Spies, Cakes and Scones

Some people call them 'Top-Notch" pigeons.
Ok so it hasn’t got a stool, but still…..

A recent comment  sent me off on a strange thought pattern ( well, yes, it doesn’t take much!)  and  I started to speculate on whether or not the Federal Government have a Secret Police (K9 Division) because it was only after I wrote the piece about  Federal Bullies that The Man tried to trip me up and send me crashing down the stairs ( both of them)  I could have landed badly on the brickwork and  required medical attention – perhaps even an ambulance and once  inside that, well it would have been all over. I’ve read an expert on this – Ian Fleming knows these things. A lot of things fall into place. I’ve seen police cars drive past the house and head towards the end of the road – which is the very last road in the town. There’s nothing out there but— this is where I take the dogs for walks and I am beginning to suspect that there is some sort of drop point. I have often wondered why The Man sometimes stops and just stands still staring into empty space. It could be that this is how they program  him and perhaps the long “sleeps” are really the Secret Police downloading information to their data base – information on everything including the visitors and the conversations.. It is very possible that so called “Microchip” is really a receiver/transceiver. I think we’ll have to keep a very close eye on him. I may not have enemies, but some of my friends need watching.

Lots of cake!!

Herself has had a very busy week.  The different Ladies Groups throughout the town (and there area number of them) all met together on  Thursday. All up there were about sixty of them and they had a special service. Herself not only organised and conducted the service, she  and the committee arranged the guest speakers. At home she spent much of the week in the kitchen making cakes and biscuits. And yes, I was there (the only male!!) because I had to drive her there. I was involved because I designed and printed the covers and nicked out to the shop when necessary – more eggs or butter or flour. I have my uses!! Besides, there was the promise of cake at the end.  The photograph only shows some of the cakes — and — one of the ladies brought  scones. Life is good  :o)

3am this morning and we had an unexpected (nothing in the weather report) 40 minute storm. Heavy, no thunder that I could hear, but enough noise to upset Chienne.  Poor thing. But as I said, 40 minutes and it was all over as suddenly as it started and everyone (sort of) settled down again. Four/Five hours a night – I probably sleep too much anyway. I just love those early morning  sudden heavy storms, almost as much as Chienne.

Bullies and Babies

The babies relaxing on their daybeds.

Ok, going backwards here. The Federal Government has used its vast powers against farmers in the north of South Australia to take control of their land and they have used the term “National Interest” to force through Compulsory Purchases  and give the defence force a bigger play pen.  Not far from here the Feds took control of 20% of the farm land owned by the French family. They were given to understand that the remaining 80% they could continue to work. Then the Feds decided they wanted it all – the remaining 80% – but they wanted it, not for the National Interest, but to use as a bribe – to give it away to an Aboriginal Tribe  so the tribe wont launch a Land Rights claim against the Commonwealth for another part of the land  in another play pen. The French family went to the Federal Court and the Justices ruled that the  Actions of the Commonwealth were illegal. After eight years the French family thought they could now be relieved of the worry and stress and get on with  working their land.  In the dying hours ( honestly!!) of the time limit  set for an appeal the Feds struck,  launching an appeal against the Federal Court Decision. The French family,  a single small farming family  who have worked this land for generations – are now pitted against the wealthiest entity in the country – The Commonwealth of Australia – led by the highest ranking legal officer in the country  with the sole purpose of seizing control of  a parcel of land, not for national purposes, but to give as a bribe to a third party. Our  Federal Member of Parliament said the following –  ” The appeal by the Commonwealth is an act of bastardry and is more about department officials covering their backsides than anything else. It is an appalling precedent for our legal system, that the Commonwealth can confiscate your land, not to use for the national purpose, but to give to a third party as a bribe.”   I guess that makes it the biggest bully in the country..

All is calm, all is bright..

