Notes from the bunker day 14

The Sydney Croft family – L-R Darcey, Marion, Jonathan (Jack) my father, Bill. All now deceased.

Apart from speaking to my Silver Chain cleaner last Thursday, I haven’t spoken a word to anyone else in more than a week. I haven’t left the house except for a short shopping trip and to collect my car from the RAC last Wednesday. I must admit, used as I am to living alone, it’s a bit hard to take. Normally whenever I notice the isolation I know to get out of the house by going out shopping or whatever. I’m not supposed to do that now. Don’t worry, I’ve lived this way all my life so I know how to cope, but I do wonder how long this will go on.

I was going to go out on Monday, but didn’t, and again today, but didn’t. Just a bit nervous about it. I’ll try again tomorrow.


I will say that I’m a bit annoyed at the people being forcibly quarantined in five star hotels, though. Most of them seem to be whingeing and whining about it. Holy smokes, they are in a luxury hotel, with beautiful bedding and furnishings, comfy chairs, full TV and internet, wi-fi and with three square meals provided free of charge each day. Luxury bathrooms.

Sure, they can’t go out, but it’s only for two weeks. There’s an end in sight. Stop whining! Think of the homeless who have to sleep on the streets. Think of the people who’ve lost their jobs suddenly, usually with young families to support. Stop whingeing!


My friend in Vienna is also under the same conditions as we are, semi-confinement in her apartment, not prohibited from going out to shop for food or exercise but no gatherings of more than two people. At least it’s spring there, although still very cold, below freezing at night. I take comfort that she knows a nurse and is in a good place if she got sick.


I’ve found the water leak that’s been costing me so much. Both my plastic Caroma toilet cisterns have been failing to seal at the outlet to the pan (in a high quality house that was a display house, these are surprisingly low quality cisterns). I thought it was just the inlet valve and a minor thing, but when I used a screwdriver (what would we do without screwdrivers!) to hold the float up and stop the hissing, I found the cistern emptied itself within an hour or less.

Usually I’d fix this myself, but that requires going to the hardware shop to buy parts. Not supposed to do that now. I can call a plumber of course, but I blanch at the cost. It will have to be “screwdriver in/screwdriver out” for a while until I decide what to do.


It pays to read Silicon Chip magazine. In planning to reorganise my hi-fi equipment, I’ve had in mind that the distance between the new equipment and the TV is more than quadrupled, to probably 10m. That’s a bit long for HDMI cables.

Today I happened to see in an Altronics ad in Silicon Chip, AOC, Active Optical Cables. These have active optical transducers in the fittings which send via optical fibre in the cable, thus allowing long runs. That’s the good bit. The bad bit is the cost – $209 for 10m, $229 for 12m. Ouch. But I don’t think there will be any alternative. Even a 10m amplified wire cable is $80.

I love browsing catalogues.


Notes from the bunker day 13

All is calm.

Back again. Day 13 – in theory I should be able to end my self-isolation after tomorrow, day 14, but I don’t think that will apply now. People over 70, don’t go out at all! For how long? They are talking six months! That’s hard to comprehend. As I’ve said, this is no great change for me. The only thing different is that I used to enjoy going to the big shopping centre a couple of times a week to do my grocery shopping, have lunch, read the paper while eating, browse the DVDs and CDs at JB and browse the bookshops. There’s QBD and a second-hand book shop at Clarkson, and Target and K-Mart sell books, so there’s plenty of choice. I’ll miss that.

I also have two good mates with whom I have semi regular breakfasts at North Beach, halfway between our homes. But even if our favourite cafe meeting place was still open, which it’s not, we can’t afford to be in close proximity because we’re all over 70 and with various illnesses and vulnerabilities. No more meetups for the foreseeable future. That’s going to be a bit hard to take.

As well, the Dome cafe across the road from me is closed for dine-ins. I wasn’t a frequent customer (too expensive) but I did enjoy my occasional lunch.


Aaaaah! From a bright sunny morning, it clouded over and now it’s raining. Whacko! I love the changes. Huh, rain’s stopped again, a five minute shower.


