Adelaide and back part 2

Too much sun when I went further back, but that’s them both together.

It seems there was some sort of vintage car rally on in Adelaide, hence the reason for the cars at Port Wakefield Service Station. They were  well kept and looked lovingly cared for – everything gleamed. It was fortunate that there were two such cars – so a double treat.

On Tuesday evening I  found a Pasta place and had a chicken with penne pasta  garlic, cheese, tomatoes and a pesto sauce. I also bought a bottle of Shiraz and had a couple (two – only two) glasses of wine. Since I had my computer with me (have laptop – will travel!) I wrote up my notes and brought my diary up to date.  I was thinking of transferring things into another diary but decided against it since I would have to re-write everything up to the point of transfer and that just seems like an incredible  waste of time.  Tried to call home, but  could not. I made a number of calls without success and it was not untilI came home that we discovered there is a fault on the line and the area was having problems. This morning (Thursday) Telstra will send out a technician to find the fault and fix the lines. Meanwhile, all our calls are being diverted to my mobile (Cell) phone.

Everything ended fairly quickly and I was on my way home on Wednesday. However, I did have a couple of calls to make along the way. One was to go to Bunnings (Hardware and Garden) and get myself a pair of boots for working outside. Well, two pair of shoes will never be the same again  :o)

I had also been asked by a friend here at home if I would go to the other end of the city and collect some things for her. I said I would and from there I started back home.  As with the drive down, the drive home was good. I won’t say enjoyable because driving for five hours is not fun, but it is tolerable. And the weather was dry – dull, overcast, but dry.  Herself asked me how the conference was and I think the word I used was tedious.  I made a couple of stops along the way so it was a little bit longer than I had intended. I did think about dropping into the Arid Lands Botanic Garden, but decided not to at this stage.

My babies were happy to see me and I sat with them for a bit. I understood mummy had been starving the poor things. They normally get a treat in the morning but since mummy rises late  and daddy was not at home, they never got their treat in the morning. I’m thinking of reporting her  to animal welfare  :o)

Still in progress. Will fix the trellis tomorrow.

Today I watered all the plants and tidied up. Discovered that the solar light I put in the pergola will not work.  I thought there would be enough light to activate them at night – I was wrong.

I don’t like the trellis so I will fix that up. Too big a job to remove it, so I will tidy it up sometimes tomorrow ( Friday)

Adelaide and back again – part 1

I didn’t know what to call this so I sort of borrowed  something from Tolkein  “There and back again” otherwise known as “The Hobbit”  I don’t think I have violated any copyright..

Not quite fully packed – but close. I will set off at 7am tomorrow and should, allowing for breaks, be in Adelaide by noon. The first session will start tomorrow night around 6:30. Sounds odd, I know, but that allows everyone to get there, get settled and for the general business of roll call and agenda to be gotten out of the way, a get together for light refreshments  and that concludes the Ist Session. From the 2nd Session onwards it will be full on for the next two days.  The Dinner is on the Tuesday night, but I will not be attending that. I will, instead, stay in my hotel working on things that I need to get brought up to days – like my  diary. I’ll probably go out and bring something in and have  food here in my hotel room.

Monday am

Ah yes, they were built to last in these days. This was at the service station when I pulled in.

Our visitor dog (Yogi) is still with us and he should be going back home today. It is only 6:20 and I don’t leave until about 7am. I do not like travelling on the road out of here in the dark so I generally wait until the sun is up. In summer time this means leaving about 6am. As far as I am aware, Jim is doing fine after his operation and should be home tomorrow, however, I think his wife is coming to collect Yogi sometime this afternoon after she has been at the hospital.  He’s been no bother and my two are still ignoring him, although I have to say that they let him use their bed yesterday  :o)  Regrettably, my two, whilst loveable , are not really very sociable when it comes to other dogs. But then, they have always been with me, Chienna six weeks after she was born and  Mannie  since he was adopted ten years ago. They are very much family dogs and they like people – just not other dogs.

The drive down here to Adelaide was very quiet until just about ten miles out of town. There was a smash on the inbound highway and two of the lanes were closed off and traffic was backed up for miles. Took me longer to travel these miles than it took me to travel down from Port Wakefield – 100 kilometres away.   In the early stages of the drive I was thankful for my  instance of not travelling at night because there was quite a few Kangaroos dead at the side of the road, plus a couple of foxes. Ok for a big truck not not in my  Ford.


