Still here

Turkish mosque, Istanbul.

Wow, eighteen days since the last post – sorry about that. Life’s a bit hum drum, that’s all. (Hum drum, strange saying. I wonder where that comes from. I must look it up. It’s good that we have Google and Wikipedia and so on to easily find things like that these days.)

I’ve had no side effects from my two vaccinations and it’s three weeks since the last one, so I’m all armoured up. Boy, don’t we live in the safest place on Earth? Sure, it’s the most isolated city on Earth but for once, it works in our favour.

It’s a rare fine day today, in the midst of the wettest July in many years. I’ll bet the farmers are happy. This is like the winters of old, rain nearly every day, soggy paddocks. Still, better not speak too loudly or there’ll be some new anomaly – like the driest August and September on record, or something.

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I watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony last night and quite enjoyed it. Agreed, it didn’t have the spectacle of the ones in years gone by, but it was dignified and had enough sparkle, but no too much. For me, the drone display was a highlight (literally!) and the perfect opening of the ball on top of the Fujiyama mountain replica was impressive. Typical Japanese engineering, smooth and reliable.

I only read this morning that not all teams were in full strength due to crowd limits. Russia sure looked diminished. The Americans were on form, showing some of their usual arrogance with their chants of U-S-A, U-S-A, but they stopped after a few.

I’m not a fan of the Aussie team colours. Green and gold are not a pleasant combination to me, and sharing the colours with Brazil grates. Red, white and blue, with green and gold flashes mixed with red, black and yellow for the Aboriginal flag. It can be done.

I’m not much interested in watching the sports themselves, but no doubt I’ll dip in at times. It’s good that it’s in our time zone.

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I do feel something for the Sydney people and I wouldn’t like to be going through their ordeal with the COVID Delta virus outbreak there.

BUT…. we’ve had to put up with their slander of our state all last year, and this. Their arrogance and “Masters of the Universe” attitude is too much to take.

So when they appeal to us to send our supplies of vaccine over, well Gladys, perhaps you should apologise for the bad things you’ve said about us, even just the ones this year. Only two months ago she was criticising Victoria in know-it-all tones. It’s about time she listened to Mark McGowan on how to do lock-downs properly. Fat chance of that.

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The tyre pressure warning has come on in Evie. It feels normal and looks normal so I don’t think I’ve got a flat tyre, but it’s good to see that it works. I have my trusty Aldi pump and I’ll check them asap.

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I’ve just finished another Kindle book, another one of 770 pages, called the War Planners Vol. 1. It’s quite a clever plot: a couple of dozen people (in the USA, of course) are contacted and asked to go voluntarily from their high level, high tech jobs, and be flown to a secret location, to fulfil their commitments to a CIA/NSA group for a national emergency.

When they get there, they’re told that China is secretly planning to invade the USA. Their task is to anticipate the ways China could arrange this attack, using their highly secret knowledge.

It all appears to be legitimate and they believe what they’re told, for the first few days. But odd things start to happen and one of the US guys gets suspicious. Sure enough, it becomes clear that the Chinese, using implanted people within the US, are getting information from this group to plan an attack.

From then on, it’s a bit like a very long action movie, but it’s very well written. The author is a former Navy pilot and writes authentically, about helicopters, especially. The author is Andrew Watts and he’s a much better writer than James Rosone was, with the exception that Watts writes the micro story, full of detail on a smaller scale, whereas Rosone’s scope is nothing less than nation against nation, full of strategy and the big picture. But full of spelling mistakes and silly errors too. Both are good.

There are another five or six books by Watts, so it looks like I’ve got a lotta reading ahead.

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I had an odd thing yesterday. I went to Aldi (for the first time in months, more later). I usually carry a couple of dollar coins in my shorts pocket for the trolley, but this day I didn’t have a coin, nor in my wallet.

