So the good news is…

All I have is the common cold.

The result came back negative, which is good. Like I said yesterday, it borders on impossible to get it when community transmission of COVID is zero. All of our COVID cases come from overseas travellers returning home, and in quarantine.

And, all the cases that came in a second wave in Victoria, and to a lesser extent New South Wales, were caused by a botched quarantine system where the people charged with keeping people in quarantine were letting them out to roam the streets, and mixing with them.

Of course, that’s been fixed now with members of the armed defence forces taking over, in a move that should have been done from the start. I doubt whether these obdurate returning people who knew before they left what would happen when they returned will run the gamut of armed soldiers.

I know what I would do if they tried.

But, the news is good, and plans for my funeral can go back on hold, and I will take the opportunity to rest more over the next few days.

Then it’s back to the renovations…

It’s funny what goes through your mind…

And odd too that we might think it ‘funny’, but the English language is littered with a great many ironic, and sometimes daft expressions.

But, I am beginning to understand what it’s like waiting for a result to a test that you don’t really want to know.

I imagine sitting in the doctor’s office after a phone call to say the results are in, you’re sitting there patiently waiting, and then he comes in, sits down, always with the poker face so you have no idea what he’s thinking, or about to say.

With COVID the death sentence comes as a phone call, and you get to sit in a room and wait. Here, once you get a test you go straight home and self quarantine until the result is known.

That won’t be until tomorrow.

Meanwhile the symptoms I have mirror that of a very bad cold. Runny nose, sore throat, aches and pains, very bad sinus that leads to a headache that ordinary paracetamol has no effect on.

Is it worse than yesterday, yes.

Am I having trouble breathing?

No, but sometimes it feels like I am. I know it’s the mind messing with me. Psychosomatic, I think the word is, that we will ourselves to believe something is true even if it isn’t.

Am I trying to convince myself I have COVID? Do I realise that in a state where there is either one or no new cases day in and day out, that it’s possible, not being in or near a hot spot that I could get it?

Improbably to impossible.

Yet here I sit thinking the worst, and not the best. Why is that?

Nevertheless, my mind then switches to the possibilities, that if it is my time, what is there left to do? A truck load of stuff. It’s too early to be checking out, that there’s a hundred and one things I have to get done.

OK, time for an attitude readjustment. In two days it will be my eldest granddaughters 17th birthday. To be honest, I don’t know where that 17 years went because the last time I think about it, she was 10 and we had taken her to London and Paris because I promised her I would.

Well, that’s it then, isn’t it. I don’t have COVID 19, I’ve just got a very bad cold. Down with the lemon drinks, the paracetamol for the aches and pains and stop mulling over death. Too soon, too much to do.

Let you know tomorrow what the result is.

Any other time…

I would not be worried, but…

We are being told, even when there is no major outbreak, or any new cases of COVID in the last few days, that we should get tested if we are showing even the slightest of symptoms.

I;ve got a runny nose.

I don’t have a scratchy throat.

I feel like I have a fever, but I’m not sure. You would think there’s be a thermometer in the house, since we often look after youngish children, but it isn’t where it was last, so I don’t know.

The COVID clinics that used to be open near us have all closed die to the lack of cases, so we don’t know where to go to get tested.

So, next point of call, call the doctor.

And, as if he is registering my panic, he calls me, but not in relation to COVID, but some blood tests, and a care plan, something we old people get once we’ve survived 65 years or more.

Something else to note, all of our medical care is free, doctors accept what is known as bulk billing, ie they accept what the governments pay them for visits. It’s not the same in other states, so this one is good.

We also get 5 free visits to either dietitians, physiotherapists, foot doctors, and the like, a year every year from now on.

Hospital, well, you need to have a secondary medical plan to pay all but $200 of your hospital stay no matter how long or which ward. Hospital care is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, so it’s a relief to know that the most I can pay in a year is $500, no matter how many times I go in, or stay.

But, the COVID test. The doctor says there’s a clinic at the local hospital, just down the road from us. Like everywhere in Australia, the tests are free, you just turn up and they test you.

