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.


Another glorious summer day, 30degC, cloudless blue sky, almost no wind. Lovely.


I had a physiotherapist around here this morning, since I’m not moving well these days. My legs are so weak (as a long term problem) that I’m unsteady, having trouble walking, having balance problems and generally feeling unsteady. The GP recommended a local guy, who seems to work from home about 2km from here. Neat. The GP was surprised when I said I’ve never seen or used a physio before. Huh? Never needed it.

He spent an hour with me and boy, I was tired by the time he left! He went through a long assessment list, like, how easily can I get up from a chair, how long can I stand unassisted (not touching anything, passed that one), how many times can I get up unaided from a standard chair, can I do six minutes of walking a 10m loop without resting, etc etc. Answer, had to stop twice, but he noted that I recovered quickly, within a minute or two.

And so on. He also assessed my new mattress and agrees that it’s no good. It’s too soft. I chose medium. Bloody hell, I was a fool to just shop on-line without testing in a shop.

Cost – $150 for the hour, and there will be weekly visits costing $130 each time. Ouch. But I think I can claim on HBF.

Nice guy, but I complained that I expected an athletic young female. 🙂

And wow, I was/am weary after that. I haven’t done anything like that for a while. But not out of breath. Heart’s OK. I’m expected to do a set of exercises twice a day (!) in this next week and I guess I’ll be assessed again next week. Although I phoned his office (?) to make a new appointment and the assistant seemed to have left early for the New Year’s long weekend. No answer.

I’m feeling quite good about this. I need someone to push me, someone to answer to, someone to encourage me. Dammit, I used to love walking. I used to be able to walk long distances (Stirling Station to Trigg, about 8km) just for the enjoyment. I used to walk for 3 – 4hrs in the city, just browsing the bookshops and so on. Haven’t done that for years. So here’s hoping.


Success at last! For the past six months, at least, I’ve had a message on the display of my Panasonic house phone saying “New Voicemail message. Press VM”. And the LED on the top flashing. Endlessly flashing. Even in the dark in my bedroom, flashing such that I can almost see it on the ceiling.

So I pressed VM and all I got was some female voice saying an error message. I could not get rid of it!

Today, I hoiked out the instruction book – I keep all the little stuff you get with products you buy these days, including receipts. You rarely need them, but occasionally you do, like now.

Trouble was, I discovered that the instruction booklet I have is not for my model of phone. How could that have happened?! I tried to follow the instructions to access voicemail anyway but got nowhere.

To cut a long story short, finally …………. without being on-line or in a call, just the phone handset in my hand, idle, I pressed the hash # key and bingo, the LED went away. So easy! Just like that. Crazy. Whaddya godda do.


I’m going to have to call an electrician next week, just to replace some light “globes”. They’re not light “globes” any more, they are LED downlights, but as several of them are in positions where I would have to lean sideways from a step ladder, I can’t risk doing it myself any more.

I’m pretty annoyed. Two years ago I got some electricians in (there were two guys) to do this same job. But (a) they didn’t have any lamps in their kit (dammit, why should I have to pay for their trip to Bunnings within the job time, and pay retail plus their margin?); and (b) out of five lights, one failed almost immediately, three failed a few weeks after and the other one is flickering and on the point of failing. Pretty annoyed about that job, $150 odd worth.

Anyway, the ones I want are MR16 bi-pin type, $16 for three. This time I will buy them and have them ready when they come.


Dog, I’m tempted. The Peugeot 407 car stereo sounds OK, but it’s pathetic really. Very hard to operate.

This is a Chinese made drop-in replacement for the Peugeot car stereo, including GPS (!) and several other functions. Such as displaying the car’s fuel economy readings, BlueTooth phone connectivity (ie making and receiving phone calls), SD card slot, USB socket and displaying a rear vision camera (included) and so on.

Price $423 + $45 postage. Very easy installation (YouTube video shows how).

The thing is, am I going to keep this car? I have it booked in to the RAC Joondalup in February for a service and advice on why the engine is so rattly. As I said to the guy, it drives beautifully, despite the noise. What’s the cause?

I guess that’s the answer – wait until after this service before making a decision on whether I’ll keep it.


This gladdens the heart of a technician – neatness! These are fibre-optic cables.

