Friday, December 30, 2016


Tuesday 27th December was a very cold day (yes, I know that it is midsummer here but we are having peculiar weather in southern Australia), with a screaming southerly gale and there were no boats out on the river, sensible skippers opting to wait for a nicer day for a sail.  I was idly looking out the window  -  for those who haven't seen my cover picture on Facebook I have a panoramic view of the Swan River  -  when I saw a yacht under full sail hurtling before the wind up-river from Fremantle.  As I watched and wondered it made no attempt to go around the spit post which marks the channel and grounded itself in the shallow water at the end of the spit  -  a tongue of sand bank which stretches from Point Walter on the South Bank to the middle of Freshwater Bay and which , depending on the tide, is partially exposed.

After watching it for about ten minutes and seeing no rescue boats appearing I tried to phone the yacht club opposite the spit to ask them to send out a launch to give the yacht a tow but could not raise anyone there so I did what I have never done before and called 000 the emergency number.  After asking for the position of the yacht they sent the River Police and Rescue launch.  It came charging down the river from Perth and arrived just as a small launch arrived  and had managed to get a towline onto the yacht.  The whole procession headed down-river in the teeth of the gale so I am glad that the River Rescue Boat escorted them.  I am not sure why they set off in the teeth of the gale but there are public moorings on the river in Fremantle and I assume that is where they went.

While I am complaining about the southerly gales which we have been having we are better off than those States to the east which have had torrential rain, gales and flooding and several people have died.  South Australia has had yet another blackout  -  I think that is four times that the whole state has been without power this summer and Uluru  (Eyre's Rock) had multiple waterfalls streaming off it.

D1 returned to Sydney on Tuesday morning much to the cats dismay as they love her and she is very much a cat person.  They have furballs at the moment despite being brushed twice daily and Parsifal is vomiting.  I have dosed them with Catlax and will give them another dose tonight.  Parsifal likes to chew on the ponytail palm and that invariably makes him vomit and now we have another contender.  When I moved from my house to this apartment with no garden I gave some aspidistras to Himself.  Since they are one of the three shade-loving plants which are not poisonous to cats I have been looking out for some to plant on my balcony but to no avail.  They are so common that the garden shops do not stock them and they have to be ordered in.

Before Christmas I asked Himself if I could have a few plants back and he arrived a couple of days ago with a pot containing my original plants  -  very dry, shaggy and rootbound.  Yesterday I trimmed them, savagely root-pruned them and repotted them.  They are looking good and the root pruning seems to have done them no harm but Parsifal thinks that they are there to be chewed and I suspect that they will have the same effect on him that the ponytail palm does.  I suppose that they save me having to buy Catlax.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Where is the Sherry?

Having spat the dummy on the Christmas chocolate mousse (nine raw eggs  -  yuck!) and was assured that D1 and D2 would join me in eating a trifle if I made one  and which up until two years ago was a staple for Christmas dinner.  D3 and all her works are lactose and gluten intolerant and she is bringing a gluten/lactose free cheesecake  -  see previous entry regarding my disbelief regarding the 'cheese' bit.

Anyway, I have discovered a nice thick custard which is exactly the right thickness to save me having to make custard from milk and custard powder.  I was never sure of the amounts to make the correct thickness so this new discovery has saved me lots of work, dirty saucepans and trepidations in case I have the proportions wrong.  The cake and jelly are easy but sherry?  I searched the bottle shop and was not able to find any so I asked one of the assistants.

It turns out that we no longer have Australian-made sherry; it can only be sherry if it was made in Spain so the alternative is something called Apera.  I tasted it before I poured it over the cake and it tasted as though it had been watered down but since I used almost half a bottle that is probably a good thing..

I have prepared the stuff for the salad and D1 went over to Cottesloe and brought back enough glutened sausages for those of us who can eat them and D3 is bringing gluten-free sausages for her family.  So except for mixing up all the salad things  -  already washed and chopped  -   beating the cream and chopping the jelly we are all ready for tomorrow.

As a Christmas present for myself I splashed out on one of those automatic vacuum floor cleaners.  The one I bought has very big wheels and can do both the tiles and the carpets and move from one to the other although it gets a bit confused when it encounters the fringe on the big Persian rug.   I am going to have to work on that problem and it may be that I will have to haul out the Dyson and vacuum it the traditional way.

And I have ordered some matching earrings to go with the diamond chains I bought as an early Christmas present to my self.  This pair will have black diamonds to compliment my mostly black clothes and white diamond earrings.  There is no way a person can have too many Christmas presents.  😻

Monday, December 19, 2016

Differently Spinning

While I am waiting for the Rosewood Glitter fibre to arrive I have been somewhat at a loss to decide what to spin next.  I have a heap of yarn ready to knit and have been browsing patterns  -  but such indecisions.  I have sort of lost my nerve after running short of fibre with the Chunderup sweater so I have gone on another tack altogether.

A few years ago I bought myself a blending board  -  all the rage for a short while and they really are fun to use so I made myself a large number of 'rolags'.  These are long snakes of rolled fibre and they are spun 'woollen' rather than 'worsted'.  Woollen is spun from the centre of the fibre and creates a softer, fluffier yarn;  Worsted is spun from the end of the fibre and gives a smoother, shinier finish.

I didn't get much further with my rolags except for the school visits which Herself dragged me along to  in order to demonstrate to the Babies' Class what sent The Sleeping Beauty into hibernation.  There is no way anyone could prick her finger with a modern spindle but it gave the kids some idea of how yarn was created before the Industrial Revolution.  Herself died about 15 months ago and my rolags have been languishing unloved for years now.

The ones which I spun were all done on my treadle wheel (Ertoel Emma) but my electronic wheel (Ertoel Roberta) uses Irish tension which is set up for a long draw and fast wind in so it is ideal for the rolags and I have been spinning them for the last couple of days.  It is a bit addictive  -  I have not got enough to make anything meaningful so I am going to have to make more  -  and more  -  until I run out of Corriedale fibre since I have no other use for it  -  it pills badly.

D1 is arriving at lunch time on Wednesday and has cut out a Christmas dress which she intends to sew up on my sewing machine which at the moment is at the back of all the things I usually store in the spare bedroom so it is all going to have to be relocated.  Now that I have sorted out the car space problem D2 has made no efforts to move either of her Porsches out of my parking spaces but that is no longer a priority so I am happy to let them stay where they are for the time being.

It is the COTA Christmas bash tomorrow but I have spat the dummy on that one since they kept on changing the date and I kept cancelling other things to be there.  I have decided to keep on teaching next year for long enough to find out if things have changed for the better or if MI5 is gradually taking over all of our space and making it off-limits.  My Windows 10 seems to have settled down and does more or less what I want it to do but it can still surprise me on occasions  -  like now when it is refusing to get rid of a highlight after I changed the font.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas comes but once a year - thank goodness

This year it is my turn to have the family on Christmas Day (on alternate years I have them all on Boxing Day).

Last night D2 and D3 and I went out to dinner downstairs and I announced that I had spat the dummy regarding gluten and dairy-free desserts and I intended to make a trifle for myself instead of the chocolate mousse which I have made for the last two or three years  -  ever since the D3s went gluten and dairy free.  That resulted in vehement declarations from D2 that she and D1 had always eaten trifle with no ill-effects and that I would have to make a normal-sized one as they intended to join me.  D3 has already offered to bring a GD-Free lemon cheesecake (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one) so her family will be able to eat that while the rest of us eat trifle.  I use my grandmother's recipe which is heavily laced with sweet sherry and cream; it is both delicious and decadent.

