What a pain

Kalbarri, January 2019. One of my favourite pictures © PJ Croft 2019, 2022

Is this winter, still? I’m cold. The max temps are around 20-21degC, but it’s windy and my fingers are stiff. We’re getting a bit of rain between the long blue sky patches, which is good, but I want some heat.


I’m bloody upset. I’m experiencing chronic pain, but although I’m talking to doctors, they seem to be operating in slow motion. I’m sick of this. I’m going to start shouting soon.

I had to wait 2½ months for the appointment with the pain specialist. That’s atrocious. Whatever is causing the pain has advanced in that time. I’m considering seeing a lawyer.

He ordered a CAT scan, which I had on 28 October. I’ve heard nothing since.

He also ordered an MRI scan which I had last Tuesday, 8 November (waiting, waiting). I phoned the pain specialist the next day, Wednesday, to say I’ve had the scan and I want an appointment. I said I’m suffering and I need an appointment asap. Again, I’ve heard nothing since. Bloody hell!

This is the LBW principle – Let the Buggers Wait. This is the bloody doctors’ unions, the Colleges, artificially restricting the number of specialists so as to keep a steady stream of patients and keep the incomes of the specialists up in Mercedes territory.

I’m assured this is not cancer, it’s some kind of nerve pain, but what??!! I’m living on Prodeine Forte, paracetamol plus codeine. Not excessive, but even that only dulls the pain. Shit!!!!!!!


I went a bit loco (yok, yok, geddit?) and bought a few model locos last week.

These are all second hand. I’ve had the long Santa Fe (7502) for some years, having bought it in Australia, but the other three came from Hattons in the UK. They carry a big range of used equipment, very conveniently browsed on-line, and delivered quickly at reasonable postage cost. It only took about a month for my medium sized box to arrive from the UK, at a postage cost of about $32.

The big benefit of this order is that the three locos that came from Hattons are all DCC fitted, so I can run them straight away with the DCC controller I bought second hand a few months ago. As well, if I open them up, I’ll be able to see how ghe DCC decoders are fitted and wired. The 7502 Santa Fe that I’ve had on my shelf was not DCC ready when I bought it and although I’ve got the instructions, I’ve never got around to doing the conversion. It’s quite fiddly work, needing some fine soldering and fettling to fit the custom made decoder printed circuit board (PCB).

The top two, the BHP Billiton and the Electromotive (EMD) are also DCC sound fitted! That means they contain a small speaker, controlled from the hand controller, which makes all the appropriate sounds such as engine noises, clanks and clunks and so on. So I believe, anyway. I haven’t been able to try any of these yet. As you can imagine, fitting decoders (one for the motor, one for sound) plus a speaker in such a small device is pretty intricate.

Prices? The big Santa Fe was about $100 seven years ago. The other three were about $120 average from Hattons. It’s an expensive hobby!

I also bought these:

A set of three low loaders for container transport. These are die cast metal.

This means I’m seriously ready to start building a layout. I’ve got my design at last.

I can build this in two stages, corresponding to the two arms of the L shape, with a join roughly where that blue lake is.

My big quandary is how to build it so that it’s portable. Ideally I’d like it to be on wheels so that I can move it around. I already have a couple of wheeled shelf thingies but they’re in use at the moment. Hmmmmm.


I’ve started watching the new series of The Crown, series five, and I’m three episodes in so far. It’s good, maybe not as good as the earliest episodes in series 1 & 2, but those were exceptional. Prince Charles in this latest series doesn’t resemble the real man much, but that’s OK. Elisabeth Debicki is great as Princess Di. She’s just becoming part of the circle of Mahomed Fayed at the moment. Plenty of material there.


I also watched a Netflix series of only four episodes, Inside Man. What a weird story. Not very believable at all, I’m afraid. Full of holes in the story line. But it held my attention, that’s for sure. Would I watch it again? Nah.


I’ve just been out to the garage to put stuff in the bins, and rather annoyingly, I had to thread myself past the Peugeot which is too close to the back door. Why not move it, you say? Just push it forward?

It’s because you can’t put the gear shift into neutral unless the key is in the ignition. Bloody French car! I don’t carry the key with me, usually, so I can’t move the car unless I deliberately think of it.

Just another way this French car annoys me. Good points:

  • Torquey, powerful engine (twin turbo V6)
  • Fantastic styling
  • Good road holding and steering

Bad points:

  • Turbo lag – almost no power until you hit 1900rpm, then whoosh
  • Rattley diesel engine
  • Wind buffeting with almost any window opening
  • No ACC (accessory) position on the key – have to have ignition on to listen to sound system
  • Boot wires break (poor quality wire)
  • No rear window wiper – serious rear vision problem at times
  • Very poor audio system display

I could go on. In addition, air con doesn’t work, parking sensors don’t work, it keeps telling me I have a headlight fault, but I can’t see a problem, tyre pressure sensors are too sensitive, CD player is in the boot, not in the dash.

I enjoy driving this, but I suspect it will have to move on, as much as I love the style.


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