small risk and do without when I go to Bali. I got a preliminary quote on-line a few weeks ago and it came to $370 for four weeks. And on thinking about it, in all the 40 years or more that I’ve been travelling overseas, and spending thousands of dollars on insurance, I can’t recall a single occasion when I’ve been able to make a claim.

Even a few years ago when I had to go to the BIMC for leg ulceration, that fell under the clause of pre-existing. I couldn’t make a claim even though it cost me nearly US$500 for the series of visits.

I’m careful. The only thing I worry about is being hit by the motorbike or vehicle that I don’t hear or see coming.

If I were doing a complex trip such as to UK/Europe, that would be different. I’m afraid a trip to the USA is out of bounds now with my existing conditions, so that question doesn’t arise any more. I don’t want to go there now anyway.


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