I think My Man tried to kill me today. Just as I was about to go outside, he decided he wanted to go out  as well and ran in front of me with his little circling run and if I had not had something to grab a hold of I might have fallen down the steps. Ok, so it’s only two steps but brickwork is hard to bang your head off irrespective of how many steps there are. He is one strange dog – bouts of very high energy followed by long – very long – rest and sleep.  Actually, I kind of envy him, really.

On the above photograph there is a “thing” on the ground outside the Dog House. Herself sewed up a kind of pillow which I packed with polystyrene  and we thought the Man could use that to help him get up on the bed easier. He seems to have a problem jumping up on things although, it does not stop him running around like a mad thing during his high energy bouts. Herself says I spoil the babies – I don’t agree  :o)

Adelaide – Again (2)

In a recent post I said that I had some Carpal Tunnel problems and seven hours behind the wheel of the car ( after I was geographically misplaced)  was just too much. Anyway, coming out of that Herself, ever the thoughtful person, was in the chemist and saw a pair of pressure gloves made from neoprene. She thought they would be helpful and bought them for me. OnWednesday, off  I set to Adelaide wearing the Neoprene gloves. I think I lasted about  30 klms. before The pain forced me to pull off the road onto the gravel and rip the things off.  I drove a further uncomfortable 170 klms and stopped for a good appleobreak, which helped. I was a  bit later getting into town but still in time for my appointment  with Apple and after that my meeting with the Moderator. The Apple Shop in Adelaide offers testing, advice and  a range of iPod, iPads and computers, laptops and phones, but no internal parts. For that I would have to go elsewhere – and I did – to an Apple agent in another part of the CBD. I wanted extra memory and was staggered at what they proposed to charge me for a mere 4 gig. I could just about buy a new Windows Computer with 500 gig for the price.  I  “reluctantly” declined. I didn’t even ask about the price of a new battery,.

Had a good night and made an early start in the morning. I had been asked to go out to Kurralta Park again and I said I would even although it meant, not once, but twice, travelling my  favourite road in all the world – The South Road. Still more detours but I didn’t get misplaced this time and I returned by a different route that I had just learned, which was good.  Ok for a direct return but difficult in getting there because of the twists and turns and the crossing traffic lanes, so I can’t give up the South Road just yet.

The journey home was interesting in that there were high winds all the way and at times I was having a “difference of opinion” with the steering wheel regarding directions. The gusts, I learned later, were up to 60kph which accounts for the car being pushed about a bit. Did my hands a power of good!!  I have to make a confession in that I got home and Chienne really made a fuss of me. I think she must have realised I had a bit of a hard time and was all over me.  My Man did lift his head from his bed to sort of

 The Maltese Terrorist in "our"Chair
The Maltese Terrorist in “our” Chair

acknowledge that I was back. I understand –  he is getting quite old for a Maltese and I love him dearly — except when he starts barking at 2am for no earthly reason that we can see.  — “Excuse me, Daddy, I’m awake why are you not??”

I was saddened to hear that Schoep, the arthritic dog that his owner took to lake Superior every night because the temperature and buoyancy of the water, eased his pain and allowed him to sleep, passed on 19th July – a few days ago According to John Unger, his owner, Schoep passed peacefully at 20 years of age.

I have no idea if the computer or my settings are at fault but some posts I get some I just don’t. Odd, very..

Adelaide – again (1)


The trip down was again quiet and uneventful. However, there were to accidents on the way down, both in Adelaide  – one out at Bolivar and one further in towards the town. By the looks of things no one seems to have been injured. I managed to get everything I needed to get done. I did have a meeting with the  Moderator and we might be able to  have a good look at the rules and see what we can come up with and if we can find a way out of our dilemma. At the moment it seems unlikely and what is likely is not acceptable. I’ve generally been an advocate of ” it’s easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission” but this could have an impact on other people.

Shade-house New
My Shade-House. Empty at the moment.

