Fleets and Flats

So Just What is That We do in THIS aassignment in Perth? ? ? ?

Ten new Elders and one new Sister and their trainers and Mission Pres and Wife.  AND THEY ALL HAVE TO BE bedded down each night and get about Perth to do their mission (Invite all to Come Unto Christ).   This is an unusual incoming “class”, but none the less there was some planning and effort prior to their arrival.

Sister Hoag and I deal with the dwelling places (flats).  Some dwellings are simple modest houses, others are duplex or the like.  One I am aware of is actually in a complex on the second floor.  But apartment buildings as we yanks know them are not all that common.  We clear and clean vacated flats (not the funnest part of the mission) and find and open new places.  We’ve done a few of each.  In the day to day life Sister Hoag handles the administrata in the office and Elder Hoag is out and about: changing out burned out light bulbs (called globes here), fixing a dripping faucet (my father taught me how to do this about 5 jillion years ago, but I remembered – can’t recon a dripping faucet in my life in USA in the past several decades.)   I have done several renditions of drip, no water, some water.  Some of the hardware is obsolete (so said the guy at the hardware store), but the task is to restore service and I have accomplished this in every case.  We also deal with “water won’t drain in … shower, toilet, etc.  The only sticky wicket was a bathroom sink drain that finally required the roto router trick on the exterior drain due to roots in the drain.  Shower drains have been #1 on the hit parade of drain issues.  Good news  . . .no camera for me to record the long hair rope I pulled out a shower that was used by three South Pacific Island Sisters for many months.  My memory will fade in time and my appetite will return.

Where to get parts?  Well across the USA it’s called Home Depot.  In Australia it is Bunnings.  Some store just green not orange.  Looks the same with few that can actually help, but I felt completely at home in minutes.  They do have an employee (lady) at the entrance that can make suggestions of where to go, but they usually are there to help other ladies.  Would I need to stop and ask?  Only to offer missionary type help.

In the above case I left a note: Please save (pot at sink)  for University study, perhaps this culture could be the cure for cancer!

AND once in a while I see great things going on in/at the flats.  On this day I went to fix a drip and change out used up light bulbs for some good ones.

Which white one is mine?  Push trunk (boot) button and up pops my car.  Easy.  No argument about color.  Not many issues about use or service.  It does seen that we usually have one car at the Panel Beaters Shop (think Body and Fender Shop) most times.  At the current time we have three cars that need to be cycled through the repair place.  None major,  but backing accidents (do this and use drive privilege for time specified by mission pres) are the usual cause of scrapes and dents.  A contributing factor is most Car Parks (think parking lot) or other places where you go with a car are close. Close garage or car port spaces,  and many fences, wall, or boundaries.  Most fences here are brick.

It happened on Sunday in the church car park.  Rule #1 says “must have co-driver outside during backing operation.  Well co-driver was sitting in his seat, two sisters missionaries, that were not drivers, were assisting backing, and the driver was about to get a hearing aid (has it now).  Result – dent.  There is much more, but we’ll leave that part out because it just MY opinion.

More Flat Experience.

Older home in Busselton.  We had to make the selection for a move in early October.

Rear view of same house in Busselton.

Good news – we checked this place out after the missionaries had been there for a few months.  Superb job they’re doing.  They arranged the furniture to suit themselves, but it is as clean as it was the day before they moved in.  One change was made.  The table shown here had a glass top.  Elder Hoag being somewhat a realist asked that that table be removed by the owner ASAP.

SO there  . . . . something about Fleets and Flats.  Some days can’t remember my head hitting the pillow. Good news . . .a great way to finish the mission; so busy that times is going by at turbo speed.

Published in: on December 19, 2009 at 5:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Perth Is A Pretty Place

We’ll start with some common pedestrian shot, in the neighborhood where we live.    It took a few years for that boogin to grow.

This unusual (for me) orange flowering tree/bush is some common around town in “bush” areas.  This happens to be on the edge of a golf course that is also only a short block from our house.

And Sat last (12 Dec) we drove a few K’s across town to this Reserve (park) at a large lake and saw hundreds of Black Swans.  These two got close enough to make a fair picture.  Many other kinds of water birds there as well.  We just enjoyed sitting on the bench and watching for a while before we drove to the beach for an evening meal.

Our seat at the eating place Sat eve.  Food fair, but fun watching the people walking by.

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Still doing some “testing”

Obviously big pictures don’t work. I’ll repost the “Aussie Croc” picture here.

This is full size.  Large looks like previous post.

I did buy a wallet at this croc farm.  Carol said I needed one personal Aussie item for my personal use.  Good news.  It will outlast me, and I fully intend to be around for a long while.  When you find out what I paid for it then I will out live you.

