Friday 30 September 2022

September 2022 - Park your dogs*...for the next six to eight weeks. | Got My Foot Operation Done.

*My dogs are barking is a phrase that simply means my feet hurt. In this case, the word dogs means feet and the word barking means hurts. The expression my dogs are barking can be traced to journalist T. Dorgan, who worked for the New York Evening Journal. He coined many phrases, often using rhyming slang. Supposedly, the phrase dog meat became feet in this idiom. The term my dogs are barking was popularized throughout the world by American servicemen. Dogs Are Barking 

It might have been in a Raymond Chandler novel where a couple of goons with gats bust in on Philip Marlowe at home and one of them says to him; Park your dogs. Meaning 'sit down'. 


So, my bunion operation was scheduled for Wednesday the 14th. My wife started a new job about a month ago. She could either take time off to drop me off to the hospital or pick me up once I was ready to be discharged. 

I told her I'd get a cab to the hospital. That would make it easier for everyone. Besides, I knew that seeing her when I was discharged would lift my spirits no end.

I wore the Submariner 5513 on the Tuesday, the day before the op, since I figured it would be a while before I wore a nice watch again. Looking back, I should have probably taken one or two days off before the date of the surgery. Things felt a little rushed as the fateful day drew nearer. I've been in this new job of mine only since late March, so I haven't clocked up enough leave time to cover the 6 to 8 weeks of recovery time that I'd need. Ahh well, couldn't be avoided. If you read my previous post, you may recall that I was called by the hospital and given two dates to choose from for this operation, one in August and one in September. I'd been on the public waiting list since mid-2019 and, while it would have been more convenient to have had this procedure done in December or January, I really didn't have a choice in the end. My boss was very understanding, told me not to worry about work. It would all get done in the long run. It is what it is, as my wife will often say. Good news is that I tied up as many loose strings as I could before I took the work laptop home with me. I won't crack it open for the first two weeks, but I'll tackle emails a few days a week after that.

Our bathroom renovation is still ongoing, and I should have been a little more productive with organising the shower installation, but that's okay. It'll get sorted while I'm at home recovering. It can all get arranged with a mobile phone and internet access.

I began packing my overnight bag a couple of days before. Thought about taking a book along, but wasn't sure if I'd have enough time or energy to read any of it. Would prefer short stories, to be honest, so that I could stop and start where required without interrupting the flow of a longer novel. In the end, I didn't take The Thin Man with me. I did, however, mix up a Dry Martini, one more thing that I wouldn't be doing for the next month or two. As far as a wristwatch goes, I decided to bring along the Casio MRW-200H-1B. All plastic case and strap, quartz-operated, plenty enough water-resistant, and with day and date function. Robust enough (I think) to take some knocks and cheap enough ($38.ooAUD off eBay) to replace if it breaks or disappears. I was a little wary of hospitals. My mother had her wristwatch and transistor radio disappear on two separate hospital stays back in the Seventies and Eighties. I'm sure things have changed since then, but I was just playing it cautious. Last time I was in hospital was back around '94 when I had an endoscopy procedure for a stomach ulcer. Prior to that was 1971 when I had my tonsils out as a kid. So, hospitals make me a little nervous. 

Okay, so I took a cab to the hospital, tipped the driver - 'cos he got me there in good time - and made my way to the Day Procedures building. Gave my details to the lady at the desk. Sat in the waiting area for about 45 minutes. I'd gotten to the hospital at 11:20am. The procedure was to be done in the afternoon sometime. 

I checked my phone. There was a text message from my wife;

Wednesday 10:06







Please take a photo of your lovely feet for me.

She meant post-op. My feet were gonna look a mess pretty soon. I sent her a quick reply, along with hospital rules regarding visitors;

                                                                                     No visitors 😞. Covid rules still in place. 

What wtf!!! Can't I do a covid and come in








                                                                       Nope. You're to go to Main Entrance tomorrow morning around 9:30 and they'll contact the Day Procedure Centre and bring me round.  


Is you there now?

I guess we could face time 

                                                                       Yep. Here now. And we can face time! Good call. 

Forty minutes later... 

                                                                                    Going in. Radio silence for now. We'll see how I go once I'm out of the theatre. See ya 

Good luck

I began to feel alone and a little nervous. I wished my family was here. I compartmentalised this feeling for the time being. Put it in a box, slot it away for the moment, teeritz. Deal with it later. 

As I sat in the waiting room, a young nurse approached and introduced herself. She then escorted me to a small office where I was given a mask, a Covid/RAT test and my blood pressure was taken. A plastic medical strip was put on each wrist. I would lose count of how many times I would be asked for my name and date of birth during my stay.