Then you have to stay home until the result is delivered, usually within 24 hours. if you have it, well, I don’t know what happens next, perhaps men dressed in white suits arrive in an anonymous white van and take you away.

But we both have a symptom, and so we’re getting tested tomorrow. I’ll tell you then what happens in the clinic.

I think I can say quite safely I don’t have it, because I’m one of those in the critical category with a compromised immune system, and the reason why I have spent most of the last six months home, in hiding, and going out only when necessary. It’d be fate to get it on what is a one in 100 chance.

Still, if I do, my chances of survival are less that 20%, so, not that I do this very often, I will be saying a prayer, not just for me, but for everyone like me, because that bug we were told was no more than another strain of the flu, has killed 940,000 people worldwide, and it hasn’t finished yet, despite some very important people saying it will go away by itself.

It would be very bad luck after avoiding it for six months if…

No, lets not go there. Let’s be positive.

The 29th of February (Re-Blog of what I wrote earlier this year)

For three years this day doesn’t exist.

If fact, there are all manner of jokes that can and have been made about today.

Like, do people who are born on this day only have a birthday party once every four years, and, for a 20-year-old, you don’t look a day over 80!!

It seems to be a pivotal day, this year, for a variety of reasons.

The first, we’re sitting on the precipice of a worldwide health disaster brought on by something called the coronavirus.

And, no, I’m not talking about THAT brand of beer.

Some people are calling it a pandemic, some are saying its arrival in their country is inevitable, and others are saying it will not happen.

North Korea, of course, will be the only country that doesn’t have an outbreak.


It will be interesting to see what happens in America.

In Australia, we acknowledge its coming and are getting ready.   We’ve been rather good at keeping prests and bugs at bay for many years, but this one, this is a little trickier with its ease of transmission from carriers who don’t even know they have the virus.

But that’s probably the least of the problems.  With the financial markets in meltdown, we all sitting back and watching our retirement funds disappearing before our eyes.

This has happened before, fund managers ignoring the warnings and letting investors funds halve so that yesterday I had a million dollars and was looking comfortable in retirement, today, that’s only half a million, and not nearly enough.

And the markets are likely to sink lower as the fallout from the bug continues.

What happens when China (and Asia for that matter), where most of the world’s manufactured goods come from, completely come to a stop?

Panic buying, or panic in the streets?

I thought the Iran/America crisis was going to shut down the oil supply and cause problems.

It seems that a more simple problem, like a bug, is going to do a far better job of it.

And, what will the world be like next 29th of February in four years’ time?

PS  THe bug has done a great deal of damage, infected a lot of people (over 29 million, with 6.7 million in the USA alone), and shut down most of the world.

All one could say as to what the world might be like in four years’ time is, still trying to get out of debt. and,

Will Donald Trump be running for a third term (seems like yesterday he said he deserves one because the Democrats wrecked most of the first term)

Past conversations with my cat – 98


This is Chester.  He’s now over having the grandchildren staying with us.

As part of the COVIS 19 restrictions in place, the grandchildren cannot go to school.

However, because their parents are both working (which is very fortunate as so many others are not) they have asked us to look after them.

So, they arrive Sunday night, stay the whole week, and go back home on Friday.  It means they are homeschooling, so the internet is taking a beating, I have to feed them, morning tea, lunch. After school snack at three and then dinner.

Chicken nuggets, pies, and shoestring chips can only go so far, and, no, he does not like scraps from their plates.

And having to cater for four rather than two means a gentle shift in logistics.  More shopping for food, having to do the washing every day, tormenting the cat.

OK, that last part is where Chester comes in, or, rather, he stays hidden away.

Remember that phobia he has when the grandchildren are around?

Now they’re here semi-permanently, he’s in hiding, and coming out only for food and water.

And to let me know just how displeased he is.

He wants his domain back.

Pity I haven’t told him yet they’re going to be back next week.


In a word: Not

You will not go outside, you will not go to the movies.

