Frustration – Update


07/04/2020 – Update

This morning I tried calling BA and, after 40 minutes of once again listening to “that tune”, I was eventually connected to one of BAs agents.

After explaining that the BA app would not help me sort out a booking for the Perth / KL leg of my journey, even though I had seen flights available on the Malaysia Airlines site, the agent put me on hold while she tried to sort out a flight.

When she came back, she informed me that the flight that I had seen, with availability yesterday, was fully booked in both Economy and Business classes.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am still frustrated that there is no proactive help from BA.

After all, I booked tickets for all of my journey with BA. Their partner airline has cancelled the flight and my feeling is that BA, in sending the email notification have just washed their hands of the issue. If I don’t keep harrassing them then they will forget bout me and my wife.

So, the agents advice is that I should wait until next month to see how the worldwide airline network is looking. That, in May I should try booking flights via BA again and in the meantime, just sit tight.

Of course, that is all well and good. In May I can choose to either re-book, accept a voucher for future air travel or I can request a refund.

If I go down the refund path then I am fully responsible for my own travel. At the moment I have tickets, bought at October 2019 prices. Who knows what the prices will be for future flights.

Who knows how many of the major airlines will still be in existence since most are already requesting government handouts, are laying off thousands of staff and have grounded most if not all of their fleets.

This is a complex problem and I guess I will revisit it in May.

06/04/2020 – Initial Post

This is my first post with a Coronavirus link. Don’t panic, I’m not about to join the ranks of covidiots. What, I am about to share, is my frustration with the folks that I contracted to take me home.

Last October, my wife, Gerry, and I flew out to Perth WA. We booked return tickets with British Airways (BA), the flights being London to Perth via Kuala Lumpur (KL). BA serviced the London / Kuala Lumpur leg and partners Malaysia Airlines serviced the remaining Kuala Lumpur / Perth leg.

The outward journey was almost trouble free, apart from a little glitch over boarding cards for the KL / Perth leg. However, we duly arrived in Australia, met up with our family and here we have been ever since.

Little did we know, at that time, what the world had in store for us. In fact, little did anybody know.

So up pops Covid-19 or Coronavirus, throws the whole world into chaos. Not the least of which is the worlds airlines.

A short while ago I received an email from BA informing me that my flight from Perth to KL is cancelled. Of course behind this cancellation is the fact that Malaysia closed its borders to all foreigners. Amazingly, the KL / London leg is still scheduled.

Which is where my frustration comes in.

The BA email provided links to change my flights or accept a voucher … aka … IOU or grab a refund. Since I still need to get home I chose to explore the flight change option.

Of course things are changing so rapidly I didn’t really expect this to go smoothly. However, I was surprised that the BA supplied link came back with the following …

This was a surprise since I had already been on the Malaysia Airlines website and it was indicating flight availability.

It seems that the BA app can only see BA flights.

So, I thought I would try going direct to Malaysia Airlines. After a surprisingly short wait I was connected with a very pleasant lady. I explained my dilemma, she called up my details on her system. She then politely explained to me that she cannot transfer my booking to a new flight.

The reason for this, is that my tickets are not on Malaysia Airlines “ticket stock”.

This confirmed, apparently, by the ticket number commencing with “125”. Bottom line was that I had to go back to BA. Obviously I need to speak to a real person, not an app.

The BA Customer Service number is for an office over east. What that means is by the time you get up in Perth, they have all gone to lunch. It’s obviously not that bad but it might just as well be.

I listened to the “all our customer service reps are busy” message many, many times. In between messages, I listened to an ear bleedingly tinny recording of the BA theme, The Flower Duet from Léo Delibes Lakmé. Not the beautiful operatic version but one that sounds like it is being played on a National Steel Guitar recorded through a length of steel pipe. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the National Steel Guitar. Over and over I listen while waiting for a customer service rep. After an hour I have a headache and have lost the will to live. Eventually, I hang up. Resolved to call again tomorrow, earlier.

I used to like that tune.

Frustration


This is my first post with a Coronavirus link. Don’t panic, I’m not about to join the ranks of covidiots. What, I am about to share, is my frustration with the folks that I contracted to take me home.

Last October, my wife, Gerry, and I flew out to Perth WA. We booked return tickets with British Airways (BA), the flights being London to Perth via Kuala Lumpur (KL). BA serviced the London / Kuala Lumpur leg and partners Malaysia Airlines serviced the remaining Kuala Lumpur / Perth leg.

The outward journey was almost trouble free, apart from a little glitch over boarding cards for the KL / Perth leg. However, we duly arrived in Australia, met up with our family and here we have been ever since.