I realised partway up the first sleeve the Chunderup sweater which I am knitting that I did not have enough yarn to finish it and would need to order more fibre and spin  up another skein.  The only Superwash fibre which in any way matches is a colourway called Rosewood (very pretty pink and brown  -  I already have a sweater from it  -  but not superwash).  The only Rosewood fibre in superwash is heavily mixed with glitter so it is going to make a very interesting  sweater when it is finished. 

Meanwhile, to keep myself busy I have started knitting a black balaclava for SIL.  He rejected the black yarn when I offered to knit him a replacement beanie for the one which the dog chewed so a black balaclava is probably the last thing he will either want or expect but when he is out on the ocean in an open boat helping to supervise the kids' sailing and there is a southerly gale blowing he might appreciate it.  He is getting it anyway and can do with it whatever he wants.  The black yarn is surplus to my requirements and there will probably be enough to knit and post another one into the charity bin as well, as it will take the Rosewood fibre about four weeks to get here and then it will have to be spun so I need something to keep me occupied.

D2 is home for a while and intends to reclaim her cars  -  hopefully before next Thursday when D1 arrives but I am not holding my breath on that one.  I am planning to email Senor B702 who is in Italy and ask him if D1 can use his spare carpark for a few days.  Hopefully there will be no problem as he will not be back until after the New Year.

I will be glad when Christmas is over.

Monday, December 5, 2016

I have finished the front of the latest sweater

Yesterday I finished knitting the front of the 'petal soft' sweater which is anything but soft.  I have named the project Chunderup which probably only Western Australians will fully understand but chunder is as good old Aussie word. 

The back is very ugly but lifted a bit by the star which I placed between my shoulder blades and the front has actually been enhanced by a line of diamonds knitted up the front and finished, by some sort of miracle  -  certainly not by my maths  -  with the point of the last diamond coinciding with the point of the V-neck.  The sleeves will be basically pink but I have quite a lot of the grey left so will randomly decorate the sleeves.  At the moment I am drawing out a chart for a rose to go on one of the sleeves and I am not sure how I will decorate the other one.  I have finally learnt to knit from charts so the world is my mollusc [thank you Terry Pratchett].

COTA is over for the year and I have spat the dummy regarding their ever-moving feast which is their  Christmas party.  So far there have been three different dates and it has really messed up my arrangements so I am not going, preferring to join my knitting group instead.  I have decided to continue teaching next year, at least to begin with and see how I go with COTA's newly organised space and the state of their computers.

I have been having fun with my Acer laptop which Techie installed Classic Shell onto.  No-one uses Classic Shell so I decided to remove it and revert it to Win 8.1.  That was OK but when I tried to do a virus scan I found that the preinstalled MacAfee would not let me use AVG or Windows Defender and MacAfee was out of date and wanted money.  I tried to remove it but it refused to budge and, in desperation I asked Google for an opinion.  Google sent me to a site which said "Ah, I see that you have a preinstalled version of MacAfee which you want to uninstall.  Here is how to do it."  So I followed the prompts and it finally allowed itself to be removed.

The computer is now running a great deal faster after a scan which removed over 800 oddments.  There seems to be a great deal of stuff loaded which I have no idea about so I must ask either SIL or Techie and maybe I will end up with a useable laptop.  Not sure about its battery though ...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

So Many Scams; So Little Credability

We have all been bombarded by scams but they seem to be becoming more unbelievable and more frequent just lately.

Of course, there has always been the Nigerian Scam in its many guises and it has always been remarkably successful mainly because it taps into people's greed.  But we are getting a new type which tries to scare us in one form or another.

Firstly there was the Microsoft Scam where people would receive a phonecall, supposedly from a Microsoft Technician who announced that there was something nasty in their computer and all we had to do was to allow him "remote access" to put everything right.  Ouch!

Then came the short-lived Telstra scam which I never bothered to listen to as Telstra is not my internet provider and I had better things to do with my time.  Obviously that was not very successful as it was only up and running for a short time but was probably a variation of the Microsoft Scam.

A scary one was the Taxation scam and I understand that the perpetrators of that one between them garnered  about $1,000,000 from terrified pensioners who thought that they were in trouble with the Tax Department and were told to either turn up at an address, presumably the Tax Department, with a lawyer  -  or pay the tax owed to the caller's organisation.

A couple of days ago I received a notice that I had been photographed infringing the traffic code and that I could check out the photo at an email link which I didn't open and which would tell me where to pay the fine of $AU4.73.  This was naïve on two counts:  firstly the fine would have been more like $100.00 and the loss of some demerit points and secondly I have not owned a car for at least three years.

I was given 24 hours to pay the fine:

You have been registered with a rule violation:
Reason: negligent driving
Registered No: 143570442
Date of infringement: 23/10/2016
Amount due: 004.73 AUD
This fine will be forwarded by mail to your address. However you can screen it now, please press here  Photo Proof - xxxxxxxxxx

The IP was which is Turkish.

Then last night a friend emailed me to ask where to report a scam which she had just received:-

"The sum of $13,781.80 has been deposited into your commissions account.
                                                Tell us where to send your check."

The same inept use of English and probably from the same organisation.  Unlike the Nigerian scam I doubt if many people will fall for this one but it is a bit of fun.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Microsoft, be afraid; be very very afraid.

Last night I checked out the hits to my blog.  I seem to have a core group of loyal readers around the world and here is an interesting statistic.

Browsers used to access this blog:
Chrome        60%
Safari           32%
Firefox         3%
PhantomJS   3%
Unknown     2%

Not a single hit from an Internet Explorer user for the last week.

There is no surprise there and once I stop teaching Windows 10 to confused senior citizens  -  and I am fast becoming a confused senior citizen myself  thanks to the ever-changing face of Windows 10 -  I will probably start using either Chrome or Linux.

Yesterday I opened "Photos" to edit a pic of the back of the sweater I am knitting prior to posting on Ravelry only to find that Microsoft, in its wisdom, had changed "Photos" and not for the better.  It is clunky, hard to use and very irritating.  I managed the edit eventually but compared to the obsolete MS Office Picture Manager which was a  quick, easy photo editor,  it is dreadful and even compared to the older version of Photos it is awful.  Why do Microsoft keep on upgrading to worse and worse apps when the older app was OK. 

Last week I found that my client and I were unable to change her homepage from something which was all pictures and noise so I went home and had a look at my own home page.  Although in Internet Options my home page is listed as I was unable to edit it and my home page, for better or worse is now MSN  -  full of pictures, music and blaring voices.  Luckily I have a key on my keyboard which allows me to quickly turn off the sound and I mostly leave it off these days.  I assume that Microsoft thinks that the younger generation is unable to understand plain text and needs pictures and voiceovers to understand the News.

Sorry for this rant  -  I am royally pissed off with Microsoft and all its works.

But there is some good news  -  my mammogram came up clear so I can leave it for another five years before I feel obliged to have another one and all the aches and pains which followed my poliomyelitis booster are fast diminishing.  My little cats are well although Poppy is limping slightly.  She has arthritis in her right hand and they spend the day before yesterday with Parsifal wanting to play and Poppy attacking him whenever he came within striking distance.  Yesterday they seem to have come to some sort of agreement and are back to being each other's best friend.