My other reason for going down was to get Apple to have a look at my MacBook. It seems I have been instrumental in the  decline of my MacBook battery. The analysis showed that the battery was still in good condition but only operating at 89% and part of the decline has been me  keeping it attached to the mains all the time. Couple of things I might do, and I will attend to them when I go home.

Herself had a quiet day and I did call her a couple of times to make sure there was nothing she wanted whilst I was down here. It was interesting how well the dogs behaved when the electrical people were here. Chienne did bark a couple of times and I  calmed her down. The Man just carried on doing what he does best – sleeping.   The driveway is, as I said, looking good and well lit, so that’s a major improvement and sometime over the next day or so I’ll look for a good sized tool box for the other  area, once I have got into it and cleaned it out.

John has gone over and put the bins out for  his mum (mom) and  taken Chienne out for a  walk. When I phoned a little chabadwhile ago I told him just to stay there and he can come out to dinner with us tomorrow night.

Some interesting visitors in town this week – a sort of travelling advisory and information centre for Jewish People. The idea is that the van they are driving (more of a big mobile home really) is travelling around rural Australia to talk to Jewish people – perhaps only one or three – in the small towns of outback and rural Australia and who may feel isolated and unable to fully practice their faith. The  two young men are both from New York and it’s called Chabad of Rural Australia.   Always good to have interesting people in town.

Play Pens and cancelled functions.

The Air Ambulance of the RFDS

The RFDS have a very busy period this weekend and today they are out at an auction in another part of the area – yet another property that has been taken over by a compulsory purchase order for use by  the military. This is even more land that is now closed of to the  rest of the world so the military can play their games in an area larger than most European  countries. I said this to a military person and the reply was ”  have you any idea of the range of modern tank shells?” My reply was , ” no but  do they cover an area larger than say, Holland, Belgium, Denmark?”  The SA Government Web Site extolls the virtues of South Australia as a  Defence “friendly” State with the largest land testing range in the world – 127,000  square kilometers and to that we can add another 24,000 square kilometres that they now control in this area. Not a bad play pen for a defence force smaller  than that of  Switzerland.

The sun has not been shining for the last two days and it’s still not shining People are out at  the Auction and I’ll be interested in hearing how that went. I have my  thing tomorrow and again next Saturday. There is another function this Sunday, but I’m out of that one.


Pause, think.
The cupboard on the right is now gone and I have that area to use.

I decided, after consultation with the trader, to cancel my  event for today. It’s chucking it down  and the wind is playing havoc in the area, so there would be little or no protection. I sent the girls home. I went our to the other function that we were also running and having navigated my way through ( a power boat licence would have helped) a sea of water and mud, saw nothing there and departed. There is no cover there at all so if that group decide to do that, a) I think they would be foolish and  b) they could be setting themselves up as potential clients of the  RFDS  because we are on our way to breaking even more records. I used to say that “we don’t do floods, just big puddles”  – this last month I am not quite as sure as I was.

I will be heading off to Adelaide in the morning so Herself will feed and water the dogs for the next two days.  The electrician has completed the work so I will have to give John a call and get him over to help me move the  big old cupboard and get it to the dump. So now that that’s done I can think about what to do with the space and I will have a look for a good sized toolbox that will fit in that area and can hold all the barbecue tools. Should be a good asset to the area and part of my rehabilitation of the  place, and it’s good to get rid of that redundant  electrical wiring. It’s getting there…slowly

Pergola Roof and Dumped Dogs

Firstly the news that it was the cyst showing up again,  so that was a great relief and we can star calming down again. I was thinking about going down to Adelaide this week but since it is to be raining down there most of this week I decided against it. Adelaide can be cold, wet and miserable during the winter. Apart from anything else, there is a lot of work to do here and the RFDS are going to be fairly busy this coming weekend. I want to rebuild part of the pergola and before I can do that I have to  put a new roof on. This is going to be lots of fun but the sheets have to go up before I can put the flooring down. The area I am looking at used to house a swimming pool.  I suspect that during the water crisis they, like many other South Australians, had the pool removed.  However, having removed the pool the previous owners did not pack the area correctly but simply filled it with rubble with a covering of earth and  stones. That one area has sunk somewhat – not a great deal, but enough. I  did have a quote to have  decking put in and that was just too waaay out. I mean I knew it would not be a cheap option but his quote was just not acceptable. So it has been unused for  a while now and I want it brought back into use. It has the steel frame for  the sheeting but it was never put up.

