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Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in Sydney. © PJ Croft 2021

Wow, rain, and more rain. Even in summer, the rain continues from the wettest October on record. We had a heavy shower yesterday afternoon and a lot more last night. It looked threatening this morning but seems to have fined up to a beaut day now, 23deg.

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I had my COVID vaccine booster yesterday, so I’m triple vaccinated now. The first case of the new virus variant has appeared in Perth, so it looks like we might be hit soon. Our borders open on 5 February, so the other strain(s) will arrive soon afterwards. I really, really don’t want to catch it.

Actually, my Pfizer vaccination yesterday was so painless and so quick that I wonder if I’ve really had it. I hardly felt anything, and the nurse seemed to hide the needle after it was done. I wonder if it actually happened. I had to go to the pharmacy afterwards and asked if they do the Moderna vaccine. Yes, she said. I wonder, if I waited a month or so, whether I might have that too. I know I’m being ultra cautious but not unnecessarily so, I think. I’ll ask the GP.

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I also had a haircut yesterday, the first since January. At that time, the lady hairdresser advised me to ask for no. 3 next time, so that’s what I asked for at a new barber near me. Wow, I got shorn! It was all over in less than five minutes and I look like a newly buzzcut army recruit. There was no styling, no shaving around the nape of the neck. It’s lucky hair grows back.

The good part was that they only charged me $15. I think I’ll be a bit more careful what I ask for next time, though.

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I was put on a new regime of diabetes drugs in October and wow, they are working. My morning blood glucose readings are now down into the normal range (4 – 8 mmol/ml) now. I even had a 4.6 reading a couple of days ago. That’s nearly into hypo territory, although I didn’t feel anything.

The evening readings are still too high, but way down on what they were. I get 11 – 19 mmol/ml, way outside the 4-8 range, but much better than up to now.

The downside is weight gain. Ugh! I’ve gained around 5Kg in the past three months. My diet hasn’t changed, it’s all down to the other two new drugs, Jardiance and gliclazide. I try to eat as little as possible, skipping lunch on many days, but that doesn’t seem to help. Ugh.

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I’ve finally got around to tackling the Mitsubishi Verada’s starting problem. Or rather, I got the RAC onto it. Their mobile mechanic got under the dash (wow, what a magnificent contortion he did to get under there), in a look at the connector mentioned in the Martybugs article, but to no avail. Then he looked at the throttle air assembly and reckoned there’s a small stepper motor in there which sets the fuel/air mix. It goes wrong. He adjusted it manually (with a screwdriver, that is) and got the car running, but it wasn’t idling properly.

So it was time for the tow and a truck arrived to take it to the Joondalup workshops where it is still. They phoned me this morning and said they can get a used throttle assembly locally by this afternoon, for an all up price including labour of around $350. Go ahead, I said.

I’ve also asked them to look at the power steering fluid leak. No news on that yet.

As well, the tow driver pointed out that both my rear tyres are no longer legal. So there’s another $250 or so to get new tyres.

I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t sell the Honda MDX and hold onto the Verada. It’s such a nice car to drive. I should be able to pick it up this afternoon, they said. Hmmmm. I don’t need a 4WD, whereas I do need a station wagon.

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I mentioned the book The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn. It’s the successor to The Salt Path, her story of walking the coastal path from near Bristol to Land’s End, then to Portsmouth. That was a brilliant read and I had high hopes for her next one.

I give The Wild Silence 9/10. Not quite as good as the first book, but still a good read. She’s a born writer. She wrings poetry out of every scene.

The first section is rather dark, describing the slow death of her mother in hospital and interweaving descriptions of her childhood and her father. It’s rather gloomy but tells you why she is the woman she is now, introverted and agoraphobic.

Then we move on to the story of how they come to be managers and restorers of a farm in Cornwall, near Polruan. The owner is a London financial type who wanted someone to “re-wild” his hobby farm, to bring it back to the state it was in before it was farmed to death. Voila, they make a deal. No money changes hands, they get rent free living in a house on the farm in return for doing the work. This is right up Ray and Moth’s alley, just what they wanted.

But just before this falls into their laps, she describes her writing process, how she came to write the first book, The Salt Path, and how it came to sell much better than she expected, such that they make a steady income from it.

After they get the farm back up and mostly rewilded, that generates enough income that they want to go walking again, mostly for Moth’s health. So they choose a strenuous walk in Iceland. Bloody ‘ell, of all places, when Britain offers so much.

The rest of the book, then, about the last quarter, is description of their Iceland walk. To be honest, it wasn’t that gripping. I found myself skipping ahead a bit. I still rate it a great read, though. Thoroughly recommended.

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