Benji, Trees and Firefox

How can that be comfortable?
How can that be comfortable?

Sunday; and for the first time since  we adopted Benji, we had a family dinner. This meant that for the first time the two girls were here with Andrew, Trish and, of course, John. I was a bit concerned about how Benji would react to the girls and how the girls would take to Benji. As it happened,  my concerns were ill-founded and  everything went smoothly with the girls and the dog taking to each other quite well. Overall it’s been a very quiet week and not a lot has happened really. I worked at two fundraising ventures for the RFDS, with a third one this weekend. Herself has been busy writing letters to all the other churches and inviting them to the 36th Anniversary Service of the Women’s Association. I have also found ( well I knew, really) that,  since my  unexpected stay in hospital at Christmas, some of the temporary restrictions, plus all the medication, I have put on weight. This I am unhappy with, so back to my diet again and get rid of the extra kilos. Once we get into spring and  the winds start to abate  I should like to get back out on my bike – and yes, before you ask, I am very much a fair weather biker. There is a dedicated Bike Track down at the Wetlands but it’s like everywhere else here in spring and summer, the flies  become a nuisance. I sometimes  find that rather than deter the flies, the personal fly-spray seems to attract them.

Haven’t  done much outside other than never-ending sweeping. I have an Australian White Cedar which has to be – more than gum trees –  the messiest tree in

White Cedar problems
White Cedar problems

Australia. I have spent days on end sweeping up  the mess from the Cedar and can well understand why the council had them removed many years ago. Pity they replaced them with  gum trees. These berries, or whatever they call them, come down in the tens of thousands and clog up everything and cost the council a fortune to clean up the mess and unclog drains.  The other problem is that everything about them is toxic – the berries and the leaves. This gentleman in the photograph, in Adelaide –  has a problem with the White Cedar in the front of his house and the fact that the berries are all over his garden and he has two young children. Many councils are undertaking programs to have the White Cedars removed. The photograph is from the newspaper and I thought it best to block out faces. I need to get a quote for the  trimming back of the one I have, which in the last year has just about doubled in size. Other than sweeping, I have  had words with herself about just where she wants the washing line. I think she wants it moved back  to where it was. Certainly the  crazy area is closer to the door but it is now over hanged by the Ceder – tree – branches – birds – washing – thus it has to be moved. In the short time that I laid down the weed matting and  placed in the stones, the place was covered in “Berries”.  Fortunately I have a blower that is  powerful enough to move them but not so powerful that it moves the stones. Herself could not believe the amount of “Berries ” cleared in a a few hours, so I can well understand the Adelaide Father’s concern for his children. For me, well Cedars of Lebanon I could live with, Cedars of Australia, not so much.


This last week has been a week of on-going frustrations with the computer and more than ever I realise the truth of the  saying  “To err is human, but to really stuff up takes a computer”. It’s been a week that saw my  Mail Server crashing ( Outlook Express) the crashing of Firefox, which  meant a delete and then a fresh install, and just general frustration. I gave up banging my head on the desk, put the  lead on the dog and we went for a drive to the wetlands to watch the swans.  That  did help and I came back, fixed the computer and got back to work.

Settling in: New home: New family.

Been a long day. Need rest!
Been a long day. Need rest!

Tuesday and  things are settling down. Benji has settled in well and  has the full run of the house and the yards. We have been out walking but the harness I have is just a bit tight so I will see about getting a new one today.  This has been the October Long Weekend, with Monday being Labour Day and most shops closed. Everything will be back to normal today.

Annabell has never really been a dog person but I have to say that she and Benji have taken to each other. So much so that last night he jumped up on her lap settled down and they watched TV together. I think he might be an NCIS fan. However, I do have a small problem – he gets into the car without any problem – getting him out of the car is something else again. He will  work out fine  – time and patience.

Andrew came round to visit yesterday and take Benji out for a walk – to get to know him. He was quite impressed with  the dog who is both placid and affectionate.  This morning I told him ( Benji, not Andrew)  No when he tried to jump on my lap as I was using the keyboard. He walked away, then took a leap, went over the armrest and landed on the chair at my back – where he currently is – perhaps he figures if he’s at my back and I can’t see him, I can’t say no :o) Seems logical.

This is my Good Side
This is my Good Side

Clever – sneaky, but clever.  I have had to go out a couple of times and all I see is a  furry face at the window when I go to the car and when I drive out. Annabell says he goes to his bed and then goes back to the window when he hears the car again, which means I see a furry face at the window when I come home. We took him out with us to the  Westlands Mall. Herself wanted to do some grocery shopping for the family dinner tomorrow and Benji and I went for a walk around the  area and back to the entrance, keeping in the shade.  He enjoyed that and started getting excited when he saw  Annabell coming back.

I think I am starting to recover  for what was for me a long two days. I still can’t over the fact that I came down the steep descent from Crafers to the City in the dark, when I hate  having to do it (rarely thankfully) in daylight and I have to the same journey all over again in November. The scenery was very different from this part of the world – grass, flowers,   the vines and wineries of the Limestone Coast to the forests of Penola. I didn’t get to see much of Mt. Gambier. I didn’t even get to see Mount Gambier Church since I really wanted to be in Bolivar before it got dark, which, as you know, I didn’t succeed in doing.

