Could we start again, please?

At the start of the week we were breaking records for heat, and sending out bushfire warnings  by Thursday we were breaking new records – for rain. Talk about a weird week. It’s Saturday 8am and we have just had yet another downpour. At least there is one consolation and that is that both of my rainwater tanks are overflowing. The major highway, west of here, was closed down and drivers were diverted  to the longer and more isolated highway to the north.They were also advised to fill up because there would be no fuel for at least 200klm.  Some localised street flooding here but nothing much to speak of – no homes were in any danger. Adelaide floods because Adelaide is on an ancient flood plain and there is the runoff from the Adelaide Hills. There a few dips in the roads here and we do get a bit of water at these places, but nothing  comes near any of the houses – not like Adelaide.

Some years ago (2005) I took a party of teenagers to the National Capital of Canberra. It was amazing since very few of them had ever been out of the State – actually, some of them had never been out of the Eyre Peninsula. One of the stops we made was at the South Australia/Victoria Border and irrespective of the time ( day or night) stop was made for photographs with the border post  – Welcome to Victoria – very much in the  photograph. We went by coach, which had two drivers, was fully air conditioned, had a television and a DVD player. Nineteen hours on the coach was ok – frequent stops for comfort and food (yes there were facilities on the coach), watching movies, reading and just chatting or listening to music.

We had a bad year last year and the start of this new year has not been too bad. This is not to say that everything that bothered us last year has gone – it has not, but we are learning to cope with it and move on. Herself contracted MRSA some years   (5) ago and we are still living with the aftermath of that. In order to eliminate the infection drugs were pumped into her through a picc line but although they seemed to control then eliminate the  Staph infection, they compromised her liver and kidney functions. She spent over three months in hospitals, mainly the Royal Adelaide, which meant me traveling back and forth  and staying in Adelaide for days at a time. When she came home, we still had to travel back to the RAH for check-ups – we still do but not as often. A few years ago she became quite anemic and it was discovered she was losing blood. She was taken into hospital and given blood transfusions.  It was thought that this would solve the problem – and it did – for a while. Now we are back to square one again, she is losing blood, is anemic, very tired and the doctors are not sure what to do since the blood transfusion  should have solved the problem.  However, 2014 is better in that I have things better organised than I did last year. I can organise and to some extent control the visits to the doctor, to fit around a timetable – the specialists are very different. Being in the country we have no specialists here – they all have to come up from Adelaide and these times I cannot adjust. We have to attend these at the time and date specified. Today I have managed to get the doctor at 4pm – next Monday a Specialist at 11am. I was due to attend a meeting in Adelaide but we have a hospital visit  on that day so it will be an apology But we are fine and everything is good.  I am fit and healthy, except when I do silly things, like go up and down ladders at home all day wearing only sandals and cause some damage to my foot, but otherwise, fit and healthy. The Man is still pottering around, slowly and slightly unsteady. He seems to cope with falling down a bit,  and it seems to distress me more than it does him. I think the time for the wheels is just about upon us.

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Fire, Floods – it’s a weird place!

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous  in 36 hours.
From the Sublime to the Ridiculous in 36 hours.

The temperature shot up to 44c again and is expected to stay high until the weekend. The dogs are  curled up asleep  under the air-conditioner. I said that I had gone into a stationery shop called Kikki.k to get some things for a friend but what I didn’t say is that I left my Scanda Filofax on the counter. They telephoned herself who contacted me on my mobile (cell) phone. I was  way too far away to be able to turn around so I asked her to contact them and ask if they would post it to me and I would pay the postage. They said they would and told her not to bother with the postage. I was very thankful that they were really good people and sent my Filofax back to me.

