Wednesday, 25 November 2020

The body is saying something different!

Yesterday evening I sneakily co-opted Jan into helping me install one of the new pool fencing panels.  This leaves one final panel to complete the task.  However that won’t be done until the pool pavers are delivered.  The missing panel will make access to the pool area easier!


Newly installed middle panel with the last panel temporarily secured to the right

Jan woke me from a very pleasant dream early this morning to inform me “The pavers are being delivered!”  In my befuddled state I was cursing (under my breath) as delivery was supposed to be tomorrow.  Well actually delivery was today, but my brain was still in yesterday!  We have two large pallets of limestone pavers on our front lawn that need to be moved to the backyard.  The weather forecast was for another hot day!!!

I started moving the pavers using the wheelbarrow and quickly discovered that whilst my brain was telling me “You can do this” The body was saying something entirely different!  Age is catching up with me very fast.  I had to settle for multiple trips moving only six pavers in each barrow load.  As it was I had to stop quarter of the way through the task and take a break to recover.  After lunch I moved the remaining pavers from the first pallet.


Stacked out the back.  Yes, I broke one Sad smile

The second pallet is still out the front after my body won the battle with the brain.


Please let it be cooler tomorrow and with some luck my body won’t be too stiff to complete the task.

The pallets need to be returned asap as there is a $40 refund to be had.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020


After all the recent cold weather and rain yesterday was a scorcher.  Unfortunately I had a few outdoor tasks which needed to be undertaken.  My brother-in-law had kindly loaned me his 6x4 trailer for the day and I headed off early with it to the Limestone Building Block Company in Wangara where I purchased 15 reconstituted limestone blocks which I intend to use of a low retaining wall beside the driveway.  The block wall will replace the existing retaining wall made from old timber railway sleepers which have mostly rotted away.

Whilst I had the trailer I also visited OxWorks in Wangara where I collected the additional length of fencing panel and a couple of aluminium fence posts.  These are required to complete the pool fencing.  finally, I took the trailer to the nearest hardware store where I purchased seven length of pvc pipe which will be used to reinstate the rear lawn water reticulation system.

Once everything was unloaded I decided being retired allowed me to finish for the day and disappear inside the house where Jan had the air conditioning units running.  Plenty of sunlight means plenty of solar generated electricity so the air conditioning was free.

The temperature today wasn’t much of an improvement on yesterday which meant I confined myself to early work only.  The last of the temporary fencing was removed from the pool surrounds before I strung a couple of string lines and dug a hole for the final fence post.  Once the post was plumbed I backfilled the hole with dry rapid hardening concrete before checking the final alignment and then pouring a bucket of water on top.


An hour later the concrete had set enough for me to remove the string lines.  It’s now too darned hot to fit the panels.  Well it’s probably not too hot; but I’m retired so it can wait until tomorrow.  Jan just needs to keep Molly inside to prevent her (Molly) from going for a swim Smile

The pool limestone pavers are being delivered tomorrow afternoon.  No doubt the delivery truck will leave the pallets on the front lawn which means I’ll have to make multiple trips with the wheelbarrow to stack them around the back beside the pool.  A cool day would be nice!

I assume you have seen people not wearing face masks, wearing them incorrectly, wearing an ineffective mask.  This might explain the strategy behind facemasks.


It’s now 227 days since the last case of COVID community transmission here in West Australia.  The state border is about to be opened to NSW and Victoria with 17,000 people applying to enter West Australia from these two states.  Travellers are being told they will need to self isolated for 14 days in an appropriate location upon arrival.  Politicians must be living in fairyland if they think all 17,000 will do this.  Moreover, if they stay with relatives/friends, etc are those people going to self isolate?  I suspect not!  The current State government has a 90% approval rating for their handling of the pandemic.  That could evaporate overnight if community transmission occurs.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020


I made an attempt at a photo last night


Jan doesn’t like the blue light and wants it changed to magenta.

