Another one!

Venice, 2008 © PJ Croft

The Economist magazine always makes up clever subheadings for their stories, and for cleverness, I reckon this one takes the (fish)cake:

Fish tongues, a Norwegian delicacy harvested by children
The piece of cod that passeth all understanding
I laughed out loud.

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It’s happened again! The sixth time! Once again, I’ve had my money refunded via Paypal for my order for Sony Clié batteries. No explanation, no accompanying email.

It’s beginning to look like these batteries are unobtainable, rendering my device to the status of paperweight. Booger.

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Also once again, my trip to Joondalup yesterday, for what I thought was going to be the actual operation to cut the Squamous Cell Carcinoma out of my temple, turned out to be another false trip.

At least the surgeon was there this time, but all he did was take another look at the lesion, tell me that a skin graft would need to be taken from somewhere to cover it, and fill out the hospital admission form. That’s right, I’m going to have it done in hospital and be anaesthetised. That’s good, because I’m pretty nervous about them cutting a deep hole in my head.

Anyway, I then had to fill out another form for the hospital, and my job will be done on Tuesday 11 May. Crumbs, waiting, waiting. And they charged me $70 for this visit.

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Dang!

This is the one I want.

Hah, a week after I bought my Peugeot 407, another one has come up for sale that’s much more like what I wanted, albeit at a much higher price.

When I was thinking about Mercedes, I was sick and tired of them all being black. What’s wrong with people, I thought? Don’t they want any colour in their lives?

But now that I’ve bought my silver 407, I want black. To me it looks much more elegant and sporty. But look at this!

I love that leather colour! That’s what I want! And, it’s got a sun-roof. I haven’t seen another one advertised with these features so I thought it was European spec only. Yet here it is, for sale in Sydney and it’s done 8,000km less than mine, 126,000. It’s the 2.9L petrol version, non-turbo.

The bad news is that the asking price is $8,990, and it’s in Sydney. Dog, I feel like trying to change over. At the price I paid last week, $4,400, I think I’d pretty soon get a buyer here for mine.

On the other hand, a respray of mine to black would be a damned sight cheaper, counting the cost of going to Sydney and driving it back. But then I lose the fun of that trip.

Also, there’s another one came up a few weeks ago that’s black with white leather upholstery, very nice too.

This one’s in Melbourne and the ad was removed last week, so I thought it had been sold, but it’s back. It’s a dealer, so they probably had a buy that fell through. This one’s $7,495 so you can see I got a real bargain last week. Assuming there’s nothing serious wrong.

There are only two main things: the air-con doesn’t get cold and the ultrasonic parking distance sensors don’t work. Obviously, neither stops it being driven and can wait to be fixed.

I drove it a fair distance yesterday (to Ascot and back) and it’s a nice drive, but there’s a bit of vibration and a slight shuddering at times, nothing serious. Also there’s a lot of air buffeting if you have the windows down, seemingly at any opening. Even opening the passenger side a bit doesn’t seem to help.

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We had our two-for-the-price-of-one Northam Senior High School 2020/21 Reunion yesterday. We had to cancel last year due to the virus but we held the annual event this year. It’s amazing how we’ve stayed in touch all down the years.

This is the class of 1960-64. I’ve heard that a couple of other groups have occasional reunions, but we hold ours every year by popular demand. We’ve heard from a couple of former teachers that we were a fairly outstanding group of students and I think we’re proving it. We’ve haven’t produced any geniuses or Nobel Prize winners, no doctors, one lawyer, a couple of good science support people and several teachers, and several nurses. And farmers.

This was our 57th year, so we’re coming up to 60 years in 2024 when we’ll all be 77 (all born in 1947). There are quite a few names in red ink in our database of 216, red for deceased, unfortunately.

The school is holding a big reunion on 15 May for the school’s centenary. It will be at the school in Northam. Strangely, many of us are in two minds whether to go. It covers all years and obviously, there will be hundreds of people that we don’t know. We feel that we get enough from our own reunions. Apparently the head mistress is being fairly prescriptive about what will happen and we don’t feel we need to be pushed around.

