Your faith is shaken


I seem to be cursed to have my faith is humanity shaken lately.

In general, I like Perth and I think life here is pretty good. Nice people, in general.

But this morning I met the one who disproves the rule.  An utter bastard.

I was leaving the North Beach Deli, in North Beach Drive, crossing the road, leaning heavily on my stick (more on that in a minute), finding it hard to walk. I judged a gap in the traffic with a 4WD coming towards me on my right, but a good 50-100m back.

It was clear on my left, so I started to cross. Would you believe the guy on  the right started blowing his horn at me, barp, barp, barp, barp. As he drew almost level, he leaned out and shouted “Get off the road, you fat bastard!”

I wish I’d had the guts to stop right in front of him. As it was, I shouted back, “Fuck off! You bastard!”

I can hardly believe it. All he had to do was slow down a little to let me cross, if even that, but he loses his lolly at me. Nasty bastard. I was quite upset, as you can imagine. This very rarely happens. Most people are very polite and considerate. Not this bastard. Typical four-wheel-driver, says me who was driving a 4WD!


So I came home on the freeway and managed to call in to what I thought was the location of Altronics, where I have a package of parts awaiting me. But they’re not there any more! I’ve been going there for years. Damn. I drove around, hoping I’d spot them nearby, but no luck. UPDATE: their new address is Unit 2, 182 Winton Rd.


So I’m home, shaking and trembling with fatigue. Something’s wrong. This has come on just in the past few months – weakness, loss of muscle strength, fatigue. This is not normal. It’s got worse just in the past couple of months.

I was battling to find my words talking to my friends this morning. Normally I have fantastic recall, but I was struggling. The GP has been on holidays and I have an appointment but not until  the 9th. I doubt he’ll be able to fix me.

I had other errands this morning but I can’t do them – I have to rest. It’s hot outside- 33deg or so.


These are New York apartments. Aaaarrrgh. I would not want to live like this, ever, no matter what. Apparently the building sways quite noticeably in wind, and some people have moved out because of it. Ugh!!


I bought two more Photobook vouchers a few days ago and it’s not a bad deal – you get two copies of an 8.5″ x 11″ layflat landscape hard cover (image wrap cover), 24 pages with postage included for $43.90 total, i.e. $21.80 per book. Postage is a killer these days – it’s usually $15 each book, last time I used it, a few years ago now.

Layflat means what it says, the binding of the pages lays flat when it’s open. It means you can do landscape spreads that look like one image. If ya get what I mean.

Another plus of these vouchers is that they have six months validity. That’s a double edged sword – the usual three months gives you a bit of urgency to get the book done, but with six months, you can become complacent. I did actually lose a couple of vouchers years ago, when I forgot about them. They do give you some leeway, but they didn’t that time.

These will be for the Croft History volume 3. I made a start about a year ago but got bogged down. I have to get onto it now as I feel that time is running out, and I don’t just mean voucher validity. Unfortunately also, my subscription to MyHeritage has expired, which means I can’t do the colourisation and enhancement I was doing. It’s about $70 for another year. Should I pay it?


Yesterday morning, 30th, I finally made myself put in a phone call to the makers of my horrible mattress, AH Beard. They give a 1-300 number to cal for any complaints or warranty problems, so I phoned the number.

But all you get is a recorded message asking you to leave a message! I had too much to say, so I didn’t speak, and then I heard them say to send an email to So I did. Quite a long one. With my phone numbers.

Have I had any response? No, of course not, silly me for thinking I would.

So that’s where it stands at the moment. On the mattress tag, they ask us to give them a good review. Well, it’s not looking good at the moment. Bugger!


Progress on the model railway front: the blue lined squares are 100mm x 100mm.

Each white dot above represents a rail join. You can see how many there are, and the way they line up along the line between pieces of base board. This is so I can build it in sections and join it together. Then break it apart to move it and store it.

You wouldn’t believe how much time it takes to make all that track fit. Endless fiddling and changing. But I’m getting there.

The idea is to print the gray area out on sheets of paper and stick them to the baseboards (just with sticky tape, not too firmly), then lay the track on them using them as the template. That’s where the fun part begins. There will be endless fiddling and mistakes made there too.

It’s a double track all the way around, but I’ll be able to get things going with a single outer loop, as a start, after all this time. I’ve been collecting all the bits for more than five years now and wow, I have got quite a collection! I reckon I’ve got at least fifty wagons of various kinds, both goods and passenger. Plus about 12 locos, a few DCC decoder equipped but most just 12V DC waiting for me to convert them. I may have to start with just 12V DC at the beginning, until I can get more than two or three locos converted for DCC (Digital Command and Control).

