Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Wednesday October 6th, 2021 - RIP Charlie Watts, Post-Op Mishaps, Covid Jabs, Covid Tests + Recent Wristwatches

Wednesday 25th, August, 2021
                                                   I had just parked my car in an all-day parking space, which meant that I wouldn't have to step out of the office to move my car every two hours. As I approached the entrance to my office, my phone rang. 
                                           It was my wife; T, I just read the news that Charlie Watts died. 

The news didn't hit me at first, but as the morning progressed, I found myself getting more upset. A hackneyed phrase, but it's the end of an era. Watts was 80 and had recently undergone a procedure for an undisclosed ailment. On doctor's orders, he was to miss the North American leg of The Rolling Stones' current tour in order to recuperate. 
He died on Tuesday and tributes soon began appearing on Twitter and Instagram. 
For me, The Stones are now permanently chipped. Watts was always low-key and unassuming. Reading a few articles on music sites, I soon realised the degree of his input in every song. I don't know much about music with regard to terminology, how its written, the difference between E-flat and D-sharp, major or minor chords. So, it's been interesting reading of how he managed to keep Mick Jagger and Keith Richards under control for almost 60 years. Whenever Richards would start speeding through a song onstage, Watts would reign him back in. 
There's the oft-told story of how Jagger was drunk in a hotel room and referred to Watts as ''my little drummer''. 
Watts left the room, went to his own room, changed into a sharp suit and then returned to Jagger's suite and punched him in the face, then added; "I'm not your little drummer. You're my fucking little singer!"
Watts provided the necessary calm amidst the storm that was Jagger and Richards. The neatly pressed collar as a counterpoint to his little singer's puffy shirt sleeves. If you logged on to The Stones website in the weeks following his death, this picture (left) is what you would see.

It has since been updated with information regarding the band's upcoming North American tour, but it was nice to see this image.

I have to hand it to Watts. It is well-known that he didn't enjoy touring, as it took him away from home for long spells. You could cynically argue that he made good money as a result, but he could have called it quits twenty or thirty years ago and gone on to other pursuits. I just think that he felt an obligation to the band and that's why he toured. 

He leaves behind his wife Shirley, whom he married in 1964, and a daughter named Seraphina, along with a legion of fans around the world.

Following directly from my previous post, here's my cat-inflicted wound, healing nicely, three days after the previous photo. Also in the frame is the Rado Golden Horse. This watch was first produced in 1957 and it appeared again over the years. I doubt it was in constant production, but a modern version was released a year or two ago.

I do like vintage Rados. They have cool names like Green Horse, Purple Horse, Golden Gazelle and they were decent sellers back in the day. Very popular throughout the Asian countries, as these watches were inexpensive and dependable. 

So, I got the titanium implant procedure done in late July. Two titanium screws fitted to my gum-line. Puffier in the cheeks for the first week and all I ate was soup, to play it safe. About ten days after the procedure, I was using a mouthwash and felt one of the screws swishing around in my mouth. It had come off! Luckily, I didn't swallow it and it didn't end up down the bathroom basin's sink. 

A quick email to the dental surgeon (it was around ten pm) and a couple of frantic phone calls the next morning. Another dentist could re-attach the screw. Took him less than a minute. I later thought about it a surmised that it may have been the two sticks of Big Red that I chewed on the day before that might have undone the screw. Needless to say, I haven't chewed gum since and no screws have loosened. My next appointment is in late November, to check how the implant screws have settled in. Then it's an appointment with my regular dentist to get porcelain crowns fitted to the screws. 

The day after this incident, I had my first Pfizer jab. Got my second one a couple of weeks ago. Two staff at work have stated that they have no intention of getting vaccinated, which ticks me off, but what can you do? 

Okay, some watches that I've worn since my last post.

The Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk. This is the watch that I'll probably take with me when I travel, whenever that'll be again. Battery-powered, 200m water-resistant, and it has a second timezone scale on the main dial. And the hands and hour markers glow like mad in the dark!

Obviously, I can't travel at the moment and, even if I could, my wife and I haven't exactly made plans for our next trip. If anything, there are some house-related refurbishments that require attention before another trip. And something tells me that airfares will be quite pricey once this whole Covid mess calms down a little. 

The Seiko SARB033 has gotten some wear. This watch works nicely on its steel bracelet or a leather strap. It would look good on a brown strap, just as a point of difference.

The Omega Seamaster 300 WatchCo. I had it serviced a couple of years ago and it's running nicely. It would be impossible to replace this watch for the price that I paid for it back in 2009, so that's just another reason why it's a keeper. Back in 2006 or so, I spent a long time trawling through eBay for one of these in original condition. I saw a lot of fakes, as this watch was heavily counterfeited during the Vietnam War and sold to unsuspecting GIs, and I saw a lot of badly water-damaged originals. The models that I did see in good condition were quite pricey and out of my price range.
In the end, I contacted a former colleague who worked for a company that built these watches up, using genuine Omega replacement parts and old movements from vintage Omega watches. A lot of collectors don't rate these, calling them 'Frankenwatches', as they did not originate from Omega in Switzerland, but I don't care. All parts are genuine, and this watch would be no different to a water damaged watch that required a new dial, hands, full movement overhaul, etc. Sure, the serial number on the movement would correspond to a vintage dress model Omega from the 1960s, but big deal.

The Rolex Submariner 5513 got some time on the wrist as well, but it was usurped by the Tudor Black Bay 58 most days. 
I think this one may be due for a service soon. 
And, at the time of writing this portion (Oct 6th), No Time To Die has premiered in the UK to a majority of positive reviews. Our state-wide lock-down is meant to end on October 23rd, and this film is due for release in Australia on November 11th. Hopefully, I'll get to see this film around that time. 
Covid case numbers were 1,746 as of two days ago. A week prior to that (27/9), they were 1,008. Now, however, the tactic here in Victoria has changed. Whereas our State Government was hoping for case numbers to drop, they have now suggested that the state will re-open gradually as more people get vaccinated. We have reached an 80% of the population having had the first vaccine, but the idea is to get to both vaccinations for 70 to 80% of the population Australia-wide. 
Couple of staff at my office have no intention of getting vaccinated. We'll see if that changes sometime soon. 
Bit of a mess, ain't it?

And, as I stated, the Tudor Black Bay 58 has spent much time on my wrist. I'm fairly certain that it will take top spot as my most-worn wristwatch of 2021.
My Rolex Sub has considerable clout, history and street cred, and it's beautiful to look at, but this Tudor does things that the Sub no longer can. You may recall that I knocked the crystal off the Sub a couple of years ago when I bumped the watch against a door frame. I was a little surprised to see the crystal and bezel come off the watch so easily. Maybe it was one of those wrong-angle freak accidents, but I began to wonder if I could afford to maintain this watch in the long run. Knock on wood, there have been no other knocks since then, but I have been a little more careful with this watch since. 
I have often stated that owning one of these older Rolex dive watches is akin to owning a vintage sports car. A little more care and feeding is required in order to maintain them.

