Typhoon Ambo is heading towards Manila even as I type this. It started as a Tropical Depression off the coast of Mindanao and strengthened to a Typhoon as it progressed north then north-west. It will pass near Manila this afternoon or evening and we are currently under Typhoon Warning Signal #2 in Manila. Surrounding areas (Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Bulacan and Pampanga for example) are also under TWS#2.
The cruise ships that were anchored in Manila Bay returning Filipino crew to the Philippines put to sea last night or early this morning to get some sea room should the waters become rough in the Bay and the wind strengthen. This way they will not break anchor cables and are better able to ride our storms when steaming. The illustration above shows the number of them just off the coast now. I expect them to return tomorrow.
Over the last week or so of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, I tend to look out (wistfully) several times a day over Manila Bay. I have seen a few ships arriving and the odd ship leaving. Cruise ships, like aircraft, carry transponders so their positions can be logged real time wherever they are in the world. So I did a bit of googling and found the Cruise Mapper website where you can see ships sailing and their courses as well as those docked. More in that later.
The now infamous “plague ship” that carried so many COVID-19 infections back into Australia in March, the Ruby Princess, sailed from Sydney to Manila, arriving here a couple of days ago. She is anchored in the Bay (highlighted). The purpose of her trip here was, I believe, to be able to offload the remaining 100 or so Filipino crew still on board, 396 Filipino crew having been flown from Australia back to the Philippines about a month ago on a chartered flight.
It hasn’t just been vessels coming, there have been a few going as well. Over the day about 6 vessels have sailed out of Manila but at the same time, a few have also arrived.
Not all vessels are anchored in Manila Bay however. Carnival Splendour is anchored about 110kms off the coast. This morning Carnival Panorama was also anchored about 15kms away from her. By this evening, Pacific Explorer had anchored about 150kms off the coast having been sailing towards Manila this morning. Carnival Panorama has left. Perhaps they need to wait for a pilot to come to the ship to guide it into the bay, or a spare anchoring position to be available within the bay.
As seen on this map, there are not so many cruise ships in the Pacific and Indian Oceans currently but still a great number in the Atlantic, most heading towards Europe, and perhaps home ports and some heading towards the Cape of Good Hope.
The Pink coloured vessels in the Mediterranean and on the coast of Western Europe are ferries. Across the top of Russia, the ice breakers are apparent.
However, Manila Bay does seem to have more than an average number of vessels present, hence the COVID-19 Isolation Ward for Cruise Ships.
There is a similar application on the Internet for tracking aircraft movements, Flight Radar 24, which shows the position of aircraft in real time. Even now, there are a lot of aircraft in the air, but no so many in the busy air corridors over Australia.
I was reminded of my childhood today when someone in a tweet made a passing remark about the night cart! For you youngsters reading this, when I was a kid (and we are talking 1958 to 1960) the thunderbox was in the backyard and twice a week, in the wee small hours of the morning (pun unattended), the night cart would come around and and the carter would discretely although not so quietly, replace the used pan with an empty pan. The pans appeared to be coated with a black substance, I guess it was tar of some form.
As kids we were given a right clip behind the ears if we left any toys in the side passage where the night carter used to pass in the dark – the last thing anyone wanted was that he should slip and fall, especially on the way out.
Also required at this time was whenever heading to the thunderbox, first one would gently lift the toilet seat and check for any redback spiders, which could provide a very nasty surprise if one sat a little too quickly and without checking.
Of course, the redback on the toilet seat is something that as an Aussie, well, it is a cultural thing.
Eventually we had a sullage pit installed and that was the end of the night cart at home, although from 1961 to 1962 one of my chores was to pump the damn thing once or twice a week – and one continued to check the toilet seat until toilets came inside the house.
The old thunderboax, on summer evenings, well, the smell was atrocious and once you performed the redback check, you would them be attacked by swarms of mozzies (mosquitoes). Inside toilets were a long overdue luxury.