I am seriously thinking of giving up teaching computer.  I am sick and tired of lugging two computers and a hotspot with me every Thursday because COTA's computers work very badly if at all and no-one seems to care or get them fixed.  I am encouraging my clients to bring their own laptops but we no longer have access to a guest connection to the internet  -  hence the hotspot and while I do not mind using my own connection I shouldn't have to.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My Supermoon in the sign of Cancer

According to a newsletter from an astrologer, to whom I must have given my email address in the olden days, the supermoon on 14th November was in the sign of Cancer which is my astrological sign and this is supposed to bring me all manner of nice things.  So far this is coming to pass.

Yesterday I received the news that the mammogram which I had a couple of weeks ago was clear.  I had one two years ago which was suspect and I was sent off for a biopsy which was OK but I faced this one with some trepidation wondering if whatever was found two years ago had progressed but even with the Clinic's new super machine nothing suspicious was picked up.

The second nice thing was that D3 and SIL took me out for breakfast/coffee and cake this morning.  I slept until 9.00am for some reason and woke up with the cats in bed with me so I hadn't had any breakfast when D3 phoned.  It was a very delayed birthday present and I enjoyed it greatly.  Time with my daughters is what I enjoy above all things so it was a lovely morning and I confirmed that Christmas day will be at my place this year.  I alternate with my Ex  and although he and the wife-in-law were supposed to hold Christmas lunch last year they, for some reason, decided to hold Christmas Dinner down in Mandurah and both his and her families decided to do their own thing rather than track all the way down there.  We had Christmas lunch at D3's.

I have been knitting up the Petal Soft superwash fibre which turned out to be rather ugly the way I spun it (it was ugly before I spun it but maybe the way I prepared it contributed) so I have been entertaining myself by knitting a star between my shoulder blades as I knitted the back which I finished this evening.  I am not going to like the sweater but it will be useful being supposedly machine washable and playing around with decorations on something which I don't like is a very good learning curve for me before I launch myself  into knitting black possum lace.

I only managed ten rows at my knitting group yesterday.  We seem to do a lot of talking, comparing patterns and admiring everyone else's work for an hour and a half after which we have coffee and biscuits.  There is a core  group which comes every week now with an occasional ring-in.  It is a lot of fun and pushes me into knitting more and spinning a bit less.  A good thing since I have a build-up of yarn waiting to be knitted.  I will be joining the crowd and knitting a new beanie for SIL because their dog chewed the last one I knitted him. 

Poppy has been limping for the last few days, not helped by Parsifal who plays rough.  I cut their fingernails a couple of days ago and that helped a bit but I know that she has arthritis in her right front paw so it is always going to be touchy and I won't take her to the Vet unless it keeps on keeping on. Maybe I should board Parsifal out for a while to give her some recovery time but I know that they would both hate that so we will just wait and see how things go.  It is always going to be a problem and one which we will all have to live with.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Emergency! Emergence!

I had a bit of a torrid week and hopefully next week will be a bit more restful.

Early on Tuesday morning , at approximately 1.45am the fire alarm went off in the Shopping Centre.  It was very loud and woke everybody up.  After about 15 minutes of being sound blasted I decided that maybe I was the last man standing and that I was missing from a headcount so I wandered downstairs to see what was going on .  Please understand that us residents have been told to ignore fire alarms from the shopping centre although, since it is right underneath me I'd rather get out with the cats before the flames work upwards and engulf the apartment block.

Anyway, there was no-one but me,  an Otis van and a man fixing the roller doors to the carpark.  The Fire brigade arrived just after I got downstairs (using the lift as no-one had mentioned fire) and about 15 minutes later the alarm stopped.  I eventually got back to sleep but some didn't and in the morning I posted on the Community board to ask what we should do in a case like this.  It turns out that the only other person to mention it to Management was a cleaner but there was a lot of feedback once the ball got rolling and it turns out that it was a burst water pipe.  It has been suggested that some sort of evacuation plan should be posted since I think that I am the only one who actually knows where we should gather for the head count.

I was supposed to have two clients at COTA on Thursday but only one turned up and I found that Microsoft, which I knew had updated itself the evening before, had removed the ability to select a Home Page and opens on a Microsoft News page but with a search field should one wish to progress from Microsoft's idea of what world news interests me.  I felt like an idiot being unable to set up google as my client's home page but it will be a good reason to show her how to create tiles as she brought her own computer and will be doing so for the rest of her lessons.

I was so tired that afternoon that I bought myself some Lindt chocolates, ate the lot and climbed under the duvet with Parsifal and slept for the afternoon.  Sometime during the afternoon Poppy joined us on the bed which was a happy event.  Poppy is favouring her left front leg at the moment and Parsifal has been harassing her.  To distract him I played a Miniscule DVD which the cats both love and that worked for a while but eventually I had to plug in the Happy Juice and today all is peace and quiet with Poppy sleeping and Parsifal super-cuddly.

I have bought some cotton cord to replace the tassels which Parsifal ate when he was a kitten and was eating anything which could be sucked first.  He took very hard to being weaned and for his first year of life he consumed shoelaces, apron strings, a leash and half the tassels on my Iranian tablecloth.  I never worried too much about the digestible things but he had to have two ultrasounds after swallowing the nylon leashes.  Fortunately he eventually vomited both of them up and no harm was done.  Thankfully for my peace of mind he seems to have got over that rather scary phase but I still tuck my shoelaces into my shoes when I take them off.

And, of course, the excitement this last week has been the USA Presidential Election.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Alas, the Lilypond; it was pretty but ...

I have been complaining about the non-functioning of the Lilypond for months and it has finally disappeared.  In its place is which actually works and looks good.  A new email address to add to the many I already have but maybe like its predecessor Hotmail it will be viable on any computer.

Last night when it first appeared on my Windows10 computer it had no facility for a contacts list and I really created to Microsoft about this absurd situation  -  a mailbox without any way of adding contacts but perhaps there is still a little bit of Beta about it.  It was really good at sending emails if I happened to know the address but otherwise it was impossible.  So far there is no facility to set a default font although there are editing tools and it is possible to select a font before composing the email.  Perhaps that will be the next thing which gets organised.  And I have told them to stop pushing Skype;  I do not want it.

I had my teeth scaled and polished this morning and much to my dismay I was told that I also had an appointment with my dentist who didn't want to see me any more than I wanted to see him so we mutually agreed that we would get together next May and maybe even sort out my sore tooth.  He has been steadfastly refusing to remove it because he can't find out why it has been giving me so much grief for the past couple of years.  His reason?  It is the only tooth I posess with no filling.

No results from the mammogram yet but I have discussed some options with D2 just in case.  She is back from overseas and arrived with coffee yesterday afternoon.  I am not sure when she intends to deal with her incontinent cars but as long as she is willing to clean up the mess then I am happy to house them.  Two classic Porsches give me a lot of street cred.

I was very impressed when I turned up for the mammogram.  There in the waiting room was a big basket of knitting wool with some knitting needles holding a half-knitted square and a sign saying "Would you like to help knit a blanket for charity?"  I managed three rows before I was summonsed to the change room to don a paper gown and go in for processing.  A brilliant idea.

Friday, November 4, 2016

When you have got to ...

I have been busy for the last couple of weeks getting my house in order.

