Bunker bulldust day 223

Dad at age 50 approx.

It’s the 29th of October. Happy Birthday Dad. He would have been 98 today.

It’s also 21 years on this day since I took my redundancy and walked out of the building at Channel 7. That was a bit emotional after 33 years, but my dogs kept me real busy and I didn’t need to look for work, so it was easy.

By jingo, I’ve had a fortunate life. I fell into a job that I loved and stayed in, never needing to switch. Then getting early “retirement” at age 52 with that voluntary redundancy and never needing to work again. Then finding the best house I’ve ever lived in to move to, in a great area. Then when this virus came, having a guaranteed income, no job to lose, no mortgage, no rent, no kids to worry about and plenty to occupy me. It’s been a charmed life.

That’s all for tonight. Cheers.


Bunker bulldust day 220

Hot town, summer in the city
Back ‘my neck gettin’ dirty and gritty

Phew, 35C yesterday. I slept most of the night on top of the covers and with the fan blowing on me. I’ve started the cold showers again. I love it. What a change. Only a few weeks ago I was complaining of cold fingers.


I was very surprised when I answered a doorbell on Saturday morning to see the young lady who was my Silver Chain cleaner for all last year. In that time we became quite good friends and after she finished up in January this year to move back to her country home town, she started writing me letters. Totally innocent, I assure you, but I am very flattered. We’ve exchanged three letters and I didn’t expect to see her again, but on Saturday, there she was. It was just for a visit, but since she was in Perth with a friend in High Wycombe, she did the 50 minute drive up here to see me. In her current model Mazda MX-5, I might add.

We talked and talked and had coffee at the Dome and I was glowing with pleasure. I am hugely flattered. She’s only 23, don’t get any ideas, but …


Damn! Target at Clarkson has closed down. Sure, it’s not a very up-market store but I found some good clothes there in my size, 4XL. It wasn’t a big range but I found enough to satisfy me. As well, they stocked my jocks, boxer shorts that is, in my size 5-6XL. I used to buy a pair (you got two on a hanger for $18) even if I didn’t immediately need them just so they would know that I’m still buying. I used to mention this to the checkout ladies and ask them to pass it on to the manager. I’m not sure if that did any good (ho ho ho) but they stayed in stock.

We still have K-Mart left but they stop at 3XL. I’ve never been able to buy underwear there, not in many years anyway. I might have to start stamping my foot.

This is just another example of the way we are losing things. As we’re supposed to be advancing in quality of life, at the same time so many things are closing down. We used to have Carlo’s Italian Cafe just down the street from me ever since I’ve been here, 2013, but it changed hands and the new owners changed it to a parmies and chips type of menu, but they closed up about four months ago. There are two other empty shops on that side of the street. The Westpac bank on the other side is gone. The newsagent reduced their shelf size by half a couple of years ago, and now it’s been cut in half as a shop, too, making it cramped.

At my Trigg location we used to have a small shopping centre down the street, with a large IGA grocer, a good newsagent, a women’s clothing shop and a small but good hardware shop. If I needed screws or a paintbrush or sandpaper, it was ideal.

Then in the other part there was a greengrocer, a great fish and chip shop, quite a good deli and an op shop.

And a service station! Full mechanical workshop. Good service and advice.

But in the late ’80s it was all wiped away. The land was more valuable for redevelopment, so they bulldozed it all and built units. Pah!!

This is the pattern. There are no small interesting shops any more; they are all franchises or chain stores. Banks are closing branches as fast as they can. Everything is in the big shopping malls like Karrinyup and Joondalup. Except that HBF has just advised that their Joondalup branch is closed down. Bah! I didn’t need it more than a few times a year, but I did need it.

I suppose it’s just a part of getting older.


I heard a good radio interview yesterday on Conversations on Radio National, with a British woman who’s written a book called The Salt Path. It describes her and her husband’s adventure after they went into a financial deal that fell apart and they lost their house. Suddenly at age 60 approx. they had no house and no money. This was in South Wales in the UK.

At the same time the husband, with the curious name of Moth, was diagnosed with a terminal brain disease called CBD, Cortical Basal Deterioration. No treatment, no cure. Given two years, with declining brain function. Wow, talk about a double whammy!

They just had enough money (GBP85) to buy a tent, a couple of cheap sleeping bags, a small stove and rucksacks. That left them with about GBP30, which is not much!