Wow, summer is here – 36deg today, and the first day I’m using the air-con on cooling this summer. And another hooray, Christmas Day is forecast to be mild, about 30-31degC. I found a good graph on the web yesterday:

Perth Xmas Day maximum temperatures 2000-2022

What happened in 2018?! From then on, the maxes skyrocketed. Weird.


Good news! My abdominal pain has mostly gone away.

Last Saturday, although the pain patches were working extremely well, I was sick of the hand tremors and feeling woozy and unsteady. So I pulled the patch off and thought, “I’ll try putting up with the pain, and hope the side effects go away.”

OK, not much happened for 24hrs, then 36hrs, then 48hrs. No pain! The pain stayed away. I thought this might happen. I’d even talked to the GP about it last week. “The body often fixes itself.”

Well, at 72hrs later, so far so good. I’m still getting twinges and small sharp pains, but I can easily stand them.

So yesterday, Monday, I had to attend Joondalup Hospital to be assessed for anaesthesia for the scheduled nerve block operation on Thursday 5 January. I told the anaesthetist about the remission and she phoned the pain specialist. The judgement was that we’ll go through the rigorous assessment process anyway, and I’ll phone on Tuesday 3 Jan or Wed 4 Jan to decide whether to go ahead with the op. I’ve said the idea of the operation makes me nervous and I don’t want to have it if I don’t need it, so we’ll leave it at that. Fine with me.

What a thorough, rigorous, complex assessment this was. First, about an hour with on-line filling out the hospital’s form. Then when I got to the hospital, another hour with a nurse going through every detail of the on-line form, plus another three or four hospital forms, checking, double checking, asking questions. Then blood pressure (135/93, btw), an ecg, the usual pulse and oxygen saturation. Then finger prick and blood sugar level. This showed 4.1 mmol/ml. That’s low for me, nearing hypoglycemia level, although I felt OK. The nurse asked if I had my kit to deal with this. Luckily, I had a packet of jellybeans for this very situation, so she insisted that I start munching on them. That got me up to 4.8 about 20 mins later. She was very pleased with me for that. Top marks for carrying these beans. That’s nice.

The fact was that I felt so wobbly when I got up at about 9am, and after my shower, having to hurriedly fill out the on-line form, that I never got around to breakfast. My appointment was at 1pm so I drove there, skipping lunch too, and had to walk to the rooms feeling very weak and wobbly. No wonder my blood sugar was low. The nurse insisted on getting me a couple of biscuits to go after the jelly beans, so that was nice.

Then after another 30 min wait and a couple of very nice conversations with other patients, I got in to see the anaesthetist. Gee, I would never have guessed her position and status – she looked a bit dumpy (overweight) and spoke and moved slowly. Not what I thought an anaesthetist would be like. However, we got through the interview OK and then it was all over, around 3.30pm. Two and a half hours, wow.

She did tell me to absolutely stop taking one of my diabetes meds, Jardiamet. It is dangerous for anaesthesia, she said. OK, all good. So that was it.

I was still feeling weak and wobbly so it was a hard walk back to the carpark. My left leg seems to want to collapse under me. It doesn’t, but it’s not good. Also, when I weighed this morning, I lost 1kg yesterday. Not surprising.


Uh oh.

The caption to this web photo says “Graphene bolometer”. Whatever it is, it’s beautiful.

And the beautiful weather is back. It rained on Tuesday! How strange, only 12 days before Xmas and it was rainy, windy and cool. Today it’s clear blue sky and about 30degC. Lovely.


I saw the doctor last Friday week ago and he confirmed that what I’m feeling is due to the pain patches. I feel so weak and unsteady. My hands are experiencing tremors. At times I feel my legs can hardly hold me upright.

So what to do? The patches have stopped the nerve pain very effectively, but if these side effects are to continue, I can’t imagine how I’m going to cope. The doc has given me a prescription for 15ug/hr patches, instead of 20ug/hr. I haven’t tried them as yet – Friday is the weekly changeover day.

