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.

In a word: Mark

A teacher will mark a test in order to give the student a mark out of 100.  Yes, to mark a test means to ascertain right and wrong answers and score it accordingly, and getting a mark out of 100 could determine a great many different outcomes at school.

Whereas a mark on your clothes could mean you’ve been playing with fire, rolled in the mud or if much older having a salacious affair with an unexplainable lipstick mark on your collar.

A mark is someone that a con man believes will be easily deceived.

A mark is a catch in certain types of football.

You can have an identifying mark on some item of property.

it’s literally the x marks the spot for someone who cannot write, i.e. make your mark

There can be a mark on a rope that indicates the depth of water.

And many, many more…

But not to be confused with marque, which could be the make or model of a particular type of car

Or marc with is the refuse of grapes after being pressed


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.

There are so many things I haven’t done

Does it really matter, you ask?

Perhaps not, but now seems to be an appropriate time, past the age of 65, to take stock.

We have achieved a lot in the last 15 or so years once the children had grown up and could look after themselves.

Unlike a lot of more modern couples who are doing the traveling in their 20’s and 30’s then having children, we chose to do it the other way around.

To me, it seemed easier to deal with teenagers when we were in our 40’s rather than our 60’s.  With the benefit of hindsight, I can truthfully say we were right.

We were older and wiser when we traveled and more aware of the dangers around us, sometimes overlooked or ignored by a youthful devil may care attitude.

But, in saying that ….

No, I don’t think I’ll be getting to see Mt Kilimanjaro, observing the wild animals in the Serengeti, climbing Mt Everest, or seeing the ancient pyramids.

Which is a sad state of affairs given the world has changed so much in recent years and has pretty much ruled out going to a lot of places, and in particular, the middle east, and because of COVID 19, just about everywhere else.

But, if it is ever possible before I die, I still want to go to the Greek Islands, and, Santorini is at the top of my travel bucket list.

We’ve been to London.  We’ve been to Paris and Euro Disney.  We’ve been to Rome and seen the ancient ruins.  We’ve been to Vienna, Schonbrunn Palace, and, particularly for us, a visit to Swarovski crystal world, near Innsbruck, we’ve been to Salzburg, and been on the Sound of Music tour.

We’ve been to Florence and loved it, we’ve been to Venice and loved that too, and we’ve spent a few days in the heart of Tuscany, and want to go back for longer, much longer.

In fact, that’s the second item on the travel bucket list.

We’ve also been to Singapore and Hong Kong, at first out of necessity as an airline stopover, but then we went back to see the city and tourist, and non-tourist attractions.

I will not forget staying at the Hong Kong Conrad hotel as a Diamond Hhonors member.  Oh, the memories.

We’ve also stayed on the French Riviera, in a timeshare apartment in Antibes where every morning when out back you had a view of the shimmering Mediterranean if the sun was out.

Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, the billionaire’s yachts in Antibes harbor, Monte Carlo and ‘that’ casino, taking the same drive along the coast as Grace Kelly did in To Catch a Thief, and feeling like James Bond arriving for a new adventure, minus the half-million-dollar sports car.

But, now, crashing back to earth with a very hard thump ….

Travel in the future is looking difficult for both of us, not only financially but from a health aspect.  We are both not as sprightly as we used to be.

Yet given the restraints and if it is at all possible, aside from the Greek Islands and Tuscany, the next items on the list are:

Germany, visiting both Berlin, from a cold war aspect, the Brandenburg gate springs to mind, and Munich at the time of the Octoberfest.  As a beer drinker that is also high on the bucket list.

Scotland, more so since we’ve started watching Outlander, and besides being a beer drinker, I am also partial to a good Single Malt, the Whiskey trail.

Ireland, because my wife’s previous name was Murphy and at some point, in the long distant past some relatives emigrated to Australia, and she would like to visit the country of her forebears.

But with the current state of the world, our health issues, and that all-important requisite money, or the lack of it, perhaps it’s time to visit other parts of our own country.

Perhaps it’s time to do a culinary trip, particularly down south.  It’s practical and achievable and safe.

And it’s a big country.

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.

The march of progress inevitably destroys the past.

There is this thing called the march of progress.

It can be good, or it can be bad.

But the inevitability of it means that we have to destroy our past in order to build for the future.  It’s a pity no one back around a hundred years ago worked out that a certain amount of land needed to be set aside for future infrastructure, and then build around it.

The pity of it is that those same practices are with us now, and unfortunately either the infrastructure is too costly to build because of the necessity to buy back, and it will never change.  No one, sadly, is thinking of the future.

So, all I have of my childhood years, some fifty to sixty years ago is memories, and when I go, they will be lost forever.

I remember, a long time ago now, the many holidays I spent at my grandmother’s place in the ‘country’.  Back then it was.

Now it is just another suburb of Melbourne.

I remember the drive, and it used to take about half an hour, perhaps longer, and as we travelled, it was mostly the countryside we saw.  Little towns like Beaconsfield, Officer, Berwick, oases in the middle of farming land.

The last time I went for that same drive, there was endless houses.

My grandmother’s house was very large, and the land it was built on, extensive.  There used to be gardens, several garages, a number of old cars, and a huge workshop.

My brother and I used to spend our Christmases exploring, and on a particular one, found some tools and decided to recover some of it.

We found a huge fountain buried beneath the overgrowth, the centrepiece a statue part of what must have been a remarkable display.

It was like we had our own secret garden.

There was also a fernery, also overgrown.

Now, sadly, all of it is gone, and in its place a multilane highway that follows an alternate coastal route between Melbourne and Sydney.

All I have left is the memories of a time that will never return.

Perhaps it’s time to write it all down, and preserve it for future generations.

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.