A young boy was returning a trolley and I asked him if I could have his coin, in exchange for silver coins. He looked very doubtful and said, “I’ll have to ask my mum.” OK, so I waited while he went over to a car nearby. Nothing happened, he didn’t come back, so I started walking towards the car. But she moved off, and the closer I got, the more she accelerated away. Zoom, gone. So I went back to the trolley to get my free coin and I found it was an Aldi token, the kind you put on your key ring. Bonus. So I’ve got a free trolley token. Strange.

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The reason I haven’t been to Aldi for months is that they used to sell a lot of tools, hardware and machinery, and I bought a lot. But for some reason, they seemed to stop selling that stuff, so I stopped going.

A few days ago they emailed their latest catalogue and bingo, they were selling all my kind of stuff, so I went on Thursday. But there was almost nothing there, not even any evidence of where it had been. Maybe I’ve got the wrong day, I thought.

I asked the checkout lady on the way out: “It’s all sold out”, she said. Huh?

So that shows how popular it is. Surely they should realise this, and realise that when that’s being sold, that gets me in for my regular shopping as well. Otherwise, I don’t go.

All pumped up

Loch in Scotland © PJ Croft 2008, 2021

Yep, pumped up with antibodies. I had my second COVID-19 Astra Zeneca vaccination this afternoon so I feel invulnerable. Ho ho, nothing is certain, but you’d have to be very, very, incredibly unlucky to catch Corona now, or indeed, to get blood clots. I’m not worried.

I asked if we get a card, or a certificate or a badge to officially prove we’ve been jabbed twice, but although she gave me a printout of my vaccination record since 2013 when I became a regular patient at this medical centre, there’s nothing else.

She did say that if I go to my MyGov website account, I should find a record there that I can print out. OK, I guess I’ll check that in a couple of days. But without some serious government certificate or card to show, anyone can say they’ve been fully vaccinated, even if they haven’t had even one. I want a nice badge I can wear to show people that I’m safe. Maybe I could design one and sell it on the web. I would require proof before I would issue one.

Hah, do I want hassles? Not likely.

By the way, have you heard this Aussie slang? What kind of beer will you have? I’ll have a virus, thanks.
Virus – Corona, yeah?

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Wow, what a start to winter. Sunday was our wettest July day for 20 years and June was remarkably cold. For my northern hemisphere readers, “remarkably cold” means 16-17C maxima and 3-6C minima. That’s a normal spring or summer day for you, isn’t it? For me it just means I put on a cardigan each day and throw on a cotton blanket on top of my lightweight doona. I don’t need a blanket under the doona, on top of the sheet. I’m warm enough.

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By the way, remember last year I had a big leak on my side of the water meter, where there’s a T-piece for the reticulation pipe. ‘Course you don’t.

Anyway, my water bill at that time was about $540. Ouch. I had to wear it because it was my pipe that leaked and I neglected it.

Then a couple of months ago, a Water Corp guy turned up to replace my water meter, which was faulty. I didn’t realise it. Job done.

Come 12 months later, my water bill up to 31 May arrived, and whammo, it was $545.02. Funny, I thought, I haven’t been having big baths or double showers each day.

You guessed it: when I looked closely at the bill, the amount of water used this year was within 4L of the same period last year. Yes, because the meter had started again from zero, they had just repeated the amount from last year. But that was the time of the big leak, and it’s not leaking now.

So I got onto the Water Corp and showed them this graph, from their last bill:

The 16L quantity from Jan – Mar 2021 is obvious and would have led them to the faulty meter. But the next two quantities, 4224 L and 4228L are a bit outlandish.

I got a very bright and friendly reply from them agreeing with my assessment and promising to investigate and work out a correction.

By coincidence, their new assessment arrived just now and they’ve credited my account with $436.92, so my usage was reduced to about $80. With that amount of credit, I shouldn’t have to pay anything for quite a few months to come. Very satisfactory.

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I’ve just had to spell bureaucracy in another post. Boy, I have trouble with that word. I’m a pretty good speller, but that one gets me.

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I should have sold the Verada by now, but it’s chosen just this time develop a fault where it won’t start. Or rather, it starts but immediately dies. Second go, starts again, but immediately dies and so on.