Butter, that item that makes pretty much everything better, was item that has changed over my lifetime. The butter is still basically the same as always, churned milk, but these days it comes from the refrigerator rock hard. When I was a kid, it was kept on the bench in the kitchen, covered, ready for use. In winter it was rock hard when you wanted to butter your toast but in summer, you didn’t spread it on but rather poured it onto the toast.
We also had an icebox, and the iceman used to come twice a week to put another block of ice in the top. It was not so big so the butter remained out but fresh food, meat etc went into the ice box to keep it cool and away from the flies. It didn’t matter than we had fly paper hanging in the kitchen, only about 50% of the flies ever manager to get stuck to the paper and die
Tonight my sister mentioned a kerosene refrigerator, asking did we have one. As soon as she did, my mind remembered the smell of the kerosene in the kitchen. we eventually replaced the ice box with a kerosene refrigerator. The kero fridges work by an absorption process (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_refrigerator for an explanation), although as a five or six year old, I had no idea how it worked, it just did!
So, a load of memories from the mention of the night cart and the smells my memory recalled.
It’s grown some more! Tom Hanks and Castaway definitely comes to mind. There are two photos side-by-side showing the increase in hair length due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
25 days into ECQ
49 days into ECQ
Allegedly hair and beard grows at about 12mm (1/2 inch) per month although my heads current position seems to suggest that statistically, my head is an outlier! It is larger than average head size, one reason I do not often wear a hat as it is difficult to find one that fits.
This weekend is another holiday weekend but it comes on top of a stressful period at work. More on that latter when matters are clearer. Inertia, at least in my non-work life, has been the battle this past two weeks. Most of what I planned to do last long weekend, I never got around to doing. Of the planned items, I started to get my eBook collection in some order and located in one area on my hard drive and in two clouds. I have not loaded the complete library to my tablet yet, but I have started getting it in one place. I have also been looking at eReaders but I still have not finally settled on one. I think what I would like is a hybrid of about three of them.
I also had a look at multi-platform Apps for cataloging my physical book collection. I have two possible favourites at the moment, just trying to decide which one provides the best multi-platform support – or at least Android, Windows and Linux.
Last month I listed possible tasks for the near future. They were:
build more little ships
finish the 1/300 scale Polikarpov I-16s
paint the 1/300 scale Tupolev SB-2s
read a book
paint some 6mm ancient Anglo-Saxons
build a large kit
start of new wargaming project?
Of those tasks, I have been reading a book (which is pushing me more and more towards a new project) and working on the 1/300 scale Polikarpov I-16s – these are almost finished, requiring just a few more decals (see to the left).
I am determined this weekend to finish setting up Linux on one laptop here and using either IBM or gnucobol, work on brushing up my COBOL skills. I will also clear a table so I can at least game a little over the next week or two.
If all goes well, the ECQ will be raised to a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in Makati (Metro Manila too maybe) on 15 May, although this is by no means guaranteed, given that Quezon City is a local epicenter and the largest of the 16 cities comprising Metro Manila. There has not really been a significant period of falling new cases in the National Capital Region although some the provinces around the NCR are doing my better (Local figures can be seen here https://covidstats.ph/cases). The only downside I can see of the GCQ those under 21 and over 60 (or pregnant for that matter) are required to stay in the home unless absolutely necessary to be out (food, medicine, permitted industries) 😦
Be safe, relax, keep your distance and wash your hands! I leave you with my Cousin Itt look!
Amazingly it has been 14 years or so that Thomo’s Hole has been in WordPress in one form or another. Regularly I see the statistics for the day, and there are one or two posts that turn up regularly.
The top post is one from 7 May 2007, concerning Korean Soldiers in WW2 German Army which has had 26,914 views. When I posted it initially, it was from a article I picked up off a blog from Korea.
However, some time after posting this, a Korean Romance movie was produced about a Korean soldier who ended up being separated from his lover in much the same way. Someone was searching “Korean soldiers in German army” and this blog post popped up. They posted a Reddit and suddenly I had 14,000-odd hits in a day, which really screwed my stats for that month 🙂
For the record, Yang Kyoungjong (양경종) is supposed to be the name of the real Korean soldier who apparently fought in the Imperial Japanese Army, the Soviet Red Army, and later the German Wehrmacht during World War II.
