Friday 31 December 2021

XXXXday, November XXth, 2021 - Back on Tracks, Bond Off/Bond On, Covid Headaches & Recent Wristwatches | P.S.- This is an older post that I should have put up a month or so ago.

Saturday January 1st, 2022 - 5:28pm AEDT. 


Dammit, I never got around to putting up this post back in November. Life has been very busy in recent months and it just slipped my mind. 

Anyway, since I started it, I figured i'd better post it, even if just to show that I'm still alive and kicking. 

November 7th

Quick re-cap from my previous post - My wife was under 14-day home isolation last month after a few of her co-workers tested positive for Covid. We all got the requisite tests done during the first week of her quarantine period and all tests came back negative. 

On day thirteen of her quarantine period, she went to get tested. Next day, she got a  negative result. SO that's that all sorted. Personally, we were 100% certain that she would be okay, but we had to cross our t's and dot our i's. 

I went back to work after a week of annual leave - plus an extra couple of days of staying home after Covid tests - and found a mountain of work waiting for me. Always happens. Took me two weeks to get it all under control. We moved offices. For the last five years, our office was about ten kilometres out of the city centre. Late September, we began the move into the CBD. So, I'm back to catching trains in to work, and I have to say that not much about this commute has changed since I last took trains back in 2011. 

I'm none too thrilled about having to leave home at least 40 minutes earlier in the morning, plus the added expense of a daily train fare. Although, I plan to reach a point where I get to the station well before 8:00am so that I can get to work by 8:30am. 

The recently-purchased Seiko SKX009K has gotten a lot of wear since it arrived. Great legibility, comfortable on the wrist, and its day and date capability has been very handy. 

Back around August of 2019, the Melbourne State Orchestra announced a special screening of the Bond film Skyfall, with the orchestra playing a live rendition of the movie's score while the film played on the screen. As soon as tickets went on sale, I snapped up four of them. It would take place in April 2020 at Hamer Hall, a theatre that usually hosts MSO performances. 

Well, Covid lock-downs soon delayed this performance, as virtually all theatre, concert and cinema venues closed throughout the pandemic. Skyfall in Concert, as it was known, was postponed three times. And then in September this year, I received an email stating that I would be refunded the ticket price and would be invited to re-purchase them once a new venue was confirmed. Well, the new venue and performance date was confirmed in the first weeks of October. The concert would now take place on December 8th at the Myer Music Bowl and I would receive an email soon to allow me to purchase early-bird tickets. 

Hmm, the Myer Music Bowl is an outdoor venue. I wasn't crazy about that idea. Anyway, I received the invite via email and hit the link which re-directed me to the ticket buying page. Whereas the original tickets that I purchased cost me $90.oo each, these new tickets would be anywhere between $74.oo and $149.oo AND I couldn't see a tab or section on the webpage that would allow me to choose my preferred seating. I was now ticked off. 

I understand the change of venue. These theatres book events often many months in advance, and I get that Hamer Hall (the original venue) was probably scheduled to have other performances booked throughout the remainder of this year. So, if it was now to be held at an outdoor venue, I could probably cope with that, assuming the weather held out on the night. 

However, no clear indication of seating preference, coupled with a possibly steep hike in pricing was a deal-breaker for me. After stewing for about half an hour, I didn't bother purchasing tickets for this event. My family provided further logic to my own view. If the weather's no good, it won't be any fun, if the prices are $150 bucks, then that's way too much, etc. 

I soon felt better about it all. In the meantime, my family snagged tickets to a Gold Class session of No Time To Die on opening day. Gold Class tickets are $38.oo each and you get to sit in an reclining armchair in a theatre with 20 seats. You can order food and drinks beforehand and they'll bring them in to you at pre-arranged times throughout the screening. So, there's that to look forward to. Finally, after so many delays, the new Bond flick opens here in Australia on November 11th. 

I'm hoping it's a good film. Reviews - which I haven't read - have been positive for the most part. There have been a few spoilers online, in the most unlikely places. One Instagrammer whom I followed put up a photo from the film with a three-word caption which, for me, turned out to be a major spoiler. I promptly hit the 'Unfollow' tab.

Been waiting years for this film, what with all the added Covid-related delays,  and some knob throws a major spanner in the works with three little words.  And that, hepcats, is just another problem with social media. I'll be closing my Twitter account at some point. I set it up nine years ago as part of my Social Media module when I was doing Library Studies and have no real use for it. For me, it's just one more bit of mind clutter, and another thing that I have to tend to. 