I was stumped, but I reckon, I have a hunch, that a tube or hose has fallen off in the engine bay. I haven’t had a look yet, too cold and wet and windy, but I’ll try to fix it myself before I call the RAC.

Speaking of the RAC, I was very pleased to get a letter from them around the 16th of May, which was the 50th anniversary of my membership, enclosing a new membership card, gold and saying 50 Years Gold Member. And in a small velvet bag was a nice gold coloured key ring pendant/medal with the RAC logo on the front and my name engraved on the back.

At last! That’s only a small reward, but it’s nice to finally be recognised after all these years.

Boring, boring

Somewhere in the NT. From an ABC news story.

Yeah, it’s a long time since I wrote, sorry. We’re back in lockdown again, I’m afraid, but it’s only a short one, and if things don’t go suddenly bad, it should end at midnight on Saturday. It doesn’t really affect me, each day is the same to me. I self isolate as a way of life.

Unfortunately, the woman who brought the virus home from Sydney last week is from this northern beachside area and even did some shopping at the Coles shop that I use, at Ocean Keys, Clarkson. I usually do my weekly grocery shopping there on Fridays, but strangely, for some reason, I shopped at a different local shopping centre on that Friday. Sixth sense?

I’m due for my second vaccination shot on Tuesday, so that will be good. I feel pretty safe. Keep buying those LOTTO tickets, eh?

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I did a bit of grocery shopping at a local IGA shop on Tuesday. This is the one that closed down for about a year, crushed by the competition from the new Butler Village with its Woolworths supermarket.

Then last year, it opened again. Whacko! I was pleased because it’s convenient for me. The downside is that it’s much more expensive, so you have to accept that. It’s not for your regular weekly fill.

They even started staying open 24 hours, although why anyone would want to buy groceries at 3am is beyond me. That would have been a boring, boring shift.

But sad to say, it’s visibly dying again. Whole blocks of cold cabinets are boarded up. A whole double row of shelves has been removed. The opening hours are back to 9pm closing. I do my best to support them but you have to accept that you’re paying a donation on your bill.

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Attached to the supermarket is a Cellarbrations liquor shop and I find their prices to be very competitive, so I tend to use them.

In the past couple of years I’ve been chatting a lot to a woman behind the counter there, and last Tuesday I was surprised to find that she’s from Iceland! Name of Helena. She treated me to some Icelandic speech, which I think is a dialect of Swedish; I must ask her about that. She’s got a broad Aussie accent, though, having grown up in Perth.

I happen to be watching a series on Netflix at the moment, set in Iceland, called Kapla. Phew, it’s a bleak, raw place. Spectacular scenery, but cold and windy. It’s the subject of many photo essays these days, but after the first few, they tend to have a certain sameness about them

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I mentioned the Kindle books I’ve been reading by James Rosone and Miranda Watson, on the theme of what World War 3 might be like. All I can say is, WOW!

Don’t expect literary masterpieces. These are just an ex-US Army guy writing from a veteran’s knowledge. But he has a very wide view and what he writes is very, very plausible. I have the feeling that he writes the military action stuff, and his co-writer Miranda Watson writes the “interior” stuff, the meetings and conferences where strategy is discussed by the President and the military and civilian chiefs.

I read the six novels in the first series about one scenario. I’m now about a quarter of the way into book four of the second series, a different scenario involving nuclear war in the Middle East after New York and Newark are destroyed by two nuclear devices brought in on ships.

In this scenario, Japan reneges on its commitment to come to the aid of the USA, trying to stay neutral, then compounds the betrayal by buckling to pressure from China to form an alliance and commit to a surprise attack on the US West Coast, California. They use the deception that they are still friendly to the US to spring a surprise attack on Los Angeles. I’m only at that point so far, but I have the feeling that they may be in line for another nuclear response from the US on the Japanese mainland.

I’m afraid these second series novels are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, probably one per page. Given each book averages 400 pages, that’s a lot of errors.