After the introduction last night the first real session starts today. Good sleep, but it’s cold down here. I think it’s colder here than it is at home. Glad I brought a really heavy pullover with me :o) Although I have to say that the conference centre was well heated, so that was not a problem. Calling home during a break I found out that Yogi went home on Monday afternoon. And on the subject of going home, we believe that the business of the conference  will be concluded by noon on Wednesday and since the emergency meeting has been cancelled, I may get home on Wednesday afternoon. Depends what I have to do here.


Pergola, Aloe and noxious weeds.

This is part of the covered in pergola that I am working on

I have already started packing the things I want to take with me to Adelaide – remembering that I will be away for a week. I had intended to come back on the Thursday afternoon but I have decided to stay on and go visit Alan who has been moved to a facility in Hackham West. Once everything is finished I’ll go over and see him for a while. North Adelaide is at one end of the city and Hackham West is at the extreme end of the other side of the city. It takes nearly two hours to get there so it’s not just a quick jaunt.  By distance it’s not great  (29 klms) but it is through some to the busiest areas of the city and  with all the reconstruction and delays, the South Road is not my favourite place.  My hotel account is paid until Thursday but I’ll pay  Thursday/Friday and come home sometime on Friday afternoon. So this time they have not changed the dates – I have.

I have been working on my little area at the pergola and there is still a lot to do, but in order to continue, I needs an electrician to move  an electrical point. No, it’s not just a question of moving the point from one place to another, there is a lot involved and part of this  means shutting of the mains box, cutting cable and installing a new point where I want it and then put the mains back on again.  I will attend to that when I get back from Adelaide. It’s not a five minute job. And no ! Me and electricity are not the best of friends.

I have, for the moment, three (3) dogs. The husband of one of our friends is going into hospital and they asked us of we would take their dog for a few days. Naturally I said yes, rather than the Kennels, The oddest thing is that my two, rather than being slightly put out, merely ignore the stranger and I think they pretend he’s not there. The little man is curled up on the chair in my room,  Chienna is with herself and I have the third dog under my desk. I think it might be a their version of     ” if we pretend he’s not there perhaps he will go away.” Or it could just be that since he has been here before,  (Yogi) he’s lost the novelty value he had the first time.Aloe_descoingsii

Handle with care

We found out what the “things ” I have growing out front and they are Aloe descoingsii. So, I dug one of the smaller ones up and replanted  it it in a nice pot with potting mixture and fertiliser. We’ll see what happens to it. Still not sure about it and these spikes bother me  just a tad, but I will try with it and see how we get on. The good thing is that it it does not survive – there are lots more of them outside. Turns out they are quite an interesting plant – and I just thought they were some kind of noxious weed  :o)  This, I suppose, gives you some idea of my plant knowledge – not to mention my gardening skills.

Rain, Farmers and discredited theories

The rain it falleth on the just and on the unjust fella

But more upon the just, because the unjust stole the just’s umbrella

A touchy subject, I know, but it has been raining for the last few days here. I mention this, not because I wish irritate people, but because this is most unusual for us to have so much rain in such a short space of time. Yes, in the bottom area of the State – Adelaide and the South East, where the farming and the vineyards are located, it rains a fair bit. The soil down there is green,  lush and fertile. Up here it’s reddish, dry (not today though) and not all that productive.  The further north you go the less productive the land becomes and the topsoil is presently somewhere out at the bottom of the Great Australian Bight  ( dust storms) as a result of  a discredited theory that was common in the 19th Century – “Rain Follows the Plough”. By the early years of the 20th Century what had been the Golden North, became a dustbowl – just like States in the USA where the same theory was applied. The area, stripped of all native vegetation, never recovered. It is a vast area dotted by ruins and  broken dreams. In one area we are still living with the effects of that period when one Goat farmer(?) could no longer keep his goats nor could he sell them, so he simply broke down the 2011-10-25-08-48-45.jpgfences and let them go. Can you imagine what damage they have done to the soil of the ranges and the native wildlife since?

The babies have been cuddled up inside all of today. It’s been cold and wet outside and only an idiot – like daddy – would be working in the garden in this weather , even if he is under cover. I have just watched the news and some of the small communities further north have had more rain in the last three days than they have had in the last 25 years – interesting. Perhaps there is hope for us yet..

