Day Trip, Arid Lands and Family

The Man is still with us. He is slowing down a lot, but he is eating well enough and comes out for walks a couple of times a week – which is good for him. He is still medicated

We arrive at the Arid Lands Gardens
We arrive at the Arid Lands Gardens

and still attending the vet on a regular basis to ensure that he is still comfortable and experiencing no unnecessary pain or discomfort. Yes, he still gets trapped by these sneaky corners and he still has to be rescued but other that this, he is well as can be expected. Not that this matters really, he’s still my dog and he still needs looking after – even at 3am  :o) We leave lights on for him but as I keep saying, corners can be very sneaky  and can trap the unwary. Chienne is still playing “Mother”and washes his face and ears.  I just wish   he wouldn’t scream quite so much. The trouble is that it’s a piercing scream that cuts right through everything. Sort of  what I imagine would be like a Banshee in a bad mood.

Scones, Jam and Cream
Scones, Jam and Cream

It’s been a quiet week and the weather has been mild to cool. Generally at this time of the year we are trying to cope with 40c+ but this year has been very cool thus far. It did hit the 40 mark a couple of times in December. When that major fire broke out in Simpson Flats people were a bit concerned at such a destructive fire so early in the Fire Season and although it took a while to bring it under control and get it out, the weather since then has been quite cool. Sometimes when I take Chienne out in the evening I put on a light jacket because it is so cool. Although I have to admit that our cool is nothing in comparison with  Snow Storm Juno that’s been dumping so much snow on many states. I only know one person in  New York (Manhattan)  and I  hope she and her Mom and the dogs are safe and well. Don’t know about Arizona – never hear anything in the news about Arizona but I think they are pretty much like us – stinking hot – cool to cold – floods and fires –  and not necessarily in that order.  Although with recent temperatures bordering on 3000c – it probably doesn’t matter any more  :o)

I undertook a number of tests last week but it will take 14 days for the analysis and report to come back from
Adelaide.  I will be in Adelaide this coming  weekend – 5th, 6th, 7th-  but on a  unrelated matter.

Interesting day. Herself needed to do some banking but there is no branch here so we had to travel to another town to do her banking.

Sturt's Desert Pea
Sturt’s Desert Pea

There is an agency but this time we needed the bank rather than an agent.  After the bank we  did some shopping and I then took her out to the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens where we had  afternoon tea. It’s a long walk from the carpark to the Center so that was not so good for her, but the coffee and the scones were good. She had Coffee and  Scones with locally made Quandong Jam and Cream. I just had a boring old pot of Earl Gray  tea, Scones and Butter. I even bought two new plants –  another Desert Pea and another Desert Rose. A really nice day out and I think – up to a point – she enjoyed the trip.

Andrew is away in Roxby Downs, John is working so no family this weekend. Goodness that’s a worry – whatever will we talk about???

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Sunset, Meerkats and a Memorial Arch

When the world was young
When the world was young

I began writing this some years ago and in essence I wrote it for myself. Actually, that’s not really true – I started off in My Space and I was writing it as a letter for one person. My Space changed and I no longer wrote there. I came on here but it was never the same.  I never really expected to have any “followers” – I felt that that’s something interesting people have. Of course I am thankful for any comment, advice or concern, and for the lovely people I have met but I’m not exactly setting the world on fire now, am I?  But as I said, I started this mainly for myself.  These last 12 months have been something of a revelation, that this is not really going anywhere, discovering personal limits, discovering I am not invincible as well as doing everything possible to wreck my health by living out of a suitcase for

The WWI Memorial Arch - Great Ocean Road
The WWI Memorial Arch – Great Ocean Road

much of the last eighteen months.  In looking back over the last 12 months I have to ask myself what, if anything,  I have achieved.  The answer is, regretfully,  nothing. I only retain  the West Terrace  Committee and that  mainly because it’s working with a wonderful group of people. A refreshing change, which is always welcome.

This next weekend – the weekend after Australia Day –  I will be in Adelaide for three days. I have organized this to make it as stress free as possible. I drive down on the Thursday, perhaps a bit of shopping – a visit to Bunnings –  Office Works – relaxed day; quite night at the hotel, good sleep. Friday, all day session – finish about 5:20, perhaps a bit of late night shopping and a meal in town, quite night at the hotel, good sleep. Saturday, breakfast, check out, drive home – simples!! (cue in cute Meerkat here) – On the way back I’ll try and get time to stop into the Arid Lands Gardens and if I leave early enough I might get there in time for lunch — they make very nice scones!!