I re-signed a consent form, since it had been over a year since I last did so. Looking at the info regarding the risks of the surgery, it listed possibilities such as infection and ongoing pain. There was a third item listed also, but doctor's handwriting being what it is, the nurse and I couldn't make out what it said. She then led me to a bank of lockers and handed me a hospital gown and basket. 

It was happening. 

I was pointed towards a row of changing rooms and slipped out of my civvies and into the gown, with those annoying string-ties at the back. Off came the Casio watch. I put it inside a shoe. Along with my wallet, which contained my Medicare Card, my ATM card, and a $20 note. I crammed my socks in after them. My mobile (cell) phone went into my other shoe. I made sure to put it on Silent mode. My wedding ring was being a little stubborn. I left my underwear on and asked the nurse if these needed to come off as well. She said that it would be okay to leave them on, since they'd be operating down at my feet. My ring, which refused to come off, was wrapped in masking tape. I was then led back to the office, where I glanced at the wall clock on numerous occasions for the next forty minutes or so. 

Pretty soon, it was time to move location. They asked if I wanted a wheelchair. I declined. This would be my last smooth walk for a while. It was a short distance from the office to the ward of beds near the operating theatre. I lay down on the bed, with its raised section where the pillow sat, and one of the anaesthetic nurses approached and asked me my name and date of birth. She asked about allergies and such. I explained that I'm a mild asthmatic who smoked for 35 years and quit in January last year. I use Symbicort (a preventer) from time to time and Ventolin (a reliever) from time to time. 

Do you get short of breath if you go up a flight of stairs?, she asked.

I told her that I work on the third floor of a building and when I take the stairs, I feel out of breath once I get to level three. She said that's pretty normal. Another nurse came over and fitted a cannula (IV needle) into the back of my left hand and fastened it down with surgical tape. 

It was happening. 

I was now beginning to feel alone, since it was some hours since I'd seen my wife before she left for work. And I hadn't seen the kids since the day before. I was a little nervous about this whole endeavour to begin with. My Dad suffered a stroke while under anaesthetic during an operation back in 1981 and he never fully recovered. A little imagination can sometimes be a dangerous thing, and I began to think about something going disastrously wrong during the procedure.

Five minutes later, one of the assisting surgeons came over and asked how I was doing. He said the operation would be taking place soon, and did I have any questions? A little late right now if I did. He took a Texta (Magic Marker) out of his pocket and drew a circle on my right foot and wrote an upper-case 'R' in it, followed by a long arrow pointing down towards my toes. 

Is that in case you forget which is which?, I asked.

About ten minutes later, the surgeon appeared, with two other doctors who'd be assisting him. 

Do you know what you're having done today?

I wanted to say 'sex change' for a gag. But instead;  Yes, you're gonna take one of those little electric saws, like you get from Bunnings (a hardware chain), and you're gonna make a long zig-zag cut through the bone. And I think some titanium screws are going in there as well. 

They would be performing an osteotomy. Specifically, an Akin and Scarf Osteotomy, to deal with the bunions on both feet. One big toe (L) would get a small wedge of bone cut away from it, the other toe (R) would have a bone cut and realigned and held together with two titanium screws. 

Is there anyone at home?, he asked. You know, to look after me once I'm discharged.

Yeah, I replied. A builder who's taking his damn sweet time to complete a bathroom renovation. And two kids who - I looked up at the clock on the wall. The time showed 1:17pm - are probably still asleep right now. 

I liked this doctor. I felt that I'd be in good hands. About 20 minutes later, they wheeled my bed towards the operating theatre, which was a short distance away. They lined my bed alongside the operating table and began to make moves to lift me up and across.

Do you want me to slide over to this one?, I asked. I felt like I wanted to help them, since they'd all be very busy soon enough. I lifted myself up and sidled over to the operating table. I glanced at wrists. A couple of Apple watches, natch, but nothing else to be seen. The anaesthetic nurse on my right told me to rest my head on the pillow. I looked up at the huge lighting array above the table. An IV tube was attached to the cannula taped to my left hand by the nurse to my left. I began to shiver a little, my lower jaw quivered. Was it cold in here or was I getting nervous? The nurse to my left gave the IV tube's valve a slight twist and a felt a slightly icy sensation inside the back of my hand. The nurse to my right placed the oxygen mask over my nose and mouth. 

It was happening.

Somebody's calm and soothing female voice told me to take a few deep breaths. I drew the oxygen deep, going for that abdominal breathing - where you fill your entire lungs by making your stomach rise as well as your chest - and made sure I breathed evenly and calmly. Despite the butterflies fluttering around behind my sternum.