One especially ridiculous editing failure is that when detailing meetings of the British war cabinet, they repeatedly call men with knighthoods, such as General Sir Michael Browne, or Admiral Sir James Parkinson, as “Sir Browne”, or “Sir Parkinson” and so on. It seems elementary to me. They couldn’t have done much research.

That’s a relief

Ely cathedral, England. © PJ Croft 2008, 2021

The week’s flown by. Another visit to the skin cancer doc brought good news yesterday. The new biopsies were all clear, except for one they’re a bit doubtful about. A small area might need radiation. I asked what that would be like, my impression being that it would burn the skin and be a bit painful. No, he said, that used to be true but they’ve learnt they can use lower power these days and it shouldn’t hurt. OK, that’s good to know.

So now, one more appointment in three weeks’ time and that should be the finish of my skin cancer troubles.

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Home again

Back home again after my second overnight stay in hospital. The skin cancer surgeon wanted a second go at the site on my right temple, same as before. He felt he needed to get more samples of tissue out for biopsy, to check if the cancer has spread. I won’t know the results for a week. Fingers crossed.

He was running very late on Thursday. My op was scheduled for about 3.15pm but I didn’t go in until about 6.30pm. Then I missed all the fun, as they put me to sleep this time. I awoke to some fairly painful tidying up around 7.30pm. I have a photo, but it’s too gory to show. I bled a lot more this time, but it’s stopped now.

As I said, I seem to be having medical incidents (I was going to say problems, but they’re not big problems), one after another these days. Getting older, I’m afraid.

Once again my good mate Keith drove me to the hospital on Thursday and picked me up yesterday. Good friend.

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I was/am a bit annoyed that I got a bill from the anaesthetist wanting to be paid the full amount, $600, before the operation. I had no option but to pay in advance. It means I have to claim it from HBF myself, which shouldn’t be a problem, but I’m not happy about having to pay up front before the service is performed.

By the way, in today’s paper, HBF say they are going to return $41m surplus to customers like me due to reduced demand last year, due to fewer operations being performed due to COVID. That’s great. I don’t know how much we’ll be refunded, they say they’ll let us know in the next couple of months, but I’m pleased.

HBF, RAC, P&N Bank – three WA companies that I use, and I am highly pleased with their services.

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I mentioned that I finished the six book series about a third world war, after Russia invades Ukraine. That’s near 3,000 pages. The author is James Rosone with Miranda Watson (I’m not sure what role she plays). This guy is a prolific writer! I’m onto his next sequence of books, about another world war 3 scenario. This one is a bit strange – not the story line, which is quite plausible, but it’s written as if to be history, written after the event.

It’s very jingoistic, being written from the American point of view, where the Muslim world are the baddies, teaming up with China and Russia. America has a new political party, an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans, with a strong leader who knows how to put things right. It makes me roll my eyes so much I might have to send them on holidays to relax the muscles.

When I’ve finished this, there’s another series of books on the second American Civil War – that is, in the near future, post Trump. As I said, he’s a prolific wordsmith.

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Dang, I’ve inflicted the first bump mark on Evie’s derriere. For some reason I find it harder to reverse into my garage in the Peugeot than I did with the Verada. I don’t know why – it’s a slightly shorter car (the Pug, I mean) and I slightly bumped the pillar just now. I guess now will be the time to test whether a car “lotion”/polish I bought off the web will do what they say. It polishes marks out by magic on the web. Hah! We shall see.

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This will get me kicks in the shins, but I can’t help noticing how nearly all the troublemakers in vaccine doubters, quarantine breakers, border closure illegal crossers, arguers, abusers of police and so on, are …….. women! It’s rare to see a bloke reported or chased. It’s all the mouthy women, especially the young ones.

The brazen border crossers who drove from locked-down Victoria, through NSW to the Sunshine coast in Qld – it was a married couple, but it was the woman who was driving and has been arrested. No masks, no quarantining. They reckoned they had to be in Qld for the husband to take up a job, but how about endangering two whole states in the process? Amazing.

