Blogging the 2010s — 37 — April 2014

In which I had some hi-tech heart checks, that came out OK! Chose this post very much for the opening note about my Dad.

Developers, lurk merchants, Hawkeye and bangers and mash

I have a delicious feeling of schadenfreude as I read about the Liberal Party’s lurk merchants being caught out by ICAC at the moment – and it is purely personal. It goes back fifty years or so to a time when my father was trying to be a land developer in a pioneering unit project in an abandoned quarry. In fact I named the project. I am being deliberately vague as the project – still with the name I gave it – is now a Sydney suburb. The upshot is that the whole thing sent my father broke and crushed him so that he never really recovered. I left university for a year and became for a time the family breadwinner. The project had been bankrolled, in addition to my father’s small equity, by lurk merchants in the Liberal Party – except that my father didn’t realise what they were until he pinged a piece of gross dishonesty in the prospectus they had published for the project. My father then fell on his sword rather than be involved in lurk merchantry – which he despised.

My point is that corruption and dishonesty are not new in the Liberal Party. Of course one only has to say Askin to recall the more spectacular lurk merchantry of a time not long after my father’s devastating experience.

On another aspect of that side of politics, and then I promise to leave it alone. I really did savour this: it is linked to the story, which is about terminal idiocy rather than corruption:


Here is Hawkeye:

The same model as they have at Wollongong Hospital. Fortunately it finished with me by about 1pm, so I hotfooted – or rather hotbussed— to the Diggers Club for bangers and mash, which somehow seems appropriate after a heart scan.


And very tasty it was too!

I don’t get the test results until Friday, mind. But the signs appear good so far.

Blogging the 2010s — 24 — March 2011

This was a memorable month! And I haven’t smoked since!

Old friends



M and Sirdan – just on one year ago. M is off to the USA for a holiday soon.

Photo taken in the much missed Chinese Whisper on Crown Street Surry Hills.

Where I am right now…


Wollongong Hospital after a small heart attack… I’ll be here a little while yet.

Next morning–waiting for breakfast

Still here and needing a shave, but this pic from Baby Toshiba’s webcam looks a bit less like a death mask! Smile  Baby Toshiba is in hospital too now, Thanks, Sirdan, for coming down yesterday and fetching some things for me!


That’s the portable heart monitor.

From the cardiac social club…

Two fellow-members. Very good company both.


What I experienced yesterday

… in a room like this.

Where they did this, except with mine they entered through the wrist.

Return to The Bates Motel



Last month, and December 2001

Here’s a summary of the top places this blog reached (for whatever reasons) in November 2019.

Screenshot (343)

Pretty modest really, but last month was up on October.

Now of course I am an Ancient Mariner of blogging, in proof whereof let us revisit December 2001 — except for some embarrassing bits. (If you want to see them they are there at that Internet Archive link!)

1 December: World AIDS Day: Stay safe and avoid complacency

Having said that, I mention that Ian Smith had some good news about a sometime Yum Cha friend whose recent visit to hospital caused much concern.

I reread December 2000 Diary (see Diary Key Page), and find it hard to credit the twelve months that have passed. One cryptic entry there is now cryptic for me too, as I do not recall what it referred to!

I have made additions both to the Gateway Page and to the page on Asylum Seekers. You will note a change to the subtitles of the Gateway Page, and alterations in my favourites. In its cryptic way, the third one is a tribute to the true highlight of my 2001. To which I just add: thank you, thank you, thank you!!! It continues to mean more to me than I can possibly say.

I don’t think I will have a problem recognising the reference there in twelve months time, assuming I am still on the planet. George Harrison, let it be remembered, was only six months older than I.

I am told George was an 80-a-day person.

I am pleased to report that despite a rather large number of hairy moments with withdrawal symptoms, I am still on track. The number of cigarettes is still zero. I feel the support of those who love me or care about me, and also value the good folk on Quitnet.

I promise to cease being boring on the subject of smoking in due course. Meanwhile, tracking my progress in public like this actually helps.

As I have said before, It took another TEN years before I finally gave up smoking!

6 December: Calmer…but not yet tranquil

Beware of a man giving up smoking, especially in the first week or two thereof. Do not confront him with sudden change or with anything that might tip his delicate balance. The result can be messy.

Friends need to be especially tolerant of aberrant behaviour. If they have supported the man in his project of giving up, they may be regretting their decison right now. They may be tempted to say “Please, start smoking again! We can’t stand this!” Do not give in to the temptation, but think of your friend’s better moments or track record over time, and remember that before long your friend will reappear as you remember him, and not as the writhing obsessive you see right now.

Yes, a good night’s sleep has helped. But I still need to be treated with delicacy… And on the subject of sleep, I blamed the 3-4 hours only I had on Tuesday night on two things: racing thoughts and leaving a patch on. Quitnet offers this on the latter: “Sleep disturbance almost always occurs in people who use the twenty four hour patch. Since your mind is unaccustomed to receiving nicotine while asleep, it can cause strange effects, including vivid, colorful dreams and difficulty sleeping.”

My best wishes to you all 🙂


10 December: Looking back over the week…and quite a busy day

I have found myself is the extremely odd position, as someone who was terrified of computers even until late 1999, that I am increasingly regarded by the English Department at my school as something of an IT expert. I actually did talk to a real one tonight, Malcolm, about some issues regarding our school LAN, and this may lead to a new perception of me at large! The Librarian is still amazed at the (rather easy) accomplishment of being able to tell her which kids have loaded games onto the Library machines and when!