Anyway, I hope this new Bond film makes up for the last one. 



Some of the watches I wore since my last post. 

The Tudor Ranger. I had the case-back opened up to get a look at the movement. It appears that the original rotor was replaced with a generic one. I was slightly ticked off at first, but as I plan on keeping this watch, it's no big deal. Also, I can get an after-market rotor off eBay, which is something that I should have done when I saw them for sale a few weeks ago. Otherwise, if I ever do sell this watch, I'll just be transparent regarding the rotor. 

Also in the frame is this Montecristo ashtray. I don't smoke cigars, but I've always liked the Art Deco-fonted Montecristo logo and colourway. It's such a pleasant shade of yellow.

Continuing to get regular wear is the Tudor Black Bay 58. I write down in my diary each day the watch that I've worn, so that I can write up a Most-Worn Watch tally post early in the new year. I thin the Black Bay will be in the Number 1 spot this year. 
I took this photo with my iPhone and then ran it through the Mosaic filter in the Prisma editing app to produce this effect. I like the fact that, even through this filter effect, the watch is clearly legible. For me, that's the main criteria for any wristwatch, especially as I get older. Since I now pretty much have to put on glasses to read anything from a novel to a list of ingredients on a biscuit packet, I like my watches to be easy to read.


The Rado Golden Horse was perfect for those days when a simple time-and-date watch was required. To give myself a break from sports watches. I'm somewhat tempted to get another watch in a similar style, but I'm not really sure why. About a year ago, I started writing myself a document outlining each watch in the collection and why I have it. This was done as an exercise to help me determine what kind of watches I like, which ones in the collection will stay (most of them) and which ones will most likely be moved on. Needless to say, this document is a work in progress and I'm not even sure if it will ever be finished, as my tastes tend to change a little over time. However, it has been good to get it all down on paper, so to speak, as I've found that my tastes have changed over the years and I now seem to have a better understanding of the kinds of watches that I like.
The Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic spent some time on the wrist. As mentioned, since it's a beater, it gets worn for yard work and handyman duties around the house, but I've yet to really put any marks on it. Which is probably a good thing, even though I think it'll look good with a few scars on it. I seem to have accumulated a vast array of leather straps over the years, so I thought I'd put this one on this watch. My idea is to leave a strap on a watch long enough to actually see the strap deteriorate over time. Worn daily, a leather strap will last anywhere between 1 and a half to 2 and a half years, depending on exposure to water, perspiration, or any other fluids, be they chemical or organic. Moisture can weaken the adhesives and stitching used in the manufacture of the straps. This is normal wear-and-tear, and it's sometimes the hardest thing to explain to customers who contact me to complain that their leather strap only lasted them three years. That's a pretty decent run, if you ask me. Having been in the industry for so long, three years is at the upper end of a leather strap's life-span if the watch has seen regular wear. Oh, and of course, plain old exposure to air and sunlight will weaken the leather too. Leather dries out, boys and girls. And speaking to the girls out there, ladies, a little bit of perfume or fragrance applied to the wrist will have an acidic reaction on the stitches of your leather strap. 

The trains have been relatively quiet during this (hopefully) last lock-down that we had in Victoria. It was lifted in late October, but it seems that not everybody has returned to their original workplaces. Here's my train carriage at around 5:45pm on a Wednesday afternoon in late October;

Of course, since then, there are more people traveling by rail as life enters 'Covid normal'. Masks are no longer required outdoors, but I still tend to wear mine on cold days, moreso to keep my face warm than anything else. I'm seeing a lot of people who are not scanning the barcodes outside of various establishments before going in. This is still a contact tracing requirement in the event of another major outbreak. 
Service Victoria has created an app that you download onto your smartphone and after you scan the barcode outside a store, it registers that you've visited this location, along with a link to your vaccination certificate if you've had both Covid vaccines. Most places now won't let you in unless you are double-vaxxed. There's still a large segment of anti-vaxxers in our country who think that the vaccines are injecting some form of population control technology into our bloodstreams, etc. Seriously? 
I ain't gonna get into it. We had a couple of staff at work who had no plans to get vaccinated. Until management told them that it was a requirement of the job under current State regulations. One of them said to me; But you don't have to worry. You're double-vaxxed. 
I'm also a mild asthmatic who smoked for 35 years, so my respiratory system is already compromised and I don't need to risk it, I replied. 
His wife is a nurse, so he gets a lot of anecdotal info regarding Covid cases at the hospital where she works. He says most of the Covid fatalities are due to patients already having some pre-existing health issues that already compromise their immune systems, etc. 
I understand that, but I don't plan on chancing it if I can. Just as well he got vaccinated, because if he didn't, I'd be recommending to management that he posed a potential risk to the rest of us in the workplace. 