I have had vaccine boosters for Tetanus., Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Poliomyelitis.
I have had my skin checked from top to toe and anything suspicious frozen off.
I have had a mammogram.
I have an appointment to have my teeth cleaned and scaled early next week.

I am not looking forward to the results of the mammogram; the last one produced a suspicious area and I had to have a biopsy which gave a negative result but I can be lucky only so many times before something nasty is found.  The results will be available next week.

My newest client at COTA has a Windows10 computer and the computer which I use there refused to open anything in its version of Windows 10 so I had to use my Surface Pro and my little hotspot.  She has a Surface Pro and I have suggested that she brings it along next week and we can work with that.  I have given up complaining about the COTA computers.  All five (would you believe) of their drives are 80% full or more, the shortcuts and Icons on the desktops of both computers refuse to allow themselves to be deleted and  most refuse to let themselves be dragged into a folder.  Half of the Desktop is full of immovable shortcuts such as MS Word which is fine on a PC but hopeless for teaching since the likelihood of our clients having a shortcut is not a given and they need to know where on their own computers they can access it  -  if they actually have MS Office.   And I can't change the Homepage.

It is summer here now although it is still very cold with southerly winds but the cats have woken up from their winter hibernation and have spent the day beating each other up.  Poppy is definitely the dominant one although she mostly walks around with her tail down.  Parsifal, on the other hand, still thinks that he is a kitten and trots around with his tail up.  And he loves to help me to make the bed which means that it takes half the morning to finish it.

I have started knitting a sweater from the Petal Soft which I spun and knitted is it not as ugly as I thought that it would be but the pink and brown parts look awful together and I will be separating them with the grey.  I have almost finished spinning the last of the 'Quoth the Raven' from the Megasal last year.  I have about an hour's spinning to finish the bobbin which I am working on and then there is just the one bobbin left to spin; about another six hours to finish it all.  It is merino and bamboo silk so is very soft and probably not suitable for a sweater.  I will be researching shawls and ponchos for that.

Sorry  -  this is very boring but as this Blog is essentially a diary I need to record the housekeeping in case I need to refer back at some later date.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Just Another Day at the Office

Today I bit the bullet and attended a long appointment with my doctor where I underwent an all-over skin check and had anything a bit out of the ordinary frozen off (hopefully never to be seen again but not holding my breath; some of us have been there before) and obtained a referral for a mammogram.  This was with great reluctance.  It is two years since the last one when I had to undergo a biopsy and have a marker placed although the biopsy came up clear.

It is one of those unpleasant things which you do not want to have but know that you need to.  Soon after I graduated I was treating a woman with advanced bilateral terminal breast cancer.  It is the only time I have ever seen such an advanced stage in which the name 'cancer' (crab) becomes evident.  The tumours grew out from a central point like raised tendrils which snaked out under the skin and over her ribs and looked very crab-like.  I asked her why she had left it for so long and she said that she had been afraid that the doctor would tell her that she had cancer.  I have taken that as a lifelong lesson not to leave things for too long, however unpleasing the test results might be.

On the subject of doctors  -  my GP is always concerned about my blood pressure although we both know that I have 'white-coat hypertension' and that it is low in the morning and up at night.  I have steadfastly refused all offers of hypertension lowering medication but had noticed that my BP is always lower after I have done yoga.  So last night I decided to test it and I measured my BP just before I did my yoga and then again straight afterwards and found that it had dropped by about 35mms.  Impressive!

I have no clients at COTA tomorrow  -  one is ill and the other has, so far, not attended at all and tomorrow would be his last scheduled lesson so I spat the dummy and said that I would not spend two hours travelling there and back only to find that he hadn't bothered to turn up again.  So I suddenly have a whole free day to do exciting things like cleaning and shopping.  But I can sleep in; my alarm disturbs the cats.

I have finished knitting the third  Kimono Sweater and ended up with only about 40cm of yarn left  -  not even enough to knit one more row.  That was definitely too close for comfort and I had only allowed for two skeins since the first two of that pattern which I knitted took less than two and I thought that I would have plenty with some over for tying  around yet to be created skeins.

Now I just have to sew the sweater up! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Chaos ...

Coles supermarket downstairs in the Centre has decided to do a major revamp , presumably in order to give themselves some more shelf space.

For the last five years while I have been living here and shopping for my groceries at Coles there have been two side aisles and a centre one, each of them running the length of the shop.  Now someone in his wisdom has decided to get rid of the centre aisle and have the shelves running from one side to the other without a break in the middle ... and everything has been moved around.  Admittedly things are better labelled than they used to be but nothing is where it was before and there is utter confusion.

I was in there two days ago and there were people with trolleys wandering all over the place and a multitude of harassed assistants trying to direct people  -  but since it is still a moving feast as the workmen gradually move from one end to the other I don't think that the poor people trying to help us actually know themselves where things are.  What is interesting is that strangers are talking to each other, complaining that they are utterly lost and attempting to help those who are more confused than they are themselves.

No doubt things will start to sort themselves out but it has taken me five years to find the black lentils and now I am going to have to start all over again.

The oil drip trays and the degreaser arrived this morning and the drip trays have been installed underneath D2's two classic Porsches, one of which seems to have emptied itself all over the floor of the car parking area.  I have told D2 that I will pay for the trays and the degreaser but she is going to have to do the clean-up.  And she has gone off to America again for goodness knows how long but there is another forum on Baclofen there and she intends to stop off in France again on her way back.  I have a copy of her talk which she gave in France  -  very impressive and in fluent French.  I didn't understand more than about three words but she looked good and spoke well and I am very proud of her. 

I am having coffee with someone from the Fred Hollows Foundation in about an hour.  I think that he is hoping to charm some more money out of me but I have made it clear that I only donate to one charity per year and Fred Hollows has had its turn and he must not expect more in the near future.  This year it will probably be the Guide Dogs.

I teach in the VisAbility building and so I am confronted by guide dogs in training all the time and they are beautiful.  It is decades since I donated to what used to be called The Blind Institute and they became very demanding so I decided not to give them any more money but working in the building and seeing the dogs has changed my mind.  Hopefully their attitude to donors has also changed because, like the Fred Hollows Foundation my donation will be a one-off.

I have almost finished spinning the grey portion of my Petal Soft colourway  but seeing the pink and brown sections together all my ideas about that I intend to knit with it have gone out the window and I think that I am going to have to make a side-to-side jacket with the grey part separating the other two colours.  I'll wait until I have plied the grey and then I will decide what to do with it all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fifth Birthday

Today my cats turned five years old and during that time they have given me immense pleasure, love and amusement.  They are very different:  Parsifal is outgoing and extremely curious while Poppy, who seems to be quiet and retiring actually holds the upper hand.  Parsifal has been thoroughly cowed by her although it doesn't stop him trying to gain the upper hand from her.

At the moment they are both on a diet as their ribs are disappearing.  They nagged at me for a couple of days but now seem to be taking it in their stride which makes for a much more peaceful household.

I have ben trying to get back to writing up my alternative Family History  -  named The Slush Fund  -  and am having difficulties.  I thought at first that Microsoft's new App, Notepad Classic, was going to work for me but alas.  However, the original Notepad seems to have settled in and appears as one of the options for 'Open With'.  The main problem is that I cannot separate the folders.  I have two folders, one for the text and one for the pictures.  I am unable to find a way of separating the folders from My Documents which insists on appearing on the left side with all its files.  I am not sure what will happen if I save it to a flash drive and send it to my brother  -  will he be able to read everything on my Desktop?