My wife hasn't worn her Sinn 556A for the last couple of years. She got some good wear out of it, but always found the date a little hard to read. So did I. 
I did my research before buying her this watch back in 2014. She wanted something large, not a dainty watch. Check, this watch measures 38.5mm in diameter. 
She wanted something with large numbers on the dial. Check. The numerals and hour markers are coated in SuperLuminova and glow nicely in the dark. 
She wanted something automatic, and it had to be water-resistant, as she tends to wear her watch all the time. Check. This watch is an auto and it has a more-than-she-needs 200m water-resistance. 
And it had to have a date window. Check. This watch has a discreet date window at the 4:30 position on the dial. A little too discreet it seems, because the date window is quite small. I suppose this was done so as to not to interrupt the symmetry of the dial layout. The date is there when you need to refer to it. It's just a tad small for our eyesight these days. 
The Sinn 556A served her well over the years. It took a beating and kept on going, and it has a few scars to show for it. 
Although, in the interests of her having a watch with a date that she could see, I began looking at alternatives. The Tudor North Flag was my first stop;

A bold 40mm case, black dial with at-a-glance readability, 100m water-resistance, a power reserve indicator - which lets you know how fully wound the watch is at any time - AND a date window that is easy to see. 
As an added bonus, it also had a 70 hour power reserve in its in-house movement. Take this watch off on a Friday night after wearing it all week and it'll still be running on Monday morning. This is no mean feat, as most watches (in lower price brackets, it has to be said) have a power reserve of around 40 hours. Still, 70 hours is a big deal. One thing about this Tudor, though; it was twice the price of what I was looking to spend, which is okay considering it is a Tudor with an in-house movement, but I don't think my wife would want me to spend that kind of money on a watch for her. 

So, I kept looking and landed on the ORIS Pro Pilot Date model. Yes, this would work. It's known as the Big Date model and its date window is of a slightly larger dimension than most watches of this size. This watch is 40mm in diameter, with a dark blue dial with sunburst pattern. The hands and dial numerals are filled in with SuperLuminova, so it'll glow nicely in the dark, and the case is rated to 100m water resistant. Perfect. It would do nicely. So I got it for her, and in the two years that she's had it, she's put it through its paces and it has performed admirably.

September 30th
                          Somebody at my wife's workplace tested positive for Covid-19, so her office has closed for the time being and she's working from home. She and I went to get Covid tests done, as she was initially classified as a Primary contact. She works with one other staff member in an office that's just over four metres long. They both wear masks in the office and they don't have direct contact as such. Well, this co-worker of hers tested positive and is awaiting news as to whether or not she'll have to go into 14-day hotel quarantine. To play it safe, we went to get tested and got a Negative result the next day. My wife stayed in isolation at home since then, as a further precaution and has gone and had another test today (October 6th). The nurse who administered the test said that it's more than likely that it'll return a negative result, based on the info regarding her work area, as the distance between my wife and her colleague, plus the mask wearing and regular sanitising of their shared work spaces, have greatly minimised any risk. Also, as it's now been five days since my wife had her first Covid test, the incubation period for the Delta strain of Covid has passed. Basically, if my wife had Covid, we'd all know it by now. 
The Delta strain has a slightly longer incubation period than previous Covid-19 strains. Three to five days. Isolation and quarantine periods are listed as 14 days, in an effort to be completely certain as, on rare occasions, some people have not shown symptoms until ten days or more after exposure to the virus. 

However, an extra test doesn't hurt. I took my son to get tested last Sunday (negative) and my daughter on Monday, and since I was there, the nurse suggested I may as well get tested, despite having had one a few days earlier on the Friday. Our tests both returned negative results. Amidst all of this, I was keeping my boss informed via phone calls, since I didn't go back in to work this week, as a precautionary measure. I had last week off as annual leave and was due to go in on Monday (4th). 
Needless to say, it's been a slightly nerve-wracking week here at chez Teeritz. We spent over four hours on hold trying to get through to the Contact Tracing Department of the Covid-19 hotline. My wife emailed them outlining her situation and three days later, we have yet to hear back, but from all advice from the Covid hotline and the Covid testing nurses, it all seems fine. Once my wife gets the results of this morning's Covid test, we'll know 100% for sure. Personally, I think she's fine. 

Oh, and today (October 6th) is our 25th Wedding Anniversary! Happy Anniversary, baby! Here's to another 25 years! We'll be spending it at home, under lock-down. I told my wife I'd bring the dining table out into the middle of the room, with a few candles, and we'll order fish & chips and have a pleasant meal with the kids.
And they say romance is dead.
Maybe we'll have a drink or two. My wife doesn't drink, but I might convince her to have a Pavan liqueur with a dash of mineral water on ice.That would be mild enough, I'm sure.
Okay, time for a watch-related typecast, hammered out on the circa 1966 Olympia SM9;
Hmm, a couple of typos here and there.

This here is the Seiko 5 DX model. A nice watch. The Seiko 5 series was first produced in the mid-1960s and has always offered an inexpensive range of watches across a wide array of designs, from dress pieces to dive watches. 
The movements inside these watches are true workhorses. They just run and run and run. 
Dammit, the more I look at this watch, the more I want to keep it. We'll see how it goes. If I find that it doesn't get much wear, it'll have to go. 
It's a nice day-to-day dress watch, and its overall design, with its sharp angles to the wide tonneau-shaped case, is very of its era. The dial, though, is a sunburst silver and I have found that the hands 'blend in' from certain angles and can become hard to read, as the dial throws back some reflection when glanced at quickly. Something that I always used to tell my customers back in my watch selling days; A watch has to tell the time above all else first. If it's not easy to read, it fails its primary purpose. 