New development

Not sure where I found this on the web, but it’s very good, I think.

Brrr, it sure has switched to winter, suddenly. For readers in colder climes, a maximum temp of 20deg probably sounds like summer, but for us, it’s getting to be sweater weather. And 7deg minimums, brrrr. My Viennese friend says our winter and their summer are about equal temps at the moment. In other words, although it’s summer in Vienna, it’s still bloody cool by my reckoning, and hers too, I think.

Of course, 21 June will be mid-winter here and mid-summer there.

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I had the stitches removed from my former skin cancer site yesterday and it’s all healed quite nicely, except for a few black spots.

Before, stitches in
After, stitches out, 1 June 2021

Doesn’t look much different, does it? “Lord, I am afflicted by a bald patch.” Oh dear.

Anyway, that’s not the point — the surgeon came in after the nurse had taken the stitches out, and after humming and hah-ing, he said, although the report says there’s no spread of the cancer, he’s not sure that he got it all out. Therefore he said he would like to lift the skin graft and have another look. Or, I could have radiation.

At first, I said radiation sounds like a cleaner, less painful idea, but I asked him what he thought. He wants to do the surgery (being a surgeon, I suppose he would). Therefore I’m booked in for 10 June for a second go. I’m OK with it, except that I have to go through the stitches and bleeding all over again.

At the same time, I showed him how that side of my eye has drooped. He agrees, and says he’ll do a small lift to correct my “brow-ptosis”, ptosis meaning droop. I think I’d better have it done because my right eyelid doesn’t fully open and my eye is watery. It’s harder to read, with unbalanced eyesight.

I also asked for a full check of my scalp. My GP says “Oh, they’re just keratoses, nothing to worry about”, but my former GP dismissed the temple thing as “Just a cyst” and so I didn’t take it seriously. I want a full check of my scalp.

So it goes on, medical appointment after appointment. Dum de dum.

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Glass swimming pool, London

Pretty amazing, in my opinion. It’s a glass swimming pool between two halves of an apartment building in London. It’s 35m above the ground. With the weight of that water, it shows how strong glass is. It’s fascinating to look at, but I reckon if I were swimming in it, being able to see through the water to the ground would give me acrophobia and vertigo.

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To be continued……..

Blood moon? Bloody moon!

6.05pm

Fizzog. This was the so called Super Blood Moon this evening. There was too much hazy cloud. I got home a bit too late to go down to Lake Joondalup as I did for the last Blood Moon two years ago, but it’s lucky I didn’t go because, photographically, it wasn’t worth it.

6.07pm
6.09pm

But, you’d think that, being so experienced, I would have done better and checked my equipment beforehand, wooden ya? Nah, she’ll be right, Noreen. When I went to use the Nikon P950 with the 2000mm lens, it was dead. Flat battery. Duh! So these are old faithfull, the Nikon FZ70 with the 1200mm zoom. It did the job, these being nearly full frame shots.

But the whole thing was a fizzer. Next time, eh?

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I had to make a trip to Morley today to see a lawyer about my mortgage and took the Peugeot, of course. Nice drive, nearly an hour! But I’m finding a few not so good things now.

  • Wind buffeting with the window down. It doesn’t seem to matter how much the window is open or closed, it sets up a buffeting, bad enough to hurt my left eardrum. Open the passenger side a bit? It helps, but not completely. I haven’t found the right combination yet.
  • I had to drive home with my seatbelt only draped across my body. I fought for more than five minutes, trying to get the tongue into the receptacle, but I had to give up. I just could not get it into the slot and latched.
    Luckily, the AliExpress web site offers a “seat belt extender”, which is steel duplication of the belt prong that clips into the floor receptacle and gives a couple of inches extra. It’s probably meant for fat people (who me? Noooo!), but it will lift the slot up from the tight space between the seat and the console. It should be here soon.
  • I hadn’t tried the CD player since I bought the car, and you guessed it, it won’t accept a CD in the slot. There may be a disc jammed in there.
    Anyway, that makes my mind up to buy the Chinese made drop-in replacement that I’ve found on YouTube. Installation is dead easy – no adapters needed, and you get a big LCD touch-screen which gives GPS navigation, AM/FM radio, with DAB+ available with a $75 add on adapter, CD/DVD/MP3, plus all the car controls, including aircon. It’s pricey at $550, but ….

