Friday, 26 February 2021

It’s Election Time–Again!

Our third election.,  This time it’s the State election where; like the Federal government; we have two houses.  The Legislative Assembly (lower house) and the Legislative Council (upper house.  The Legislative Council has six regions, each with six members.


The structure of the Legislative Council is heavily weighed in favour of rural voters.  The Perth metropolitan area contains 75% of the population but only has 50% of the seats.

Australia has a proportional voting system which does have a tendency to attract fringe elements.  For example, in our region there are 47 candidates for the six seats.  This is how they are listed as parties on the ballot paper

  • Independent
  • Legalise Cannabis Party
  • Health Australia Party
  • Shooters, Fishers & Farmers
  • Great Australian Party
  • Daylight Saving Party
  • WA Labor
  • Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
  • No Mandatory Vaccination
  • WAxit
  • Liberals for Climate
  • Animal Justice Party
  • Liberal Democrats
  • Australian Christians
  • Liberal Party
  • The Greens
  • Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/corruption

Voters have two options.  They can individually rank each candidate from 1 to 47 or make a single vote for a party.  Should that party receive insufficient votes they decide which other party will receive that vote.  Being a cantankerous old curmudgeon with time on my hands I decided to rank individual candidates from 1 to 47.  No doubt the staff in the tally room will curse me! Smile

This country is cursed with a history resulting in it being over governed. 

Meanwhile I’ve been (unsuccessfully) attempting to make soft shackles from some cordage purchased in Aldi.

It has an interesting inner core which has the thickness and consistency of paper tissues.  It breaks just as easily!  However I suspect it gives the rope some strength when retained inside the outer braid.


 I cut 1200mm off the end of the length of rope and managed to extract the core.  I then marked the 1200mm at the 400mm and 800mm points before taping one end to a ballpoint pen which I hoped would act as a surrogate Fid. 


Fid’s are expensive and I’m trying to avoid purchasing one.  My pen Fid didn’t work as the insulation tape stuck to the inside of the braid.

Next I tried using a length of 16 gauge steel wire.  That was better, but it still failed.


I really don’t want to buy a Fid.  Then I had an idea.  Use a knitting needle as a Fid.  Jan doesn’t have one large enough so I ordered a packet of 10mm needles for $8 from eBay.  I plan to cut one end off the needle in the hope it’s hollow.  Third time lucky?

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Jacques is rehoused!

Jacques moved into his new home yesterday.


Yes, I used the remainder of Jan’s eggshell blue paint (waste not want not!)

The lower shelf will store the cover for the pool reel, accessories and chemicals.

It’s going to be another hot day, which means I’ll need to find things to do inside where the A/C is already running.  Thank goodness for the solar array on the roof, otherwise our electricity bill would be astronomical.

Meanwhile, this morning we received an email from Australia Post advising a parcel sent by Yuan Fengying was going to be delivered.  Jan asked me “What are you expecting?” and I replied “Nothing from Yuan!”  Neither if us could recall ordering something from Yuan.

Postman Pat duly arrived in his electric quad bike delivering us a package that had been sent from Dunstable UK.  We both know where Dunstable is having partially wintered over one year at Marsworth on the Grand Union Canal.  Inside the package was the replacement nozzle Jan had ordered for the Dyson vacuum cleaner.  Dyson no longer support the vacuum cleaner.  Like us; it’s obsolete!  However Jan had found an alternative supplier online and his name wasn’t Yuan!  Never mind, the mystery has been solved, although we both commented the delivery from the UK had only taken a third of the time compared to the delivery from Sydney.


Monday, 22 February 2021

Hot Work

It was touching 40°C here and as a consequence the air conditioning units went on early.  However I (probably stupidly) went outside and removed the boxing from the last of the concrete kerbing before landscaping the area. 

Next I decided to do some preparatory work on the diff drop kit.  The kit didn’t come with all the required bolts so I took it to the wholesaler in order to ensure I purchased the right size.  That proved to be a problem.  12mm bolts were obviously too big but 10mm bolts also wouldn’t fit.  In the end I decided I could make the 10mm bolts fit by cleaning out the holes with a 10mm Tap.  My assumption was the holes had been made smaller when the kit was powder coated.