The other factor is the weather. As the farmers said yesterday, mid May is when the rain usually starts. I’m not sure. I wouldn’t mind going for a drive (in my new wheels) but I may not stay long. A couple of the ex-Toodyay boys (who used to get the bus to Northam) are planning to book hotel rooms in Toodyay and have a drinking night of it. I could be in that.

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I had another wasted trip on Friday. I had to go to Joondalup anyway so I thought I’d go on to a place I’d checked out in a Morley shopping centre that does replacement keys for modern cars. I checked with them on Facebook Marketplace that they could supply my Peugeot key and the price. Yes, $99.50, no problem.

So I made the quite long drive (everywhere’s a long drive from Butler!), found what I thought was the right shopping centre (it’s dense around there) and went in to find the multi-service kiosk.

Wow, it’s like an Asian marketplace, densely packed with small shops like a Malaysian or Indonesian shopping arcade. It was rather nice actually, with all the smells of spicy foods, Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, Lebanese and so on. And small shops packed with brightly coloured and LED-lit cheap electronic stuff, just like Singapore. Nothing that interested me, I’m afraid, but if I need any LED strings or lights, I know where to come.

After a long search down narrow aisles, I finally found the multi-service kiosk but they didn’t know anything about the key I wanted. “No, cannot.” Wasted trip. Maybe I had the wrong shopping centre because there is another one across the other side of the main road.

Anyway, I had a very nice lunch of my favourite, Malaysian Kueh Teow. It wasn’t nearly as good as the one I had in Mandurah some years ago (with my cousin Tom, hi Tom), which I think was the best I’ve ever had. By then I was too tired to try to cross the busy main road so headed for home. There are plenty of other suppliers.

Oh, I forgot, after my rant about my four failed attempts, or was it five, at buying Li-Ion batteries for my Sony Clie, I found another supplier whose web-site said they have stock, so I placed yet another order. So far, three days later, all is quiet, no rejected payment, so maybe this time I’ll be successful.

But the price! I ordered two and the total, with postage, came to just under A$100. I was probably silly to have ordered two, but given how scarce they are, I’m sure I’ll be able to sell one on if I decide to.

Assault & battery

It’s happened again! I wrote in the last post about the difficulty ordering replacement batteries for my Sony Clie PDA, and how my orders always go wrong. Well, I found another supplier in the USA just after writing that, and at a good price, so I placed an on-line order for two and got a very pleasant reply email confirming my order and saying they’ll be despatching them soonest.

Well, today I got an email from Paypal to say that my money’s been refunded. Nothing from the battery company, just the refund with no explanation. That’s the fifth time! What do I have to do? Keep trying, I guess. I must get a result sooner or later.

I bought this device in 2003, by the way, and I think it cost about $1200. No, not that much – can’t remember. It’s a bit like an iPad, I guess, long before iPads were invented. It has the digital camera, video recording and playback, a voice recorder, music playback, note taking, phonebook, Bluetooth and so on. Palm operating system. Very advanced for its time. But it didn’t take off, probably because it was too thick and heavy. I didn’t use mine much, although I did take some nice photos, before I ever got my first proper digital camera. I’ve still got it, obviously and I’ll probably advertise it on eBay. Plenty of people have a nostalgic desire to own one.

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I had my vaccination on Tuesday and I did notice some side effects yesterday. My arm was a bit sore and I felt more than usually tired (although I always feel tired, due to the leukemia, I think). It also felt a little bit like having a cold.

But it’s all gone away after a good night’s sleep. No problems now. I’m very glad I’ve had it.

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I was all keyed up to have the skin cancer removed from my temple yesterday, but that was another damp squib. The surgeon wasn’t there! I didn’t have to wait too long this time, and once again was asked to wait in a really cheap looking examination room. After about ten minutes, a different doctor came in and he knew nothing about my case, asking me what had happened. I explained and said I wanted to know the result of the biopsy. Oh, OK. He looked it up and yes, it is a squamous cell carcinoma. It will have to be removed and probably a skin graft put over it. Well, whoopee, I think I already knew that.