Someone I know well, a maths teacher at a prominent school in Perth, has told me he is very stressed and very tired. Although the school has to remain open, many parents are keeping their children away at home. The teachers have suddenly had remote teaching thrust on them. He’s having to learn how to use a software program from scratch and record his lessons, mostly at home in his own time, for delivery from an empty classroom at the school. This is all new stuff, they only found out about it last week and have to start doing it today. I’d be stressed too. It’s yet another example of where people are expected to rapidly update their skills and take on new workloads. It’s a new world, and not a very nice one.


SBS showed a BBC program called Contagion last night. I thought it was going to be a fictional drama, but it was about an experiment performed in 2014 in the UK showing how a pandemic grows and spreads. The presenters were real experts and although it was a simulation, the parallels to now were all too real. It could have been written as a training program.

The lessons were just as we are experiencing; the only way to fight a virus attack like this is total lockdown. People will still die, mainly the elderly (yikes!) but the spread will be much less and much slower. It was prescient.


I’ve also watched two more episodes of The Crown in the past few nights. I’m up to episode six in series two, I think. Although it’s still good, it’s not a patch on the first series. I’m not sure why, it’s still the same story, the sets are all the same, but the actors are different. Claire Foy in the first series as the young queen was just outstanding! It was one of the best characterisations I’ve ever seen, I think. The new queen, Olivia Coleman is good, but she’s not the same. The new Jook Embro is also good, but it’s not the same.

There’s still series three to come so I’ll reserve judgement.


Both my toilets never quite shut off, there’s always a quiet hiss from the inlet valve and a steady internal drip in one case, 24/7 of course. I hope this is the cause of my enormous water bills recently. Normally I would have just gone to Bunnings and bought a new toilet cistern valve, but I’m not supposed to now. I might try browsing their catalogue on-line and ordering.

The postie was early this morning. I had delivery of two CDs from Amazon when I opened my door at about 9.30am. With so little foot traffic (almost none) I find it nice to leave my front door open.


Now to do something I should have done years ago, subscribe to Silicon Chip, my electronics magazine. I’ve been buying it for 30 years or more and it always seems easier to pay $9.95 each month at the newsagent than to fork out 12x that for a year’s subscription. Since a year’s supply is much less than the cost of individual issues, that’s wrong, but there ya go. I’m stupid that way. Now it’s time to get it subscribed, posted and delivered.

Notes from the bunker day 11

Japanese beer barrels. Makes ours look very crude. © PJ Croft 2020

Well, I must admit I’m starting to feel a little restricted, confined. Not that I would have done much on a Saturday anyway, it’s just the feeling that no matter what occurs to me, if it involves going somewhere, I can’t, or I shouldn’t. I’m sure I don’t have to explain it to you, we’re all in the same boat.

Being a Facebook Marketplace addict, there are several items in my Saved list that are sorely tempting and a few more have cropped up today, but really, is it worth the risk? It’s just as well, because being a bower bird, I’ve got to stop bringing things into this house! I’m crazy. I have far more than I need and storage is a problem. I was going to write “becoming a problem” but too late, it’s already happened.

There’s a marvellous pair of big UK brand loudspeakers for sale in Wembley that I would love to buy, asking $2,500, but I already have three pairs of good hi-fi quality speakers. How many do I need????

My third bedroom is effectively useless due to a very large ex-TVW7 VTR which is awaiting repair. Five years so far.

And my old 32″ Sony LCD TV – still good, too good to throw out, but just sitting there (covered up). I have in mind to install my old wall mounting swing arm so that I can mount it and use it in this room, but it requires drilling eight holes in this Fastwall wall and although I can do it, I’m not sure I have the right bolts and if I haven’t, going to the hardware shop to get more has to be weighed up. Probably not a problem but I don’t know.


There’s a good joke on Facebook today. What should we be drinking? Quarantinis. 🙂 🙂


That’s the thing, are we under the same strict lockdown conditions as NSW or Victoria? I know we’re not supposed to go out, but are we prohibited? I don’t know.


For some reason, shopping trolleys are accumulating (flocking?) on the street around here. There are eight across the street from me now and at least one more in the alley behind my house. Are deliveries not happening? Do people feel they have to use trolleys to get their bulk purchases home?


It’s occurred to me that one thing I could do is buy some seeds and plant some veggie plants. I would have gone out and possibly bought seedling punnets, but I don’t know if I can at the moment.

I got on-line yesterday and boy! everyone must have the same idea. There are a few Perth seed companies who say they can supply whereas ES companies can’t due to WA quarantine laws.