I was working in the   rock garden area under the porch and decided that I would freshen it all up by digging part of the centre out and put in a large(ish) ceramic pot, fill it with blood and bone, soil improver and  potting soil. It’s a smallish area and it could do with something to brighten it up. Particularly now that I am about to order the  alsynite for the pergola roofing. In that area I am going to plant a rose bush. The surrounding area I will cover in  blonde coloured pine with the inner section in red coloured pine chips. It might work and it might not – wont know until I do it I suppose.

Walking, Food and a Million Paws

The Maltese Terrorist
The Maltese Terrorist

Saturday, 6;30 am and took the dogs walking. Heck it was cold. Glad I put on a jacket because had I not done so I would have had to come back inside for one. I was also wearing gloves. Last night I took the dogs out and had a heavy jacket, but it looked nice this morning and I didn’t realise how cold it was. I think winter is on its way. Time to get the fires out of the garage and dust them off, I think. – Actually winter (officially) is only ten days away.

Well, we’ve had no more visitors – which is good. I have also been  conscious of the debate regarding soft dog food. I realise there is a vast difference between being responsible for two dogs and being responsible for 12 ( or even (sigh) 13) dogs and I can’t for the life of me begin to imagine what the feeding bill amounts to. However, our “soft” dog food ( the dog food I use)  is in the form of a  roll – the name of the product being Prota Dog,  Dog food. I cut sections of this and then cut it up – the size of the final cut depending whether it’s for Chienna or Mannie. The point is I can very clearly see what I am cutting and  I’m fairly happy and the dogs are well and healthy – and my vet is happy with them.  This is not what you would call premium dog food – we do have “Premium” food which is very expensive, but as I said, my dogs are happy and healthy. I am not sure what “Kibble” is. I suppose I could Google it but I  think it’s simply what we call “Dog Biscuits”  – dry food.  I put a measured cup of the  biscuits into a bowl and leave it beside their water dish. They eat  this at their leisure – if they feel the need for a nibble, they will eat some biscuits. I also ensure they they have plenty of water.  Sometimes  the man is a “bit tired” so I will be a woose , sit down and hand feed him – put bits of the food in my hand and et him eat from there. Feeding my dogs  ( and I repeat they are fit, well and healthy) costs me about $45 a month, which I know some people spend every couple of days. That’s for the soft food roll and the dog biscuits. The rolls are 3 kilo  each.

This week is  the “Million Paws Walk” an annual fundraising event organised by the RSPCA.  A lot of dog clubs organise local A Foxy Ladyevents under the banner of the RSPCA and raise funds that then go to the overall  Australian total. It’s not a “Fee Entry” but rather a personal donation – you give what you feel you can afford and that might only be a dollar or two – with some children giving their pocket money.  I would like to take my two but it’s on a Sunday and I am pretty much tied up on a Sunday.  However, I made a donation.  And I have just been notified that my friends club in Adelaide raised $564.

Old dogs care about you…

I sat down on a box and she just came and sat next to me.

This Elderly Lady appeared in my driveway and I talked to her. She looked  fairly well cared for and she had a collar, but no tag. I didn’t like the idea of this lady wandering around the streets so I invited her in for a meal and refreshments, She was gracious enough to accept.  I called the SADR and their advice – since she was a lost dog not a dumped or surrendered dog –  I had to call the RSPCA – which I did. All in the lady was with me for quite a few hours until  the RSPCA came.  You know how some dogs “touch” you – well this one did for some odd reason and I advised the RSPCA that if the owners did not come for her I would like to be notified with a view to adopting her. Then I put my arms around her and gave her a cuddle and she let me.  Good  for her (but  sort of sad for me!) the RSPCA called back later on that afternoon to let me know that the  dog and owner had been reunited. I do not know what kind of dog she is but I  really liked her – and – oddly enough – my Terrorist didn’t go for the stranger. Sniffed about then wandered off  back to his house.

Even herself was taken with her and she is not a dog person. She had been out all morning and when she came home and was dropped off, the dog went to her then sat down next to her. Certainly she went home (the dog that is) but I am happy with the  thought that if she gets out and wanders away again, she may well wander here and that’s good because it  will be a safe haven for her.