    More tomorrow. Dinner time.

Snow. SNOW!!!??

Me in Austria 1974. Not Bluff Knoll. © PJ Croft 2021

This is crazy. We had snow on Bluff Knoll, the highest point in the SW of WA on Sunday night. It’s not even winter yet and we had 27deg as a maximum only a week ago, yet here in May, snowfall. Wow. Summer has given way to winter in only a week. Buckets of rain on Sunday and during that night, howling wind, lashings of it. The maximum temp was only 14.7deg yesterday and I had to run the heating. Yet now it’s a clear, cloudless blue sky. Oh well, I get my wish: changeable, interesting weather.

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Did you know? There’s a blood supermoon due tomorrow evening at 5.44pm in WA. It means the moon will rise when it’s at closest approach to Earth, hence the ‘super’ part, and will rise in a partial eclipse, meaning we will see its light through the dust surrounding the Earth, causing a red colour, hence the ‘blood’ moon.

This is another full moon, 14/11/16 © PJ Croft 2021

Having bought a big, solid tripod a few months ago, and having my Nikon P950 with its 2,000mm zoom, I should get out there and get some shots. I did this a couple of years ago, in January 2019, the last time this happened, and I kinda stuffed it up, arriving at my chosen location just as the moon was rising. By the time I got my lightweight travel tripod set up on a wobbly jetty, it was practically all over. Here’s my chance to try again.

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I’m being driven mad by scam phone calls. I had eight yesterday and I’ve had four so far today, at 1.30pm. Most I don’t bother to answer on my landline phone, but they’ve got my mobile number too and it doesn’t necessarily show the area code, so I’m not sure if it’s a genuine call. “Hello, this is Amazon calling. Regarding your recent purchase of a set of encyclopedias at $499, we have charged your account. Please press 1 if you do not want to proceed”, or rubbish like that in a synthesised mechanical voice.

Most of them are coming from Melbourne ( 03 prefix ) and if I don’t answer the first one, I get a second one five minutes later. This morning I didn’t answer that either, so five minutes later, they rang my mobile!

There was a lull for a couple of months recently, and I read that Telstra are using an AI program to weed them out, but they’re back with a vengeance lately. Damn, a bunch of criminals in India are effectively making our whole phone system untrustworthy.

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Double damn. My lovely multi-size-capsule coffee machine has gone wrong and I don’t know what the cause is.

It’s the usual ‘place your capsule in the holder and bring down the lever to punch a small hole and force the hot water through with a pump’ machine. But a couple of weeks ago, I found that bringing the lever down, it wouldn’t go all the way and the lever sprang back up a bit. Then, when you pressed Start, the pressure would build up and the lever would be forced up, with water spraying out. Trying to hold the lever down was near impossible, the pressure was so high. Hot steam was forced out and you risked burnt arms.

Obviously, the flow of water is being blocked and the pump keeps pumping, resulting in the blow out. Why is the water being blocked? OK, I thought, maybe it’s blocked by scale, since I hadn’t de-scaled it since I bought it. So last week I thoroughly de-scaled it. With no capsule in place, the water flowed through and was a bit brown and cloudy at first. I put about five passes of water through, each time with a new lot of de-scaling liquid and the water ran clear by the end. That’ll fix it, I thought.

Ho ho ho, I laugh at your puny efforts, said the coffee machine. No difference when I put the capsule in.

