Pot gone

There’s the pot. See below.

Crikey, it’s raining again. Two days before the start of summer. And a cloudy day of 24degC while the eastern side of Australia, (Orstrehlia, as they say in The Crown 🙂 ) roasts in an up to 45degC heat wave.

We really are divorced from the east side here in WA. There are two different weather and climate systems on this continent. The long range forecast is for probable floods on the east side this and next year due to La Nina. There’s no chance of flooding here. We are bone dry on this side, with no prospect of any increased rainfall for the foreseeable future.

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Speaking of The Crown, I watched the notorious episode four a few nights ago, which covers the 1988 tour of Australia and NZ by Charles and Di. It was glaringly obvious that they didn’t shoot it in Australia, but in Spain. It just looked wrong.

And they put dialogue in the mouth of Bob Hawke, newly elected PM, that was not just wrong but offensive. He didn’t talk about the queen as “a pig in charge of a mob of sheep”! He would never have said that, and I am offended. I’m very surprised that Richard Roxburgh, the actor playing Hawke, let those words through.

And as for the shots of Uluru, so obviously composited, and the ludicrous scene of Spanish rooftops meant to portray Brisbane, it was a joke.

This is typical Pommy arrogance. Near enough’s good enough for Aussie accents and scenes.

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Vapour trail, 4pm yesterday.
A Panorama, but it looks curved.
The vapour trail was dead straight.

I stepped out of my front door at 4pm yesterday (Saturday) to see this amazing vapour trail. We don’t usually see vapour trails in WA because the air is too dry.

The other thing was that the trail just hung there. Usually they are quickly blown away by high altitude winds, but this one just hung there for 20-30mins. Sure, it gradually thickened, but I’ve never seen one so thick, so straight and so stable for so long.

But this one was from a big jet flying NW to SE, high enough to make this trail. The thing is, why is a jet flying over Perth and heading SE? If it came from the NW, where was it from? Maybe Sri Lanka, or Christmas Island? But if that was its origin, why would it fly so far south if it’s not landing in Perth? Where’s it going? Why does it have to go so far south, why doesn’t it fly over the middle of WA on a direct line to Melbourne or wherever?

De de de de, de de der der.

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The title today refers to that great big pot in the top photo. That shows it with a Yucca in it, but it had a big Aloe Vera cactus ever since I’ve been here.

I told my neighbour that I didn’t like it very much and the lawnmower man removed the Aloe Vera a few months ago. Then a friend of my neighbour paid me $50 and came and took it away today. And the wooden plinth it was on. Good riddance I say. I want a tree in front of my house, not nasty spiky things. Satisfaction.

Clear as daylight

Sherwood Forest, Nottingham. © PJ Croft 2020

Nice warm day but clouding over. Looks like it might rain a bit. Good.

Not a bad sleep last night. It took about an hour but I could feel myself slipping into sleep. Maybe I should try taking the medication earlier in the evening, although I was doing that before. I dunno.

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I mentioned a few weeks ago that Target at the Ocean Keys Clarkson shops had closed down. Last week I thought I’d have a look to see if anything had taken its place. I was very surprised to see a new K-Mart there. But, but, …. I thought we already have a K-Mart in this centre? Well, now we have two, and virtually identical. When you’re in the old Target one, it’s an uncanny feeling that you’re in the other one. Same goods, same shelves, same places. Weird. Maybe they’ll leave them both going for the Xmas period and close one next year. That would make sense.

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The former head of the WA Crime and Corruption Commission, John McKechnie QC was quoted in an article in the paper today as criticising the fact that the Liberal Party prevented his reappointment last year when his term expired. He said the appointment of the current temporary commissioner was unsatisfactory.

The other part of the story is that two former Liberal members of parliament were under investigation by the CCC for misuse of their electoral allowances for lavish restaurant meals, an iPad, massages and concert tickets. One of the members was found to have employed a female friend as an electoral assistant, on a salary, for seven years, yet there was no evidence she had ever done any work. She was his girlfriend, in other words.

The police became involved and they seized a laptop of his. He was overheard on an intercepted phone call talking to the other MP and saying he was shit scared because the laptop contained a shitload of incriminating material (the language was actually stronger than that). The parliamentary committee seized the laptop from the police and so far the contents have not been revealed.