This is where the Tap & Die set from Aldi proved to be valuable.


There’s an art to using a Tap & die set which I was taught as a young apprentice electrician.  Back then we used steel conduit (tubing) to protect the cables and each end of the pipe had to be threaded once cut and bent to shape.  Two turns clockwise and then half a turn anti-clockwise to clear the swarf from the teeth.  Repeat the sequence.


Some swarf in the teeth of the Tap


and some around the holes


quite a bit had fallen down onto the bench top

Whilst I was in the shed I complete the first coat of paint on Jacques house.  By this time I was starting to melt.  Not helped by the sound of Jan doing lengths of the pool.  It’s times like this I wish I had larger hands and feet. Smile

Another hot day forecast for tomorrow (and the rest of the week).  I’ll have to find some inside jobs.


Friday, 19 February 2021

Google and Facebook

If you haven’t heard or read about it… The Australian government is proposing to introduce legislation that would compel social media companies like Google and Facebook to pay the original producers of news content when they (Google & Facebook) place it on their platform.  The news producers claim the big social media companies are generating advertising revenue from their (the news producers) content and they (news producers) receive nothing. 

The Australian government’s approach has been to tell Google and Facebook to reach a commercial agreement with the news providers or they (the government) would enact legislation setting an amount Google and Facebook would pay. 

Both Google and Facebook argued against the proposal but in the past few days Google has started reaching financial agreements with the news companies.  Facebook has taken an entirely different approached and yesterday blocked all Australian News outlets pages on their platform.  Along the way they also managed to block a number of government pages, charities, etc. 

This is my analogy

1.  I have a large and popular noticeboard.   I go to other people’s noticeboards and copy information from their board placing it on my own which makes my board even more popular and generates more revenue for me.  I don’t pay others for this information I take.  This is the Google model.

2.  I have a large and popular noticeboard.  I allow others to place notices on my board.  I don’t charge a fee for them placing their information on my board.  However their information assists me in generating more reveue.  This is the Facebook model.

I think Zuckerberg has a case!  Google takes information from news companies without paying.  However the news companies give the information to Facebook and Facebook doesn’t charge them.  If the news companies don’t like their information being on Facebook then they should unsubscribe their pages.

My point has just been confirmed by the ABC (Aust equivalent of BBC).  When you go to their news page <here> there is now a large banner across the bottom of the page which states.

Missing our news on Facebook?

Get the latest news and live notifications with the ABC News app – be alerted to must-watch news events, follow topics of interest, and save articles for later.

Whilst I was in the ‘man cave’ this morning a courier delivered a package address to Jan .  Jan realised it was for me.


It’s the en-suite enclosure I managed to buy at a very discounted price.


This one!

My initial thoughts are it should be mounted on the front of the trailer roof rack on a 180° swivel arm.  Next step is to come up with a method that will achieve this.

Meantime it’s back to working on Jacques Cousteau’s house.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Slow Progress

A cool 24°C today enabling me to make a start on the last of the concrete kerbing.  With the excavation completed I installed some boxing before hand mixing 2½ bags of concrete in the wheelbarrow.  That only enable me to complete slightly more than 50% of the kerbing which mean I’ll need to buy another three bags.


Concrete from the red arrow to the left.

I decided to install kerbing here because the grass was growing in the corrugations of the fencing where the mower couldn’t reach it.  Even the whipper-snipper (strimmer) had problems cutting the long grass in this area.

Looking around for more work I remembered the 4x4 engine oil catch can hadn’t been emptied for some time.  Rather than going to the effort of removing the oil catch can bowl I use a large syringe to remove the oily sludge via the small dip stick hole in the top.


Another 40ml of oil and water that now won’t go through the engine.

The last task of the day was some more work on Jacques home.  The upper and lower shelves are now installed and I made four small pads from Jarrah hardwood to go on the base.  These will keep the plywood off the ground and hopefully extend the life of Jacques house.


Upside down view

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

The camel came through

hotel quarantine

I believe, very shortly at least three of the staff are taking their expertise to the UK! Smile

I’m pleased to report after a journey of 21 days the dehydrated and three legged camel finally made it across the continent to Perth.  Jan took delivery of the parcel as I was in the workshop man cave making a home for Jacques Cousteau.


