Friday, 3 April 2020


There are 96 Australians stuck on the MV Greg Mortimer in Uruguay with at least one passenger infected with COVID-19. The vessel is operated by Aurora Expeditions Australia.
Passengers departed Australia for the three week cruise on 11 March. Some are now demanding the government repatriated them and point out the Federal Government only banned overseas travel for citizens on 24 March, some two weeks after their departure.
Look at the Timeline
25 January. First case of COVID-19 detected in Australia
27 January. Fifth case reported
31 January. Government requires all foreign nationals returning from China to self-isolate for 14 days in another country prior to arrival.
1 February. 10th case reported
6 February. Total of 15 cases
7 February. Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama with numerous COVID-19 infected passengers.
27 February. Federal Government activates the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan
1 March. 1st death
2 March. First community spread cases reported
4 March. 2nd death
6 March. Man in his 20's returns from Nepal with flu like symptoms and told to self isolate for 14 days. Ignores instructions and goes to work in hotel. Test results come back positive.
8 March. 3rd death
9 March. School teacher infected by partner who was on same retuning overseas flight as infected Melbourne doctor.
11 March. MV Greg Mortimer cruise passengers head overseas.
One month after the outbreak on the Diamond Princess and deaths in Australia these people head overseas on a cruise ship holiday. One assumes these passengers felt that as the government hadn't banned travelling overseas there was nothing preventing them from going. Now they are at risk of infection in a high risk environment and the Uruguayan authorities won't allow them to disembark.
Sometimes people take risks and sometimes they have dire consequences! Yes, they probably would have lost the money they paid for the holiday had they cancelled. However they would have significantly reduced the risk of losing their lives.
I’m taking this self-isolation philosophically.
In a crisis some see adversity whilst others see opportunity

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Slow Progress

We’ve completed our second week of self imposed isolation venturing out only once to shop for essentials at the supermarket.  This isolation is dragging and so I pinned a map of the world up on the wall and told Jan to throw a dart at it.  Wherever it hit I would take her there for a fortnight’s holiday after the virus has abated.   Apparently we are spending two weeks behind the fridge!

Slow progress is being made on the new cabinet.  Mostly because of a shortage of materials.  I managed to rip a length of timber off a piece of Jarrah that had previously been biscuit joined together.  The cut length was then passed through the Thicknesser to provide two parallel surfaces.


The cut length is only 5mm thick and flops around like a Rolf Harris Wobble Board (should I mention his name?).  To give the kickboard (that’s what it’s going to be) some strength I’ve glued some scrap Jarrah to the reverse side.


The gaps between the pieces of scrap are to allow the kickboard to butt against the black plastic feet.  The feet have removable plastic clips which secure the kickboard to the feet.  The problem is the clips aren’t sufficiently long, which meant I needed to make some packers.


Now the clip has sufficient clearance


The kickboard will then be glued to the four packers


Not glued at the moment as I don’t want to damage the kickboard.  Actually it will be one of the last pieces fitted to the cabinet.

Jenny you don’t fool me with these ‘sisterhood’ comments.  Jan knows how lucky she is to have me Smile

Wednesday, 1 April 2020


This lockdown is getting to be lonely and tedious. Only this morning I was talking to the microwave and toaster about the situation. The fridge was cold and distant whilst the hotplate saw the whole thing as a gas. Fortunately the iron indicated there was nothing pressing, whilst the vacuum cleaner told me to suck it up.

Click <here> for Coronavirus Rhapsody.

I’ve never paid too much attention to food.  It gets put in front of me and I eat everything on the plate.  On the rare occasions I have to cook for myself I choose the easy options and will sometimes take the top off the can and eat it cold.  Fortunately I’m married to an excellent cook with a great imagination (when it comes to food).  When we lived on Waiouru Jan would often use the slow cooker producing stews, roasts, bread and cakes.  The advantage of the cooker was it used very little power and everything would cook whilst we were on the move. 