So when the CCC commissioner’s term expired last year, his reappointment was blocked.

How can it be any more clear that the Liberal Party is corrupt and has things it has to hide? This has been off the radar for most of this year, but it’s still there, and is clear evidence that this corrupt political party, the Liberal Party, must not be elected to parliament.

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The Major Oak Tree, Sherwood Forest, the oldest tree in the forest. © PJ Croft 2020

Bulk rubbish pickup last Tuesday and they (or someone) took my old convoluted foam mattress topper away that I tried to take to the tip a few months ago. They told me then that they couldn’t take it, so maybe someone else took it, but I’m glad it’s gone.

After the pickup, there was a mattress left on the footpath opposite my house, covered in a cotton sleeve. I thought it would languish there but it’s gone now, although the cotton cover is still there, wrapped around a tree trunk, blowin’ in the wind.

I’ve had a big chinaware plant bowl outside my window ever since I’ve been here. It’s about 1,5m across by 1m high and filled with dirt and river stones, so it’s very heavy. It had an aloe vera cactus in it, rather dry and spiky and I’ve never liked it. The cactus went in the last green waste pickup. Now, courtesy of Barbara my neighbour, a friend of hers is going to come and take it away this weekend. He’s going to pay me $50 for it. Good deal, I reckon. He’ll take the timber plinth as well.

I want to plant a tree there. I’ll have to be careful in my selection because it’s only 1,5m from the foundations of the house and a front retaining wall. I should ask Sabrina Hahn. What a walking encyclopedia she is. Amazing knowledge.

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I’ve been watching the new fourth series of The Crown and enjoying it. I didn’t think anyone could match, let alone top Claire Foy as Queen Elisabeth in the first two series, but the new actress (Olivia Coleman) is doing very well indeed, in my opinion. She’s very plausible, although what would I know?

Charles comes across as a complete nitwit. It must be embarrassing for him, although I think their skins are pretty thick.

I am so impressed by this series. It’s teaching me history, at least before the 1970s when I became more aware. I remember the Falklands War in 1982 very well, coinciding as it did with another significant event in my life.

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Hah! I joined the ALP a couple of years ago and ever since then I’ve been declining the emails telling me of local meetings. But a few days ago the branch secretary said there was no business to discuss this month, so why don’t we meet at the pub at Clarkson for a meal and general chat. So finally, I RSVP’d and said I’d be there tonight.

Well, Lisa emailed me this morning and said she had not had any other RSVPs from any of the 32 other addressees. I was the only one. How apathetic.

She’s rescheduling for next week so I said I’d still come. Let’s see what happens this time.

Bring out your dead

Bushfires over Canberra, January 2020. Photographer unknown. ABC News

Beautiful day, 29deg, back ‘o my neck gettin’ damp and sweaty. The title refers to the start of our annual bulk rubbish collection starting tomorrow. I’ve had almost nothing to put out, just a few pieces of old timber. It’s actually good dry jarrah DAR but I’ll never get around to using it. I hope someone takes it and puts it to good use. Otherwise, I’ve got a lot of things I want to get rid of, but they’re not junk.

PS: 6pm, someone has taken the jarrah. That’s good.

I like to drive around and have a look and I was surprised to see a mini motor bike on a pile just up the street. I was tempted to look, but nah.

It’s amazing how many lounge suites go out. They’re in dreadful taste, most of them, so it’s no great loss. I hope they’re being replaced by something better.

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That made me think of leather and the leather seats in the Honda MDX. The driver’s seat squab is damaged, with the foam visible on the edge where you slide in. It’s not worth me getting it fixed.

But I was thinking yesterday, it’s very thin leather. Surely Honda could have known that this is the part most prone to damage and used a thicker grade of leather for that part? It seems obvious to me. Black mark, Honda.

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I’m co-existing with the insomnia at the moment. I’ve reduced the medication to half and I’m taking it when the GP recommended, just before bed, although I always read for 30-45mins before lights out. It still takes me consistently about 2hrs to get to sleep, but I do fall asleep then and have a reasonable night. Lots of interesting dreams. Dreams loosely related to work still crop up, 21 years since I retired. Like most men, work defined me. My world was occupied by by my occupation, if you get my drift.