And this here is the SKX009K that just arrived a week ago. This is one of Seiko's classic dive watch designs, one that can't be mistaken for iconic Swiss dive watches from the like of Rolex or Omega, to name a few. There are two different variants of this model. The SKX009J is assembled in Japan and it has a slightly different shade of dark blue to the dial. This model, with the 'K' designation in the model number, is assembled under licence in Malaysia. The main at-a-glance difference between the two models is that the Japanese-built version will have ''21 Jewels'' printed on the dial underneath the ''DIVER'S 200m" wording. And, of course, it will state ''Made in Japan'' in small lettering at the six o'clock edge of the dial, as well as "JAPAN'' engraved on the case-back. 
If you're a purist, go for the Japanese-made model, which is about a hundred bucks pricier. Both watches house the rock-solid in-house Calibre 7S26, which is virtually bullet-proof. You can't wind this watch by hand, it needs to be given a few gentle shakes to get it started, and you can't hack the seconds hand. With the great majority of mechanical watches, when you pull the winding crown out to its furthest setting to set the time, the seconds hand stops ticking. This is so that you can line up the seconds hand to twelve, position the minute hand exactly on a minute marker on the dial and set the time on the watch right down to the second. You know, synchronise your watches, gentlemen and all that. 
Well, you can't hack the seconds hand on this watch. No big deal. What you get with the Calibre 7S26 is a dependable movement that will run for a decade or two before it needs any major servicing, if anecdotal evidence amongst watch collectors is to be believed. 
I've spoken to a few people over the years who swear by this watch.
The SKX007 (black dial and bezel) and the SKX009 (blue dial with blue and red bezel, like mine) were discontinued just over a year ago, but they can still be found with a little searching online. 
I opted for the blue and red as a way to break up my dive watch collection a little and introduce some other colours. It arrived on the standard Seiko rubber dive strap which I promptly removed and fitted a bracelet that I kept from another Seiko watch that I sold last year. It looks better on a bracelet, but it works very well on a nylon NATO strap, which I may use on it in Summer.
The case diameter is 42mm, but it wears very well on my 6.5 inch wrist. 
The winding crown is positioned at the 4 o'clock edge of the case, as a further detail which separates it a little more from my other divers. Further difference is the red 3rd of the bezel, from zero to 20. The unidirectional bezel turns nice and smooth, with 120 clicks around the dial. Definitely better than the bezels of past Seiko dive models that I've owned. 

Anyway, that's another post down. Been a while between drinks. Busy times for all, no doubt. I hope you've all been keeping safe and that you continue to do so. 
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 - Trips to the Vet, Dental Procedures & Why, Oh Why Did I Do Dry July? + Recent Wristwatches.

June 7th

              Posting less frequently, folks. Spending all day in front of a computer screen makes me less inclined to get back in front of one for long periods after hours. 

Anyway, let's see how this post goes.  

At the time of writing, Victoria is currently in its fourth lock-down. After 84 Covid-free days, we had four new cases spring up. Then it rose to fifteen, then 25, then 34. So, on May 27th, we went into what our State Government called a 'circuit-breaker lock-down'. It was meant to be a seven-day lock-down. As this week-long period neared its end, a few more cases were still occurring, so the lock-down was extended for another week. We just heard the news about an hour ago that nine more cases have been confirmed. I suppose we'll find out on Wednesday or Thursday whether or not this lock-down will be extended further. 

In the meantime, it's been back to wearing masks in public, two hours of outdoor exercise, no travel further than a ten kilometre radius, and work from home if you can, or if you are not in an essential industry.

Anyways, here's the Rado Golden Horse, one of the watches that I wore since my last post;

I've had it one the Speidel Twist-O-Flex expanding bracelet for a while now, but I switched it over to a leather strap a couple of days ago, to change the look of it. While I like the look of it on the Speidel, the watch had felt a little loose on the wrist. This has more to do with my wrist having gotten smaller in recent years rather than the bracelet stretching over time.

Most likely, there'll be a photo of this watch on the leather strap before this post is over. 

July 2nd

         It's been a busy couple of months. I had my dental implant procedure booked-in for the 8th of this month, but I got a call from the dental practice yesterday morning asking if they could reschedule the procedure for the 22nd. Sure, I said. That would be fine. 

July 16th

              And here we are, in the 5th lock-down in Victoria. Four furniture removalists traveled into Melbourne from Sydney and delivered some furniture to an apartment block in an inner-city suburb. A couple of these guys were Covid-positive. Soon after, some residents tested positive also. It all escalated from there. Back up to 16 cases and the State Government announced another seven-day snap lock-down. 

This coincides with my week of annual leave, which begins on Monday the 19th. And, I have my dental implant procedure booked for Thursday the 22nd. If this lock-down is extended beyond Wednesday, this operation will have to be re-scheduled. Which would be a nuisance.
As it happens, I had a week off back in May. I accumulated a lot of annual leave last year and I was asked to take some of it, even though I had no obvious travel plans. Although, as 2020 and now 2021 have such strange times, I figured some semi-regular breaks from work might not be a bad idea, so I outlined four weeks off for the remainder of this year, to be taken as one-week breaks every eight weeks or so. This would chew up some of my annual leave time. 
So I had a week off back in May...and I promptly caught a nasty cold that took me a month to get over. It wasn't a 'flu, it certainly wasn't Covid - I got tested and came back negative - but I figured that I must have been so run down that I was susceptible to whatever was going around this year. Spent a week blowing my nose. Kleenex's share price must've risen slightly thanks to me. 
Anyway, I got over it eventually, but man, did it knock me around. And it was just a cold! We're now in the middle of Winter and as soon as the weather gets milder, as Spring kicks in, I'm gonna get fitter. That's it. No more mucking (playing) around. 

Okay, so I haven't posted since late March. Here's a quick list of some watches worn since then;

          The Oris Divers SixtyFive. 40mm in diameter, with blue and black dial. That Martini book was written by a guy named Barnaby Conrad III. I had been after this book since it was first published. I think I even saw it at the Borders Bookstore that I worked at back in '98, and I'm not 100% certain, but I think I may have bought the book back then. 
About 12 years ago, our garage was broken into and somebody grabbed a few boxes of my books that I had stored in cardboard boxes. I left for work one morning and as I turned into a neighbouring street, I saw some of these boxes strewn along the gutter. I retrieved them and brought them back home, but every now and then, I'll remember a book that I used to have - such as Nabokov's Lolita - and my blood boils slightly because it appears that they did indeed take at least one box of my books. Bastards. 
Anyway, I decided to hunt around on eBay for this book and wound up finding it. That long-stemmed cocktail glass cost me a whole dollar from a thrift store. It's not as large as modern cocktail glasses, which suits me just fine. 

Started reading Thrilling Cities, a collection of travel articles that Ian Fleming was commissioned to write back in the early 1960s for the Sunday Times newspaper. 
He writes about a restaurant called Gaddi's, which was part of The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. My wife came home one day a couple of years ago with a huge glass jar filled with book-matches from around the world. Inside this jar was a box of matches from Gaddi's. 
Well, I couldn't waste the photo op. 
The book isn't bad, but surely dated by now. Still, it shows further examples of Fleming's writing style, and it's interesting to read his non-fiction writing. He wrote one other work of non-fiction called The Diamond Smugglers, an account of the efforts of the International Diamond Security Organization to combat the multi-million dollar diamond smuggling industry in Africa in the 1950s. 
The Submariner 5513 got some wear since my last post.  I have to say though, and I had a feeling this might happen, the Tudor Black Bay 58 has been getting a lot of wear since I got it. 
This may put the future of the Sub 5513 in doubt. Anyway, I'll spend the next year or so thinking about it. I could still be in the honeymoon phase with the Black Bay 58 and this may be influencing my thinking. The Submariner 5513 is a very photogenic watch and whenever I wear it, I remember exactly why I got it to begin with.  