NOT floating timber.  In our Broome days, and about 50-75 K’s from Broome a family went to the river for an outing.  Children and family dog (a 90Kg lab) were playing at the river edge while Mum and Dad set up “camp”.  Croc burst out of the river and left with the dog.  Better than the children for sure, but I’d find a different place to play.

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 8:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Turning a new leaf

I did a many paged monstrosity that was not working.  It was posted for a few days, but many pictures were hacked and as I edited some changes shoved other things around and finally I dumped the whole thing. Confession:  Not real good at this and not a lot of patience with it, and I tell myself that not enough time – all excuses.  So I’ll try a few more slow steps (as in two previous posts) and then maybe launch into bigger pages that will share more of the story.

Thanks for your patience.

I showed this picture at a Senior Missionary gathering and called it “Texas Croc”

And I called this “An Aussie Croc”  The Aussies put up a big hoot.  It was like I said something evil about their mother. 🙂

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 7:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Last Day in Class

At Broome Primary July 30.

We did a writing or math session with this crew.  Teacher here is a sub.We did writing and maths with this second grade class.  Teacher here is a sub.

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 7:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Last Broome Comments

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 7:16 am  Leave a Comment  

July in Broome


We should say this update will be mostly about pearls.  And that is a pearl in Carol’s hand.  Value:  between $100,000 and $125,000.

Now more of the basic stats of peals in and about Broome.  Only about 8% of the pearls produced in the world come from Broome.  But 80% of the dollar volume comes from Broome.  The pearls are produced by silver or gold lip oyster Pinctada Maxima.  The largest pearl producing oyster grow up to 30cm in diameter and weighing up to 5 kilos.  Literature I have read indicate that about $200 million in pearls come out of Broome yearly.  The whole business started about 1850 ish and it was about the shell, and many men gained a lot of wealth selling shell.  The pearl was a bonus.


This was the first experience that white man had with the large shells that came from the shores in this area.  In this beginning era the shell was harvested as the tides went out.  That didn’t last long, and then boats and divers were used.  The “labor” to do the harvesting came from the natives (Aboriginals) and they were hardly even paid.  The best divers were girls and women, but they were abused, and the government stepped in an made it illegal to use women.  Then the men reached their limit at dives to about 130 feet.  Then foreign divers came in and the copper diving helmet became the tool of the trade.  Japanese men were the best at this trade, and the Aboriginal male could not be forced into the helmet and suit.  Many Japanese males died in this trade, and today there is no Japanese presence here in Broome (based on what I see on the street here).  IMG_1603I took this picture standing on the middle of the Japanese section of the cemetary.  I think there have been no burials here in many many years.  Our tour guide told us yesterday that 1 in 4 graves here is a pearl diver.  They ignored the decompression rules, and were fatalistic about their destiny.  The bends were just part of the trade.  Ouch!


Not a great picture, but all I have.  This is the pearl oyster in a vice that hold it for the seeding operation.  A perfectly round pieces of smooth shell from a Mississippi mussel is used as a seed.  The folks that do this are highly educated and skilled and make over $100,000 in a three month seeding season.  They can make special bonuses if their work results in extraordinary results. This cultured pearl is relatively new in the history of the jem.  In the days of Jesus Christ mortal mission a pearl was so rare and special they were  considered beyond value this the comparrison to things of value like a pearl of great price.

IMG_1999A rack hoised out of the water at the Willie Creek Pearl Farm.  (Toured Friday).  These shells are very cruddy and required regular cleaning.

IMG_2012If we had been willing to part with $27,500 we could have worn them out the door.  RIGHT!


Nice?  I really like the golden color.  I think it is not that common, but I know little about pearls, and have been in more pearl shops in the past 3 monts that in the whole of my life before Broome.  Prices here are from about $12,000 down to $5,000.  Want us to bring some home for you?  These prices are Australian – current conversion in .779 US to 1 Aussie.  Such a deal.

It was a fun tour.  The drive to the pearl farm was over some rugged dirt roads

IMG_1976Driver said; “conventional wisdom says 70km is right speed for these wash board roads.”  Rough ride for sure.  Another reason we thought it not appropriate to drive our mission car there.

Our whole tour took about 6 hours, but now we have a pretty good idea about the pearl business in Broome, and the effort required to produce very large and most beautyful pearls.  Most are pearls beyond my price.  Nice to look at though.  Gold in the rough is mostly hidden on rocks, and ugly rock at that.  Diamonds are not at all fetching in the rough, but the pearl looks just as you see it after it is lifetd from the oyster.  I can’t remember the precentages now but a small number are reseeded once,   a smaller number twice and a very small group the third time.  These oysters also produce a small precentage of Keshi pearls that are natural or have no seed.  These Kehi pearls are small and very irregular in shape.  But they do not give them away.