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Watch number 16, or thereabouts. I saw this on Friday and it took me about 10 seconds to decide I wanted it, especially at the price, $269 reduced to $110. Last one, apparently. I just like it. I’ve got another one similar, also Pulsar, but the LCD is much dimmer to save the battery. This one is bright and clear.

Women like rings and things. I like watches.

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I’ve just found this among my old word processor files from February 2014. It’s worth posting:

There was a fascinating program on SBS about DNA and the genome. I hope it rated well and people watched it. Science documentaries don’t rate very well, I don’t think, and I applaud SBS for showing them at a reasonable time.

A statement was made that I didn’t know about, that humans have evolved lacking the gut enzymes to digest a lot of raw foods. We are evolved to eat cooked food, not grasses and plants and raw meat. Our digestive system needs food to be cooked first before it can break it down for us.

The guy said that if we ate nothing but raw food, we’d starve to death within about three  months.

I find that fascinating. I didn’t know that. Animals evolved to eat nothing but raw foods, but our genome diverged and we don’t make the enzymes required to digest from raw.

We can eat raw food, of course we can, but a lot of it passes straight through undigested. That’s why we call it roughage and fibre, precisely because it goes straight through. It scours out our intestines and bowels as it does, which is useful and good for us in preventing cancer and other nasties, but for food value and nutrition, it’s better cooked.

That puts a whole new perspective on things. I always assumed that raw was better, but it’s not so. And I only learn this 65 years into my life?

The program as a whole also showed fascinating detail about how our genome evolved. We went from being single cells to multiple dividing cells about 2 billion years ago, in an apparently random process that survived because it was advantageous. Two billion years, plus or minus a billion, as one scientist said. In the whole span of “life”, the difference between a billion years and civilised man’s existence (about 10,000 years) is like the thickness of paint on the ceiling, a factor of 10e5.

They also explained (this is recent research) that when chromosomes divide and recombine in the process of cell division, they recombine at specific places along the length of the DNA spiral. There are only four places, and they are characterised by the base pair sequence CCGCCGTATCGTAT (from memory, could be wrong). The relatively random mixing of base pairs occurs along the chromosome, but at these sequence points, things stay the same. Faskinatin’

About 5 years ago I was mystified by DNA, chromosomes, genes and the other terms. Like placing music in context, I didn’t understand the hierarchy, which part was bigger and which were the smaller parts. Now I do know. Quite a lot. In fact, a hell of a lot. Down to the molecular level of the bases.

I was talking to the cardiologist a couple of weeks ago (2014) and showed him my list of medications. I asked about one in particular and whether it would be beneficial for my heart. “Oh, I don’t know that one,” he said. What??! Sure, it’s not for the heart, but it’s hardly obscure. I was not impressed. (It’s Colchicine.)

In 2014 had the Silver Chain nurses (yes, two of them) here re-dressing my leg. I had cellulitis, inflammation and infection of the surface cells. My left leg was a bit swollen and very red raw. It looked bad but it wasn’t restricting me much, just a bit painful and itching.

The second nurse came to do a leg vein ultrasound on the spot, with me lying down on my own bed. That’s what electronics has wrought – a small portable Doppler ultrasound with LCD display. Brilliant.

They were measuring my differential blood pressure, between that in my arm and in my leg, to see how my heart is pumping. Yes, there is a fair difference, 1.41 or 41% difference. That means they needed to wrap my leg in a pressure wrap to try to force the fluid up. I looked like the mummy, all white bandage (on my lower left leg, that is).

It was also wrapped in a wet, gooey zinc bandage to kill the bacteria. I knew it was staphylococcus, and I said, “But it wouldn’t be staph aureus, would it?” Yes, she said, Golden Staph. It lives on the skin. Wow. I thought it was a hospital bug, not found in the wild. In fact, maybe that’s where I got it, in hospital recently?

For the record, genomics big to small: cell; chromosome; DNA strands; genes; base pairs; bases made up of molecules; molecules called A = adenine, C = cytosine, G = guanine, T = thymine (not thiamin, that’s Vitamin B); atoms of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, mainly.