Being cooped up at home means I’ve more time to watch what Jan is doing.  Yesterday she cooked a roast chicken in the slow cooker.  We each had a leg for dinner whilst all the juices were drained into a bowl and placed in the fridge.  This morning these had formed a jelly which Jan placed in the freezer telling me they would go into a stew at some later date.  Jan stripped the meat from the remains of the chicken and it will be going into a chicken and pasta curry we are having tonight.  The bones and remains of the carcass were placed back into the slow cooker with some water and vegetables.  They will become a soup.  I was actually rather impressed with the comprehensive use of the chicken.  Probably because in the past all I do is eat!


The cabinet project is making slow progress. I’m attempting to make it last whilst we are in social isolation.

The media must try hard to find whingers.  Today there were two articles about people who have been placed in 14 day enforced quarantine in one of the 5 Star hotels.  One woman was complaining her two year old was a fussy eater and was refusing the supplied food.  They wanted special food.  I can assure the parents that their two year old won’t be nearly as fussy tomorrow on an empty stomach.  Another woman was complaining the hotel wouldn’t supply her with sanitary pads and tampons.  I didn’t realise hotels had them on the menu?  Perhaps she could order them online and have them delivered using the supplied FREE wifi.  If the supplied food is such poor quality perhaps the government could supply them with army 24 hour ration packs.  I remember the meat in the tin of Irish Stew was mostly grizzle and fat. The grains of rice had an impervious water resistant coating and the biscuits were so hard our dog could chew on one for a day.   The American ration packs we had in Iran were labelled MRE (Meals Ready to Eat).  We quickly realised it actually meant Meals Rejected by Ethiopia!

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

The Heater and the Band

Readers you may recall I mentioned a problem with the gas instant hot water system on the exterior of the house.  The system ignites the gas burner when a hot water tap is turned on.  The problem was it only ignited intermittently.  My interim solution was to remove the heater front shield thereby exposing the system to more air.  This resulted in the heater being more reliable, however I still had the problem of an unshielded unit.

This week I backfilled and compacted the excavation I’d made outside the bathroom window for the new sewer connection.  Then I laid the original pavers.  This enabled me to remove everything stored under the gas heater on top of the newly laid pavers.


Newly laid pavers

For more than a month I’ve been thinking the water heater problem might be caused by everything temporarily stored below it.  Now these have been relocated I replaced the heater shield and tested the unit.


It’s back to working correctly.   Look for the simple things first! Smile

In 2016 our youngest son returned from an overseas trip and presented me with a fitness tracker.  It was a FitBit.  The unit tracked how many steps you walked in a day and you could share that information with family and friends who also had a FitBit.  I used it for almost a year before it died.  Subsequently I replaced it with a Xiaomi Mi Band 2.  Xiaomi is a chinese manufacturer and we own a number of their product.  The Band was good.  It not only tracked distance, but also heart rate and had a vibrating alarm function.  The two weaknesses were the strap catch (it broke) and the size of the monochrome display.  My eyesight is slowly degrading and I needed glasses to read the display.  The display on the Band was also starting to dim.  Eventually the second strap broke and I replaced it with a Xiaomi Mi Band 4. 


Mi Band 2 at the top.

The Mi Band 4 has an OLED colour touch screen and is slightly larger.  It has all the functions of the Mi Band 2.  I’ve had it less than a month but it appears to have the same battery life as the Band 2; about 40 days between recharges.  As you can see in the above photo it’s 09:21 on Tue 31 Mar.  I’ve walked 534 steps and the battery is 40% charged.  I have set the daily distance target to 8000 steps (about 6km).  Two of my circuits are that length and the third is approximately 12000 steps.  The Band vibrates when I’ve achieved the target.  I have also set three vibrating alarms to remind me when it is time to take my daily heart medication.  The Band 4 was slightly more expensive than the Band 2 costing me about A$50.  I like it!

Yesterday I started another project.  I don’t have all the materials which means won’t be able to complete it until the pandemic is over.  I’m making a cabinet for the front room which will contain all the small souvenirs Jan purchased whilst we were living on Waiouru.  There is an ulterior motive.  He ‘nick-nacks’ are occupying valuable cupboard storage space.  Currently I’m working with recycled timber constructing the base.


Mike when thespians say “Break a Leg” it’s rhetorical.  You’re not supposed to actually go out and break a leg!   Still, if you are going to be laid up for several weeks in isolation now is probably a good time. Smile

Monday, 30 March 2020

I Understand… but I don’t Sympathize!