On a more positive note we found some non essential pavers to replace those cracked by the Bobcat.  The rear patio is now fully repaired.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Boom! and the ruts….

The pool company had informed us that for and extra $500 we could have ’protective panels’ laid on the lawn and pavers which would minimise damage from the bobcat during the pool excavation.  I decide the $500 was better in our pocket and declined the “extra”.

The Bobcat did create some deep ruts in the lawn and the pavers near the back door.  Obviously this would need to be repaired.  However I was in no hurry as I wanted to be satisfied no further heavy vehicles would be required as part of the pool installation.

Yesterday I removed the pavers from the damaged area and roughly levelled out the sand.


This morning I screeded the area with a length of 4x2 and re-laid most of the pavers.


Any cracked pavers removed yesterday are not going to be re-laid.  I’ll need to think of an alternative… Perhaps a concrete bond beam between the pavers and lawn.

Whilst repairing the lawn I came upon the buried concrete foundations of two former clothes lines.  The steel pipe had been cut off at ground level and then covered over.  I’ve now removed a total of three old clothes line foundations.


I’ve been slowly disposing of them by placing one each week in the ‘wheelie bin’  I’ve been placing turf and grass clippings below and on top of the foundation in an effort to dull the sound when the bin is emptied.  This is only moderately effective  as there is still a loud “BOOM” as the bin is emptied.

Last night I experimented with the pool timer and light settings.  The colour of the light was changed to Magenta and scheduled for 7.00 – 8.00pm.  Jan told me the effect looked quite good which means I’ll have to attempt a photo.

Meanwhile Western Australia has go back into COVID lockdown after an outbreak in neighbouring South Australia.  The border was only open 24 hours before the outbreak was identified.  The source was a cleaner who worked in one of the Adelaide quarantine hotels where overseas arrivals spend their 14 days of mandatory quarantine.  Someone in that hotel has failed to maintain the required level of protection.  The one infected person has resulted in a further 20 being identified within two days.  Thousands in Adelaide are now queuing to to tested whilst the contact tracers race to identify everyone who has come into contact with anyone who has been affected. 

The Prime Minister has spoken about the 26,000 overseas Australian citizens and residents who have been clambering to return.  The original plan was to have all of them returned by Christmas with the number of quarantine facilities increased accordingly.  However the 26,000 has now increased to 36,000, as more attempt to bolt for “safe Australia”.  One returnee, already in Adelaide quarantine, was interviewed by the local media and; during the interview; mentioned she had been living in Italy for 25 years before deciding to return.  One assumes she has dual nationality and a home in Italy.  I also doubt she is an Australian tax payer!

Thursday, 12 November 2020

The Pool

Dave from Freedom Pools visited yesterday morning and completed the swimming pool installation.  Despite me informing Jan that it was her pool and therefore her responsibility to do the cleaning that is apparently not the case.  All outside maintenance is mine!

I have to admit the pool looks good now it has been cleaned.


It will look even better when the paving is completed.  I might be tempted to take a dip on a very hot day…. Well I am the one doing the cleaning.  Which according to Dave must be completed weekly!

I had my suspicions I’d be the one doing the cleaning and water quality control which is one reason why we have gone for a system that is as automatic as possible.  The motor, pump, filter, etc is around the back of the shed which happens to be a secluded location and the back wall of the workshop should direct any pump noise at the neighbours <hehehe>.  Actually the pump is very quiet!



A – Hydrochloric acid container.  The Controller automatically adds the acid to adjust the water pH balance.

B – Motor and pump with leaf catcher

C – Controller

D – Wifi box

E – Cartridge filter

F – UV water sanitiser

G – Chlorinator (splits the salt in the water into sodium and chlorine)

The system can be controlled and monitored remotely using the wifi to the home network.  There is going the be a need to build some type of lean to over all these components.

I was examining the screens on the controller display panel.