I’m due for a phone consult with the pain specialist tomorrow, Thursday, so I’ll ask his advice. I was going to leave things alone, just relying on the pain patches, but I don’t think I can do that. It looks like a nerve block operation will be needed. There’s no cutting required, it just involves needles and local anaesthetics. Scary, but …


Update Saturday 17th: I had a phone call from the pain specialist on Thursday and we have reduced the pain patch to 15ug/hr

But holy smoke, my legs are now so weak that I can hardly walk. My hands are shaking as I type (lucky I’m not having to hand write this).

The pain specialist said he’s not surprised by these side effects, and that they should wear off in a couple of weeks. But, a couple of weeks from when?

He’s scheduled me for a nerve block operation on Thursday 5 January. I’m wondering if I should remove the pain patch and put up with the pain until then. I’m in a bit of trouble here – I can hardly walk around the house, let alone any distance. I have to go to the hospital on Monday to see the anaesthetist for the nerve operation. I seriously doubt that I can walk the distance from the car park to the specialist’s offices. I might have to get a taxi and ask him to drop me right at the doors.

Crumbs, I hope the muscles come back. I could end up in a wheel chair at this rate.


Just to continue on the pessimistic theme. I was listening this morning to that excellent radio program Saturday Extra (on Radio National, 7.15-9am Saturdays) with Geraldine Doogue interviewing knowledgeable guests. They raised the latest information (like, the last few days) out of China.

The Chinese government have suddenly switched from a policy of total suppression of the COVID virus, meaning serious lockdowns, to a “throw up their hands and open the gates” policy. This is due to the resentment and rebellion of the populace in some major cities to being locked down.

The result is that there are enormous outbreaks of COVID in Beijing in particular. It’s “got away”.

The forecast therefore is that it’s very possible that there will be mass infections in China, infecting up to 800 million people! This will overwhelm their health facilities. The Chinese government have prevented the importation and use of the proven Western vaccines, i.e. the Moderna, Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca and Novavax in favour of their own home grown vaccine Sinovax. The problem is first, that it’s not as effective as the Western vaccines, and second, that the takeup among the population is much lower than in most other countries, Australia in particular.

That means that the virus could really take hold and spread. And if it does, much of China could shut down.

This would not be a problem for China alone, it would be a problem for the world, since we are so dependent on China now for all our manufactured goods. Just for one example, much of the plastic fittings used in hospital equipment is made in China. This is not hypothetical, it’s real.

For Western Australia in particular, our prosperity and living standards rely on the income we get from China buying our iron ore. If Chinese industry slows down and stops, they stop buying iron ore to make steel and we suffer the slowdown.

Then another interviewee raised the point that if the COVID virus spreads massively through the Chinese population, that opens the way for mutant strains to develop, for which we don’t have vaccines. And on top of this, it’s quite possible that the Chinese government would put a news ban on telling the world about these new virus strains. They’ve done it before, at the very start in late 2019 and early 2020. That would prevent the research needed to develop new vaccines.

This is scary stuff.

Tempus fugit

Fat. Cat. Alan Joyce, CEO of QANTAS. On a salary of around $2.5million, while doing his damndest to crush ordinary QANTAS wage earners. I loathe him.

Aaah, warming up at last. Beautiful weather, ain’t it? Temps in the mid twenties with excursions to the low thirties. Suits me. Only 15 days to Xmas and I’m looking for a long range forecast for the day. I haven’t seen one yet.


Tempus fugit – time passes, or time flies. Good expression and very useful. It was used in one of the recent episodes of The Crown.

I’ve just watched the first episode of Harry & Meghan, the Netflix doco. I’ll be straight up, I’m a Harry and Meghan fan. I think he’s an admirable guy with his army service in Afghanistan (two tours, I think). And Meghan? What the hell is the objection? It can only be racism, mainly in the royal family, which has been shown up in the disgraceful episode with the queen’s lady-in-waiting last week, browbeating the black but British-born woman who was only there representing her helper organisation. The royals may deny it, but I believe in Meghan, not the denials.

I wish them all the best, and all the luck in the world. But if it’s true they are being paid $100m for doing the doco, they hardly need luck!


Well, I’ll be danged! Eureka! The lost is found.

I was on a trip to Bali in May 2019 and I knew I had my white Samsung tablet on that trip. And I was certain I remembered using it on the plane on the way back.

But do you think I could find it after that? I’ve been searching ever since then, June 2019. I looked everywhere. I could only assume that I’d left it in a cafe or something. If I’d left it in the seat pocket on the plane, they would have contacted me, surely?