Just those four molecules are sufficient to make us, and all living things. Wow.

It would be like saying Shakespeare wrote all his works using an alphabet of only four letters. The difference is that all his works would have taken millions and billions of pages, instead of thousands.

In fact another analogy could be that BCD (binary coded decimal) could have been used. Same deal. Only ten letters allowed. The works could have been written, but it would have taken hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pages. I don’t think the result would have been the same, either.

Actually, take the idea further: all 46 chromosomes make up the instructions to make our body. We’re in the process now of decoding which sections (genes) of those stands of DNA in each chromosome do what.

To me it’s obvious that one day, quite soon in fact, we will be able to decode ALL the genes and therefore have the instruction book literally on paper (not on paper, in a computer file), to build either a human or any part of a human.

“Oh, you need a new heart? OK, it’s this book, pages 2,504,309 to 5,687,334. We’ll get right onto it.” And they would synthesize the molecules, put them together in the right sequences to make the genes (something presently done by mRNA and amino acids), put the genes in a growth medium with the other chemicals needed and within a few days, there would be a heart. Absolutely, I’m not kidding. I reckon within 40 years, easily. All we need is that book. It’s coming, not far away.

What’s allowing this to go so fast? Electronics!

We had the stone age, the iron age, the bronze age, and so on. This is the Electronics Age. Absolutely. All our progress is coming from the knowledge of how to control electrons in wires and that in turn comes from basic physics, science and maths.­ I love it.

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I’m up to series seven, episode 12 of the Big Bang Theory and I’m not tired of it yet. I think I mentioned that I bought Kunal Nayyar’s book, Yes My Accent is Real, but although he tells how he got into the show, he doesn’t say much at all about it. But what he does say is that all the actors loved the scripts and when they were handed out before shooting each episode, they all took them home to read just for the enjoyment. I agree, the dialogue is fantastic, the jokes are really funny and the timing is great.

One thing he says, which I’m not sure whether to believe, is that the laughter track is real, that it’s all shot before a live studio audience. He says sometimes the floor managers had to stop a scene because audience members would see the joke coming and say it prematurely. Sounds plausible. I’m enjoying it anyway.

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I’m in the home stretch of The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, the book I mentioned about the couple walking the south west coastal path from Minehead via Land’s End to Poole in Dorset.

She is a brilliant writer. This could have been a bit boring, just a recitation of day 1, day 2, day 3, and so on, but I have seldom read such lyrical prose. It is very, very uplifting and enjoyable.

At the risk of spoiling, I thought it would be the linear story one long walk to reach Poole, but in fact they break it at one point and go to live on a friend’s farm a couple of hundred miles to the north for the winter. They still work their guts out but it gives them the chance to save up some money, not a lot but not the destitution they were in when they started.

But the wanderlust kicks back in and they go back to the south coast in the summer (she never says which year it is), to Poole, in fact, and start walking again in the reverse direction, west. It’s still 250 miles and a daunting task, but it brings Moth (the husband) back to quite good health again within two weeks, which amazes them. It’s a testament to the benefits of walking as exercise. No doubt about it.

Uh oh, shut the gate

From a closeup photography competition.

Another lovely day, a bit cloudy but fine and 23deg. Nice.

Wow, this month has been our highest rainfall in November on record, 73mm last I’ve seen. It’s felt like it too, almost a return to winter. Great for the lawns and gardens. We’ve been allowed to turn our sprinklers on since the beginning of September but I haven’t felt the need so far. To be honest, I’m only showering every second day now as I don’t sweat or get dirty. Cold showers, too. Lovely.

And on the subject of saving money, the State Government has credited every household with $600 of electricity starting this month. Given my solar power and that my last power bill was only $29, it means I’ll probably be able to use the air conditioning for most of the summer without worrying about how much it costs to run. I’m happy about that.

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Another closeup. From a Nikon competition, not my shot.

The title refers to the way our state borders were reopened on Saturday, but on Sunday afternoon reports came through that a new outbreak of the COVID virus had started in a suburb of Adelaide. It’s up to 20 cases at the moment.

