Cricket, Paintings, Poems and New Year

The Christmas Plant.
One of my Plants – this one was given to me as a gift.

I liked cricket. Notice the word “liked”. I used to sit up to the wee small hours of the morning to watch the Test Match in the UK. I loved to watch the skills and the sportsmanship of Ian Botham, Clive Lloyd. Vivian Richards, Graham Gooch, Dennis Lillee , Rod Marsh, Alan Border, Richard Hadlee,  Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, David Gower, Kapil Dev, VVS Laxman – to name a few. I loved to listen to the commentary  of former – before my time – greats such as Freddy Truman. These days I very rarely watch cricket because it’s just not the same game anymore.  Money, technology, and changes of rules have altered the game to the extent that I think it’s called cricket, but it’s in name only. Yet having said that, over a quarter of a million people turned up this last week to watch the Melbourne  Boxing Day Test. When I liked cricket, the decision of the Umpire was final – if he said OUT you were OUT or NOT OUT, as the case may be.  Not any more – technology and the spy camera can have the decision of the umpire overturned, after all there’s money involved here. The Big Bash League, T20 have contributed to the death of cricket as we have known it. There is a lot of money being thrown

David Gower
David Gower

around and why should a person bother playing this Test Cricket  stuff when he can make a lot of money playing in the T 20 – or even going over to India and playing there. Even ODI ( One Day International) games are suffering.  T 20 is irreversible, it brings in punters and revenue, it brings in the players with  just the ability to batter the ball to all sides of the ground with as few as strokes as possible. If people want to watch this game, fine, but  – inflated egos, players who believe that they are greater than the game itself,  are not for me, I leave all that to the Me/Now generation and their overwhelming desire for instant gratification – The Big Bash.  These last few years – I don’t know – but it’s just not the same.

There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night —
Ten to make and the match to win —
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote —
‘Play up! play up! and play the game!’

Yes. well, I always liked Sir Henry Newbolt. Not many people did – he is very Victorian and very dated. I liked his poems about Drake, Devon and Clifton.  Surprisingly enough, I often think of

The Fighting Temeraire
The Fighting Temeraire

Newbolt, probably because on the wall in front of me is a copy of  “The Fighting Temeraire” by J.M. Turner, and one of the great poems by Newbolt  is The Fighting Temeraire. There was an exhibition in Adelaide called “Turner From the Tate” and people expressed disappointment that  The Fighting Temeraire was not included. I don’t think they really understood the title of the Exhibition “Turner from the Tate” because the Temeraire is not in the Tate, it’s in the National Gallery.  Oops…

So here we are, 31st. December and the last post for the year. It’s been an interesting year, sometimes difficult, sometimes frustrating, but always good. I, like others have had periods of ups and downs and it’s been a year when I discovered that I am no longer superman – I cannot lift and move fallen trees on my own – no longer invincible  – I damaged my  sciatic nerve in trying to do so, but it was all good :o) lessons generally can be.  A quiet night tonight – we are far enough away from the main areas not to be bothered by clowns. Tomorrow, the boys, Trish and the girls will be here for lunch and then we are back to “normal” –  Old  Clothes and Porridge .  I hope everyone has a great new year. I will watch the Edinburgh Tattoo and have a glass of something, wet, alcoholic and 22 years old.

Take care everyone – if you are driving – take special care – and I look forward to being with you again in the New Year.

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A society addicted to “Celebration”

Christmas in Rundle Mall
Christmas in Rundle Mall

Christmas is an event that takes place from 1st. November to 30th December. Almost immediately after Halloween we start to see Christmas Decorations in the shops along with plum puddings and fruit mince pies. By the end of November and early December the whole thing is in full swing and the advertising machine is on overdrive. In essence things really stop today – 27th December – and by next week all the Christmas Stuff will have gone except some of the dated stuff that didn’t get sold and traders are trying to flog off an a fraction of the cost. At the end of today the Post Christmas Sales – at least the major ones – will be over. The reason for the delay in South Australia is because we are “Adelaide-Centric”and all Adelaide central shops are open for business,- Boxing Day Sales – but the suburb shopping centers are not allowed to open  on Boxing Day because it might take away revenue from Rundle Mall and surrounds. They have to wait until today.  By mid January, Easter Eggs and Easter decorations will start to appear and the bakers will start to produce Hot Cross Buns – which political correctness requires us to call ‘Easter Buns”  With any reasonable luck we might manage to clear Australia Day on 26th January before the madness begins again. As a society we seem to be addicted to celebration –  we’re not fussy – just give us a good excuse and the bunting is out and the flags are being waved. In Australia any excuse is good for a party and drink.