But almost every normal type of veggie seed is sold out. There are a few with odd names, odd varieties of well known veggies, so I managed to make a shopping cart of six types at $3.95 a packet, and they are ordered and on their way, I hope. They say new stocks are always arriving. I hope so. I’ve ordered tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, peas, … that sort of stuff. I already have lots of chillis, much more than I can use.

My lime tree is producing lots of new limes at the moment, small so far but they’ll grow nicely. Could it have something to do with the way my reticulation is working properly now and it’s being watered regularly?

Which reminds me, I have to go out to check the retic controller (I think the clock/day/date has got out of sync) so I’ll have to negotiate with the wasps that have built their nest inside the swing out door. I did it several weeks ago and as long as I went slowly, it went OK, with wasps even landing on my hand and wrist sometimes without getting upset. Nice wasps, nice, nice wasps…


One effect of this isolation is that I’ve got the TV on in the day time, something I normally don’t do. I finally got off my backside for two short sessions on the treadmill this morning and watching TV makes the minutes pass.

I’m looking forward to hooking up this SACD/DVD player and high power Sony amplifier. That will make it easier to watch DVDs and listen to hi-fi CDs, something I don’t do much of.


I mentioned yesterday that I need a source of power for my CPAP when the mains fails for long periods. Until the last few days, that was a very rare event, but with two outages of 5 hours or so, and the possibility of more, it’s no longer academic.

Therefore it was serendipitous that I picked up the January issue of Silicon Chip to find a full article on this very subject. The author needed a reliable backup battery source so that he could open the shutter over the entrance to his house in Sydney. No mains power, no entry to his house.

I haven’t absorbed the article yet but his research told him that a petrol generator was no solution (storage of fuel for long periods and it “goes off”, even in the tank of the generator). His conclusion is that AGM (car) batteries and an inverter are the way to go – I think. I haven’t finished reading yet.

But whatever the solution, it won’t be cheap. At least $1,000 I think. More on this to come.


I’ve always been favourably inclined to QANTAS, being the great Aussie icon airline, but I’m becoming very angry and upset with them.

First they “stood down” most of their workforce with virtually no notice and without pay.

Then today it’s been announced that they’ve told all their staff who were on paid sick leave or carer’s leave that their pay also stops, now. No notice.

Can you imagine the stress this would be causing? Some have cancer, or their partner has cancer, quite possibly caused by working as flight crew on aircraft (cosmic radiation is high energy particles from space which can penetrate the metal skin of aircraft and can cause cancer, and is especially prevalent at high altitudes where the shielding of the atmosphere is not as effective. This is a well known hazard of being flight crew.)

Rightly, their unions are saying “Hold up there! This against the law.” QANTAS says, well if there’s no work, then these employees are not employed by us, so we don’t have to pay them. The unions are taking them to the Fair Work Commission. Go unions!

Great Aussie attitude. Great Aussie Bastards.

Notes from the bunker day 10

After a hail storm 31/10/19 05.35am.

Another quiet day in these crazy times. Who would have believed, Myer have closed all their stores for a month. Employees laid off without pay. All gun shops in WA closed down immediately, no warning. I can understand the lack of warning – the gun nuts would have rushed the stores to buy up before the ban applied.

But it’ll all be OK. The prohibition on getting hair jobs taking more than 30 mins has been lifted. Phew! So you can have that shampoo, blow dry, colouration, tips, style job, whatever, after all.

I’m only a bloke but why do you need to go to a hair salon to have your hair shampooed? Why not just do it yourself in the shower? And you’re not going to be going out on the town all dolled up, or meeting friends who you need to impress. Why do you need a salon job? You blokes, so you can’t have a haircut for a month or whatever. So what?


I’ve just fired up the Denon Super Audio CD (SACD) player I bought second hand last week and discovered that it will read CDs and DVDs OK, but not SACDs. That’s annoying. I guess the seller probably didn’t know it was faulty; he probably didn’t play any SACDs. They’re not common. I did look through Amazon’s catalogue today, though, and there are plenty available. I picked some out but haven’t ordered, as they are not cheap.


If you have to be self-isolated, it helps to have this beautiful weather. Let’s hope we get some rain tomorrow, but I’m not complaining.

I put up a comment on F/B with a beautiful picture of Rottnest, saying if you have to be quarantined, you could hardly wish for a better place to do it. People would pay thousands of dollars to spend two weeks over there.