It’s now been two days since Adelaide changed its plans so that’s a positive step. Perhaps I will get home on Thursday after all. It’s not too bad in that the first session on Monday will not happen until the late afternoon, which gives me time to get down and do any shopping I need to, or want to.  I miss out this year because the district conference has been postponed to the 15th of June and the  “President’s Workshop” a two day course at  RFDS Central Operations takes place on the 17th & 18th June. I will miss out because  it’s too close after the State Conference, the District Conference, fuel costs, travelling expenses and hotel bills and I don’t think I could really justify another four days of hotel bills and fuel costs. At the current rate of exchange it’s about $US6.10 per US Gallon. Not to mention the 560 mile round trip each time.  It’s just much too much.

Lost dogs, Adelaide and Plan C

This lovely old Lady turned up in my driveway. I looked after her for several hours until the RSPCA came to collect her.

Part of the problem for the South Australia Dog Rescue in this region is that most of the dogs are either throw away dogs – dogs that just get dumped either outside the vet or tied up outside the local supermarket, or dogs that have been fairly reasonably looked after but were bought as puppies for Christmas Presents and ” well we didn’t realise he /she  would grow so big and we really can’t afford him/her”.  Another reason is backyard breeders, and people who just refuse to have the cat or dog desexed – which leads to dumping. But whatever the reason we just cannot cope with the amount of dogs that  end up in the pound or the RSPCA. Sometimes we manage to get a dog rehomed in Adelaide and ask if anyone  going to Adelaide would be willing to take the dog down with them.  I try to help out when I can – when I go down to Adelaide I  take a dog with me if one is waiting transport. More often than not we don’t have a dog rehomed but we will get him/her transported to Adelaide to the  larger population area and hope that they can find a new home. Unfortunately, our pound is a kill pound.

Should try and put that in context – if you look at South Australia on Google Maps ( or even an old Atlas) you will see an area called “Gulf St Vincent”. If you draw a line from the head of the gulf – to the right and the State border, then the area below that line you have drawn comprises 85% of the total population of this state. The 15% of us are scattered across the remainder. In this state, 85% of the population occupy only 15% of the total landmass. More than other states, South Australia is metro centric. If it does’t happen in Adelaide, it’s not worth bothering about. Similarly, if it happens in Adelaide, it’s must be good for all of South Australia.  TeeHee, if the Defense Force took over five feet of land in Adelaide there would be the devil to pay – protests by the dozen. They take over 500 square miles up here and no one bats an eyelid – except the people whose land had been taken over by a  Compulsory  Purchase Order.

Plan A has gone by the wayside, Plan B is about to follow it, and we are now on to Plan C. An emergency meeting has been called at North Adelaide  for Wednesday afternoon – since everyone is already there.  So much for coming home on Wednesday – unless they change things again. It’s very possible since there is still a whole week to go.

Cutesy Dogs and Autumn Rain.

It’s amazing how quickly things can change.  The yearly State Conference will finish early , or it hopes to,  (Plan A)  (I have now been sent the business papers) so I should be heading home on Wednesday. The District bi-monthly Conference has been postponed until 15th June and  the visit to the RAH  has been rescheduled until 14th August. So, barring any surprises,  after 15th June, I should not have to go back to Adelaide until August – that has to be a bonus.

The terrorist has never really been a cutesy dog although  Maltese have been associated with “cutesy” people. One of the grooms we took him to years ago had this thing about bows on dogs and she kept puting a small bow or a bandana on him at the end of his bath, clip and groom.  She was such a nice lady that I really didn’t want to tell her not to do this and the bow lasted about three minutes after he was in the car. I did get him home once and managed to get a photograph of him on my computer chair with the pretty blue bow in his hair – well the hair on his head  :o)  I keep it to remind me that  I had a “cutesy” dog for all of two minutes.

The thought occurs to me that I sometimes use words and phrases that I am familiar with but other people might not be. One of these is referring to my wife as ‘ Herself”. In old Scots and Irish, a woman of importance – the head of a household or the head of a family – was referred to as “Herself”. The same was also true for males – “Himself”.   In parts of country Ireland (or so I believe)  but still today in the Scottish  Highlands,  the terminology continues in common use – wives referring to husbands, husbands referring to wives.