Little did we know, at that time, what the world had in store for us. In fact, little did anybody know.

So up pops Covid-19 or Coronavirus, throws the whole world into chaos. Not the least of which is the worlds airlines.

A short while ago I received an email from BA informing me that my flight from Perth to KL is cancelled. Of course behind this cancellation is the fact that Malaysia closed its borders to all foreigners. Amazingly, the KL / London leg is still scheduled.

Which is where my frustration comes in.

The BA email provided links to change my flights or accept a voucher … aka … IOU or grab a refund. Since I still need to get home I chose to explore the flight change option.

Of course things are changing so rapidly I didn’t really expect this to go smoothly. However, I was surprised that the BA supplied link came back with the following …

This was a surprise since I had already been on the Malaysia Airlines website and it was indicating flight availability.

It seems that the BA app can only see BA flights.

So, I thought I would try going direct to Malaysia Airlines. After a surprisingly short wait I was connected with a very pleasant lady. I explained my dilemma, she called up my details on her system. She then politely explained to me that she cannot transfer my booking to a new flight.

The reason for this, is that my tickets are not on Malaysia Airlines “ticket stock”.

This confirmed, apparently, by the ticket number commencing with “125”. Bottom line was that I had to go back to BA. Obviously I need to speak to a real person, not an app.

The BA Customer Service number is for an office over east. What that means is by the time you get up in Perth, they have all gone to lunch. It’s obviously not that bad but it might just as well be.

I listened to the “all our customer service reps are busy” message many, many times. In between messages, I listened to an ear bleedingly tinny recording of the BA theme, The Flower Duet from Léo Delibes Lakmé. Not the beautiful operatic version but one that sounds like it is being played on a National Steel Guitar recorded through a length of steel pipe. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the National Steel Guitar. Over and over I listen while waiting for a customer service rep. After an hour I have a headache and have lost the will to live. Eventually, I hang up. Resolved to call again tomorrow, earlier.

I used to like that tune.

Conundrum


I am currently languishing in the Perth suburbs, Western Australia.

Last October, my son-in-law Steve was diagnosed with a brain tumour (glioblastoma). Very quickly, following the diagnosis, he was whisked into hospital for brain surgery. At the time we didn’t know how much after care he would need but we offered to help out and so my wife and I travelled out to Oz to provide support.

After care wasn’t the issue. Steve really recovered well after the surgery with no real pain and none of the residual weakness that would have been present following an abdominal or chest operation.

No, the follow up treatment and schedule was the real issue.

The radiotherapy was daily, Monday to Friday, for six weeks. Whilst the chemotherapy was tablet form, taken daily Monday to Sunday during the same six weeks. Following the surgery Steve was forbidden to drive for the next six to twelve months. So, to enable my daughter to carry on working, my role was to act as chauffer. Daily trips to Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth interspersed with trips to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, also in Perth. As well as various trips for blood tests and scans.

As the chemo built up in his system, the expected nausea and fatigue and exhaustion also built up. Alongside all this came the loss of appetite and corruption of taste buds.

And here is the conundrum.

What do you feed someone, who has all this going on ?

Even after the initial course of chemo and radio therapies has been completed, the dietary disruption continues.

After all, it is hard enough, under normal circumstances, to cater for the normal familial likes and dislikes of

  1. a granddaughter who doesn’t eat meat that isn’t chicken or ham (unless its a burger or a rissole, then almost anything goes) and has a limited set of veggie likes (eats broccoli and cauliflower but not green beans or pumpkin). By the way she loves fish but won’t eat salmon.
  2. a wife who loves fish especially salmon, has a short list of veggies (eats cauliflower but not broccoli and no sprouts or carrots) and doesn’t eat “spicy” food or creamy food i.e. white sauces are something of a minefield. Still waiting for the clear definition of what constitutes spicy.
  3. a daughter who also doesn’t like “spicy” food, likes fish that isn’t salmon or trout. Not sure about tuna ??? Eats most veggies (definitely no sprouts) and all non chicken meats have to be cooked to near charcoal point i.e. no pink

Before the tumour and chemo, Steve used to pretty much eat everything. Now he finds the flavour of most foods to be too strong, overpowering.

So, bland is the order of the day. Steamed fish or chicken predominates. Or the same but simply pan fried or baked. No sauces and definitely no herbs or spices. Some meals comprise just two tenderloin chicken pieces, total weight around 60g, steamed and maybe accompanied by a couple of carrot batons and/or a small broccoli floret.

So, how do I feed Steve without overpowering his hypersensitive taste-buds ? How do I coax him to eat a bit more as his energy levels are already depleted due to the chemo ? The lack of food does nothing to boost those already depleted levels. How do I introduce a bit of variety to his diet ?