Everything is running automatically and the water is being chlorinated.  The system automatically starts at 8am and stops at 6pm.  I might move all that back by an hour to ensure the system runs off the electricity generated by our solar panels


pH balance is set to 7.4ppm and is actually 7.3.  The system has only been working for 22 hours so the required level should be reached shortly.  I’ll need to watch the acid level as we are probably going through a significant amount during the start-up.


Chlorine is also still low.  Currently 600 and set for 690


The pump has four speeds with 4 being the highest.  Obviously the higher the speed the more electricity required.

I have not dropped the cleaning robot into the pool.  Dave told me to clean the pool manually until the paving had been completed.  I’m now in the middle of reading the instructions for the testing kit.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

12V Oven

Up until recently I wouldn’t have believed a 12V DC oven would be effective.  Your average 240V domestic oven is probably rated at 1000-1500 Watts which means an equivalent 12V oven would be drawing 80 – 125 Amps.  Far too much for your average car battery and alternator.  So when I read the “Travel Buddy” 12V oven had a current rating of only 10 Amps I was rather sceptical. 

After more online research I was surprised to discover the 12V Travel Buddy oven is capable of cooking food and is very popular with 4x4 travellers.

travel buddy

The Travel Buddy is Australian designed and made in Bendigo, Victoria where a small company has been producing them for several years.

Unfortunately for this small company they have apparently become a victim of their own success.  It’s rumoured one of their retailers became frustrated with the inability of the Travel Buddy manufacturer to meet the demand.  He was losing customers and in frustration turned to China finding a manufacturer there.  The result was the “Road Chef”

road chef

Which has almost exactly the same specification and approximately the same price. 

You might remember me mentioning “KickAss” yesterday’s post and how they sourced and re-badged Chinese products.

KickAss also have a 12V oven


Doesn’t it look exactly like the Road Chef?  I suspect Australian Direct went to the Chinese manufacturer of the Road Chef and negotiated a re-badged version.  It’s also cheaper than both the Road Chef and the Travel Buddy.

I watched a You Tube “tear down” comparison of the Travel Buddy and the Road Chef.  The reviewer owned a Travel Buddy, but concluded the Chinese made Road Chef was a superior product.  His final comment was despite the Road Chef being superior, he would buy a Travel Buddy as he would be supporting an Australian manufacturer and buying his grandchildren a job.  Whilst I understand his sentiment, I also believe the Travel Buddy manufacturer should be examining competitors products to improve his own.

Monday, 9 November 2020

New Torch

During our recent wildflower road trip Ken showed me his new LED torch.  I was rather impressed with its design and functionality.

Ken informed me he had purchased the large and smaller versions of the torch from Australian Direct an Australian online seller trading under the marketing name “KickAss”.  I’d previously seen some of the KickAss products and realised they source most of them from China.  They purchase in quantity and have the Chinese manufacturer “re badge” the produce “KickAss”.

After returning from the wildflower trip I started searching Chinese internet suppliers to find the manufacturer.  Then I placed an order for the larger torch at a price significantly lower than advertised by Australian Direct.  There is a risk in purchasing directly from China as sometimes the purchased goods don’t arrive.  However today my torch arrived in the mail.


You can see the manufacturer brands to torch “Powerlite”  It has two powerful magnets at each end enabling the user to place it onto a steel surface.  The side of the camper trailer will be ideal.  It’s waterproof (IP68 rated).  There is a multi-function switch at the left end (under the blue cap).  The cap can be unscrewed and removed to reveal the USB power connections


It’s USB rechargable and can also act as a powerbank (7800mAh) to recharge phone, head torch etc)


The opposite end has an LED spotlight

The LED bar light has the following functions


  • Four levels of white light
  • Orange night light (doesn’t attract insects)
  • Flashing red & blue hazard lights

I’m very pleased with the purchase.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Blood and Gore!

 This morning several hours were spent cleaning the drone after it was attacked during my first test flight.

The flight controls had been set for “novice” as I didn’t want it to fly away and be lost.  Actually I confined myself to ‘up & down’, ‘left & right’ and rotating. 