So he led me out to reception again and asked me to make an appointment for next week when the surgeon will be present. So next Tuesday it is. It was a wasted trip, but at least they didn’t charge me this time.

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My “new” car, Evie le Pug, needs new keys. The one key I got works, but the remote lock/unlock buttons are mashed. I’ve found several local suppliers, a couple of whom say they can do it, so I’m probably going to Morley tomorrow to buy two new keys at $99.95 each.

After some more driving, I find it’s enjoyable with good handling and plenty of acceleration, but I wouldn’t call it a smooth ride. There’s a fair bit of NVH, noise, vibration and harshness. There’s a little bit of front wheel wobble, so it looks like a wheel alignment is needed. I haven’t checked tyre pressures, they may need adjusting. There’s a suspension switch for “S” – Sport and it doesn’t seem to do anything, so maybe it’s on?

Many of the switches in this French car are a bit strange, so I think I need to study the handbook.

Bon jour, je presenté Evie

This is a web photo, but mine is exactly the same.

Meet M’selle Evie, my new French girlfriend. She’s a Peugeot 407 Coupé. I’ve been looking at them on-line for months but they all seemed to be in the eastern states. I assumed they hadn’t sold very well in WA – they never came up locally. Well, now she’s mine!

Suddenly last Saturday, there she was, on Carsales, in Manning on the south side of Perth. I could hardly believe it, the model I wanted with the engine I wanted, and at about half the price I expected to pay, compared to all the ones in the eastern states.

Again, a web photo.
This is my actual car. I’m calling it Evie because the number plate is 1EVI.

I picked up the phone and arranged to come and see it. The guy said he’d had lots of enquiries but no-one had turned up yet. I said “I’ll be there in an hour.”

When I got there, it was still untaken and I said, provided there’s nothing major wrong, I want it. So we talked about it, I went and got some cash for a deposit and arranged to come again on Monday, that’s yesterday, with the balance. Price? $4,400. It’s not exactly a big outlay for what is a very fancy car, in excellent condition, only 133,600km.

So what is it? It’s a 2006 Peugeot 407 Coupé, with a 2.7L V6 twin turbo diesel engine. These were $72,500 new in 2006 so it’s depreciated as far as it’s going to go, I think. Due to their relative rarity, they may start to increase in price.

It’s all leather upholstery inside, with every driving feature you can think of: six speed automatic with Tiptronic manual, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, electronically controlled dampers for Sport or Comfort mode. Emergency Brake Assist, power seats, laminated double glazed windows for sound insulation, JBL sound system, automatic headlights when it gets dark, automatic rain sensing wipers, air con of course and heated seats … you name it, it’s got it. No tow bar though.

The thing is, being a diesel, torque is 440Nm at a low 1,900 rpm and power is 155kw (208HP) at only 3,500rpm. That means it’s powerful at lowish revs, right where you want it. And it pulls hard when you’re trying to idle along in dense traffic.

It has two gauges for temperature – unusual. One is for water, of course, is the other one oil temperature?

It has a couple of problems – apparently the aircon doesn’t get cold and the parking proximity sensors are not working (there’s a switch to switch them off low down on the dash – I wonder if the guy had switched them off and didn’t realise it – he seemed a bit clueless about the car).

I was a bit concerned that it seemed sluggish to move off from stopped, at first, but I realised after a while that it was switched to Snow mode, shown by a snowflake symbol in the dash display. That meant it started only in second gear, to avoid slipping. No wonder it felt funny. Switching that off made a big difference.

Being a French car, the damned turn indicator lever is on the left and the wiper wand is on the right. However, I drove home the long way last night, via Fremantle, taking about an hour, and I was soon used to it.