For some reason, they decided to just set out walking a track around the south west of England, from the north side of Devon to Land’s End (been there!) along the Cornwall coast (been there) to Dorset. They had no money for campsites so had to camp wild, usually after dark so they wouldn’t be seen as wild camping is not legal. They would sometimes wake in the morning with an entirely different idea of where they were.

Anyway, they made it in three months, often relying on the kindness of strangers and finally found a stranger who wanted an old farm, a cider apple orchard brought back from the derelict state. Ideal.

The thing is, the walking did wonders for Moth’s health. For both of them, really, but it seemed to cause Moth’s brain disease to almost go into remission. Yeah, we hear this often don’t we? The benefits of exercise for the body.

Anyway, I found the talk so interesting that I found the book on Amazon and I’ve ordered it ($20.35 and post free on Amazon Prime, for which I pay an annual fee. I also found it on Booktopia, the Aussie store, but it was $33 plus postage, probably about $10. I like to support Aussie stores but $20 vs $43? Too much difference.)

Which reminds me, last week I got the urge to read “Raj Koothrappali’s” book, Yes, My Accent is Real and Other Things I Haven’t Told You. This Kunal Nayyar, the actor who plays Raj in the Big Bang Theory.

The point is, I found it on Amazon last Monday, ordered it at $30 and as a Prime purchase, post free, and it arrived on Wednesday. Amazing.


I think I mentioned my 13 year old worker – he’s just texted me asking if he can come again. Yes! I said, tomorrow. I’m very pleased with his work. I set him doing the front last Thursday and he did an excellent job in two hours. Excellent. I’m very pleased. That was probably the hardest thing I need done. The jobs left to do are not as hard or boring.

Bunker bulldust day 216

Bali 2016, photo modified with Dynamic Auto Painter © PJ Croft
Note: you can click on these images for a bigger view now.

I’ve been to the GP today to have a small sebacious cyst on my right temple looked at, with a view to “cutting it out”. One of the GPs is a skin specialist and twice she said she “enjoys cutting skin cancers out”. Funny thing to enjoy.

But after she looked at it, she said there would be a fair bit of scarring and it’s better to let it alone and hope it fixes itself. Come back in a month. OK by me. She also froze several small keratoses, which stung a bit. No problem. No actual skin cancers. I’ve never been a big sun tan fiend. Well, pretty big, just not a fiend.


Speaking of appearance, I grew my hair pretty long for the past 14 months, not for any special reason, I just forgot to have haircuts for a while, then thought I’d save money for a while.

But on my mind was that my five year driver’s licence is due for renewal on 15 November, which I thought would require a new photo. I didn’t want to look so woolly in a photo to last for the next five years so last week I had a haircut.

Well, my licence renewal form arrived last week too, and guess what, no new photo required and no renewal fee. Wow. Is this a Seniors thing? I’m very happy about it anyway.

I’m not saying I had the haircut for nothing, I was a bit tired of it being long anyway. So hard to manage. Anyway, I’ve always thought I look better with short hair.


I answered an ad on NextDoor last week for a “young, strong guy” who was looking for any work around the house and after a little difficulty getting in touch with him, I finally got him to come here on Tuesday. Now I understand why he was hard to contact: he’s a 13 year old schoolboy. Name of Carlos.

He’s about what you’d expect a 13yo to be, fairly small but he’s a great worker. His mum brought him here on the first day, presumably to check me out but that’s totally understandable. It seems they only live three minutes walk away so he came alone today after school.

He’s done two 2hr sessions and I think is very happy with the money. At the start I asked him and his mum what he wanted to be paid and they said they would leave it up to me. I was expecting $25/hr for a big guy but I said $20/hr when I saw how small he is. Their eyes lit up and it was smiles all round, so we’re all happy. I think that’s more than they were expecting. I’m prepared to pay to get things done that are too hard for me now. Fatigue! I know you well.

I’m just getting him to do weeding and sweeping and he does a great job, no goofing off. I’m happy.


I’ve been saying this for the past year or so and it’s becoming more and more evident: this Liberal-National federal government is corrupt!!

This is from Crikey.com, Bernard Keane today: “And this is a government — the most corrupt federal government since the 1970s, and possibly much longer — that has constantly indicated it will reward its friends and punish its enemies, and use taxpayer funding — or, more accurately now, borrowed money — to serve its partisan agenda.