I'll finish formatting the files and see what happens when I open them in a computer which is not tied to The Cloud  -  at least into my part of The Cloud.  I don't want my brother to know which Yoga DVDs I do on which days.

I had coffee this afternoon with a very old acquaintance whom I first met when my Ex volunteered me for some doorknocking and later when her mother-in-law was admitted into the hospital where I worked and where I apparently cured her varicose ulcer.  She now has a friend with what sounds like an ulcer and hoped, since it doesn't seem to be healing, that I could give some guidance.  I recommended compression stockings which are almost obligatory in such cases and which no-one had mentioned in this case.  I also told her about the very old treatment which is zinc bandages plus compression stockings.

I cured ulcers on both legs of one patient who had suffered from them for years and which she scratched because they itched.  The zinc bandages, suggested to me by the hospital pharmacist, had a two-fold benefit  -  soothing the itch and creating a barrier to the scratching.  Once they were healed is was just a matter of ensuring that she wore TED stockings.

A good friend of mine is going for surgery tomorrow morning and I am very concerned for her.  The original diagnosis was an inoperable tumour of the brain  -  so inaccessible that even a biopsy would cause a great deal of collateral damage but she has been seeing a neurosurgeon and perhaps he will be able to work a miracle  -  or perhaps he intends to take a biopsy so that the tumour can be treated with chemo or radiotherapy.  I can only hope since there is no deity in whom I can trust to perform a miracle.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sometimes you can get lucky

I am back to writing up my Family History as a web page so that I can save it on Flash Drives and send it to family members who are interested in all the family stuff which was never talked about or was cleaned up for general consumption.  I have no intention of putting this family history inline, it contains the secrets which the family needs to know but which the general public is best kept in the dark about.  There is nothing there which cannot be found by searching various online sources such as Trove but it is tedious and not of general interest .

I did the basics some time ago  -  mostly creating an index and using a template to create pages for various people or subjects such as the Onkaparinga Hundred.  I did this using Notepad which I found easy to use and a lot of fun.  However, that was some time ago and Microsoft has moved on as has its coding programs.  I am unable to update my online website because my File Transfer Protocol (ftp) no longer works and so far I have not got around to contacting my IP to find out how to get it working again.

When I went back to what I have called my "Slush Fund" Windows 10 had killed Notepad and as I had forgotten most of how to go about web page building I was at somewhat of a loss since I wanted to add the Family Wills which I have been, with great difficulty, transcribing.

Windows 10, I discovered, now has an HTML facilitator app called Wordpad Classic which is supposed to emulate the old Wordpad and to a great degree it does so but it Saves differently and looks different  -  or I am doing something wrong  -  and I had to resort to my backup to get back to the original folder and make a copy to play around with. 

I started in Wordpad Classic but using  a book called "How to Do Everything with HTML" which was written some years ago in the days of Wordpad and I was going right back to the beginning of learning Web Page building using a book which didn't quite fit the new App  -  when suddenly I found myself back in Notepad which Windows 10 had strenuously denied was now available.  Oh, happy day!

I will need to work my way back to the skills which I am right out of practise with but at least I now have books to guide me back and I will be working towards documenting all the information I have found to save for posterity  -  just supposing that posterity is interested.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

How to Hate windows 10 in Six Easy Lessons Pt. 4

I have been transcribing Family Wills with a view to putting them together, along with all the other family secrets, into a folder which emulates a web page so that there are workable links I can load it onto a memory stick and send copies to any family members who might be interested in the things which were never spoken of.  There are a lot of secrets in my mother's family and my curiosity was piqued when I was not able to discover why my Great Great Uncle Charles was the Black Sheep of the family and why no-one knew what he did to earn that title.

I have entered quite a bit of data but still have a long way to go with more secrets appearing as I delve further into my Mother's family.  [Thank  you Trove].  I have realised that the stories about her family were fairy tales and none had even a grain of truth in them and I am trying to compile a more realistic view of what seems to have been a very dysfunctional family.

Last night, after transcribing several of the Wills I decided to get back to converting them to HTML and putting them into what I call my Slush Fund only to find that I was no longer able to.  The format has changed and no amount of trying allowed me to make even the smallest change to what I had already entered  -  and I was not able to find Notepad which is the HTML facilitator which I used to build both my online Web Pages and the Slush Fund so I went in search of it.

This lead me to the apps.  Notepad is now an app and I had a choice of two versions of Notepad  -  Notepad Classic and Notepad Light.  Notepad Classic "has all the features of the old notepad which we know and love"  so that was the one which I have downloaded.  It certainly turns my pages into the familiar 'source' but it was getting late so I have not yet worked out how to use it but will sit down and get to know it and format the Wills in a copy of the original Slush Fund to make sure that I do not spoil the original while I faff around and become familiar with it.

 Notepad used to be a standard part of Windows; why does it now have to be an add-on which I had to search out and download with the added anxiety of not being able to finish my project if it doesn't live up to its promise of working just like the old version but easier. Hmmmmm!

The wild weather has subsided although it is still very cold and the electricity is gradually being restored in South Australia but there is now flooding in the Adelaide hills with the Onkaparinga River rising.  I can remember the river flooding one Christmas Eve and inundating all the houses close to the banks in Balhannah and Oakbank and the ford over the river at Oakbank was impassable.  On Christmas Eve ...  In mid-summer ...

Friday, September 30, 2016

As if we hadn't noticed ....

The Bureau of Meteorology has just informed us that we have just lived through the coldest winter since records began.  That, of course is not all that long ago  - 1944 but we have had only four days of 20 degrees or over since the beginning of winter and today, a whole month into our official Spring, it is freezing cold with gale-force southerly winds and intermittent rain.  There are no yachts out on the river, with official boating warnings to stay off the water.

South Australia has had days of cyclonic winds and flooding with the whole of the State without power when the grid went down in a storm.

Yesterday I received a poncho made from Merino wool and possum fur which is so warm that I have ordered a coat in the same fabric.  There must have been a huge run on padded jackets since everyone seems to be wearing them and I have hauled out my down jacket which I used to wear when I cycled to work.  It is months since I turned off the central heating and the cats spend most of their time curled up together asleep.

I believe in Climate Change but Global Warming ...  forget it!

Today I am hopeful that I will finish spinning the brown fibre of the Petal Soft colourway.  It has taken a while but I am really in no hurry to finish it except for wanting to see how it all turns out.  I already have enough spun yarn to keep me knitting for some time to come since I spin more often than I knit.  My mother was able to watch television or read a book while she knitted complex Aran and FairIsle sweaters.  I am not that clever and need to keep a close eye even when I am doing straight knitting.

However, I still have my skein of possum fibre which D3 brought me from New Zealand and I have a pattern which I want to use.  The trouble is that it is lace so I am waiting for my Row Marker, after which I will stock up on dental floss to use as a safety line and hopefully I will have it finished before next winter.  Sod's Law, of course will decree that next winter will be the warmest on record and I will not need a possum fur cowl/snood.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Bit More Zoology

Continuing on from my last post there is a bit more animal lore in the financial report on fixed incomes:-

"In Japan, we favor flatteners out to the 20-year point via being long 20s on the 2s20s30s 50:50 butterfly."

