Spring, sprang, sprung

Near Exmouth 1987 © PJ Croft 2022

Aaah, 23degC today and rising to 27deg, even 28deg later in the week. Spring has sprung at last. I hate August, I hate winter. Give me summer all year round, and especially give me October and November, the nicest months of the year.


Today, Monday 26 September, is a public holiday for, would you believe, the Queen’s Birthday? I’m sure it’s been renamed the King’s Birthday, but it’s not his birthday. Anyway, it’s been tradition here for many years to maintain a fiction that it’s the Queen’s Birthday and it’s the first official day of the “Royal Show”. I used to go quite often as walking around the various exhibits was quite interesting, but I’m not up to it now.

Sympathy to the woman in Adelaide who stepped across a barrier and walked onto the track of a roller coaster trying to retrieve her dropped phone. Of course, she was hit by a roller car. She’s got severe injuries. What possessed her to do such a stupidly dangerous thing? Crazy!


I got a shock last week, the night of the Queen’s funeral actually, when I received news that a long time high school friend, Jan Sobon, had died.

I only gradually got to know him as the years went by, as he kept a lot of his story to himself. But now I know that he was born in Germany in the same year as me, 1947. He was sent as a child migrant to WA by sea in the early 1950s and was sent to Northam. We met at Northam Senior High School, where he excelled as a swimmer in Northam’s Olympic length pool. He had the broad shoulders and big chest of a swimmer. I used to think he was Dutch, actually, only finding out he was from Germany much later.

In recent years I knew he was having trouble with a kind of arthritic condition in his hands, causing him trouble with gripping things and picking them up. But he was very active and made many trips to the Goldfields with a metal detector and his Subaru.

He graduated as an architect around 1970 and married one of the prettiest and nicest girls in the school, Vivienne. They had three children, Alexander, Gabriel and Zoe. Viv is an audiologist and that meant I met her son Gabriel a few years ago when I had a bit of hearing trouble. He is the only child I’ve met. Unfortunately the eldest, Alexander, succumbed to depression while at uni and took his life. That must have been very hard on Jan and Viv.

I went on a cruise with Jan in November 2014, a six week voyage sharing a cabin on the Arcadia. We flew to Singapore, boarded there and cruised via Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nagasaki Japan, Busan South Korea to Tian Jin, the port for Beijing. Four days in Beijing, then flying Vietnam Airlines to Hanoi for four days, then on to Bali for five days and home. This was a long trip and I during it I got to know Jan well.

So it’s a bit sad, not knowing he was so ill and not having a chance to say goodbye. Not realising he was ill. Sad. The first of our close group to go.


Among my Bali DVDs I have a movie called London Bridge Has Fallen. The Queen’s funeral reminded me of it, as the funeral was code-named London Bridge in all the British planning for many years.

However, the movie plot is that terrorists take the opportunity to stage a huge raid on the funeral, seeing that so many world leaders would be present. It’s an American movie of course, and the US president is the main target, but the terrorists don’t care who they kill or how many. It’s an Incredibly violent movie and you wonder how so many guns can be fired in public places with so few casualties among the innocent bystanders. Even the London Met Police are shown as undercover bad guys and get shot by the wonderful American good guys. Amazing. I might watch it again, just for laughs.

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