Friday, June 1, 2012

RAAF Airshow

A few weekends ago we managed to squeeze all the kids into the car and head of the RAAF air show at Pearce Air base just North of Perth.

As we headed down Gnangara road, the traffic seemed a little slow, but not too bad.  Once we got onto West Swan, however, it was worse than the freeway during rainy weather.  Every man and his dog was heading to the air show.

As we got to the junction with the Great Northern Highway (which in all honesty is not that great…), it was amazing to see that an obese oversized truck was taking up both lanes and crawling in the direction of Bullsbrook – exactly where every man and his dog was also heading. 

How the authorities managed to approve an abnormal vehicle permit on a day like this, only they will know.  What arrogant mining company decided that their next big toy being slithered all the way to the Pilbara is soooo important that even the air show can wait?  For the first time I’m thinking that maybe the Labor government’s Mining Tax is not such a bad idea – surely then Muss Gillahd will pay for a freeway to Bullsbrook and these iron-ore crooks can pay the penalty for holding us back from a great day of entertainment.

After crawling behind an old man who was doing 60 in a 90 zone in Gnangara road, I suddenly realised that I had nothing to complain about back then.

Off course by now the kids were asking “are we there yet?”…

When we got to vicinity of the air show, we could already see planes flying around and helicopters thudding over us.  This was already way cool and I struggled to keep my eyes on the road.  My dad would have loved this – he always swerved around on the road whenever he saw or heard a plane – he loved looking at planes and for brief moments couldn’t care less about where the white line or the road shoulder was.

We were finally showed where to park, and immediately realised that we would have to lock the car’s position in a GPS, otherwise we would never find it in the “mother of all parking lots”.  There were thousands of vehicles parked in straight rows for kilometres long.

Arriving at the gate I was really glad that I had already purchased my tickets online, because the ticket line was almost as long as the toilet lines.  It was just around noon and there were still millions of cars waiting behind us somewhere on the Little Northern highway – but we were IN!


Needless to say the kids were already asking when they were getting fed, and looking at the feeding lines I thought it might be easier to kill a stranger and eat his food.  There were long lines (almost as long as the blue toilet cubicle lines), and I was seriously doubting the ability of those poor cooks to feed all these people.

In the meanwhile we started looking at some planes, and I forgot all about food and dead strangers.

Amazing, is all I can say.  I’m not one of those blokes who can ramble on and on about every plane’s name rank and serial number, but I do enjoy looking at these bad boys.

AnicaPilotDa boysIMG_2879

The highlight of course was the F18 Super Hornets.  Need I say more?  These things take off on a short bit of runway and then head straight up into the sky in a vertical position – freaky.


The guns on the Hawk trainers were displayed in one of the hangers, and I took quite an interest in these. This barrel is a 30mm monster, and you sure don’t want to be at the receiving end of it.  Not quite the hunting tool, as it would mess up too much good meat:



We finally managed to get food and drink at highly inflated prices, and settled on our little picnic blanket.


They also had a display of vintage cars nearby which my son and I enjoyed while the girls went looking for a blue cubicle.


By the time the kids had eaten, the Hornet flybys had finished and they wanted to go home.  Go figure.  There were still heaps of aeroplanes that I had not yet inspected on a closer level, but the missus and the kids had enough of a fun day in the sun, and we were soon heading back home. 

The parking lot was – well – a parking lot, and it took about half an hour just to reach the exit, while hoons with 4x4’s thought they owned the road and passed people in the most selfish and idiotic ways imaginable.  Probably South African expats from Joburg, if you ask me...

All in all, a great day except for the traffic. 



Friday, March 16, 2012

Speedqueen repair


Our trusty old Speedqueen hasn’t given us one day of worries for over 14 years.  This machine was designed in the USA, most of the parts were made in the USA, and I believe it was assembled in South Africa, but it may even have been assembled in the good ol’ US of A. 

Designed and built to last forever – nothing like the crap you get these days that is assembled in China or Bangladesh, quality checked by a person who can barely write his own name and is paid $2 a day by the communist regime who are stuffing themselves with caviar and turtle eggs. 

No sirree, this baby was made by western people in the old-fashioned proud way that westerners used to display not so long ago.  A pride that seems to have disappeared overnight.

My wife and I bought this machine in Namibia just after we got married.  It travelled to different houses and although it’s a massive machine, it’s worth dragging her big fat body to your new house.  Once she gets going, she’ll wash anything you can stuff into her.

We brought her over to Australia in a 40 foot container.  She spent 5 months inside that container before being able to drink her first serving of Australian water.  And she happily soldiered on - washing clothes, blankets, barbeque covers, car carpets, shoes and anything else that could fit in there.