Three days ago Jan baked a loaf of “Lockdown bread”. 


This is new to me (and I think her!).  Apparently it does not require yeast and this loaf had a cheesy top.  Of course garbage guts (me) was chief tester.  I got the hot end crust smeared in a layer of butter.  The bread is dense, rather than light and fluffy, and quite filling.  The first day we used if for tomato sandwiches and on the second day Jan toasted the remaining slices which we then covered in sardines.  I’ve no complaints.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the State government has closed the State borders.  They have now gone one step further and divided the State into different regions.  Non essential travel has been banned between regions.  This all makes sense if you want to control the spread of COVID-19.

The government strategy is quite apparent.  Australians trapped on infected cruise ships were transported back to Australia at government expense (ie the tax payer) and placed in enforced quarantine for 14 days on Christmas Island or in a project camp in the Northern Territory.  Those Australian residents who returned voluntary either at the end of their holiday/trip or early were required to go into 14 days quarantine in their own homes. 

During this period there were still people leaving Australia to take a holiday.  One assumes because their travel insurance (if they had it) didn’t allow them to cancel or they chose to ignore the risk. 

The next phase of this was the demand by many Australians now overseas, and starting to be trapped by travel restrictions, for the government arrange for them to be repatriated.  In the meantime the Australian authorities commenced checking on the people who had returned earlier to ensure they were staying in quarantine.  The police discovered a number of them were not complying.  The media have reported on case where the Australian resident returned from Jordan and had now been caught four times breaking his 14 day quarantine.  Obviously the government has realised some people are unlikely to comply with self quarantine.

Now we have the last wave of people who are being repatriated to Australia under inter government arrangements.  One assumes the bulk of these are people who left Australia in the last couple of months (ie, after the Coronavirus was public knowledge).  The authorities will likely have assumed if these people were prepared to depart, despite the virus, then they are also likely to not comply with self quarantine.  Consequentially all of them are being taken directly from their arriving aircraft into enforced quarantine for 14 days.  They are being detained in major 4-5 star hotels with meals provided, all at government (ie, tax payer) expense.  Some attempted to leave their rooms and there are police in the corridors to ensure they can’t “escape”.  Others have turned to the media and social media to complain about their conditions.

To them I say

  • You decided to risk it and go overseas
  • You demanded your government arrange your repatriation
  • Your actions suggest you are likely to breach self quarantine.
  • You are being fed and accommodated in 5 star facilities FREE
  • There are people in Australia who lost everything in the recent bush fires and who are now living in tents.
  • Have a good look at your hotel room.  Later in life you’ll look at your nursing home room and perhaps realise just how good you had it.
  • STOP WHINGING…….!!!!!

Sunday, 29 March 2020

More Closing Down

Well the borders are now well and truly closed to all except essential traffic…. such as supplies of toilet paper.
The Northern Territory has taken drastic measures to ensure its borders remain protected.
Transgressors will be EATEN
Our supplies are currently holding out.  We hope you haven’t been receiving the dreaded 404 Error
And a song from me (Tom Jones) to cheer you up during this difficult period 
YouTube Link
With plenty of free time on my hands this morning I decided to login to Blogger just to check if there were any missed comments.  I should mention I don’t usually directly use Blogger.  The posts are written using Open Live Writer and I’m supposed to be notified of any comments by email.  There were two unpublished posts for which there had been no notification.  Sorry Jennie and Jaq.  I don’t know why that happened! 
to fill in some of my time I’ve started experimenting with paracord.
  My initial efforts include making two short lanyards.  The top one is a snake knot and the bottom a box knot with a diamond knot at the left end
There should be enough paracord to keep me occupied for several hours.  I might have to experiment with several colour combinations.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

