Tonight – El Caballo Resort

Mad, impetuous fools that we are, we are heading up to Wooroloo and El Caballo Resort for an outdoor musical extravaganza.

The show is entitled Simply The Best and is an evening of tribute acts and the line up goes like this …..

Roy Orbison Show                                                            4.00pm – 5.00pm
Johnny Cash & June Carter Show                               5.00pm – 5.20pm
The Beatles Show                                                              5.30pm – 6.30pm
Elvis Presley Show                                                           6.30pm – 6.50pm
Creedence Clearwater Revival Show                            7:30pm – 8.30pm
Marylyn Monroe Show                                                   8.30pm – 8.45pm
Tina Turner Show                                                           9.00pm – 10.30pm

We will either have a fabulous time or it will be a monumental disaster. Only time will tell.

Its Warm

Yes, it’s warm. Temps have been in the high twenties thru mid thirties with more of the same forecast. I know this isn’t what friends and family back home want to hear as they prepare for more high winds, snow and a possible white Christmas.

Just to rub a little salt in the wounds I thought I would let you all know that we have been spending quite a bit of time in the pool, alternating with visits to local hostelries where they are serving well chilled beers. Actually chilled beer is available at poolside too ….

Chillin in the pool

And when relaxing in the pool gets just a tad too much there is always the hot tub ….

Just add vegetables … !!!

As I said we have been visiting various hostelries to sample both the chilled beer and tasty seafood. Here you can see some of the locals indicating their approval of the local cuisine …

Fine Dining Critics – Discussing the finer points of the Beer Battered Squid

We visited The Boat restaurant, up at Mindarie. where we had possibly the tenderest squid served in a lemon pepper coating. Once again I succumbed to the call of Little creatures and had a pint of their draught Pale Ale while the others partook of a local cider.

The restaurant is right alongside the quay within the marina with a fine view of some nice properties …

Mindarie Marina Properties

…. complete with moorings.

While promenading, and drooling over some rather nice gin palaces, I spotted this craft sitting idle …

Fishful Thinking – Mindarie Marina

When you consider the current exchange rates $55k is a steal. So, if I blow my pension on this, all I have to do is acquire a nice waterside property where I can park it. Then it’s look out fishies, here I come.

I have just been advised that, should I blow my pension on this boat, it would probably become my home. So I guess that’s another dream shot down in flames.

Oh well, back to the 32 degC temperature and another beer by the pool then.

Early Days

So,  here we are down under. Must be an age thing but I think the journey has taken more out of me than usual.
We flew Cathay Pacific and the service and comfort was very good. But thirty plus hours of travel and wakefulness has taken its toll.

We have spent time relaxing by, and in, the pool. Soaking up a few rays. Temperatures have been up in the thirties, centigrade that is.

On Friday we trundled down to Fremantle, for a mooch around the fishing harbour, which is always lively and interesting.
After a gentle stroll in the sunshine what could be better than a long cool pint of beer.  And where better than the Little Creatures Brewery . We have been visiting them since they opened. The beer is excellent and the food very good too, although we weren’t eating there this time.

Dinner was reserved for Kailis’ Fish Market Café Fremantle. Here, we had superb Snapper Fillets with Chips.

Saturday was very hot and, apart from a run to the bottle shop, the day was spent in and around the pool.

On Sunday we took a run up to Lake Leschenaultia


where we had a pleasant walk with an ice cream and watched the kids enjoying themselves swimming and kayaking..


Today has been spent, once again, in and around the pool although on this occasion my granddaughter gave me a thorough workout playing a cross between water polo, basketball and football.  Most importantly she beat me eight to five.

Adventures in the Antipodes

Grand title. Hopefully I will find something of interest to back it up.

My wife and I have begun a holiday in WA (Western Australia). So, for the next few weeks my posts will be centred around Perth. We are planning to take a trip down south, perhaps taking in Esperance, Albany, Augusta and Margaret River.

We have been down there before but we hope to spend a bit more time and explore the area.

Then later on we are intending to head up north.