The word not, when used by your parents when you are a child is the key in the lock keeping you from having fun.

It is the very definition of everything negative, and much harsher than just a plain no.

That you will ‘not…’ has been the gateway for many an exploit or adventure, because anything you have done contrary to the ‘not’ is all that much sweeter.

Until you get into trouble, but, then, isn’t that how you learn life’s lessons?

But if you are a programmer like me, not takes on a whole new meaning in a language like,

‘If not like …. then’

meaning in layman’s terms if something isn’t like a specific value then do something else.

Hang on, isn’t that a bit like reality?

This is not to be confused with the work Knot which is,

A blemish in a piece of wood

The speed of a ship, winds, and sometimes a plane

But basically,

Something you tie to keep your shoes on, or around your finger to remind you to tie your shoes before getting on the 36-knot high-speed ferry made of knotty wood.

It is also something you find in tangled hair and is very painful trying to remove it.

It is also an unpleasant tightness in body muscles and you need a masseuse to get rid of them.

It’s been a hard day

I’ve not had much time over the last few days to do anything other than renovations.

The last time we did some much needed renovations was 15 years ago, when the driver of the repairs was a very badly leaking patio which the original builders tried twice to fix it, and failed miserably.

I came to the conclusion that if anything, if you want something done properly, then you have to do it yourself.

Then, a look through the house brought to light a great many other problems that over the preceding years.

The list grew:

Rebuild the patio

Completely remove the kitchen and replace it

Completely remove the main bathroom, and replace it

Chang a rather strange split roof in the main bedroom and make a bigger space for the bed

Completely rebuild the walk in wardrobe

Add ducted air conditioning

Replace all the doors, and I mean ALL the doors

Replace all carpeted floors with tiles

Repaint all the walls, doors and windows

Replace the curtains on all windows

That took nearly a year to get done and made a huge difference to the house we owned, making it much more livable. 

Needless to say, tens of thousands of dollars later, it was done.

Now, 15 years later, there was a new list:

Build a carport

Refresh and re point the roof tiles

Have the brick exterior rendered, and change colours to black roof and cream walls

Add security shutters to all the windows

Completely re landscape the front garden

Dry wall the exposed interior brick walls, and close in the cathedral roof

Repaint the rooms with a lighter shade, namely Antique White

Repaint all doors and windows.

Renovate the kids bedrooms to now accommodate grandchildren

Replace curtains with Venetian blinds

Scrub the floor tiles, especially the grout

It’s been a long list, and a year or so in the doing, and I’m now down to the final painting, floor scrubbing, and we’re looking at new blinds.

Then I can get back to writing, which I have been missing terribly.

In a word: Land


And, yes, the simple description for this word is that area of the earth that isn’t covered by water.

It could also describe that little patch that my house is built on, and is generally covered by the expression, house and land as a package.

After all, a piece of land is not much used to you unless there’s a dwelling on it, or, on rare occasions, under it.  Does that mean then that land in this instance only as what you can see?

OK, now it’s getting confusing.

What if I wanted to live off the land.  A small patch will not do, in this case, is need a large area, perhaps thousands if hectares.

It is said that the Australian aborigines have lived off the land for thousands of years, with a nomadic lifestyle.

No small patch of land for them.

Now, what if I come down out of the sky. Oddly enough this means I have to land, even if I come back to earth over later.  It’s still a landing.

Now it’s getting interesting.

So what if you wanted to refer to where you live?  That would be your homeland or motherland, and it describes a country.

So it’s my patch, my country, any area where there isn’t water.  What about describing a country, say the land of the long white cloud, or the land of the rising sun?

And just to add to the confusion

I can land a fish

Make land, after being all at sea, and,

Best of all, land that much desired job.


I’m beginning to think it’s another one of those ‘four-letter words’

Have you ever…

Started to write a post, get so far, and another theme or idea slips in, and demands to be written first?

I’m on this nostalgia kick, simply because when I turned on the TV to catch up with the latest COVID news, it was on a channel that shows old movies.