This is the drone about to take off

There’s a problem attempting to fly using the local park.  The grass is quite long which means the drone has sunk down into it.  I have ordered a landing pad, but it has not yet been delivered.

Well I got quite adventuresome and took the drone to an altitude of 90 metre.  It will go to 120 metres in “novice” mode, but I’m not quite that adventurous! Smile

The drone makes a buzzing sound from the four propellers and at 90 metres I’m more hearing than seeing it in the bright sunlight.  Looking at the screen on the controller I could see black spots appearing in front of the drone camera.  That concerned me and I decided to bring it down to 3 metres.  The buzzing started to get louder as the drone got lower.  That’s when I realised it had been surrounded by a swarm of bees.  Either they were attracted to the drone noise or were attempting to see it off.  Well I wasn’t going near the drone whilst the bees were buzzing around, so I landed it some distance from me and turned off the motors.  After waited several minutes for the bees to depart I walked over to examine my new drone.  The body and rotor blades were splattered in blood and gore.  Obviously some of the bees had flown through the propellers and be chopped into pieces.  There’s nothing I’ve read that indicated drones can be attacked by bees so this has been a revelation.  I need to find another “bee free” location to practice my pilot skills.  But not before the landing pad is delivered.

One accessory has been delivered.  The storage case.

The case appears to be well constructed.

Below is a ‘rough cut’ first video with no soundtrack.  It’s about 3 minutes long and is High Definition 40Mbs.  Some of the footage is from the Xiaomi Action Camera mounted on a tripod.  Some from the drone camera and some from an android phone screen capture App I downloaded.  the latter shows what I see on the controller screen

File size approx 750MB

Friday, 6 November 2020

Fishing Reconnaissance

Our friend Ken suggested I check some of the beach fishing locations north of Perth and yesterday I took the Isuzu to Guilderton and Seabird which are some 90km north of Perth.


Guilderton has the more interesting history.  The local aborigines name for it was Gabbadah, an Aboriginal term meaning "mouthful of water".  This probably isn’t surprising as it’s located at to mouth of Moore River.  By 1905 it had become a recreational area for the local population.

In 1931 forty 17th century silver guilder coins were found in the sand dunes.  The coins were thought to be from the wreck of the Dutch ship, Vergulde Draeck (Gilt Dragon) that had foundered on a reef north of the river-mouth near Ledge Point in 1656. (Wikipedia). 

During WW2 the site was used by soldiers for rest and recreation.  In 1951 the settlement was named Guilderton after the guilders found in 1931.  In 1983 the State government built a brick lighthouse on the site where the guilders had been found.  It was the last lighthouse to be built in the state.

When I visited the mouth of the river had been silted up, which apparently not unusual.



The sea was murky with plenty of seaweed.  Not good fishing conditions!  I drove a further 10km north to look a Seabird.

Seabird used to be a fishing town, these days it’s mostly retirees.  Rising sea level has been causing erosion of the sea front and the beach road has already gone. 


Fishing conditions looked better, although I didn’t fancy my chances trying to catch something at midday.  My assessment proved correct!  However I did discover I had a problem with my berley mix.  It’s too dry and is quickly washed off the float.  I don’t suppose I should complain as I bought the berley and tuna oil back in 1993 when we last lived in Perth.

I’ve decided there will be no serious attempt to fly the new drone until I have the landing pad I ordered.  Perth is mostly built on sand and I want to avoid the propellers blowing or sucking sand into the motors. 

On a more successful note I poured the foundations for the swimming pool handrail yesterday using 60kg of rapid hardening concrete and 20kg of 40mpa concrete.  A total of 80kg.


Ready for the concrete

Today I struck the boxing and fitted the handrail.