The diff drop kit doesn’t come with instructions and I suspect it has originated from the same factory as the cheap overseas versions selling on Ebay.  At least purchasing from an Australian supplier gives me 12 months consumer warranty.  Now I have another project to complete fitting it to the Isuzu 4x4.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Quarantine in Australia

Prior to the creation of Federation individual Australian States and territories were responsible for quarantine.  Upon Federation the States recognised the need for an unambiguous need for disease management based in a singular authority.  The States therefore transferred responsibility for their quarantine stations to the Federal government under the 1908 Quarantine Act.

This changed in the 1990’s when the federal government was seeking to reduce costs and develop a “shared arrangement” with the States.  The States were also keen to assume responsibility for quarantine in an effort to “claw back” some of their powers which had been seceded to the Federal Government.  The current situation is the Federal government is responsible for managing Australia’s international borders whilst the States are responsible for human quarantine.

The problems with a state based quarantine systems is they are financially inefficient with significant amount of duplication.  Moreover the last permanent and operational quarantine station closed in 1984.

Some of the more COVID affected States would now like the Federal government to be responsible for human quarantine whilst the Federal government is resisting.  One assume this is because it carries huge political risk and the funding was transferred back to the States in 1984.  Moreover the Federal government has decline all requests from the States to use Federal facilities as temporary quarantine stations.

If one looks at the history of quarantine stations you quickly realise they were; for obvious reasons; established in isolated locations (eg, Soames Island, NZ and Point Nepean, Melbourne).  Today’s COVID temporary quarantine facilities are located in the centre of major cities (ie, hotels); precisely where you DON’T want them.  Moreover some hotels have a mixture of people in quarantine and normal patrons separated by floors.  It’s hardly surprising that COVID is leaking into the general community.

The obvious solution is for the Federal government to accept responsibility for human quarantine and proportionally cut the fund to the States to fund it.  Then use some of the existing remote defence facilities to accommodate returnees.   locations that immediately spring to mind are:

  • RAAF Base Scherger near Weipa, Queensland.
  • RAAF Base Curtin near Derby, Western Australia.
  • RAAF Base Learmonth near Exmouth, Western Australia

All these bases have runways capable of accepting large wide-body aircraft.

To this list could be added the defence facility at Woomera previously used to temporarily accommodate detained illegal arrivals and the former Baxter Immigration Reception and Processing Centre located near Port Augusta in South Australia.

In summary;  many western governments have long discarded their human quarantine capability and COVID-19 has been a wake-up call.  No doubt the old cliché “Lessons have been learned” will be heard as the dust starts to settle.  Hotel quarantine may have been a quick and available solution, however as the virus mutates and becomes more virulent hotel quarantine located in major population centres isn’t the solution.

I note with interest that as I have been writing this the Victorian State Premier has announced he is looking at establishing a dedicated “cabin style” quarantine facility adjacent to a major airport.  It’s only taken a year!!!!


Monday, 15 February 2021

Another piece completed

The recent cool spell ended yesterday, which was fortunate for me as I was able to complete the concrete kerbing beside the new path, repair the lawn and tidy up the backyard.


Today the temperature has been 37°C and I’m avoiding going outside wherever possible.  I’ll start marking out the trailer pad when we get our next cool day.  The concrete squares from the old path are already stacked in anticipation.

Compulsory mask wearing ended at midnight on Saturday and life is once again back to normal.

I hadn’t realised there was a third option.  Did you known?

3rd option 

Friday, 12 February 2021

They’re not being honest

The top and bottom of the small case have been completed.  Obviously it will require a final sanding before varnishing. 


I’ve now realised it may be too thin for the hidden barrel hinges I’d intended to use.  However I have an alternative…… magnets!  I think I will have to make a second, slightly larger case.  Practice makes perfect!

The paving has been completed.


Jan and I spent an hour in the hot sun sweeping fine sand into the paver joints.  I now need to install the boxing down the side of the path and pour a concrete kerb.  The pool company came yesterday and installed the pool cover so that’s another job completed.