One of my overseas friends was so impressed by the picture that she said next time she’s in Bali (she’s European) she’d like to visit Perth and see Rotto. I said “Great, stay with me.” Great, she said, and accepted. So that will be nice. I’m looking forward to it, but when it might happen, who knows?

Notes from the bunker day 9

Sanur May 2019. (C) PJ Croft 2020

Grrrrrr! It’s now 10.30pm and the power has only come back on 20mins ago after another four hour failure! It went off at 6.10pm. It’s another pretty warm night and I needed the fan, and I wanted to go to bed, but with no power I can’t have either.

Western Power’s website showed a fault in Butler but no map and no information about it. I’ve just looked again and there’s still no information. Big help. They sent me a survey form earlier tonight about Tuesday night’s outage and I was able to say something, but I’d say a lot more now.

It looks like I’ll have to invest in a UPS, and it will have to be a big one. We shouldn’t have to do this.

Apart from that, it was an uneventful day, nothing much to write about. Now for some quality sleep.

Aaaarrrrgh, diabetic foot pains! Sudden, severe pains in my toes and insteps, bad enough to make me gasp and cry out with the pain. It only lasts 5-10 seconds, but that’s enough.

Notes from the bunker day 8

Scotland, 2008. My shot. © PJ Croft 2020

Bad start, but a good day. It was a bad start because the mains power went off at 8.08pm last night and stayed off. There was a brief attempt at restoring power at about 10pm but it still stayed off. It was hot last night and with no fan, I was very uncomfortable. I listened to my battery radio for a while, using my battery LED camping lantern (it worked very well, bought a couple of years ago for just this reason), then I got tired of the radio and fired up my fully charged Samsung 4G tablet. When the power goes off, the NBN stops and so there’s no modem, no internet, no landline phone. The tablet is independent of the mains power and gets the internet from the 4G mobile phone network.

That meant I could watch Netflix! By 10pm there was still no power so I watched two 1hr programs, an episode of Contagion (yeah, about a pandemic) and an episode of The Crown. That’s nearly two hours of high definition TV on this battery powered tablet. It was great. Using headphones the sound was hi-def too.

It was midnight by now and I desperately wanted to go to bed, but with no mains power, it meant no CPAP and I need that to sleep. I got onto the Western Power web site, Faults and Outages section. It showed the lower part of Butler and Merriwa as without power, but showed my area as not having a problem! Grrr.

So I phoned them (on my mobile, no landline, remember). The guy was very vague about it, didn’t know why my area wasn’t showing, had no notes about it and wasn’t sure whether the line crews would even be aware of the problem. Huh. He said he’d get onto them for me.

By 12.30am I gave up and went to bed, too hot, no fan, no outside breeze, no CPAP, not happy. I must have drifted off because I was awoken at 01.22am by the bedside light (which I’d deliberately left on) and short beeps from the house alarm. Aaah, at last. Fan on, CPAP on and I was off. I had a good sleep from then on, no credit to Western Power. I have a fridge full of food. I hope more than 5hrs of warming up hasn’t harmed it.


I was woken at 0830 by a call from the RAC at Joondalup. You’ll recall my MX-6 was taken there yesterday.

The news was that they’d found the problem, a broken plastic actuator in the gearbox where the cable connection from the shifter goes. He said it had more or less failed from age. But being a 25 year old car, there are no parts available now.

However, he said they have managed to put it back together using some kind of clips and it’s all good again. He said they can’t guarantee how long it will last – it could last another 25 years or it could fail next week. He said they will guarantee it until it fails! 🙂

So this afternoon I took an Uber taxi there and picked it up. The good bit was still to come. Apparently it didn’t take long to fix, less than an hour, and that is covered by my membership fees! No charge to me, in other words. Wow. Just goes to show, it pays to belong! Sure, the membership costs me $226 per year, but for that, all three cars are covered, and a second driver is covered. I get free towing up to 100Km in the metro area (which was the case yesterday, no charge for the tow truck) and all the usual breakdown services, as happened yesterday when I got the guy out to give me his assessment and advice.

So far this year, I’ve had a new battery for the Verada – I pay for the battery but the cost of the guy coming and changing it is covered; a roadside wheel change in January on the Honda MDX; two vouchers for $20 off any servicing or mechanical repairs; and now this. Money well spent, I reckon! I’ve been a member since 1971 and it works for me.