More on the Eggs

Yesterday afternoon I went to our local bank to withdraw some funds.  I don’t trust the ATM’s and think having some cash might be a good idea during the current crisis.
Whilst I was in the bank two men entered wearing masks.  Everyone was terrified until one of them announced they were just robbing the bank! Smile
To answer those reader questions about the frozen eggs.  Jan has now frozen three dozen and I asked her the same question you’ve been asking me.  What do the eggs look like when they are defrosted and how do you use them?  Jan explained to me they can be used in cakes, quiches, omelettes, etc.  She demonstrated by defrosting one slowly at room temperature in a cup.
I can confirm that provided you don’t move the cup whilst the egg de-freezes you get an egg with the yoke sac in tact.  The egg can be fried, poached or scrambled.  I couldn’t hard boil it as it proved too difficult to superglue the shell back together. Smile  One thing I noticed was when the eggs are frozen into cubes they take up far less room.
I was astonished to read the Queensland State Government is holding local government and by elections today!  In the middle of a pandemic!!!   Voting in Australian Federal and State elections is compulsory and you can be fined for not casting a vote!  We already know one way of restricting the number of infections is tracing the activities of people already affected.  In this situation it will be almost impossible to trace who came into contact with who. 
The is what the Electoral Commission Queensland has on its website
“After considering this decision and taking advice from Queensland Health, the ECQ has determined that, based on current advice available, the elections should proceed. This is on the basis that: the elections facilitate an essential service by providing for continuity of democratic representation for Queenslanders; and measures will be put in place at polling places to limit the number of people inside the building to fewer than 100.”
It’s essential people vote NOW, rather than delaying the process by 4-6 months?  The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
Meanwhile a small proportion of people who are either infected our who have returned from overseas and are in 14 day quarantine have broken their quarantine.  This can result in a fine or supervised detention.  Frankly I think the 200 year old Australian approach would be more effective.  A 15 pound ball shackled to the right ankle limits mobility and is more cost effective.

I’m already thinking about alternative strategies should the local utilities fail further into the crisis. 
Sewage fails.   Dig hole(s) in back yard
Water fails.  Ensure all containers capable of holding water are kept full (shame we’ve removed the bath)
Electricity fails.  Re-wire the switchboard to isolate the house from the network and use our own solar power by day.  Run the suitcase generator at night to keep the fridge and freezer working. 
Note to myself……. Fill the four jerrycans with petrol and top up the 4x4 with diesel.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Looking for Work

Two tasks had been identified for completion today.  One of the lawn sprinkler nozzles required adjusting and I could also remove the canned food from the camper trailer as it might be needed at some later date.  Once that was done I needed to think of how I could keep myself occupied for the remaining 23 hours and 45 minutes!

Oh, the request from Debbie and Carol for the Navaho Bread instructions.

Navaho Bread


  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (Jan used Olive)
  • 1 to 1¼ cups of warm water


  • Mix together
  • Knead 2-3 minutes
  • Let rest for 30 minutes
  • Divide dough into six pieces
  • Roll out each piece into oval shape
  • Cook on griddle/frying pan.  Turn over and cook opposite side
  • Put into tea towel when cooked

Jan made them into ‘toastie’ sandwiches with a cheese filling between and toasted again.

I’ve been a little serious during the last couple of posts.  That needs to change


Hello Judith and John (nb Serena), great to read you are both safe and semi-isolated out on the Cut.  We’ve been reading about all the people crowding the towpath during this period of social distancing.  My devious mind would have signs in the boat and perhaps on the towpath advising the occupants of the boat were in quarantine and people should keep away.   I wouldn’t specifically mention COVID-19 as that might be illegal.

Costco had sent an email to all members advising the first hour on Thursday would be exclusively for seniors and the disabled.  We decided to go only to arrive and discover the queue went halfway around the huge warehouse and back.  We turned around and went home.  After talking about it a home we decided to return at 12.30 and see if the queue was any smaller.  Well it was and most of the people were lining up to join.  As we are already members we walked straight into the store for a good like around.  These will probably be our last purchases during the next few weeks.

There was no toilet paper, facial tissues or hand sanitizer.  However that didn’t concern us as we have alternative strategies.  Costco sells in bulk and our trolley seemed quite full by the time we reached the check-out.  However I can only remember the tray of 60 eggs Jan bought and the two huge containers of chocolate coated almonds and jellybeans I put in the trolley Smile

When we returned home I asked Jan what she was going to do with 60 eggs and was informed she would freeze them.  “But the shells will crack!” said me.  Apparently not, as Jan is removing them from the shells first.  She has two oversized ice cube containers purchased whilst we were in the UK.


Freeze a dozen daily


Then they are bagged in groups of six.