It’s not a huge outbreak, but it was enough for this state government to immediately start to enforce quarantine for visitors arriving at the border from South Australia and ban any new arrivals. People who arrived at the border, way out on the Nullarbor Plain, were stopped and told to go back to SA. They weren’t happy, and neither were the ones who had already crossed into WA since Saturday. The premier says he’ll reimpose the complete border shutdown if necessary.

The ones who had already come in were traced, I assume by mobile phones, and told they had to stop where they were and self isolate for two weeks. Most took it in good spirits, but many had arrived at Perth Airport on the first couple of flights from Adelaide and they were told they couldn’t meet their relatives or leave the airport, they had to go into hotel isolation for two weeks, with frequent tests. Wow, there were a few upset people there.

Never a dull moment with this virus. For a few days it looked like almost the whole of Australia was essentially virus free, until this new Adelaide breakout.

As usual, it originated from an overseas traveller in quarantine in an Adelaide hotel, but the private security guards didn’t follow procedure and took the virus home from the hotel and spread it to their family.

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I’ve just received my new driver’s licence card in the mail, which is well timed because my old one expired yesterday, the 15th. It’s for five years again and reuses my photo from last time. Gee, who is this young fellow?

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I mentioned a radio talk I heard last week by a British woman who, faced with the complete loss of their house and all their money, and the diagnosis of a degenerative brain disease in her husband, set off, both of them, on a walk from Minehead in Somerset, near their origin in Wales, along the coastal path to Lands End, then along the Cornwall coast to Dorset, around 670 miles.

Well, I’ve got the book, The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and it’s almost un-put-downable. They lost everything because Moth, the husband, made a substantial investment in a business venture run by a close friend of his. The business failed, of course, but what they didn’t realise was that their investment also included liability to share the debts incurred by the failure. They ended up owing hundreds of thousands, more than their small farm was worth, and were pursued through the courts for the debt. The close friend was nowhere to be seen and no help, so the bailiffs were sent in to repossess everything. All they had was enough to buy two rucksacks, a small tent, sleeping bags and the basic needs to hit the road.

They started out with about £85 between them, and a small government payment of £48 a week to live off. Britain is a high cost country and even a bag of chips costs £1 ($1.82). A panini costs £8 ($14.50). Their diet can only run to packet noodles, fudge bars, any wild fruit or mushrooms they can find, begged hot water for their tea bags and so on. What’s more, the great British weather varies from baking heat, up to 38degC to howling gales off the Atlantic. They can’t afford any accommodation, not even campgrounds, and have to illegally wild camp wherever they can find some level ground, sheltered if possible. Sometimes they awake to find themselves exposed to a road or house they didn’t know was there the previous night.

So far it’s taken them about three weeks to reach Tintagel on the north coast of Cornwall, supposedly the area of King Arthur and his castle. I’ve been there and there’s not much to see, mainly a big hotel built to look like a castle.

The next town, though, is very familiar if you’re a fan of Doc Martin on TV. It’s the real life town of Port Isaac which is renamed to Port Wenn in the show. Crammed with tourists in the summer, apparently, and to be avoided if you don’t like crowds. This was pre-COVID days, of course.

I used to have photos taken on my trip to the UK in 1974 and although I can see them in my mind’s eye, they were lost in a big disc crash in 2013. I’ve learnt my lesson and everything is backed up now.

Anyway, I’m thoroughly enjoying this book. One lesson to come from it is the benefits of exercise. I haven’t got there yet but the husband’s brain disease goes into remission, I believe. Recommended.

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I watched the first episode of the fourth series of The Crown last night. Very good, as usual. The Poms certainly know how to make TV, especially when it involves dress-ups and big sets. There’s a fair bit of criticism in the press concerning made up events, but I don’t care, it’s still riveting.

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I was poking around the WordPress menus a few days ago and found a place where comments that had been marked as spam were stored. Not marked by me, I hasten to add.

Only one was real spam and the other 16 were very nice compliments from various parts of the world, so I’ve marked them as Not Spam and I assume they have been restored to their respective places, but I don’t know where. In any case, I thank you very, very much for your kind words of praise and I certainly hope you continue to enjoy my writings. I’ll be more observant now and try to prevent this happening again.

Borders are down (almost)

Something was funny.

