Sneaks up on ya, doesn’t it?

Hong Kong, October 2014, The Peak. I’ve seen it but we won’t be going there again. © PJ Croft 2014, 2020.

Only 12 days to Xmas. Crumbs, it was November only last month. There’s a bit of hot weather to remind us, 30s and I’ve had the aircon on all day. I’m sleeping on top of the sheets all night too, with the fan blowing on me.

Now that I’m sleeping properly, the dreams! Aye, to sleep, perchance to dream. For in this sleep of death, what dreams may come. I’m exaggerating, it’s obviously not death, but the amazing dreams I have. Nothing bad, no nightmares, just long sinuous adventures. I need to get up for a tinkle every 2 – 3 hours and each time, I’m conscious of a story but it slips away so quickly. I really wish I could remember them better.


I’ve been having lots of heart flutters and palpitations for a long time and thought I’d better get it checked, so yesterday I had an echo-cardiogram and wore a Holter monitor for the day and night. No problem, I’ve done it before. But I wish the ECG pads weren’t so sticky and itchy.

My appointment was at 9.30am and thank goodness the parking at Joondalup was easy. I hate that parking area. And the long walk to the one and only pay-station. I have to drop the monitor off at 8.30am on Monday and the guy said no need to pay for parking, just drop by, in and out. Oh yeah? How do I do that? I guess I’ll find out.


This is interesting – I’ve been a buyer of CDs for 40 years and I bought two yesterday at JB’s. I’ve ripped them to my hard drives and started to listen just now.

But I also pay the monthly fee for Amazon Prime (because it really does save its cost on postage and speeds deliveries), and that gives me access to Amazon Music. When I did a quick search, there was the CD I bought yesterday. I needn’t have bought it, in other words.

This is a moral dilemma – I want the performers to get their money from the physical purchase – they deserve recompense for their work. But I can listen, not free but very cheaply, on Amazon. I can’t download and record from Amazon, though. I don’t think so.

On the other hand, it’s broadening my listening no end. I’m a stick-in-the-mud. When I browse the CDs at JB’s, I can’t listen to see if I like it so I stick to the old favourites – from 20 – 30 years ago. Now I can sample all I like and sometimes, I do like. So maybe I pay the money for a CD after all.


I’ve just read an article by a Guardian journalist bemoaning all the tabs she has open in her browser while writing and researching articles. She has 20 – 30 open at a time she says, all saved to her desktop in a huge clutter and feels relief when she can close them down.

I don’t understand the problem, if it is one. I’ve got six tabs open now and that’s pretty typical. Maybe eight or nine, but no more than that.

On the left, though, I’ve got my links (bookmarks) folders and I’ve got probably 100 or more folders, many with 20, 30, 50 links in each folder. For example, _Quicklinks, _MDX&Verada, _Travel (the underscore keeps it at the top), then Affinity, Age Calculators, Airlines ….. Broadcast, CAD, Cars and so on.

If I were a journalist, I would name a folder “Brexit”, for example, and collect all the tabs (bookmarks) into that folder. Then every time I wrote a new article on Brexit, there’s all my research tabs right there. And so on. No need to do the research again, you haven’t lost it from last time. Make sub folders within the main folder, and on down.

I knew someone whose desktop was completely covered like that so that she could never find what she was looking for. I tried gently to help her clear them into some order, but it was clear we weren’t understanding each other so I quickly backed away.


Speaking of writing, my article for submission to the TVW Channel 7 History book, My Life and Times at Channel 7 1966-99 went down a treat. It was 26 pages long with quite a few photos, way more than the organiser wanted but I couldn’t squeeze down to his format and rules. I submitted it on 30 November, right on the death knock, but I don’t think this book is going to come to fruition – I get the feeling he’s had very few submissions. I’ve only seen two others so far.

I got many very nice compliments on Facebook (that’s where it’s being organised). One stood out, though. It was from Greg Milner, who you might remember was a journalist and on-camera reporter in the 80s and 90s. He said, “Crofty, you missed your calling.” That made me glow with pride, as I do take great care and pride in my writing.

That leads me to say that I’m going to do a second edition, because I barely grazed the surface. Although I mentioned many, many people I worked with, I left a lot out too, and many episodes and events. For example, being persuaded to vote Labor by Burkie, Brian Burke in the early ’70s before he left to get elected to parliament. And the famous pillow fight. And taking my dog to work! It seems crazy now but I was crazy about that dog (Boopsie, the Border Collie). Then a year later when I bought Minnie the Golden Labrador, I took her to work one day too. She looked just like the Lab on the toilet roll packages, 110% cute, and I took her around to all the offices where the girls went, “Ooooohhh”.

And so on. I have many more stories and I think a second edition would be welcomed, even if the book doesn’t happen.

That leads me on to the next writing task. Actually it has to come before the TVW one as she wants it by Xmas.

A woman who lives in California (where else?) runs the Lost Bali Facebook group and wants to publish a book on “Lost Bali”, the times in the years leading up to 1990 which she arbitrarily defines as when the rampant development overwhelmed the southern Balinese culture. I know what she means. She lived in Bali for a few years, as well as in Melbourne so she’s a bit Aussie oriented as well.