In case you don’t realize it, I love old movies, not just those from Hollywood, but also from Britain.

What was on?

An American in Paris.

Well, it had to be one of my favorites, even though I’m not a great fan of Gene Kelly, the sheer majesty of the music more than makes up for the story in between.

Could it be said, then, this was from the golden years of Hollywood? Such bright and cheerful movies such as Singing in the Rain, and An American in Paris, perhaps exemplify the Hollywood musical.

Years before, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the quintessential musical stars, followed by the likes of Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin, and later Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. A couple of musicals, in particular, comes to mind, firstly the Wizard of Oz and then High Society.

Moving forward to more modern times, several stand out in the1960s, My Fair Lady and Sound of Music. By this time theatergoers were dining on the superb talents of Rogers and Hammerstein, and Learner and Lowe. Of the former, musicals such as Carousel, South Pacific, and The King and I were on my list of favorites.

Even later still in the 1970s, there is Funny Girl, and Hello Dolly, which has a connection to the past with its director, none other than, yes, Gene Kelly.

But it seems once the 60s had passed the notion of the Hollywood blockbuster musical had gone, and we were left with clip shows like That’s Entertainment, put together while Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire were still alive. WE still had the film versions of the stage plays, but the lustre had, somehow, gone.

Perhaps it will return, who knows, after all, everything old is usually new again, it just takes time to go full circle.

Let’s talk history

What happened yesterday is history, but that’s not necessarily how we view what is history and what isn’t.

Similarly what is and what isn’t history is usually decided on by academics, because history texts that are used in schools are not written by ‘the man in the street’ authors. They’re usually university types who specialise in a particular field, or specialise section of history.

Even then one doubts that what is written is not a consensus of a panel.

So, when we talk about re-writing history, that takes a very brave bunch of people who want to buck the norm.

Our history, that which was taught when I went to school,. about our own country, Australia, started in 1770. Some brave soul tried to say it began earlier than that, before Captain Cook and the British arrived, out up a flag pole, and declared it belonged to Britain, like in 1606 when the Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon landed on the Cape York peninsula, only it wasn’t called that then.

And he might have been as surprised as Captain Cook that there were people here to observe their arrival. Yes, people had been living in this country for tens of thousands of years before the Europeans arrived.

But that was not what we were taught. No, Captain Cook, 1770, the a fleet of ships in 1788, and off we run as a new country, and a dumping ground for Britain’s convicts. Our history starts there, and then meanders through time, dividing the country up into states, having famous explorers like Burke and Wills, and Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson, Hume and Hovell.

And we commemorate all these people and those who were in charge over the years, with names of states, cities, rivers, mountains, everything under the sun. You’ve only got to glance at the list of hundreds of these forefathers and explorers to see just how many places in this country were named after them.

No heed was taken of what they may have been called before because no one really understood the languages of the first people who lived here. And they never seem to rate as a matter of study for us children back then.

Now, as people have begun to realise our history goes way, way back, and that there should be a nod to those inhabitants, they are considering re-writing some of our history to incorporate these people. And change the names of places to their original. A famous instance of recent renaming is of Ayers Rock, now called Uluru.

Even then, Australian History didn’t rate very highly, and I have to say, as a child at school 50 odd years ago, I learned more about the British Empire/Commonwealth, and about the English kings and queens, than we did about our own Governor Generals, Prime Ministers and State Premiers.

Could I tell you the name of our first Prime Minister? No. I can say when Australia became Australia, yes. 1901. Can I tell you the first King of England? Yes, William the Conqueror in 1066. There were kings before that but they only ruled of parts of England.

But over the years since I have read the odd book of Australian History but for some reason it never quite seems as colourful or as interesting as that of England or Scotland, or even some of the European countries.

Now, since I’ve been reading about what’s happening in the United States I have begin to take an interest in American history, and it, too, seems to suffer the same problems we have with ours, a bunch of academics decided what it was, and what it would not include, and then there is this thing called the 1619 project.

Wow, that seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest.

Can’t wait to see what happens next.