I confess I would never have thought of doing this!

Thursday, 26 March 2020


As I mentioned in yesterday's blog post, we currently have two cruise ships off the coast here in Perth (MSC Magnifica & the Artania). A third (the Vasco da Gama) scheduled to arrive this Friday.

The Magnifica and Artania reportedly have passengers suffering from COVID-19. None of the passengers are Australian residents. The State government will only disembark passengers in need of urgent hospital treatment and the State Premier has told the ships to go elsewhere.

The Vasco da Gama has 800 Australian residents onboard, 200 are from Western Australia.

I find it interesting than; according to their cruise itineraries; none of these vessels were scheduled to call into Perth. The Magnifica and Artania were scheduled to go up the other side of Australia then around the top. The Vasco da Garma was supposed to leave Singapore and head for Europe. It appears cruise lines are attempting to disembark passengers wherever they can?

Part of me has little sympathy for the passengers. The coronavirus struck the Diamond Princess in Japan back in early February; well before any of these three cruises commenced. The passengers made their decision to go on the cruise and should accept responsibility for their predicament.  Perhaps I’m being too uncharitable…. However it does annoy me when people failed to accept responsibility for their actions!

On the home front, Jan has run out of bread yeast and therefore been baking Navaho bread. It's unleavened and quite tasty.

Yesterday I fixed the shower rose, completed the installation of the second soak pit for the shed and re-laid all the pavers where the sewer connection was modified. That was my next three weeks of work..... Now what will I do! Smile

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Closing Down

The Australian States and Territories are closing their borders to non residents.  There are three main roads to Western Australia and there are now check points on them.  Only returning residents and trucks (lorries) carrying freight are being allowed to enter.  Number of international and domestic flights have been drastically cut.  Non passenger shipping is still being accepted but the port is closed to cruise ships.  The 1700-passenger MSC Magnifica was reported in the media as wanting to dock last night having previously be turned away from Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart.  Local media were reporting 250 passengers had flu like symptoms.  It that were correct then the number would exceed the State’s total number of intensive care beds.  The latest news is the State Government has prevented anyone from disembarking.  The ship has been refuelled and will leave for Dubai.

Jan and I did our weekly shop a day late today.  The shelves are still empty of toilet paper, facial tissues, pasta and rice.  The checkout operator informed Jan that if she wanted toilet paper she would need to be in the queue before the store opened.  He also mentioned it was the same people buying the toilet paper every morning and he wondered what they would do with hundreds of dunny rolls?

We then drove to see what the new Perth Costco looked like.  It opened last Thursday and at that time the queue went twice around the warehouse.  When we drove into the car park the queue occupied two sides of the building.  we did what the three vehicles ahead of us had done and did a U turn heading back out the exit.

A week ago the State Government was telling residents to avoid travelling overseas on holiday and instead have a holiday in the State.  That has now changed to not having a holiday and remaining at home in self isolation.

I’m concerned for Ian & Irene (nb Free Spirit) travelling on The Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide.  They may find themselves trapped in South Australia

I can also see this self isolation lasting 4-6 months, followed by a further period of 4-6 years for the world economy to recover.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

2nd Soak Pit

It’s the year 2067, Ralph goes to his garage where he collects the last toilet roll that his great grandparents purchased back in 2020 during the great Coronavirus pandemic!

There are 260 pieces on our rolls of 2 ply toilet paper.  On average 12 pieces are used during each visit to the small room twice daily.  Therefore one roll will last one person for 10.83 days.  The rolls come in packets of 24 (except Costco where there are 48).  One packet of toilet paper will last one person 260 days.

Today I made a start on the second soak pit for the shed.  As mentioned in an earlier post; Perth doesn’t have a stormwater system.  Almost all rainwater goes directly into soak pits. The first step wast to dig a suitable sized hole and lay some broken brick pavers in the base which will spread the load of the containment box.


I’m using the last of the children’s plastic toy boxes as the containment box.  Our youngest son is 40 and the oldest grandchild is 27 so it’s unlikely we will be storing toys.  I cut a 90mm circular hole in the box for the PVC downpipe.


It goes into the hole with the open end facing down.


I’ve done dry connections on the PVC joints just in case I need to remove it at some future date.