Work-wise, we will be moving offices into the city sometime in August or September. This will mean that, rather than a 40 to 50 minute drive in to work, I will have to drive to a nearby train station and catch the train into town. Last time I worked in the city, when I was still in retail, my train line was not exactly reliable. I used to get to the station early enough to allow for four different trains because there was almost always a delay or cancellation. It was damned annoying and nerve-wracking. Not a good way to start the day.   This new commute will add around 35 to 45 minutes to my morning travel time and it'll cost me ten bucks a day in train fares. 
Needless to say, I ain't thrilled about it, but I'm adopting a wait-and-see policy with it all. Might not be as big a problem as I think it will be. 

Speaking of the Black Bay 58, here's another shot of it. I was jotting down some notes about - Wait a sec, I'm getting ahead of myself. A little back-story first; my wife has been doing an online counselling course. Part-time, it's meant to take around two years to complete. She finished it in eight months. The last module consisted of 12 role-play videos that she had to complete. These role-plays consisted of various scenarios, such as a young man who's intensely shy and is nervous about asking a girl out, or a middle-aged housewife who works full-time and is studying to become a CPA and is finding it difficult to maintain home, work, and study commitments and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 
I played this middle-aged housewife. I wanted to do it in drag because my daughter was itching to do my make-up, but my wife said she would not be able to keep a straight face. These role-plays were filmed and uploaded onto a dedicated YouTube channel once completed. As soon as she received a mark for them, they were deleted. Thank God.

July 19th
              The snap lock-down was due to end tomorrow night at midnight. Our Premier held a press conference this morning to announce that there were thirteen new Covid cases overnight and, therefore, the lock-down would be extended. 
I got a call a few hours later from my dentist. The implant surgery would still go ahead on Thursday morning, but I had to get a Covid test done in the meantime. Bloody hell! So, off I went to a nearby testing facility, which was located in the car-park of an X-Ray clinic. Stood out in the cold for about fifteen minutes before getting tested. I should have the results in the next 24 to 48 hours. 
I'm slightly dreading this dental procedure. They're gonna drill into my gums to fit a titanium screw which will form the base for a crown. Aside from that, they will go into the sinus cavity and perform a 'sinus lift' whereby some powdered substance will be mixed with water to create a bone-like foundation for the screw. As we get older, our gum-line and jawbone can thin out. My jawbone will need to be reinforced or thickened with this sinus lift procedure. 
Needless to say, I'm gonna lose my youthful beauty for a while. Probably gonna look like I went three rounds with Tyson by the end of it. 
The op should take around 60 to 90 minutes. As I mentioned, I have this week off and I've also arranged to have next Monday and Tuesday off as well, as I think I'll need a good five days to get over the swelling, etc. Last thing I need is to be at work answering phone calls. 

Madame jumped up onto the kitchen bench-top and sat there, with her hind legs shaking slightly. 
Then she jumped down onto the floor and crouched before we saw a few drops of urine land on the floor. Very uncharacteristic of her. Something wasn't right. It was about 8:15pm on a Saturday night. I called the nearby animal hospital. 
Bring her in, they said. 
Fifteen minutes later and I sat in the waiting room and looked around. There were four other people sitting there. All glued to their phone screens. I brought in my car-copy of Octopussy & The Living Daylights because I didn't want to be yet another person sitting in a waiting room staring at their smartphone. 
It was past eleven-thirty by the time I got her home. Some painkillers and a muscle-relaxant was prescribed. It was not a cheap visit either, so I felt a little ticked-off at being given this band-aid solution. I took her to the vet a few days later and they said it was a urinary tract infection and we got a course of antibiotics. Man, these two cats have run up a crazy tab in vet bills over the last eighteen months. 
There was one visit to the vet last year where my wife and I sat there while the vet patted our cat and asked us a few questions. Afterwards, we got the the reception counter; That's eighty dollars for today, said the young lass at the desk.
I felt like saying; Eighty bucks?! What for? She sat there and stroked the cat for ten minutes. We should be charging her
Oh, the Tudor Black Bay 58 has been getting a lot of wear, as you can see in the shot above.
I do sometimes spend a little too much time and trouble staging a photo. This one here took me a little while, as the sun kept disappearing behind clouds on an increasingly overcast day. Once it peeked out again, I got the shadows of the slanted Venetian blind across the page. Not a moment to lose. Also, that espresso would soon lose that creamy schiuma (foam) off the surface, making it look like just a black coffee. 
The IMCO Triplex lighter has no fuel in it. The ashtray was from my parent's house and it advertises Centerba Toro, a liqueur from Abruzzo, the region in Italy where my folks were born. There was always a bottle of this stuff in the house. I never saw my parents drink it, but they would always offer a teaspoon of it to a cup of coffee whenever guests came around. It's made up of aromatic herbs and spices from the region and dates back to 1817. The green-glassed bottle is wrapped in straw, with a distinctive black and green label. 

Oh, one more thing; this stuff is 70% alcohol by volume. That makes it around 140 proof. 
Which is why I only ever saw a teaspoon added to short black coffees. 
I have two bottles of the stuff and I don't think I've ever properly drunk it.
The small bottle on the left was given to me by my aunt when I visited her in Pescara in 2016. I cracked it open and had a sip, but I don't recall the taste of it. I'm currently doing Dry July - whereby I'm not touching any alcohol. Seemed like a good idea at the time - so I won't taste it now, but I'll do it properly and add a dash to an espresso at some point and report back. I daresay it is probably something that's worth having on a cold winter's night. You could add it to a cup of strong tea to add a hefty kick to it. 

The large bottle was taken from my parent's house after my Mother died in 2012. While going through the kitchen pantries and throwing out various dry foods that would spoil, I found this bottle and thought it was a nice reminder of my folks and the house I grew up in. 
Just looking at this bottle conjured up memories of loud conversations emanating from the kitchen/dining area, ashtrays filled with the butts of Senior Service and Viscount cigarettes, drained beer glasses, the ornate wooden sugar dispenser, the steaming coffee poured from the Bialetti Moka Express percolator, and the liberal pour of a dash of Centerba from the strange bottle. 
This half-litre bottle still has the seal intact and it would  appear that there is less than 500ml inside it. I think this bottle may have been laid on its side at some point because the label around the screw-top looks stained. Did this liquor corrode the aluminium top? 
Dear God, what's in this stuff?!
Either way, this Centerba triggers a lot of memories.
I'll have a taste of it once Dry July is over. 
Speaking of which, what exactly possessed me to do Dry July? 
I tend to drink more consistently through the Summer months. Gin & Tonics, Americano cocktails (Campari, Sweet Vermouth, topped up with soda water over ice), the occasional beer. I noticed last month, though, that this Summer style of drinking kept right on going once Autumn (Fall) and Winter came along. In the colder months, it tends to be a glass of wine with dinner some nights or a shot of scotch or bourbon after dinner if the evening is particularly cold. 
So, I thought it might be a good idea to 're-set' things by avoiding alcohol for the month. I have to say that it was tricky for the first week or so. I had some busy days at work and a nice G&T would have taken the edge off and provided some closure to the workday. 
Same with the Friday Night Dry Martini, a crisp bookend to the working week. At any rate, I started, or rather, stopped drinking on July 4th and I'll stay that way until August 1st. 
After that, I'll ease my way back into it and keep it in check. 