Even a mere five days without it was a trial since I use it for just about everything, and all the medical appointment dates for herself were in there. I always keep it close to me but I believe I know what happened. I had written what I needed to get  in my FF and I laid it down on the counter. When I got what I had asked for the assistant put it in a bag — and – I think she put it down on top of my Filofax and I lifted the bag but not the Filofax underneath it. Still, all good and I have it back again. I will not forget this when I go back to Adelaide in a few weeks. Kikki.K is a Swedish design stationery Shop. TeeHee – when herself took the call she thought the girl was saying “This is KKK” which sort of scared her a little  :o)

The heatwave broke last night and since about 1am we have had heavy and constant rain. Fortunately no thunder – just rain. I just hope all this is being repeated

Trying to save the Festival
Trying to save the Festival

across the gulf and if it persists it should bring relief to the firefighters at the Bangor blaze. It was still hot and sticky when I took the dogs out last night and even with the rain it will take a while for the place to cool down.  Well, that was nice, but it’s still hot and sticky and everything has dried up very quickly. The Bangor Fire is still not out but the rain did help to give the firefighters a slight break and gave them the opportunity to  strengthen containment lines.

Things, however, are different in Adelaide, which has just gone from record heat to record rain in 30 hours – and the rain is still falling. Sections of the city are impassable due to flooding. Yes it has hardly stopped here since it began two days ago. but it is much heavier in the lower areas of the  State – Adelaide and the metropolitan district. It has put the Adelaide Festival, this weekend, on alert and already some of the parklands, where the show is held, in under water, as the underground car park of St. Andrew’s Hospital.. Still, our floods are small scale in relation to the floods in London and other parts of England. But, it is still raining. It should be interesting when I take Chienne to the vet. this afternoon.

Chienne relaxing
Chienne relaxing

I have always meant to say, but forgot,  that our Vet.  is Mustafa Bozkurt who was born in Adapazari, Turkey. He was invited to be part of a movie being partly short here because of his Turkish background. The film, starring Russell Crowe, is called “The Water Diviner”and is being filmed in the far north of the State before it moves to complete filming in Turkey – the area close to Gallipoli.  It’s only a little to do with the battle, more of a father trying to find his sons after the battle.

OK – Just got back  from the vet and there is flooding on the roads – large puddles – but the rain was pounding down and at one point I really couldn’t see ahead of me and I simply put on my orange hazard lights – it was a bit scarey. Even herself said that she can’t remember ever seeing rain like this here. Neither can I. Made it back but Chienne was a scared little dog.

Parole, Fires and Roundabouts

So Schapelle Corby is to be released on parole. I have always believed in her innocence  and it may well be that I am just Naive, I really hope that I am not proven wrong. Since the very beginning I have always felt that she  was not guilty and that her father and brother had a lot to do with  this. For nine years now, she has been a feature on Australian News and Television and when she is released and the media frenzy dies down and moves on to its next target, I really hope  she will be allowed to serve out her parole in relative obscurity, but I guess there is little chance of that happening for a long time.

The Bangor fire broke containment lines and caused alarm and panic, but the tireless work of the Firefighters have brought the fire back under control and  within new containment lines being stregthened. What a strange place Ausralia is, one third burning, one third in severe drought and one third relatively normal – or at least what passes for normal in Western Australia, although to be fair, they do have the occasional  Severe Clyclone to contend with.

This is the "Younger" Man
This is the “Younger” Man

Adelaide people say that our little town is boring and I expect they have the truth of it – we don’t have a Nightclub Street where alcohol fuelled violence is a normal weekend event, we don’t have complete strangers walking up to other complete strangers and  “King” punching them for no apparent reason and causing serious injuries, we don’t have police pursuits  screaming through the streets, women can still walk the streets, with dogs or power walking or just walking home   and most damming of all, we have never had retards street racing through the town, running a red light and killing  a mother and her baby. Yes, I guess we are a bit of a bore, really. All we have is just high youth unemployment, high absenteeism from school,  break-ins to cars, vandalism and graffiti. Nothing much, really. But all that aside, the real major topic of conversation, in the local  press and on Facebook, is that we have a council which seems to have an obsession with roundabouts – it’s sticking them everywhere – like  ” Have roundabout plan – Will travel”  I mean it’s not as if they are significant, like the roundabouts at the main shopping centre, which directs the traffic from four major roads,  these are little piddly things.  Still, Adelaide has them everywhere so I suppose we should too. But how boring is that when traffic flow and roundabouts are the major topic of conversation?  It’s a worry :o)