The  forecast for the New Year is for temperatures of 40+ and Victoria (the State) has been warned to expect  the possibility of lightening strikes and bushfire and there is a Cyclone warning in the north of Western Australia.  Today is 37c but at least there is no wind – yet! I cannot recall when we had continual wind like we have had this year – it’s quite depressing. Still, I suppose we should be thankful – we are in the middle of nowhere, we don’t do floods and we don’t do fires and if there is a local fire, it’s small and put out very quickly,  and,  the nearest major fire zone is about 70 miles away in the Mount Remarkable National Park.

still nowhere
-and all around there was empty land

On the last road trip I did take some photographs but there’s really not a lot to see and what you can see is all owned by the army. Sometime next week – after the New Year road madness is over, I want to take a run down to Adelaide and head out to see Alan. I did promise that I would get down and spent some time with him  after the Christmas-New Year period, and I would like to do that.

My little Man continues to confuse me – I suppose that’s his job – in that he seems to have difficulty controlling his back legs, he falls down, yet when he is outside in the garden he seems to move like a proverbial hare. I take him out for a walk and he tires very easily, so I lift and carry him for a while – only a short while and he fights to get back down again, but then it’s not long before he is tiring and dragging behind again — I can only walk so slowly!! Other than that, he seems to be quite happy, but he does sleep a lot. I have not yet measured him up for the wheels and I think I might put it off for a little while yet – but not too long I think.

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email, lost mail and Birthdays

23rd December.

This is the Main Highway to the rest of the world.
This is the Main Highway to the rest of the world.

Firstly I need to say that I seem to be having  strange problems with my email – and it’s only a recent problem. I asked about this and I am informed (not yet verified) that MS Outlook will stop working if you do not upgrade to Windows 8.1. I did the Google thing and discovered that this is a fairly common fault between Windows 8 and Outlook and I found that upgrading to 8.1 really doesn’t help. So please bear with me and if I am not replying to you, or if I seem to be ignoring you, please be assured that I am not and give me some time to get this problem sorted. Just remember “to err is human – but to really stuff up needs a computer!”

I had a word with the Guru and buying Outlook 2013 will not really solve the problem. Microsoft has suggested that we download MS Windows Live Mail, which I did,  and that seems to be working. It still means that the mail I have lost on Outlook will still be lost but at least I can start to get mail again and get back up to date with things. What I have to do now is find a way to transfer my Address Book over.

24th December and it is Herself’s Birthday. As a family I made sure the boys and I – even when they were still young – did not merge two things and buy a combined present. We have always kept the two things separate. I set out her breakfast for her each morning and yesterday I laid all her Birthday Cards next to her Cereal Bowl.  Over the years we are able to distinguish between what envelopes contain a Birthday Card and what contain a Christmas Card.  The boys came round during the course of the day with their cards and gifts. John will be staying with us for a couple of days. In the evening we went to the Watch night Service and were surprised by the number of visitors. The Service lasts just over an hour – enough to take us into the 25th – 11pm to just after midnight but much of the time is taken up by  the congregation selecting and singing Christmas Carols. The actual service, with a very short address,  takes just about 30 minutes.

25th December and the house is still asleep. I’ve fed, watered and walked the dogs. Now, whilst everyone is still asleep, I am going to make coffee, stick on a set of headphones, and watch Casablanca, which I never tire of, and even if I did, well,  we’ll always have Paris  :o)

The photographs of the highway is the main highway – No that’s not just a part of it – that’s it, single lane either way for 56 miles. We don’t even have the provision

Looking West.
Looking West.

of a passing lane.

This was a quiet day but sometimes, when it is busy and you get stuck behind  a slow moving  fuel tanker – or even two in a row – you are stuck there for much of the journey. It is very frustration when you consider the hundreds of millions that are spent by the state government on Adelaide Roads (the South Road being a good example) and the same government cannot find money to upgrade country roads.

The family were here today and it was a very enjoyable Family Christmas Dinner. Afterwards I sat with a glass of wine and watched the  Queen’s Christmas Message.

Arid Lands, Animals and Bugs.

The entrance to the Gardens
The entrance to the Gardens

It had cooled down a little when I left to travel to the gardens, thus it was quite a pleasant drive. I spent some time in town first, bought some pens and a M&M Dispenser. Fill with M&Ms and it’s ten cents to turn the handle for a small handful of treats. Ok, so it has no practical benefit, but it’s fun. I had lunch at the Gardens and bought four new plants. I bought two new native Hibiscus.  I will plant the native Hibiscus next to the present one. If I can get a normal Hibiscus in a reasonable colour it should make a nice contrast. I also bought two native bushes which should do well and tomorrow I am going to buy three Pencil Pines to replace the three almost dead rose bushes out front.