21st July
                 So, I have the dental procedure booked-in for tomorrow morning. I got a text message regarding the Covid test that I got done a couple of days ago. Result is negative. 
My wife will drive me to the dentist by 8:00am and after I fill in some paperwork, the op should commence around 8:30. They'll be giving me a twilight anaesthetic, which means I'll be awake and semi-lucid during the procedure. Dental surgeon said I could bring an iPod if I want. I just might do that. 

One last shot, taken in early June. Did I mention that the cat doesn't like being given a tablet? 
But at least she didn't scratch the watch! 
The first round of tablets didn't work. It wasn't a long enough course, so the vet gave me 45 tablets and said he'd see me in August sometime. Half a tablet, twice a day, can be given with food. So, I've been using a pair of flat-nose pliers to crush the tablet into powder, then I add a dash of boiled water, which dissolves the tablet, then I add her food, which is a special formulation for her kidney condition and I mix it in with the water to create a paste-like consistency.
Her appetite's been back for a couple of weeks now, so I think this urinary tract thing is gone, but I'll continue with the tablets until they're finished. Tell ya what, between these two cats, we've spent a small fortune at the vets over the last year and a half. If it's not one, it's the other. I don't know how people with multiple pets do it. It's not the cost so much, it's the fact that you always have to keep an eye on them if they suddenly start showing behaviours that are out of character. And it always happens at eight or nine o'clock at night. 
Anyway, one thing at a time, as they say.

Think I'll wear the Oris Divers SixtyFive for the procedure. Although I doubt I'll be looking at my watch. 
Those Hot Wheels cars have been packed away in some box for about a dozen years. My son is twenty now and doesn't seem to have any special attachment to them, but I thought I'd go through them and keep a handful, for the sake of posterity. 

Anyway, there was more I was going to write, but I think I'll stop here and maybe start a fresh post that I can put up in a week or two. Either way, I think I may be too zonked out over the next few days. The Victorian lock-down has been extended until the 27th, but I'm off work until then anyway. 

I hope you're all staying safe. Some experts are saying that it will be a long time before we get back to anything resembling normal. Others say that we'll have to treat Covid like any other 'flu and take the necessary precautions. 
Whatever the case, we are living through history, and these times are designed to test us, as I keep telling my kids. 
Who are probably sick of hearing it. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Sunday, March 28th, 2021 - Dental Visits, Cat Health, Farewell Hoover 550M + Recent Wristwatches

Okay, so my last post ran the risk of becoming a very long one, so I stopped it and figured I'd just pick up from where it left off. 

The Tudor Black Bay 58 has still been getting a lot of wear, but I thought I should wean myself off it a little. I decided to replace the ribbon on my 1981 Olivetti Lettera 32. Man, it took me over half an hour! I've been out of practice. 
I wanted to keep the original spools of my machine, although one of them was lost a long time ago. 
Anyway, I thought I had the spools correctly loaded, only to find that one of them was positioned so that it would turn in the wrong direction.
Off they came and I tried again. And again. 
Purple fingers by the time I was done. 

Madame appeared on our doorstep (literally) back in March 2009. The vet that we took her to back then surmised that she was about a year old. Our current vet thinks that she may be older than what we thought. If she was born in 2008, she'd be thirteen now, but we're all thinking that maybe she's a year or so older than that. Either way, her health has declined somewhat over the last year. 

Regular readers may recall that she was diagnosed with kidney failure last year. She's on a special diet and seems to be doing well. However, she began coughing about seven weeks ago. We figured it was a fur-ball, although she's never coughed one up. Quick trip to a nearby pet store and the vet there suggested a very small dose of laxative, to help work the fur through her system. The vet suggested I got to the nearby pharmacy and buy a bottle of laxative. She told me to get a brand that comes in a green and orange bottle. The cat would require 0.5 of a ml. Well, I headed over to the pharmacy and asked for a laxative with the green and orange label. The pharmacist asked me who it was for. 

My cat, I replied. The vet suggested I give her half a mil over a couple of days, I added.
Well, the chemist was now reluctant to sell me this laxative. Oh, I don't think it's made for animals, she said. I informed her that the vet suggested it, saying that the pet store normally carries it, but they are out of stock. 

No dice. They wouldn't sell it to me. I thanked her and headed back to the pet store. 

I spoke to the vet again; They wouldn't sell it to me. I can get heroin easier!   

The vet kept a straight face on hearing that line. Oh dear, did she think I was serious? I wasn't born here.*

She reiterated that this laxative would be safe to use on pets, so I went back to the pharmacy, grabbed the bottle of laxative and headed to the cashier. Paid for it, and got the hell out of there. I gave the cat a couple of doses over the next few days. About four or five days later, she was still coughing. Okay, it wasn't a fur-ball. Time to go back to the vet.

They took a blood sample and ran some x-rays. She has asthma. Two options; a course of steroid tablets or an inhaler. We tried the first option to begin with, which I wasn't crazy about because these tablets have to be broken down by the liver, whereas an inhaler would go directly to the lungs. Half a tablet per day for the first week, then half a tablet every other day for the second week, then monitor the situation from there.The tablets appeared to work, but I didn't like the idea of their long-term use. So, I began getting her used to having a mask against her snout. I used a small plastic container and gently placed it over her nose and mouth. Of course, she resisted this. There's a YouTube video of a lady in Sweden or Denmark showing how she trained her cat to get used to the mask. It takes about a month, with lots of food rewards thrown in, because cats don't do anything for you unless there's something in it for them. 

Tudor Black Bay 58 continues to get a lot of wear, despite the not-100% perfect fit on my wrist. 