The third on the list, with 8.966 views, is an old poem I remember from my Infant School days, so the first time I heard it would have been in the 1960s. I posted this on 21 April 2003 and it is the tale of a small child who increasingly behaves more an more like a motor car, The Sad Tale of a Motor Fan by H. A. Field. It seems that many folks from my generation remember that poem from H. A. Field, along with others he wrote.
“Young Ethelred was only three
Or somewhere thereabouts when he
Began to show in diverse ways
The early stages of the craze
For learning the particulars
Of motor bikes and motor cars.”
Number four on the list with 8.966 views was posted 20 February 2008, in fact, it was me re-posting some information provided by my mate Mal Wright concerning Colour Schemes of WW1 Warships. A very informative article and one I refer to from time to time when painting World War One warships.
Number five on the list was posted on 3 December 2005 when I was working in Mongolia. It was winter at the time and bloody cold. Still it has had 3,976 views and deals with When Your Snot Freezes.
On 16 January 2012 I previewed some of the drawings of some World War 2 ships in camouflage, drawn by Mal Wright and included his books on the Paint Schemes of British and Commonwealth Warships of World War 2. There have been 2,293 views of World War 2 Naval Camouflage,
It seems to grow so quickly. Definitely looking like I have been trapped on an island for months now. I think there will be a trip to the gentleman’s hair lounge (Covent) when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is past.
Today is Good Friday, and along with yesterday, which was both Maundy Thursday and the Day of Valor holiday here in Manila, makes up a four day long weekend.
I packed my bag for a four day break away, grabbed my passport and took the long trip to the lounge room! Of course, being in ECQ, the only difference about today and the preceding 24 days is that I can ignore (mostly) work emails.
The plan for the four day break was to avoid work as I have had a lot to deal with over recent weeks, and spend time sorting, building, painting, packing things away and generally getting ready to be able to play some games in the apartment — either on the coffee table or what serves as the dining table.
Yesterday was starting to get my eBook collection in some order and located in one area on my harddrive and in two clouds — then load the library to my tablets for reading. Damn, I have a lot of books, magazines and rules in digital format.
I need to determine what my eBook readers will be into the future. Kindle is one of course and both my Kindle and the readers on my phone and tablets get good use. Amazon Kindle in particular is my go to location for pulp fiction, science fiction and what-not. Non fiction tends to be a mix of hard copies, ePub, PDF, and Kindle where appropriate. I need a good ePub/PDF reader. Any suggestions I should try? I am an Android user.
Today I decided to knock out some more 1/3000 scale ships (see to the left here). These are from set 30 of Fujimi’s 1/3000 scale modern Japanese Navy – flotilla 1 of the fleet in recent years. I will look to base them tomorrow or Sunday, ready for paint on Monday.
Some of the pieces are remarkably small and delicate and bloody annoying to put on. I really have had to use tweezers for these but I will admit to a satisfaction when the peg slowly slides into the hole and the piece is glued on.
The detail on these vessels is remarkably good, and I am looking forward to not only painting these beasties but also putting together more of the World War Two vessels that they have. For those interested, I obtained these from Hobby Link Japan, who have an excellent mail order service. A search for “fujimi 1/3000” in Google will return many results of where the vessels can be purchased from.
Now the next question is what else to look at doing tonight? Do I:
build more little ships
finish the 1/300 scale Polikarpov I-16s
paint the 1/300 scale Tupolev SB-2s
read a book
paint some 6mm ancient Anglo-Saxons
build a large kit
start of new wargaming project?
Ah, the joys of being a wargames tart (which I am sure is an oxymoron)!
Anyway, have a safe if boring Easter. I believe the Easter bunny will still be out and about but social distancing and as I understand, in Australia, toilet paper is considered more valuable than hot cross buns … the hot cross bun shelves are still well stocked in supermarkets!
