It was a very hectic time with meetings not only every day but several meetings per day in one instance. Added to this was the fact that on the Thursday when I left the temperature was hitting a a hot 46c. On Wednesday we had 44c and I was out doing things for the RFDS. On Thursday I drove down to Adelaide and thankful that the car A/C was working well. I paid a visit to the Wine cellar, then headed off to Bunnings. At least at Bunnings I was able to use the gift cards that the boys bought me for Christmas. On Friday the temperature was again 44c and I had a meeting at West Terrace and spent several hours in the sunshine since this particular meeting was to determine the state of disrepair of several places and the work needed to restore and repair the structures. On Saturday the temperature was a mere 30c and I had three meetings. However, I got away as quickly as I was able and headed for home to get there before it got really dark. I hate driving north when it’s dark in hot weather – Kangaroos become a problem. I normally would have spent another night in Adelaide and headed home in the morning but we
had a special service at church on the Sunday and I needed to be home for that.
It took me days to catch up on everything and I think I managed to do just that. There was 87 thousand emails but I figured sleep was for wimps and got through them. Part of the week was also spent with Benji the beach – the lighthouse and the wetlands. He got a bit upset when I went out without him several times, but I was going shopping and I don’t want to leave him in the car. Monday after I came back I picked up Jim and Fay from the airport – home from their two week holiday with family in Perth (Western Australia). On Tuesday afternoon they came over and collected Yogi. It was mixed feelings really – glad he was going home with his family, but sad that I’ll miss him. He is a friendly little character and he and Benji get on well, so I’m always happy to look after him..
The beach wasn’t so good this week – less of a beach with sand and more of an area covered in seaweed and seagrass. We do get a beach with sand from time
to time, but this wasn’t that time. Certainly it has been a little while since I have taken the dogs down to the Wetlands – not in the extreme heat that we had. I was amazed at the loss of water from the area and it showed. I was also disappointed that the black swans had gone, but not only that, most of the bird life had gone. There were, generally, a lot of ducks and I have taken photographs of them in the past, but there was none. All that was there was seagulls. I did photograph the new memorial to Jim Pollock, the Mayor who died a year or so ago. He was a mayor – he was always well turned out, well liked and respected be everyone he look good and inspired confidence. His death was sudden and he is well missed. I also noticed that there was an area under construction a there had been talk of building a cafe at the Wetland to make the area more family and tourist friendly. This could be it, but there was nothing to indicate what it is.
Anyway, barring any emergency, I wont be traveling again
until early May. This will be to Naracoorte. Not quite Mount Gambier but at least through much of the Limestone Coast, Coonawarra and Padthaway — not complaining 0:) However, we are moving from Mount Gambier to Naracoorte for the May Conference to accommodate the Adelaide people who are concerned about driving through winter misty conditions on the way to Mount Gambier. I shall do my very best to think kindly of them as I drive through winter mist and fog on the Eyre Highway on my way down to Adelaide.
When the temperature hits the mid to high 40c it very rarely lasts for more than two days – three tops. But even those two days are enough to do a lot of damage. The north of the State,
the Flinders Ranges and beyond change from arid lands into desert landscape. In the spring these areas are alive with grasses and wildflowers – the area becomes a sea of colour – wonderful to behold. People come from all over Australia and beyond to photograph the Flinders wildflowers. Yet, within a short space of time, spring changes into summer, the sun starts to bight and burns up the grasses and the wildflowers and the dry, brown desert land returns. We are, the driest area in the driest state of the driest continent. We have one river, to the west of the state, the Murray and that’s being done to death slowly. All the lakes you see to the north and west of the state are all dry salt lakes – so big they even have world landspeed races and records on them. Water is pumped from the Murry some 300 miles away and without that much of South Australia would simply cease to exist. The Murry Pipeline is the umbilical cord of the north on which much of the settlement of the state beyond Port Wakefield relies. If we have a really warm and prolonged summer we start to eat into the water reserves and we have to ration water. No watering of gardens is allowed except under certain conditions. However since we have a spendthrift government, we built a water desalination plant – a couple of $billion, but who’s counting – which was put
into mothballs because in the time it took to build – delays, cost blow-outs, over-runs, usual SA Govt. project- we had several wetter than usual winters and the catchment
areas were all at capacity so water was no longer an issue. But despite all the precautions and the special Mandevilla Fertilizer, a day and a half of 46/47c heat is enough to undo all the careful tendering that you may have done over the late winter and spring to little more than dead brown leaves. Both the Frangipani didn’t fare all that much better. Two days undid all the work and expense of months. I came home at midnight from Adelaide, played with Benji, had a chat with Annabell then close to 1am went out and watered all the plants before going to bed, but by then the damage was probably already done and the Friday was even hotter. I had great hope for the Mandevilla but I think they have gone too far to be saved now. – Update – I have been told by the garden people not to dig up or pull out what appears to be dead plants. I should keep on tending to them because it is very likely that the extreme heat has killed and burned the surface shoots and leaves, but it is more than possible that the plant itself is still alive and will respond to care, attention and watering. Ok I can do that and we’ll see what happens.
At the moment it’s too hot to go wandering so although I have been thinking about the Arid Lands Botanic Garden (ALBG)and getting native plants that probably would survive the heat in this area, I’ll leave the 150 klm drive off for the moment. I think I have said before that dogs are banned at the ALBG – which is understandable given the nature of the gardens and the native small reptiles ( mainly harmless lizards) that roam freely around the place.
Not sure if I mentioned this before but my son had to have a meeting with the Environment /Wildlife Officer of the Mine. A few days before, he was called out for a problem at one of the areas and was on his way to the mine. An Eagle, chasing prey, mistimed and miscalculated its attack and flew into the side mirror of Andrew’s Vehicle, killing the bird and smashing the side mirror. The report was sent by the company to the Environment Officer and although no blame was attached to Andrew it was considered unfortunate in that the Environment and Wildlife people had been running a program to re-introduce the Wedge-Tails (Eagles) back into the area. The damage to the vehicle and the replacement of the side mirror cost over $700. Sad but at the same time fortunate for Andrew that it was not a fully grown adult – these birds are BIG with a wingspan of up to 9 feet.