Saturday, 30 March 2019

Elected Representatives

I do feel a great sense of sadness for our UK readers who are currently so poorly served by their elected representatives. I'm also concerned that as a consequence many voters will turn to more radical parties.

Of course the UK isn't alone in this respect. The USA has a leader with 'alternative facts' whilst countries like Italy, Poland and Hungary have similar issues.

In Australia we have the 'One Nation' party founded and led by Pauline Hanson. She espouses simple solutions to complex issues. This resonates with a percentage of the population who eagerly seize on her comments to pacify their fears. Pauline left school aged 15 shortly before her first marriage and pregnancy. She has been married three times and had a further five domestic partners. Before entering politics she owned a fish and chip shop in Queensland.

Australia has an interesting political structure with elected upper and lower houses. Constituencies in the lower house are created based on the number of voters in an area. This means States with larger populations have more MP's in the lower house. To counter this, the upper house (Senate) has six representatives from each State.

Australia has a proportional voting system. Voters cast their vote for all candidates based on the number of candidates in their electorate (lower house) or State (Senate). Essentials the voter ranks the candidates from 1 to whatever.  If the candidate you voted first doesn't get sufficient votes then your vote goes to your second candidate. This process repeats itself. One quirk with this system is candidate 1 might get 30% of the primary vote and candidate 2 gets 20%. However candidate 2 might ultimately get elected because they received more preference votes than candidate 1.

At the last federal election The One Nation party received sufficient preference votes to have two Queensland candidates elected to the Senate. Pauline Hanson took one of the seats and her deputy the other. However after being sworn into office he was subsequently disqualified because he had dual citizenship. Under the currently electoral laws this meant the 3rd candidate on the One Nation ticket was given the seat. The 3rd candidate was Frazer Anning. He repudiated his membership of One Nation on his first day in the Senate immediately after being sworn in. He then opting to sit in the Senate as an independent.

Frazer Anning holds far-right, and anti-immigration views and has faced criticism for some of his remarks on Islam, including his use of the term "final solution" in his maiden speech and statements shortly after the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, which blamed them on "the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate". Whilst his seat is in Queensland he regularly travels to Victoria at tax payer expense to speak at far right rallies.

Now here is the ludicrous point.

Frazer Anning received a total of 19 votes in the general election. Yes... 19 votes from 3,342,848 eligible Queensland voters. According to the Australian electoral Commission he received 00.0% of the vote. Moreover, Australian law prevents him from being removed from office. 

For those who believe the "first past the post" electoral system is unfair don't think that proportional representation will necessarily make this better!

I think I’ve also worked out what is happening in the House of Commons.  650 MP’s are in a locked large round room frantically looking for the key to the locked exit door.  Nearly all of them believe the key is in one of the corners of the room.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Chasing your tail

Why does one job always lead to another?

The new power socket in the bedroom has now been installed.  The bedroom is going to be repainted in the near future so I took the opportunity to repaint around the socket with the new colour Jan has chosen.

Next all the repair painting was done in the lounge.  The channel in the wall is now invisible.

A piece of scrap plasterboard was cut to size for the ceiling hole created by the removal of the air conditioning duct.  I used four smaller off cuts as bracing inside the roof.  The patch was then glued to these and held in place with some temporary timber bracing.

The glue will be set by tomorrow morning enabling me to remove the bracing and start plastering the joins.

Jan cleaned all the walls and floor of plaster dust and we were about to start moving the recliner chairs back against the wall when we felt something was wrong with the first chair.  I rolled it over discovering the four flimsy plastic pads on the base had broken off leaving the weight of the chair to rest on the head of the bolt.  If we had left the chair like this there would have been some serious damage to the new timber floor.  

Both of us looked online for a solution without any success.  OK, another job!  I've made four new feet from an old scrap of 4x2 timber.  The first step was to cut four round disks using the circular hole saw.  Then I rebated one side of each disk so the head of the securing bolt would be countersunk.  The expensive part were the bolts and washers ($8).  Of course they were an odd size (7mm) because the chair was manufactured in China (what isn't these days?).  A washer on the base and under the head of the bolt to spread the load and prevent the timber from being crushed.

A pad made from the bedroom carpet was then glued to each foot.  Yes, we are going to replace the bedroom carpet!

Once the carpet glue has set I'll cut off the surplus with the razor knife.   Once we've confirmed the method is successful I'll do the second chair.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Steady Progress

The channel in the wall for the new power point was given a second layer of plaster this morning.

It was set by later afternoon which enabled me to sand it back in preparation for a final coat of plaster tomorrow morning (I hope).