American spelling and all.  I am sure that most people in the USA do not really talk like that  -  or not.  I watched a film clip of a man explaining that President Obama was to blame for the 9/11 Twin Towers disaster because he was always out of the office and took too many holidays. 

Our Lotto lunch was today and with seven of us there (we usually have six or less) I had to push two tables together to form a square to fit us all in and it was great fun but I suspect that some of the group out-stayed their three hour free parking limit.  The next one is at the end of November and our newest recruit is organising it.  I usually pop downstairs to secure a table at 11.45 but the NR was there before me.  She catches a bus so, like me, she sometimes arrives too early because the buses don't run as often as the trains.

A big storm in South Australia has left the whole state without power but I think that my brother was on Facebook earlier this evening so some at least must have their power back or they have solar storage batteries.  We had a 16 degree maximum and tomorrow morning it is going to be 4 degrees but I can sleep in a bit as I only have one COTA client tomorrow.  I am not sure if it is going to be the person with the Samsung Galaxy or not but I will take my tablets in just in case.

I am still being harassed by spamming phone calls and so is D2 so I will not be picking up the phone for the next week or so until the fake Microsoft representative gets tired of me and moves on to another victim.  They must realise after a while that their calls are fruitless and move on to someone else.

Monday, September 26, 2016

How our language has changed in the digital age

Every morning, Monday to Friday, my stockbroker sends me an update on the financial situation. Yesterday I received this and if anyone can make sense of it then I would be grateful for a translation.

"Dovish decisions by the BoJ and Fed have taken the idea of optimal control policy paths to the extreme. This should calm fears of bear-steepening yield curves for now, but we remain neutral on duration and most yield curves as political uncertainty should stymie another runaway bull flattening."

I actually, after reading it through several times sort of got the gist of what the writer was trying to say and basically I think that it means that the stockmarket is not going to plummet drastically in the near future.  I think ...

We have just been through one of the coldest winters on record and it is still very cold although now that we are into spring we sometimes have a nice day before the weather closes in again.  This morning is reasonably warm and I have the A/C set on 18 degrees C. but there are storm clouds to the west and the forecast is thunderstorms this afternoon.  The wheat harvest has been ruined by the frosts just weeks before it was due to be gathered in.

I have been reading a book which is all about plainchant (nothing technical  -  it is a whodunit with a locked-room theme) and that got me thinking about my spinning which I see as a form of meditation.  I always listen to music when I spin and it has a twofold benefit of gauging the length of time when I spin and helping me to forget that my thumbs hurt.  It has occurred to me that a bit of plainchant would be good so I have ordered some plainchant CDs  -  a beginners' collection for goodness sake.  We used to sing plainchant at school and I always found it very appealing so I am looking forward to receiving my collection of five CDs of plainchant to see if they send me further into a meditative state when I spin.

I've not done any yoga for a week and will start back again tonight with the easy one and work back from there.  My excuse to stop was that I had a naevus removed from my upper chest and didn't want to disturb the stitches.  That was my rational anyway, erroneous though I realised that it was  -  but I was very tired so it seemed to be a good idea at the time.  The naevus was not malignant but in people with a history of melanoma (I have) it could have turned malignant so I am glad that it is gone.  One was enough and although it was found to be actually regressing I can't rely on my immune system to protect me for ever.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Synced at last. :)

Yesterday I deleted my IP account from the Lilypond Mail app but changed my mind and reinstalled it . . . and it synced.  Finally!  After six months !

The problem was that there was a great number of old emails which appeared so I deleted them to give the page a fresh start.  Sadly that  deleted everything including my folders and their contents and also synced with MS Office so that I lost everything in MS Outlook as well.  Luckily most of my mail goes to Gmail now and I print off my online shopping receipts so that I have a hard copy.  However, I had neglected to print off the receipt for D1's birthday present, some ankle bells for her Bollywood Dance classes.

I looked on my other computers but they had all been wiped as well and I eventually found a copy of the receipt still in my Webmail and have printed it off so that I have a record.  There is also a record on the PayPal site but was hard to isolate in order to print it so I am doubly covered.  I am very happy using PayPal as the site keeps records and notes when and if things are delivered.  It was originally set up to cover people who use E-Bay, both sellers and buyers and is some protection against spyware as one's information is stored at PayPal.

The main problem with The Fishpond is that formatting is very limited and there seems to be no way to set default font and colour.  Maybe that will come with time but perhaps people who use Windows 10 on a smartphone are not fussed about prettying up their emails.  I haven't checked out the formatting on my I-Pad since I rarely use it for emails but it probably doesn't have formatting either.

I am currently being harassed by someone claiming to be from Microsoft and who is very eager to con me into letting him into my computer (he doesn't specify which one) to clear it of 'dangerous malware'.  He talks like the newsreader from North Korea who always sounds as though she is verbally attacking her audience.  I think that the pseudo-Microsoft representative is reading from a script since he moved onto the "turn on your computer" and was starting on the "remote connect" instructions when I got tired of him and hung up.

He sounds exactly like the person who was harassing me about unpaid tax and threatening me with prison if I didn't either front up at the taxation office with my lawyer or, as I understand it, pay the outstanding amount direct to him.  The last I heard of this scam it had harvested almost $1,000,000 from terrified and gullible people in Australia alone.

To anyone who is reading this and who is gullible and terrified, say that you will phone him back to check that he is genuine, ask for and  take his phone number (which will connect straight back to him) but phone Microsoft direct and ask them if, in fact, they are phoning people to sort out Malware issues on their computers. 

Always check before letting anyone remotely connect to your computer, particularly if it is a cold call from someone you do not know.  I let my technician connect remotely but I phone him to sort out my computer problems and I have to physically give my permission to him to connect.  And I know him and know exactly who he is and that he can be trusted not to damage my computer or to insert spyware or malware or to hold my computer to ransom by making it inoperable unless I pay to have it unlocked.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Spinning Faster

Because my thumbs have become very painful and spinning was no longer a peaceful form of meditation I have had to develop a different way of drawing out the fibre.  I suspect that I am finally doing it the correct way [thank you U-Tube] after all these years of doing it tough.  However, it needs quite ruthless pre-drafting to get the yarn to spin with no pressure on my fingers and thumbs and the bonus is that I seem to be producing more yarn faster.  This is good because I am limiting myself to about 60 minutes per day/session or whatever.  I have finished  spinning the first bobbin of the brown section of 'petal soft' and have done quite a lot of the second bobbin.

The pink portion is very pretty but I am going to have to spin the grey as well before I can really decide what I am going to knit.  At the moment my plan is to knit a Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton sweater, 'Danbyholm Pullover' from the pattern book "NORO  -  Meet the man behind the legendary yarn".  I will not, of course, be knitting with Noro Yarn as I only spin what I knit.

However, after visiting New Zealand, D3 brought me back a skein of black possum yarn and I have been putting off knitting it because (a) it is black and hard to knit at night (b) the pattern I have chosen for it is a lace cowl (c) it is years since I even attempted lace although, when I was doing office work which involved sitting waiting for the phone to ring while my boss (and husband) saved up all the letters to be typed until the end of the afternoon and expected them to be posted off before I went home to cook the dinner.  I knitted quite a lot in those days and one garment was a lace cardigan in Bluebelle Crepe which was a 4-ply yarn and was quite fine.

