Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good trades people worth every cent

While I remain hors de combat and unable to drive a manual vehicle, Rhonda took the truck to work a couple of times last week - it's a manually geared vehicle, so I am not allowed to drive it for another 4 weeks (at least). Its a 1.5 tonne Holden Rodeo LT, 5 speed manual gearbox and a 3.5 litre turbocharged Isuzu truck petrol engine - a real "beast"

I was surprised 'cos for the past four years we've had it she has never attempted to drive it as its size intimidates her - but she is a very capable driver. We usually use it for towing the small caravan or on our trips 'up-country' which are frequently on bush tracks.

This image was taken last year in June when we were fossicking in the Canowindra region where there are a lot of Devonian Period fossils. Unique to the Canowindra area is a massive 'fish kill' incident that occurred 350 million years ago and were covered by sediment until the chance discovery by roadworkers in 1955.  - Age of Fishes Museum, Canowindra, NSW

Anyway - that's another story.

On the two times Rhonda took the truck to work we had severe fogs and she discovered the fog lights were not working. Fortunately she had her headlights and the clear driving lights mounted in the bullbar.  Anyhow, I arranged for it to go up to the auto electricians today to be remedied. Our local auto electrician does all the electrics on the truck from secondary battery system to run out fridge freezer when touring, to electric brakes for towing and the rear video cameras. He's very possessive of the truck, so much so that when we came to pick it up he said in a gruff voice - "Who's been doing work on the truck?"

When we told him no-one and that he was the only one that had worked on it and we were able to nominate the most recent time when he had fitted a new battery late last year. His demeanour changed immediately as he grinned and said:

"Well!  That's alright than!  I must be losing it! The wire connecting the foglights to the relay was disconnected at the battery.  I must've done that!"

Of course there was no charge! It's great to have trades people who are honest about their own work and who also value their customers!

Weather and immediate planning

Such a cold and dreary time of the year on the Highlands of NSW just below the snowline, -5C yesterday and -2C this morning - top around 10C for about an hour during the day.

We are currently into our shortest week of the year (shortest day last Saturday, I believe) and following this we have about a month of cold, damp, frosty grey days before the days start to lengthen out, 'tho some days the sun is out, the sky is so clear and azure blue that from inside it is deceptive and gives a false sense of warmness.

Yesterday I made my first distance drive - 120klm return trip to Belconnen in the ACT (a really unattractive area of Canberra imho) - but once we drove out of the fog it was so pleasant motoring along in a warm car with the sun shining brightly all around.

I think I'm on track for a return to Wyangala in about 2 weeks time when Rhonda has her RDO. It will be a quiet trip, no 'bush bashing' as we were given a small Rinnai gas heater so I want to 'tee up' the gasfitter to extend our gas heating inside the camp unit by running a bayonet connector of the main bottle line to the lounge area.

If the weather conditions and the light are right there are two derelict hardwood slab and iron homesteads that I want to photograph before they completely collapse.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy 21 ....

On the 27th of May, at my Pre-operation assessment, I weighed 120.9 kg!

Today, on the 27th June, I weighed (and re-weighed on separate scales) and I weighed 99.8 - a total loss of 21 kg! That is very close to 3.5 stone under the old weight system

I know a lot of this is due to appetite suppressant effect of the narcotic analgesics but it is making both my knees feel better and I feel good about it as well!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Julia Gillard 1st Australian female Prime Minister

It's taken 109 years since Australian Federation, however, today Australia's very first female Prime Minister was sworn in by (female) Australian Governor General, Quentin Bryce.

Julia Eileen Gillard (born 29 September 1961) is an Australian politician who is currently the Prime Minister of Australia. She was sworn in as Australia's 27th, and very first female, Prime Minister on 24 June 2010 after a leadership ballot confirmed she had the support of the Australian Labor Party to ascend to the party leadership and become Prime Minister.

Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales in 1961. Her father was a coal miner in Wales, and she has a sister, Alison, who is three years older; Nye Bevan remains one of her political heroes.

After Julia suffered from bronchopneumonia as a child, her parents were advised it would aid her recovery to live in a warmer climate. The family chose to migrate to Australia in 1966, settling in Adelaide.

Her father trained as a psychiatric nurse, while her mother worked at the local Salvation Army Old People's Home.

Gillard and her sister attended Mitcham Demonstration School, and then graduated from Unley High School in 1978. She then attended the University of Adelaide, and on graduation moved to Melbourne to work with the Australian Union of Students (AUS). In 1987 she graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Laws degree and with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990.

In 1987 she joined left-leaning law firm Slater & Gordon at Werribee, working in the area of industrial law. In 1990 at the age of 29, she was admitted as one of their first female partners.

In this writer's humble opinion, having a Welsh mother and a deep feelings for my ancestral roots, it is really great to not only finally have a female who deserves and has earnt the post of this nation's leader but to also know that she has a strong Welsh background herself!

Caiff yn ffaglu 'n goch gwallt a chwedleua cara bupur botio. Mai Celi llywia 'i balf!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mouse Gornnnn!

