Saturday, 18 April 2015


A young boy is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. He has a love for mathematics and in his teenage years he tests for a place in the Mathematics Olympiad in the course of which he learns much more about relationships and love. Indeed everyone in x+y (named elsewhere rather mundanely as 'A Brilliant Young Mind') seems to learn about love in this charming British film.

The film opens with a surprise but from thereon it follows a fairly predictable track. It is nicely acted with a gentle, low key humour.

Friday, 17 April 2015

A difference of two

How annoying is a difference of two? Two tablets in a packet, that is.

I am prescribed four medications a day by my GP, to control or prevent certain conditions.

All four medications come in the form of tablets. Three of these medications come in packets of thirty tablets but the other medication comes in a packet of twenty-eight. Each month that 'other' medication runs out first and because I top up all four medications at the same time over a period of a few months my supply of medications gets all out of kilter.

Of course I could manage my supply differently by purchasing only that 'other' medication every few months or so but why isn't there a standard multiple of tablets per packet? What difference does two make?

Thursday, 16 April 2015


I am an only child. At times of great happiness or distress I wonder how it would feel to share that experience with a sibling. Once when sitting alone in an Emergency Ward, doctors asked me do I want my mother resuscitated should the condition for which she had just been admitted deteriorate I keenly wished I had a sibling with whom to discuss the issue. But I don't have a sibling and never will so it is idle thought.

I have always assumed that if there had been a sibling that we would remain on good terms for life. I don't know why I am so certain about this given the example of my mother who became estranged from her only sibling for the last twenty or so years of her life.

I know three sisters with whom I have been close friends for over forty years. We have socialised together, travelled together, cried together and laughed together. Following the deaths of their parents they started to see me as a brother, the older brother they never had. Sadly after decades of close association two of the three sisters (middle and youngest) have fallen out with each other rather badly. Group socialising involving these two has become impossible. I continue to be on good terms with all three sisters but middle and youngest sister remain resolutely estranged.

Today at her invitation I met middle sister for lunch to see photos of her recent overseas trip. I mentioned my forthcoming overseas trip and she asked with whom I would be travelling. This I knew would be sensitive. Truthfully I told middle sister my travelling companion will be her estranged youngest sibling. Clearly neither oldest nor youngest sister had told middle sister of the travel plans.

Middle sister went very quiet, then whispered. 'I wish you hadn't told me this.' 'I'm having difficulty with this.' 'I wanted to do that trip.' And then she left. No further conversation, no lunch. Is our friendship over? I hope not.

I rang youngest sister and left a message informing her of what had happened.

I was left with a sick feeling in my stomach; quite upset. Is this the reality of what it is to have a sibling?

Postscript: within an hour of this exchange there has been a serious development possibly of a mental health nature which I won't go into at this time.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Blue skies

Our periodic outing for respite care folk, this time to Sydney's McMahons Point on a gloriously sunny day.

Blue's Point Reserve

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Watch that time

Speaking writing about watches and Ballarat as Andrew has done today I am reminded of the Dr Blake Mysteries, a fine ABC television period series about that regional town and the local Doctor who solves murder mysteries for the Police.

Dr Blake and his devoted side kick Mrs Beazley
The series is set in the 1950s and its creators go to great lengths to recreate the look and style of those times. I imagine they occasionally get it wrong but I don't usually notice.

This week I watched the series just ended. The first episode depicts a school boat race. The banners on the course clearly indicate the year is 1959. At one point the Police Constable looks at his watch which is shown in close up.

Wisely perhaps for pedantic viewers like me the watch does not display a brand but it is does have the word Quartz on it. 'Hold on' I thought 'were Quartz watches invented in 1959?' The answer according to Dr Google is 'no'. Quartz watches were invented in 1969.

Dr Google trumps Dr Blake.