Anyway, I have ordered, from America, a pattern and chart holder so that I can mark exactly which row I am in and what I need to do in that row.  When it arrives (mail from USA is slow  -  they have trouble harnessing the dolphins) in about four weeks I will break out the possum and see how I go with the lace and the blackness.

I have an ulterior motive of course or I would never have got around to ordering such a sensible item; trying to type my grandfather's Will.  I think that I have mentioned before that it was written in a great hurry because it is badly typed with spelling errors, inserted words where they were missed and, unlike all the other Wills which I have typed, most of the UPPER  CASE  bits are not underlined.  A Legal Typist would have been embarrassed to present such shoddy work.

Although the laws on intestacy were very sensible in South Australia in 1956 to die without a Will may have split the estate in ways which would not have been fair or reasonable.  It was a sensible Will and would have been exactly what my grandfather would have wanted  -  maybe he was able to make his wishes known but my recollection is that he had been quite demented following a CVA. Certainly there would have been a larger amount to pay in Death Duties as it would not have enabled putting the estate in Trust for future generations.

I will get back to typing it out when my row marker arrives and I can keep my place amongst the heretofores and the therebeforementioneds, the bad typing and the general air of having been done in a bit of a hurry.  The camels are harnessed and waiting to transport it along the Birdsville Track to Perth when the dolphins arrive in Sydney.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sick Computers and Immunity

It is ten years since I had immunisation boosters so I went along to my doctor yesterday and had a shot which covered Tetanus, Diphtheria and Whooping Cough.  I also wanted Polio but there is no vaccine available at the moment so I have a prescription in my hot little hand and will have it as soon as it becomes available again.  I am probably well covered anyway because I top everything up every ten years and have done so except for Whooping Cough which is becoming deadly again as more adults contract it and pass it on to babies too young to be immunised.  It is now recommended that all pregnant women be immunised in their third trimester and as Toecutter has it at the moment it brought home to me that none of us is immune since it used only to be given to children.

Great fun and games at COTA today.  To begin with I had an audience  -  a very nice man who used to be a programmer and who thought that he might be useful teaching computer.  He wanted to know what the lessons involved.  His comment afterwards was "You need to be very flexible"  because we try to field and sort any problems our clients have and never know what is going to be thrown at us.  He uses an Apple Mac and since we do not have a Mac teacher he should be in great demand.  COTA, of course, doesn't have a Mac but he is prepared to bring his in with him.

I am going to have to start taking my Win 7 as well as my Win 10 if things continue as bad as they were today.  The computer which I usually use refused to load and demanded that the Administrator sign in.  Of course no one knows the password so it was left to sit unfulfilled while I moved to the one which Himself usually uses.  Providentially he is in England at the moment.

That computer is not much better  -  very slow to load and with the ABC as its home page which is slow loading even on a fast computer.  I tried to change the Home Page to Google but it refused to let me do so and when I was showing my client how to do an error check I found that there are six almost full drives with only about 20% capacity left.  Once a computer reaches 80% capacity it ceases to work in any useful way so we are stuck with two non-functioning computers.  If they are not fixed before Himself comes back we might as well fold our tents and softly steal away.  And I can't even complain that it is all the fault of Microsoft and Windows 10  -  I was trying to teach Windows 7.

My Windows 10 computer has spent the last 12 hours or so upgrading itself and other than re-arranging the "start" part of the Tiles Settings I can't see much difference.  The settings, after I got over the shock of seeing the Apps menu up the top and an inactive Tiles button it makes sense  -  more so than the way it was before, anyway.  Maybe if Microsoft has got that right they might eventually fix some other things.

But the Lilypond still has not synced my iinet email.  Too much to hope for but maybe one day ... 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How to Hate Windows 10 in Six Easy Lessons 3

When I went to send an email to my brother using Microsoft Outlook 16 I discovered that I only had one contact  -  the daughter of a friend -  so I have a big job ahead of me to restore my contacts list.  Then I decided to check my Sent Mail Folder and it wasn't there so I had to (Grrrr) ask Cortona where it was.  She gave some suggestions which didn't work but one of them was to change the layout of the page.  That gave me a little arrow in the upper left side of the page which, when clicked on, shows all my folders, including Sent Emails. 

Ye Gods  -  why do they have to make it so hard to find things which used to be there all the time.  I am slowly changing over to Gmail but some of my official stuff is still in Outlook  -  not the new Outlook (formerly Live mail) which doesn't receive, only sends (the one I call the lilypond), but I am fearful that Microsoft is winding us up to buy their Subscription version of Microsoft Office and Outlook 16 will cease to work.

Luckily when Windows 10 first started to misbehave I saved the contacts list from my Windows 7 computer onto a flash drive so I have it regardless of how many crashes Microsoft is able to engineer.  The trouble is that it goes back years and I am going to have to go through and do something with the names which I no longer recognise.  I don't want to delete them just in case they are important at some stage in the future.

Probably my best option is to put the ones which I recognise into Outlook 16 and keep the flash drive intact. And then back to the drawing board ...

I have started spinning again but have had to modify my technique to allow for my very painful thumbs but am finding my new way faster and easier.  It is, actually, the recommended way of holding the fibre but I found that I needed to do a very drastic pre-draft first.  I could probably put the resulting fibre through a diz which is a tool which I have never managed to master.  It is on my to-do list for when I have some fibre which I can happily throw away if I end up with a terrible tangle which is what tends to happen every time I try.

I have finished the pink section of the colourway I am spinning and have started on the brown section.  I am not sure how they will go together but will spin the dark grey section before I decide what I am going to knit with it.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


The local library has three book exchange sites set up around the Claremont Shopping Precinct and I am picking up and depositing some interesting books.

One which I picked up a few days ago is called "Everything you Always Wanted to Know about Sorcery but were Afraid to Ask".  It was published in 1977 and is a paperback with pages which have become brown over time  -  and the cover was about to come away from the spine.  From my genealogical equipment from the days before I moved here to Claremont I knew that there was a roll of Document Repair Tape if only I could find it. 

I eventually unearthed it in a bottom drawer containing acid-free document covers, certificates and other paraphernalia.  And in there with it all was a folder presented to me when I retired with photos of staff, the hospital a lot of messages from people with whom I had worked and a picture of one patient (obviously with his permission since it is not allowed in the general run of things) who had become a friend and almost a father figure  -  he was everything my father was not. He was a retired Canon of the Church of England, a lovely man, and on the back he had written "Fare Thee Well and Thank You".  Reading it again today it brought tears to my eyes.  I intend to take it to the next meeting of the Lotto Lunch Group  -  they are all there in the photos.

While I was still working there was a group of Allied Health Professionals who used to put in money every week and one of us would use it to buy a Lotto ticket.  When it first started up we won enough money to treat ourselves to a Christmas Breakfast after which, having consumed a certain quantity of champagne, we would do a tour of the Lodge singing Christmas Carols.  Later on the Lotteries Commission changed the rules and it became harder to win anything so we had to contribute towards breakfast ourselves.  We realised that it would have been cheaper to just buy ourselves a Christmas breakfast but that would have taken all the fun out of our wild weekly gamble.