Jan then mentioned the old evaporative air conditioning control box beside the front door.  That got removed and the area prepared for plastering tomorrow.

The big job for the day was to remove the master bedroom built-in wardrobe.  I tried to remove everything carefully.  both to minimize the amount of repair work and to recycle the timber.

So more plastering tomorrow.  Then it will be the job I hate.... painting!   Once that is completed we'll start on the new wardrobe.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Its been a week

Yes a week since the last blog post.  To be honest, not much has happened here.  Each morning I read the narrowboat blogs we follow and reminisce about our life on Waiouru.  Then I give myself a jolt of reality by reminding myself about all those hours I spend on board researching everything else I planned to do when we move on to the next phase of my life.  The mind seems quite capable of remembering the good times whilst conveniently forgetting those other times.

Our alterations to the house have become very fluid.  Initially we were going to extend the front of the house to make a new master bedroom with en-suite.  That started to look quite expensive which led us to consider extending the existing master bedroom by constructing an en-suite at the front of the house.  Then we reverted back to Plan A only to discover the spear for the bore was in the middle of our proposed bedroom.  Several thousand dollars would be required to relocate it.  Finally we had a good discussion about our essential and desirable criteria.  The essential thing proved to be a second lavatory.  Consequentially we have decided to minimize our expenditure by removing the existing bath and replace it with a second toilet.

Neither of use have had a bath in 30 years (well we are smelly ex boaters).....<Ok Ok>  We shower rather than bathe!  That got us thinking about the existing shower.  If we removed all the existing ceramic tiles in the cubicle it would be possible to line the shower with coloured glass using the same method employed in the kitchen.  That would mean there was no grout making it easier to clean the shower.

Of course all of this planning meant we needed to re-think the layout of the existing master bedroom.  We've decided to rip out the existing wardrobe replacing it with something new.  The swinging wardrobe timber doors will be replaced with sliding door.  We also need a new power socket and TV antenna connection.

There is an existing power socket in the lounge room which I could connect to a new power socket in the bedroom.  I needed to cut an 800mm long channel in the brick wall and then drill a hole through the wall to the bedroom.  There's probably a proper tool for cutting through brickwork but I used the angle grinder and a cold chisel.

I marked out the size of the 'chocolate box' on the bedroom wall and then drilled a series of holes around the perimeter before using the cold chisel and hammer to make a suitable sized cavity.

A piece of surplus pvc pipe was cut to length as a conduit for the power cable

Whilst the 'chocolate box was fitted to the opposite side of the wall

Then the process of plastering the channels and holes could commence.  I'm going to have to repeat this process several times before sanding the wall flush and repainting it.

Meanwhile the next stage is begging to be done.  The old ducted evaporative air conditioning system is going to be removed.  The first outlet to be removed is the one in the master bedroom.  I've selected this one because it's removal will allow me to see how easy (or hard) it will be to drop the TV antenna cable down the wall adjacent to the outlet vent.  The vent will be plastered over.

I've also been busy in the front garden.  The Pepper Gum Tree was removed last year and I was in the process of levelling the site when I discovered a maze of pvc reticulation pipes.  The bore spear is at B directly in front of the lounge windows.  It was probably located here because the Pepper Gum Tree prevented the installer locating it closer to the fence.

There is a pipe junction box at C which was also buried.  You can also see some exposed pvc reticulation pipes at A.  When I levelled the land the reticulation pipes (three of them) were exposed between C and A.  I had to modify all the pipework to bury them.  The surplus soil was barrowed to the top front lawn and spread out filling in the bumps and hollows.  Jan is thinking of planting two of her citrus trees on the newly levelled patch.  A third tree may go in the middle of the grassed area in the above photo.

I haven't forgotten the problem of Open Live Writer and photos.  There doesn't appear to be a solution at this time.

One final comment.   The electrical inspector arrived yesterday to check on the recently installed earth spike.  He was originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, emigrating to Perth many years ago.  Despite this, he had a very thick accent.  So thick I could scarcely understand him.  I almost laughed when he told Jan he'd lost his accent.  He went on to tell Jan he'd phoned his father back in Aberdeen the previous week to wish him a happy birthday.  Apparently his father didn't recognise his voice and asked "Who is this?"  When Ken (the inspector) told him it was his son, his father replied "Why are you speaking so posh?"

Monday, 18 March 2019

Last of the sewer pipe

What to do with the two metres of sewer pipe left over from the shed dust extraction ducting system?
Back to Bunning hardware where, as their most valued customer, I am now on first name basis with the manager and have been invited to his daughter’s wedding! Smile
I bought two 100mm threaded coupler fittings and end caps.  Using some of the 1.5mm braided stainless steel wire purchased for the outback trip last year I made a steel cord connecting the caps to the couplings.