Malcolm yesterday awarded his Quality Sustained Evil Award for 2001 (10 out of 10 score) to one of our fellow-diners. I can only concur!

Should my knickers get particularly into a knot in future, just say “Thumbelina” to me. If that doesn’t work, shoot me.

Over the past week one plus has been learning that I have some very remarkable friends that I need to treasure carefully. I have also found my feelings to be truly deep, and learned that needs to be husbanded carefully too–with an eye to the good of all involved. Wise but cryptic tonight, but one day all may be revealed. Not now though. I am very happy though, in the event… And so I bloody well should be.

15 December: My brother.

My brother and his partner have been living in Tasmania for many years now; I am not quite sure how many, but certainly more than five. Before that they lived in various parts of Queensland.

One of the ironies of their life together was that they were both married on the same day in Sutherland, way back in 1955, but in two different churches and to two different people. My brother’s first marriage lasted ten years, and it was after the end of that that he and Norma got together. I remember once saying to them that they could have saved a lot of trouble by getting it right on that day back in 1955, to which my brother replied, “Oh well, we still celebrate our wedding anniversary.”

While my brother and I have been in regular contact by phone, especially since our mother died 1n 1996, I have not seen him for many years, and Norma even longer. Unfortunately there is no way I can go down to Tasmania either, not that I could do much.

Ian and Norma were together for over thirty years. A second attempt at partnership suited both of them. They were kindred spirits, and were very lucky to have found each other. In the past few years Norma was basically bedridden, constantly on oxygen for her emphysema. My brother could not have been more loving and more devoted. He certainly had more peace and happiness with Norma over the greater part of thirty years than he had ever had before.

He’s not a young man now; neither of us is. I am not sure what he will do eventually–stay in Tasmania or move back up north. At one time he said he might move back to Queensland, should anything happen to Norma.

My brother had four children by his first marriage, some of whom I see from time to time. Norma had at least one daughter, whom I met, by her first marriage. Ian and Norma had no children by their relationship.

And yes, I won’t harp on it, but Benson and Hedges had a hand in Norma’s suffering and death.


The deep blue skies wax dusky and the tall green trees grow dim
The sward beneath me seems to heave and fall
And sickly, smoky shadows through the sleepy sunlight swim
And on the very sun’s face weave their pall

Let me slumber in the hollow where the wattle blossoms wave
With never stone or rail to fence my bed
Should the sturdy station children pull the bush flowers on my grave
I may chance to hear them romping overhead.

–Adam Lindsay Gordon

And finally:

23 December: Almost Christmas

Yes, so close, but I still haven’t done my cards! Looks like I will be making a few phone calls, sending email or ICQ, visiting some (hopefully) and, a last resort, sending late cards.

Yesterday I went to the Green Park Hotel with Sirdan; in time PK, James, Sailor A, and a number of others, joined us. PK gave me a very nice bottle of whisky.

Today is another Christmas gathering at the Forresters Hotel, and it would appear quite a few are coming to that. The gathering there a couple of weeks ago was very pleasant indeed.

I received a lovely card from “Master Fu”, an ex-student (class of 2000) who has been doing well in Advanced Mathematics at Sydney University. He has a delightful way of expressing himself:

There are many thanks for many things, none of them comes easily with words, for gratitude is the heart’s memory: thank you for everything you have done. Yours, Xiang

Really nice.

If yours is a family Christmas today, have a really good one; treasure those times, as they do pass.



The Forresters offered T-bone and mash as their $5 grill today, and it is so long since I have indulged in something so decadently Western; it was delicious. Company comprised Sirdan, James, Malcolm, the Empress, Bruce, Sailor A, Dark Cloud (a rare manifestation) and myself.

Still around…

My niece Christine contacted me yesterday, concerned that she hadn’t seen me on Facebook lately. I had in fact posted several items the day before! But I do indeed tend to repost items from media, my blog, and fellow-bloggers on my feed — though not randomly — which makes me suspect the issue with my niece has been the 2018 changes to the Facebook algorithm.

The other thing is that I am no longer on the internet from home, preferring free connection whenever I can find it — as here at City Diggers, for example.


I did also have a food-poisoning attack Tuesday night through Wednesday — thanks to some dodgy Primo sliced English ham — and didn’t venture out until Thursday, and then mainly to post my footy tips at Steelers. Later I ate more than I should — though it was very good — at Illawarra Leagues, meaning a little more recovery was needed yesterday. But I seem to be doing well enough today.

Been reading though. More books from Wollongong Library, but more on them later.

Coming up to seven years since I smoked!

 March 2011 revisited — 1

Here’s how it began for me:

And that dominated this blog for the next couple of weeks, though by 9 March I was back home.

Of course that should be 2011…

Meanwhile. and not unrelated:

  • 30 days, 17 hours, 34 minutes and 24 seconds smoke free.
  • 1537 cigarettes not smoked.
  • $992.00 and 11 days, 17 hours of your life saved.
  • Your quit date: 2/28/2011 2:00:00 PM

The quit date is the approximate time the ambulance arrived…


NOTE: The Quitnet calculator is no longer with us, but as a guess, seven years 2011-2018 would roughly be 130,000 cigarettes not smoked!!!! That’s over $12,000 a year times seven! $84,000!!!!