Anyway, back to the cat. I ended up purchasing the inhaler from my local pharmacy, since it's the same medicinal version as what we humans would use. Next, I needed a spacer. A number of years ago, it was found that using a spacer with an inhaler would provide a more effective dose. Being a mild asthmatic myself, I would use a Ventolin inhaler like anybody else. Give it a few shakes, put the mouthpiece in your mouth, press down in the inhaler tube and a dose of the medicine would be aerosol-sprayed into your mouth. You would take a deep breath as you press down on the inhaler. Nowadays, doctors and pharmacists highly recommend using a spacer. In layman's terms, let's say you have an aerosol can of, oh I spray, for the purposes of this explanation. Now, if you hold the can about six inches away from a wall and you spray it, you end up with a moist patch on the wall. If, however, you stand back and spray it from three or four feet away, you instead create a light mist on the wall. 

The spacer works along the same lines. Using the inhaler in your mouth, it's a very short distance from your lips to the back of your throat and this deposits much of the medicine onto the throat area. Apparently, you only get around 40% of the inhaled dose delivered into the lungs. Using a spacer, which is about the size of a soda can, but narrower, means that the spray is delivered inside the spacer canister as a mist, which you then inhale, thus providing a higher percentage of the dose. 

So, for cats and dogs, you use a spacer. The better one is called AeroKat. It has a tiny plastic flag inside it which dips down when the animal inhales. Because, a pet isn't gonna tell you that it breathed the dose in correctly. They're funny that way. This spacer comes with two different-sized masks. They're made of soft rubber and they resemble the mouthpiece off a trumpet. I used the smaller one, since cats have a very short space between their nose and mouth, and this one covers both. Madame doesn't inhale with her mouth open, so her nose would be doing all the work. 

First, I practiced with the mouthpiece over her face for a week or so. Followed by the signal word Prinzi , and a few dry treats as a reward. I used the word Prinzi (hopefully, it's a made-up word, but I'm sure it's probably a surname as well. Ha! I just Googled it. It's a suit hire place in Carlton. I've probably driven/walked past it a million times) because I didn't want to utter any actual word that she might here at any other time. Well, as long as she never has to hire a suit...

Anyway, I've been using the spacer with her for about a week. I weaned her off the tablets and introduced the inhaler. If she can get seven or eight inhalations out of it, that should do. Although, she does begin to turn her head to the side, and I'm reluctant to hold her down by force. And she'll also try to swat the mask away from her face with a paw. Her breaths are shallow. The little green plastic flag inside the spacer flutters rather than dips definitively, but it's a start. Anyway, all I can do is try. The rest of the family will also be getting familiar with doing this.  

After all, why should I have all the fun? 

I wore the Tudor Ranger towards the end of February. I got a straight-edged bracelet for it from Geckota, a website that sells various straps and bracelets. I must say it's a great quality bracelet. Very well made and quite sturdy. 

That pamphlet in the photo was given to me by the dentist who would be performing the 1st stage of a titanium implant procedure on two of my teeth.

March 18th.
                      I had the initial consultation with the dentist a few weeks ago and today was the day that a deteriorated root canal - done four years ago - would be extracted. I felt a little nervous in the car on the way to the surgery. 
While this type of operation has become routine in the last few decades, it would still be an intrusive surgery, drawn out over six to 12 months. My primary dentist discussed the two main options. I could have these two implants fitted, or I could get braces. At 55, I'm too old for braces. I pictured myself sitting in my manager's office at my next performance appraisal, negotiating a pay increase with a mouth full of steel. No thanks. 
My wife had braces fitted about ten years ago. She told me that if she could have had the choice all over again, she would have opted for removal of one or two teeth and crowns fitted. The process with braces involved routine adjustment and tightening of the wires over a two year period. This was after the removal of four teeth. The braces basically had to close up the gap left by the extraction of those teeth. 
So, I spent a week thinking about it and decided on the implant surgery instead. This in itself would involve a sinus lift on one section of my jawbone. I lost a tooth about ten years ago and the gum has receded a little, and the bone - which will provide the base for the titanium screw - has thinned out. 
Anyway, I found myself lying in the dentist's chair just over a week ago and this guy deftly removed the crown, after giving me two injections (the second one hurt!). It all went smoothly enough, although I did hear the sound of breaking porcelain as he extracted one of the roots. It was all done within around 25 minutes. He packed my mouth with gauze and gave me prescriptions for a couple of antibiotics and a painkiller. 
I paid for the consultation and tee'd up my next appointment for early June. The gum needs to heal. I bought the medications from my local pharmacy and went home. An hour later, I changed the gauze padding in my mouth and began to feel the slow creep of pain. I've been down this road before. When I had that other tooth removed ten years ago, I played tough guy when I got home and didn't take any paracetamol tablets. An hour later, my jaw felt like it was clamped in a vise. This time 'round, I popped two of the painkillers. 
Soup for dinner later that evening and then one more painkiller before going to bed. Didn't need any more of them after that. This was a very smooth dental procedure. 
That was nine days ago. The area still feels tender, but it's healing nicely, from what I can tell. Stage 2 of this entire procedure will be the big one. They're gonna drill into my gum-line and then put in two titanium screws. And the sinus lift. Apparently, you're not supposed to blow your nose for a couple of weeks after that. Man, if I catch a cold, I'll be in trouble. 

Wednesday, March 24th
                                       I had the day off, and it would be a busy one. Our washing machine finally died on us. It has had some issues in the past and we've had it repaired, but this time, the drum wouldn't spin. We considered getting it repaired, but felt that if it had anything to do with the motor, the logical step would be to replace it rather than repair it, as the price difference between these two options would be marginal. 
We bought this Hoover 550M back in 1999, just after we bought our first house. Needless to say, it has served us well over the two decades that we had it. My wife got online and did some price and feature comparisons. The new machine, a Fisher & Paykel, would be delivered today sometime between midday and 2:00pm. 
Meanwhile, the cat was due for her worming treatment, which I could have done myself, but I had some questions to ask the vet about the asthma treatment. So, an appointment was scheduled for 11:20am. The kids were home, so if I got stuck at the vet, they could deal with the washing machine delivery. 
And, our coffee machine had been playing up lately, which is an indication that it's due for servicing. 
So, I'd be taking that to the repairers as well. 

I had to remove the hoses from the old machine and then get it out into the driveway. The guys delivering the new machine would take away the old one. Time to put on the Hamilton Khaki Auto, which is the beater watch that I use for duties where there's a risk of scratching or scuffing the watch. In saying that, this watch still has no marks on it. I must be more careful than I realise. 
Once I removed the hoses, I tilted the machine at an angle to remove as much water from it as possible. I then wrestled the machine onto a flat trolley that I made ten years ago and wheeled it out to the carport. Took a photo of it, for posterity's sake, and headed back inside. 
Then it was time to coax Madame into her carry-cage for her trip to the vet.
I made the appointment with the same vet I spoke to the last time. The time before that, I dealt with another vet, but I didn't like his bedside manner. Anyway, this vet checked her breathing and heart-rate. She also did a blood-pressure test and took a blood sample. We discussed the management of Madame's asthma. Back to half a tablet every second day, for two weeks, in conjunction with using the inhaler. Drop the tablet dosage to half a tablet every three days for two weeks after that. Hopefully, the inhaler will have taken over after that four-week period on tablets and the condition will be under control. Fingers crossed. 
After the consultation, I stood at the reception counter and was presented with the bill for today's visit. I took a look at it;
I think there's been some mistake. I brought in a cat, not a cheetah, I wanted to say. 
I paid the bill and got the hell out of there. 

