Heat and humidity – moving home to Merton Street

On Friday at about 6.00 p.m. we set off from Wembley Downs, with all our stuff, to Victoria Park. David did most of the heavy lifting. I could have done it, perhaps, though you have to lift things up very high to get them into the SUV. We put things into the living room and did a little bit of spot checking to see if all was well. The battery in the caravan was still ‘live’ and I plugged it in to recharge.

We then had a meal at the Dumpling House with Lesley and David to say our farewells. We really enjoyed our time staying with them. A pleasant evening. I picked up a couple of things from the 24 hr deli, and Stephen and I walked over there again a bit later to get some cold, sparkling water. We had a good night’s sleep with the ceiling fan.

Yesterday was 38 degrees, with very low humidity. We have a date and rough time (Tuesday 11.00 onwards) for the air conditioning to be repaired. The house stayed reasonable until about 12.30, we then took to the caravan and it’s air-conditioning to have a comfortable afternoon. In a way today is worse because although it’s only about 30 degrees, there is a storm pending and it is very humid. We did’t do much in the way of unpacking yesterday, just used clean clothes from our cases. I have done a bit more today (Sunday), but am not too worried as it can be done gradually over the next few days. Of course, I haven’t been able to resist doing lots of washing since we got home.

I left my iPad over at WD, so in the evening yesterday we went over to pick it up. We stayed talking for a while and heard their good news about Sam. He has worked out that he can buy a small, ground floor unit, which won’t be too much more expensive than paying rent (in a shared place). They had been to have a look at it during the afternoon.

Saturday morning I got up early and did some shopping. I got more than I planned as it seemed worthwhile once I was over in Coles. Quite busy around the aisles, but I only had to wait for one person before me in a queue. Stephen helped with bringing things in a bit, but can’t lift anything heavy, of course.

He has been generally well, and was able to enjoy being at the beach after we picked up the iPad. I packed cold drinks and some crisps, intending to drive home for tea, but in the end we stayed for the sunset and shared a burger and small chips. This was at Brighton Beach, which I discovered during our stay in WD, a southern part of Scarborough Beach which is much less crowded. We were able to get a parking spot overlooking the sea.

The coffee machine indicates an error, but works anyway. Very odd. I had it serviced before we went away, but didn’t really feel that pleased with it when it came home, so wouldn’t use that service place again. There must be somewhere in Perth that looks after domestic coffee machines properly. George found it wasn’t working when he arrived, but he was able to revive it. He also fixed the water feature in the garden. No one has been able to do this in the past, so it feel like a miracle. We will have to use it for part of each day to prevent mozzies breeding in the standing water. It doesn’t make much of a sound, but seeing the water gently bubbling at the top, then cascading down the front is very pleasing, particularly for someone who is out the back quite a lot, either hanging out washing or bringing it in!


All about Stephen

On Wednesday morning Stephen experienced a lot of discomfort when he was showering. He rested most of the day, then we went to a short walk in the late afternoon. He had discomfort during the walk. On Thursday morning he was still having problems. He rang Health Direct and after asking a great many questions, she advised him to go to the emergency department of a hospital.

We caught a taxi to RPH and he went in immediately. After hours of assessment and an X-Ray that confirmed no broken ribs, the cardiologists decided he could go home, but to see a specialist as soon as possible and he was given a script for a beta blocker to slow down his heart as it was going too fast for someone who was resting.

We feel somewhat reassured by having a plan of action. This morning Stephen was able to book an appointment on Tuesday afternoon with the specialist who was supervising the cardiologist we saw in hospital.

The doctor also suggested a possible cause for the seizure. If Stephen’s heart was switching from AF to Sinus rhythm and there was a longer gap where the brain was starved for oxygen, it could have triggered a seizure. This is just a theory, but at least is something!

So, Stephen has an appointment with his GP Monday morning regarding the MRI report and an appointment Tuesday afternoon with the cardiologist. We also have an appointment on Tuesday to have our air-conditioning fixed and if that runs over, Stephen will catch a taxi to the Mount Hospital for his appointment.

Apart from that, all is well, I think! The featured image was taken on our walk around the block. I was particularly noticing all the flowers.

A Tuesday

We met with Eversley for breakfast yesterday morning and it was really great to catch up. She picked us up from where we are staying and we went to the Wild Fig Cafe at Brighton Beach. We heard the story of Kamba and Makuru, her new little dogs. Catching up about Working Voices Choir business was interesting as well.