When we started retiring we decided to meet every two months for lunch on which ever day most suited those still working and, nineteen years later we still meet for lunch six times every year.  The group has changed over time but is essentially the same and it is a great time to catch up and keep in touch.  The podiatrist in the group only retired last year after years of being the itch which made Management annoyed and he used to give us news of what was going on within the service but he still keeps in touch with some of the workers so we are kept up to date about the bureaucracy and all its works which go from bad to worse as the Health Department is taken over by administrators rather than by medical professionals.

I got out just in time.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

HTML and all its works

I have an extensive Web Site which I created many years ago when I first learnt to write HTML (Thank you Connie) but recently I have been unable to edit it due to changing times and my File Transfer protocol no longer works.  One day I will contact my Internet Provider and find out how to do it in these enlightened times when everything is harder and the Microsoft programmers think that they are doing us all a service.  I don't like CSS!!  HTML is a bit like making a cake -  you never know just how it is going to turn out until you have done all the work and cooked it  -  and it is fun.

However, enough of that. 

Some years ago when I started researching and writing my Slush Fund I conceived the idea of putting it into HTML format so that I could load it onto flash drives and give copies to my relatives, complete with links to navigate.  I set up a lot of pages all ready to go and even put the data into some of them but then I started on the Wills and decided to include them as some of them give interesting insights into the relationships between various members of my family and to  perhaps answer my brother's question "How did we get so much land?"  Of course, we didn't; my grandfather farmed the land of a brother and sister so that his holding looked much bigger than it was.

Having transcribed several Wills I turned my attention back to formatting them into HTML to add to the Slush Fund, only to find out that I had almost forgotten how to do it.  I still have all the 'how to' books, the templates for the Slush Fund pages and a basic memory of the tags but was not able to remember how to convert the formatted data into a web page.  I spent yesterday evening playing around with it and, with what I have already done over the years (thank you 'view source') I think that I am ready to get back to building up the Family History Pages  -  the stories which were never talked about and probably best forgotten.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Delusional Computers

I am now the Administrator and Queen of my computer and therefore am able to change settings although it still will not let me set it so that I do not have to sign in every time it puts itself to sleep but that is OK  -  I have set it to only go to sleep if I ignore it for four hours.  It is a bit wasteful, I know, but I am on and off it all day and I was finding it very irritating when it was set to go to sleep if I ignored it for 30 minutes.

Techie was very puzzled by the way it was behaving (he set it up but re-downloaded in a hurry after The Blue Screen Of Death) until he discovered that it was deluded into thinking that it had two screens.  He disconnected a cable which he had obviously neglected to do after he put Windows 10 onto a new computer for me  -  the hard drive of the old one was corrupted and refused to let Windows 10 download itself and now it is certainly behaving better than it did previously.

I have now put all the files and folders which I need to save into one folder and copied it onto a flash drive  which I intend to backup weekly so that in the event of another crash I will not lose more than one week's work.  It takes an extra step to get to them but at least they should be safe from possible annihilation in the future.  I am gradually going through what is there and removing anything which is no longer relevant  -  there are folders which I haven't used for five or six  years but which, since they were on my desktop in the computer's various earlier incarnations, have been carried down with the more relevant files.

I am still transcribing the Will of my Great Uncle RM and have had to turn off the automatic formatting which now seems to be the default setting  and is extremely irritating.  However, I have turned the spell checker on and it is slowly losing its mind over the legalese which it is having to contend with.  Words like apportionment, therefrom,  heretofore, stirpes, appurtenances, thereinbefore, donees and reversionary.

I have only got one page to go and then a two-page codicil after which I will start on my maternal grandfather's Will which, I suspect, was a collusion between his best friend (a lawyer) and my grandmother.  He had a stroke which knocked out most of his brain about three years before he died and since the Will was entirely reasonable I suspect that it was not questioned in regard to his state of mind at the time of creating and signing it. 

This whole exercise, if it provides no other benefit, is improving my touch typing no end.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How to Hate windows 10 in Six Easy Lessons 2.

My computer goes on first thing in the morning and it stays on usually all day but if I don't send it to sleep it does it all by itself and I was getting tired of having to sign in every time it went to sleep so I decided to change its settings.  Surprise, Surprise -  it told me that I was not the administrator and that I was not allowed to change the settings. 

Today I tried to pay my bills online but it refused to allow me to sign in at my bank so I decided to do an error check  -  not allowed.  I am not the administrator!

I emailed Techie a couple of days ago about the issue but heard nothing.  At the same time I emailed a friend to suggest meeting for coffee and got no reply to that either.  I mentioned the previous email to Techie when I emailed him again today and he did not receive that previous email so I am assuming that my friend did not receive my invitation to coffee.  And that was via Gmail ... !  I thought that Gmail was incorruptible

Techie will try to get here to have a look tomorrow afternoon but in the meantime one thing which I WAS allowed to do was to extend the time before the computer puts itself to sleep.  It now has to entertain itself for four hours before it is allowed to drop off.  And I paid my Bills via my Surface Pro 3 which also has Windows 10 loaded but has less data on it and works better.  I hadn't connected it to my printer and so was not able to save the receipts.   At some stage I might invest in a wireless printer.  There is no hurry but the upgraded version of the one I have is wireless and not at all expensive.  For what I want it will be more than adequate.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How Many Degrees of Separation Was That?

I am currently collaborating  with a genealogist HB who is researching his wife's family which connects with my Ex's family so we are researching a family which has no real blood connection to either of us.

The internet is a wonderful tool for researching families and there are great tools to do it. is busy connecting any families which have a common person so I tend to find that there are people on my tree which I am sure I didn't put there.  However, I have been doing this stuff for years so who knows?  I may have come across them earlier in my research and forgotten about them.

I try to keep things compact but the trouble is that the further back one goes the more the thing spreads  -  and they all had so many children.  I have over 800 distant cousins in America and Canada (not in my tree), descended from John Pidwell, the brother of my great great grandmother Rhoda Pidwell. He was a shoemaker who went to Canada, married into an influential family and made good.  He bought and stocked a ship and sent it from Newfoundland around Cape Horn to California where he sold the cargo and the ship.  His father signed his marriage register with a cross.  It seems that the enterprising ones emigrated.

A few years ago a half third cousin and I researched our common great great great grandfather in Wales; David Davies.  His son Edward Davies emigrated to Australia and all that either of us knew was that he set up a tannery on the Yarra River in Melbourne.  And we found him   -  and his three wives   My cousin was probably descended from the second wife and I am descended from the third.  The Davies family had a habit of multiple marriages and I think that we found most of what there was to find.  My cousin has been chasing ffrosts ever since.  He said that they were so easy to find online and had such extraordinary names.

David Davies' son and grandson were both called Edward so they became Ted the Tanner and Ed the architect to distinguish them.  The ffrosts are descended from Ted the Tanner while Ed the Architect was my great grandfather.

Both HB and my Davies cousin live in Victoria and I live in Western Australia so there is little chance that we will ever meet face to face.  As I said previously the internet is wonderful for genealogical research and I have met some really nice people whom I consider to be friends regardless of never having met them face to face.

I am still at a sticking point with one great great grandfather and have various theories about him.  I thought that I had found him and still have the file where I stored his information; born in Cornwell (tick) and born the right year (tick) according to his navy records, but the British Navy says that their man was with them for his whole life  -  although his record shows that he was in his 30s when he enlisted.   More to the point, though, I am unable to find any birth or baptismal records for anyone of that name being born anywhere in Cornwall.

So it is back to the drawing board.