The original concrete pavers have been kept.  All the unbroken squares will be used to make a pad for the camper trailer.


I though the only outstanding job in the backyard was the kerbing along the boundary fence.  However Jan reminded me we agreed to replace the glass sliding rear door and window in the laundry with a timber wall and solid timber door.

Meanwhile the Isuzu diff drop kit still hasn’t arrived.  It was collected from the seller by the courier company on 28 Jan and took four days to travel the 90km to Sydney.  The courier company is now saying the consignment has been delayed due to the bushfires east of Perth.  There’s two thinks wrong with that excuse.  The bushfires never closed the main road between Sydney and Perth and they were extinguished several days ago.  They’re not being honest!  The poor blind and three legged camel doing the delivery is probably lost somewhere out in the desert dying of thirst.   I’ll give them another week before informing the seller I want a refund.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Can I Make a Case?

There I was lying in bed contemplating the meaning of life and what should I do next when I had a Eureka moment.  Why didn’t I make a small timber case from some of the scrap Jarrah timber surplus from the display cabinet.

This morning I clamped a short length of Jarrah to the worktop before placing a piece of white melamine sheet the same thickness either side.  Next I created a template (guides) around the length of Jarrah by nailing scrapes of Jarrah to give this effect.


The router was then used to hollow out the centre of the Jarrah.


The method proved satisfactory but I’m not happy with the finish.  I’m going to move the Jarrah to the right and try again.

Meanwhile it’s day six and no new COVID cases have been detected.  We still only have one case!  Mask wearing in public will continue for another eight days which means 14 days will have then elapsed since the security guard became infected.  The medical experts have now conceded the design of hotels mean the virus can escape from rooms.  Hardly surprising given they were never designed to be an isolation area.  However it must be acknowledged the hotel quarantine system has been very effective in limiting the spread of COVID into the community by returning overseas arrivals.

It’s a cool and overcast day with the odd drop of rain in the air.  Those fighting the bushfires will be greatly relieved.   A second fire occurred 12km north of the major one.  It’s highly unlikely a hot ember was blown 12km and authorities are treating the new fire as suspicious.  Unfortunately arsonists are a reality of life.  So too are looters ,with reports two evacuated houses have been robbed.  

A large hole has appeared in our front lawn.  The neighbour across the road walked over to Jan and asked her “What’s this for?” Jan informed her “Tom is sick of waiting for his order to arrive from China and has decided to dig a tunnel to collect it!” Smile  Yes, I have dug the hole.  My back reminded me of this when I woke.


 Jan has decided she wants the Frangipani tree moved from it’s existing location against the fence in the corner of the front lawn.


I’m trying to move the tree without killing it. 

Friday, 5 February 2021

Another Project Completed

Jan assisted me move her new blanket box into the spare bedroom this morning.


81 homes now lost to the bushfire.  The large bomber aircraft (2 x Boeing 737 and 1 x C130 Hercules) played a major role in saving many homes yesterday evening when they created retardant lines in front of the fire.  The wind has picked up and again changed direction.  Fortunately not in our direction.  The remains of the cyclone up north are gradually making their way south down the coast and should arrive this weekend.  Unfortunately it will mean more wind, but hopefully 100mm of needed rain.

Still only one COVID case (the security guard) which means restrictions will start to ease at 6pm on Friday after five days of lockdown.  Latest update is the ‘Stay at Home’ restriction is to be lifted but masks will remain mandatory when in public.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

The four horsemen of the apocalypse

One thing we miss about life in the UK is the speed of freight companies.  By comparison Australia has a third world system where deliveries are measured in weeks rather than hours.  An example of this would be my diff drop kit purchase.  The company is in Wyong on the NSW Central Coast.  The parcel was collected by the freight forwarder on 28 January and arrived in their Sydney depot on 1 February.  A distance of 98km or a 1½ drive and it has taken 4 days.  Heaven knows how long the dehydrated three legged camel will take to walk the 3944km from Sydney to Perth.

Three days of painting and five coats, Jan’s box is finally finished.  I’m sure I’ve previously mentioned how much I hate painting!


It looks a very pale eggshell blue.  Just the handles to fit and it can come inside.