not a well girl
not a well girl

I think my Ford is not a well girl. After passing the area of the fire on the way home from Adelaide at the weekend, she started jerking as if  there was an interruption to the fuel. Normally I woud have looked at the feul filter and changed that if necessary, but on this engine, I don’t think I have one and if I do everything is so sealed I have no idea where it might be- heck I can’t even find the air filter. I think I will have to send her for a service before I have to go back to Adelaide in a few weeks. Well, yes, she needs a bath, but that’s cosmetic, not internal.

Adelaide, Driving and Bushfires

Friday Adelaide:

They grow them BIG in Scotland.
They grow them BIG in Scotland.

The run down to Adelaide was quiet and uneventful. The temperature was  38c and it was hard to get out of the air – conditioned car at times  :o) I managed to get all the things I wanted done and was able to get repairs to my Filofax. It’s close to 25 years old and with TLC it should be still going in another 25 years.

Rundle Mall was  most entertaining, despite the heat. I always like the buskers in the Mall.  I had been asked to get a couple of things but in that I failed – out of stock. Of course it was crush room only – half the Mall is being dug up again so there were narrow walkways at either side of the construction areas.  The fellow in the photograph is quite real, I had to crane  my neck just to talk to him. Lots of people were taking photographs with their children standing next to him. Actually, If you really look at the hands, they don’t really match up with the size of the person, so, although I was not about to ask, the person was real enough, but I don’t think the height was. But regardless, he was walking well and it really was well done – however it’s done.

Tomorrow the temperature will be 42c and I will be driving in the hottest part of the day. By the time the meeting finishes, I do not stay for lunch, and I get on the road again, it will be well after 1pm. Of course that’s depending on several people  not talking for as long as they generally do.

Saturday -Adelaide

got bigger as I got closer.
got bigger as I got closer.

Head off to the conference this morning. It’s only 7:10 am and already there is a bit of heat in the air. As I said yesterday, I hope the “hot air” is kept to a minimum and I can get away at a reasonable time. All very good and I was on my way home by 12:40.  From Port Wakefield onward there were constant warnings about the fires off the Main Highway. I was concerned when I saw the smoke cloud from far off and knew that I was heading in that general direction.  Beyond the Tin Man there were police cars and emergency vehicles and several ambulances. We were safe, but that is the

Now out of control
Now out of control

nearest I have ever been to a bushfire. The emergency services on the car radio were informing people to be ready for evacuation and that the fire had breached the containment lines and was now out of control and the flames were now visible as it sweeps towards the National Highway.

Sunday – Home.

This is now the worst fire since Black Tuesday when the Mount Remarkable National Forest went up in flames and threatened the towns of Wilmington and Melrose  not to mention the fuel depot at Mambray Creek. Unfortunately Wilmington as well as Warnertown are both in the firing line.  The fire can now be seen from here  as it lights up the horizon on the other side of the Gulf.

Specialists, high heat and driving again.

The entrance to the RAH
The entrance to the RAH

As I suspected the doctor wont do anything much until he gets the report from the Specialist. He did talk about sending her to see another  Specialist at the RAH –  This person is a Kidney Specialist and it is believed that the amount of drugs they  put into her system to fight the MRSA have compromised the kidney functions. But I’m not sure if this will point to why she in loosing blood.  These people are very difficult to get to see since they are all based in Adelaide. We have to go back to see her doctor in ten days – or earlier if he calls to say that the report is available.

I will be driving down to Adelaide on Friday morning in a predicted 38c and returning on Saturday afternoon predicted temperature of 41c.  Oh Joy! The forecast has gone up by 6 degrees since the start of the week. I have not, as yet booked my hotel, but I will take a chance and do it tonight. They are pretty understanding when I have had to cancel because the meeting has been cancelled, but since we have people coming over from Sydney cancellations are less frequent.