The couplings and caps were then glued to either end of my 2 metre length of pipe.

So what am I using the pipe for?

It’s my fishing rod holder!  The pipe will be attached to the trailer roof rack.  I wired the caps to the couplings to ensure they don’t get lost.

The Australian Salmon have started their annual migration north and I’m going fishing with Perth blog reader and friend, Ken.  I have to confess to being not much of a fisherman.  Either the fish are dumb enough to commit suicide or I only catch a cold.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

A wasted trip

New Zealand has joined the list of countries to experience an act of terrorism.  A despicable coward has killed 49 people in a place of worship. 

I don’t propose to write too much more except to say this person obviously craves attention for his vile actions.  Therefore I’d like to see the NZ authorities hold his trial in camera and also ban any media coverage.  He should be charged and sentenced individually for each murder with the sentences to be served consecutively.   With time off for good behaviour he would be eligible for release in 343 years.  By then he should be long forgotten. 
Jan has been searching for an orchard where we might pick stone fruit.  She thought there was a suitable property in Pickering Brook, which is up in the hills east of Perth.  We drove the 25km to the address only to find there was no orchard.  Returning on a different road we noticed another orchard advertising stone fruit.

The employees were busy packing fruit which gave Jan an opportunity to gentle squeeze some of the plums for sale.  Readers you may have noticed the difference here.  Jan squeezes fruit…. whilst I prefer to squeeze Jan!

Jan recoiled in horror.  Not from my squeeze, but rather the very soft consistency of the fruit.  We quietly slipped away without being noticed by the staff. 

Further down the road was a second “growers shop” where we again checked the fruit.  Jan commented “This fruit is more expensive than the local green grocer’s”.  We left the hills without making any purchases.

However I did stop at the lookout to take some photos of Perth.

I then suggested to Jan we return home via the Swan Valley remembering she had previously mentioned there were a couple of outlets she would like to visit.

The first was the House of Honey

Jan loves her honey.  But it has to be creamed.  She’s even more careful these days after ready much of the honey has been diluted with a Chinese made syrup.  So no honey purchased!
Next stop was

Through the main doors was a large display of various chocolates

I was rather taken by the sports stadium made of chocolate.

All those colourful little people made of soft jellybeans.  

Again nothing purchased.  I’m starting to think it might be necessary to buy Jan a new pair of trousers.  A pair where the pockets aren’t as deep. :-)

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Don’t forget to duct

OK, a slight play on words.  A trip to the south of Perth this morning to visit Timbecon.  It’s MY type of store with lots of lovely products to drool over.  The plan was to buy the blast gates for the workshop dust extraction ducting system but while I was there I checked out loads of other interesting items.  I’m sure Jan was astute enough to ensure there was very little cash on the card!

Today I fitted the bulk of the dust extraction ducting.  Most of it is made from 100mm pvc sewer pipe.  Only the blast gates and pipe reducers have been purchased.  The former are a simple push/pull valve.



They fit snuggly inside the 100mm pvc pipe.  My long bench wall now looks like this

From the right.  The black end cap on the pipe provides access should there be a blockage.  The first ‘Y’ junction goes down to the mitre saw shroud.  the next ‘Y’ goes up to the apex of the ceiling (yet to be completed).  The third ‘Y’ has a 4” to 1½ inch reducer.  A flexible hose will fit onto this.  The hose will be able to be connected to portable power tools (eg, sander) or used to clean the bench.  Each ‘Y’ has a blast gate.  Everything is dry fitted (no glue) just in case it has to be pulled apart.There’s only one ‘Y’ on the back wall.  This will go down to a floor hood enabling me to sweep shavings on the floor to the hood where it will be sucked into the extraction system.

I’ve experimented with the extractor pipe inside the mitre saw shroud.

A series of 6mm holes has been drilled around the top of the pipe.  I’m hoping they will catch most of the airborne sawdust.  The base of the pipe is also open.  The pipe can’t go to all the way down to the bench top inside the shroud as it would foul on the back of the saw.  Hopefully there will be sufficient suction to catch all the sawdust.  If it’s not effective more modifications will be required.

Next step is to complete the ceiling ducting and purchase the dust extractor.  It will have to be temporarily installed inside the workshop whilst I design the cabinet that will go outside.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Slow Progress

Well autumn may have arrived and we have been receiving some welcome light autumn showers but the temperature is still sufficiently high for me to only want to do 30 minutes of outdoor labour.  I’ve been digging up the water reticulation pipes in the front garden where the pepper gum tree used to be before I felled and removed it.  The problem is tree roots, which I’m trying to remove.  Along the way I’ve managed to put the shovel through one pipe <grrrr>.