Whilst it has been hot and sticky up north there has been wild weather in the lower part of the state with the emergency services working flat out to cope with the calls for help. Trees have come down on houses, and also brought down power lines. At one point about 60,000 homes were without any power. Some shopping centers had to close.  At this time,  power has been restored to all but a few thousand houses. The interesting thing is that almost all of the trees than came down in the suburbs were Gum Trees – isn’t that surprising.

I think every city has its iconic statue and Adelaide is not exception. Some places have bulls, or  Rio’s Statue of Christ, or a Giant Buddha – Adelaide has pigs. Yes

The Adelaide Porkers
The Adelaide Porkers

, four bronze pigs in the major shopping center of Rundle Mall. They have been there for as long as I can remember and although they do change location from time to time, they are always somewhere in the Mall. Kids love them and have their photograph taken sitting on one of them. So, Rundle Mall,  The Mall’s Balls – The Fountain – the Four Pigs and now a “statue too far” a Giant Cockroach.  You think  I am joking, don’t you? Well, I’m not. Close to twenty years ago Adelaide took  over land off the Port Wakefield Road, well away from Adelaide itself, and  made plans to create a landfill for Adelaide waste. The local landowners objected and protested, but it was done anyway. One landowner created a series of statues in protest of this waste site and one of the statues he created was a giant cockroach.  There is a range of statues representing the protest and over the years they have become a feature we look for on the drive to Adelaide. One of the statues went missing and petition was put up to find

Yes, well !!!
Yes, well !!!

it and restore it. It was found in a scrap yard and the yard owner sold it for two cases of beer. It has been repaired, but where to put it until it can go back to Port Wakefield Road?  Oh… I know, let’s stick it in the busiest and most popular shopping precinct   in the City of Adelaide! Hey, it’s a cockroach, it’ll be fun – everyone likes them, right??  Perhaps it’s just me and it’s only a bit of harmless fun, but I can think of many things to place in a busy shopping precinct and a Giant Cockroach would not be one of them.

Heat, Chienne and Road Trips

Chienne and her Thundershirt
Chienne and her Thundershirt

After discussions with herself  and the fact that the temperature is going to be  extreme , I telephoned Adelaide and cancelled my booking. I will not be going to Adelaide after all. Probably just as well. The high to extreme temperatures will cover about two thirds of the continent according to the Bureau  of Meteorology  – should clear South Australia by late Friday but  with a second front pushing in and lasting until at least the New Year. Already there are reports of fires in the Adelaide Hills and the fire Services are on alert. Sadly, two 9 (NINE) year olds have been picked up by police for lighting fires. Police are patrolling the back country roads looking for anything suspicious. Temperature (Official) is expected to reach 43c with the chance of a thunderstorm in the late evening. This means it will really be about 45c+ since the Official Temperature is taken from a protected area and does not really reflect what’s beaming down on your little head as you walk outside – somewhere between 109f and 113f. However, thunderstorms – with or without rain – are not uncommon after a bout of high temperatures.

I have an industrial grade Thermometer under the pergola and when I checked in at 3:50 it was nudging 47c. On the news this evening the Official Temperature was 44.5, which is only 2.5 degrees of a difference. I will probably  dress Chienne in her Thundershirt again tonight as we are advised that there will a severe weather warning for tonight – High Wind  Thurderstorm and  Lightening strikes, but probably no rain – which is what I suggested a paragraph or so ago.  I spoke to Alan and he seems resigned to not being able to spend Christmas with us. However, I will make time to go down to Adelaide sometime after Christmas and  visit with him for a while. Perhaps we could get a wheelchair and I could take him out for a coffee somewhere – that should be ok.

edwardian01Friday 20th (am)  and the forecast high winds and thunderstorm never eventuated. Of course, sometimes the forecasts are out by 24 hours and instead of a Thursday night, it could all happen tonight. Still that’s ok – Chienne looks good in her Thundershirt and she was a bit agitated last night but that could have been due to the change in  pressure after the wind change. While I wont be in Adelaide now until after Christmas I hope (weather permitting) to take a run through to the Arid Lands and bring

This little fellow was abandoned and is now in the care of SA Dog Rescue.
This little fellow was abandoned and is now in the care of SA Dog Rescue.

back some plants. Oddly enough, I have bought Native Plants here and within  months they die, whereas the plants I bought  almost a year ago in the ALBG are still with us. I have three rose bushes out front and to be honest they have never flourished, never flowered and are half dead. I am going to replace them with natives.  I might remember to take my camera with me and take some photographs along the road.