Published in: on July 12, 2009 at 6:08 am  Leave a Comment  

I have posted some pictures that don’t fit the page, but if one right clicks and then selects the “view picture” the whole thing will be there. Not sure if I’ll continue to stick in bigger pictures, but some may warrant the effort.

In our yard.  And noisy.

In our yard. And noisy.

Published in: on June 7, 2009 at 8:31 am  Leave a Comment  

June Update

Still Here!  In the last post I said something about less scenery and more people.  BUT a sunset picture to start off.


We have many many sunset pictures.  Wait till I get home!  I’ll put many folks to sleep with these displays.

Now to the task at hand.  Missionary work.  We do not knock doors.  We do not hide well in a crowd however.  Average height of an Aussie is short, thus we are not lost on the street.  We have met some folks on the beach and saved one couple a long walk back to the hotel place into the wind.  Some days it’s easy to be friendly.  They invited us for a coffee, but it turned into a milk shake and a visit.  Yesterday we shared our table with a couple on holiday from Perth.  They though their church should do more missionary work.  They left with a pass along card inviting them to seek copy of a booklet about improving family relations.  We like popping about town and eating lunch from time to time on the “street”.  Our community service work is mostly focused on the Broome Primary School.  (grades k-6).



IMG_1355 IMG_1502

Four shots give you a sample of Broome Primary.  On Monday we are there at 8:30 for writing class in Mrs. Uglow’s grade two class.  The story begins with; “On the weekend I” and we help the children build on that.  I asked one spunky student about his weekend and the response was: “Is that any business of yours?”  We have become friends.  On Tuesday we are at Miss LaMela grade two class to help with reading.  We sit outside the class room on a bench and the children read from a level appropriate book to us.  None have noticed that Elder Hoag can read pretty well upside down!.  The picture above (children in circle playing) is from my reading helper post.  This group of grade two students can pop right outside to get the wiggles out, and it works well.  The other day at the shopping center we ran into one of the students that Sister Hoag helps with reading, and she was so excited to see Sister Hoag.  She was very anxious to have us meet her mum.  On Wednesday we do the Red Cross breakfast club.  At school at 7:00.  Red Cross menu is NO SUGAR!  All whole grain.  Soy or Skim milk.  Whole grain toast with marg and Marmite (like vegamite).  Fruit (apples, rockmellon, oranges, bannana, pears).  The cereal is wheat a bix.  It becomes a sodden mass about .0000001 of a second after the milk hits it.  One drinks it verses eating chewing the cold porrage.  I’d better be careful . .someone out there may really like that stuff . .  but it is not a big item with the children at Broome Promary.  The big item is toast.  This morning, for example, we toasted over 6 loaves of bread (do pickup at bakery the evening before at bakery closing time). On Thursday we do breakfast club,and then, at 8:30, back to Mrs. Uglow’s class for Maths (yep that’s an “s” – the aussie way of describling this subject)  Sitting at a grade appropriate table and chair (meaning I’m looking out between my knees)  and flailing problems on wipable laminated sheets for four or five students.  One hour of that intensly energized crew leaves us both limp from the effort. We love the students, and feel the love, but on any given moment we hear; “to easy, to hard, me next, no me, I need the rubber (cloth eraser), faster, slower, my turn.”  Today we were there with a sub, and guess what . . .subs get walked on, but this lady has a superb sense of humor and gets control back very quickly. Today on the way out we were invited into a class room by one of the staff there.  Deb Robinsons class room was real class act.  See:


I have Miss Robinson’s picture, but had better not put in blog witout permission.  But a quick trip into this room told a great story of a very professional and hard working teacher.  All the class rooms we have been in are a piece of work, and display many ways for the childern to “get it.”

We love, and cherish our time at Broome Primary.


It’s called Prisioner Boab tree, and is just off the road about 5 km out of Derby.  We went to Derby on Monday (1 June)  to see/find members there.   We found one,  discovered one address change, and did not find a valid address for others.  The ride to Derby takes over 2 hours, and is through the bush (only view is forward or rear view mirror).


Not one but TWO one lane bridges on the way to Derby.  Makes perfect sense to me.  The plaque at one end said this bridge has been there for 41 years, and 41 years ago this place was way remote.   From Roebuck (about 20 miles out of Broome) to Derby there is nothing.  No houses, sheds, nada.  Road good.  No traffic.  And at Derby – – –


Use a boat if you intend to play in the water.  No beach there either…just mud.  And tide differential is over 11 meters.