That's good, just one more, she said. 

                                                                     I took another deep breath.

                                                                                                                       And maybe half of another.


I opened my eyes and looked at the end of the bed. I felt a little tired, but still awake and aware enough to know what had happened, and where I was. My bandaged feet felt numb, which was good. I slowly bent them towards me, at the ankle. My throat hurt a little. I had two thin cotton blankets over me and the room temperature was pleasant. I felt tired. I slowly reached for the basket on the chair next to my bed. It had my clothes in it. I reached for the shoe with the socks in it and fished out my Casio wristwatch. It showed 3:25pm, approx. I got my phone out of my other shoe. Checked it for emails and messages. All clear. Read an article or two on about the arrangements for Queen Elizabeth's funeral. Wanted to send a text message to my wife. She was still at work. I didn't want to disturb her, but I wanted to let her know things were okay.  She beat me to the punch about half an hour later;

Waiting for you to wake up
wondering how you are 💗
                                                                           Woke up in recovery/Post-Op about an hour ago. I'm lucid, but talking slowly, feeling a little punch-drunk. And sleepy. Otherwise all good. Please do not worry.
Love you glad okay rest
                                                                           They took my blood pressure a few times. Feet feel numb. Love you too. Thanks for all your help and reassurances. Staff here are great. Like 24 Hours in A & E.  *
*24 Hours in A & E is a British documentary series which follows 24 hour periods in one of London's busiest Accident & Emergency hospitals.
Everybody I spoke to in the lead-up to this op told me not to worry, but the only person I listened to was my wife. She knew of my concerns regarding the anaesthetic and she provided the soothing voice of reason whenever my worry surfaced.
I slowly drifted into sleep. 
Dinner was around five-thirty pm. The tray was placed on the over-bed table. I lifted the plastic lid off the main dish.

Warning - The following photo contains images of hospital food. 
There's that long-standing gag about hospital food being inedible. Truth be told, I wasn't all that hungry, but I felt it may be wise to eat whatever's put in front of me. Fuel the healing process wherever possible. If it tasted bad, I'd leave it be.
I took a photo of it and sent it to my wife. 
Mushy peas!!! was her reply. Diced lamb, carrot, peas and rice. Actually, the menu slip accompanying this meal stated that it was Braised Lamb with Mint, with diced carrot, steamed rice and, yep, mushy peas.  It was warm. Would have been nicer if it was hotter, but that was a minor quibble. It tasted fine. 
If anything, I was more in the mood for the cup of tea that was on the tray. Sometimes, a cup of tea works wonders. 
And, I think I shouldn't have had the Tiramisu. 

I was feeling tired after dinner, so I think I may have closed my eyes and had a snooze. Woke up at some point, checked my Instagram - why, I don't know - and quickly clicked a tab on my phone which landed me on a wristwatch forum. Just wanting to see that the world hadn't changed significantly while I was gone. Nope, all still the same. People still putting up pics of watches on their wrists and asking if they looked to big or small for them. People still complaining about how long it takes to repair a wristwatch. People still joining up on the forums to ask if their newly-inherited wristwatch was real or fake.

I then switched over to the tab and read some more news about the lead-up to Queen Elizabeth's funeral. I don't think I'm a royalist, but it really does feel like the end of an era, and the end of a certain type of monarch. You can say what you will about the necessity or relevance of a monarchy in this modern age, but there's no denying that Her Royal Highness took her role seriously throughout her 70-year reign. That alone is to be commended. The old-world term 'steadfast' - a word that really isn't used much these days - applies to Queen Elizabeth II. Certainly, she held those old-fashioned British values of 'show little to no emotion' and 'keep a stiff upper lip', but you have to admire her consistency. Also, let's face it, over the years, she did appear to show her humourous side from time to time, just to prove that she wasn't totally different to the rest of us.
Having read so much espionage fiction over the years, the term 'Queen and country' cropped up often enough to give the phrase a certain gravitas, in my view. A certain nobility and higher calling which goes beyond merely doing something for the benefit of one's government. The term holds that very old-world notion, which dates it back to an earlier era, be it the 16th, 18th or 20th century. 
Hmm, maybe I am a royalist. I've included this 1955 portrait by Pietro Annigoni, who was famous for painting in the Renaissance style. This portrait was briefly seen in the Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Dir: Peter Hunt, 1969), when - SPOILER ALERT - Bond hands in his resignation from the Service and raises a glass of Scotch to the painting hanging in his office. 