I wasn’t going to bother, but she’s asked me very nicely so I thought I’d have a crack at it. I first went in 1980 and again in 1983, 1986 and 1989, so I fit her period and I do have a helluva lot of good photos. I say “good” because the photos others are submitting are, um, not very good. In fact, atrocious. Most are just camera-phone shots of faded old 4R prints from the quickie shops. Crooked, faded, creased, poorly composed. C’mon people.

So I’m onto it. I’ve written five A4 pages so far and just got as far as the very early Sanur. I think I’ll finish by Xmas.


I think about my cars a lot and it’s dawning on me that I enjoy driving the Honda MDX more than the Verada. I think of one has to go, it’ll be Vera. The leaking power steering pump is the big problem with it, too expensive to justify replacement (quote by the RAC for $800). I’ve replaced all the brakes, discs and pads, the exhaust, the roof lining, the rear right tail light assembly, the right driving light and had the left headlight polished. It looks good and drives beautifully. But the Honda feels so nice with its leather seats and roominess inside. We shall see.

Happy day!

A much better day today. I’ve had contact with my European friend who was lost for a while due to a stupid mistake on my part. She talked to me today, thank goodness. I’m very pleased.


Phew, summer’s here. It made 40degC at the airport at 2pm and I’m running the aircon for the first time since last summer (I think). I’m sleeping better too. I’ve stopped a medication and it’s clear that it was the cause of my insomnia. I drop off to sleep within about 10-15mins now. And I’ve dropped a couple of kg since, as a bonus.


There was quite a nice program on the ABC-TV last night, late, 9.40pm so you might have missed it. It was Gryff Rhys-Jones’s doco on his great rail trip across the continent, starting on this side (WA). He was dropped into the surf, literally, on the west coast of Rotto, and showcased Perth, (looking very pretty, I must add), then the Pilbara, the iron ore trains up there.

Then it was back to Perth and onto the Indian-Pacific to Kalgoorlie and a tour of the city and gold mines. It looked very attractive and was a great advertisement for WA tourism. It’s a pity people can’t come here from overseas at the moment.

Anyway, it gave me two ideas; first, I get a free rail ticket each year as a Senior in WA, and I haven’t used this year’s. I should do the Perth – Kalgoorlie Prospector trip again. My friend and I did it at the end of 2018 and I think I could stand doing it again. And I’ll be eligible for another ticket in January.

The other idea is that, now that the state borders are open again, maybe, just maybe, I could take the Indian Pacific across to Sydney. It’s very expensive so I’m not sure, but I’d rather do that than fly.

Why go to Sydney? So that I could buy a car there and drive it back across the Nullarbor. Or, do what I really, really should do and drive to Brisbane and see my 97 year old aunt before it’s too late. That’s important! Maybe it would be cheaper and better to train from Sydney to Brisbane, buy a car there and drive back from there?

All this is because I don’t see myself going overseas any more. Too risky. We may have a vaccine, but I don’t think the risk will go away entirely. Better to see Australia.

However, I don’t think summer is the time to do this, so there’s no rush. At least autumn, or even next spring.


What car?

Peugeot 407. I reckon this is a lovely looking car.

It’s a diesel, which counts against it, but it’s a 6-cylinder twin turbo diesel. That should be quite pokey. This is a 2007 model, 212,000Km, $6,995. Of course, I’m only showing this as an example. It’ll probably be sold but they come up regularly. Good fuel economy, 9l/100Km approx. I just love the styling and it’s got everything I want in a car.

Just dreamin’.


My friend Danny came out on Friday and gave me a hand with the Honda. I’m frustrated by the roof mounted antenna not working, and no matter what we tried (so much easier with two people!) it still measures open circuit somewhere between the roof and the back of the radio. Impossible to get at the cable in the ducting.

I’ve been thinking today, I’ve got nothing to lose if I cut the wire right at the plug where it plugs into the radio. That’s to diagnose it, I mean. It’s not coax at that point, it’s only a single wire and it’s very possible it’s been pulled too hard at some time. If I can’t find the fault, the only alternative is to get a car audio workshop to drill a hole in the left fender and install a new antenna at the front, running a new cable behind the dash. That will be expensive. Cutting this wire might save me some $$$$$.

The other problem was a disc stuck in the roof mounted DVD player – yes, it’s a fancy car this Honda MDX. They were $75,000 when they were new. This is a late 2005 model.

Danny got the disc out – the whole player is sticky with goo, probably kids with ice cream fingers – and the disc itself was sticky in the centre. That’s quite probably why it was stuck. We left the whole assembly hanging from the roof until I can clean all the goo off, but I hope I can remember how to put it all back together again. I’ve got a small bowl of screws to work out where they go. Errrgh.

He also swapped a couple of sensors over from my Verada to his Magna to try to diagnose a fault he has. No luck, I’m afraid. It didn’t solve his problem and he’s as mystified as ever. I don’t envy him.

Crazy people

The cover of one my books. It is available for purchase. Contact me.

Aaah, 33C, cloudless blue sky, almost no breeze. Noice! I was saying to someone the other day that I predict Xmas day to be the same as this, a prediction even from 18 days out. We can do that in WA. Mind you, I remember fierce 40-44deg Xmas Days some years ago.


My headline refers to the USA. The “United” States. What a joke. This is a deeply divided country, more than ever after four years of that lunatic president. The Dump, and I don’t mean rubbish dump, I mean the thing you leave in the toilet. What a nasty, racist, misogynist, divisive, mendacious, repugnant, unintelligent fool he is. Yet the Republican Party lick his shoes because they hope he’ll be electable again. What a disgusting rabble of corrupt fools. They should be ashamed.