When I’d had enough of digging I went back into the air-conditioned house to check on the faulty media server pc.  I have replaced the faulty solid state drive which had the operating system on it.  However the computer then decided to randomly connect the four hard drives.  The problem was making me very frustrated, but eventually I managed to get the BIOS to recognise all the drives (don’t know how or why).  Yesterday the pc ran all day rebuilding a blank RAID drive (this combines all four drives into one large drive with built in redundancy).  This morning it was finished, only for it to then disappear.  I’m back to doing it all again!

On a more positive note I was able to install the shed earth spike.  Things have obviously changed in the last 50 years.  As a young apprentice the earth spike I installed were four foot lengths of 1½ inch galvanized water pipe.  Today they are a copper coated steel rod.


There was something hard in the ground where I wanted to install it.  I thought it might be an old brick.  However after some light digging I discovered it was the 100mm PVC pipe I’d installed for the floor outlet of my future dust extraction system.  You would have thought I’d have remembered that <it’s an age thing>.

All done!  I just need to apply some Sikaflex around the grey PVC pipe to prevent the steel cladding sheet from rusting.

The 100mm PVC sewer pipe and fittings for the sawdust duct have been delivered.  I laid out the fitting on the bench to confirm how everything would be assembled.

Obviously I haven’t placed the lengths of pipe in between the fittings.  The duct will be dry fitted (no glue) so I can disassemble it should there be a blockage.

It is possible to buy clips to hold the pipe to the wall but I decided to make some from scrap plywood.  Why spend money unnecessarily!

The system won’t be installed until I have the ‘blast gates’.  They could be diy made using plywood and PVC pipe, but the commercial version is currently available at a March discounted price.

We really must make an effort to get out of the house and do something interesting!

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Another hot, dry day!

It might be autumn but there’s no sign of the weather changing.  Actually…..

It's so dry

  • The trees are chasing the dogs around
  • Cows are giving powdered milk
  • We have a fish that is 12 months old that hasn't learnt to swim yet.
  • To save water, they have closed down three lanes of the local swimming pool.
  • The government has introduced a water pistol buy-back scheme.
  • There is so little feed even the kangaroos are having to take a cut lunch.
  • Our neighbour John fainted when we had 7 drops of rain last week, and it took 3 buckets of sand to bring him around!

There have been no comments about blank boxes instead of photos on the last few posts.  Therefore I’ve assumed my latest OLW method of inserting them into posts has worked?  Google are “turning off” the last of the old functionality on 15 March so I’m not going to do much more until after that date.

Meanwhile the media server computer has failed.  It took an hour for me to work out the problem was with the 120GB solid state drive (SSD) that contains the operating system.  During that process I also read it’s not a good idea to have a “swap” area on a SSD.  Apparently the constant ready and writing to the “swap” area causes premature failure.  I don’t want to move the operating system to the storage hard drives so I went out and purchased a $33 replacement.  The next step has been to clone the content of the old SSD to the new one.  That is happening as I write this post.

Monday, 4 March 2019


We’re four days into autumn although you wouldn’t know it as the temperature has gone back up.  It was 39C here today which made working in the shed rather difficult.  The sweat kept dripping off my forehead and onto the lens of my glasses.

If you’ve been studying the plan I made for the mitre saw stand you may recall I had it recessed into the bench.  Well after further thought I decided against that.  There were two major issues.  The first was it would be almost impossible to cut a right angle end on a bowed length of timber.  The second was the bench would become '”purpose built” limiting my options.  The size of the shed means I’m not going to have the planned bench space so I need to utilize what I have. 

The mitre saw produces large quantities of airborne sawdust so over the last few days I’ve been making a shroud for it from scrap timber.

There are horizontally sliding covers either side of the blade which will allow me to adjust the opening when I need to make angle cuts.  The wall power socket is inside the shroud so the cable won’t be exposed as shown in the above photo.

Now that the mitre saw won’t have a bench stand I’ve made to moveable stands from scrap particle board.  They can be placed anywhere along the front of the bench and temporarily clamped in place.


You can see them to the left of the saw in the above photo.

I’ve also produced a list of all the 100mm sewer pipe fittings I’ll require for the dust extraction system.  Hopefully I’ll make a start on that tomorrow.

However it’s getting close to fishing season so my priority should be on completing the camper trailer.

Meanwhile Jan has been cleaning in the front room.  It will become our temporary bedroom whilst I install the en-suite in the master bedroom.