Up early this morning - Rhonda on a 'training day', so our usual routine all out of kilter - and went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea.  "Denny-the-Dog" followed me in to the kitchen and made a bee-line for the corner of the cupboards and stood there looking intently upwards with his tail wagging - unusual for him as the first thing he wants to do is to head outside!

Had a look and found one dead grey field mouse in one of the traps in the little 'runway' they were following between the stove and the bread bins.

Oh well!  Feel sorry for the poor little thing 'cos it was only trying to survive the cold of winter - but - should not have tried to make my kitchen its home!

Will set the traps again tonight in case there are any others around!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Some good news at last.

After more than 12 months since daughter Kat fled from an unpleasant marital situation to Hobart in Tasmania she has finally manage to secure a decent job. QBE have offered her a full-time position as a claims officer. Nothing huge but its a start and a leg-up back into insurance (which is a pretty tight shop in Tasmania!)

We are so delighted at this 'cos she was just 'treading water' as a part-time shop assistant and wasting her talents. More to the point is that she was at her wits end and believed that this application (one of the dozens she has submitted for various jobs) was probably her last chance to get back into work she does so well. All her previous applications and interviews were ending up - "Good, but we prefer someone from within the organisation!" Towards the end she was starting to get some referrals from interviews towards other jobs that she was qualified for but kept hitting that 'closed shop' attitude from other employers.

I think I'm becoming a Grumpy Old Man!

Rhonda has an unexpected day off today - to many staff rostered on her shift - so she elected to swap one of her days off and have the Saturday off!

Fine, What a lovely idea (when she told me yesterday!)

Today, and after nearly a week of coping 'home alone' each day, developing my routine and rituals, everything gets thrown on its head. Like, I wasn't planning on showering today as I did so yesterday and I'm house-bound at present (and its a wet and cold day) but .... No! She wouldn't have it and even re-arranged her clothes washing timing so that the washing machine would not drain off the hot water from the shower. Then there's the washing up from last night .... I usually do it after noon .... but today it had to be done after breakfast.  Breakfast - now there was another issue .... no lounging around in my P.J's, dressing gown and comfy slippers - get showered, have breakfast and then wash up!

Oh dear!  It is so nice to have her around during the day as it does get rather monotonous with just myself and Denny-the-Dog but I do wish I could just do my own thing!

Well, at least she found my lost rubber exercise band for my knee stretches!  Now how did that end up in the bottom of the bed clothes?

G.O.M.? I hope not! LOL!

PS - Found friend mouses' hidey hole behind the microwave. His/her calling cards cleaned up and a neat little trap set. I think it was after Denny-the-Dog's' "Carob Treats" which usually reside adjacent.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Rhonda and I were eating dinner last night when a mouse ran across a bench in the kitchen in front of the water containers and disappeared down behind the oven. We were both astounded, looks like a little grey field mouse and not unusual for them to find their way into a warmer environment in winter - its been raining here, 25mm yesterdy and temperature ranging from -2C to 10C - but we draw the line at having mice in the kitchen. We usually find them nesting in the shed or the lock-up at the back of the carport.

I put a squirt of insect spray down behind the oven and it promptly vacated its spot there, ran out across the kitchen floor and made a 90 degree turn and in under the refrigerator.  Looks like a kitchen clean-up this weekend. Don't want to use baits as Denny-the-Dog sleeps in the dining room, just off the kitchen, at this time of year, so traps will be the order of the day.

On another note, a progress on my rehab.

Things are progressing well, in fact for Day 18 post-op I'm mobilising with a walking stick, climbing and descending steps, doing 'light' rides on the exercise bike and have about 100 degrees ROM in that knee. It's getting so well that I can really now feel how bad the other one is! LOL! My physio says I'm ahead of the expected schedule so after some IFC treatment my knee was given a good massage workout that was "agonising" to say the least. By the time I got home it was time for a cup of tea, some analgesics and a good lie down.

Today I've been icing it as it is again quite 'firm' and doing some gentle 'movement and stretching exercises.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

House Photos ...

Hi Gill,

Just a quick note to let you know I haven't forgotten your request for some photos from around our home - just haven't got round to it yet!

Growing up days

Recently I joined a small comment series about how growing today is vastly different from growing up 50 to 60 years ago and how much the world had changed in regards to allowing children 'freedom' and the need to be so watchful over children in these modern times.

I thought I would add a few thoughts about my own early days and allow readers to consider how vastly different the world of the 1940's is from that of 2010.

I was born in Annandale, in Sydney in 1942 under the shadows of the infamous “Abbey” - Looming over Sydney, the Victorian revivalist manor spookily swathed in Boston ivy had been shrouded in secrecy since Freemason John Young spared no expense in building it to impress his wife in 1881. They never lived in the house, and the grand design of gables, arches, lions, gargoyles, chimneys, turrets and gothic intricacies sat vacant, occupied only by housekeepers, while the ballroom and stables were a superior boarding house to private Sydney schools from 1887.