Trump should be charged with culpable homicide, negligent homicide. He disbanded the previous president’s pandemic taskforce right at the beginning when they could have acted to prevent the incredible total of 280,000 deaths and climbing daily. All these deaths can be laid at his door.

This morning I’ve been writing to my two cousins and my second cousin who all live in the USA. One is in the NE, Rhode Island, and the other two are in California.

I was saying that they must be nervous even to go out Xmas shopping for presents and food. The chances of catching the virus are quite high over there because people, fools, have this attitude that “Nobody tells me what to do!” Even when their lives and the lives of others depend on it, they won’t wear masks or socially distance. This is sheer craziness. And if I objected, I would risk being shot, with a gun! Or at least physically assaulted.

Yet Australia has now achieved virtual elimination. There is not a single case of COVID in intensive care anywhere in Australia. There’s zero community transmission, except for the odd case of quarantine workers. It’s because Australia has an “obey the rules” attitude, most of us. We’ve accepted the health authorities’ strictures and done the right things. Look at Victoria: a raging hot spot in June, and now zero transmission three or four months later. People accepted the rules. I think we as a country can be proud.

There’s an article in The Guardian today by an epidemiologist which is worth quoting from:

“Both the US and Australia are responding to the same pandemic, but you would hardly know it. In the US, magical thinking and the elevation of individual freedom above the public good have squandered precious time. The number of deaths each day in the US quadrupled in just the four weeks after I landed in New York. Today it is up 30% in the past 14 days. Hospitals are reaching capacity and beyond.”

“Australia has shown that the response to a pandemic needs to be strict. Lives and a nation’s economy hang in the balance. The response needs to be evidence-based. Precise. Coordinated. Thorough. Caring. Impartial. Transparent. Legally enacted and enforced. Strongly led and clearly communicated. Tough. Really tough. Because that’s what it takes to control a pandemic.”

As I said, she’s an epidemiologist and teaches courses in public health. In this country, we listen to the experts. I pity the USA and hope my cousins stay safe.


Gondola, digitally painted.

I’ve just received an A4 envelope from my cousin Stephen in the USA containing about a dozen handwritten letters my father wrote to him starting in the late 1980s and going through to around 2000. I’m extremely pleased.

I can now add them to the 50 odd other letters I had scanned, before the whole lot was somehow taken from me and given to the Battye Library by my dear sister, without my knowledge, permission and behind my back. I hadn’t finished!! A bit later, she asked me to return that big envelope to her, forgetting that she’d made this unauthorised donation. As this was at the time in 2010 when I was under enormous stress in trying to pack all my things to move to Bali to live, it nearly sent me crazy. I knew I’d had it but I couldn’t find it. No wonder.


Like mother, like daughter. In the whole nearly eight years since I moved to this new house, my sister’s son and daughter have not bothered to pick up the phone to enquire about me, their uncle, even though they must know that I’ve had some serious health problems in that time. We used to get along famously so I don’t understand what I’ve done to deserve this treatment.

Hear hear

Nice shot! Lots of planning to get this. © Zachery Cooley

I’m just back from an appointment with an ENT man, that’s Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. I’ve noticed for many years that my right ear is not as good as the left and earlier this year I mentioned it to a high school friend, Viv White, who is an audiologist. Well, before you could say snap, crackle and pop she had me in for a hearing test. That was back in late January, pre-COVID.

Sure enough, it showed the right ear less sensitive, and both ears showing declining HF responses, rolling off at around 8KHz. By the way, when I started work at the TV station in the late 1960s, I/we used to be driven mad (a bit) by the TV line frequency whistle at 15,625KHz, so that shows how far my HF hearing has declined.

Anyway, Viv said she thought she could see something a bit odd about my right tympanic membrane (that’s eardrum to you and me) so she recommended an inspection by this ENT guy, just across the road from her rooms in Duncraig.

He was very easy to get along with and after removing a bit of wax from both ears, he said the eardrum just has a couple of scars, possibly from tears in years gone past that have repaired themselves. Nothing to worry about, in other words. So that was that. I really don’t have any worries about my hearing. I don’t feel the need for any hearing aid, which is not bad for a 73, nearly 74 year old.


On the other hand … yesterday I was working on getting my car radio properly installed. When I finished, I tried to start the car. Click. Nothing, Damn, flat battery, so I charged it overnight. Got in again today and went to start it – click again, but this time I realised I’d moved the gear selector out of the way to Drive. Duh!!


Nota Bene: You know how I latch onto coincidences, right? Here’s the latest. I was listening to the radio in the car and being digital (DAB+) it shows the titles of the music. This one was by a 19th century composer I’ve never heard of, surname Nota (probably Italian).

After my appointment I bought a magazine and lunch. The magazine is Car and one of the articles is about Italian cars. Guess who features? Mr Nota. I can’t find the article at this moment to give his full name, but … there ya go again.


I bought the magazine because after that stupid German company Bauer Media closed down my favourite magazine, Modern Classics, in August, they tried to get us to sign on for a new subscription to Car.