It’s like being in a union. You pay your annual fees, but you get so much in return! Hospitality workers are discovering this – many hundreds of them have been right royally screwed, done over, stolen from, by big name restaurants, bars and venues owned by “celebrity” entrepreneurs and chefs. Their union, Hospo Voice, have recovered tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen from low paid and otherwise powerless workers. The union is running a brilliant Facebook campaign. (I never thought I would see the day when “wage theft” became an everyday term, but it has.)

People don’t understand – national wage cases for industry pay increases (for occupations covered by awards) have to be argued in the Industrial Relations Commission in Melbourne. That means skilled negotiators have to stand in front of the commissioners and make the case for workers. These people are usually lawyers and have to be paid.

If a pay increase is won, it might be 2%, say. On an annual wage of $50,000, then 2% is $1,000 a year. If your union dues were $200, you’ve recouped that five times over! People can’t grasp this. You get back more than you put in.

Everybody has a union. Lawyers have the Law Society; doctors have the AMA; company directors have the Employers’ Federation; company directors have an association; actors and stage people have Actors’ Equity; journalists have the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA); politicians, even Liberal Party politicians, have a parliamentary members’ group. To stand aside and refuse to join in your group in the face of this is just lunacy.

Everyone benefits from working together. The only people I can think of who don’t, strangely, are creative people, writers, artists, sculptors – people who work alone But even they are eventually part of a team that works to put their work out to the public.

Refusing to support your industry union is sheer selfishness, parasitism.


I’ve spoken of how great it is that I was able to use a mobile phone last night despite the loss of mains power, and the LED camping light, and the tablet giving me hi-def TV despite the blackout. Today I was told that I can have medical appointments remotely without needing to attend the surgery by using a video conferencing facility. If I have to have a talk, they email me a link that connects me.

Then I got the Uber taxi at 3pm. I looked up the address on Google Maps, then used my mobile phone to book it. It only took five minutes to do. The phone showed me a map of my area and where the Uber car was on the map. A little car icon moved up the map and it showed me where he was and how long until he got here. It’s only the second time I’ve used Uber.

Then when we arrived, I didn’t have to fish in my wallet for a card (lucky, because I was wearing dishwashing gloves and they make it hard). Uber uses Paypal so the charge is automatically debited to my credit card ($25.14, by the way). I just got out and that was that.

My point is that all this is courtesy of electronics and computers. Wow, just wow! As you know, that has been my life’s work and interest and I’m proud of the way electronics and computer guys (generic term, includes girls, but there are very few!) are so clever, so inventive, so skillful. Marvellous.


Words. I was thinking of the word wakeful and wakefullness this morning. Wakeful – full of wake? How does that work?

The words hopeful and hopefully are often in my mind as I write. So many people say, “Hopefully we might get a pay increase” or whatever. But hopefully means full of hope. So, “Full of hope, we might…” rarely works. You need to think of the whole sentence before using it.

A correct example would be, “Hopefully, the sailors waved their arms looking for rescue.” They were full of hope. Or hopefully, the doctor might arrive soon. “I am full of hope that…”

Fat chance. Pissing in the wind.

Another relatively recent cliche word is shuttering or shuttered. It started last year, it’s meaning being closed. Nothing is closed any more, it’s shuttered. It’s even used as a verb! They shuttered the business. This is madness.

I also rail against the need to use utilise, in place of plain use. Why does everyone have to use (utilise?) a four syllable word when there’s a perfectly suitable single syllable word? It’s become endemic.

Being a confirmed, foundation member of the Society of Pedants, I’ve been keeping a text file since about August last year of grammatical, spelling and punctuation crimes I come across on the web. It’s mainly populated by the ABC News since that’s my main source of news (and The Guardian, but they don’t make many errors). I ensure I record the journalist’s byline for each one.

It’s a long list now, eight A4 pages long and growing every day. Being a text file, I’m hoping (hopeful? Full of hope?) that I could feed it into a spreadsheet as a database so as to sort it into columns by date, web site and journalist’s name if possible. I’d have to go through it and add commas so that it would be comma delimited. It wouldn’t be hard.

Gawd, what a waste of time! Get a grip on yourself, Pedantic Pete. There are many more important things to be done.