                                                                                          Wednesday 22:01
                                                                    Slept for an hour or so. Just had some antibiotics into the back of my hand, and an injection into my stomach to prevent blood clotting. Not feeling very sleepy right now, but the nurse may be back at one am to give me Panadol. If I'm awake. Nighty night!
- T xxxooo

Now I'm feeling a little tired...

Ok sweets won't ring sounds like you've got a lot in your system


I fell asleep shortly after and, sure enough, at around one am, the nurse came in and gave me some tablets. 
Here's the Casio MRW-200H, ticking along.
The next morning, three doctors came in to see how I was doing. By now, the numbness and painkillers were  beginning to wear off and it began to feel like somebody was slowly, oh so very slowly, slicing open the top of my big toes, at the first joint, just below the nail bed. The toe of my right foot was beginning to bruise also. 
How are we this morning?, one of them asked.
Well, I said, it feels like a razor blade is cutting the top of my toes. 
Yes, that'll be the anaesthetic wearing off, he replied. 
A few more minutes of chit-chat. They seemed happy with how the procedure went. That was that. Off they went. 
I was due to be discharged at 9:30am. Before that, I would be visited by the pharmacist, physiotherapist and I'd have to get another set of x-rays done. 
Things started happening a little faster. I had breakfast (corn flakes, two slices of cold toast, orange juice, a cup of tea) and then was put into a wheel-chair - on which I had to fold down the spring-loaded foot-rests myself, for fuck's sake! - and was whisked over to the Radiology room to get some sexy pics of my foot skeletons taken.
That done, I was wheeled back to my bed. Pretty soon, I got a visit from the pharmacist, who informed me of the medication. Firstly, I was instructed to take paracetamol tablets regularly for the first three to five days. I was also prescribed a five-pack of Endone, a painkiller, to be used only for strong pain.  She handed me the prescriptions for the painkillers and wished me well.
Okay, now to get out of this hospital gown and into my own clothes. This would take a while. Last thing I wanted to do was put any pressure on the stitched-up parts of my feet. I had a plan, though. The trick would be that, no matter what I did, I was to stay aware of the position of my feet at all times. And, I should ensure that I was 'anchored' properly. That is to say, I'd better not lean too far forward or back, to avoid slipping. 
Because that would really ruin my day. 

I had brought in a pair of Zanerobe ath-leisure (hated term) jogger pants. They had a draw-string waist. No belt. Good. One less thing to worry about. The cuffs were wide enough to allow my bandaged and swollen feet to get through. Good. 
I took my time. Got both feet into them without screaming. Then a T-shirt. Then a hoodie. I sat back on the bed and raised the pillow higher so that I could lie back a little more upright. 
It was around 9:30am by now. 

My wife had already sent me a text message to say that she had arrived. I told her of the delay. She replied, saying that she'd grab a coffee at the nearby cafe and text me back when she was on her way back to the hospital.

The physiotherapist arrived soon after, to ask if I'd need a chair for use in the shower once I was back at home. I explained that we had a metal stool that would work well enough. She then told me of a medical supply store nearby that sold the plastic waterproof leggings that I would need to wear in the shower, in order to keep the bandages dry. I took the address off her.
Finally, she explained the crutches to me. I would have free use of them for the first month, but after that, they'd cost me $8.oo a week to hire. No problem. I signed the paperwork for them. 
A few minutes later, I was good to go. I slung my overnight bag onto a shoulder and bid farewell to the staff, and especially the nurse who looked after me during my stay. Thanks, Lily! They asked me if I wanted a wheel-chair. No thanks, I figured I'd get used to the crutches that I'd just slid my forearms into. My mobile phone buzzed, to say I had a message. Another nurse walked me slowly round to the reception area and out the door where my wife was waiting for me. Man, she was a sight for sore eyes! 
She asked me if I wanted her to bring the car around. It was parked about four car spaces away from where I was standing. We walked over to it and she opened up the rear passenger side and placed the crutches in. I eased myself into the passenger seat in front. 
On the way home, we stopped off at the medical supply store and the pharmacy. Then we got home and I slowly worked the crutches along the driveway and got myself into the house and parked on the couch where there was a foot-stool with two cushions on it. 
That's where I stayed for most of the day. 
Finally got back into reading once I'd settled into a sort of routine at home. I finished off The Man With The Golden Gun and then promptly began Anthony Horowitz's third Bond continuation novel, With A Mind To Kill, which takes place two weeks after the events of TMWTGG. Forty pages in and I'm very curious to see where this story will go. 
The Casio still on the wrist.
These bunions first began bothering me sometime around 2008. They would ache from time to time during the day, but it was at night when I got into bed that I would really feel the pain. My feet would feel as though they had been run over. I knew I had to get them operated on at some point.
It's been a long time getting to this point and now, the recovery was just beginning.
I wanted to give it the best chance possible. 
Let's see how I go over the next few weeks.  