Annandale did not have a good reputation in those days, at least in View Street where we lived just off Blackwattle Bay. When my father was blessed with a small but tidy sum – courtesy of a fast horse on a slow track – he immediately invested that in building us a home at Ryde, then a small mixed rural area on the outskirts of Sydney comprising dairy farms, orchards, market gardens and a rapidly growing residential population.

He moved us all, Mum and six kids, out there ASAP and I loved it. I was five at the time and just commencing school, so myself and my four sister were packed off to the St Charles Borremeo Catholic Church and school, which was, coincidentally, about 200 metres from home.

I loved the area and quickly made friends with boys my own age, some of whom had been born in the area – the Johnsons – and others, like myself – the Durhams, Youngs and Delandres – had been relocated there in the hope of a better life.

Coincidentally, one of Mum’s cousins (the Brett family) owned a dairy farm about a mile away and the Johnsons also had a dairy farm as well as the local bakery. There were huge apple orchards, dairy farms, bushlands, creeks with swimming holes and the ever-mysterious Chinese Market Gardens with its “Miu”, a temple of worship which was referred to locally as “The Joss House”, sitting squarely in the middle of the gardens.

Ryde had a magnificent series of playing fields and park which included a large oval and imposing grandstand which, in later years, became my ‘grounding area’ for learning to play in the local rugby league and cricket sides.

The world was our oyster and out of school times we were free to roam, play and swim throughout the surrounding bushland and streams but our most favoured spot was The Rialto Cinema at “Top Ryde” on the corner of Pope and Devlin Streets.

In Ryde, Henry Thomson's Ritz had been destroyed by fire on New Year's eve 1930. Although Thomson soon announced plans to rebuild, a business opponent, Gus Bowe, seized the opportunity to re-enter the industry. He built Ryde's most architecturally ambitious cinema on the land he owned near the tram terminus. This theatre was called the Rialto and opened in December 1932. The exterior brickwork incorporated reds, greens, whites and orange and the concrete roofing tiles were blue and green. Large columns topped with gargoyles flanked the floodlit entrance and a second row of gates were topped with seahorses. The interior of the theatre also boasted unusual decorative features as well as state of the art seating and sound.

To us kids it was a magic playground in the late 1940’s, early 1950’s and Saturday afternoon matinees were the order of the day. Sometimes, if we were lucky, my father would take the whole family to the cinema for a Friday night ‘New Release’. This was a tremendous outing in those days and always meant a milk shake and a packet of potato chips at intermission.

We also enjoyed many community activities such as communal bonfires, brass bands and fireworks for special occassions such as Empire Day (now celebrated as Australia Day) and the Queen's Birthday holiday weekend.

Ryde is the third oldest settlement in Australia, after Sydney and Parramatta. The area between Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers was originally known by white settlers as the Field of Mars and then the Eastern Farms. North Ryde was established in the mid 19th century as a farming district, in what was a heavily vegetated area, next to the already established district of Ryde. The Field of Mars Common was considered dangerous, as escaped convicts and bushrangers were known to frequent the area, however, by the end of WWI Ryde was a productive and safe rural area and one that the government of the day identified as an area to cope with Sydney's demand for new residential development.

North Ryde's main street is Coxs Road, which was originally sandstone-lined to make it easier to haul goods up from the wharf on the Lane Cove River to the top of the hill.

For us kids, it was an Adventure Land, a place where we could enjoy more freedom then we had imagined while living in the cramped Balmain region at Annandale.

To be continued……..

Friday, June 11, 2010

Quick update on knee Replacement

Hi all!  I'm still around. Rhonda collected me at the hospital last Sunday and brought me home.  Wasn't a comfortable trip home - some 84klms and 15klms of that over rough road - but I was so glad to get out of hospital and be home.

Denny The Dog went 'berserkers' - he was just so pleased to see me and realise that Rhonda had not actually squeezed me into that little silver box (mobile phone) LOL

Been a hard row all week - back to the specialist this morning and had the 28 clips removed from my knee - he's pleased despite the tension swelling and discolouration as the bruising leaches out. Wound is clean, neat, slim and sealed. Start Rehab on next Tuesday. Trying to balance adequate pain relief against being 'zonked' out of my brain is a daily battle (10mg of Endone every 4 hours and 40mg of Oxy-contin twice a day plus some 'lighter' analgesics in between is massive for me!)

I was informed this afternoon by SWMBO that dosage reduction starts on Monday!

Add to all that the havoc it plays with ones bowels and the pin-cushion bruising to one's abdomen from daily injections of Celexane anti-coagulant and I'm looking forward to putting this experience behind me.

Cold here - Minus 2C last night and top of 10C today, so that only adds to the aches.  Think there's some early snow on the way.

Good luck to all who are interested as the Football World Cup gets underway tonight in South Africa - at least I'll have something to watch in the 'wee hours' when wrenched from the world of slumber to do the nightly trip down the corridor and to top up the drug levels!