We dropped Stephen at home, then went back to her place for a while to meet to meet the dogs. They made little noises of greeting when we arrived, but did not bark – good behaviour in such small dogs. They have beds in the house as well as the brick laundry for overnight. I tried taking some photos with the D7200 on continuous drive – but they are so small and I wasn’t flexible enough to get on the floor and get direct shots of their faces. Still, they do look up.

Like this – Makuru

I was very tired when I got home and rested for the afternoon. In the evening we went out with David and Lesley to meet up for their normal fortnightly dinner group. We enjoyed a shared Chinese meal and good conversation.

Eversley offered to take me up to Mum’s today (Wednesday) and we made a decision this morning that although the morning is lovely, coming home through the traffic in the afternoon is pretty challenging. I wouldn’t be driving, but I know how annoying and tiring it is to drive. We have opted to have a quiet day today. We should have chances to meet up and I may go with Stephen on Monday to the writer’s group to give him a lift.

Stephen followed up on the air-conditioning. We found that Jeff Moritz have handed it over to Fujitsu who have handed it on to a third party. It will still be fixed under warranty, and we still have to wait, maybe until next week. It will be hot again this weekend, but we are wanting to go home. I had been thinking that just having one room air-conditioned would work. We actually do have that room – the caravan.

I will check with Matt to see if he wants to come home for tea on Sunday night anyway. I think he will. We can buy something easy to prepare. He is only with us for about 3 hours, so I expect he will be able to cope.

Stephen has been working on the travel insurance claim form.

Look up Stephen!



All about Matt

This was on Friday 8th January. Matt was having his first session in a powered wheelchair which he will operate using pressure pads with his head. The video was taken on his iPad by a staff member. He is 43, as per the cake. Photo also taken by staff member at his birthday party in March, 2015.IMG_0008.jpg

A weekend near the sea(9th and 10th)

On Saturday afternoon Stephen felt well enough for us to catch a bus to Scarborough. It was very busy even though it was cloudy, and quite cool near the beach. We had coffee and shared a pastry at the Dome cafe. We then caught a bus to the Stirling Train Station. We waited about 45 minutes for a bus home, but it took us closer to the house.

On Sunday morning I felt like having a walk, so went down towards the beach, then along to Brighton Beach. It was cloudy and fairly cool. I wore one of Stephen’s hats, but did not otherwise cover up. I got slightly sunburned, but not very much considering. I enjoyed a coffee and part of a leamington at the little beachside cafe. I sat with another older woman and we had a pleasant chat about the cafe (it has been there a very long time with various owners), dogs, etc. Very enjoyable.

I had been thinking of catching a bus home, but I felt refreshed, the temperature was still cool, and it seemed silly. The walk back was interesting as I went a different way.

In the afternoon Lesley took us to see Matt. I think he found it a bit tough that he couldn’t come home to see us, but from our point of view it was good to see him in his own environment. I decided to get Matt some new clothes to go to his sister’s wedding, and after seeing the invitation, which mentioned casual clothes, have decided on new dark jeans and some sort of patterned shirt. Hidde says he doesn’t need a jacket as he has some good ones.

Sam came over for dinner and to go through his things. He is shy as always, but appears to be in good spirits and enjoyed seeing Wilhelm.

We tried out our special bottle of Vodka with apple and gold flakes. It does indeed taste of apples and was nice with ice and mineral water.

This morning Stephen booked in to see Dr Susan Ho. The earliest appointment is February 8th and he went ahead and booked it as even if he rings around we would expect most people to be fairly heavily booked. He mentioned to the receptionist that his wife has seen her and recommends her.

We rang Jeff Moritz and they said we should get a call either today or tomorrow. She said that given that a service was done in Sept it seems likely that there is a fault/failure of the machine and it is being referred to Fujitsu for them to follow up. Stephen has let George know what is happening. Thank goodness we are having cooler weather, which is predicted to continue for the next couple of days.

I’ve had a couple of good night’s sleep in a row.



A bit of a bumpy ride

Ran the photo above through Snapseed on the iPad and found I have several largish spots on the sensor. I thought there might be as there have been a lot of lens changes over the past 3 months. A bit of work in Photoshop to remove them and here it is. Back to Camera Electronic for a sensor clean!