As well, I have about six platforms for stations, about eight scale model buildings, four overhead footbridges, a myriad of trees and shrubs, a few dozen containers (the type you see at ports and on trucks), several dozen (at least) lighting poles, a couple of road crossings, two sets of crossing lights (clang, clang, clang), a dozen or more tracks signals, scale model vehicles and so on. And I’ve just received two laser-cut rail bridges. These are made from thin, (1/8″) plywood, beautifully cut with a laser ready to be pushed out of the frames and assembled. It’s wood colour at the moment, but I plan to spray paint it, first grey, then with a partial coating of rust colour.

Would you believe I’ve actually got an air brush sprayer, still new-in-box, never used in four years from Aldi. I’ve never used one before, so here’s my chance to find out how. I’ve also got at least a dozen tubes of paint, again from Aldi. One o’ these days, Norton, one o’ these days.

I can’t model an Australian scene very easily, since there are almost no models of Aussie locos and wagons. I plan to make a general Aussie industrial scene, with lots of goods and stock sheds and buildings. The same goes for scale model buildings – almost everything you can buy is based on British models.

You never finish building a model railway. You never finish. It’s never complete.


I’m reading a new book at the moment, Red Rain. As the name implies, a red rain falls across the whole Earth, and only a handful of people are left alive, including our heroine, Emily in New York.

Sounds as if it could be silly, but it’s got me hooked at the moment. As a Kindle book, it only cost me $2 so if I don’t like it, it’s no great loss.

I was taken to an Amazon page yesterday which shows me all my Amazon purchases since forever, including all the Kindle books. It’s fascinating to look back over the list, and if I can work out a way to display them all, I’ll try to show them here. I could do screen grabs, but there would be too many.


I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my use of gas for water heating and cooking, and whether I could dispense with it altogether. I’m thinking heat pump for the hot water, and doing without a gas stove-top completely, just using my electric bench top oven. I’d still leave the gas cook-top connected (or would I?) for house resale value, but I’d get the gas storage hot water heater removed altogether. To be replaced with a heat pump. They need solar power for part of their operation, and I’ve got that, so what’s stopping me?

What’s stopping me is, will I have hot water at 7am on cold winter mornings? I can’t find anyone who knows the answer. I must admit I haven’t tried very hard to find out, so I should try harder.

If I could do this, I’d like to get the gas disconnected completely, to avoid the service fee. Hmmmmm….


Long time

Chinese temple, Penang. © PJ Croft 2023

Sorry, it’s been a while since I last blogged. I haven’t felt like writing, to be honest. Things haven’t been great. Can’t seem to get along with some people. Misunderstandings. Miscommunications. Plain fuckups.

I’m thinking, kerrumbs, how is it that I’m making such basic mistakes this late in my life? Haven’t I got it down to a fine art by now, nearly 76? I should be sliding along on my backside, cruisin’. Instead I’m shaking my head in disbelief and feeling upset about things.

On the other hand, dammit, is it my fault? I don’t think it is. If I make a mistake, fine, I’ll take it, but I don’t take all the blame here.


I guess it’s not helped by feeling in almost constant pain. It’s not the left chest pain that I was fighting last year – the pain patches cured that, nearly 100%. Amazing. Some side effects, but now that I know what to expect, easily bearable. Even after I remove the patch, the pain stays away for a week or more. It comes back slowly, but it’s nowhere near as bad as last year. I can feel it right now, without the patch, but I don’t need it.

But peripheral neuropathy!! Ooooowwww! It’s awful. My feet ache all the time, with a burning stinging pain, punctuated by SHARP jabs for 15 – 20 secs or more. Sometimes it’s like walking on broken glass or sharp granite chips. I’ve tried various remedies with little success.

The trouble is, if I take any pain relief such as Panadeine Forte, it stops me sleeping. It takes me hours to get to sleep. I often see the dawn light.

So I take a light sedative, an anti-histamine, to make me drowsy and keep me asleep once I get there. But the drawback is a hangover in the morning, until about midday usually. A feeling of incredible weariness. It wears off slowly.

On top of trying to get to sleep, I can’t find a remedy for restless legs syndrome. Oh, there’s a drug for that says the GP. But I can’t notice any difference when I take it, even at double dosage.

So take magnesium, people say. OK, I am, but after a good first few nights, it’s not working now. Writhing around, unable to keep still.

The result is, I’m nervous about going to bed now. That sure doesn’t help.