Be safe, relax, keep your distance and wash your hands!
Needing a beard trim and a haircut … or a coconut palm and a Man Friday!
Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719, so 301 years ago this month. It was one of my favourite novels in my late teen years but now I am starting to feel like Crusoe, and indeed look like Crusoe.
We have just completed 17 days of extended community quarantine here in Manila where we are working from home and only permitted out to collect food, medicine, see a doctor, or in my case, walk to the office if there are machines that need resetting. My only exposure to the outside currently then is the daily collecting of a can of beer from the local convenience store and to collect dinner from the Grab food delivery guy around 6:00 pm. Funnily, it is very tiring in this environment but hopefully, once we get past Easter here, we will be able to get out and about more often as restrictions ease up. Hopefully also we will have “flattened the curve” and life will be safer for the elderly and those with medical conditions.
Now, all I need is a visit to a gentlemen’s hairdresser – or a beach, a coconut palm, and a Man Friday!
With apologies to Patrick McGoohan – trapped, inside the idyllic Legaspi Village — actually, not entirely sure how idyllic, however this COVID-19 “community quarantine” is starting to get on my goat a little as we stretch into Day 5 here of the extended quarantine. Firstly, I find that I am becoming addicted to the statistics, and each morning before ablutions and breakfast, I check the stats.
Last thing at night, yep, check the stats again. I will also confess that I check the buggers at lunch time and dinner time as well (now, at lunch today, 12 hours after the stats on the left were taken, the total cases has hit 244,517 cases – with the US rocking up the charts, having overtaken the French they are now rapidly closing in on the Germans).
As the apartment I am in is a massive 42 square metres in size, and as the amenity area in the condominium building is closed for “disinfecting”, cabin fever* sets in fairly quickly. For those unaware, “Cabin Fever” (according to Wikipedia) refers to the distressing claustrophobic irritability or restlessness experienced when a person, or group, is stuck at an isolated location or in confined quarters for an extended period of time. A person may be referred to as stir-crazy, derived from the use of stir to mean ‘prison’.
To relieve that, each day I slip out on to Legaspi Street, normally a busy thoroughfare, and head to the local convenience store where I buy 1 can of beer. As beer is food for Aussie, if stopped by police or military I can claim I am merely outside getting some food!
The cable guy … sorry, network guy, from the office is stuck outside of Metro Manila and can’t pass through the checkpoints. This results in me heading up to the office from time to time in shorts and t-shirt, to act as first junior assistant trainee network engineer and follow to the letter his commands over the phone.
No air conditioning in the office, and basically the building is deserted except for a few people and the security guards so I feel safe from viral infestation.
The “community quarantine”, a lock-down by any other name, is restrictive and designed to slow the spread of the virus so the medical system dies not get overloaded.
The main conditions are:
No public gatherings
Remain in home and work from home where possible
Metro Manila is closed to the rest of the world now with international visitors banned (except Filipinos and permanent residents and families) and no domestic travel in by land, sea or air. Police and Army are manning checkpoints at the entry points to ensure rules are followed
Cities within Metro Manila may also close their municipal boundaries
A State of Calamity over the entire country has been raised by the president
Emergency and front line services plus necessary deliveries can pass through the checkpoints (doctors, nurses, police, food deliveries etc) and grocery, supermarket, convenience and drug stores have been asked to continue operating. Shopping malls however, are closed. And all this is to last until 12 to 14 April (just after the Easter break). The bottom line is, stay at home and maintain social distancing of a metre (in Australia, 1.5 metres, 2 metres in the US).
The condominium management, I guess they are living in now, have been assisting with social distancing. Last night I arrived back from my network support and beer run to see the elevators had been enhanced.
Not quite a metre apart and to be honest, I thought it would have been more efficient to have the foot prints all facing away from each other for that reduced social distancing to work … I have not heard of transmission from bum to bum bumping!
