Last Day At The Shops

For some time.

Stocked up on Fokker F-27s and Heinkel 111’s. Couldn’t let the supplies fall too far, whatever the day brought. Also the whiskey shop, which was medicine. It said so on the label. In Texta…

After that, the world was bidden to stay away and I to stay away from it. I got to sleep with my wife for the first time in a fortnight  She was away overseas and had been kept in the social freezer for two weeks. I was exiled to my studio at night then and spent the time listening to the sounds of the building creaking and popping.  At least at home the sounds were familiar; snoring and other bodily functions. And the cat could always be counted on for disturbance.

I am not going to come closer than 32 metres to anyone for the rest of the year. I think it was 32 metres. I’ll have to re-check that with the internet reports. In any case I have ordered a face mask from a  fashion designer and look forward to being jeered at by the locals on a regular basis. If they get too contemptuous I’ll take it off and show ’em my real face and that’ll serve ’em all right.



I’ve Been Self-Quarantining For Ages

Long before it became government policy. And I can tell you it has helped me immensely.

A medical quarantine is imposed in cases where you are a danger to others. In my case my personal quarantine is imposed when others are a danger to me. The solid ” thunk ” of the front door is a very welcoming sound. In some cases it is followed by equally solid bangs and thumps as I hammer nails into the door frame to keep it shut.

The medical quarantine can be several weeks – the personal one several years. I have a list of people who are going to be walled off until 2050. I know they exist – I cannot help but know. And I cannot do anything about that, the laws being what they are. But I can avoid seeing them while they do so. A good solid wood door from Bunnings makes all the difference.

The current virus climate’s quarantine is somewhat leaky. Oh, you may be asked to stay home, and perhaps compelled to do so if someone can think up a legal mechanism for it, but you cannot be prevented from communication – this internet is open and not likely to be a victim of aches, fever, or cough.

Unfortunately it is open in two directions. Just as we cannot be prevented from posting, so others cannot be prevented from loading the social media with panic, xenophobia, false advice, and nasty accusation. The news feed from anywhere is overloaded with this material and anyone inclined to run around like Chicken Little can gather a crowd wearing helmets. In many cases they seem to be made from tin-foil.

One good report: I went to the local supermarket for a weekly grocery run and did not find scenes of panic or greed. I did find people who turn their entire trolley around in the middle of the aisle to go the other direction and I did see a woman squeeze…and probably ruin…every orange in a display before she chose one. But these sorts are there in normal times.


The Ten O’Clock Highway

I live a retired life, which means I push my nose into all sorts of places. This is fun if you time it right – and the chief requirement there is to coordinate your movements with the road traffic.

Or, to put it more accurately, without. You choose to venture when others do not – you go places they are not. The shining goal os a day is an unobstructed road ahead and no arrogant BMW driver or tradie in a tray-top pushing up behind you. In some cases it is worth seeking out a road that doesn’t even go where you want to go to so that you can enjoy the peace.

It gets harder, as our metropolitan area expands and the suburbs in-fill themselves with multiple dwellings on older blocks. Just more people on the roads. I try to use the bus and train system when I can – the attraction being free travel in air conditioning with time to rest rather than drive. However, there are places poorly-served by public transport so the car has to be wheeled out.

I’ve learned to only venture after 10:00 AM and to bring myself back home before 4:00 PM.  If the route is planned well you can get through the flak defences, accomplish your mission, and be back before they can catch you. Of course there are always road crews out playing Tetris with the traffic barriers as they lean on their shovels and you do well to learn about them from other road users on the net the night before. They really do affect where you travel for shopping – they steered me away from a certain sale at a shop last Saturday by the simple expedient of blocking the shop’s street from both ends. I hope the shopkeeper and his assistants do not stave and die behind the counter while the paviours play – it would make the shop premises stink awfully…

Shall I resort to the net and on-line shopping more? I hope not – I like the establishment of physical shops in our city as a way of giving employment and providing convenience for me  – after I have run the gauntlet of the roads. On-line doesn’t benefit our state or nation in the end.




The Logistics Of the Logistics Trade

I went to our local shopping centre this week and had a devil of a time getting out again.

After I parked and did my business, I found the lanes out of the place were largely obstructed by trailer trucks bringing in new produce, groceries, liquor and such. Lines of cars were swapping to the other side of the road and then being halted as the opposing lanes tried to squeeze between two 18-wheelers.

As a retiree I can take this sort of delay in good part – I am not in a hurry. Not so the other drivers, and it would appear that the Christmas spirit has largely evaporated…

I take it that most of this re-supply and logistics work is done at night when the car park is deserted – but that the recent holidays may have emptied the shelves ( they hope! ) and a daylight delivery was necessary. It certainly pointed out the fact that they needed more dedicated docks for the trucks  that were not in the main roads.

In the end, however, I am grateful for the shops being where they are and as well stocked as they are. The fact that I can buy food and drink locally is wonderful.

Sex-Shaped Glasses – Sex-Tuned Ears

Wow. Just wow.

I have just read a rather funny post on Facebook by someone who’s been out Christmas shopping. For some this is fun – for some torture. I get going early and use the intervals that have few other shoppers to do my purchasing in – so my experience is positive.