The box was then covered in a surplus piece of black weed mat in an effort to prevent sand leaking into the box.


The concrete slab will go on to before the hole is backfilled.

Now who can remember this old one


Saturday, 21 March 2020

Self Isolation

We have gone into self isolation at home.  After two days together Jan has decided to knit me something to wear.



Friday, 20 March 2020

Another Completed and Aussie Humour

I’ve completed the two raised vegie boxes Jan requested, however they can’t be installed until after I construct the shade house.


It appears the next few months are going to be a challenge, particularly for us oldies.  We have already restricted our community interaction to essential activities and will endeavour to ride out the coming storm.  Jan has always kept a well stocked pantry and freezer so there should be no issues on the food front.   The toilet paper shortage won’t affect us.  I lived in Iran for a year and they don’t use toilet paper.  I won’t go into the details!  We can also adopt the ancient Roman method with a piece of sponge tied to a stick.

Apparently I was wrong erred with my information when I mentioned the queue at the opening of the new Perth Costco went once around the building.  It went twice!  The store manager was on the TV news the day prior to opening telling the public there was sufficient toilet paper for their 60,000 members as each would be limited to purchasing one 48 roll pack.  I’m not sure what happened, however they had reportedly sold out within 30 minutes of opening.

As each day passes the government loses more credibility.  I understand they are attempting to allay public anxiety but they do themselves a dis-service when they either reverse course or tell the public things that are not true.  An example is the toilet paper shortage.  The government told the public not to panic as Australia made its own toilet paper and the factory in Millicent, South Australia had moved to 24/7 production to meet the increased demand.  As someone who worked in transportation I know it’s a maximum five day journey from the factory to the shelves in Perth, yet the shortage has been going for two weeks.  The Agriculture Minister was on TV this morning telling the public not to panic buy food as Australia produced three times what it consumes domestically.  That might be true for much of the fresh produce but look at the labels on many of the other products and you will read “Made from Australian and imported ingredients”.  Finally, this is a vast country with a relatively small population where moving food and other essentials requires a strong transportation system.  I imagine that system is going to contract when those who operate it start to stop working are they become infected or go into quarantine.

On a more optimistic and humorous note I’m grateful to my good friend Trevor in Adelaide who happens to be a blog reader.  He sent me the You Tube link below  which; in my opinion; captures the humour of the genuine Aussie!

I laughed so are tears were streaming down my face

For any of our canal boating readers who are planning to ride out the pandemic on their boat.  Please watch out for this scrounger.


And for those not fully aware of the separation rules

thinking of you 

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Life’s Essentials

It’s times like this that give you cause to reflect on life’s essentials.  Oxygen, water, salt and toilet paper!  It’s the opening day for the first Costco supermarket here in the west of the continent and an hour before opening time the queue already stretches around the building.  Of course they have all arrived to purchase one of life’s essentials.  No; not the bottled water or salt!

This morning I became somewhat nostalgic about the good old days before COVID-19.  Back when all we had to contend with was a parched landscape or raging bush fires.

The owners of a supermarket at one of our smaller regional communities have resolved panic buying problem.  Any item purchased in a category (eg, toilet paper, soap, pasta, etc) will be charged at the normal retail price.  All second and subsequent items will be charged at $100 each.  No one is panic buying in that community.  Perhaps the government should adopt the policy nation-wide?

Meanwhile, I’ve been pottering around in the shed making Jan’s vegetable garden stands from bits of scrap wood.  The first has been completed and is awaiting painting.  That won’t happen until I’ve finished the second stand.


Sunday, 15 March 2020

Shade House

The galvanised stirrups for the shade house posts have been concreted into the excavations and I’m now waiting on a suitable time to purchase the timber for the framing and the shade cloth.

The area in the front left corner of the house currently looks like this


It’s a piece of wasted space but will make a good area for Jan’s vegie patch once it’s enclosed with shade cloth.   The plan is to enclose the two open sides and the top thus allowing some sunlight to enter whilst restricting the heat build up.

It’s will eventually look something like this


I’ve also discovered the metal garden beds Jan purchased from eBay are too wide and won’t fit in the shade house.  Consequentially I’ve had to disassemble them and cut 30mm out of the ends with the jigsaw.