Anyway, he has settled in and enjoys his  two walks  each day. I take him out in the morning and again in the evening. The evening walk will get later as it gets lighter mainly to avoid the heat from the sun. According to the long range weather forecast it is to be a long, hot  dry summer with some areas having extended drought conditions.. Let’s just hope that it is not too bad.


Catherine, Road Trip and Introducing Benji

He was unknown now he is "Benji"
He was unknown –  now he is “Benji”

The drive to Adelaide was uneventful. I took Catherine shopping – mainly to the duty free and then along Rundle Mall before heading off to the hotel. I was staying – she was not. The car came for her at 19:45 and her flight was at 21:45. I did not go to the airport with her since there would be a wheelchair and an assistant waiting for her  at the other end and she would be  taken to the Emirates Lounge and, not being a passenger,  I wouldn’t  be allowed in there. Her bags were checked in for her. It seemed little point in my going out there and having to get a taxi back for no real reason. She will be well looked after.  I  watched some television, sent s few emails to Annabell and  went to bed.

I was up fairly early on Saturday morning, checked out and set off to Mount Gambier arriving there just after 1pm.   The “Unknown” was waiting for me – we had formal introductions ( of course) and he took his place on the front passenger seat – seat-belted and clipped in. After driving for about 15 minutes I had to stop and make different arrangements. For some reason he was unhappy in the front seat, so I set up the carry case with a blanket and set him up in the back seat. Being slightly elevated he put his head on the window and sat and watched the world go by. Then he slept. As a traveler he was very good and slept most of the way.  We were slightly delayed and I had decided that I had to make Bolivar on Saturday. I did but it meant doing something I always said I would never do – travel the  Expressway and negotiate the Steep descent  from Crafers to the end of the Expressway then drive through the city in the dark.   Not the most enjoyable thing I have done of late, but we made Bolivar where we stopped for the night and I was finally able to call Herself and let her know how things were.

We left Bolivar at about 5:30am  and drove to the Tin Man for fuel and a walk.  I was asked – since the forecast was for 36c – why I was wearing a jacket. I answered that my car was almost like an ice-box. I had a youngish dog in the car  and was keeping the temperature down for him.

We arrived home when Herself was still at church so I was able to get him settled in and a wander about the place – inside and out – a bit of food and a drink. Apart from anything else I was slightly stuffed since over 1200 miles in  two days is tiring and my hand feels like it has been  stomped on by half a dozen,  big longshoremen – with boots on. I think I need my head examined, but that is something I have to avoid at all costs – mainly because of a concern that they will find nothing in there.

Oh and I don’t have photographs (yet) since I was too busy concentrating on other things – like driving


Road Trip, Lovely people and Gazinia

A Gazinia by my early walk
A Gazinia by my early walk!

This weekend I head back down to Adelaide. It’s been a quick and not uneventful holiday for Catherine, but we have been out and about as much as we could and I think  she has been happy enough. She is talking about coming back in two years. Once I take her back to the airport and stay overnight in the hotel, in the morning I may be heading off to Mount Gambier, which is about a four mile drive from Adelaide. I have been as far as Naracourte  and Mt. Gambier is about 150 klm further on from there – Have Camera – Will Travel ! There is no certainty that this will actually happen and I wont know what I am doing until another day or so, but I am hopeful.

I am starting to come back to the world after a traumatic week.  After having lost The  Man and then Chienne, I was starting to get a bit on the down side and slightly depressed.  I am not sure if it is just a cliche or not but people talk about “The kindness of strangers” and I was overwhelmed by the messages of kindness and sympathy that seemed to just keep coming. The kind thoughts  expressed by  people I had never ‘met ‘ was very humbling and something I will always remember.

A few days ago I pulled the car off the highway to the side of the road, got out with a camera and took some photographs of roadside flowers. These  very pretty flowers are

Ana again
And here  again

called Gazinia and in many parts of Australia they are considered to be weeds and  councils have attempted to eradicate them. I am quite thankful to say that here they have not been successful and I do believe they have given up trying. The flower that grow in perfusion are full of life and colour and make a very welcome change from the  (beloved by a very few) Saltbush.  Here in my little corner of the universe, I find the saltbush that I am familiar with dead and boring = dead boring!  I suspect there are species of saltbush that flower and look pretty ( never seen any) and I suppose that saltbush is part of Australia but then, so are flies and I can’t recall anyone ever waxing lyrical about them. The South African  Gazinia, however, have become so popular that many people have  taken some of the roadside plants and replanted them in their garden and have been rewarded with an explosion of

Unknown (?)

colour. Before you ask, yes I am thinking about it!!

As it happens I am heading to Mount Gambier on Saturday morning. I was not sure for a while but a telephone call this morning confirmed it. I am overjoyed. Bit too early for the Blue Lake I suspect. If I get away from the hotel early on Saturday morning I should be in Mt. Gambier by about lunch and back in Adelaide by mid-afternoon. I don’t think I will be able to drive the whole way home, so we will probably stop off some place for the night  – I expect Highway 1 Caravan Park. A lot will depend on how I feel and it might well be that I will stay in Mount Gambier rather than drive the four hours back to Adelaide. In fact the more I think about that the more I warm to the idea.