The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. 

Published in 2006, it's set in the mythical city of Camorr, a blend of medieval Venice and 18th Century London, and centres around a young orphaned street urchin named Locke Lamora, who is sold by The ThiefMaker to The Eyeless Priest. The ThiefMaker is glad to be rid of this child, who has caused him nothing but grief. 
And the kid is only seven years old. 
The Eyeless Priest sits outside his temple, blind and blind-folded, and chained to the building by his wrists. He is the Priest of The Crooked Warden, the patron saint of thieves, and is the caretaker of a bunch of other orphaned boys that make up The Gentlemen Bastards, a group of sneak-thieves, pick-pockets and con artists, all well under the age of eighteen when the story begins. The Eyeless Priest, or Father Chains, as he goes by, teaches them the skills of thievery and the art of the con. 
This first book is part of an initial trilogy, and Lynch has just completed Book 4, due for release soon. It's the kind of book that my son likes to read and he offered it to me as a way for me to take a break from my usual literary diet of thrillers. 
I have to say this book is fantastic. And that's not just coming from somebody who doesn't usually read fantasy. This book is beautifully written. Lynch has a wonderful way with words and turns of phrase. Beyond that, he's vividly created this world that exists in a realm made up of glass skyscrapers, dark alchemy, and a vocabulary and terminology which appears confusing at first, but is soon understood once you get into the story. I was hooked about a dozen pages in. And then there's the plot. Think of Oliver Twist crossed with The Sting. Locke Lamora is slightly-built, not good at fighting or handy with a sword, but he makes up for it with his conniving. He and his gang are soon in the midst of a long con involving a shipment of rare wine and a rich Count that they plan to swindle. 
And that's just the start of the story. The city of Camorr is overseen by the Duke Nicovante at the upper reaches, and Capa Barsavi at the criminal end. Crime in the city is tolerated by the upper classes as long as certain conditions are not breached, and Capa Barsavi is there to ensure that nobody, including Locke and his gang, upsets the status quo. Barsavi also collects a commission from the proceeds of all crime in Camorr.
A lot more happens, but I'm only about three hundred pages in, just over half-way. The characters are foul-mouthed at times, richly detailed and layered, and the story flashes back and forth between Locke's apprenticeship under Father Chains, and ten years later as Locke and his gang get their con underway. Meanwhile, to complicate matters, along comes The Grey King, who is systematically killing Barsavi's most trusted underlings and associates, threatening a major battle in the underworld. 
The chapters are broken down into smaller sub-chapters, but this book rewards being read in big chunks, as so much occurs in the story. 
I've been very impressed by the book's 'English' feel, in both the language and the sentence construction, considering that Lynch is American born and bred.
He's captured the nuances of British English very well.
As I  mentioned, this isn't the kind of tale that I'd normally read. I prefer stories set in places with cars on roads and elevators in buildings, but this book is so well written and plotted that I was drawn into it very easily. 
So far, short of it all falling to pieces in the next 200 pages, I highly recommend this book. 

The Omega Planet Ocean got some wear since my last post. There's been so much coverage of the new James Bond Omega watch from No Time To Die in recent months in the lead-up to the movie's release date. Aside from write-ups on various fashion blogs that have dissected Bond's wardrobe and accessories in this film, wristwatch forums are abuzz with chatter about this watch.
Personally, I'm not a fan of it. 
I think there are too many elements in its design which have dated since the original design from 1993. Of course, it's been a strong seller since its release, so what do I know? Either way, I have three watches as worn by Bond in the movies, so my OO7 wristwatch stable is pretty well stocked.  
The Omega Railmaster also got some time on the wrist. Here it is on a Forstner flat-link bracelet. It's not a bad bracelet, but I don't think it suits the watch 100%, or maybe I've just gotten to used to the original bracelet, which will go back onto the watch at some point.

January 1st, 2022
                            Anyway, I'll stop it here. I hope you all had a pleasant festive season (for those who celebrate it) and here wishing you all a good year ahead. 
I hope 2022 treats you all kindly.

Keep safe, and thanks for reading!

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...