Job half completed.

Meanwhile, it has been reported on local media here in Perth that a person suffering from the coronavirus in Manchester has been cured.  Do any of our UK readers know how many rolls of toilet paper this took? Smile

We haven’t been panic purchasing and have instead introduced our own measures.


I asked the question in the last blog post about the duration of the current pandemic suggesting it might last until July.  Today one government official stated on TV that it would likely last six months.

A week ago our political leaders were criticising those who were “panic” buying essentials stating there was no need to do this.  A week is a long time in politics and by last Friday our State Premier had done a 180 telling the public to stock up.  It’s little wonder the public doesn’t trust their political leaders.  There’s little point in now attempting to “stock up” as the shelves are empty of essentials.  Don’t ask me why toilet paper is essential.  The ancient Romans managed with a piece of sponge on a stick.

I also mentioned the UK strategy in the last post.  Yesterday the Australian PM advised the nation of their new strategy and it looks very similar to the UK’s.  It appears Boris got it right!  The Australian politicians have finally agreed the impact of the crisis needs to be reduced and spread over a longer timeframe which will (hopefully) enable the public health system to cope. 

There will be some advantages for those continuously cruising on a narrowboat.  Although it might be difficult to store all those boxes of toilet paper! Smile

Friday, 13 March 2020


Because of the spread of the Coronavirus, Australian supermarkets are now placing long term limits on the amount of essentials one person can purchase.

  • Coles: 2 packs of pasta, 1 pack of toilet paper (max 24 rolls), 2 units of hands sanitizer.
  • Woolworths: 2 packs of pasta, 2 packs of toilet paper (max 24 rolls), 1 unit of hand sanitizer.
  • Aldi: 2 trumpets, 1 diving suit, 1 mig welder, 2 plastic meerkats.

On a slightly more serious note apparently the Coronavirus was first identified in China during Oct/Nov last year and has only reach its peak in the last few days.  Does that mean the ‘peak’ for the rest of the world will occur in July?

This morning we wandered through the local supermarket on our way to the chemist where we wanted to renew our monthly prescriptions.  The shelves for toilet paper, paper towels, pasta and hand sanitiser we all empty.  This is the same situation as our shopping trip last Monday.  Domestic transport within Australia is usually a maximum of 3-4 days, which suggests the current shortage isn’t going to be resolved quickly. 

It appears countries political leaders are falling into one of two camps with their strategy for dealing with the crisis.  Many are closing down borders, cancelling major events, etc.  Then there is the British government who aren’t implementing these measure stating they don’t want to panic the population and will delay measure until closer to the peak whether they believe they will be more effective.  It will be interesting to see which strategy is the more effective.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Water Compaction

The sewer pipe extension for the 2nd toilet was completed yesterday which then allowed me to backfill and compact the sand.


The new sewer is the lower of the three white pvc pipes in the above photo.  The higher of the three is the drain from the shower and hand basin.  I’ve decided not to replace the existing pavers with a concrete slab.  Knowing my luck we would get a blocked sewer and I’d have to then break up the concrete.  Removing brick pavers is a far easier task.

The pipe in the bathroom looks like this


It’s been position 450mm from the exterior wall.  This should provide sufficient space for the toilet but also provide some additional space in the bathroom.  Jan will probably find some use for the free area.

I filled the sand in layers using the garden hose to water each layer of dry sand thus compacting it.


The bathroom



The surplus dry sand has been piled on top of the compacted sand to both add some weight and clear the driveway.  Eventually the surplus sand will go into the elevated vegetable garden Jan wants built.  I also fitted a drain (red arrow for Pip) which will be connected to the air conditioning unit drain above.  That will eliminate the water dripping onto the pavers.

I’ll now leave this for a fortnight allowing the sand to settle.  Then it will be a case of pouring a new concrete slab to repair the bathroom floor.

Meanwhile I’ve continued with the shelter beside the garage.  The four galvanised steel stirrups have been concreted into the ground.


I’ll have to leave this job for a couple of weeks to allow the concrete to cure.  Although this won’t stop me relaying the pavers in the area.  Obviously I will also have more surplus sand for Jan’s vegetable garden.

No rest for the wicked Smile