On top of all that, I’m getting a lot of muscular pain, due to lack of exercise. My fault, but Owww! Sometimes I feel I can hardly keep standing.

As well, although I don’t think I have arthritis, I’m getting intermittent, swelling pain in my right hand. Not the joints, just a growing pain, very localised, lasting a few minutes at a time. Is this also peripheral neuro as well?

My GP recommended a physiotherapist. He seemed surprised that I’ve never used one before. He seems to think it will do wonders for me.

OK, I’ve had three sessions with him so far, on semi-Fridays. He’s set a reasonable set of exercises for me to do every second day. I can do them, and I don’t get sore muscles from it, but keeping to the schedule is very hard. I should have done them today, but I was so weary from a bad night last night that it’s slipped again. I can feel a little improvement so far, I guess.


On top of that, I think I said I bought a new mattress in September. Well, I HATE it! I made the mistake of buying on-line without testing the mattress in a shop. What could go wrong? I chose the on-line because they also took my old 25 yo mattress away, which was one of the things that was worrying me.

Well, it was advertised as “medium” firmness. Fine, I thought. But it’s far too soft! OK for a fairy weight, I suppose but not for me.

The worst thing is that the edge is so soft that I kind of sink down into it, but the middle of the bed feels actually hard. The result is that I constantly feel I’m on a slope. I sleep on the left side of the bed (looking from the head) and if I roll onto my right side (as I always start out), I feel as if I’m rolling, millimetre by millimetre towards the edge. And if I lie on my left side, I can’t seem to get my body into the centre, away from the edge. So I end up sleeping on about 30cm from the edge.

The company is AH Beard. I’d never heard of them before, although I notice they’re advertising a bit now on TV.

There is a warranty, but is this a fault? I guess I’ll have to phone them and ask what to do. What do I do? Go and test mattresses in shops? But I feel uncomfortable about that, having no intention to buy.

I’ve been delaying and delaying, feeling embarrassed and shy about it. OK, pluck up the courage!


I’m also wondering what’s wrong with me, that I keep misunderstanding people. They are putting the blame on me. It can’t be them. They are adamant that they said certain things in a certain way and therefore it must be me who’s misunderstood.

This has resulted in a quite serious clash with an old friend over money and a car. I got upset and asked him to pay for the use, and he agreed to pay me what I asked.

Then a couple of nights ago, he said in a phone call that he would be bringing a substantially bigger sum with him. I understood that to be on top of what he had agreed to pay already. Well, no. It seems I misunderstood again. It is more, but not what I understood from his phone call. Therefore our meeting this morning was very nerve wracking for me.

The lesson is the old saying, “Never a borrower or a lender be.” I don’t borrow (that I can think of) but I often lend things to people. In this case it has gone badly wrong, almost to the ending of a friendship. Not that far, but it’s made e bloody sure I won’t be lending him anything again. Hard lesson to learning at 76!


Another misunderstanding: last week I finally engaged an electrician to replace six down-light lamps in my ceilings.

OK, he came on Monday and replaced them, but one had a faulty transformer (in the ceiling to supply 12V to the lamp). The cost for a new transformer? $180 !! I reeled back but it can’t be helped.

Then he suggested he should check my RCDs (electronic circuit breakers) as they have a finite life, especially near the coast. OK, so he tested them and pronounced them needing replacement. OK, I agreed, it had to be done.

Then it was the two smoke alarms – they have a ten year life span, the house is 19 years old and if I had a fire, the insurance might not pay (same for the RCDs).

The upshot was, total bill, $973.50 !! It started out just as six downlights!

So that was Monday and Tuesday last week (he had to come on Tuesday to finish the job). I got the invoice on Wednesday, and when I was still feeling the shock, a hurry-up email on Friday. Bloody hell.

So I paid it immediately, but emailed them saying this was a bit aggressive. And asking why the bill hadn’t been in two tranches,as he’d offered while I he was here. And, I saw on their web site that they offer 10% discount for pensioners. There was no indication whether that had been applied on the invoice.

Well, that got a reply (from a woman, presumably his wife?), blaming me and her computer. Why hadn’t I asked for the bill to be split? Well, it was he who suggested it and face to face, I said that would be good.

And why hadn’t I mentioned that I’m a pensioner? Well, he knew that, we talked about it, I mentioned my age a couple of times and said “I’ll probably be dead by the time these things fail again.” He knew.

As for the 10% discount, she didn’t answer my question, so I still don’t know. And finally, it’s the computer software that pushes the invoice out so quickly, and sends the hurry-up two days later.