We have previously visited Geraldton, Denham and Monkey Mia to see the dolphins. But the intention is to go further up, possibly as far as Broome.

This will be the first of, we hope, many trips down under. Now we are retired we have the freedom to take off for as long as we like.

Originally I had thought we could do a complete circumnavigation of Australia. Prudence has taken over and the plan is to make several, more focused trips.

WA first, then perhaps Victoria based around Melbourne so we can take in the F1 Grand Prix or perhaps the tennis. After that, maybe we’ll head up  to Darwin or Cairns, not forgetting the Red Centre Uluru and Alice Springs.

Lots planned for the future as long as mind, body and bank account hold up.

We only arrived in Perth about ten hours ago. Jet-lag has forced me up after just over four hours sleep. Not much of a battery recharge having been up and mostly awake for the previous thirty hours, or so.

So, after a short scene setter, I’ll  sign off. Back soon with more words and, hopefully some interesting photos.

Conservatory Re-Build – The Latest

Sorry I haven’t posted recently. The good news is that the rebuild has been completed. Sadly the last few bits and pieces needed to seal the completion took much longer than either we or Executive would have liked. The main issue was with getting hold of some of the trades folk, breaking them out from their new big projects to carry out our itty bitty ones.

So here is a reminder of where we were back in July …..

The Old Conservatory - External View
The Old Conservatory – External View

The old conservatory was beset with problems pretty much from the get go. The Self Fit, the build company, went bust before it was completed. Last works were carried out under the supervision of the Official Receiver. What this meant was that we had no ability to approach the builder for all of the subsequent issues that developed. The 10 Year Warranty never materialised and would not have been worth the paper it was written on. After construction, over the next 25 years, the conservatory slowly subsided in one corner, the one nearest in the photo. The whole structure slowly moved away from the house. All this movement caused leaks to appear, disappear, reappear. Leaks that ranged from small weeps to full on waterfalls. I replaced the flashing and then applied triple overlapping flashing which seemed to pretty much seal the join with the house. We still had leaks along the outermost wall. The patio doors were so out of kilter that for the last two years they had been sealed around with gaffer tape because you could see daylight around the rubber seals. The multi point locking system was pretty much defunct. I had lashed the door handles together using 80lb strain fishing line.

Anyway, that is all past history as we have a nice shiny new conservatory …..

Conservatory - External View
Conservatory – External View

Of course we still have to sort out the garden. The wilderness we laughingly called a lawn was pretty much trashed by all the workers feet and the digger brought in to dig out the footings as well as storage of all the raw materials. As the saying goes, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. The garden is a the project for next year and I’m sure much of the grass will have grown back by the time we get started in the spring. In our climate, unless we have a real hard winter, our grass never stops growing.

Here is a view of the interior of the old conservatory …. minus carpets and most of the furniture …

Old Conservatory - Interior
Old Conservatory – Interior

And here is a view of the interior of the new conservatory ….

Conservatory - Interior
Conservatory – Interior

Nice shiny tiled floor which is actually level, unlike the old one. So to compensate we bought furniture with wonky legs.

Conservatory - Interior
Conservatory – Interior

Just look at how much extra light we are getting even on a autumnal sunny day.

Conservatory - Interior looking out
Conservatory – Interior looking out

We are spending so much more time sitting in our new room. We made a lot of use of our old conservatory, and I know there is a novelty element, but the new room is so much more inviting and more comfortable as there are no drafts.

Every day this is the venue for our morning cuppa and quite often where we have lunch.

Conservatory - Outside looking in
Conservatory – Outside looking in

Having clear glazing for the roof means I spend quite a bit of time just watching the clouds scudding overhead or the trees swaying in the wind. Very relaxing.

I’d like to offer my thanks to our neighbours for their patience and tolerance while we created noise and  dust during the build. For allowing the various contractors to park their vans on their drive, and they even allowed us to take down their fence to give access for the mechanical digger.

I have enjoyed the whole process of knocking down the old conservatory and watching the new one grow, somewhat like the phoenix rising from the ashes. I know that my wife has not enjoyed the experience. All she could see was a mess but it has all been worth it to see the smiles now.