With everyone talking about the virus, vaccines and inoculations Jan said to me “How do you inoculate your teenager against socialism?”  I tried to provide a reasoned answer which was apparently too complicated.  She explained “Have them clean the bathroom and toilet.  Pay them $10, then take $7 off them and give it to a sibling who didn’t help!” Smile

If you look at our current situation in West Australia it’s quite biblical.

The four horsemen of the apocalypse

The north has been hit by the first cyclone of the season bringing torrential flooding.  Fire is coming from the east.  We have plague in the city.  That just leaves famine.  Obviously some of the more informed citizens have recognised this as there has been another run on toilet paper!

It’s day 4 of lockdown with one day to go.  Only one case (the original) has been identified but there is still some water to go under the bridge before we can say we dodged the bullet. 

Further good news for us with the bushfire situation.  The wind has changed and is driving the fire in the opposite direction to us..  That’s not good news for people living there.  The fire front has doubled in size to 128km and remains uncontrolled and uncontained.  Latest count is 71 homes lost with three evacuation centres established.

I’d better go and put some handles on the new box.


Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on yesterday’s post.  The forecast wind change didn’t occur.  This morning we woke to a still day and blue sky.  As we went to bed last night it was reported 57 homes had been lost to the fire. 

It’s the third day of lock-down with two more left.  As of last night there hadn’t been a second detected case of COVID with the infected security guard’s three flatmates testing negative.  However it’s early days as the virus is probably still incubating.

I watched a “boof-head” Sky News commentator criticise the state premier for imposing a lock-down over one case.  He kept raising one finger and repeating “One case and two million people get locked down!”  How quickly he forgets Donald telling Americans “There are only 15 cases and soon there will be none!”  They live amongst us……..

Jan said we should go out early and buy some fruit & veg.  I suggested we play Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.  We could wear our masks and rob a bank.  Unfortunately that didn’t work…. everyone was wearing a mask!  This must play hell with the police asking for victims to provide a description “He was wearing a mask officer!”  Actually we have yet to buy masks.  I’ve visited the Costco Hearing Centre three times in the last eight months and each time they have given me a mask.  Being cheap careful with the money we’ve kept the masks in the event masks became mandatory.  Well that happened last monday. 

Whilst in Aldi I was trolling through the centre isle and stumbled upon some rope which looked a likely contender for making soft shackles.


I haven’t been able to find Dyneema rope at a bargain price.  The best I could find was 30 metres for $80.  This rope was $9.99 for 10 metres.  I’m going to experiment and see if I can use it to make soft shackles. 

Meanwhile the courier had arrived whilst we were out and had left a package.  It turned out to be half of my order from 4WD SupaCentre.  The half I didn’t particularly urgently need!


The black water bag and shower rose.

You do realise the only reason I’m writing this post is to avoid going out to the workshop and doing more painting Smile


We have been placed on Alert regarding the bushfire.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Orange Sky and its Snowing?

An unusual dawn this morning.  The sky was Trump orange instead of the usual blue and it was snowing.  You could smell smoke and that’s when the realisation hit; we had a bushfire nearby.  The snow was of course ash.

Jan turned on the TV to watch the local news. Driven by hot, dry and strong  winds, the bushfire at Wooroloo some 60km east of us has advanced to the west overnight.  The fire doubled in size and now has a 60km front.  It’s currently uncontrolled and uncontained.  The State Emergency Services website showed its path.


We are located at the tip of the red arrow with the Whiteman Park nature reserve between us and the fire front.

Already people in 17 districts have received emergency warnings and many have evacuated their homes.  Others have left it too late to leave and will now have to “stay and defend”.  At this time our suburb isn’t subject to any “Watch & Act” instructions, however Jan has already packed our “Go Bag” and made a list of essential items and documents should we need to leave.  The weather forecast is for the wind to change this afternoon, potentially driving the fire in our direction. 

This morning the fire conditions must have been affecting the flight path to Perth airport as the arriving and departing aircraft were flying directly overhead.

The latest news is 30-40 homes have been lost to the fire and there are approximately 400 evacuees at the designated evacuation centre located just south of the fire front.