No thanks. I enjoyed reading Car, but as usual it’s all about high end stuff like Ferraris, Porsches, Maserati’s, Aston Martins, Roll-Royces and so on. I want articles about cars I might be interested in. OR, articles about cars from the golden years, the 80s, 90, 00s, as Modern Classics used to do.


The COVID vaccine is getting closer and closer. I’m not worried and I can wait, but after medical and hospital staff, then aged carers, I should be next in line, being elderly (sob!) and with reduced immune system and co-morbidities. I wonder which vaccine we’ll get.


I’m off to a small dinner gathering at the pub at Clarkson at 6.30pm, comprising members of the ALP in this, John Quigley’s electorate. I don’t know if he’ll be there but I’m a bit of a fan of his. This is the second attempt. Last week, I was the only one to reply to the invitation. I wonder how many will be there this time.

Pot gone

There’s the pot. See below.

Crikey, it’s raining again. Two days before the start of summer. And a cloudy day of 24degC while the eastern side of Australia, (Orstrehlia, as they say in The Crown 🙂 ) roasts in an up to 45degC heat wave.

We really are divorced from the east side here in WA. There are two different weather and climate systems on this continent. The long range forecast is for probable floods on the east side this and next year due to La Nina. There’s no chance of flooding here. We are bone dry on this side, with no prospect of any increased rainfall for the foreseeable future.


Speaking of The Crown, I watched the notorious episode four a few nights ago, which covers the 1988 tour of Australia and NZ by Charles and Di. It was glaringly obvious that they didn’t shoot it in Australia, but in Spain. It just looked wrong.

And they put dialogue in the mouth of Bob Hawke, newly elected PM, that was not just wrong but offensive. He didn’t talk about the queen as “a pig in charge of a mob of sheep”! He would never have said that, and I am offended. I’m very surprised that Richard Roxburgh, the actor playing Hawke, let those words through.

And as for the shots of Uluru, so obviously composited, and the ludicrous scene of Spanish rooftops meant to portray Brisbane, it was a joke.

This is typical Pommy arrogance. Near enough’s good enough for Aussie accents and scenes.


Vapour trail, 4pm yesterday.
A Panorama, but it looks curved.
The vapour trail was dead straight.

I stepped out of my front door at 4pm yesterday (Saturday) to see this amazing vapour trail. We don’t usually see vapour trails in WA because the air is too dry.

The other thing was that the trail just hung there. Usually they are quickly blown away by high altitude winds, but this one just hung there for 20-30mins. Sure, it gradually thickened, but I’ve never seen one so thick, so straight and so stable for so long.

But this one was from a big jet flying NW to SE, high enough to make this trail. The thing is, why is a jet flying over Perth and heading SE? If it came from the NW, where was it from? Maybe Sri Lanka, or Christmas Island? But if that was its origin, why would it fly so far south if it’s not landing in Perth? Where’s it going? Why does it have to go so far south, why doesn’t it fly over the middle of WA on a direct line to Melbourne or wherever?

De de de de, de de der der.


The title today refers to that great big pot in the top photo. That shows it with a Yucca in it, but it had a big Aloe Vera cactus ever since I’ve been here.

I told my neighbour that I didn’t like it very much and the lawnmower man removed the Aloe Vera a few months ago. Then a friend of my neighbour paid me $50 and came and took it away today. And the wooden plinth it was on. Good riddance I say. I want a tree in front of my house, not nasty spiky things. Satisfaction.

Clear as daylight

Sherwood Forest, Nottingham. © PJ Croft 2020

Nice warm day but clouding over. Looks like it might rain a bit. Good.

Not a bad sleep last night. It took about an hour but I could feel myself slipping into sleep. Maybe I should try taking the medication earlier in the evening, although I was doing that before. I dunno.


I mentioned a few weeks ago that Target at the Ocean Keys Clarkson shops had closed down. Last week I thought I’d have a look to see if anything had taken its place. I was very surprised to see a new K-Mart there. But, but, …. I thought we already have a K-Mart in this centre? Well, now we have two, and virtually identical. When you’re in the old Target one, it’s an uncanny feeling that you’re in the other one. Same goods, same shelves, same places. Weird. Maybe they’ll leave them both going for the Xmas period and close one next year. That would make sense.


The former head of the WA Crime and Corruption Commission, John McKechnie QC was quoted in an article in the paper today as criticising the fact that the Liberal Party prevented his reappointment last year when his term expired. He said the appointment of the current temporary commissioner was unsatisfactory.

The other part of the story is that two former Liberal members of parliament were under investigation by the CCC for misuse of their electoral allowances for lavish restaurant meals, an iPad, massages and concert tickets. One of the members was found to have employed a female friend as an electoral assistant, on a salary, for seven years, yet there was no evidence she had ever done any work. She was his girlfriend, in other words.

The police became involved and they seized a laptop of his. He was overheard on an intercepted phone call talking to the other MP and saying he was shit scared because the laptop contained a shitload of incriminating material (the language was actually stronger than that). The parliamentary committee seized the laptop from the police and so far the contents have not been revealed.

So when the CCC commissioner’s term expired last year, his reappointment was blocked.

How can it be any more clear that the Liberal Party is corrupt and has things it has to hide? This has been off the radar for most of this year, but it’s still there, and is clear evidence that this corrupt political party, the Liberal Party, must not be elected to parliament.