So I’m stumped at the moment. I hate having to dismantle these things as I always end up with a screw left over or an O-ring missing, or something. What is it with coffee machines? This is the fifth machine I’ve had fail or go wrong in the past five years or so. This one only cost $75 and ordinarily, I might go out and buy a new replacement, but this one is special – it takes four different capsule brands and sizes, Nespresso, Lavazza, Expressi and Vittoria. I bought it on eBay. I’ll see if I can find it again.

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Meanwhile, I’ve had to go back to ‘normal’ coffee and I’ve found that Nescafe tubes of pre-mixed latte with no sugar are available, and it’s not bad. I like it. Now I’ve found that their double shot coffee is pretty good, too. These will do me while I figure out what to do about the capsule machine.

Comin’ along

The Aussie Alps? Central Australia. The Guardian, May 2021

Phwooaaar, another beautiful 24deg “winter” day; cloudless blue sky, no wind. It’s only 10 days to winter but it’s still T-shirt weather.

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Speaking of which:

Angle of sunrise and sunset at 21 March each year, the equinox.
Angle of sunrise and sunset at 21 June each year, the winter solstice.
Angle of sunrise and sunset at 21 Dec each year, the summer solstice.

This is a web calculator where you can input your own location, or any other location on the planet, and see these results. I find it very interesting, especially the colour of the light at various times.

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It’s day 9 since my skin cancer operation and it’s coming along OK.

At 20/5/21

My GP says this is “healing well”. It started to bleed on the evening of day two and was pretty messy and painful for 24hrs, then it stopped and has been OK since. Although it looks bad, it’s not painful. The wound where they took the skin graft, on my chest near my right armpit, is a bit more sore, but tolerable.

However, I’ve noticed that he seems to have cut the facial nerve or muscle such that I have a drooping eye and eyebrow, now. I can’t raise this eyebrow any more. When I point it out to people, they say, “Oh, yeah, I didn’t notice it until you pointed it out.” It’s OK. I’m not vain at my age.

I’m awaiting a call from the surgeon to have a review and the stitches removed, after about a month, I think.

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I mentioned that I was reading the Kindle versions of a series of six books about a hypothetical World War 3. Well, wow, EPIC! I’ve finished them all, each about 500 pages, so that is one massive book in total. The sequence is: Ukraine; Korea; The Pacific; Taiwan; Russia; and China.

The writing is not high literature, in fact it’s almost comic at times – “Ratatat ratatat blam, bang, BOOM!” Seriously, that’s the way he writes. It certainly does convey the pace of war, though, and the sheer hard slog and terror of the soldiers in the trenches and bunkers.

We Aussies get plenty of mentions, attacking and taking Jakarta when Indonesia joins forces with China. Unfortunately, the Indos don’t have the equipment or the training and are ineffectual as fighters. Then Aussie and NZ troops are used to take on India, both in the north of China and then on their home soil. India also fights with Russia in Europe but Allied airpower puts them out.

As you can imagine, more than 3,000 pages allows for tremendous breadth of storyline, including detailed strategy and tactics. Despite the, at times, pedestrian writing, it held my attention, especially as it became more technical in describing the use of drones for wide area internet after China knocks out all the world’s satellites. The authors write convincingly of the way the US overcomes this slight roadblock.

I’m impressed enough that I’ve gone on to the next two books called The Monroe Doctrine vol. 1 & 2. They only cost $5.99 as Kindle downloads. Very useful.

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Hmmm, I’m struggling with fatigue and lack of energy these days. Also muscle weakness. I can hardly stand up sometimes. I’m having to nap for about 2hrs a day. I’ve made an appointment to see the haematologist re the CLL. I don’t think there’s anything that can be done, but, what would I know.

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I think I’ve mentioned before that for the past 15 – 18 months, my reticulation controller box on the side of my house has been home to a nest of wasps. There’s a hole on the swing-out cover and they got in and built a nice mud nest.

As long as I was careful and slow moving, they didn’t mind me opening the cover but I didn’t like it much and wanted them gone. I especially didn’t like the mess they made all over the control panel with their yellow poo. I thought of schemes to make them leave, but didn’t actually do anything.

