Near the finish line

© PJ Croft 2023

Aaaah, another warm 26degC day in our Indian summer, 18 days into autumn and only a couple of weeks away from the start of winter. The seasons have definitely shifted – summer starts later, i.e. well into December, and as I say, it stays warm right through autumn. As well, Perth used to be a really windy city. I hated it.

I really noticed the difference when I went overseas, how calm it was. What’s happened is that the wind band called the Roaring Forties, which used to stretch up over the lower half of the state, has shifted south. That’s fine by me, because as I say, it’s much calmer here now, but it also means we don’t get as many of the rain bearing cloud fronts driven across the lower south west of WA, so less rain.

This happened quite suddenly, 1977 in fact. I clearly remember going on a trip to England in about April that year, and talking to people in pubs about the fact that it hadn’t rained in Perth for four months. Four months! To a Pom, that was remarkable. Or maybe they were just humouring me. Yeah, I think so.


Di’ja watch the coronation? I’ll confess that even though I’m a confirmed republican, even being a member of the ARM, the Australian Rupublican Movement, I still love the pageantry, the colour and the music of the British ceremonies. I started watching when the broadcast started at 3pm our time on the Saturday, and I stayed with it right through to the end at around 11pm our time. I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but I loved it. In fact I even recorded an edited highlights program, 1h 40m long, and I’ve watched about half of that. What a soft headed fool I am.

I couldn’t help noticing how soft and vulnerable Charlie looked. He didn’t have much to do so all he could do was sit there and keep his mouth shut, which he did. It was also very noticeable how much lower Camilla ranked in the proceedings. Although she can’t complain, going from commoner to Queen, she was definitely an “accessory after the fact”.

One point was that, being a fan of George Frideric Handel’s music, I’ve heard Zadok the Priest scores of times, but I didn’t realise how important it is in these royal ceremonies. Handel lived from 1685 to 1759 so the piece was written and performed after the time of Charles the 1st, (1600 to 1649). It has been performed at every coronation since then.

Did you know that Handel and Johan Sebastian Bach were contemporaries? Both were born in 1685 in Germany but moved to London, which was very much a centre of classical music then. Handel’s middle name is Frideric, by the way, not Frederick.

Of course, Shakespeare had lived around that time too, 1564 to 1616, so London was rich with literature and music.


I’m having trouble typing this piece. My computer is really struggling, and it’s a poerful computer. I’m converting six video clips that I downloaded from YouTube from .MKV format to .MP4 format and it’s using all eight cores of my CPU flat out. Everything else is being slowed down under the load. The software tells me there’s 3h and 20mins to go. It’s been going for 40 mins so far. I’m wondering if I should drop one or two of the pieces and do them later.

They’re clips of the UK ceremonial military bands and troops marching for Charlie’s coronation. I’m doing it because I love this marching music and because a friend is coming tomorrow and he’s bringing some of his slide shows to watch on my 4K Ultra Hi-def TV.

I’m hoping to persuade him to get one or more of his three sons to come here and help me with some of the physical stuff I’m doing. I find I’m struggling these days. I find it very hard to get down low and I’m at constant risk of tripping and falling. I tire very easily too. I’m sleeping ten hours a night and another hour or two during the day too. That’s not good.

I have many small jobs to do, but I’m struggling to do them. I need help. I’ll offer things in exchange. I have a lot of electronic stuff to give away.

in fact, surprisingly, my friend said all his sons are converts to film photography. One has even bought a vintage Hasselblad. That’s an expensive camera, even used!


I think my kitchen ceiling repairs are finally finished, after three months! A guy came this morning (at 7:15am!) to install some insulation in the ceiling to replace the “blow-in” rockwool that was lost in the leak.

I think that completes the work, at last. It’s not as nice as it used to be, but it can’t be helped. The kitchen LED down-lights are flush with the timber panels, instead of being recessed, but no-one who wasn’t familiar with the way it was would notice. They’re on a dimmer now, so that’s good. I wasn’t aware – in my day (say 20-30 years ago), a dimmer was a separate switch panel, but now it’s a snap-in replacement for the switch in a standard switch plate. You still need to be an electrician to swap the wires over, but apart from that it’s two minute job. Easy. I didn’t know that.

The insurance company, NRMA, are willing to accept that the demise of my dishwasher was caused by the water and rockwool insulation getting into the motor, and will add it onto the payout. Good one! I’ve been quite pleased with NRMA’s insurance coverage – they’ve done it all. I’m quite happy. Recommended.



You win some, you win some

Battleship USS Missouri, 3 February 1988, off Fremantle © PJ Croft 1988, 2023

Beautiful days at the moment, highs of 22 – 25degC. Not much rain this week, but we had some ripper showers last week. It’s going to be a wet weekend coming up, though the more rain the better.


I’m writing this at 5am – I’m having terrible sleep problems these days. Restless legs! It’s awful! I don’t know if you’re aware of it but at night, I just cannot resist moving my legs and tightening my leg muscles, while clenching my glutes (buttocks). The result is that I just can’t lie still. I’m writhing around in the bed.