Thanks for reading!

Sunday 4 September 2022

Busy Start to 2022 | Part 3 - April to August ; Settling In To New Job / Time To Fix The Place Up / Unexpected Calls + Recent Wristwatches

This post will be longer, as it will cover four months and will ramble on and on, flicking back and forth between April and July. 



...Early April. The Omega Planet Ocean got a little time on the wrist.

I have a huge jar filled with old matchbooks. They come in handy for lighting the stove-top burners in the kitchen (when we run out of boxed matches) and the gas heaters in the lounge areas of the house. And the occasional incense stick. I also tend to use them in photos here and there. For atmosphere. 

I started reading The Heart of Danger by Gerald Seymour sometime in April. Written in 1995, it concerns a disgraced MI5 operative who now works for a small-time detective agency in the UK. A woman hires him to find out who killed her daughter, who had gone into war-torn Croatia and gotten caught up in the conflict. Seymour was a journalist before turning to fiction writing and he has had a prolific writing career. He writes well, and some passages are hard to get through, as he gives very brief descriptions of the atrocities occurring in this civil war in the former Yugoslavia, leaving the reader to ponder them afterwards, using their imaginations to fill in the gaps. I have two or three other books of his on my espionage shelf. One of them is an uncorrected proof copy of Holding The Zero, which I got back in the late '90s when I worked at a Borders bookstore. 
"What's wrong with your arm?", asked the girl behind the coffee machine as she was making me a latté on that Thursday afternoon in April.
I was taking a picture of the machine's logo with my watch in the frame, so I held up my arm at a slightly awkward angle while using my other hand to tap my iPhone's screen in order to focus the shot of the Tudor Ranger on my wrist.
"Oh, it cramps up sometimes along the forearm", I replied as I slid my phone back into my pocket and fished out a five dollar note to pay for the coffee. That wasn't a total fib, mind you. This forearm cramp actually happens from time to time with my right arm. If I reach into my inside-left jacket pocket with my right hand, my forearm muscle 'locks up' and feels quite tight, making it difficult for me to straighten my wrist. Gotta get that looked at someday, but it's a difficult thing to replicate in a doctor's office, as it doesn't happen to me all the time.

La Marzocco is a coffee machine manufacturer and I had never heard of them until about five or six years ago when it seemed that they were suddenly everywhere. The brand must've launched a very aggressive expansion campaign at some point because they appear to have muscled their way in to a lot of restaurants and cafés in recent years. Nice machines, and I have been told that they are one of the biggest sellers in Italy. 
July 10th, 2022
                         The extra solar panels have been installed. The battery has been fitted to a wall in the carport. Now we just have to wait for some dude from the solar energy authority to come around and inspect the work and sign off on it.
Okay, I forgot where this blog post was heading from here. Oh, that's right, work has begun on the main bathroom. And, like any renovation, the time-frame and pricing have both stretched out a little. To be expected, I guess.
This is the bathroom located to the rear of the house, close to the kid's bedrooms, so basically, they use it. The main bedroom has a tiny en-suite attached to it. My wife and I will consider getting it fixered/uppered at some point in future. 
A few other watches worn in April;

It's been ten years since my Mother died. And as the saying goes, time marches on regardless. 
I light a candle for both of my parents every year on the anniversaries of their passing and I lit a candle for them at Notre Dame when my family visited Paris in 2016, and again at a number of churches throughout Rome during the remainder of the trip. It seemed like a fitting thing to do. I think it's a tradition that I'll continue whenever I travel. 
The watch seen in this photo is a Swatch watch that I bought for Mum sometime back in the early '90s. She used to wear an automatic Citizen watch that she got back in the 1970s, but that watch stopped working a long time ago. 
The crown on this Swatch seems to be on its last legs, as it's heavily worn down. This watch was definitely put through its paces over the years and I was surprised to find that it still worked once I had a new battery installed. I bought a new rubber strap for it, because the existing metal bracelet was stretched and I couldn't be bothered removing any links from it to size it up for my wrist. I may wear it from time to time, or I just might 'archive' it. 
I bought a bamboo tray six months ago and my plan is to make a 'box frame' out of it. I plan to display my Dad's Gillette safety razor, Wyler wristwatch, and Identity Card that he received when he landed on these shores in 1952. Along with these items of his, I'll add a ring that Mum wore, one of her neck scarves, and this Swatch watch. Ideally, it will still be working, so that this box frame of items will also double as a wall clock.