The Major Oak Tree, Sherwood Forest, the oldest tree in the forest. © PJ Croft 2020

Bulk rubbish pickup last Tuesday and they (or someone) took my old convoluted foam mattress topper away that I tried to take to the tip a few months ago. They told me then that they couldn’t take it, so maybe someone else took it, but I’m glad it’s gone.

After the pickup, there was a mattress left on the footpath opposite my house, covered in a cotton sleeve. I thought it would languish there but it’s gone now, although the cotton cover is still there, wrapped around a tree trunk, blowin’ in the wind.

I’ve had a big chinaware plant bowl outside my window ever since I’ve been here. It’s about 1,5m across by 1m high and filled with dirt and river stones, so it’s very heavy. It had an aloe vera cactus in it, rather dry and spiky and I’ve never liked it. The cactus went in the last green waste pickup. Now, courtesy of Barbara my neighbour, a friend of hers is going to come and take it away this weekend. He’s going to pay me $50 for it. Good deal, I reckon. He’ll take the timber plinth as well.

I want to plant a tree there. I’ll have to be careful in my selection because it’s only 1,5m from the foundations of the house and a front retaining wall. I should ask Sabrina Hahn. What a walking encyclopedia she is. Amazing knowledge.


I’ve been watching the new fourth series of The Crown and enjoying it. I didn’t think anyone could match, let alone top Claire Foy as Queen Elisabeth in the first two series, but the new actress (Olivia Coleman) is doing very well indeed, in my opinion. She’s very plausible, although what would I know?

Charles comes across as a complete nitwit. It must be embarrassing for him, although I think their skins are pretty thick.

I am so impressed by this series. It’s teaching me history, at least before the 1970s when I became more aware. I remember the Falklands War in 1982 very well, coinciding as it did with another significant event in my life.


Hah! I joined the ALP a couple of years ago and ever since then I’ve been declining the emails telling me of local meetings. But a few days ago the branch secretary said there was no business to discuss this month, so why don’t we meet at the pub at Clarkson for a meal and general chat. So finally, I RSVP’d and said I’d be there tonight.

Well, Lisa emailed me this morning and said she had not had any other RSVPs from any of the 32 other addressees. I was the only one. How apathetic.

She’s rescheduling for next week so I said I’d still come. Let’s see what happens this time.

Bring out your dead

Bushfires over Canberra, January 2020. Photographer unknown. ABC News

Beautiful day, 29deg, back ‘o my neck gettin’ damp and sweaty. The title refers to the start of our annual bulk rubbish collection starting tomorrow. I’ve had almost nothing to put out, just a few pieces of old timber. It’s actually good dry jarrah DAR but I’ll never get around to using it. I hope someone takes it and puts it to good use. Otherwise, I’ve got a lot of things I want to get rid of, but they’re not junk.

PS: 6pm, someone has taken the jarrah. That’s good.

I like to drive around and have a look and I was surprised to see a mini motor bike on a pile just up the street. I was tempted to look, but nah.

It’s amazing how many lounge suites go out. They’re in dreadful taste, most of them, so it’s no great loss. I hope they’re being replaced by something better.


That made me think of leather and the leather seats in the Honda MDX. The driver’s seat squab is damaged, with the foam visible on the edge where you slide in. It’s not worth me getting it fixed.

But I was thinking yesterday, it’s very thin leather. Surely Honda could have known that this is the part most prone to damage and used a thicker grade of leather for that part? It seems obvious to me. Black mark, Honda.


I’m co-existing with the insomnia at the moment. I’ve reduced the medication to half and I’m taking it when the GP recommended, just before bed, although I always read for 30-45mins before lights out. It still takes me consistently about 2hrs to get to sleep, but I do fall asleep then and have a reasonable night. Lots of interesting dreams. Dreams loosely related to work still crop up, 21 years since I retired. Like most men, work defined me. My world was occupied by by my occupation, if you get my drift.


Watch number 16, or thereabouts. I saw this on Friday and it took me about 10 seconds to decide I wanted it, especially at the price, $269 reduced to $110. Last one, apparently. I just like it. I’ve got another one similar, also Pulsar, but the LCD is much dimmer to save the battery. This one is bright and clear.

Women like rings and things. I like watches.


I’ve just found this among my old word processor files from February 2014. It’s worth posting:

There was a fascinating program on SBS about DNA and the genome. I hope it rated well and people watched it. Science documentaries don’t rate very well, I don’t think, and I applaud SBS for showing them at a reasonable time.

A statement was made that I didn’t know about, that humans have evolved lacking the gut enzymes to digest a lot of raw foods. We are evolved to eat cooked food, not grasses and plants and raw meat. Our digestive system needs food to be cooked first before it can break it down for us.

The guy said that if we ate nothing but raw food, we’d starve to death within about three  months.

I find that fascinating. I didn’t know that. Animals evolved to eat nothing but raw foods, but our genome diverged and we don’t make the enzymes required to digest from raw.

We can eat raw food, of course we can, but a lot of it passes straight through undigested. That’s why we call it roughage and fibre, precisely because it goes straight through. It scours out our intestines and bowels as it does, which is useful and good for us in preventing cancer and other nasties, but for food value and nutrition, it’s better cooked.

That puts a whole new perspective on things. I always assumed that raw was better, but it’s not so. And I only learn this 65 years into my life?