Bloody hell! Shove the blame back on me, why don’t you. The result is an unhappy customer and a zero recommendation. No more business from me. Grrrrr.


So all in all, an unhappy and unsettling fortnight. Not to mention a few other worries I’ve got. It’s a bit hard to sleep these days regardless of insomnia.


Another sparkling, warm summer day, 25degC in this room, a bit windy outside but no problem. We had a 38C a few days ago but it’s been a pretty mild summer so far.

But the floods up North! Wow, a huge rain bearing depression across the Kimberley region of WA, from Broome eastwards, far into the “desert” areas. I put desert in quotes because it’s not really desert as people visualise desert, like sand dunes etc. Yes, there’s some of that but it’s mainly red dirt, thousands of square kilometres of low scrub, rocky outcrops and some spectacular gorges and river country.

But it’s the Fitzroy River in particular which carries away all the water from this huge area, and at present in parts the river has risen 15m in height and is up to 50km wide! I can’t imagine it.

Here’s the bridge at Fitzroy Crossing in dry conditions:

Fitzroy River crossing in dry normal conditions.

Here it is now (or a couple of days ago). The water level is over the road, around 15m above the river bed:

Many animals are struggling to survive.

Kangaroo Island.
Fitzroy River flood plains

The news says that the amount of water flowing down the Fitzroy to the ocean each day is equal to Perth (pop. 2.09m) city’s water use for 20 years! That’s mind blowing, for me.

I know the arguments, but the south west of WA, including Perth, is in perpetual drought, a shortage of water. Our main dams are around 30% full. The winter rains don’t replenish them any more. We’re spending over $1bn building our third seawater desalination plant, a few km up the road from me, actually.

If only, if only, all that humungous amount of water up north could be brought down here. I know, I know, a pipeline is not feasible. The cost would be more than a $billion, for sure, and it’s not flat land. Pumping stations would have to be built, and that takes energy. Where from? Solar is becoming more feasible, but I’d like to see the sums.

Anyway, while we wring our hands, all that enormous, massive amount of water is flowing out into the sea. Sob.


My title is pain, and it’s partly a report on the bodily pain I’ve been having, and partly another type of pain.

My bodily pain, the sharp, stabbing, needle pains that I was having from May to December last year, is mostly gone away. I can still feel it a bit, right now, but it’s bearable.

Last week, around Tuesday, it had become bad enough that I had to reapply the pain patch that worked so well before Xmas. As before, it stopped the pain in its tracks. It works wonders.

But it took me a few days to realise that the vague sick feeling I was getting was due to this analgesia. I had to remove the patch again. The sick feeling went away. But importantly, the pain stayed away too. Up until now. It slowly comes back, but I’m not at the stage of needing the patch again.

As a result of this, I cancelled the nerve block operation which was scheduled for last Thursday. I feel there was no 100% guarantee that it would have fixed the problem permanently, and I don’t like the idea of cutting or blocking nerves unless absolutely needed.

Interestingly, if I had had the operation, they would not accept me getting a taxi home. They insisted that I had to be picked up by a family member or a friend, who would stay with me at home. Problem: I don’t have any family members any more. They have shunned me, abandoned me, treated me like dirt. The feeling is mutual.

I have two great friends, but they both work and I don’t like to ask them. They would come, but I feel uncomfortable about it. I have other friends, but one is losing his sight in one eye to macular degeneration and shouldn’t drive, and the other has cancer and needs chemo. It’s gettin’ a bit difficult these days.

The other pain I referred to is psychic pain and I might leave that for now.


Dammit, I’ve been driving since November 1965, that’s 57 years and a bit, and I got my first speeding ticket the other day. Damn. At first I couldn’t understand it, but slowly it dawned. I was driving back from Joondalup towards Marmion Avenue, avoiding the freeway. It was late afternoon and driving into the setting sun (this was November) I could hardly see and I couldn’t see the speedo.

So they got me. A speed camera. Doing 77km/h in a 70km/h zone. I can’t dispute it.

BUT! This is a double lane, divided road with limited access, and the camera was set up at just the time when the sun is shining into your eyes. UNFAIR!

Bugger it, I’ll just have to pay up, but you get no credit for being an exemplary driver! You’re treated just the same as the hoons and the habitual speeders. Unfair.

However, there’s another thing – the photo on the ticket shows my front number plate (on the Peugeot). Thing is, I’ve lost that number plate. It’s missing, fallen off, gone. At least I know I still had it in mid November.

I don’t quite know how to go about this, getting a replacement. Look it up on the web, I suppose. I hope it doesn’t cost too much.