Although he completed the initial concurrent chemo / radio therapies, my son-in-law has now started a new regime. He takes a five day course of tablet form chemotherapy, one week in four.

So, the disruption to taste, appetite, stamina and energy levels will be continuing for the next six months at least, maybe even for twelve.

Any suggestions ?

Sculpture By The Sea – 2019


In a recent post I made mention of last years Cottesloe ‘Sculpture By the Sea’ exhibition. Acknowledging the fact that I had visited, but not shared any pictures from that time. So, here they are. All images were taken using my mobile, which actually takes quite good shots……when I remember not to use it like a Kodak box camera.

Rolling The Earth – Tae-Geun Yang

Loved this one. Made me smile

Didn’t really catch the essence of this one. It deserved better treatment than I gave it.

Two for the price of one. Kit on or Kit off. You decide.

Thoughts of Pinocchio – Kim Bongsoo

I was always told not to pick my nose. But if I must, try and pick a better one. This one’s a cracker.

Here’s a subject to really get your teeth into.

Reminded me of an old style paper Christmas decoration.

This one really needed some bright sunshine to really set it off.

Although I liked Al-Mashoof I really didn’t understand either of these.

Vintage I Bush Truck – Janine McAullay

A lot of character in this truck but not one item of man made material. Or so the artist said, on the TV the previous evening.

And finally, a trio of mystery items. I really did not get any of them. Perhaps you can see what the artist can see.

Sculpture By The Sea – 2020


Around a year ago, 2019, I was spending a couple of months in Western Australia, with my wife and Aussie family. I think it was some kind of revenge on my daughter and her family, after they had spent a month, over the Christmas period, with us in the UK.

Cottesloe Beach – Western Australia

It just so happened that, in the February 2019, Cottesloe were holding their annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition. We visited twice. Once with my daughter and son-in-law, and once with my grandaughter. We spent a glorious few hours, wandering along the shore absorbing the suns rays and, hopefully, a little bit of culture. Anyway, I’ve recently discovered that I did not share this experience with you. Very remiss of me. Let me rectify that error.

As it happens, 12 months on I find I am, once again, spending time in WA. The reason I am here will be the subject of a separate post. However, this March, Cottesloe were holding their 16th annual exhibition. My granddaughter and I made a date to go and get some more culture. The following photo’s are my record of that visit. The words below each image are those of the artists, taken from the exhibition catalogue.

Say hello to Cottesloe Sculptures By The Sea, 2020

Anta Omri is a work by Ayad Alqaragholli and his statement resonates ..

In my daily life in Australia I observe couples immersed in the intimacy of public affection, symbolising to me happiness, peace and freedom. This is everything to me after migrating from my birth country of Iraq where this is not always possible.

These three images are, in fact, alternative views of a single object. Showing the way the light affects the artwork as the angle of view changes.

A father cannot face his daughter; we come to know him as ‘Regret’. The young daughter winces, choking on a mouthful of coal. She wants the voice of her generation heard. This is the Lost Generation.

Similar to ‘The Burghers of Calais’, farmers experience a mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and despair. These two figures are one and the same.The isolation translates into a kind of cultural invisibility – they exist as ghosts in the landscape.

I love these metallic figures that become ghost as you walk around them.

Two organic figures are stood side by side, heir reductive forms work in unison and opposition as though pulling and pushing winds. Their singular ground connection creates a delicate structural balancing act as though they are caught in motion.

Here are a trio that I have given the monochrome treatment

My granddaughter getting into the spirit of the artists intention “to sit and listen to the silent story of a lone Cottesloe tree”. This, in direct contravention of the instruction to not touch the exhibit. Does sitting on constitute touching ?

Time for a little controversy. The Homer Homer exhibit has been the subject of accusations of plagiarism. Cool Shit subsequently admitted the inflatable work was inspired by Berlin artist Eike Konig’s Homer versus Homer.

Old story, New hero

Here is a rarity. I virtually never appear in my own photographs. Here I am accompanied by my granddaughter.

This exhibit gave us great entertainment as a magpie was attacking its own reflection, time and time again.

I sometimes wonder if the artists are having a huge laugh at our expense. Take “Flow” by John Petrie as an example. To me this is just a pile of Basalt off-cuts such as one might find in a quarry. Mr. Petrie says ..

The work mimics the geological rhythms and flow of the earth’s crust and reminds us that all stone was once in liquid form. The polished surface reveals the beauty of the stone.

Sorry John ….. not to me it didn’t.