Thrown out of a car and left to wander the streets

I gave up writing what I wanted to say  to post this:  Everyone meet lovely Tiber. He has a bit of a sad story to him. Last Friday Tiber was thrown out of a car at Jubilee Park and the driver just drove off, leaving the dog behind to wander the streets. Unfortunately the dog did not have a registration tag or microchip, so the council have been unable to locate the owner.

This happens almost every day in this place. People tie dogs up to trees in the heat of the day with no water, tied up outside of supermarkets, dumped outside the local vet – generally boxes with puppies. They know there is a security camera there  so they wear a hood. And it’s not just puppies, sometimes it’s kittens that are thrown into boxes and left outside the vet. It’s a serious problem and most of these dogs, kittens and puppies end up in the pound. The lucky ones either get adopted here or in Adelaide – once transport is organised. This was posted on the SA Dog Rescue to highlight the growing problem here and the lack of facilities and people  to deal with it. The  dog, now called, Tiber, has been put up for adoption. Hopefully he will find a home soon.

Coffee Clubs and Medication…

Herself was called in to see the doctor today and will have to go back again next week. .  A few years ago she had a mammogram and they found a suspicious lump. That led  to weeks of trauma  as we went from one set of tests and biopsy  to a another and different set of tests and a biopsy. They finally came to the conclusion that it was a benign cyst – which, to say the least – was something of a relief. Well she went for another mammogram last month and they now want to see her again and that’s why we went today. However,  with the new rules there needs to be a female nurse present  and she was not available so we have to go back again next week. I know you will wonder why I keep saying “we” but herself is slightly disabled and does not drive, thus I have to take her.   More than likely that it will be the cyst showing up again and they want to check it out – at least that’s what we hope it is.

We’ve put the lounge back together again and I’ve moved out the extra chairs back to garage until next time. I generally cover them in plastic sheeting to keep  most of the dust out. Now the coffee group has moved on to a new venue for July and it will be some time before they are back here again.  However, not as long as one would imagine since a few of the ladies are in nursing homes, or  retirement villages and don’t have the facilities to be able to hold the group where they live.Actually when you think about it, it’s not so bad and supper is always interesting- some of the ladies are really good bakers.

Have completed the Agenda for the Ordinary  Meeting  and the Agenda for the Annual General Meeting. We have an Ordinary Meeting to tidy up any outstanding business before  we  hold the AGM with  the Rep.from Central Operations in Adelaide assuming the chair as all positions are declared vacant. I really don’t know how I would manage all this without my Filofax –  between that and work and medical appointments,  it helps to keep me to keep track of everything and I have it synchronised with my computer. It keeps me sane — Well we won’t go too deeply into that!  The only problem is that I have to send either to the UK or the USA (mostly USA) for refills.Well, it’s cheaper to buy the inserts from the USA and pay postage costs than it is to buy them and have them posted from Sydney.  Strange, but true…

Coffee Clubs and Medication?????  I thought coffee was medication  :o)

“Gam zeh ya’avor” – this too shall pass

This week we think of the people or Arizona and the heavy loss of 19 Brave Young Men who gave their lives  defending their community. The loss of life, for whatever reason, is  never easy to bear,  but to lose so many  young men so quickly, is davastating.  As a caring community our hearts go out to the family, friends and loved ones of these young men. But we should also remember that there were 20 in the crew, and the 20th man had only just moved away to shift the truck and in that short space of time, his 19 friends and colleagues  were killed. His wounds will be deep and he will feel the lost keenly.  This man will need to be carefully monitored and helped to come to terms with his loss, and his sense of guilt as he tries desperately to answer the question that will be in his mind, Why Me?