Got home, gave Madame some dry treats to take the edge off her ordeal and then decided to clean the coffee machine before I'd take it in for repair. Switched over to the Omega Planet Ocean;

This machine is a Rancilio Silvia V4. It's made for home use and is an absolute workhorse. Especially since my son began drinking coffee. I've told him that three cups a day is considered enough, but I think he's up around five. 
Around 1:00pm, the delivery guys showed up and dropped off the new washing machine. They took the old one away. Vale, Hoover 550M! Your services were greatly appreciated. 
Hooked up the new machine and then took the coffee machine off to get serviced. 
Back home by around three pm.

For the next week or so, it's back on to caffettiera coffee, which is fine. Certainly, it's weaker than an espresso machine's output, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. These Bialetti Mocha Express coffee percolators are permanently stamped into my memory, having seen and used them all my life. Originally designed in 1933, no Italian household was without one. My mother had a standard six-cup model, as well as the huge 12-cup version, which was used for larger gatherings like funeral wakes. Soon as one batch of coffee was made, it would get a quick rinse of hot water before being refilled with ground coffee and water. Then back onto the hotplate it would go. Six or so minutes later, the steam-release valve on the side would start to hiss while the machine itself would emit a sound like a distant steam train as the fresh brew bubbled out of the internal spout, filling the upper section of the pot with steaming hot coffee. The aroma of this coffee always takes me back through my life.
Okay, I think that's it for this post. The Tudor Black Bay 58 has gotten the lion's share of time on the wrist since my previous post. I managed to sell a couple of vintage watches that weren't getting any wear. Still a couple more to go. More about that in my next post, I suppose. 
I'm getting a clearer picture of the type of collections I'd like to have. Some items, be they watches, cameras or typewriters, are getting used more than others, so this helps me decide on what to keep. Typewriter-wise, I'm thinking of moving along the Olivetti Studio model. It looks sensational, but man, is it a loud typewriter!
Some more thinking to do on that one.
COVID restrictions have been greatly relaxed as of a couple of days ago, but I still take a mask with me when going into a crowded store. I hope you're all keeping safe. 

Continue doing so, and thanks for reading!

* My wife once told me that when the stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce told a joke on stage that didn't get a laugh, he'd remark; I wasn't born here, but I'm gonna die here, referring to the comedian lingo of 'dying on stage'.

So, whenever she or I make a crack that doesn't get a laugh (usually from our kids), we'll say; I wasn't born here...

Friday, 26 February 2021

Friday, February 26th, 2021- Wristwatch Honeymoons, Reading More, Medical Appointments, Another Lock-down & Recent Wristwatches

I've had to slightly rearrange my computer set-up at work, as I find my eyes getting tired throughout the day. My optometrist said I should blink more, but this appears to be easier said than done. The real trick was to find the correct distance from my eye level to the screen. Took me a few days to get into the habit. 

My wife gets a few people calling who are only interested in vouchers and monetary payments. Quite often, some of these people have already received their allocation for the week and they'll call up again asking for more money. My wife's job is to ascertain their requirements and then direct them to the appropriate department or social worker who will then continue dealing with them.


Published in 1977, this book concerns a guy named Al Rosen, who is currently living in Tel Aviv. He helps some elderly people escape a hotel fire and his picture winds up in the newspapers back in the States. 
There are some former associates of his back in Detroit who think that he has a tonne of money stashed away and they'd like to have it. So, they send some guys over to Tel Aviv to find Rosen, who is currently trying to locate a woman that he had a one-night stand with back in the hotel before the fire started. In the hurry to escape the burning building, he threw his jacket into her overnight bag. She has since traveled on to another part of Israel and his jacket is still in her luggage. 
With his passport in one of its pockets. 
The boys from Detroit have already made one attempt on his life. Rosen needs to find the lady who has his passport so that he can get the hell out of Dodge in one piece. 
Meanwhile, he's met a Marine who has a few weeks left in the Army before he gets out. The guy has no clear plans for his future and he decides to try helping Rosen out of his predicament.
It took me the first fifty or so pages to get into the rhythm of the book, but Elmore Leonard was such a master of dialogue that I soon started enjoying this read. I've read maybe four of his other books over the years. He wrote around fifty books, mainly crime and westerns and as you may know, quite a few of his books were filmed. I'm half-way through The Hunted and I'll be curious to see how it ends. 
I had just finished reading two John Le Carré books back to back. He was a very prolific writer, with his last book, Agent Running in The Field, having been published in late 2019. You would think that a writer of his generation would have used a typewriter or word processor, but no, he wrote his manuscripts by hand, with a fountain pen. Which is staggering in itself when you read any of his novels.
Le Carré's books are densely plotted, thoroughly researched and extend beyond the espionage genre to range from big pharma to third world exploitation to the industrial military complex. Many authors have stated that his work should be viewed as literature rather than just genre fiction. I agree. 
I tried reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy way back in 1981 and got as far as page 35 before giving up on it. I kept the book, as it was considered a big deal and, a year or so ago, I purchased a first edition hardcover version of it and took another crack at it. It is beautifully written. I'll have to re-read it at some point, as there's a lot in it that you can miss in the first reading.
Wristwatch-wise since my last post, I wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional;

Omega has just released a new version of this watch with the first major upgrades since 1996. The new one contains an in-house movement, and they have made some slight cosmetic changes to the dial to bring its overall look closer to that of the original models from the 1960s. 

The untrained observer may not see a difference between this new model and something like my one from 2007, but hardcore Omega and NASA fans rejoiced at some of the changes that were made to this watch. Naturally, it comes with a price tag to match. 

That's cool. I'm not in the market for a Speedmaster. 

I also wore the Omega Railmaster;

And the Oris 40mm Divers SixtyFive with blue and black dial;

Although, the watch that's been on my wrist since January 21st is the latest addition to the collection, the Tudor Black Bay 58;

As it's new, I'm currently still in the honeymoon phase of ownership. I'd originally purchased it on the leather strap (see previous post), but I placed an order for the metal bracelet. It arrived a couple of weeks ago and I fitted it to the watch and then spent some time getting a fit that worked for my 6.5 inch wrist. 