Monday, 1 February 2021

Good things come to people who wait

Today might be the first full day of our COVID lock-down but there was a silver lining.  for more than a year I’ve been mulling over the requirement for a shower screen.  Much of the time a screen isn’t required as it’s only the Australian wildlife who watch me buck naked taking a shower.  And they usually flee in horror at the sight!  Last year I went on a wildflower trip with Ken and when he showered it wasn’t a very pretty sight.

Folding shower screen have proven to be rather expensive.  The first I found online was $500.  Later I found another supplier selling them cheap at $299.  I couldn’t justify the price to myself, electing to wait.  This morning there was a ‘one day’ special on the 4WDSupaCentre website.  The shower screen was selling at a discounted price of $174.   Then I realised they had the combined screen and water bag for $148 with free delivery.  Why you would receive more for less confused me; but I was prepared to accept a bargain. 

Jan then said “Look for a discount code!”  That seemed rather optimistic.  However she was right (as usual) and I found a working $10 code.  The final cost with free postage was $138.


I plan to fit it to the side of the camper trailer roof rack on a swivel arm. 

Meanwhile Jan has been baking buns using her new baking tray.


She informs me the middle four are filled with sun dried tomato and Feta cheese.  Lunch should be interesting.

Back to lock-down.  The first day hasn’t proven to be much of a challenge.  It’s 39°C outside and I’m staying indoors in close proximity to the air conditioner.  Obviously the sun is shining and generating more than enough power to cool the house. 

Sunday, 31 January 2021


After almost nine months of being COVID free Perth had its first reported case and it is likely to be the more virulent UK version.  The State government immediately announced a lock-down for the metropolitan area and the SW of the State effective 6PM today.  Case Zero is a security guard who worked at one of the quarantine hotels.  He also has a second job as a ride share driver.  Apparently he was infectious for four days before detection and in that period managed to visit a large number and variety of venues including a Halal supermarket and the Indian Consulate.   When are State governments going to realise employing security guards at quarantine hotels poses a risk to public health?

The lock-down has created panic buying in many parts of the city.  Shopping centre car parks overflowed and there were long queues at supermarkets.  Naturally there was a run on toilet paper! 

Children where supposed to return to school tomorrow after the long Christmas holiday break.  However that has been cancelled.  The family next door have two small children and we could hear the crying, wailing, shrieking and temper tantrums over the fence.  I never expected parents to act like that!  The local liquor store sold all it’s stock in one afternoon.

Western Australia was about to open its border to Victoria and Queensland as they had just reached the required COVID free milestone.  Now they are quite rightly closing their borders to us.

Jan and I have agreed I will make a sign in the workshop tomorrow which she will place on the front lawn.

Toilet Paper – $10 per roll

Long queues appeared at the COVID testing centres.  Many of these people are just panicking or “wanabees”.  They have overloaded the system and a significant number will leave without being tested.  We think the wanabees could be separated from the genuine if the local health authorities were to adopt the new Chinese test….. Drop trousers.. touch toes whilst we take the swab.


We all have to stay at home for the next five days and this has caught us with a low level of fresh fruit & veg.  However we have plenty of canned and frozen food.   

What will I do for the next five days.  Probably apply five coats of paint to the blanket box.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

It’s Saturday…. Again!!

I can’t believe it….. Saturday has already arrived.  What joy…. I get to play Swen the pool cleaner!!

Step 1.   Turn off the system and sweep the sides and bottom of the pool with the long broom

Step 2.  Put Jacques Cousteau in the pool for a swim

Step 3.  Empty and clean the pool leaf catcher

Step 4.  Empty and clean the pump pre-filter

Step 5.  Check the pressure level in the main pool filter

Step 6.  Take water samples and test for Chlorine, pH and alkalinity.  Record results in pool register

Step 7.  Restart the pool pump and check for leaks/problems

Step 8.  Wait two hours and remove Jacques.  Clean Jacques filter.

