Saturday, 10 January 2015


No commentary necessary.
I think it's Cambodia.
Lotsa ducks in Cambodia, and they hit the streets en masse on Sundays.

N.B. - the vehicle of choice is a Camry............

H/T Paul

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Nous sommes tous Charlie Hebdo

A Charlie Hebdo cartoon.  Translation - 100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter
And another.

This is, after all, the only way a humble blogger can respond.................

I've remembered encountering this magazine back in the seventies when I was studying French at IML. The tutor used to give us copies. It was a weekly.

The humour was very French.......very whimsical - very crude. Much of it went right over my head.
They took great delight in offending religious sensibilities. Back then it was very Left wing, and they targeted the Catholic church.

Even in the seventies they were obviously afraid of nothing.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Project Boring

From this distance it looks OK. Not so much closer - and you can't smell a pic.

 Foolishly, perhaps, I’m embarking on Project Boring.

Foolishly, because under current work arrangements I'm only home every second week to do stuff, so this may be a lengthy project.

Why the title? Toyota Camrys are boring. That’s indisputable. But they are built like brick outhouses and examples of this one (1996 CS 2.2 litre) will go on forever.

How do I know this? I’ve restored one before, and my No 2 son who believes that all you need to do to maintain a car is drive it, put fuel in it, and occasionally remove accumulated junk from the boot and interior, hasn’t killed it yet.

That particular example has done about 200000km commuting around Adelaide after I drove it down a few years ago.

Hence I’ve bought (for $750 – down from the ask of $1000) another example that used to be white.

It has only three unmolested panels (bonnet, roof and boot lid) and three different brands of tyres (mysteriously mud and snow specified) of obscure origin. The mud and snow capacity will be useful next time it snows in Toowoomba.

The tyres are branded “Sonar SA 603”. Anyone out there heard of them?

The interior is well loved, and the headlining sagging. The window tinting has gone motley, so that looking through the rear window in low light conditions gives everything a mellow blotchy sepia tone. The windscreen has a litany of cracks, mostly in front of the driver, which renders it unroadworthy.

New tyres and windscreen (all up about $600) will bring it past the magic $1000, but that’s cheap motoring. These things have been known to go 300000km before getting expensive.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that it’s covered only 112000Kms in the hands of an elderly lady who can no longer drive, so her son (who runs a motel) sat the car outside reception with a “buy me” sign on it.

After driving past numerous times, curiosity got the better of me, and the rest is history. I’ve driven it around a little bit, and very carefully, and found that it’s quiet, tight as a drum, and comfortable.

I wouldn’t want to be seen behind the wheel – its appearance is embarrassing – so a cosmetic restore is a priority. At the moment it has wheel trims, but of two different styles. Ensuring that the same style is on one side gets around that. You can’t see both sides at once.

Blogging the restoration will keep me motivated. After this post, all reference to the Camry will be posted here on my lapsed MX5 blog..

The MX5 blog has been left to fade away since I disposed of the car, and it needs rejuvenation. 

The goal is to improve the car's appearance by straightening the panels, and cleaning up the interior. I'm not expecting any major mechanical work - but all projects are unpredictable.

What to do with it when finished? I'm not sure. If I make a reasonable fist of it I may be able to sell if for say $3000. That's the market for examples with higher kms. A spare car is always handy in a family of drivers, and the Adelaide Camry won't go on forever.

It's a pity they don't have Banger racing in Toowoomba.

And by the way, did I tell you I have a shed?

If you have a shed, you must have a project.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Growing Up in North Queensland

The wickerwork pram - note reversible hood to cater for all sun conditions.

Visiting a local community museum a few weeks ago triggered memories.

What really took me back was a wickerwork pram (see pic) which was exactly the same as one owned by my family in the fifties.

My brother (18 months younger than me) remembers it, but the remaining four siblings don't. That's unsurprising, because it was wrecked by the time they came along, and my eldest sister (whom my brother and I pushed around in it) was too young to be aware of what was going down.

I can recall my mother painting it, so it must have been treasured and used for a while.

After it finally fell to bits, I'm pretty sure my brother and I tried unsuccessfully to turn what was left of it it into a billy cart. It had coil springs, which complicated fixing its wheeled chassis on to a wooden frame.

The coil springs gave it a very smooth ride, but its cornering ability (when pushed by big brothers at foolish velocity) left much to be desired.

Other household items were displayed, most of which I'd completely forgotten.

They included a petrol powered washing machine, many kerosene refrigerators, and all manner of kitchen appliances, many of which looked familiar, but which I could not name or label.

My first ten years of life were bereft of electricity, hence appliances were powered by other means. The petrol powered washing machine was not a success. It was a beast to start (always my dad's job) and I remember him calling it all sorts of unprintable names after many fruitless attempts. I guess the moist environment in the laundry didn't sit well with its rudimentary electrical system. It took a lot to make my dad swear.

The wringer on the top had a quick release which you hit with the hand not caught at the time.

I don't remember mum ever having to use this crude but effective safety system.

Other memories were triggered by the displays. They made me recall rotting mangoes as a consequence of the four trees in the backyard. I was usually tasked with cleaning up the mess, which probably explains why I can't abide mangoes.

We kept chooks, and I developed a very effective way of catching any that escaped the rudimentary henhouse.  It was a simple method. I would lay out a piece of old linoleum, and chase the chook on to it. Said chook would lose its footing on the slippery lino, and was easy pickings.

Initially we had a clothesline made of fencing wire on sticks set at head height before graduating to a Hills hoist. That same hoist came to an inglorious end when a willy willy went through as mum had a load of bedsheets pegged out.

The bedsheets ended up completely tangled in the Hills hoist when it did the Macarena. Mum was not pleased.......

Hugh White - Without America

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