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Friday, 15 February 2019 Dereel Images for 15 February 2019
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More strange voice mail
Topic: general, opinion Link here

After yesterday's phone spam attack, I received another voice mail message today:

 151 N + 14-02-2019 Voicemail            To Greg Lehey   (12656) N + Voicemail Message From "unavailable" <unavailable>

But this one was completely different. It was my sister Bev, calling (as I later discovered) from India to tell me that our mother had died at home in Bendigo on Tuesday.

Damn! I hadn't seen her for quite some time, and I had been paving the way to hell with good intentions. But like with my uncle Max last year, events overtook me. When I later got in contact with my cousin Brendan (Herbert), he told me that she had apparently died, unexpectedly, in her armchair and had been discovered by the chemist who had come by to deliver some medication. The good news is that she went peacefully, and at nearly 95 years old she had had a good life span and also the consolation of not having to go into a nursing home, which she had resisted strongly. She had been going downhill for the last six months. But somehow it's sad that she didn't quite make her 95th birthday (on 12 April).

The whole situation was unexpected enough that her body has been sent to the coroner in Melbourne for investigation, and we don't know when we will see her again.

Other details: she wanted to be buried in Bendigo, and Bev, who will be back home in the UK tomorrow, will try to be there too. There's also a house to clean out, and Bev suggested (thanks, Bev!) that she and I should clean it out together. I wonder what old, worthless treasures we'll find there; at least some of my early documents that she had held on to as souvenirs or something.


Garden work again
Topic: gardening Link here

Mick the gardener along today to do mainly mowing and weeding. He's still not his old self—he may never be—and gave up after four hours, having at least considerably tidied the place up.


Doctor again
Topic: health, opinion Link here

As a result of my migraines over the last 10 days, into town today to see Dr. Geoff, whose full name proves to be Geoffrey Chen. Is it migraine? Let him diagnose.

In the end he decided that I should start taking aspirin again and see how that works out.


New statues?
Topic: general Link here

While in town, dropped into the garden statue place in Wallis St, where indeed they had David statues on sale that made it uninteresting to repair the old one. These ones are twice the height, and have much more detailed features:


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The real question is, do we need one? We never really found a good place for the old one. But I'll have to discuss that with Yvonne.


Phone repaired
Topic: general, technology, opinion Link here

Back home, and finally my phone had come back, no thanks to Toll, who had caused no fewer than 5 phone calls and lots of frustration dealing with near-humans, with two attempts at each end. The phone was delivered by the same cynophobe who picked it up. Was he so afraid of our dogs that he didn't dare to go to the front door? Then he should look for a different job. And somehow the state of the package seemed to reflect their lack of care:


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Of course the first question was: what had been wrong with the phone? The slip stated:

Replaced lower pcba. Performed software upgrade and FQC functional test. Phone was finally QA tested to manufacturer specifications.

All that looks perfectly understandable. Hardware failure. But there's a fly in the ointment there: the phone was returned with Android 8.0, though the latest version (which I had installed on the old incarnation) is 8.1:


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On the positive side, the phone was still not locked to any network. Maybe this happens automatically if you have a repair, or maybe it is related to some part of the phone that wasn't replaced.

OK, install that, wondering in the process if Google doesn't offer a way of reinstalling the apps previously installed. This should be particularly important if you've paid money for them (something that I have so far resisted). Is the IMEI number the same? Later check: yes, it is. But as it was, after waiting the eternity for the OS upgrade to trickle in and to discover that no further updates were waiting, I just installed the ones I wanted again, giving me the advantage of getting rid of stupid, broken apps like VicEmergency's incident app. And then the phone told me ha ha, only joking, there is another update to load.

How I love Android! If there's one good thing about the iPhone 6, it was to show me the positive sides of Android. But “love” is most certainly not the most appropriate term.


More worries about Leonid
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Leonid seems normal enough most of the time. But he still doesn't want to be outside by himself. He's fine when we're with him, but if we put him outside by himself, he tries to get back inside as quickly as possible.

We had wondered about this over the last couple of days. Fear of kangaroos? No, he disproved that hypothesis yesterday. But Petra Gietz was here today, and she suggested that it might be magpies. They're quite aggressive, and some have settled in the tree across the road from our house entrance. It seems quite possible that that's the cause.