The program as a whole also showed fascinating detail about how our genome evolved. We went from being single cells to multiple dividing cells about 2 billion years ago, in an apparently random process that survived because it was advantageous. Two billion years, plus or minus a billion, as one scientist said. In the whole span of “life”, the difference between a billion years and civilised man’s existence (about 10,000 years) is like the thickness of paint on the ceiling, a factor of 10e5.

They also explained (this is recent research) that when chromosomes divide and recombine in the process of cell division, they recombine at specific places along the length of the DNA spiral. There are only four places, and they are characterised by the base pair sequence CCGCCGTATCGTAT (from memory, could be wrong). The relatively random mixing of base pairs occurs along the chromosome, but at these sequence points, things stay the same. Faskinatin’

About 5 years ago I was mystified by DNA, chromosomes, genes and the other terms. Like placing music in context, I didn’t understand the hierarchy, which part was bigger and which were the smaller parts. Now I do know. Quite a lot. In fact, a hell of a lot. Down to the molecular level of the bases.

I was talking to the cardiologist a couple of weeks ago (2014) and showed him my list of medications. I asked about one in particular and whether it would be beneficial for my heart. “Oh, I don’t know that one,” he said. What??! Sure, it’s not for the heart, but it’s hardly obscure. I was not impressed. (It’s Colchicine.)

In 2014 had the Silver Chain nurses (yes, two of them) here re-dressing my leg. I had cellulitis, inflammation and infection of the surface cells. My left leg was a bit swollen and very red raw. It looked bad but it wasn’t restricting me much, just a bit painful and itching.

The second nurse came to do a leg vein ultrasound on the spot, with me lying down on my own bed. That’s what electronics has wrought – a small portable Doppler ultrasound with LCD display. Brilliant.

They were measuring my differential blood pressure, between that in my arm and in my leg, to see how my heart is pumping. Yes, there is a fair difference, 1.41 or 41% difference. That means they needed to wrap my leg in a pressure wrap to try to force the fluid up. I looked like the mummy, all white bandage (on my lower left leg, that is).

It was also wrapped in a wet, gooey zinc bandage to kill the bacteria. I knew it was staphylococcus, and I said, “But it wouldn’t be staph aureus, would it?” Yes, she said, Golden Staph. It lives on the skin. Wow. I thought it was a hospital bug, not found in the wild. In fact, maybe that’s where I got it, in hospital recently?

For the record, genomics big to small: cell; chromosome; DNA strands; genes; base pairs; bases made up of molecules; molecules called A = adenine, C = cytosine, G = guanine, T = thymine (not thiamin, that’s Vitamin B); atoms of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, mainly.

Just those four molecules are sufficient to make us, and all living things. Wow.

It would be like saying Shakespeare wrote all his works using an alphabet of only four letters. The difference is that all his works would have taken millions and billions of pages, instead of thousands.

In fact another analogy could be that BCD (binary coded decimal) could have been used. Same deal. Only ten letters allowed. The works could have been written, but it would have taken hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pages. I don’t think the result would have been the same, either.

Actually, take the idea further: all 46 chromosomes make up the instructions to make our body. We’re in the process now of decoding which sections (genes) of those stands of DNA in each chromosome do what.

To me it’s obvious that one day, quite soon in fact, we will be able to decode ALL the genes and therefore have the instruction book literally on paper (not on paper, in a computer file), to build either a human or any part of a human.

“Oh, you need a new heart? OK, it’s this book, pages 2,504,309 to 5,687,334. We’ll get right onto it.” And they would synthesize the molecules, put them together in the right sequences to make the genes (something presently done by mRNA and amino acids), put the genes in a growth medium with the other chemicals needed and within a few days, there would be a heart. Absolutely, I’m not kidding. I reckon within 40 years, easily. All we need is that book. It’s coming, not far away.

What’s allowing this to go so fast? Electronics!

We had the stone age, the iron age, the bronze age, and so on. This is the Electronics Age. Absolutely. All our progress is coming from the knowledge of how to control electrons in wires and that in turn comes from basic physics, science and maths.­ I love it.


I’m up to series seven, episode 12 of the Big Bang Theory and I’m not tired of it yet. I think I mentioned that I bought Kunal Nayyar’s book, Yes My Accent is Real, but although he tells how he got into the show, he doesn’t say much at all about it. But what he does say is that all the actors loved the scripts and when they were handed out before shooting each episode, they all took them home to read just for the enjoyment. I agree, the dialogue is fantastic, the jokes are really funny and the timing is great.

One thing he says, which I’m not sure whether to believe, is that the laughter track is real, that it’s all shot before a live studio audience. He says sometimes the floor managers had to stop a scene because audience members would see the joke coming and say it prematurely. Sounds plausible. I’m enjoying it anyway.


I’m in the home stretch of The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, the book I mentioned about the couple walking the south west coastal path from Minehead via Land’s End to Poole in Dorset.

She is a brilliant writer. This could have been a bit boring, just a recitation of day 1, day 2, day 3, and so on, but I have seldom read such lyrical prose. It is very, very uplifting and enjoyable.

At the risk of spoiling, I thought it would be the linear story one long walk to reach Poole, but in fact they break it at one point and go to live on a friend’s farm a couple of hundred miles to the north for the winter. They still work their guts out but it gives them the chance to save up some money, not a lot but not the destitution they were in when they started.