Whilst it isn’t required; I’ve also run an earth wire from the handrail to the fence and then to the steel pergola frame.  This will ensure everything is earth bonded.  The pool company phoned to tell us the wifi controlled pump still hadn’t arrived and they were prepared to offer a bluetooth controlled pump in-lieu.  I declined their offer and we will wait for the wifi system.  I want to be able to monitor the pool from anywhere where there is internet access. 

The pool water was starting to go green so I threw in a litre of liquid chlorine.  The good news is the paver will lay the paving slabs Jan has selected at the end of the month.  When that is done we will hopefully be able to minimise the amount of sand being blown into the pool.

Monday, 2 November 2020

Another fish story

This tale is only being told because I’m rather confident none of our blog readers live nearby.

Whilst we were living on NB Waiouru Jan discovered an Aldi product we both came to enjoy.  It’s ALDI’s Salmon Wellington.


It was available year around in the UK but is only available in the months leading to Christmas here in Australia.  This morning we went to the local ALDI and bought five.  Actually I suggest to Jan she buy all of them, however she thought freezer space might be a problem.  Obviously we need to repack the freezer Smile

Last year I carefully read the reverse of the packaging and was bemused by the information which stated the product was produced in Poland from salmon caught in ‘Polish Atlantic waters’.  My geography may not be the best, but I’m reasonably confident Poland is nowhere near the Atlantic Ocean.  This year I’ve again read the back of the packaging.


This year the salmon has been sources from Norwegian fish farms where the fish are raised in large pens for up to 2½ years where they are fed a controlled diet.  Norway has some of the largest salmon farms in the world and also owns salmon farms in Scotland and Canada. What the diet of farmed salmon consists of depends upon the website you visit.  One article stated wild salmon get their pink coloured flesh from the krill and shrimp they eat.  Domestic salmon aren’t fed krill or shrimp and their flesh is grey.  It’s then coloured using synthetic astaxanthin.    The bottom line for me was most articles stated the final product was fit for human consumption.

Turning to my pilot training.  The FIMI drone came with a set of instruction on how to prepare the drone and use the flight controls.  However I did come upon three potential problems.  The first was I couldn’t get the controller to connect (wifi pair) to the drone.  The included instructions didn’t cover this point.  Eventually I discovered which buttons to push, including a small obscure button on the drone. 

Then I discovered the camera gimbal had to be calibrated.  Again this wasn’t in the instructions.  You Tube was most helpful.  Finally the compass needed to be calibrated.  You guessed it… Nothing in the included instructions!  However the drone is now ready to fly.  

Sunday, 1 November 2020


 Test post written in Blogger to see if a photo will appear in all my browsers (Firefox, Opera, Brave & Chrome).  Photo selected from my computer.

I've checked this test post and the photo will appear in all Browsers if the post is written directly in blogger rather than Open Live Writer.


If you write a post using OLW the photos will only consistently be displayed in the post if Chrome is used as the browser.  

If I write using OLW and use any of my other browsers (other than Chrome) to view the post photos are only displayed intermittently.

I'm more convinced than ever that google has done something to Blogger.


My friend Ken phoned me in the evening to ask if I’d like to join him and Alan for a fishing trip down south the next morning.  The primeval hunting instinct in me kicked in and I quickly agreed.  Then the planning instinct took over and I realised I’d need to be up at 5am to reach Ken by 6.30 and Alan by 7am. 

The excitement at the thought of catching something other than COVID-19 was enough to ensure I departed home on time.  We took Alan’s dual cab ute for the last leg of the journey as he knows the beach well and has his ‘secret’ fishing location several kilometres down the beach where he always catches fish.


It was a great day for fishing with a slight on-shore wind knocking down the waves with the cool breeze ensuring we didn’t overheat.  Alan had only cast his line three times when he lost his rig (float and hook).  Fortunately he had a spare.  Then Ken lost his rig and shortly after I lost mine.  With no replacement floats, Ken and I sat and watched Alan fish.  The tide was on the way out and Ken then noticed our “lost” floats had been washed up further down the beach.  We were back fishing!  After a couple of hours and no nibbles, Alan suggested we move and try the Dawesville Cut.  The ‘Cut’ was constructed in the early 1990’s and opens the Peel Inlet to the Indian Ocean.