I am pleased as Punch! It fits what I wanted – a very stylish car, a 2 door coupé (I don’t want four doors! Four doors are for family men with kids! I’m a bachelor!), a rare car – I don’t think I’ve ever seen another one in Perth. It says “rare”, “unique”, “style”, “taste”, “discernment”. And at a very cheap price too. The guy said he wanted a quick sale. He got it.

Now I have to sell Vera, the Mitsubishi Verada. I’ll say I want a quick sale too, I’m ready to haggle. $2,900 and I’ll come down from there.

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My car is silver, to my mind a very boring colour.

I want one like this, black. I wonder what it would cost for a re-spray.

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What is it about battery suppliers? I’m looking for replacement LiIon batteries for my old Sony Clié PDA (Personal Digital Assistant).

sony clie」的圖片搜尋結果 | New technology gadgets, Electronics gadgets, Retro  gadgets
Sony PEG-NZ90 Clie. It has a 2Mega Pixel digital camera.

I found a supplier in the USA, New York, I think. I ordered two batteries and paid on Visa. A month later, no explanation, no email, just a refund into my account. I assumed no stock.

Last year I found a stockist in New Zealand so fired off an order, paying by Visa. Nothing happened for about two months, so I said, “What’s happening?” The guy said, “Uh oh, I’ll check the order.” Again, no answer for a month or more, over Xmas and New Year. I enquired again. He was on holidays. I enquired again a few weeks later.

“Oh, sorry”, he said. “We don’t send overseas. I’ll refund your money.” Don’t post overseas? From New Zealand?! Anyway, I got my money back.

Next was a supplier in the UK. There was some foul-up when I tried to order, but the answer came back, “No stock, sorry.” There was nothing on their web site to say no stock.

Next was a Canadian web site. It all looked good so I ordered two batteries, for a total of A$54 and got an order confirmation email. Again, I waited two months with no delivery, so I shot an email off last week asking why.

No reply, no explanation, but I’ve noticed a refund into my Visa account from them, so at least that’s something.

Four attempts, four fails. What is it with these companies? I’ll try again.

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I’m having my Astra Zeneca COVID vaccination at 2.15pm today, and I’m looking forward to it.

But I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. I go back to the doctor to get the result of the biopsy on my squamous cell carcinoma, and I assume the operation to cut it out. From what I’ve been told, he will cut 1cm out (wider) all around from the roughly circular lump, which is going to mean a hole roughly 3.5cm in diameter in my right temple, and probably quite deep. Ugh. It would seem to me that he’ll need to do a skin graft to cover it.

I guess I’m nervous about the unknown. I’ll know tomorrow.

Autumn

Autumn foliage. © PJ Croft 2021

Still warm, mid to high twenties each day with little or no rain. There’s an interesting situation developing off the NW coast of WA, where two cyclones have moved south, separated but circling each other like a giant dance. This makes their path unpredictable. They are shown as possibly joining up and moving on a line south, then crossing the coast well north of Perth and moving inland. If they do, the forecast is for LOTS of rain, maybe next Sunday and Monday.

Sunday is forecast for heavy rain. I look forward to it. I like variable weather.

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Oslo railway station

I watched a Norwegian movie on SBS the other night, called Earthquake (about, y’know, earthquakes ‘n’ stuff) and one of the scenes showed a magnificent view of the Oslo railway terminus from a high building viewpoint. Aaah, good plan for a model railway, I thought, so above is a panorama I made from Google Earth today. Here are a few more views.

Lookit all dem goods wagons and containers!

I wouldn’t try to reproduce the whole lot but it’s a good plan. Now to try to get it into the modelling software called Anyrail. I haven’t done much recently but it’s always in my mind to get back onto it.

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My appointment with the plastic surgeon finally came around on Tuesday, after a seven week wait! What a factory the place was. Doctor’s surgeries are usually fairly pleasantly decorated and furnished places. This was like a …. I dunno, business premises/factory/sports centre. It’s called Redimed and they deal with all kinds of medical/physio things. The waiting area is vast, with around two dozen chairs and low quality room dividers for the staff to sit behind, with cheap folding tables in front of them.