The Facebook friend was commenting about the number of times she had been approached by the store staff while just standing there trying to gather her thoughts. ” Hi Guys, How Can I Help You ” being the general gist of the thing. I know her concern – I find hovering by service staff in shops and restaurants to be a disturbing thing after a while. If you went into multiple shops and had it happen everywhere…well…

” Go Away! If I want Hovering I’ll call Sikorski! ”

A little brusque, but you get the idea.

However, one of her readers took it as entirely a different posting  – she complained that all the sales interaction was male-oriented…the language, you see…

I wear eyeglasses. They are not new ones, and may need fresh lenses, but they still let me see the world in a reasonable perspective. Not every human interaction is about sex. Some of the good ones are, and I treasure the memories, but some are just conversations. I’m tempted…

” Go Away! If I want Sex Arguments I’ll call Mae West! “

Cut-Price Serendipity

I am not given to mystical feelings or premonitions. I regularly stub my mind and toes in the dark, and most of my spirituality is kept in the liquor cabinet…But Saturday I must have known something good was afoot even in the midst of being frustrated.

Our local big shopping centre is a good one serving affluent suburbs and has the sort of up-market shops that cater to the entitled. Not quite as entitled as the older suburbs north of the river, but sufficiently up themselves to sometimes require a stepladder. I don’t mind the slightly higher prices as the mall is clean and smells nice. Plus it has underground parking with an escalator that debouches near the shops I patronise. Not, however, on the Saturday morning of a long weekend…it may have an underground but no chance of parking anywhere.

I dutifully did my round of the carpark aisles with my lights on to fend off the 4 WD tractors from the surrounding suburbs, and then had to give it up and drive away. Normally upset by this, I was quite calm about it and was prepared to drive a further 3 miles to the next shop likely to have the things I wanted.

Imagine my delight to discover that the second shop had not only parking, and the batteries I needed, but also a 50%-off carpark sale. Never let a chance pass you by. I found the last two kits of LED domed accessory lights that people use to jazz up their cars ( I use them to light up my miniature buildings. ) that normally sell for $ 19 being discounted to $ 2.50 each. Yes, thank you very much, and the next two or three dioramas thank you as well.

Had I got parking in the first place, I would have missed out. I shall try to be cheerful and philosophical in the future to see if it leads to equal success.

The Very Last Minute


We are approaching Christmas and Christmas presents will need to be bought/made/grown/stolen pretty quick now.

The last-named on the list is not a joke. There will be a string of break-ins and burglaries around the metro area as the criminal classes provide for their families…and themselves. The television stations will have their police radios and informers tuned to the Christmas thieves channel for the next week as it makes such compelling – and cheap – watching. The actual cops out in the actual suburbs where it will happen can probably fill out the paperwork for it now in anticipation…

The shop assistants in the stores will be subject to an increasing pressure from the complaining public…who want to buy things now at january sale prices and then return them for cash at full retail. Tempers amongst the complaining public will become shorter and hotter as the day approaches and the crowds grow. The entitled will become more so, if that is possible. Shop assistants will drink, but not enough.

And we will have the Last Minute Men. These stalwarts of the St. Georges Terrace offices  will leave their Christmas shopping until 5:50 on December 24th. They will fly into Perth’s retail shops just as the doors are being closed and demand to be served. As they are St. Geo Tce lawyers and businessmen out amongst the rabble, they will demand to be served as if they were Louis XIV. I, for one, am prepared to agree to this, as long as that number is changed to XVI…

When I was in sales in the center of the city we watched Last Minute Men fly down Plaza Arcade and smash against the doors of the old Boans department store like so many angry insects at 6:00 on the 24th. It was a most heartwarming sight. St Geo Tce legalese is a language all its own, and most of it is short words.

Note: I do hope the Myer firm who took over from Boans long ago have the courage to shut the doors on time and hose the lawyers off from outside the building. It is one of the traditions of the holiday that should never be lost.

Now In New Improved Original Flavour – Lite With EZ Open Dispens-O-Matic


I have been told that it is a symptom of aging to be distressed by change. This must be true, because I remember that as a baby I used to cry whenever I needed a new diaper. I have been told that that time is coming again, but at least now I will have a spicier vocabulary.

I’m pressed to this reflection when I round the corner in the supermarket and discover one of two distressing things:

a. The supermarket has changed the layout of the groceries yet another time for no apparent reason.

b. The maker of some prepackaged food has changed the wrapper or logo.

I am resilient enough go scouting, but sometimes when I cannot figure out the pattern of the stock in the shop I take a shortcut out through the front door and go to another retailer who has left their shelves alone. Too many incidents of this nature set up an aversion to the grocery store and another year’s worth of shopping goes down the street.

The change in label is likely to see me pass right by the product as I am bent on a particular colour and design, rather than a printed set of words. If it is the same recipe and I can find it a couple of times in the new packaging, the pattern is re-established and I go on buying the product. If it is accompanied by a change in ingredients or taste than the mechanism resets instantly and I am a candidate for rival foods. The maddening thing about this is the new product formulation might be better than the old one, but the  reaction is still the same.

Of course this is all just soup and nuts to the retailers who depend upon constant change to move their products. The fashion industry comes to mind in this. They don’t come to my mind and certainly not to my clothes closet, but there are those who are wooed and won weekly with new presentations.

At least they are some things that do not change. Potatoes are pretty hard to alter, as are red beans and rice. And I can recognise an onion at 50 paces. Guess what we eat a lot of at our house.