Our luck didn’t improve here.  Perhaps because the three local dolphins were either eating all the fish or scaring them away.  No fish today…. A chinese take-away for dinner!  I did warn the other two I’m a Jonah when it comes to catching fish.

I continue to be confounded by the blogger photo issue.  Sometimes the photos are displayed and sometimes not!  However they are always displayed by Google Chrome.  I have cleaned the browser cache and it’s made no difference.  It’s a mystery!

The lead article on this morning’s international news was the UK government decision to go into lock-down.  In my opinion it is going to be an expensive failure.  It will definitely be expensive and it will fail because children and university students will be allowed to attend classes.  Children are “super spreaders”.  Statistically their health isn’t seriously affected when they are contagious and they can therefore be spreading the virus without showing symptoms.  University aged students generally think they are immortal and will heavily socialise.  All this mingling means the virus will continue to spread.  The UK government had better make sure they have those temporary Nightingale Hospitals fully resourced because I suspect the situation will get very bad.  I’d like to think I will be proven wrong but I’m of the opinion the UK government pandemic response has always been too little….  too late!  Our thoughts are with our UK based family, friends and blog readers.  Stay safe!

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Problems with photos

My guess is if you were using any of the browsers I mentioned in the last post apart from Chrome then you didn’t see them.

I’m now going to attempt to insert a photo into OLW from our Google Photos Album

Didn’t work

It appears Google will not allow photos stored in Google Photos to be embedded into OLW.  Nor will it allow photos that have been inserted into OLW to be published in Blogger.

Here we go again!

Back to not seeing photos on the blog.

Using Opera Browser.  No photos, just a small icon with the filename


Same with Brave Browser


Same with Firefox Browser


If I use TOR (The Onion Router) which uses Firefox I see the photos


And if I use Google Chrome Browser I see the photos


Google has done something which only allows Google products to display images in Google Blogger!!!!!!!

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Slow Post

Can I start by thanking my readers who sent a comment advising they could see the blog photos.  Yesterday I could only see them if I used Google Chrome, but today is a whole new day and i’m back to seeing them in my usual browser.  I don’t know what happened; but everything is now right.  Dave the ‘little thief’ hasn’t returned to steal more fruit!

The title of today’s blog post is “Slow Post” and it has nothing to do with the blog.  Back in March, when I was planning to do another outback trip, I ordered three metal whistles from China for the grand price of $6.  Then COVID came and the trip was deferred until 2021.  The whistles never arrived.  Well actually they did arrive…. Today!  Eight months after I ordered them.  One can only wonder what route they took?  Well I know they came by air via Singapore and can only assume Australia Post “lost” the small package.  Why did I want the whistles?  When you’re geographically embarrassed out in the hot and dry desert you rapidly discover you quickly lose your voice calling out for help.  the sound of a whistle travels much further and uses significantly less energy. 

Today I sat at my desk and made three neck lanyards from some recycled paracord.


Then I played experimented with some of the coloured paracord making a key fob.  Jan has decided to use it for the key to the french doors.

In less than 50 days I’ll reach the big 70.  Never thought I’d make it this far.  The bucket list is still quite long and one of this items on it is learning to fly.  I’ve decided to do it before falling off my perch.  Every pilot probably starts their flying career on fixed wing aircraft but I’ve decided to take the rotary route.  I’ve flown in the back of a number of helicopters and it didn’t look that complicated.  Jan has even agreed to allow me to purchase my own.  Why leave the money for the kids!

There was a knock at the front door this morning and as Jan was stuck in her electric recliner chair I got the call to answer the door.  The courier had already departed but he had left an orange parcel.


Whatever the contents were they were well protected with foam wrapping.


To my surprise inside was my aircraft.


I’ll probably be boring you silly with my flight training experiences.