The result is that I have to get up and do stuff on the computer until it goes away, usually 4 or 5am. I then sleep until 9am or 10am, or even later. It’s a complete waste of the morning.

I don’t know of any cure for the condition. I’m taking magnesium already, for cramps, but it doesn’t help this. Dr Google is no help. I’ve been given a list of specialists in Perth, but I feel it will just cost me a big fee for no real help. Reluctant.


I really enjoy the time at the computer, though. There’s a guy in New Hampshire, USA, called Waldo, who runs a Youtube channel called Waldo’s World. Although his day job is as a computer specialist (programming, mainly), he dovotes all his spare time buying and fixing cars, tractors, trucks and earth moving equipment on his enormous block on the woods.

He seems to be completely self taught in all his wrenching and mechanic work, and he also makes things in steel, ranging from a broken part for a car, to making a ginormous gooseneck trailer.

He’s a self taught welder and it’s fascinating to see how he develops and welds bits together. It’s inspiring.

I’m a follower of several Youtube channels, such as Rainman Ray, a motor mechanic, and a couple of model railway guys. The only problem is that some of these guys are so boring that I have to just pick the eyes out of their presentations.


Speaking of model railways, I’ve been collecting all the necessary bits and pieces for around six years so far. Obviously I need track, and I bought a box of track all those years ago. The long box has been sitting on a shelf in the garage all this time, and when I calculated how much track I’ll need, I realised I was a bit short, so I ordered another box (of 30 x 1m lengths), cost $237.

But surprise, surprise, last week I moved the box in the garage and there was another box hidden behind it! Unopened. That’s great – it means I can do anything I like, any design, and I have plenty of track to do it now that I have three boxes of 30x1m. I foresee a winding mountain track, perhaps.


Uh oh. I said last week that I tried to start the Peugeot and it seemed as if the battery was weak or flat. Well, I’ve had the battery on charge for three days now and it doesn’t seem to want to take the charge. It’s only flashing the charge light weakly and measures only around 6V. I hope it’s not completely dead.


The images above show two cans of a non-alco mixed drink. Note that the ring pulls are unbroken, i.e. the cans have not been opened. But one of the cans is empty and the other is only about 1/3 full. Yet another example of deceptive packaging.

Here’s another:

Look at the size of the box, compared with the size of the contents. There’s no reason to make the box so much bigger, to allow for “settling” as they say. It’s just another example of short measure, ripping us off. I’m sick of it.


It’s now nine weeks since the ceiling collapse and I’m still waiting on the repairers. They’ve been out once, to measure up and work out what to do, but that was three weeks ago and I’m still waiting. They are supposed to come today, Wednesday, to do the work.

UPDATE: it’s 10.15am and they turned up at 7.15am as promised. They’re working on the new ceiling now. It’s all good so far.

I give NRMA Insurance credit – they’ve phoned and emailed me a couple of times to ask how it’s going. They phoned me yesterday to enquire and I told the lady nothing’s happened. She said they’d get onto the repairers.

However, she asked me if I want to claim for the glassware and crockery that was broken when the panel fell on the sink. I said no, I don’t even know what was broken and it wasn’t enough to worry about.

But I took the opportunity to say that my dishwasher has died, unfixable, and I feel it was caused by water and rockwool insulation from the ceiling getting into the dishwasher motor.

That’s fine, she said, she’ll just add the cost of a new machine onto my claim. No trouble. They just want a report from the repairer. Whacko! That saves me about $1,000 for a new machine. That’s a good result.


Battleship USS Missouri, 3 Feb 1988. © PJ Croft 2023

I’ve been watching Netflix lately and one program in particular, The Diplomat. WOW! This has to be one of the best shows I’ve seen in years.

It’s about a woman who’s sent to London to be the US ambassador to the UK. Working out of the US embassy in London.

The complication is that she has her husband along with her. He’s also been a US ambassor to some other country in the past, and he seems to be a spare in this posting. He doesn’t know whether to speak up or just be a “wife” to his wife. It’s complicated.

The storyline is that there’s a very bad attack against one of the UK’s aircraft carriers in the Arabian Gulf. They suspect Iran, and the UK prime minister wnats to launch a revenge attack, but then evidence appears that it wasn’t Iran afterll, and things get very complicated and very dangerous. It’s a fascinating and complex story. All set in magnificent rooms in London and Paris.

This has to be one of the best Netflix series I have ever seen. It’s magnificent. It’s only eight episodes and it ends in an ambiguous way, implying that there’s more to the story. I hope so.

I’m also re-watching the Attorney Woo Young-Woo for a second time. I watched it about a year ago and it’s definitely worth watching again.

It’s a South Korean series, about a young woman called Woo Young Woo, who is autistic, but has a photographic (eidetic) memory and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Seoul University in law. She’s able to recall masses of text and images from the law texts and wins many cases in this way.

I don’t know if the actress playing the role is autistic herself, but it’s a magnificen performance. Good enough for me to watch the whole series again.