But the wanderlust kicks back in and they go back to the south coast in the summer (she never says which year it is), to Poole, in fact, and start walking again in the reverse direction, west. It’s still 250 miles and a daunting task, but it brings Moth (the husband) back to quite good health again within two weeks, which amazes them. It’s a testament to the benefits of walking as exercise. No doubt about it.

Uh oh, shut the gate

From a closeup photography competition.

Another lovely day, a bit cloudy but fine and 23deg. Nice.

Wow, this month has been our highest rainfall in November on record, 73mm last I’ve seen. It’s felt like it too, almost a return to winter. Great for the lawns and gardens. We’ve been allowed to turn our sprinklers on since the beginning of September but I haven’t felt the need so far. To be honest, I’m only showering every second day now as I don’t sweat or get dirty. Cold showers, too. Lovely.

And on the subject of saving money, the State Government has credited every household with $600 of electricity starting this month. Given my solar power and that my last power bill was only $29, it means I’ll probably be able to use the air conditioning for most of the summer without worrying about how much it costs to run. I’m happy about that.


Another closeup. From a Nikon competition, not my shot.

The title refers to the way our state borders were reopened on Saturday, but on Sunday afternoon reports came through that a new outbreak of the COVID virus had started in a suburb of Adelaide. It’s up to 20 cases at the moment.

It’s not a huge outbreak, but it was enough for this state government to immediately start to enforce quarantine for visitors arriving at the border from South Australia and ban any new arrivals. People who arrived at the border, way out on the Nullarbor Plain, were stopped and told to go back to SA. They weren’t happy, and neither were the ones who had already crossed into WA since Saturday. The premier says he’ll reimpose the complete border shutdown if necessary.

The ones who had already come in were traced, I assume by mobile phones, and told they had to stop where they were and self isolate for two weeks. Most took it in good spirits, but many had arrived at Perth Airport on the first couple of flights from Adelaide and they were told they couldn’t meet their relatives or leave the airport, they had to go into hotel isolation for two weeks, with frequent tests. Wow, there were a few upset people there.

Never a dull moment with this virus. For a few days it looked like almost the whole of Australia was essentially virus free, until this new Adelaide breakout.

As usual, it originated from an overseas traveller in quarantine in an Adelaide hotel, but the private security guards didn’t follow procedure and took the virus home from the hotel and spread it to their family.


I’ve just received my new driver’s licence card in the mail, which is well timed because my old one expired yesterday, the 15th. It’s for five years again and reuses my photo from last time. Gee, who is this young fellow?


I mentioned a radio talk I heard last week by a British woman who, faced with the complete loss of their house and all their money, and the diagnosis of a degenerative brain disease in her husband, set off, both of them, on a walk from Minehead in Somerset, near their origin in Wales, along the coastal path to Lands End, then along the Cornwall coast to Dorset, around 670 miles.

Well, I’ve got the book, The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and it’s almost un-put-downable. They lost everything because Moth, the husband, made a substantial investment in a business venture run by a close friend of his. The business failed, of course, but what they didn’t realise was that their investment also included liability to share the debts incurred by the failure. They ended up owing hundreds of thousands, more than their small farm was worth, and were pursued through the courts for the debt. The close friend was nowhere to be seen and no help, so the bailiffs were sent in to repossess everything. All they had was enough to buy two rucksacks, a small tent, sleeping bags and the basic needs to hit the road.

They started out with about £85 between them, and a small government payment of £48 a week to live off. Britain is a high cost country and even a bag of chips costs £1 ($1.82). A panini costs £8 ($14.50). Their diet can only run to packet noodles, fudge bars, any wild fruit or mushrooms they can find, begged hot water for their tea bags and so on. What’s more, the great British weather varies from baking heat, up to 38degC to howling gales off the Atlantic. They can’t afford any accommodation, not even campgrounds, and have to illegally wild camp wherever they can find some level ground, sheltered if possible. Sometimes they awake to find themselves exposed to a road or house they didn’t know was there the previous night.

So far it’s taken them about three weeks to reach Tintagel on the north coast of Cornwall, supposedly the area of King Arthur and his castle. I’ve been there and there’s not much to see, mainly a big hotel built to look like a castle.

The next town, though, is very familiar if you’re a fan of Doc Martin on TV. It’s the real life town of Port Isaac which is renamed to Port Wenn in the show. Crammed with tourists in the summer, apparently, and to be avoided if you don’t like crowds. This was pre-COVID days, of course.

I used to have photos taken on my trip to the UK in 1974 and although I can see them in my mind’s eye, they were lost in a big disc crash in 2013. I’ve learnt my lesson and everything is backed up now.

Anyway, I’m thoroughly enjoying this book. One lesson to come from it is the benefits of exercise. I haven’t got there yet but the husband’s brain disease goes into remission, I believe. Recommended.


I watched the first episode of the fourth series of The Crown last night. Very good, as usual. The Poms certainly know how to make TV, especially when it involves dress-ups and big sets. There’s a fair bit of criticism in the press concerning made up events, but I don’t care, it’s still riveting.


I was poking around the WordPress menus a few days ago and found a place where comments that had been marked as spam were stored. Not marked by me, I hasten to add.

Only one was real spam and the other 16 were very nice compliments from various parts of the world, so I’ve marked them as Not Spam and I assume they have been restored to their respective places, but I don’t know where. In any case, I thank you very, very much for your kind words of praise and I certainly hope you continue to enjoy my writings. I’ll be more observant now and try to prevent this happening again.