Notes from the bunker day 7

See below. © PJ Croft 2020

I went out late yesterday afternoon to do a little bit of grocery shopping, but mainly to beat a possible closure of bottle shops which I heard about on the radio. That would be a very unpopular move, I would say.

Anyway, I only went to the IGA on Connolly Drive about 1.5Km away. I was wearing a mask and gloves, as we are told to do. But in my trip and visit to the shop, out of the 3-4 dozen people I saw out walking, driving and in the shop, NOT ONE person was wearing a mask or gloves (except the two checkout people wearing gloves as they normally do).

So much for voluntarily following these new rules. I’m very annoyed. Someone said masks and gloves are unobtainable. Dishwashing gloves are in full stock, that’s what I was wearing, and you can easily make a simple mask out of a paper towel by folding it in a concertina way and stapling the ends with rubber bands to go over your ears.

I got my masks out from the serious ‘flu epidemic in 2008. I found I have two boxes of 100 each. They are very simple, just a single layer of paper, but it would provide basic protection, both ways.

Very annoyed.


I must admit I’m noticing I’m getting a bit irritable and narky. I’ve long known that I’m prone to that, even depression, after long periods of no human company, however brief. I may need to find ways.


One thing that’s occurred to me is to re-photograph Fremantle streets as I did in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

June 1989 © PJ Croft 2020
January 1991 © PJ Croft 2020
January 1991 © PJ Croft 2020
January 1991 © PJ Croft 2020

Those were taken under normal traffic conditions! Freo can be a very quiet place and if you pick your time, you can eliminate most people and cars. But now, with everything shut down, it would be especially deserted.

It would be interesting to go back there now and recapture these scenes, under the virus shutdown conditions and with the benefit of a modern digital camera. I don’t think I’d be violating any rules. I would wear a mask and gloves. This is the time of year to do it, as well, the equinoxe when the evenings are getting shorter and the sun has moved a bit north. Have you noticed that sunset is at 6.22pm and sunrise is at 6.23am at the moment?


There’s a great sequence of images in the New York Times today of the great silence in all the world’s great cities. The photos are full screen and are fascinating. Recommended.


I mentioned the trouble I had yesterday after the humidifier in my CPAP boiled dry with tap water in it. Above is the reservoir showing the residue from just one night! This is very fine stainless steel, so all those crystals are what came out of the tap water. Ugh! Luckily it’s easy to clean and I found another bottle of distilled water I’d forgotten about, so last night was easy. It just shows that I do need distilled water. I might go over to Woolies now and see if I can get more.


Later, 4.15pm: busy day. I finally phoned the RAC to get them to come and look at the MX-6. The guy came very promptly (within 30 mins) and didn’t waste any time on the idea of a brake switch causing the problem.

He took a plastic cover off the engine and worked directly on the cable from the gear shift to the auto-trans box on the end of the engine. His conclusion is that something has broken or dislodged in the box and needs to be fixed. Thinking the engine might have to come out to get at the transmission, I groaned at the prospective cost, but he said it could be quite easy to fix in situ.

Then, as I’m an Ultimate Level Gold card member, he said I could get a “free” tow to the RAC service place in Joondalup. They will do an assessment and give me a quote. If it’s too high, I can decline and there’s no cost. He said I can still drive the car as it will go into all the gears except Park. Reverse seems to have freed up. It would be legal to drive. But being unable to get to Park, the key is stuck in the ignition so it wouldn’t be advisable to leave it anywhere too long.

So I should know tomorrow morning what the damage could be. It’s too good a car to write off, even if it is an expensive fix. Them’s the breaks.

A tow truck arrived about 20 minutes later and off she went on the back of a truck. Crumbs, they make it easy. Hydraulics, steel cable from a motor driven drum, fabric, nylon straps and she was up on the truck within 10 minutes. First time I’ve seen it done. And the last time, I hope.


Then I went to the Woolies shopping centre at Butler Central. To be honest, with my head full of car things, I forgot to take the mask and gloves. Once again, NO-ONE was masked or gloved. It was moderately busy and NOT ONE shop was closed. Everything was open, as if there was no such thing as a corona virus.

Again, I started using a trolley, forgetting to think about sanitising the handles. And now that I’m home and everything’s unpacked, I’ve completely forgotten to wash my hands. Damn, it’s hard to change habits.


A busy day and a hot day. It’s 34degC and there’s not a breath of wind.

