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When our cruise returned to Sydney on the 2nd March there was no Covid-19 check. The alarm had not yet sounded.

Thanks to our chats with the old hands over various meals we were becoming more cruise savvy. So to avoid another tiresome queue we carried our bags off ourselves and went straight to the Mosman ferry - which was conveniently waiting, as if for us to arrive.

My car had been parked, at my usual place nearby, for a fortnight. Unfortunately it was under a tree and the birds had been unkind. Quite a lot of cleaning was required! Yet it was good exercise - and I had the time - as the washing machine indoors and the sunshine without - refreshed our big pile of well travelled clothes.

Now where was that waiter with my afternoon tea?


Yet little did we know that just six days after we returned another cruise ship, the Ruby Princess, would set sail from the same terminal in Sydney for New Zealand. on an 11-day cruise to New Zealand.

As could just as easily have happened to us, someone infected with Covid-19 had boarded the ship in Sydney, either on the 8th March or on the previous cruise that left in February. The Ruby Princess evidently provided a more crowded and boisterous cruising environment than the Queen Elizabeth.

By the time she returned to Sydney on the 19th of March at least 100 passengers had become infected.  Due to a miscommunication between authorities passengers were allowed to disembark, some to interstate and international destinations, with nothing more than a vague recommendation to self-isolate.

In the weeks that followed, the Ruby Princess would become infamous as the sauce of Australia's first large coronavirus outbreak. Around 666 people (the devil's number) would test positive and 28 people would die.

This death toll was soon put into the shade by Melbourne's hotel quarantine debacle, that would kill 768 people. A hard lock-down in Melbourne, lasting almost four months, would be necessary to refine the Victorian strategy and eliminate further community transmission.

By year end, over two million people worldwide had been killed by the virus; and despite the development of several vaccines and their emergency approval, the death toll remained substantially unabated as we began 2021.

So it turned out that the local administration in Rabaul had been well advised. Papua New Guinea remained largely unaffected throughout 2020. Unfortunately this quarantine did not succeed indefinitely. Papua New Guinea fell victim to the pandemic in 2021, initiating an emergency response in March 2021, assisted by Australia, as cases escalated.






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In August 2019 we returned to Turkey, after fourteen years, for a more encompassing holiday in the part that's variously called Western Asia or the Middle East.  There were iconic tourist places we had not seen so with a combination of flights and a rental car we hopped about the map in this very large country. 

We began, as one does, in Istanbul. 

Read more: Turkey

Fiction, Recollections & News

Lost Magic



I recently had another look at a short story I'd written a couple of years ago about a man who claimed to be a Time Lord.

I noticed a typo.  Before I knew it I had added a new section and a new character and given him an experience I actually had as a child. 

It happened one sports afternoon - primary school cricket on Thornleigh oval. 

Read more: Lost Magic

Opinions and Philosophy

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I have reached a point in my life when the death of a valued colleague seems to be a monthly occurrence.  I remember my parents saying the same thing. 

We go thought phases.  First it is the arrival of adulthood when all one's friends are reaching 21 or 18, as the case may be.  Then they are all getting married.  Then the babies arrive.  Then it is our children's turn and we see them entering the same cycle.  And now the Grim Reaper appears regularly. 

As I have repeatedly affirmed elsewhere on this website, each of us has a profound impact on the future.  Often without our awareness or deliberate choice, we are by commission or omission, continuously taking actions that change our life's path and therefore the lives of others.  Thus our every decision has an impact on the very existence of those yet to be born. 

Read more: Frederick Sanger - a life well spent

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