Well, I’ve just found it. It was standing on its edge in a row of books on a bookshelf in my bedroom. I thought it would be somewhere like that, but I missed looking at this particular row.

In around July 2019 I knew I really needed a tablet, so I bought a new one, about $700 worth. It’s got phone connectivity in it, whereas the old one didn’t. That lets me get internet anywhere, even sitting out on a park bench.

So now I’ve got two tablets. “Take two tablets and call me in the morning.” Maybe I’ll set one up as a semi permanent slide show display. At least I know I’m not crazy.


Isn’t this disgusting?

Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Schoolgirls forced to cover themselves. What kind of madmen are these Taliban idiots. So scared of females that they have to exert their total control.

Progress (?)

Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia

Aaah, some warmth at last. It’s 35degC today and was 37deg yesterday. Whacko, summer is here, and right on time. Even though it’s only 30 November (I usually switch on 1 December), I had my first cold shower of the summer this morning. Aaaah, lovely.


The headline refers to my pain. It’s still here, and as bad as ever, but my wails to the GP seem to have reached the ears of the pain specialist. He actually phoned me at home on Friday. Wow.

What he said was that the CAT scan and the MRI scan show there is nothing to worry about – there are no tumours, no cancer, nothing sinister as doctors say. Phew!! That’s a relief.

He could see where I’d broken a couple of ribs in the past and I said, “Yeah, about 15 years ago, at a guess.” It was at the old (Trigg) house where I had two hard falls. The first was when I slipped on wet leaves on the downward sloping concrete path to the workshop in winter. Yow! I remember that one. The second was a similar fall near the front of the house. In both cases, I knew I’d cracked a rib or two, but I didn’t do anything about it because, well, whatcha gonna do? You can’t put a bandage on it.

Anyway, the pain doctor says he thinks it’s a nerve problem and offered ‘nerve block’. Would I like that? I don’t know what it is and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it, but the pain is bad enough that I’ll consider anything. I haven’t heard anything further as yet.

What I don’t understand is why analgesics don’t work. I’ve tried paracetamol, Panadeine Forte (paracetamol + codeine), tepantadol and oxycontin. None of them works. Bloody hell, what do I have to do? Why?

Anyway, I’m getting used to it to a certain extent – a constant nagging pain at one specific location in my left chest, with sharp (!!) jabbing pains around under my left arm and into my back, with similar jabs around the front of my chest and upper abdomen.

As well as this, I get severe peripheral neuropathic pains in my feet and toes. My feet ache constantly.

On top of that, I’ve had painful pees for many months and I’ve just completed a week long course of antibiotic to try to kill off any bladder bacteria. As well as making me pee razor blades, I feel weak, tired, achey like the ‘flu.

I don’t think the antibiotic has fixed it. I’ll have to wait until Friday to have another urine test to see whether the bug is fixed.

Sigh. This ain’t fun.


It’s Bring Out Your Dead week around here, meaning the annual bulk rubbish collection.

I can’t believe the amount of stuff that people pile up on the verges to be taken away. Whole fake leather lounge suites are one of the most common items, with outdoor tables and chairs a close second. Whole stainless steel barbecues! Washing machines and fridges. Folding tables. Beds. No-one seems to look after their stuff, or fix anything. They’d rather just throw it out and replace it. I even saw a flat screen TV the other day. The days of being an electronics or electrical service person are long gone. If you charge what it costs to fix anything, customers won’t want to pay it.That’s assuming you can get the parts.

Anyway, I put a small amount of stuff out, including a small Coles shopping trolley I’ve had for a few years. It held some “good” junk that I had held onto, computer cables and plugs and sockets, but I realised that once it’s gone, I don’t even remember what it was.

I’m addicted to buying magazines and for many years I’ve just put them in piles on my bookshelves. But I’ve realised that, again, I never look at them and don’t even know what I’ve got. Out! Out!

Unfortunately, they are not wanted for recycling apparently because the glossy paper is not suitable to break down. So, into the land-fill bin. What a waste. A few years ago I was able to get rid of a lot of them to the doctor and pharmacy waiting rooms, but come the pandemic, they won’t take them any more. What a pity, because I was getting appreciative comments that the patrons liked them and were taking them home and wanted more.