Took a while and I finally got to around a 95% perfect fit. It's not the watch that's the issue, it's the curvature of my wrist. I don't have a perfectly circular wrist. It tends to be thinner on the inner edge than it is on the outer edge and, as such, the clasp doesn't sit as well or evenly as it could. Hard to explain, so if a picture tells a thousand words...

The clasp bridge is long and is shaped in a way that doesn't fully follow the curve of my wrist. No huge drama. The watch sits well. I could do some wrist curls, but this most likely won't solve the issue because you just can't fatten up the wrist. Actually, you can. With fat, but not muscle, as the wrist area is all bones and tendons. 
Still, I think I'll do some wrist curls, because I do recall my wrists looking a little thicker back in my hospitality days. Of course, that was half a lifetime ago...
Friday, February 12th.
                                     The air-con broke down in the office on Monday. It's Summer here in Melbourne and, even though it's been a pretty crappy one so far (due to the La Niña weather pattern this year, which made for a humid and cloudy Summertime), we have had some hot and humid days this week and the air in the office is stifling. 
I've been getting home from work with a thin film of sweat on my face and my shirt stuck to my back.
It was announced earlier today that Victoria would go into lock-down again, as of midnight tonight, for the next five days. There were eight new cases of Covid-19 here last weekend. Then it jumped to eleven, and this morning it got to thirteen. There are major concerns that this new wave could be the UK variant of the virus, which is more contagious. 
Great. Twenty/twenty-one has gotten off to a fine start. I'm still looking on the bright side, but I'm also having a gripe about it all. 
Okay, to cheer myself up in a shallow manner, here's another pic of the Tudor Black Bay 58;
Anyway, I got a letter from the hospital a couple of days ago to inform me that I am now on the waiting list for the bunion operation. I'm classed as Level 3, which is considered non-urgent (that's cool), so that means that I could have the procedure done sometime over the next twelve months. 
It's a procedure with a non-threatening name. Scarf and Akin. The doctor that I had the meeting with two weeks ago explained the procedure with a sheet of paper and a ballpoint. I then got online a few days later and Googled it. Not that I'm squeamish, but since this operation is going to involve some surgical version of a reciprocating saw (yeah, you read it right!), I figured I would rather see animated video rather than an actual surgical procedure, complete with sound and blood. 
So, I'll be having the scarf and Akin procedure...on my right foot. My left foot will be getting the akin op as well as a Cheilectomy, whereby an arthritic spur of bone which has formed on top of the metatarsal (big toe joint) will be cut away. 
Just as well I'll be out cold during this. 
Here's a link to an animated video which explains it, minus my blood and screaming;
Yessiree, this will be an interesting year. 

Okay, because this post has taken me a couple of weeks to get this far;


I finished the Elmore Leonard book and quite liked it. It felt a little strange because there were a host of characters throughout the story and some played a bigger part than others. I'm not insinuating that this was a bad thing. Far from it. When I finished the book, I understood the arcs of these characters and felt that Leonard was a better writer than I first thought. He leads you one way and then takes you elsewhere, and you don't realise it until you near the end of the book. Very well done, and his characters and dialogue are first-rate.

Not certain of what to read next, I soon realised that I was still on an espionage novel kick, so I looked at my shelf and thought about starting the second book in le Carré's 'Karla Trilogy', The Honourable Schoolboy.
But something was holding me back. Not sure what, but I think I wanted to give that book the proper time and concentration required, maybe even re-read the first book of the trilogy, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy before starting this second book. In the end, I opted for one of his later books, A Delicate Truth, written in 2013.
It concerns a covert mission by British and American interests which takes place on the Rock of Gibraltar. The story then picks up three years later when a low-level assistant to a British minister uncovers some vague details about this mission and decides to dig deeper, despite the recommendations from his mentor to leave it all be. 
Le Carré is not an author that I read if I'm feeling a little tired or distracted. It took me a week to read the first fifty pages and when I stopped to think about it, I couldn't recall what had taken place. So, I sat down last Sunday afternoon with the book and a medium-strong latté and re-read those pages. Once I was up-to-speed, I continued on. I do love his dialogue and his characters. The plots are usually multi-layered, which is why I need to be reasonably alert when reading them. 
He wrote twenty-five novels over the course of his literary career. He worked briefly for both MI5 and MI6 in the late 1950s before publishing his first novel, Call for the Dead in 1961 while working for the British Embassy in Bonn. As Foreign Office personnel were not allowed to publish writings under their own names, David Cornwell chose the name John le Carré and it was his third book, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold which put him on the best-seller lists in 1963. He soon took up writing full-time, which was just as well, as his real name was passed along to the Soviets by a double-agent, effectively ending his career with British Intelligence. 
I'm now about seventy pages from the end of this book and I've no idea how it will end. Certainly getting my money's worth out of this one. 

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021
                                                We had an increase in Covid cases here last week, after a 28-day period of no new cases and our State Government has put this town into a five-day lock-down until midnight tomorrow. There's a slight chance that this lock-down may be extended, which throws a spanner into the workings of my office. 
I'm at home now, answering customer e-mails, hobbling along as best possible.  

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
                                                    Looks like the lock-down will end tonight. Back to work tomorrow, which is just as well, as I have been dealing with a few very ticked-off customers via email this week. One customer's watch shows heavy impact damage to the case. There's a nice little dent in the steel, and this has had an effect on the movement of the watch, effectively shifting sections of it out of alignment. This is what is causing the erratic timekeeping of the watch. It will require a complete service, and the customer is not happy about it. 
However, there's nothing we can do about it. The watch has sustained accidental damage and this is just no covered under warranty. 

I wore the Omega Seamaster 300 recently;

I think I've said this before; for somebody who doesn't dive, I have quite a few dive watches. There's a lot about them that I find handy. Aside from the more-than-I'll-ever-need water resistance, the rotating bezels tend to come in useful for parking meters, lunch breaks, cooking times, etc. Just about everything except timing an actual dive.
The legibility is nice and clear, too. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can glance over at the watch on my bedside table and think to myself: Oh, man, it's friggin' four am!
And of course, there's something very Action Man! about their design, their heft, their size. 
Given the ongoing popularity of a dive watch, you can pretty much find them in sizes ranging from around 36mm, such as the Oris Divers SixtyFive and Rado Captain Cook, all the way up to 46mm for something like the Breitling SuperOcean Heritage 46. 
For me, the sweet spot tends to be 40mm, as this represents the classic dive watch case diameter. The Seamaster up above clocks in at 42mm, but I can forgive this because it's such a nice watch. 
As it's Summer here in Melbourne, I tend to wear my more water resistant watches on bracelets. This means less having to take the watch off when dealing with water. 

Feb 25th
               Okay, this post got long, so I'll stop it there. We're only two months into the year and I've been quite busy. 
Might have to start my next post sooner rather than later. 

I hope you're all coping with life the way it is right now. 

Stay safe, thanks for reading!