“As the sports rorts affair demonstrated, it is also unashamed about it.

“Industry superannuation, renewable energy, the ABC and universities are all enemies of the government; all have been punished or failed to receive anything like the support received by allies and supporters of the government — big fossil fuel companies, the mining industry, News Corp, irrigators and agriculture and high income earners.”

It’s shocking how obvious this corruption has become. It’s not just government either. Just look at the Crown Casinos inquiry and the latest news today, Australia Post executives being given $3,000 Cartier watches for doing their job! There is obviously a disconnect between upper managements’ idea of propriety and that of the rest of us. I spit!!!!

Bunker bulldust day 212

© PJ Croft 2020

Back again. I feel like writing again so I must be feeling better. Helped by the nice warm weather, no doubt, but not helped by the side effect of the medication I’m taking – insomnia. I suspected this effect last time I was on it about a year ago and I’m sure now. I forgot to take it on Friday and had a really good sleep that night, but took it again yesterday and had a rotten night last night, as every night is now. I regularly see 4am, still awake. I’ll have to ask the doctor for an alternative. It’s lucky I don’t have to be anywhere in the mornings as I’m sleeping late.


Back to coincidences: in the West yesterday Rob Broadfield wrote about the word marron and how in WA it refers to our freshwater crustacean. But marron is French for chestnut* (I didn’t know that). So in the new episode of Victoria last night, when served her dessert, she says, “Oh, marron glacé, my favourite.” Bingo, twice in one day.

*Actually, it’s French for brown, but chestnut brown is a colour in Anglais, oui?

Likewise, a couple of weeks ago, I read a word I’d never heard before, Ouroboros. It’s the name of the symbol of a snake in a circle swallowing its tail. I read it in a techo article in Wired (yes, really).

The following night in Endeavour on ABC-TV, he sees it on a scroll in the museum and says, “Ouroboros, it’s the symbol used from ancient times to represent eternity.” How’s that, twice in two days for such an obscure word and seen in two such disparate sources! I jumped in surprise.


It’s very pleasing to see the solid Labour Party win in New Zealand yesterday. Jacinda Ardern is a remarkable woman and leader and I’m a great admirer. I’m an increasing fan of NZ – they seem to do everything well, from what I read anyway. Of course I don’t know everything about the country and I’m sure there are rough edges, but what I’ve seen, I like. I must go there when this damned virus is over.


I’m up to episode 10 in series three of The Big Bang Theory that I mentioned I’d restarted watching on Netflix. That makes about 50 episodes I’ve watched in the past three weeks or so. I must admit Sheldon is starting to grate but the humour is remarkably consistent.

I’ve just ordered the paperback edition ($10.95) of Kunal Nayyar’s book Yes, My Accent is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You. He’s the guy who plays Rajesh Koothrappali. Crikey, his earnings are reported as $20m in 2018 and $23m in 2019, making him the third highest TV acting earner. Nice work!


I’ve had a Technics portable CD player since the mid ’90s and I’ve used it quite a lot over these last 25 years or so, always with headphones for quiet listening. So I was quite disheartened when it ceased to produce any sound about a year ago.

I put it aside but recently I’ve opened it up, hoping it might be something obvious, but there isn’t.

The guts
The underside, showing the suspected transistors. Too small.

No burnt components, but since it uses only two AA batteries, that’s not surprising.

I suspect it’s the output transistors for the headphone socket, since there’s a certain amount of shorting happening when you put the plug in. But I’ve looked at it and decided it’s a write-off. There’s no way I can desolder these tiny components, and even if I could, I very much doubt I could get replacements. Even if I could, soldering them back in? You need special soldering tools for this work, and it’s expensive.

So, what a pity. This is a lovely piece of work and I really like it, but it looks like it’s going to landfill. Criminy, a laser assembly, a small electric motor, all that fine electronics, destined for the bin. Oh well, at least I can say I’ve had my money’s worth for 25 years. I think it cost somewhere near $250 in 1995, yet I can buy a new one, albeit a fairly low quality generic brand, from Jaycar for $45.

This is the problem with servicing electronics, the parts are dirt cheap, but getting the parts and the cost of the time to do the exceedingly fine work to fix them. It’s cheaper to scrap the item and buy new. What a waste.