Anyway, the point is I waited more than an hour before my name was called! I was getting pretty restless by then so I was glad my time was finally up. I was shown into a small, bare consulting room with the cheapest of cheap desk and two chairs, plus an examination table. Was my waiting time up? No way. I had to wait another half hour before the doctor finally showed up! I was pretty browned off by then. That’s the longest wait I’ve ever had.

Anyway, it was to look at what I’ve been told is a cyst on my right temple, but may be more sinister, as doctors say. I can tell you, it’s been growing in size and becoming more painful in the seven weeks I’ve had to wait for that appointment.

Anyway, they took a piece for a biopsy and I go back next Wednesday for the next step. Obviously, it will have to be cut out and it’ll be a deep and wide hole. It’s about 12mm wide now, and quite sharply painful. They had to put two stitches in after the cut. It’s hurting.

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I had to see the GP today about my C/T scan of the bladder last week, and the report was, “All clear”. No problems. So the original problem was just a bladder infection.

While I was there I asked if my Astra-Zeneca vaccination next Tuesday is still going ahead. Yes, he said, they have supplies and I’m a high priority customer, so it’s all go. That’s good to know.

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The pandemic is taking its toll on the shops at Clarkson. There are several new boarded up casualties lately, including a greengrocer that’s located just outside Coles yet has survived for several years. I always wondered what they were thinking, since their prices were no cheaper. The only thing was that they had a bit wider range of exotic fruits and vegetables. Not any more – they’re gone now.

April Fool

Sanur sunrise Jan 2011 © PJ Croft

The 1st of April, Mum’s birthday in 1924. Nearly her centenary, wow. She died in 1996, I should add, at age 72, so I’ve beaten her.

I haven’t seen any April Fool’s Day jokes today, except the one about Voltswagen. Stale already. I haven’t even bought any hot cross buns. I should avoid them, being type II diabetic, but I wouldn’t mind having one or two, toasted with butter. Yum!

Crikey, it’s 35deg today, starting the second month of autumn, and the hot weather is scheduled to continue for several more days. It was 39deg last Monday. Crazy. Yet it rained at 4am on Tuesday morning. I happened to be awake at the time and heard it coming down hard, but only for a couple of minutes. It was enough to soak the gardens and lawns, though. Nice.

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I had the second bladder CAT scan on Tuesday at Joondalup Hospital. Crikey, the queue just to get into the parking area stretched right out onto the main road. It took me 15 minutes just to get to the boom gate. Luckily I’d seen a car pull out and go, so I had a space immediately. My point is, that parking area is atrocious. There are always long waits for a space, and when you’ve got an appointment, no matter how early you try to be, it never seems to be enough to stop the anxiety rising.

Anyway, the scan was simple and I await a call for the results. I think it was “an abundance of caution”, otherwise known as CYA, (Cover Your Arse), on the part of the GP. At least with bulk billing it’s cheap (like, no cost to me).

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It’s good to see house prices rising again. Good for me, that is, as an owner. Not so good for buyers, but with interest rates so low they don’t have the worry of never ending mortgages, even though they need big loans.

For me, as a reverse mortgage case, at last the value of the house should be increasing faster than the interest rate on the loan. That’s what makes a reverse mortgage work. I want my house to increase in value.

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Why did Coles remove the swing “gates” from their supermarkets some years ago, but reinstate them about a year ago?

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Coles are testing me; they stopped stocking my favourite Vietnamese Pho Noodle soups a few months ago. Then a few weeks ago they stopped stocking my addictive favourite cashews with the skin on. Now they’ve stopped selling my favourite frozen pizzas, McCains Sourdough varieties.

Given that Woolies sell the pizzas and have much a nicer range of ready cooked meals, I may have to switch. I used to complain on this blog about Woolies being very unreliable on their checkout scanning but I have to say, it seems to have been fixed. I’ve done a bit of shopping for my groceries at Woolies in the past year and I’m not noticing any errors any more. Good for them.