To break up the day, after shower and breakfast I change into dark shorts and t-shirt. When it is quitting time for the day, I change shorts and t-shirt again. sort of breaks the day up between work and me time.
For relaxing in the evening, I should be painting a pile of half painted aircraft however some small (1/3000 scale) plastic ships were delivered to me from Japan Hobby. The ships are kits, small kits I will admit, but are quick to build. The detail is superb so I am thinking of building them all this week, then paint, then sell my older metals hips.
Best, these ships are also quite inexpensive relative to other similar models. The image below will give an idea of the size and scale of these vessels.
In the meantime, stay safe, take care and wash your hands … again!
Mag-ingat at tandaan na hugasan ang iyong mga kamay.
When I was back in Oz for Christmas it was bush fires. The bush had been burning in my home state of New South Wales since last August-September but mercifully recent heavy rain has either put out or allowed the Rural Fire Service yo being the remaining fires under control, although the rain has brought problems of its own. The fire season is now two-thirds the way through so hopefully there is no more damage to come, especially in the hotter days of February. All us cockroaches hoped for rain, a lot of it but it looks like we got somewhat more than we wished for.
I got back to Manila on New Year’s Eve. The Philippines has been an interesting learning experience for me. I experienced first hand my first typhoon back in either 2001 or 2002 when I was staying at the Sofitel on Manila Bay. Seeing the waves break over the sea wall was quite an experience, from the safety of my hotel room.
Last year it was earthquakes, and one in particular which gave Manila a good shaking, mercifully not causing a great deal of damage, unlike more recent quakes in the Mindanao area of the Philippines.
I was teasing mum about having clean air in Manila while she was suffering from bushfire smoke when Taal volcano decided to blow its top a little, spewing ash, smoke and steam into the atmostphere. Taal (pronounced Ta’al) is one of the most active volcanoes around, and is about 70 km from the centre of Metro Manila. So I got to experience my first ash fall.
Wow. What a January! Well, actually, what a late December that segued into January. A mix of a a stressful, bloody annoying, frustrating, painful (physically and emotionally) and downright crappy period. Sliding into February and it does not really look any better. I am too stressed even to paint at the moment so I have fallen back on a plan B and have been building (badly) a 1/35th scale kit.
What has happened. Those of you that know me well, will know that I spent Christmas back in Oz with mother, but also visited or were visited by my kids and grandkids. Of course, Christmas was full-on bushfires all over the east coast and particularly near mum. Lots of smoky air. I returned to Manila (not missing the flight this year) and was teasing mum about being back in clean air when Taal Volcano decided to pop its cork, or at least let off a lot of steam. Ash fall it was, and a new expression as I had not experienced ash fall like that at all before. Still, now for the Philippines I can tick off from my list:
Volcano quietens down and along comes 2019-nCoV (new Coronavirus). Masks were already scarcer than hen’s teeth here because of bloody Taal and also now in rapid short supply is isopropyl hand wash and anti-bacterial soap. Fortunately, I had some isopropyl alcohol on my modelling desk (acts as a flow improver for airbrushing, although I have not tried that yet).
Work has been particularly stressful. I don’t normally talk about work here and I will refrain again however, suffice it to say it has been particularly crappy. Lastly, a short trip to Bangkok last week for work was a nice break, back to talking to potential clients. I am hoping for more of that in the coming future, if only for my ongoing sanity.
In the meantime, the plan is to deal with the last of the crappy work issues, get some action working with new clients, get the three book reviews I have read to write written and posted (one is the Battle of Manila from World War 2 so with much familiar ground), finish that damned 1/35 scale tank and paint it and then get back into some figure painting – Anglo-Saxons up next. Lastly keep reading the historical fiction for both sanity and insanity (insanity as it keeps leading me to thinking about new plans and projects for wargames and therefore more spending on figures – did I mention Late Romans, Patricians, Scots, Irish, Picts, Sub-Roman British?). I also need to spend more time with my local family. By the time I get to see them it will have been two months 😦
Lastly, some good news … grandchild number 5 arrived last week. Welcome aboard young Oswald!