You will, I know, be delighted to learn that our “Indian Summer” has broken and it has been raining for the best part of twelve hours. It has not been the ” bounce off the roadway” rain but a steady and constant rain. This could well be all we will get for some time and it is very welcome up here. In Adelaide and the South East of the State it is forecast to be raining for most of this week. At least we got a little bit – enough to give the ground a good soak.

Associates, Hospitals and Shopping Centres

I was in a hurry so I took the coach!

I forgot and I downloaded mail on another computer which means that I cannot access it  here. I know,”what’s this got to do with anything?” well, one of the things I downloaded was a post called “Tribute to Twitch” , one of the saddest posts about a dog I have read in a long time. She looked such a lovely Lady, with big sad eyes, who would have been loved and cared for if her “new Mum” and friends had gotten her out of Afghanistan in time. Sadly this didn’t happen and I think the sad thing is not knowing when she died, where she died or even how she died. My very first dog, when we came to Australia, was  a “Bitsa” but she was the most adorable dog we ever had. She was “Scruffy” and  did she live up to her name. We would bath her, clip her and she would look neat and tidy – for all of seven seconds until she shook herself and the hair just went everywhere again.  She was actually part Australian Silky Terrier ;  she was loved by everyone and she had such a calm , placid nature . Even now when I picture her in my head, I still miss her – after  nearly twenty years, I still miss her.

It has been confirmed that at the end of the month I will simply stay in Adelaide and not come home one day only to have to go back down the next day and back home the day after – 1318 kilometres. Now it seems this is presenting problems in that we have just had word that Herself is required to be at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) for x-rays and tests at the Trauma Clinic – 4 years review- on the 28th May – right in the middle of the Assembly.  However, we telephoned them right away and managed to get the x-rays and tests  re-scheduled to first week in August. Whenever we go it will require an overnight stay because she has to have one x-ray in the morning and based on the results of that, the blood tests in the afternoon. About a week before we are due to go down I’ll organise to have a wheelchair.  No, she does not need a wheelchair generally, but spending a day wandering around the rabbit warren that is the Royal Adelaide Hospital, is just too much for her. When we have gone down there I have in the past taken a wheelchair because trying to get one at the RAH is next to impossible. When we do go, one of the boys will come over and stay the night and look after the dogs. The good thing about having the wheelchair is that she has no excuse about going into the Shopping Mall   :o)  A sort of “Captive Audience” in a manner of speaking..

RFDS and a quiet week

DSC01444I planted them, fed them and the rain watered them – I have neither looked at them nor gave them any attention since. Well, they are still alive, so I suppose that’s something. I’ll wait and see what happens. They are arid lands plants so they should be able to survive although I have my doubts about this soil of mine. I am beginning to think that the previous owners made the soil sterile because there were no plants or grass or anything green when we bought the place – just horrible dirty black  redgum chips everywhere and lots of concrete. The area that I have  “rescued” was one of the areas that had the redgum chips and no plants

I did send in an apology for this weekend.  think I have done enough travelling for the moment and I will be in Adelaide for the last week of this month. A week away from home and I would like to have one of my dogs with me but I’m sure Herself will look after them. It would be nice company but I don’t think the hotel would be all that impressed. Well, ok – it’s not the other side of the planet,  only 280 miles away, but still and all – I’m your actual ” Homie”  and although I do not mind the  occasional trips to the city, five days is pushing it a bit  :o)

Today (Thursday) I am at the Airport for a Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Open Day.  One of the medical aircraft will be flying in and  guests will be shown around the aircraft, talk to medical personnel,   and have  lunch. Our  support group here have raised $125,000 over the last four years, which is enough to equip an aircraft with the necessary medical equipment. I think we have done well for such a small group of people. It is the 85th Anniversary of the Service and there will be a presentation with invited guests including the Mayor and members of the council.  Other than this, a quiet week, for which I am thankful.DSC01422

The dogs are well  and the little man has been incredibly energetic these last few days. We have been out for walks and I have not had to carry him once. Although I think the morning is the best time of day for him. Alan is back in hospital again and from what I hear, not too good.

As it happens I will most likely be seven days away. The scheduled by-monthly conference takes place on Saturday 1st. June, so it seems to me to be somewhat pointless to drive 280 miles home on Thursday to drive 280 miles back again on the Friday, then drive 280 miles home on the Saturday afternoon – 840 miles driving for no really good reason – not to mention the fuel costs.