Bells Beach where the Australian Surf Championships are held
Bells Beach where the Australian Surf Championships are held

When I visited Alan out at Drysdale we toured the Bellarine Peninsula. I am particularly pleased with this because it was among the last things he did before he before he became confined to a hospital room on oxygen. I only mentioned to Herself the other day that I did wonder if Alan might have still been alive if he had remained in Drysdale surrounded by his friends. Difficult to say.  I was also thinking that I would like to take a trip back to Drysdale and have a quiet trip around the place and tour the Bellarine Peninsula with herself, but I don’t know if

The Big Koala: a refreshing break on a long journey
The Big Koala: a refreshing break on a long journey

she would be well enough for such a long journey. If we did go, it would have to be in small, easy stages to give her a break. But the added concern is that this is Australia and not all than many places are Dog Welcome. I know there is one in Drysdale so we would probably stay there. However, that’s all speculation and quite unlikely. It’s impossible to get her to Adelaide let alone Geelong.

Dogs, Gardens, R & R

With all this Biblical stuff going on, fire, floods, pestilence, snow, the garden has been very much neglected.    Ok, ok, I lied about the snow!!!                    The adverse weather conditions, being surrounded by trees  that drop branches and leaves at the slightest cough, and  my being inconveniently ill,  the garden has the appearance of a building site ( actually bomb site would be a better description)  I would love to get out there and get on with things and I will – with some things –  but I am discovering that there are limits to what I can and cannot do at the moment.  I made that mistake in Adelaide last week.  I am sort of trapped between a rock and a hard place – I want to get out there and get on with things, but I know that I am limited in what I can do until such times as we discover just what exactly is happening. Will know more after Tuesday when I undertake some tests.

In the 60’s, people took drugs to make the world weird.

Now the world is weird, and people take antidepressants to make it normal.

The "Young"Man
The “Young”Man
Guard Duty is exhausting
Guard Duty is exhausting

Chienne is much the same and the Man is still with us. He’s slowing down and I  still have to rescue him, but he’s fine. I hand feed him in the morning and I have started to hand feed -sort of – in the evening. What I do is bring him and his dinner over to my chair. I sit on the floor with legs out. I put him over my left thigh – back legs one side front legs the other – with the food bowl on my right thigh and he eats away quite happily without falling or in any pain. I know it might sound a bit awkward but he’s comfortable enough and eats away until his food’s finished, and, more importantly, without any stress. Yes, I was born for this – to be a food trolley to a Maltese Dog.  :o) Oh, and why the left thigh? He does not like  the right thigh – different aspect perhaps. However, something odd has cropped up in recent months. I thought at first it was a “one off” when I watched it, but I see it happen a lot these days and Herself says Chienne has been doing this for a while. She is grooming  The Man. He just sits there and she licks his face and his ears. I  am puzzled – I thought only cats did this.

I did some work out in the garden today. Nothing too much, just some sweeping up leaves and using the leaf blower/vacuum. I did throw some rubbish into the trailer but nothing heavy.  I was also thinking that if the weather remains fine, I might just break out the hammock and stand. We’ll see how things go.  I should be heading off to Adelaide next Friday morning but I will have to wait and see. It’s  only been two months since the last meeting and I guess it’s a bit much to expect the minutes of that meeting to be available this early. – The meeting, it would appear, has been put off until the 14th Feb. so, in essence I have been two and a half months at home without really doing anything much other than catching up with some reading;  a little bit of work outside and going for walks with Chienne and sometimes with The Man. When he is with us we don’t go very

This used to be the end of the road.
This used to be the end of the road.

far and even the little distance we do do, takes ages since he is slow and tends to wander. It makes for an interesting walk. If Chienne wasn’t so freaked out about going in the car, I would take them  to the beach. I could take him on his own but if I strap him into the seat he screams and cries all the way. He wants to come and sit on my lap and whilst I used to do this, it is now illegal  to have an animal on your lap when driving and it carries with it a hefty fine and demerit points. In fact to have an animal in the car not strapped in is illegal.

 

Paws for a moment!

Weather bureau warns SA could experience heaviest rainfall in 30 years

The above is the headlines that appeared the other day. There was minor flooding on the first day which caused a bit of traffic chaos and forced what was to be an outdoor funeral – indoors. I did not get to the first funeral because of medical appointments but I was able to go to the second, although given the volume of rain that was belting down, there was some doubt about it but the organizers managed to get it moved to an indoor venue. It was  – a celebration of her life rather than a traditional funeral.