This mid-1960s Seikomatic Weekdater always brings up images in my head of Japanese brands that I don't see around much anymore. Sanyo, Datsun, National Panasonic, for example. Sure, Datsun was renamed Nissan at some point, but the old name has more of a classic '60s and '70s vibe to it. 
This Weekdater can be a hassle to set the day and date function on, but it's a nice watch nonetheless. And this one is a pretty clean example, too.

Saturday, July 23rd, 2022
                          My wife and I still have these 'flu's, for crying out loud! 
I was feeling better on Thursday and then woke up yesterday with a spiky throat and spent the day at work filling my office bin (trash can) with dirty Kleenex. Keeping Kimberly-Clark in the black!
I wonder if it had anything to do with Wednesday?

And that's where things currently stand. Wait a sec. This post is all over the place, with its back-and-forth approach. 
Let me consult my diary and see if I can add a little more to an already long post. 

I had the porcelain crowns fitted to the implants that I had done back in August last year. And thus ends this long saga. Bit of luck, I'll still be able to chew on steak when I'm an old man. The dentist did tell me to floss more, and to start using an electric toothbrush as well. Man, so much to remember! I had some mild toothaches and associated headaches in the first few weeks after this procedure, but now (late July), things seem to have settled down. So that's the top part of my body sorted. I wore the Omega Railmaster 36mm on the day I had this procedure done. This is a great watch, one of my favourites, and one that I'll hold on to. 
This here is the Casio MRW-200H-1B. It's all plastic, which makes it very, very light. It's battery-powered, so you can just set it and forget it. It's got luminous hands and markers, although they are not very bright. It's 100metres water-resistant, so you could wear it snorkeling if you wanted to. It's got a day and date feature. Its $38AUD off eBay. Which makes it pretty easy to forgive its shortcomings. And yes, the bezel rotates. Very handy for lunch breaks and parking meters.
This would make a very good travel watch. If it got lost or damaged, it would be cheap enough to replace. You can also get one in steel for about $60AUD. The specs list it as 45mm in diameter, but I think it may be smaller than that because it sits quite nicely on my 6.5 inch wrist. 
Sold this watch in April. Although, I must say, eBay's cut of the profits really took the fun out of the entire process. That place is definitely a buyer's market rather than a seller's. 
Reason I sold this Oris was because I had found it wasn't getting much wear. In the interests of thinning down the collection and getting it to a stable of watches that get regular time on the wrist, I felt it better to move this one along. Also, with a diameter of 40mm, I thought it was a little large for the kind of watch that it is. 
At any rate, its new owner in Canada is enjoying it, and that's the main thing.
         Prime Minister Scott Morrison lost the Federal Election. Good. He handled this country's Covid response badly. And that's as politixy as I'll get.
I had planned on wearing the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph one day in May and, as I was setting the time and date on it, this happened. The date disc got jammed between two numbers. Now, since I bought this watch back in 2009 and it has never been serviced (shame on you, Teeritz!), I figured it's well and truly overdue for some attention, so I contacted the Sinn Service Centre and made some enquiries regarding pricing and such. Although, I should also get my wife's Sinn 556a serviced as well at some point, as it's losing about three minutes a day. I got it for her back in 2014, so it's definitely due for some work. 

And the Tudor Ranger got some regular wear in June. I've taken it off the bracelet and put it on a strap.
Tudor released a new Ranger model in early July and it is a dead ringer for this model, except that it measures a modern 39mm in diameter instead of 34mm like this one here. Just as well, I suppose. If it had been, say, 37mm, I'd be in trouble. 
I must say, I'm a sucker for a nice expedition watch like this. It makes for a clean and legible dial layout. While there's no real definitive explanation out there regarding this style of watch, my humble opinion states that an expedition watch will tend to have fewer numerals on the dial than a military or pilot's watch, which will usually have all twelve numbers around the dial, unless they remove one for the date window or two for the date window and brand logo (or triangle) at the twelve o'clock position. 