Many of the artist exhibiting this year have an environmental message to impart.

For example, Sam Hopkins doom laden forecast that this skeletal form will become the norm by 2030. Due to the changes to ecosystems and the bioclimatic limit being reached by our trees.

Merle Davis focusses on our oceans referencing the risk to all sea life threatened by our careless dumping of rubbish and in particular, plastics.

And finally, rather prophetic and definitely of our time …..

Viruses need a living host to survive so they are not likely to completely kill their host until they have found another living host on which to live …

And so finally, a huge thank you to Cottesloe for once again hosting a superb show. It is a shame that the Coronavirus had to throw a spanner in the works and curtail this years show. Let’s hope that normality can be resumed in time for next years exhibition.

Shannon’s Classic Car Show


Shannons are an insurance company, in Australia, providing Car Insurance, Motorcycle Insurance, and Home Insurance products for motoring enthusiasts who drive imported, modified, classic, veteran or vintage cars. 

Each year they host a classic car show. Somehow, despite numerous visits to Perth over the years, I have failed to hear anything about the show. Until now, that is.

Which is how I came to spend around three and a half hours of this past Sunday, being totally surrounded by some of the most amazing classic, veteran and vintage vehicles.

Well OK, I did take a break during that time. One does have to keep body and soul together and a fabulous Brisket Burger, courtesy of “Up In Smoke”, helped with that task.

The show presented a vast array of vehicles. As soon as I had paid my $10 entry fee I found myself surrounded by several Lamborghinis

…. I still think the Miura P400 is the best looking Lambo. No sign of one at this show.

But who wants to waste time looking at high tech super cars …

… when there are classic Volvos. Who remembers The Saint, starring Roger Moore as Simon Templar in his white P1800.

… or Fiats … My wife and I used to own a dark blue Fiat 128. It took us, with two daughters, all the way from Portsmouth in the UK, down to Port Grimaud in the south of France where we toured around Cannes, Nice, St Tropez and Frejus. A glorious two weeks.

… and VWs … Note the strange protuberance on the side of the Herbie lookalike. It’s not a rocket booster but a retro-fit air conditioner. Working in much the same way as the evaporative air conditioners used on many Australian homes.

… no Classic Car Show would be complete without Citroen, responsible for some of the most innovative, technologically advanced cars. And, at the same time producing some of the, mechanically, simplistic vehicles that became iconic in their own right.

… 3 Wheelers like the Messerschmitt, with its aircraft cockpit bubble and even an aircraft style yoke to steer by. The Isetta could be driven in the UK on a motorcycle license, because it was classified as a three wheel motorcycle. I did note the absence of Rodney and Del Boys vehicle of choice, the Reliant. I guess WA is a little too far from Peckham for Trotters Independent Trading Co.

… a few Rileys with their gorgeous curves.

… a few fabulous Austin Healeys. As a school boy I used to lust after a 3000 that I would see regularly in Battle High Street. It was aubergine in colour and had a roll cage, wide wheels and leather straps to hold the bonnet down. The typical “Frog Eye” Sprite was a bit girly by comparison.

… there were a few Fords … what is there to say. Cars for every man. Although not everyman wanted to have the same as everyone else. Hence the many uprated, sporty customisations. I have to say I never thought I would see a Mustang towing a trailer. Especially not a trailer made out of another Mustang. Sacrilege !!!

… Chrysler were well represented by the R & S series Valliants

Never too old to learn something new. I was informed, by a very friendly fella, that the Slant 6 Engine is really a thing. Until Sunday, I had never heard of such a thing. Apparently the Slant 6 enabled the cars designers to achieve a lover profile for the bodywork.

… There was a strong showing from the Holden camp. Many examples especially given the recent news that Holden are ceasing production . My favourite is shown below.

… no show is complete without a Cobra or two ….

Of course it is hard to tell an original, from a replica licensed as a Shelby authorised continuation of the original AC-built Cobra series. Whatever they may be, they are fabulous looking cars.

Of course I could go on throwing up image after image of classic cars but that isn’t all that was available here.

There were trucks …

… Busses … apparently the City Clipper used to offer free rides around Perth city. Interesting that Luxembourg has just announced free public transport in a bid to alleviate traffic congestion. It remains to be seen if the scheme works. Nice to know that Perth was such an innovator, back in the day.

I’ve already shown you a VW camper of sorts. Here are a couple of other campers.

And finally, something most unexpected …. Perambulators ….. Prams !!!. I remember my sisters being pushed around in something similar. No collapsible buggies back then. Definitely not car friendly.

I have many more photos. If you are interested they are available on my Flickr Photostream