Notes from the bunker day 6

Screenshot from The Guardian

Notice the oddity in the picture above? Apart from being Kangaroo Tail Soup? Where are the forepaws in the middle two tails? Different logos for different aircraft. I’ve never seen that before.


Well, what a strange world to be in. None of us has ever known anything like this, confined to our homes for the foreseeable future. Not even in wartime did this apply. It’s like a science fiction novel. I’m fine, I have plenty of non-perishable food and even if I ran low, a period of enforced starvation rations would do me a world of good. I really, really need to lose weight but that’s another topic.

Thank goodness the weather is beautiful, even hot. Mid thirties most of this week in Perth. It wouldn’t be so nice if it was cold. I tend to feel less happy in cold grey weather, but there’s no sign of that, so Don’t Worry, Be Happy, eh?

I don’t think there’s any reason I couldn’t go out for a walk around the lake, or drive down to the beach access, get a bit of sea air. As long as I keep away from people and don’t touch railings and things without rubber gloves, no problem, I think. Could it actually reach the stage where police and troops were patrolling the streets with coercive powers? It’s a possibility. I could shake my walking stick at them.


An example of a great image from the web. It’s an asteroid’s size relative to a city, Los Angeles I think.

One of the things I’d like to do to while away the days (as if I needed things to do!!) is make a slideshow of a folder I keep on my desktop called Great Images from the Web. Whenever I see a fantastic image that I reckon I’ll want to see again, I save it there. I have 400 images in this folder!

Unfortunately I usually don’t have permission to use them or any way to credit the author or photographer. If I found my images were being used commercially or passed off as someone else’s work I’d be upset, but in this case I would be showing them as examples of great work and in no way claiming ownership. I hope to escape censure. Watch this space.


I was in Coles last Friday and came across a Navy person, a woman, in full camouflage uniform with all the badges and she had shoulder boards with two gold stripes, a Lieutenant. I felt bold enough to say hi and that the Navy is my favourite service. When I was 12 and 13 in the Sea Cadets in Rockingham in 1959/60/61, I wanted to join the navy but the minimum sign-on was 12 years in those days, which was a lifetime for someone my age. They didn’t want people who wore glasses either.

I asked this officer why the Navy needs camouflage uniforms out on the ocean. She grinned and admitted she didn’t know. Nice little chat.

But with sea level rises, I didn’t know we would have the RAN at our door this far up the coast. Maybe she was doing reconnaissance for a new base up higher.


I missed out on a good buy on Facebook Market last night, a Sony Mini Disc hi-fi deck for $120 in Yanchep. The ad said it was a bit reluctant to eject but it looked in good condition. I was going to buy it.

But the woman wouldn’t tell me where to come or give out her phone number (sign o’ the times, I guess) and I eventually said, “Well, will you bring it to me?” That seemed OK, briefly, but then she said her husband had a guy at his work interested, so this morning I found I’d missed out. Frustrating.

Umm, I actually already have three MiniDisc recorders so I hardly need another one, it’s just that this one would have matched my other components, i.e. it’s not black. One hi-fi deck size is black, one deck is a little portable and the other is built into a small all-in-one unit.

I started browsing eBay this morning but ouch! The fall of the A$ against the US$ has driven prices up markedly. Things from overseas are unaffordable now. Oh woe is me. Be thankful for small mercies.


It’s hot! Time for some aircon.

Notes from the bunker day 5

A computer bug. Photo credit: unknown.

No, you didn’t miss a day yesterday. It was a dull day, nothing happened, there was nothing to write about. If I don’t write for a time, don’t worry about me. If I get sick, you’ll know.


This from a science journalist that I’ve been reading for many years (so I trust him), Ed Yong, in The Atlantic:

One of the few mercies during this crisis is that, by their nature, individual coronaviruses are easily destroyed. Each virus particle consists of a small set of genes, enclosed by a sphere of fatty lipid molecules, and because lipid shells are easily torn apart by soap, 20 seconds of thorough hand-washing can take one down. Lipid shells are also vulnerable to the elements; a recent study shows that the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, survives for no more than a day on cardboard, and about two to three days on steel and plastic. These viruses don’t endure in the world. They need bodies.

That’s still no excuse to be silly about touching things, but it does explain what the virus is and how it works. And how you can minimise your chances of letting it get you.