Until two days ago, when she started screaming like a pig.

I gave her a few pushes and shoves and managed to wiggle her fat body around until the noise sort of went away.  But a few seconds later the noise would return, even though she seemed to do her job despite the screaming noise.  It sounded like someone threw a bag of coins inside a food processor.  (Not that I’d ever done that and would know what it sounded like…)

I guess the noise should have made me think about opening her carcass to see what was causing it, but I just somehow managed to convince myself that “she’ll be right.”  

So yesterday, of course, my worried wife told me that the machine wasn’t working any more.  What would we do without her?

Which led to today’s event.

Armed with my toolbox, socket sets, screwdrivers, and a multimeter which hasn’t been used for more than 3 years, I had my battle plan ready.

The first job was to get all the water out of the machine.  She was full of water but could not pump it out herself – which made me think that the pump might be where the problem was.

I opened her up, and at first I saw a lot of black fluff which I immediately though to be the kind of black stuff you see when a motor burns out.  This wasn’t a happy moment for me.

On closer inspection, though, I noted that this stuff was just fluff from 14 years of washing.  Somehow some of this stuff does end up on the inside of the machine, and no one ever thinks of opening up her guts and cleaning her out, so where else would the fluff go?


I tested the power to the pump, and measured that it was receiving power but was still not running. 

To remove the pump, I had to disconnect the water feed, which meant that the last bit of water that I couldn’t get out of the machine would drain all over me.  Being alone with no extra hands to help, this created quite an annoying situation where my bucket was filling up quicker than I could empty it, and I desperately had to fight to keep water from running into the electrical parts of the machine.  Fun times, indeed.

I finally dismounted the pump and saw something moving inside.

And there it is – a hairpin:


This stupid hairpin was causing all the havoc and was obviously the source of the noise.  When I wiggled and bounced the machine around, the hairpin dislodged a little, but would soon go back into it’s position and cause the screaming noise.  Eventually the pump just couldn’t turn anymore.

The good news was that once I returned everything back into position, I filled up the machine with water and she pumped that water out like Victoria Falls after a good raining season.

What a lucky escape – our baby is still running smoothly, and I saved hundreds of dollars on a repairman that would almost certainly have claimed that the pump was broken and needed replacement.

Of course, after closing the machine and tightening all the freaking screws, I found that the plastic cover that protects the pump inside the machine was still lying on the floor.  Luckily, this time I knew that I only needed to open the front cover and did not have to waste my time screwing off all the sides too.


The clean cover re-installed above the pump:


Mr Fix-it saved the day again. Not to mention the fact that those hard-to-get-to areas inside the machine have been cleaned for the first time in 14 years.

I have to say, I’m still impressed by the quality and durability of this machine.  This was money well spent – many years ago.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Boer met biltong

Ek het nou al 6 kg se biltong hierdie jaar verkoop, alles met een advertensie wat ek by die werk opgesit het.

Teen hierdie tempo gaan ek een van die dae aftree en boer met biltong.


IMG_1122 cropped

Ek het my biltong-hok so bietjie opgegradeer en die toutjies met kettinkies vervang. 

Die toutjies sak te veel af as jy te veel gewig daaraan hang, waar die kettings altyd dieselfde spanning het, en die biltong kan nie afskuif en teen mekaar raak in die kas nie.  Die biltong hakkies haak ook maklik in die kettingkies in.

Dis ook nou baie maklik as jy onder wil werk, die boonste kettings haal maklik af en jy kan al die kettings uithaal as jy die hok wil skoonmaak.  Ek sit tinfoil onder in die hok, ek vou dit op teen die rante onder, en dan is daar die minimum gemors binne-in die hok as jy klaar is.  Haal die tinfoil uit en gooi weg en siedaar – ‘n skoon blink hout boks.  As jy regtig wil kan jy die kettings ook skoonmaak na die tyd.

Dis ‘n baie goedkoop oplossing.  Ek dink my hok se ontwerp is nou redelik uitgesorteer.  Stuur baie geld en ek stuur vir jou die afmetings en instruksies!


Party mense bestel sommer 2 kilos op ‘n slag, ek sal nou ‘n groter hok moet bou wat ‘n hele bees kan hanteer!  Net soos ek dink my voorraad gaan nog ‘n week hou, dan kry ek nog ‘n bestelling.  Dis dalk tyd om my prys op te stoot, teen $40 per kilo is dit die goedkoopste biltong in Perth.

Mensig, met ‘n klein bietjie harde werk kan mens baie geld maak…