Well it didn’t- or rather it has not as yet  – reached the 30 year record although there is serious flooding with roads and small townships cut off. Here it has just been raining. No major rain like the other day – just a continual steady rain with some minor road flooding. If you are in the flooded zone – well it is all bad – but if you are not there is a positive side to things. Lake Eyre in South Australia, is

Salt Lake Eyre ( not my photograph)
Salt Lake Eyre ( not my photograph)

the largest inland lake in Australia and the 18th largest in the world. However, it is 17 meters below sea level and generally a salt lake. Right now the flood waters are pouring into it and it is rapidly filling up. Reports are that birds and other wildlife are flocking to the area and the  “Lake Eyre Yacht Club” lives for times like this. What I cannot understand is that Pelicans are flocking to the area in their hundreds – But – how do they know?? Is there some kind of Bird Communication System that says “hey,  Lake Eyre in South Australia is flooded – pass it on” !! But it is amazing that such a transformation can take place in only a few days. How about the fires – was there

Wildlife Organization photograph.
Wildlife Organization photograph.

anything positive came out of them?? Actually, yes. A lot of the wildlife, particularly the Koalas, had been injured by the fire. The burns were mainly on paws. The RSPCA and other organizations went into the area and began to rescue the animals. With the Koala the RSPCA found that after the initial treatment and the application of burn cream, the best thing they had for helping the Koalas were mittens, but they soon ran out of them.       The asked if people could get some cotton ( old sheets , etc) and sew some mittens  and donate them. The hoped they would get enough to help the animals that were being brought in.  What they got was, not the hundred or so pairs they expected from South Australians, but over 16,000 pairs of cotton  mittens flooding in from Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, Ireland the United Kingdom, Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran  India and South Africa. Amazing – just amazing!

Andrew and Trish took me down to Adelaide and dropped me off in town. Coffee and scones then off

Still flocking in from hundreds of miles away. (not my photograph)
Still flocking in from hundreds of miles away. (not my photograph)

on a shopping expedition — well that was Plan A. Halfway between the Coffee Shop and my first shop was not good and by the time I reached Koorong I was just about all in. Fortunately the big bookshop also had a  coffee shop so that’s where I stayed until I felt good enough to make my way back to Rundle Mall. My main reason for going to Adelaide in the first place was to  look for a Dalek for Andrew’s Birthday Gift. I did get that and a few other things and decided that I didn’t think I could make it through to 6:30 and the evening coach so I took a taxi to the  terminal and caught the afternoon coach home.  Too soon to be a Happy Wanderer? Perhaps, but at least when I go down in February, I  will have the car and if I feel “tired” I can always  go to the hotel and relax for a while.

 

Bushfires and flooding rains.

Today in the Adelaide Hills
Today in the Adelaide Hills ( Not my photograph. Photographer unknown)

At this moment of writing there are two fires burning out of control but the one causing the most concern is that in the Adelaide Hills. Already much  property has been lost but, thankfully, no lives. There are 100 units and 550 fire fighters together with 8 water bomber aircraft. Some 200 rural firefighters from New South Wales are on their way to South Australia to help our people. Units and firefighters are also being sent from Victoria – which is battling its own fires. At the moment this is not shaping up to be a good fire season. This is now deemed to be the worst fire in the Adelaide Hills for 30 years.  The fire is now burning on a 130 klm

distance between two new houses
distance between two new houses

perimeter  with over 10,800 hectares burnt. By any stretch of the imagination it is a significant fire. Today (Sunday) the temperature has fallen from 44c down to 35c and the wind – at least up here – has died away. It was still a Little bit windy when I took Chienne out for walks last night. The recent reports say that 30 homes have been destroyed and 14 firefighters injured – not seriously- and that almost 600 firefighters are trying to contain this blaze which is now burning on a  200 klm perimeter. The concern is to try and get it under some kind of control before the temperature build up again – which is forecast for tomorrow.

Things are starting to get under control and I now understand about 85% of the fire is within containment lines and the wet weather this weekend should help. Adelaide is dry and I head off to Adelaide on Monday morning.  No meetings – shopping expedition.  I’m looking for a Dalek for my son’s birthday on the 19th. There was one here and I thought I would get it later but when I went back – it had gone. I should be able to get one at the ABC Shop in Adelaide. I will only be away for the day and no more trips until February. Apart from which I am not driving.  Andrew and Trish are going down for a medical appointment so I’ve bummed a lift with them. They drop me off in town, I do what I want to do and get the evening coach home. No stress at all.

On the subject of stress, four of our young people were on their way back from an archeological dig  on the far side of the Peninsula and were only 35 klms from town when they happened to meet up with  a driver who was determined to kill himself.  He ran – at  full speed into them head on.  The driver and the front seat passenger  were killed outright, the two in the back seat were seriously injured – one flown to Adelaide by the RFDS in a very serious condition, the other to the local hospital. The other driver  was also flown to the RAH by the RFDS. He was so badly smashed up it is unlikely he will survive. The funeral of one of the young people was held yesterday, the second is today. And before you ask, yes I knew them. Not one of them was over 24 years of age. The other driver is 36 years of age – he was driving a Nissan Patrol –  I do not know him. As far as we know he is under guard at the Royal Adelaide and if he does survive, ( he is in a coma) charges will be laid against him by the SA Police.  A sad start to the new year for many.