Like many  who spent their childhood in the City of Glasgow, 19 is more than just an arbitrary number. In a single night 19 firefighters were killed at the Cheapside Street, Bonded Warehouse fire, when over one million gallons of Whisky and thirty thousand gallons of Rum erupted in an inferno that took a week to finally extinguish. It was the worse fire since World War Two and is still the  highest  peacetime loss of firefighters lives in British History.

People don’t understand why so much inflammable spirit was housed within almost the heart of the city and the answer is really very simple – Glasgow was once a very busy port as well as a shipbuilding centre and  Cheapside Street Bonded  Warehouse  was at  Anderson Quay  and the Bonded Warehouse was an export Warehouse. I do not know what the law is today but in these days only certain Ports were  allowed by Customs And Excise Law to be registered for the importation of Tobacco and   Glasgow was one of those – it was the largest and the oldest.   Right next door to the Bonded Warehouse was the Glasgow Tobacco Warehouse and next door to that was a large Ice Cream Factory. So there it  is –  a major disaster waiting to happen –  over one million gallons of inflammable spirit,  tons of tobacco, gas and and chemicals – and on March 1960 it happened.

I can imagine that there will be people in Glasgow who will read the reports from Arizona with deep sadness and the number 19 will be etched in their minds. True,  things are different today and in 1960 we did not understand much,  and the support services were not  what they are today  -if they existed at all – other than family and friends.  I do know from my mother that many of the wives never came to terms with their loss and I hope and pray that Arizona can and will do so much better.

Garden Chips, RFDS and summer flies

Looks dirty, untidy and cheap.
Looks dirty, untidy and cheap. This is what it looked like when we took over the place nearly two years ago.

Been a quiet week. Not a lot has happened.Our weather has much to do with that, I suppose. It is dark by 5pm and it is cold. The other night it was down to 9c – which might not seem cold in your corner of the world, but it is cold here. We took the dogs out last night and they enjoy their walks in the dark.  The one thing I find good about winter is that the cold means that there are no – or very few – flies around, and it’s possible  to walk and work outside  without being pestered by constant flies. That’s one thing you wont see on the tourist brochures. I think if you are born into the society and are brought up dealing with it it takes on less significance, I wasn’t and they bother me. When I take the dogs out out during the warm months I am covered in personal fly spray – I hate them buzzing around my face  and because this is a new area at the very edge of things and  surrounded by bushland, we tend to get a lot of them.

Our weather had been fairly mild and it’s been good walking weather.On Monday evening is the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Flying Doctors Support Group and I have been trying to drum up someone to accept nomination as Secretary – unlikely but you can’t blame a fellow for trying. It’s a big job and no one is really interested in assuming the role so I guess I will be  it for a fifth year. How did I  become Secretary in the first place, you ask?? Well, five years ago I was just a member and I attended the AGM. I was shocked by the lack of response to requests for nominations for the various posts and I also have to say, in view of the  Adelaide Central Operations Guests, somewhat embarrassed. I refused at first because I felt someone more qualified than I would surely  take the position, but no one did. When I was nominated a second time – at my request –  I accepted. I have been Secretary ever since.  Despite a high membership, participation is low, but people have constraints of work, so that’s understandable.  In the last four years this handful  of people  that I have the pleasure of working with, have raised and donated $135,000 to the RFDS. In the last

This is what I did to it.
This is what I did to it.

twelve months the RFDS have made 556 landings at our local airport.

The area at the very back of the photograph has still to be done. I will do that sometime over the next week or so.  Not sure, probably edging and granite chips with the native plants  being left alone at the top right corner (out of frame) Since that photograph was taken the gum tree that you see to the right has shed bark and leaves like you wouldn’t believe and that area is just dirty brown and covered in litter.