Australian footwear!!
Australian footwear!!

There are a couple of things I want to get done in Adelaide, not the least of which is to find a shoe repair shop and have them replace the press stud on my Filofax. I would get it done here, but we don’t have a shoe repair shop – sad, I know, but there you are. Many people in South Australia wear either thongs or sandals – mostly teenagers wear thongs and shoes are just foreign to them. The   Outback joke is – At a wedding, in the Outback, how can you tell which female is the bride?  Simple, she’s the one wearing the white thongs!  I have  included a photograph just so we are quite clear what I am talking about  :o)  Do I wear them -No I do not. I wear sandals about the house, but not outside, and I  generally wear Reebok  or black dress shoes. Apart from anything else, they are dangerous to wear when driving.

Took the dogs walking last night in the cool when the sun is going down and the flies are much less. I  was very pleased with the Man and he walked – slowly – the whole way. I wasn’t in any hurry, so I just let him set the pace. He did well, but sometimes here in the house he get a bit wobbly and falls over

Sleepy time.
Sleepy time.

but he just gets up and carries on.  In this heat, even at the end of the day,  Chienne has slowed down a bit so walks are  casual, leisurly affairs. Do not in the least envy people I see striding out with their dogs as if they were competing in a marathon.

Medical Tests and another Road Trip

Australia’s National Highway 1 was created in 1955 and is the longest National Highway in the world. It circumnavigates Australia, linking all the mainland Capital Cities together. It is some  14,500 klms. long, the nearest being the Trans-Siberian Highway followed by the Trans-Canada Highway.  We are not part of the National Highway Grid. We join the Highway 60 klms Northeast of here and then travel along its route to Adelaide. I said once that I would like to drive the National Highway, going where I felt like going and stopping where we felt we had driven long enough for a day. Sadly that never happened and with the state of herself’s health, it probably never will.

The garden has not quite been abandoned and I still have to go out every few days to sweep up  6 million tons of leaves – well, ok, perhaps not quite that amount it just feel like it at times. There is no point in planting anything at this time because the ground is much too warm and besides, I think it’s much too hot to be spending hours out in the sun. All I am really doing is sweeping up and keeping up the watering as much as I can. I have already lost a number of plants, including the Hibiscus, despite watering and mulching.

20140201_133847
The girls at the Barbecue

The RFDS simulator was set up in the Reserve from 9am – 4pm and we were fairly busy. However, I had to leave about 1pm to take herself to the hospital for tests. Likewise with Friday, busy,  but I was with herself at the hospital – this time for a stress test – which was a failure. Not that she failed the stress test, but that she could not walk at even the slow speed that they wanted her to do on the treadmill. The test was abandoned. But we did go for chest x-rays. Saturday and I  spent all day in the Woolworth Carpark with the simulator and a barbecue. Both areas were very busy and it being a hot day, Woolworth were good to us providing cool drinks and chilled watermelon.

Today the unit is down at the foreshore but I believe that due to the extreme heat it was closed down fairly early. Tomorrow ( Monday) it goes back to Adelaide. Four days and we were very luck to have it out of Adelaide for one day,let alone four. It is fully equipped  and is a training unit for medical personnel  new to the RFDS.

The Main Highway

On Monday (Tomorrow) I take herself back to the doctor and  see what happens next. In essence, nothing much can happen until the Specialist gives his report, but we’ll see what transpires tomorrow.  On Friday morning I set off for Adelaide and will be away until late Saturday. I will have to keep an eye on the weather because I really don’t want to be driving 400 klms in a 43c heat. True the AC is pretty good, but that’s not really the point. It puts a fair strain on the engine. However, I will take an extra container of  Coolant and a container of water, and if it is hot – no long sections – frequent stops. Of course I generally have two stops anyway, The Tin Man and Port Wakefield. From Port Wakefield into Adelaide it’s four land motorway all the way. But that’s good Adelaide only spends money on roads that benefit Adelaide – country roads generally get ignored. Oh well, election in five weeks.