A friend posted on Facebook that he has a measuring stick that’s attached to his belt to ensure his 1.5m safe distance from people. I’ve got an environmentally friendly way: I save water by not showering. That way my body odour keeps people away, at least 2m. 🙂


Uurrrrgh, I awoke at 6am with a bad pain in my nose. The CPAP humidifier water had evaporated away leaving it bone dry, which irritates the nasal passages right back into the sinuses. I’ve had this happen quite a few times in the years I’ve been using CPAP but this was a bad one. It reminded me of the time in York in 2008 on my UK and Europe trip. I didn’t bother to use the humidifier and awoke in my cramped hotel room in the same condition, with severe pain in my nose. You just have to wait it out.

However, I’m annoyed with this new, costly Resmed Autoset. I’m finding random changes in the settings. When I felt the bottom of the humidifier, it was almost too hot to touch. No wonder the water boiled away. Yet I’ve got the heating level set at 3/10. This is the second time it’s happened. I’m also finding that sometimes the air won’t shut off automatically when I take the mask off. Yet it’s on Auto. I don’t expect these kinds of troubles from a $1600 machine.


I’ve also run out of distilled water for the humidifier. It’s just the de-ionised water you use in irons and kettles, but Coles was devoid of it on Friday. I can use tap water but it has a slight smell and leaves a small residue in the evaporator. That says something about the quality of our water, doesn’t it? I notice that if I let my hair get fully wet in the shower, it goes tough. Something in the water?

That means I’ll need to go out today to find more (water, that is, not hair). I have some simple, single layer masks from the 2008 flu epidemic. That’ll do. I’ll keep my distance and wear the dishwashing gloves I bought on Friday, big enough to fit my hands.


Since I’ve bought a second hand Super Audio CD (SACD) capable player, I’m now on the lookout for SACD discs. I think I’ve got one or two on my shelves from years ago but I can’t remember. I’ll have to search through the 1,000 CDs in my collection.

Anyway, while in JB HiFi on Friday I asked what happened to their small selection of SACD and Super Audio DVDs they used to have. I never bought them because I couldn’t play them then. Their answer was, they’re gone, they know not where. “Best to look on-line.” Yeah but, I’m trying to patronise my local shops.

Anyway I bought a CD, Mahler Symphony no. 4 because it’s from a series that I saw reviewed in Hi Fi News and Record Review magazine just a few days ago. It’s a very recent recording, and it was marked down to $9.99, bargain! When I got it home, I found it’s even better because it’s an SACD. I didn’t notice when I bought it. Bonus! Now I’ll have to go back and search through their bins for more.

What’s SACD? From Wikipedia:

The SACD format offers more audio channels (e.g. surround sound), a higher bit rate, and longer playing time than a conventional CD. The SACD is designed to be played on an SACD player; however, a hybrid SACD contains a Compact Disc Digital Audio (CDDA) track so that it may also be played on a standard CD player.

SACD is a disc of identical physical dimensions as a standard compact disc; [but] the density of the disc is the same as a DVD. There are three types of disc:
Hybrid: Hybrid SACDs are encoded with a 4.7 GB DSD layer (also known as the HD layer), as well as a PCM (Red Book) audio layer readable by most conventional Compact Disc players.
Single-layer: A DVD-5 encoded with one 4.7 GB DSD layer.
Dual-layer: A DVD-9 encoded with two DSD layers, totalling 8.5 GB, and no PCM layer. Dual-layer SACDs can store nearly twice as much data as a single-layer SACD.
Unlike hybrid discs, both single- and dual-layer SACDs are incompatible with conventional CD players and cannot be played on them. A stereo SACD recording has an uncompressed rate of 5.6 Mbit/s, four times the rate for Red Book CD stereo audio.

So that’s why a couple of my older CDs would never play.


As I said, I’ve abandoned any thoughts of driving north but I got an email on Friday, two weeks after I enquired (!) about having mains power available in a Broome camping area. Two weeks! Typical Aussie attitude, file under LBW, Let the Buggers Wait.

Anyway, the guy said he’s 69 and uses CPAP too, so knows what I need and even though the sites are described as unpowered, he said he could probably arrange something. I replied that that was then, this is now. Can’t travel, sorry. Maybe next year.


More later; I need some more sleep, having gone lights out at about 12.30am and being forced to get up at 6am.