I love seeing the town in snow. It was very light, just enough for the effect of a snowy townscape.

There are problems with a power outage and the air conditioning not working properly at our house, unfortunately George and the family have to cope with this. We are on standby to contact the service people. We did not get a call back before 5.00 p.m. and will have to wait until Monday. Fortunately the weather won’t be quite so hot.

Stephen saw his GP and received some reassurance that he has probably got bruising and sore muscles from the severity of the seizure. He can drink alcohol, but not drive, this time we are told it is for three months, if he doesn’t have another seizure. The surgery rang this morning to suggest having the MRI at Joondalup or Midland, which may bulk bill. Stephen has a list of neurologists to contact to do follow up.

We had a fairly steamy night, with lightning and some rain. I, at least, slept a lot better and feel fairly fresh. Somehow, the heat and humidity are not really a problem. David and Lesley have very good air-conditioning and with solar power, are immune to outages during the day.

We did a little bit of shopping, Stephen bought some shorts and a cheap pair of jeans, and I bought a nightie – I forgot to pick up a spare at the house. Lesley went to the gym and then we went food shopping.

Stephen and I had lunch at a cafe and felt pleased to be at an Australian shopping centre again – slightly weird I know, but we have been away quite a long time. Stephen went to sleep as soon as we got home. Lesley and I did washing, sharing the loads.

I rang Mum to let her know what was happening. She had major thunderstorms last night, much stronger thunder than we had here, and lots of rain. The lightning is scary because it can cause bush fires.

I rang Matt and we will go to see him on Sunday afternoon. Peace took a video of Matthew having his first session in the powered chair yesterday afternoon. He seemed quite calm and happy as he made it go around in circles. It has six wheels for extra mobility. It looks like he will be able to control it reasonably easily using pressure pads with his head. Going on how well he was doing as a first try. He has seen other people use this method of driving powered chairs.

Wilhelm spent a little time with me whilst Lesley was busy this afternoon. When she came returned, he reverted to being with her. Interesting.

Stephen’s GP said he would not be able to drive for 3 months. We thought it was 6 months, but it may depend on a specialist’s recommendation. He will complete the online notification to the Department of Transport website and they will then get back to him on what to do.





Home again

We flew from Prague on Tuesday, heading out to the airport via taxi at about 11.30 a.m. We dropped off David’s key with Lumir on the way. It had stopped snowing at that stage and the roads and pavements looked a bit messy. There was snow on the ground all the way to the airport, and it started snowing again by the time we were leaving. The aircraft had to be de-iced before we could take off.

At the airport they supplied a wheelchair and driver at checkin. He dropped us off at a restaurant near our gate, then came back and fast tracked us onto the aircraft. We had quite a good flight of five hours to Dubai, enjoying movies and a meal.

At Dubai things went a bit downhill as they only supplied a wheelchair for a short distance. After that, we caught electric carts, as well as taking lifts and the airport train. There wasn’t much walking, but it was evident that they were struggling with the sheer numbers of special needs people. Only people who couldn’t actually walk were guaranteed wheelchair access.

Still, it would have been much more difficult to do it on our own. For the second flight we were seated in a three on the side, rather than four in centre, where we don’t have to get up for other people. However, the young man next to us was very undemanding and only got up once. I talked with him a little when we were both awake, and found out that he is from Kenya, coming to Australia to study for four years.

We tried to get sleep on this flight, although it is difficult with limited space.

On arrival in Perth we were met at the door of the aircraft by the wheelchair and driver. He then took us through all the checks, helped us with picking up our duty free, took us to customs where they checked my TRS for the camera and decided to allow the full tax free amount they had paid us, and then helped us through the baggage claim and took Stephen out to the car. A very good service and lovely to see Lesley and David waiting for us. We are grateful to Marie Hastings for giving us a ‘heads up’ on how helpful it is. Stephen said that he felt OK at the end of the journey and had no ill effects from the travelling, which was what we wanted.

David and Lesley gave us a meal of salad and lamb steaks, done on the BBQ to establish that we are back in Australia. We went to bed at about 11.00 p.m. and were awake again at around 4.00 p.m. (Stephen said he didn’t sleep, but I did). Around dawn we could hear birds, including kookaburras. We waited until 6.00 a.m. before having our cups of tea.

We’ve done the organising to go over to our house to pick up some things this afternoon after Stephen’s appointment with the GP. I rang Matt just to let him know were are home and said we would be in touch regarding a time to see him this weekend.