Now its time for us to enjoy, looking forward to spring and summer next year to make full use of the bifold doors and the deck.

So I would like to say a huge thank you to Executive Windows for such a brilliant job.

Thank You

Westfield Police House | East Sussex | People | Places | West Sussex | Transport | Brighton | Police history | History | The Old Police Cells Museum

After a recent conversation with a friend, during which she said how she and her mum had been looking at her childhood home using the Google street view application, I thought I would have a nose around myself.

I thought I would share some of the memories stirred up by my nosing.

My dad was a policeman and back in the day it was the norm for officers to be moved around every couple of years.

My earliest memories are of us living in Lewes, Sussex. But then we upped sticks and moved to Westfield, where dad became the village bobby.

Obviously our history is relatively recent but during my street view rambling I came across this post

This was a police house dating from at least 1922 and was also known as Westfield Police Station, the house where I lived during my pre-teens.

It’s a private house now and, externally at least, seems to have reverted back to its original form.

When I knew it, there was a flat roofed extension to the side, with it’s own entrance but was also linked inside. Dads slippers used to sit, on watch,by that adjoining door, waiting for him to come off duty when they would be replaced by a pair of black boots. That is unless Honey, our Corgi, hadn’t stolen away with one of the slippers to her bed in the kitchen. There she used to lick the insides until nice and slimy. Whoe betide anyone foolish enough to put their hand in to try and retrieve the hapless slipper. Corgi’s have sharp teeth.

This was the police station from which my dad worked. There was just room enough inside for a large desk and chair. I remember there being several shelves of files and log books and a cupboard in which dad used to put his police bike and also kept the hand-cranked siren.

Also on the shelves was a mysterious grey electrical box, like a loudspeaker. It had a single control which turned it on and controlled the volume. Every so often dad would turn it on and it would emit a slow steady tick. On occasions the ticking would be replaced by a warbling tone. I subsequently found out that this was part of the national air raid siren system which would be implemented during a nuclear attack. This was my dad’s role if the “four minute warning” was sounded. He would receive a signal through the mysterious box, drag the siren out of the cupboard and crank it up to warn the village of its imminent demise.

What the villagers would have done we can only surmise.

I am pretty sure there would have been a few saying “What the fuck’s that? ”

My years here were quite enlightening. The garden behind the house was over 100 feet long, long enough for me to practice beach casting. I had been given a fishing rod for my ninth birthday.

Slowly over time dad turned our back garden into a smallholding.

Starting with the fruit he planted blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes. We had brambles growing down the side of the plot so always had a plentiful supply of blackberries. We also had a couple of apple trees. Mum turned all that lovely fruit into jams, pies and crumbles, my favourite.

On the veggie front, Dad planted runner and broad beans, potatoes, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, curly kale, sweetcorn and artichokes.

Then there were the chickens. First we had a half dozen or so running around in a large pen. This was soon supplemented by a hen house to protect them from the foxes.

As the supply of eggs grew so did the number of chooks.  Dad even experimented for a while with  battery hens.

Needless to say we kids had plenty to eat and we were encouraged to join in with looking after the chooks, collecting eggs, harvesting fruit and veg and helping in the kitchen.

Our collection of birds increased when dad acquired six geese. Initially they were allowed to roam on the lawn, free effortless grass cutting.
With such close proximity to the house the birds were treated like pets and were given names. Charlie was the gander and the members of his harem were Ethel, Gerty, Snowy and two others whose names escape me.

However,  anyone who knows geese also knows that what goes in is matched by lots of goose poo. Well the geese were soon relegated to their own personal pound at the bottom of the garden. We would occasionally collect goose eggs and everyone took it in turns to have one of those treasures.

It was inevitable, but one Christmas it was decided that we would have goose. Well Ethel was volunteered, executed, plucked drawn and duly cooked. All was fine until Mum sat down to her plated meal, whereupon she wailed “I can’t eat Ethel”.

From that point on we had five pet geese. Sadly that number dropped to four when Snowy became broody and was sitting on her egg(s), wouldn’t eat and died.