I came across the word Livery the other day, meaning the decorative lines and colours and symbols and scripts on cars, buses, trains and aircraft. That’s where I read it, meaning the way aircraft are painted and the decorations and symbols on the fuselage and tail. Using the trusty etymological dictionary I found this:

c. 1300, “household allowance of any kind (food, provisions, clothing) to retainers or servants,” from Anglo-French livere (late 13c.; Old French liveree, Modern French livrée), “allowance, ration, pay,” originally “(clothes) delivered by a master to his retinue,” from fem. past participle of livrer “to dispense, deliver, hand over,” from Latin liberare “to set free” (see liberate).

The sense later was reduced to “servants’ rations” and “provender for horses” (mid-15c.). The former led to the meaning “distinctive clothing given to servants” (early 14c.); the latter now is obsolete, unless livery stable (1705) survives. Related: Liveried.

It’s hard to see how the modern usage of decorative colours, lines, patterns and symbols is a derivation. It’s strange. I don’t know the answer.



Ugh! It’s one thing after another. For no apparent reason, my left lower back and hip suddenly started hurting this morning, and now I’m hobbling and in pain. This is on top of the left chest/abdomen pain, which is still stabbing me, right now.

I was thinking of a lunch meetup with a friend on Friday, but he’s messaged me to say his wife has come down with COVID (tested positive on a RAT test and is feeling unwell), so I’m a bit relieved that I won’t have to go out.

On the other hand, I have a doctor’s appointment at midday, so I have to go out anyway. Ouch. I hope it will improve by then.

I’m being punished

Bali, Sanur 2017 © PJ Croft

I’ve been to see the GP this morning. I’m still pissing razor blades, so different antibiotic prescribed.

But my main complaint is about the pain specialist. I had the CAT scan on 28 October and the MRI scan on 8 November. I’ve heard nothing from him since. For crying out loud – literally – how long do I have to endure this pain?! Why doesn’t he say something?

So the GP phoned the specialist’s office and it seems I’m on the list for an appointment – in January or February!! Fucking hell! I’m having trouble enduring this pain and the thought of having to wait another two months, at least, is unacceptable.

I said I want referrals to three other pain specialists in the hope that I might get in with someone who cares in a reasonable time. The GP has asked the radiological clinic to send him the scan results and he will let me know the results. But he has to wait as well. Shit!

Meanwhile, the UTI is still present, so I’m starting another antibiotic.


After that, I went to the Vinnies shop to drop off some unwanted clothes and books. But they wouldn’t take them – something about their bins not being cleared. The lady very kindly took them (walked them around the corner) to the SCF shop but she said they can’t take them either. So she took them up the street to the Salvos’ shop. I don’t know what happened after that. I’ve still got a load to get rid of but it seems to be hard to get anyone to take them.

These are the wardrobe full of clothes that my former partner very kindly left behind and despite several years of pleas to come back and take them away, she won’t. I’ve had enough. Out!


I finished the fifth series of The Crown on Netflix the other night, and unfortunately it cuts off unexpectedly as Diana is considering going to St Tropez at the invitation of Mohammed al Fayed, where presumably she will meet up with his son Dodi. I wonder how long we’ll have to wait for the next, sixth series?

It’s still very good. Imelda Staunton is magnificent as the Queen, very regal and intelligent. The guy who plays Prince Charles is not quite convincing, but pretty good.


I saw this outside the pharmacy just now:

What is it? It’s a Morgan, a very much hand built classic British sports car. I’m not sure which model, maybe a Plus 8. It looks old, but they’re still in production and you can buy a brand new one if you have the moolah. Not for me, but it does look good.


I’ve just found an anonymous envelope in my letterbox, no address, nothing to show who it’s from. I was a bit worried. Inside was a neat letter from a new small bar across the other side of Marmion Avenue, called the 4 Mates Bar and Grill, saying they’ve applied for a late opening licence between 21 November (tonight) and 19 December, to show the FIFA World Cup.

Fair enough, I’m pleased that they would go to this trouble to let me know. I might even drop in. This place has only been open a few months and I’ve noticed it recently. This is a very UK/Little Britain area, so it could be good.