Borders are down (almost)

Something was funny.

Aaah, lovely day outside, only 22 max but cloudless and still. I like it. I’m hearing the plaintive squawking of what I think are magpie chicks not far from my window as I heard the parent carolling a lot this morning. In the pine tree about 20m away, I think. I’ve never had any trouble with swooping since I’ve been here but I’ll be sure to wear a hat next time I go out front.

Another rough night last night. I did get to sleep eventually but it was around 2.30am I think. I do sneak looks at the bedside clock – I can’t help myself. Plus I have the radio on. Silly? But I’ve always found I go to sleep easily in the afternoon with it on, and I don’t want to waste my time when I can’t sleep. I still fall asleep when the time comes.


It’s the 11th of November, 11/11/20. It’s Remembrance Day in two senses, the remembrance of our war dead but also remembrance of that day of infamy in 1975 when the Liberal Party staged its coup. When they inveigled the governor general, Kerr, into dismissing the legitimately elected Labour government of Gough Whitlam, PM. (The Labor spelling came after 1975.)

This will never be forgotten. It was a disgraceful act and one the Liberal Party will never be forgiven. I live for the day that it is done to them in return. That time could be now as this Liberal government is the most corrupt in the history of this country. It seems nothing is too heinous as to warrant the resignation or dismissal of ministers.

The latest exposure of the low moral character of my local MP, Christian Porter, is disgusting. I never had any time for him anyway, as I’m sure you know, but the TV program showed his true character, a misogynist woman hater who was, and possibly still is, a foul mouth drunkard slob. Needless to say, I’ll be doing my darndest to see him unseated at the next election.


This was 11.11.11, remember? We had a good decade of 01.01.01, 02.02.02 right through 10.10.10, 11.11.11 to 12.12.12, but I’m afraid there won’t be any more tricky dates this century. As the years go up now, there won’t be any matching months.

Until 01.01.01 again, but it will be 01.01.3001 and I don’t plan to be around then. 🙂

Postscript: I’m wrong. We won’t have to wait until 3001. Assuming we abbreviate the year to its last pair of digits as we usually do, the next 00 and 01 … years will commence in 2100 and 2101… etc. Silly me.

By the way, I’ve always been one for dates. I can’t claim to remember 5/5/55, although I was around then, but I can easily remember 6/6/66, 7/7/77, 8/8/88 and 9/9/99 before we went to 2000, which didn’t have a cadence (0/0/00??) and then the 01/01/01. I wonder if there’s a name for date watching like this? Sure to be, I’ll research it.


I’ve bought a citronella candle this afternoon. A family of wasps built their hive inside the door of my reticulation controller last summer. It’s ideal for them as when the door is closed, the missing knob leaves a hole about 15mm diameter for them to get in and out of.

I’d hoped the winter might send them away but no. They’re not aggressive; they warily ignore me when I open the door. But obviously I don’t want them there, especially as they’ve left their splats all over the retic controller. Very messy.

I’m hoping this citronella will do the trick, but as it’s a candle in a glass tumbler, fairly large, I don’t know how I’m going to place it. I’ve got a heavy duty aluminium takeaway container to act as a wind shield. Maybe I can find something tall to sit it on. I shall keep you advised, probably with pictures.

Bunker bulldust day 234

© PJ Croft 2020

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring. He went to bed, the sleepy head, and now he’s dead. Boring.

I didn’t know the last two phrases so I just made ’em up, sorry.
Next day – now I remember:
It’s raining, it’s pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed
And bumped his head
And couldn’t get up in the morning.

Anyway, I feel dead myself after another night of insomnia. The GP suggested taking my medication just before I go to bed, instead of earlier, in the hope of getting to sleep before the medication takes effect. It kinda works in that I do fall asleep after a long while (more than an hour) but I wake repeatedly during the night and struggle to fall asleep again. I’ll have to taper it off, I think.


Whacko! The Trump nightmare is almost over. It was a great result in the US election, despite the slowness of the count and the closeness of the numbers.

What a crazy country, though, that nearly half the country, 70 million voters, voted that they wanted to continue a regime led by a gangster who lies so much that you can not believe a word he says. A fool who is deranged, mentally defective, who cares about nothing and no-one but himself. Who has dragged America’s reputation in the world down into the gutter. Who is a danger to the world. Yet 70 million Americans still want him to be their president. It’s frightening.

At least now we can say 75 million Americans didn’t want him. That we now have a good man in the position who will be able to right the wrongs done by this evil rogue. And Kamala Harris is so impressive. I’m glad she is VP as I feel she will be a safe pair of hands if anything happens to Joe Biden. Crikey, he’s 77. I don’t know how he has the energy.


© PJ Croft 2020

In case you’re wondering, the “paintings” I’ve been putting at the head of my posts recently are the product of a software program I have, Dynamic Auto Painter by As the name implies, you choose a base image and a style you like and press Start. There are about 60 styles of all kinds, pastels, oils, water colours, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Manet, Monet and so on. You can download more styles too.

It’s all done by a Canadian guy who seems to be a genius programmer. He makes a dozen or so programs, working solo, as I understand it. You can talk to him on-line. All the programs are downloadable as demos with no time limit but with a logo superimposed on the output. I paid about US$60 for this program and I’ve bought a few others as well. Recommended.