Another goosy memory was having to put them to bed at night. This became my job whenever Dad was on nights. Have you ever tried herding geese? Also can you imagine a skinny 10 or 11 year old having to face down an angry gander. A gander that has reared up to his full height, wings spread to their full six foot span and with his neck fully extended, hissing like a nest of vipers. Then in the morning letting them out again. Charlie, the gander, used launch himself out as soon as the door opened wings spread, honking for all he was worth, quickly joined by the girls all joining in the chorus.

Fond memories now but not considered a high point by me at the time. But I learnt about gardening, keeping chickens and that getting food on the table isn’t always pleasant or easy. I don’t recall ever being bored, there was always something to do.

Now I am in my sixties I do hanker after those quieter more genteel times. But now I have arrived in the new century I sure would miss the technology. If only the pace of life would slow down. I guess that is what retirement is for.

If only the rest of the world would slow down too.

Ex Communication

I have just had one of those life enhancing moments in time, a long phone conversation with the BT customer support call centre.

Now, I’m not about to launch into one of those “kept me waiting for ages, … overseas call centre, …. couldn’t understand me, …. couldn’t understand a word they were saying” wrants.

In fact my call was answered after only a few minutes, not bad.

The call was answered by a delightful Asian lady and we understood each other perfectly at an English language level.

The issue I have is that the technicalities of the call were resolved, but the resolution was wholly unnecessary.

Let me explain.

For the last many years, maybe  twenty, my email provider has been Which, the consumer watchdog. They were our original Internet service provider. Many years ago I switched to BT as my isp but kept the Which e-mail ID.

All was fine until a couple of years ago I had to change the e-mail settings. Nothing too complex, just the POP settings for the outgoing smtp server. Instead of mail.which. net I had to use mail.btinternet. com

Along with this I had to provide my BT id and password.

Once again all was fine until yesterday.

The first I knew that there was a problem was when my wife uttered the words “I can’t send emails ”

I did all the usual things…

Asked her what she had changed.

Checked her Ipad, I have an immense distrust of those devices. But that is a whole new blog page. The message she was getting indicated a problem with the mail server password.

Tried sending a test email from my Android phone. Same response. Password needed for the outgoing mail server.

Same thing with my laptop and so on.

I tried editing and confirming the password on each of the devices, no joy.

I also thinking I was being smart, tried to check my btinternet email. Perhaps they had sent a message to me.

At this point I began to get an inkling of what the problem might be. On attempting to log in I received a message telling me my email had been deactivated on the 20th September and that it would be permanently deleted if I didn’t request reactivation “in days”. Nope, that isn’t a typing error. They didn’t stipulate any number of days.

After a failed attempt at reactivating the email account I had to resort to the phone which brings me to here.

The pleasant lady asked me all the usual security questions.

I explained my problem.

She explained that as I wasn’t using BTs email that she couldn’t help me.

I re-explained the problem emphasising the error messages requiring the BT mail server password.

I was put on hold, having to suffer awful music of dubious sound quality through my low spec handset.

On her return she offered to reset the password for my defunct BT email and walked me through logging in. The result was just the same. I was presented with the same error message.

Once again she informed me it was down to my usage of a non BT email tool.

When I pointed out that users of Outlook would experience the same issues she put me on hold again.

On her return I was informed that since my BT email was permanently deleted I would need to set up a new one.

That once I had the new ID I could try sending emails again.

I agreed to give this a try but protested that this was unacceptable. An arbitrary action by BT was going to cause me to have to update all our devices.

So, she walked me through the new ID procedure.  Once completed the system informs me that it could take up to thirty minutes for the ID to become active.

We agree that she will call me back tomorrow at the same time to see how I got on. Her parting words to me were that I should phone Which to determine if anything had changed at their end.

The good news is that within minutes of setting up the new ID I was sending emails.

The net of this is that BT broadband is set up such that you get full use of their service as long as you keep your email ID active even if you don’t use it for emails.

The question I have to ask tomorrow is

“How long before this happens again? “