My Nikon FE had an issue where the shutter wouldn't press down after winding on the film to the next frame. A camera repairer in the city quoted me $320.oo to service it. That was his basic price for servicing any 35mm film camera. I could have sworn his pricing was around $150.oo a couple of years ago. 
So, at the risk of making things worse, I figured I'd take a stab at fixing this issue myself. After some digging on the web, I found photos of how the underside's internals ought to look. There was one thin metal stem on the film advance section of my camera that looked like it wasn't latching on to another stem. Swiss Army Knife pliers to the rescue. Some gentle persuasion and now it looked like it would work as it should. I should mention that I had to unscrew the bottom plate ten or twelve times before I finally sorted this problem out, but the SAK pliers, some sewing machine oil and more than a little patience and I think it's going to work fine when I next load some film into it. 
Keeping time of this procedure was the Seiko SARB033. 

The Seiko Seikomatic Weekdater got a little wear in June. 
I got a lot of time - pardon the pun - for Seiko. You can buy a Seiko watch for less than a hundred bucks, you can buy a Seiko watch for a couple of grand. If you venture into the world of Grand Seiko, you could spend three thousand to fifty thousand. 
While there is talk in the industry that things may change at Seiko over the next year or two, as the new CEO has said that Seiko can no longer be all things to all men, indicating that the brand may no longer offer anything for less than a thousand dollars, in an effort to move the brand a little more upmarket, Seiko has been so prolific for so long that you could easily snag something for a couple of hundred dollars for a long time to come. That was a long sentence!

I bought the audiobook - or rather, a MP3 version of it (Read the fine print next time, Teeritz!) - of The Spy Who Loved Me, read by the wonderful Rosamund Pike. I didn't get a case with the CD, just a plain paper sleeve. 
So it was time to get a little creative. This is the original 1962 1st edition hardback artwork by Richard Chopping (picture from The Manhattan Rare Book Company);

The classic Bond book motifs are there. Chopping's trompe-l'œil style of painting, the knotted timber background, the stencil font. Of Ian Fleming's fourteen 1st Edition James Bond novels published by Jonathan Cape in London, Chopping's artwork would grace the covers of eight of them. 

So, I thought I'd create a sleeve for the CD that would be slipped into a plastic DVD sleeve that I had. First of all, I wanted a picture of Rosamund Pike. Wait a second, I'd better throw in a little bit of back-story;

The Spy Who Loved Me was published in 1962 and was Fleming's attempt at doing something different. It is told in first person, by a woman named Vivienne Michel, a French-Canadian who is escaping a string of failed romances by heading to America. She makes a pit-stop at a small motor-court motel in the Adirondacks, which is closed mid-season and soon visited by a couple of shady thugs who take control of the place and hold her and the elderly owners against their will, and it's not until about two-thirds into the story that James Bond appears.

Fleming wasn't happy with reception to the book. When the Bond film rights were sold to EON Productions, he stipulated that nothing but the title of this book could be used if it were ever made into a film. 

Okay, so I needed a picture of Rosamund Pike. I found a screen-shot from Gone Girl (Dir: David Fincher, 2014), the film that made the world sit up and take notice of Miss Rosamund Pike.    

Next up, the font. I downloaded one called 'Cargo Crate' about seven or eight years ago. I also had a font called Royal Quiet De Luxe (courtesy of Richard Polt's Classic Typewriter Page ) which I wanted to use, since Fleming himself used a Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriter. I cropped the photo down from its 16:9 aspect ratio, then ran it through Microsoft Paint so that I could add the text. 

The end result.

Miss Pike's hairstyle in this screen-cap is not properly representative of women's hairdos of the early 1960s, but I love the look on her face in this still. Looking at it now, it suits the Bond story nicely. It could be Vivienne Michel's initial expression upon seeing Bond appear as an unsuspecting guest at the motor court. She now knows that these two thugs will most likely rape and murder her before they leave and the appearance of this Englishman at the reception desk gives her some hope, without her knowing who he is or what he does for a living. Or it can also be read as the look of a woman who has just seen another guest arrive at the motel, knowing that he too will be killed by these two criminals before the week is over. 

One more photo, aiming for the counter-top of some second-rate diner of the early Sixties. It's been over thirty years since I last read this book. I should have another read of it, but I've instead started re-reading The Man With The Golden Gun, Fleming's final full-length Bond novel. 

Reason being that I recently purchased Anthony Horowitz's final Bond continuation novel, titled With A Mind To Kill, and it takes place about two weeks after the events of TMWTGG. So, I thought I'd read it again as a refresher.

I've got a couple of other books on the go as well at the moment. The Best of A.A. Gill is a collection of the late, great journalist/critic Gill's articles covering a variety of topics, from airports to Uganda, from New York to vegetarians. At times very funny, at times very moving, it's a reminder of what a gifted writer we lost back in 2016. 