Anyway, this morning I thought I’d better switch the reticulation off for the winter sprinkler bans, so I slowly opened the door to the controller. I heard a bit of a rattle as I did so and as I swung the door open, the nest detached itself and fell down onto the ground at my feet. The wasps all came swarming out and I thought, “Oh, shit!” But I stayed still and although they were flying around me, they took no offence and the swarm dissipated. I slowly reached out and switched the controller off, then slowly closed the door again on what seemed to be the sentry wasp, sitting there and not swayed.

So I moved slowly away and I hope they will decide to find a new home somewhere else. I’ll check again later to see if they’re gone.

All done

Swan River, East Perth, June 1988 © PJ Croft 2021

Phew, thank goodness that’s all over. Yes, I had my skin cancer “excised” on Tuesday. Here it is – I’m showing only a reduced size photo as it’s a bit gruesome.

Skin cancer excision, 11 May 2021
Graft site

I was supposed to have a general anaesthetic, but the anaesthetist wasn’t sure of intubating me so they decided to do it under local anaesthetic. It was fine, I hardly felt a thing. Because they used Midazolam, my memory of it all is a bit hazy. I just remember a lot of pushing and wiping, and me being very chatty during it all. I probably talked excessively but they didn’t tell me to shut up.

I had assumed they’d take the graft skin from my backside, but without asking or telling me, they took it from my right front of shoulder. Pity, the scar will be pretty visible there I assume, but at my age, do I care? Not much.

There was no bleeding and they left the head wound uncovered, but it started bleeding the next night and got a bit messy. It looks a bit ugly now, but the bleeding’s stopped.

The other thing was that they walked me to the theatre and got me to swing up onto the table. First time that’s happened. They slid me back onto a bed at the end, though, and then I nattered away to a nurse in the recovery room for at least half an hour. I seem to be talking a lot more as I get older – becoming garrulous, like a few people I could name. Must watch that.

Surprisingly, there was virtually no pain. They’ve given me a prescription for strong pain relief but I haven’t needed anything yet, not even paracetamol.

He’ll remove the stitches in about a month, I believe. It’s a pity my GPs didn’t push harder for me to get this seen to a year ago, when it was much smaller. And that I didn’t speak up enough. And that it took three months from the time I first phoned the surgeon for an appointment to having the surgery. It grew during that time and started to hurt much more. They haven’t said anything about malignancy, but that’s what I’m worried about.

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Then I had another appointment at RPH in the city yesterday. It meant I had to get up at 6am to catch the train at 7.55am, then the CAT bus to Goderich St.

I planned my trip on the Transperth web site and saw at first that the Red Cat went straight past my destination. Then I saw a notice that it had been temporarily discontinued and to take the Yellow Cat. OK, I did that.

But that bus took me on a scenic tour of East Perth, down Wellington St, not along Goderich St. Gaaah! I had to ask the driver and he said OK, get off here, corner of Wellington and Lord St, and walk up to Goderich St.

Pheee-ew! It’s uphill and I was buggered when I reached the hospital. I was 15 mins late, but the doctor was also late, so it didn’t matter.

Then, when I left, what to do? Then I realised that the Red Cat bus does go past the door, so I caught it back to Perth station. So why did the web site tell me it wasn’t running? Grrrr.

The other point about my trip was that I’d completely forgotten about wearing a mask on public transport, so didn’t have mine with me. I covered my mouth with a thick restaurant napkin I had in my bag, but there was a ticket inspector and he noticed me. He said it’s OK, then 5 mins later came back and gave me a proper mask, free of charge. That was good of him.

I have to say, there was 100% mask compliance on the train and buses (apart from me, initially). I only saw one other woman with no mask, but it was only briefly before she got off. It shows how different we are to the USA and UK. We obey the rules, and that’s why we’re almost free of the virus compared to those disastrous, rule defying countries. Fools.

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Well, that’s the way to lose weight. After all that vigorous exercise yesterday, I dropped 1.5kg.