I wasn’t allowed to say anything until today, but it's now okay for me to share that I have volunteered for the Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is the one that has been developed in Russia. It is in 6 different stages and I received my first dose this morning at 07:20 am, and I wanted to let you all know that it is safe and I’m ok, with иo side effects whatsoeveя, and that I feelshκι я чувю себя немного стрно и я думю, что вытл осные уши. чувству себя немго страо. Comrade

Hasn’t the European Commission (EC) made a complete stuff up of their vaccine program.  I can understand their logic of centralizing their effort under the European Commission rather than have individual member states compete against each other.  However the larger the organisation, the slower the cogs turn.  Three months after the UK placed their order with AstraZeneca the EC did the same.  The EC also only approved the vaccine today, whereas the UK has been vaccinating citizens for weeks.   There’s an argument between the EC and AstraZeneca regarding the wording in the contract.  But neither will release a copy for the rest of us to know who is right.  However we do know the UK-AstraZeneca contract states AstraZeneca will make “best efforts” to provide the agreed quantity.

Today the EU announced a ban on the export of the vaccine from EU based production facilities.  There is reportedly a list of 170 countries to which the EU will allow the vaccine to be exported.  Most of these are poor countries or near neighbours of the EU.  The UK and Australia didn’t make the list.  The Guardian newspaper reported this would extend the UK’s ability to reach ‘herd immunity’ (75% of the population vaccinated) by two months.  Australia’s successful anti-COVID measures mean being denied access to European sourced vaccine won’t be a major issue.

I wonder how many UK citizens are thinking BREXIT means we probably just dodged a bullet!

On to more mundane things like the blanket box.  The piano hinge was fitted this morning and the box given yet another sanding.P1010284

I’ve decided to make four round feet for the base using an offcut of timber from the box.


The hole saw was purchased in Poundland and isn’t the best.  However I was able to sand off the burrs leaving me with four disks to be glued to the base


The temperature has reached 39°C and I’m taking a break from the project for a few hours.  Actually I’m trying to whip up the enthusiasm to do the painting Smile

Friday, 29 January 2021

The Box and the Angle

This morning I used the plunge saw to cut the top off Jan’s box  creating the main compartment and a lid.  Then I cut 70mm off the lid with the bench saw.  This 70mm length of lid was then glued back onto the main part of the box using lengths of 4mm plywood as a ‘strong back’


A 4mm strip of plywood has been glued to the inside of the lid as a guide to position the lid when closed.


Jan and I made yet another trip to the local hardware store where she chose the handles for the box and some paint, whilst I bought a length of piano hinge for the lid.

Laving the glue to set I wandered over to the Isuzu 4WD and checked the angles on the CV joints.  The front of the Isuzu has Independent Front Suspension (IFS) rather then a ‘live axle’.  The advantage of the IFS system is it allows the wheels to move up and down independent of each other.  However it does mean power to the wheel from the front differential is delivered by a CV (Constant Velocity) joint.  Ideally the CV should be horizontal when the vehicle is stationary or moving on level ground.  Last year Ken and I fitted new suspension to the vehicle which also ‘lifted’ it by 40mm.  I wanted to check what difference this had made to the CV angle.


Front left side

It’s actually rather hard to take a photo of the CV.  It’s located behind the orange shock absorber in the above photo.  The red arrows point to either end and the red line shows the angle.  the blue line shows where horizontal is.  In its current position the CV is always at an angle which will probably result in premature wear.  Moreover if the wheel dropped into a hole the angle might get so acute the CV could break.  

I’ve already solved the premature wear issue by fitting Free Wheeling Hubs; which when unlocked; means the CV’s don’t turn.  However as I plan on taking the 4WD on some further long and isolated off road trips I’ve decided to get the CV’s back to horizontal by fitting a front differential drop kit.  The kit will lower the front differential by 30-40mm.  The kit isn’t expensive; Jan even managed to get a discount when ordering online. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Cool Day for Fencing

A change in the weather has been most welcome allowing me to finish the pool fencing.  Why is the last piece always the most difficult?


The surplus pavers are going to be used to replace the path made of concrete squares in the left of the photo.  I’ll then recycle the concrete squares to make a pad for the camper trailer.  Then the final modifications to the water reticulation systems can be completed.  Lastly I’ll need to repair the lawn.

Meanwhile Jan has requested I make a ‘Blanket Storage Box’ to go under the window in the spare bedroom.  Yesterday we bought the timber and now I’m searching for the enthusiasm Smile