My New System for 2015
My New System for 2015

Something made me think recently about librarians (probably because I like the TV Show) and I was considering our local library and we have no young people there at all. Sad really. Do not know about other places, but our library shows no sign of  decline – always well attended. After days of 43/44/44/42 degree heat everything goes haywire and we are right in the middle of a major rain and thunderstorm. Chienne is, of course, going slightly crazy and I have medicated her. The forecast is for flooding rains in this part of the State. I don’t see it, but you never know.

 

Boom, Bust and feet on the Desk.

Nine Months ago this was all empty land.
Nine Months ago this was all empty land.

Since I came out of hospital and after a few days rest, I started to take Chienne for walks again. They were not long walks but that was more for my benefit than it was for hers. What’s also been interesting is that The Man, who has been increasing in strength, also comes with us sometimes. He refuses to use his Stroller, refuses to be carried and insists on walking. Yes, he does trip up from time to time and I have watch him because he wanders,  but all that apart, he seems to enjoy his walks. Can’t see where he is, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with his sense of smell. As I said before, he tries to stay as close as he can to Chienne. The walking is slow and easy and that’s fine. We also find that he sleeps very close to Chienne – right up against her in fact. One of Andrew’s girls suggested that I should put Chi and the Man in the stroller together and perhaps that would settle him down. Tried that!  She settled down quite happily he screamed and screamed and went nuts. I un-clipped him and he sprang out of my hand onto the concrete where he promptly fell and rolled over – he was that desperate to get out. Lucky he didn’t hurt himself.  So we’re back to square one. I don’t understand!

More houses.
This used to be the end of the road – more houses.

Christmas was held at my younger son’s place this year. We spent a family Christmas with  John, Andrew & Patricia and the girls, also Patricia’s mum. Herself wasn’t doing the cooking for the first time ever. Actually Andrew did much of the cooking, which is a credit to Herself.  He left for Roby Downs and should be away for about 12 days. New Year was a quiet time and although I did stay up and see in the New Year, I brought it in with Lemonade ( oh the shame of it all!!) with the 26 year old Single Malt staying where it is for the time being. Very sad, really! Reminds me of Zathras from Babylon 5 “Have very sad life –  will probably have very sad death, but at least there is symmetry”

Have been doing a lot of reading of late and once I sat back in the chair here, opened my Kindle and put my feet up on the desk. I think there must be some kind of special desks in the movies or on TV because I found the feet on the desk thing very

See I am relaxing  :o)
See I am relaxing :o)

uncomfortable. However, that apart, it has been a relaxing  few days.

At this moment there are over 1108 houses under construction. These are not government houses, these are fairly large private development houses. The mining boom is happening to the North of-us and we have become the fly-in / fly-out destination. When we bought this place, we were the very last house. Not any more!!   However, I have this fear that we could go right back to square one when the mining boom peters out and that there will be a glut of houses for sale and no buyers.  The developers could make a few dollars on houses like  mine which is the older style and size South Australian house, sitting on a quarter acre. You could get two modern houses on that. The widow of one of our former RFDS  members did just that – sold the house they had together in town – this was demolished to make way for two new town houses. Sure, there are no gardens, no lawns, no flower beds and barely enough room for  a washing line, but moderns are not interested in flowers and gardens today so they don’t care. Kids grow up in the house and in their rooms – we grew up in fields and woods, in playing with our friends during the long summer days that lasted until 10:30 pm. We very rarely saw home until it was time to come home for food. However, on the plus side, there are people prepared to pay extra  for more land so they can have a garden and flowers and a place for the children to play and when you consider the amount of land that is actually available it’s pretty much a money grab. However, having said all that the main drawback to development in outback South Australia is the same as it has always been and always will be – WATER. There was an  up-surge of tourism into the Flinders Ranges and the people there wanted to extend the Hotel and the facilities, but doing so would have put so much pressure on the little water that was available the plans were  shelved.

Well it was a very quiet Christmas and New Year. I sent in letters of resignation to one of the State Committees and I am giving serious consideration to

Seems about right!!
Seems about right!!

resigning as Secretary to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Support Group. The trailer will no longer to kept here because it was dropped in my driveway and I had the job of getting it behind the gate – and it was no lightweight. I also had the problem of getting it out ready for collection. Herself put the foot down on that. However, the trailer yes but the other – I will wait until I see the cardiologist in a couple of weeks.