This Seiko 5 DX 6106-8180 model from 1969 was on the chopping block for a few months. Then, I thought about getting a new strap for it to see how it would look. 
The case shape is very reminiscent of watches from that era and I figured I'd try turning it into a driver's watch. Not that there's any true definition of what that kind of watch would be, but I thought if I put a Rally strap onto the watch, it might jazz it up a little. Rally straps are called that because they have perforations in the leather, and this is meant to mimic the look of driver's gloves, which have those cool-looking holes on the knuckles, designed, presumably,  to provide a little breathability from the leather while driving. 
This picture, taken from...
...shows the type of gloves that I'm talking about. While I have worn leather gloves while driving on cold Winter mornings, I'm not sure that they go well with a 2006 Mazda 3 hatchback. These seem better suited to wooden dashboards and steering wheels, as evidenced in this photo. Still, in my own defence, my car is a stick-shift, with a candy-apple red paint job. 
Anyway, back to the watch strap, I opted for something that would give the watch a sportier, automotive edge. The watch has a gold-toned chapter ring surrounding the dial, so I looked for a strap that would have a little gold stitching, but this was to no avail. In the end, I settled for orange stitch. 


The bathroom renovation that was started in the second week of July is still ongoing at the time of writing. The builder found some asbestos (natch) in the walls, so that had to be removed before the work could continue. Then, over on another wall there was a patch of black mould. This was due to a leaky tap (faucet) in the laundry. 

Meanwhile, the electrician discovered a live wire in the wall between the bathroom and the kitchen. The fun never ends. 

September 4th.

I've just been very busy with work, and this flu has knocked us all around for quite a while. I first noticed my sore throat in late June. A few weeks ago, I made a doctor's appointment and was given a heap of medication to knock this thing on its head. It worked. By the end of August, I was finally back to whatever level of health I had before I got sick. My son got over his bout of this flu and my wife also saw her doctor about getting some medication for hers. It's been a nasty one this year, folks. 

My bunion op is now ten days away, and there's other personal stuff going on that I won't go into. Suffice it to say that these are some stressful times I'm living in right now. 
However, glass-half-full and all that. 

Speaking of glasses, this one had a Dry Martini in it - along with a toothpick and three slivers of lemon peel  - on a Friday night in July when I wore the Omega Railmaster. I've been adding a little more vermouth to my Martinis lately, just to see if A) I'd notice the difference, and B) whether or not I might prefer a little more vermouth in them. 
Jury's still out. 
I was drinking less (as in not at all) while I had the flu, so maybe I'll wait till the upcoming warmer months and maybe try experimenting then. 
Anyway, this post ran off the rails, so I'll sign off soon. 
To finish off, a quick rundown of some of August's watches. 
I wore the Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk on the first Saturday in August when my son and I had a late-ish breakfast of pancakes and coffee - at the Australian equivalent of IHOP - before catching a morning session of Bullet Train (Dir: David Leitch, Columbia Pictures, 2022). 
I enjoyed this film. Some people have complained of the violence in it, but I thought it wasn't so bad, when compared to a Tarantino flick, for example. The story moved at a nice pace, the action scenes were clever, the funny scenes were well-placed throughout, and the characters were well-written. 
It was nice to see Brad Pitt playing against type also, as a retired killer (with anxiety and conscience-ridden issues regarding his chosen profession) code-named 'Ladybug', who takes on the job of retrieving a briefcase on board the train bound for Kyoto. Problem is, a bunch of other bad-guys want the case as well. 
It's a trope that's been done a million times, so the trick is to put a new spin on this type of story. These days, I don't take too much of my Film Studies sensibilities with me when I go to the movies. First and foremost, I want to be entertained. You know, the reason they started making movies in the first place? 
The Omega Speedmaster got some wear in August as well. It's on a crappy leather strap at the moment and I think I'll either rub it down with some moisturising cream or put a newer strap on it. Right now, I'm leaning more towards sprucing up this current strap. Get a little more life out of it.
And I think that's it for now. Apologies for the rambling nature of this post. I should have written it months ago. 
Alas, life got in the way. As mentioned, my bunion procedure is happening in a week-and-a-half and I'm a little nervous about it. Mainly to do with the anaesthetic and how I'll go with it and how I'll come out of it. I'll only be in hospital overnight and then it's around six to eight weeks of recovery time, assuming there are no post-op complications. The first two weeks is where I'll need to keep the feet elevated. Of course, I'm also thinking about showering and sleeping, but I'll figure these out as they occur. 
Work-wise, I'll work from home, as best possible, once the recovery process is underway. 
Either way, we'll see how it all goes. If I feel up to it, I may do short posts during my recovery period. 

I hope you've been well, and thanks for reading!