Brief Update

Such a lot has happened. A brief summary, to be expanded later:

The trip across Oz with Dave was interrupted by news that one of my old Mentors, Mary Stewart had died in New Zealand. She was 91. I had been planning to fly over to visit her from Queensland, but now we had to hasten the journey in order to get to Brisbane in time to attend the funeral. We got to Brisbane just in time to get tickets on China Airline to fly out on the Friday in time for the funeral the next day.

In that time I came to the sudden conclusion that I wanted to pursue my earlier dream of being a grey nomad around Australia. I had considered doing the same in NZ but in the end I decided to return to Oz where my car was still waiting, buy a caravan and stay here a while longer. But this time as a free man (ie. unencumbered by employment).

I found a caravan I could afford and had its solar powered lighting upgraded to accommodate my CPAP machine, and the car rigged to connect to it for power and brakes. I set up at Kate’s place, the Parrots Hilton, for my shakedown cruise. Here I sorted once more through my stuff and either packed it into the caravan, or once more gave it away. Kate is looking after some of my art and artefacts.

Meantime I have sorted out the paperwork for my pension, and for collecting my Super. Just waiting for the money to appear in my bank account.

That’s the story so far.



I just completed my exit interview form. The penultimate question asked why I resigned and whether there was anything the Shire could have done to prevent my leaving.

My reply was:

I am old father William
And it has been said
If I continue to work
They should examine my head.

– with no apology to Lewis Carroll.


There are some wonderful sights here.  One appreciates them a little more once one knows one is leaving them behind.

The sky over Red Hills, Halls Creek, by Patrick Karena.
China Wall
China Wall, Halls Creek.


At 5 this morning in the early lightening dawn, the raucous call of kookaburras sidetracked me from sleep.  I awoke with a headache and very sore back and hips.

I have heard kookaburras several times here, in Halls Creek but I’ve only seen one once before.  Despite my aches and pains I grabbed the camera and came out for a look.  There were several calling, but only one was in view.  The light was poor and I had to wait for it to brighten a little before there was sufficient for the camera at last to focus.  I do not trust my own eyesight to focus manually with any accuracy any more.  Technology usually does a much better job.  The first shots were blurry as the camera vainly tried to distinguish the bird and the tree from the dim background of the sky.

Fortunately the bird seemed to be in no hurry to move on and sat surveying the scene around it long enough for the camera to finally grasp it, and outline it in yellow in my viewfinder.   Isn’t technology wonderful these days?

I then discovered I could transfer the photos from the camera to my MacBook via wifi.  More technological wonder.  What a time to be alive.

I made coffee, took my pills and retired for another hour or so sleep.  I awoke at 11:30 still aching and figured I had better phone in sick.

Despite the circumstances, capturing this noisy little bugger cheered me up.


Here is the kookaburra call, if you haven’t heard it before:


My last few shopping trips to Kununurra have been marred by the extreme discomfort caused by driving many hours, walking around the town and through the supermarket, loading and unloading bags of groceries, cases of UHT milk and cartons of sparkling mineral water, and generally putting more strain on my knees and back than I can cope with without distress.   I have been wearing the flattest footwear I own; sandals, but still I suffer sadly.

Since my new Skinner’s Footwear arrived, I have been wearing them instead.  The difference is dramatic.  I do not know why, but walking barefoot is so much less strain on my knees and back. Even the tiny amount of heel in my sandals makes a difference. Wearing the Skinners is just the same as walking barefoot.  My last grocery run was the first in quite a while that did not leave me almost in tears from pain.  With these on my feet I can get out and do a bit more walking.  At the end of the day I retired to my bed with the almost pleasant sensation of having exercised my muscles, rather than in debilitating pain.

It does feel – and it probably looks – a bit odd to be walking about only in what appear to be socks.  I went to the Kimberley hotel for lunch on Friday.  The bouncer took one look and tried to deny me admission.  “You can’t come in wearing only socks” he said.

I lifted my foot to show him the sole.  “These are not socks” I told him. “this is footwear for disabled people, and I am a disabled person”.


He gave me a disbelieving look and was clearly about to repeat that I could not come in but I looked him in the eye.  Something in my defiant expression must have registered, because he relented and waved me past.

Score one for crippled peoples’ rights.    I played the disabled card.  And why not?

I have been wearing these miracle socks everywhere.  Over rough stony ground, around the community and in town.  I can progress further and faster than I have been able to walk for a long time.  I don’t understand at all how the tiny difference in the angle of my ankles can make such a difference to my mobility or give me such relief from the debilitating discomfort and pain caused by mere perambulation and standing up, but I am grateful I have found footwear that allows me to get a bit more exercise without having to resort to extra doses of painkillers.

Last night I learned the answer to the question of whether they would be effective against the dreaded goat’s head thorn.

Goats Head Thorn

The answer is “partially”  The spike does get through the sole, but barely enough to prick the skin of the foot so I know it is there. Certainly not as painful or hard to extract as when I stand on them in bare feet.

So all up, a very positive review for this innovative and useful product.  Highly recommended for those who like to walk barefoot, but whose soles are too tender to cope with the terrain.  I can see they will make good beach or river shoes where the sand may be hot, or the river stones are slippery.

Find out more about Skinners here and try them for yourself.

Ghost in the Screen

Sitting here waiting for the page to load, the screen a white blank,  I notice a faint, fuzzy shadow move across from right to left.  I watched for a while as it traversed the screen then moved up and down.  Even now as I type the shadow meanders about.  It did not take long to figure out the cause. An insect is inside the monitor, wandering around on the back of the screen. It must be carrying a slight static charge, enough to affect the display.  Another phenomenon probably exclusive to the tropics.  but what to do about it?

Everything is going slow again.  I have used up my monthly quota of gigabytes with about a week to go.  I ran out last night in the middle of a not particularly worthwhile offering on Netflix.  It was almost a case of “Thank heavens. Now I don’t have to sit through the rest of this rubbish”.  I should have quit as soon as I had the gauge of the show.

I really need to be more discerning.  If I had bailed out sooner I might have been able to watch something else for a while.  There is actually quite a lot to choose from at present.

A very good western that is not quite what one might expect from the genre was “The Homesman”. Tommy Lee Jones emulates the darker side of the Coen Brothers quite effectively.  He can direct and act.  Not often I don’t foresee the plot twist these days.  That one took me by surprise.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was just as silly, and just as enjoyable as the first.  But then I think I may have a thing for gorgeous green girls.  Or am I thinking of frogs?

Speaking of green, I am pretty sure I have located Eric.  He was not here in the donga when I returned after the Christmas break.  However, it sure sounds like him under the house. I am pleased to hear him under there.  For one thing it means he is safe and happy, and for another it probably means I probably don’t have a snake.

The new clinic nurse, who recently moved in across the road does.  She found a shed snakeskin yesterday and has put me on alert to catch its owner when it next shows itself.  Happy to help.  I am not crawling under the house to find it though. It will have to come out.

I wouldn’t really mind having a snake around, but I don’t know if Zeus will be all macho if he sees one and try to catch it.  And the locals would want to kill it.

Anyway that was not what I was intending to write about.  The insect distracted me.

I shall start again.



It’s Happening

Slowly step by step…

This is going to happen more and more frequently.  In more and more places.

The coast is at risk.


Flooded house Kaiaua
mission Bay
Flooding at Mission Bay, Auckland

In the words of one climate change denier of my acquaintance “Last time I looked, Mission Bay is still there”.

Keep watching….