Heat, Yattering Birds and Road Trips.

I like these old pictures
I like these old pictures

According to the weather forecast, Thursday is to be around 42c, just the ideal weather for a drive to Adelaide and beyond – not quite as good as Infinity and beyond, but this is South Australia after all. Today it is supposed to be 37c yet, according to my outdoor thermometer the mercury is nudging 41c. The dogs are curled up in their indoor beds, which are sitting on top of cool tiles. The State is on Fire Alert and a Fire Ban has been imposed for  all of our area.

Just had a call from Alan’s Senior Nurse and she has serious concerns about Alan traveling up here in his present condition. He is on constant oxygen and an oxygen diffuser, which is connected up to their main system.  A five hour plus journey without  oxygen and in a 42c heat is a serious risk to his well being. I knew he was on oxygen but I didn’t realise he was that bad.  There is to be a meeting between the medical staff and the Nursing Home Administration and they will decide how to proceed, but they are not happy, and I can’t blame them. They will let me know tomorrow what the decision is. I have already booked my hotel for the overnight stay so even if the Nursing Home say no and that it presents an unacceptable risk to his health, I’ll still go down, do some shopping and stay overnight. I thought I might go out and see him but that might not be a good idea – adding insult to injury sort of thing.

The official temperature today was 39c, which is only 3 degrees lower than my thermometer under the pergola. The reset of the week  the temperature will rise to 43c or about 109f.  However, there will be a cool change come in at the weekend bringing the temps. down a bit.

I’ve just had a call from Alan’s Doctor and he advised me that the medical staff have discussed the situation and have advised Alan not to travel in this heat without a Part of the  Pergolaoxygen bottle. The trip really does present an unacceptable risk to life and they cannot sanction it.  They also have a number of other concerns, mainly  the defibrillator and the adequate supply of  bottled oxygen. The Hospital  here would not be able to supply him with refills suitable for him. The doctor told me that if I had never had experience with a defibrillator going off it can be a scary experience. I have already booked the hotel and I would rather not cancel it since  this is where I stay on my frequent trips to Adelaide. So I will go down and do some shopping. If I leave at first light I should be in Adelaide before the heat starts to bite.

Nice day so I went out and had breakfast outside. I thought I would  commune with nature and besides, the dogs like toast. You know, it’s very difficult to commune with nature with all these blooming birds yittering and chattering and jumping around the trees.  :o)

Dogs, Medication and the South Road

20130824_111434There is really not a lot (continual wind not withstanding) of things that frustrate me, but twice now I have had someone visit but I have no idea how to return the courtesy. Work Press tells me that  Fred Bloggs thought etc. but there is nothing else – no place for me to go and return the visit, nothing other than a profile containing only a name.  That’s frustrating.  – so, hello and thank you for visiting!

Took the dogs out walking last night (Wednesday) and only had to carry the Man once I think the head wind was a bit too much for him. He is still eating, which has to be a good sign, but we only have a few days of his medication left. Herself suggests that the Vet knew this so perhaps this is the full course and he does not need the medication after this. I hope that’s the case, but now I have another small problem – how to cure his addiction for cheese. My fault.. In order to give him his medication I enclosed it in a small amount of cheese – now he’s looking for it at night.Still it is only a small piece so I don’t suppose it will do him too much harm. I will keep a close eye on him when the medication is finished and watch for any changes. We wont be out tonight because as I said earlier, I’ll be at the Carols in the Park with the RFDS. Looking forward to this tonight, partly because it’s a fun night and partly because it’s the last fundraising event until 26th January. It’s getting to the time when we go walking with a back pack containing water and a bowl- early morning and  mid-evening, we can stop and have a drink – all three of us.

I don’t wish to start an International Debate but Cricket used to be a game played   at an international Level  by Gentlemen – What happened??

The Carols-in-the-Park were well and was attended by a very large crowd. We were kept very busy and had to phone out for someone to bring more food as we were starting to run out. After we did this twice, we decided that if we run out again then we pack up. We did run out but by then it was fairly close to the end of the night and we were quite satisfied with that. Within the next day or so I will probably be traveling to Adelaide  to collect Alan and bring him here for Christmas. This was not part of our plans but his “carers” are going off to another city for Christmas and he will be left on his own. Yes he is in a nursing home but that’s not the point- his candle05step-daughter and her husband are the only family, apart from me, that he has in South Australia. It’s a 4.5 hour drive to Adelaide and a further 1.5 hours from Adelaide to where he is and as you know, the South Road is not my favourite of places. And it will be fun because the temperature on Thursday, when I go down to collect him, will be 42c – lots of water for me and the car.