Aaah, lovely day outside, only 22 max but cloudless and still. I like it. I’m hearing the plaintive squawking of what I think are magpie chicks not far from my window as I heard the parent carolling a lot this morning. In the pine tree about 20m away, I think. I’ve never had any trouble with swooping since I’ve been here but I’ll be sure to wear a hat next time I go out front.

Another rough night last night. I did get to sleep eventually but it was around 2.30am I think. I do sneak looks at the bedside clock – I can’t help myself. Plus I have the radio on. Silly? But I’ve always found I go to sleep easily in the afternoon with it on, and I don’t want to waste my time when I can’t sleep. I still fall asleep when the time comes.

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It’s the 11th of November, 11/11/20. It’s Remembrance Day in two senses, the remembrance of our war dead but also remembrance of that day of infamy in 1975 when the Liberal Party staged its coup. When they inveigled the governor general, Kerr, into dismissing the legitimately elected Labour government of Gough Whitlam, PM. (The Labor spelling came after 1975.)

This will never be forgotten. It was a disgraceful act and one the Liberal Party will never be forgiven. I live for the day that it is done to them in return. That time could be now as this Liberal government is the most corrupt in the history of this country. It seems nothing is too heinous as to warrant the resignation or dismissal of ministers.

The latest exposure of the low moral character of my local MP, Christian Porter, is disgusting. I never had any time for him anyway, as I’m sure you know, but the TV program showed his true character, a misogynist woman hater who was, and possibly still is, a foul mouth drunkard slob. Needless to say, I’ll be doing my darndest to see him unseated at the next election.

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This was 11.11.11, remember? We had a good decade of 01.01.01, 02.02.02 right through 10.10.10, 11.11.11 to 12.12.12, but I’m afraid there won’t be any more tricky dates this century. As the years go up now, there won’t be any matching months.

Until 01.01.01 again, but it will be 01.01.3001 and I don’t plan to be around then. 🙂

Postscript: I’m wrong. We won’t have to wait until 3001. Assuming we abbreviate the year to its last pair of digits as we usually do, the next 00 and 01 … years will commence in 2100 and 2101… etc. Silly me.

By the way, I’ve always been one for dates. I can’t claim to remember 5/5/55, although I was around then, but I can easily remember 6/6/66, 7/7/77, 8/8/88 and 9/9/99 before we went to 2000, which didn’t have a cadence (0/0/00??) and then the 01/01/01. I wonder if there’s a name for date watching like this? Sure to be, I’ll research it.

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I’ve bought a citronella candle this afternoon. A family of wasps built their hive inside the door of my reticulation controller last summer. It’s ideal for them as when the door is closed, the missing knob leaves a hole about 15mm diameter for them to get in and out of.

I’d hoped the winter might send them away but no. They’re not aggressive; they warily ignore me when I open the door. But obviously I don’t want them there, especially as they’ve left their splats all over the retic controller. Very messy.

I’m hoping this citronella will do the trick, but as it’s a candle in a glass tumbler, fairly large, I don’t know how I’m going to place it. I’ve got a heavy duty aluminium takeaway container to act as a wind shield. Maybe I can find something tall to sit it on. I shall keep you advised, probably with pictures.

Bunker bulldust day 234

© PJ Croft 2020

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring. He went to bed, the sleepy head, and now he’s dead. Boring.

I didn’t know the last two phrases so I just made ’em up, sorry.
Next day – now I remember:
It’s raining, it’s pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed
And bumped his head
And couldn’t get up in the morning.

Anyway, I feel dead myself after another night of insomnia. The GP suggested taking my medication just before I go to bed, instead of earlier, in the hope of getting to sleep before the medication takes effect. It kinda works in that I do fall asleep after a long while (more than an hour) but I wake repeatedly during the night and struggle to fall asleep again. I’ll have to taper it off, I think.

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Whacko! The Trump nightmare is almost over. It was a great result in the US election, despite the slowness of the count and the closeness of the numbers.

What a crazy country, though, that nearly half the country, 70 million voters, voted that they wanted to continue a regime led by a gangster who lies so much that you can not believe a word he says. A fool who is deranged, mentally defective, who cares about nothing and no-one but himself. Who has dragged America’s reputation in the world down into the gutter. Who is a danger to the world. Yet 70 million Americans still want him to be their president. It’s frightening.