But that's not the only problem. Feeding him this evening was a problem because it's normally outdoors. So I took him into the garage, where he took a 4 cm cube of beef, apparently swallowed it whole, howled and stopped eating. We couldn't even persuade him to eat soft dog food.

Clearly that's not normal, and it has nothing to do with the magpies. There must be some issue with his throat, but we couldn't see it. We need to get him to a vet tomorrow.


Saturday, 16 February 2019 Dereel → Cape Clear → Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 16 February 2019
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Leo, day 3
Topic: animals Link here

Clearly we had to do something about Leonid's eating pains, so off to Cape Clear before breakfast to show him to Pene Kirk. She had already said that she wasn't equipped to examine him properly, but she took a quick look and saw a swelling round his larynx. Tumour? Maybe thyroid problems? I should get him looked at in a vet practice.

But which one? I had been less than positively impressed last time we had him at a vet, this time last year. What I perceive as a lack of experience resulted in us getting a bill of nearly $1000, not to mention the worry it caused. In the end we decided to go back to Ballarat Veterinary Practice, where we haven't been for over 5 years. They, too, are expensive, but we had no issues with the quality of the care they gave.

Yvonne was able to get an appointment so quickly that we barely had time for breakfast. Then off, spending the time waiting talking to Brendan and Robert Herbert about the funeral arrangements.

Finally got to talk to Richard Lawrence, who took a look at Leo and decided that the swelling was only on one side of the throat, near the epiglottis, and suspected a grass seed lodged in his throat. Most times, he says, it will detach by itself, though the possible requirement of surgical removal remains. He gave him a painkiller and a course of antibiotics (Juroclav 500 mg, one twice a day for a week). Yvonne was visibly relieved; she had been reckoning with a malignant tumour. Hopefully he's right, but he made a very good impression. I wonder what a junior vet would have done.

In the evening Leo should have eaten. He took one look at the food and turned away. Dammit, what does he want? After a couple of attempts, took some food and put it in his mouth. He chewed, dropped some but swallowed most of it. How about the food now? No, thanks. Tried again, same thing.

Yvonne took over, and after another attempt he finally got the message and finished his food. So apart from the pain, there must have been a significant psychological factor involved.


Garden flowers in late summer
Topic: gardening Link here

Middle of the month, time for the monthly garden flower photos. It's been a long, dry summer, and many of the plants are suffering as a result. I've been following the Hebes, which suffered badly from the combination of heat, drought and problems with the sprinklers. The sprinklers are still not working as well as they should. The result are some very sick looking plants, and I wonder if they will survive:


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Others, though, are definitely surviving:


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I hope that they'll improve as the weather cools down.

The trees in the area are also suffering. Our oak is still alive, and so is the ornamental cherry, but I can't say that they look good:


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On the other hand, the Paulownia kawakamii seems to have benefited from the fertilizer, making me wonder whether I shouldn't spread a lot more:


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Another genus that seems to be benefiting from fertilizer are the tomatoes. These ones are on the north side of the house, and they're promising to bear more fruit than we can eat for the next few months:


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On the other hand, the ones round the water tanks are anything but happy:


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They're much smaller, and the second one has no fruit at all. They're getting enough water; time for more fertilizer.

The gladioli finished flowering a month or two ago—most of them. For some reason, probably related to irrigation, we have two new shoots:


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And one of the Hibiscus syriacus is also flowering:


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The other, more sheltered one, is growing better, but so far there has been no evidence of buds.

The roses are also doing better than it's easy to demonstrate:


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And the corner succulent bed is gradually looking the way we would expect:


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Arranging the funeral
Topic: general Link here

When my father died, my sister Bev completely took over the funeral and other arrangements, and I wasn't involved at all. With my mother it's different: we now have four people involved. Apart from Bev and myself they're our cousins Brendan and Robert Herbert, who live in Bendigo and thus had frequent contact with my mother. As a result of our discussion on the phone today, and also a mail exchange with Bev, we have:

What has occurred to me since then:


MARION'S KITCHEN massaman curry
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Another dish from MARION'S KITCHEN this evening, a Thai “Massaman curry”. Once again ridiculous quantities of meat, and otherwise not very convincing. The other packages go back.

That has been four different dishes from MARION'S KITCHEN. The curry laksa was OK, the Phat Thai acceptable, but the San Choy Bow and the Massaman curry are really not worth the trouble.


This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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