We felt comfortable overnight with air-conditioning off(?) and our windows slightly open. It’s just after 10.00 a.m. and already 36.5 degrees outside, but we are lovely and cool here.

Wilhelm is friendly, but a little shy as well. He asks for attention, but did not actually come into the bedroom.

our room



Crunchy Snow

Today, as promised by the weather sites, we have had light snow. Stephen and I went out for a walk at about 4.00 p.m. and it was just thick enough to sound crunchy. We just walked around via the footpath, then took the paved path through the park, up to the chemist and hospital, then along that road home. The official temperature is -5 degrees. We had wrapped up well and found it quite lovely.

This morning we had our usual slow breakfast, then showers, then started packing. I made a big mess on the bed, loading up most of the things to go into my suitcase and other bags. I’ve just now (5.30ish) finished for today. There is still stuff to put into the bag, but I have done some sorting, especially making sure that there are no batteries in the big suitcase that I will check in.

The snow was predicted to start at 10.00 a.m., then it was pushed back to 1.00 p.m. Stephen was the first to notice. He finished off editing Eversley’s pages for her book and I was entering them into digital copies to send to her. Rae has apparently just got back with her edits as well, so the timing was good.

We haven’t needed the car today, and I’m glad it snowed because I said that we shouldn’t set out in case of snow, so it would have been a pity if my concern had been wasted.

snowy branch
Snow on branches


snowy Skoda
Snowy Skoda
snowy path.jpg
Snowy path












Today we have rung Mum and Matthew to let them know we will be home on Wednesday. Hidde told Matthew that Stephen fainted a couple of weeks ago and is still feeling unwell. I told Matt that Stephen is eating well, as reassurance that he isn’t very sick. Matt has had experience of being very ill and not able to eat, so I feel it gives him perspective.

I scanned all of Stephen’s medial stuff and sent most of it to George. We have let him know about us coming home and said that we will stay with Lesley so that he and his family can stay at our place until the holiday is over. He is appreciative of that, but left himself open to us asking if he would kindly translate stuff for us, as this is a requirement for our travel insurance claim.

He is going to get David to organise our taxi for the airport, probably will be the same taxi service we have been using, but at least he has the language to set it up. We have also asked that the hire car be picked up from us on Tuesday morning before we leave, that way we have the car if we need it tomorrow, but David should not have to pay for the extra time that we don’t need.

We took the car up to the town square and had a look at the museum. Apart from some natural history stuff and a little bit of historical stuff, there was a lovely exhibition of lacework as artwork and jewellery. I really loved it as it for the beautiful, original looking designs.

We walked across the square and down the street to an old church, then had coffee and tea at a little cafe that overlooks the square. The owner stayed back a little while as we arrived just before we closed. She was friendly and spoke good English, so it was nice to be able to make a connection.

This evening we are booked in to have dinner at De Parade. There we met with Lumir and his daughter Eliška. She was to help with translation. We talked of many things, of our travels, of her music and studies, of his life and what he wants to do in the future (open a restaurant in Prague). We all drank water, and later coffee. Apparently they had thought we might join them on New Year’s Eve, but we had thought they would be too busy with customers to worry about us. We had a chance to thank him for his kindness on the day Stephen had a seizure and repay the money we owed him.

He gave us a gift of a photograph taken in the square by a local photographer. It is signed on the back. I thought immediately of Matthew, we need a gift for him. Although I have a case large enough to carry it, the board is rather soft, so it might be that either I get something to hold it strongly or carry it in a plastic bag. Difficult, but because it seems like and ideal gift for him, and we still get to see it, that I really want to take it home.

And, importantly, I have today worked out how to get rid of the distortion in some of my photos. It’s very simple in Lightroom, but I have always thought at lens distortion is corrected in camera and nothing more could be done. Sometimes you lose some of the image, but not always. I am just hitting ‘Auto’ and there you are!

The photo below represents the Golem of Prague, a sort of mythic figure, originally Jewish.

Brandys NL Monument
Town Square, Brandys Nad Labem


Brandys NL Muzeum entry
Town Square, Brandys Nad Labem
Brandys NL church
Town Square, Brandys Nad Labem

This is the version with magically corrected distortion. It doesn’t look quite right, which is understandable.

Brandys NL lamplight
Town Square, Brandys Nad Labem