At least now we can say 75 million Americans didn’t want him. That we now have a good man in the position who will be able to right the wrongs done by this evil rogue. And Kamala Harris is so impressive. I’m glad she is VP as I feel she will be a safe pair of hands if anything happens to Joe Biden. Crikey, he’s 77. I don’t know how he has the energy.

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© PJ Croft 2020

In case you’re wondering, the “paintings” I’ve been putting at the head of my posts recently are the product of a software program I have, Dynamic Auto Painter by http://www.mediachance.com. As the name implies, you choose a base image and a style you like and press Start. There are about 60 styles of all kinds, pastels, oils, water colours, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Manet, Monet and so on. You can download more styles too.

It’s all done by a Canadian guy who seems to be a genius programmer. He makes a dozen or so programs, working solo, as I understand it. You can talk to him on-line. All the programs are downloadable as demos with no time limit but with a logo superimposed on the output. I paid about US$60 for this program and I’ve bought a few others as well. Recommended.

Bunker bulldust day 230

© PJ Croft 2020

Not writing much am I? Sorry, having a lot of trouble with insomnia and fatigue, side effects of medication. Changing it tomorrow, I hope. I’m feeling slow and sleepy in the mornings and doing a fair bit of napping in the afternoons at the moment, trying to catch up on sleep.

Funny how I can drop off easily in the afternoon, but I can’t drop off until 4 or 5am at night.

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That bastard Trump! What an evil scumbag. Cares nothing for anyone but himself. How far down into the slime the once respectable Republican Party has descended. The GOP, the “Grand Old Party”… Old is right, but the rest is historic crap. Trump could not be where he is without the Republicans supporting him, and the only reason they do is that he gets them into positions of power where they can scrape the money barrels and mix with the rich and powerful. It’s disgusting.

What a weird country is the USA. Many of their population are absolutely brilliant and admirable, but half the remainder are gruesome slobs, out of their minds, racists, warmongers, corrupted idiots. To believe the Quanon Conspiracy theory takes a warped mind. To believe the torrent of lies spewing from Trump’s mouth shows how gullible they are. He’s up to more than 22,000 lies since he’s been in office and they’re pouring out faster than the fact checkers can cope with at the moment. It’s insane, and I really mean ‘insane’. He should be impeached again and again, but if the Democrats don’t get control of the Senate, then they can’t get it through. Damn!

I’ve been saying for years that the USA has gone insane and it’s totally obvious now. I have no hope for the world any more.

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© PJ Croft 2020

So the border is open, well nearly, on the 14th. It looks as if I could do what I want to do, fly east and buy a car and drive it back. Not quite yet. Victoria is still a little dangerous (for me, as a highly vulnerable person, that is), so I’ll continue to watch and wait. But the fires last summer have obliterated large areas of the SE corner that I wanted to see. That will take a few years to revegetate. Pity.

On the same lines, my wish to visit England to see Croft Castle is off the table now, too. England has been rendered far too dangerous for someone like me to visit. Until there’s a good vaccine and COVID has been eliminated, that is. I may not get there now.

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Which makes me think of The Crown, that great show on Netflix. I’ve watched the first and second series twice and the third series once, and the fourth series starts on 15 November. I’ll be watching, for sure.

Speaking of Netflix, I’ve watched all seven episodes of The Queen’s Gambit. You may have seen reviews of it, it’s been getting a lot of publicity. It’s warranted because it’s very good.

It’s a TV dramatisation of a novel, about a young girl who is orphaned at about six years old and sent to an orphanage where she learns to play chess from the janitor. She turns out to have prodigious talent and soon begins to beat the boys at high school where she is sent after being adopted by a couple. I won’t describe it all here but she becomes US chess champion and goes on to Moscow where she plays Russia’s champion. Does she become the world champ? I won’t spoil it. It’s a bit rah rah, U-S-A, U-S-A! However, the actress who plays Beth Harmon is so charming that I almost fell in love with her. I enjoyed the series very much. Recommended.

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Ely Cathedral, England. © PJ Croft 2020