Week before last we did Zone conference here in Broome at our house.    Elders from Port Hedland (Anderson and Sluder) and Karatha (DeThierry and Karaitiana) and then AP’s Cooper and Stocksdale, and President and Sister Maurer.  We did dinner on Thursday eve for the Port Hedland and Karatha missionaries, and then the local pizza shop delivered pizza for our mid day meal on Friday.  Early Friday morning I started a batch of dough for cinnamon rolls. I did a roll out demo right after lunch for all, and then minutes before the afternoon session was over the rolls came out of the oven . . .and then disapeared.


Elder’s Stocksdale, Cooper, Sluder, Karaitiana, Anderson & DeThierry pre departure on 23 May.

We have a young man going through the discussions with us, and he said the word baptism, but we have some ground to gain before we’re ready for white clothes.  Maybe in the future we’ll have a picture of this fine young man.  We hope!

Church here in Broome is the same but different.  Two hours on Sunday fits real well here.  Untill Mel showed up with her crew a few weeks ago we were at single digit headcount.  Mid teens is typical, and 20’s is a dream.  Total branch roster is 30 +/-.  Two Melchizedek priesthood holders + Elder Hoag,  two Aaronic Priesthood Brethren, and no youth program.  Tried to raise some interest, but nothing yet.  Since arrival here March 20.  Elder Hoag has been called on to speak or teach each Sunday except for a week ago at Branch Conference where the Branch Pres, and counselor in mission presidency spoke/taught. This week will be light because the Branch Pres and family are in Perth.

So we’re up to date.  One more sunset picture to close.


Bun, burger, bacon, cheese, egg – “the lot” . . . oh yea I’m looking for sunset pix . . .

Outside Red Cross office (2nd floor) down Short St over the airport toward Cable Beach

Outside Red Cross office (2nd floor) down Short St over the airport toward Cable Beach

One of many

One of many

Bye for now. . . . want more sunset….come on over. We have a bedroom available!

Published in: on June 4, 2009 at 7:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Broome Update #2

img_1122And so another day closes on Australia.   We have to submit ourselves to this scene weekly (Monday) to keep our balance.  Sounds like a good enough reason for now.

We have been in Broome for a month now, and feel like we have an idea or two about what we might do.  We have found the Red Cross office and put smiles on their faces getting signed up for community service tasks.  As it stands right now we are helping with a breakfast (brekkie here) for primary school students two of the three days a week that it is offered.  We hope to work through another Red Cross person that has a focus on the nursing home – we’re waiting on a call back, but may just pop into the nursing home today.  After the nursing home routine is established we shall see what we have left and work more community service things in as we find them.

This past Thursday through  Saturday we made a trip to Port Hedland for a zone conference.   Different road trip.  There is NOTHING (see Pix) between here and there except two road houses.   For those that don’t know “road house” – is a fuel place,  food place, toilet, maybe motel/camp ground (caravan park), and some shade and tables to rest at.   At the first road house (Sand Fire) we bought a sandwich, and a drink, and took a break.  Big flock of peacocks roaming about the place looking for a visitor to drop a crumb.  The place burned a few years back, and a sign promised a rebuild soon.  Can’t imagine it will be a place of high income . . not a lot of traffic

img_1082Note:  No hills, no traffic, no police, not a lot of trees (here), and not a lot to do except steer for 600+ k’s (385 miles).   About the top 1/4 of the journey was in, what I cal,  the green ditch – road, shoulder,  some grass (about 5-10 meters) and then brush/trees.  View is straight ahead or in the rear view mirror.  After we broke out of the green ditch there was undulating to flat grass lands.  There was one section (maybe 10 k’s long) where there were cattle all over the place on both sides of the road.  Many many many cattle.  Good news – there were fences.  Most of the journey to Port Hedland is across open and same looking country side.  img_1072Not all pictures are worth a 1000 words, but this shot gives a good summary for the reason for Port Hedland’s existence.  As I understand it, iron ore discovery, in large exportable quantities, is a fairly new thing (1960 I think I remember).  Thus Port Hedland facilities are pretty new, as compared to our stay in Kalgoorlie.

img_1064The huge contrivance in this picture is scooping up the material in a long berm for what ever is next.  Note at the left end of the long boom there is a significant spray of water.   This whole place is about this special red color.  Except  there are other minerals as well.

img_1069I’d guess it is salt, but no one told me,  I didn’t ask, and I didn’t taste.  A real stand out contrast to the red hue of everything else.

I told myself that the next post would be more about our labors here, and about the people.  Well maybe soon, but at least everyone is up to date on what we’re seeing, and where we’re going.   We are well, happy, very glad to be here, and there is a promise that the temps will go down over the next weeks.  Seeing some sign of that already.

Stay tuned.  The next post will have few picture….. maybe only of people.

Published in: on April 20, 2009 at 10:59 pm  Leave a Comment