The Sands of Time

Today is Sunday 27th December – four more days and we reach the year’s end. I suspect the year may not be the only thing that will end in four days.

Benji, sand and sea
Benji, sand and sea

I love my dog to bits and I would not change him for anything but I do miss Chienne and I expect that in the “fullness of time” I will stop – in  off moments –  calling him

We paddled in the Gulf
We paddled in the Gulf

Chienne and  perhaps giving the poor lad a complex. Unlike Chi. Benji loves the car so we have been going places, mainly to the Wetlands and a walk around the site. (2.4 klm)  He loves those walks – or is it the hot dogs and coffee  we get at the end. Provided it’s not  hot I’m quite happy to take him with me when I go out.

Early in the New Year I will start to recover much of what has been lost this year, i.e. the garden. However I find that I am no orphan in this regard and as many of the new houses are experiencing the fact that it only takes a drop of water and the weeds take over. I go out and pull weeds, use environmental friendly weed killer, but you pull out one weed and five take its place. I spent a lot getting the front garden the way I wanted it – coloured wood chip is not cheap, but all that will have to be redone. Between me ending last year in hospital,  restricted for several months until things were sorted out, then driving all over the State like a demented will-o’-the-wisp,  the area has  just become weed central. Time to get the grader back,  clean the whole area  and start over again.

Took Benji back  over to the Wetlands  again and had a walk around the ponds and gardens. By the looks of things foundations are being made for a  small footbridge over to the largest of the islands. Sadly I did not have my camera with me but if it’s not too hot we may go down again  in a day or so. I have yet to take him down to the beach and introduce him to the water. It’s an interesting area – a good defined path round the gardens and lakes,  human  drinking fountains and two dog drinking fountains, a play area for children, a good grassed area for  ball sports and a good barbecue area,  with a standing covered pergola. There is no permanent cafe but the temporary one can make hot-dogs and coffee. There are also male and female rest areas.

Yesterday – Tuesday – I drove from the wetlands to the beach and introduced Benji to the sea. After parking the car I took off

The end of the road
The end of the road

my sneakers and walked down the sand and into the water and he followed after me and the two of us happily splashed  our way along the shore. He was quite content and seemed to enjoy the experience. Certainly today (Wednesday) is a bit warmer but I think we will go back down tonight and have another paddle – probably followed by a hot-dog and a coffee. A pleasant way to end the year – and anything else.


Computers and Bushfires

Hmm.. As I suspected my BSL was  much higher than it should be. I got a lecture about health and chocolate so he upped my medication to give the insulin a better chance of controlling things.

The new Office Suite
The new Office Suite

That’s how it will be for the next six weeks then back again to ensure that I have behaved and the medication is doing its job. Provided both issues are  in sync I can drop back to maintenance level.   Finally, I have a full email system back in action. I  bit the bullet and installed Office 365. Cost me the office 2016 that was already installed, but there you are, if I wanted Outlook and a mail system, it had to be done. Everything seems to be up and running up to a point – the point being the recreation of my address book, which I will do tonight.

You load 365 and what do you get

An Office Suite and deeper in debt

Oh St. Peter  don’t you call me

I can’t log off

I owe my soul to Microsoft

Ok, being silly but all is done and everything is up and running again, so I no longer have any excuses. Hopefully this new system will stabilise everything and I wont have the problems I had in the past – like mail vanishing into cyberspace.

The Vet is closed down until  Monday 4th January.  If we do have any problems there is another Vet in town that we could go to, but I always think that is fraught with danger in that once you go

Never doubted it Mr. Vader - Sir.....
Never doubted it Mr. Vader – Sir…..

there you might not come back. Mustafa has been closed since 11th   December. I went up to see the Grooms at Fussy Dogs and explained that Benji is a rescue dog and I have no idea how he would react around other dogs – I can only go by how he reacts around me and the family. She said she would accept him and see how he went. I took him up yesterday and, well,  chuffed ( means really proud/happy)  just about says it all and he related well to the other dogs. The girls were quite fond of him and said he was a  lovely pup easy to work with.

We had Christmas Dinner at my younger son’s place and all the family were there. It was a great day and I allowed myself one small glass of wine – since I was driving. Don’t like Coke-Cola much so drank lots of iced water. It was a long, hot,  day and by the time I got home I could barely keep my eyes open. West to the Watchnight Service, then home then up at 5:30  mainly  because someone  felt that since it was light it was time  for walking – so we did.  I am still having problems with the Victorian Registration people and I still have not received any paperwork from them with regard to Benji. However, I have been in to see our Council and  I will fill in the forms for them and for the Victorian Registration people and they will deal with it. In the meantime I need a Statutory  Declaration signed by a J.P. and  they will register the Benji with a note of his registration re the  address on his microchip. If no success,  we may have to think about a second Microchip.

Just thought I would mention that it has always been our tradition that the Christmas Offering is a  Retiring Offering, people decide to leave something or not. We did announce that the retiring offering this year would go to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and a respectable amount was handed over to the RFDS Treasurer.

A devastating fire along the Great Ocean Road has caused widespread damage with over 110 homes destroyed. A difficult area to get into and a major tourist attraction. I have only traveled a short distance along the GOR when I was in Drysdale and it is a beautiful area. This main fire and some other fires are still burning in Victoria but New South Wales and Victoria are working together on  containing them. There are over 500 firefighters trying to control the major fire on the Great Ocean Road I think this is going to be a difficult  fire season.

Funeral, Legend, Temperatures

The new Office Suite
The new Office Suite

It is like an old worn record that everyone is tired of hearing – I still have a limited mail service. At the moment I am using my ISP web mail which is very limited in what I can do. I  installed MS Office 2016 which did not have Outlook. So I asked the local computer centre technician if Outlook 2013 would be compatible and work with Office 2016. I was assured that it would. It did not! Wouldn’t even look at it. We tried a number of solutions but none of them worked and I am reluctant to download Outlook again because of the last  problem. So I am still without full mail and will probably be forced into doing what Microsoft wants us all to do – not buy a program  outright any-more, but rather take out a subscription, pay a fee either monthly or yearly – Office 365 – you pays your cash, download the full office suite, then 365 days later – you pays an annual fee.

I have a funeral tomorrow – George was a soldier in the Royal Engineers, was with the 8th Army in North Africa, Egypt, El Alamein, then saw service in Italy where he was wounded. Since there was only one male member of the family,  three people from the church were asked to act as Pall Bearers. I was asked to be one. For me it was a privilege  and I felt that I was carrying someone from this world into history and legend. And, of course, he would have been familiar with another group  that200px-Royal_Engineers_badge have also passed into history  – Ali Baba Moreshead and his 20,000 thieves  ( Major General Leslie Moreshead and the 9th Australian Division.) who also fought at El Alamein. George was 94 this year. There also members of the RSL – Returned Servicemen’s League –  the President who called everyone to  “Stand Fast” then recited the  Ode, followed by the Bugler playing the  Last Post, a minute’s silence and the Stand Easy.  For the general student – well in SA anyway –  anything beyond Afghanistan is  history – heck anything beyond the sms message of an hour ago is pretty much history.

There is a new fire burning in Victoria that is causing some  concern as well as one in Tasmania. I think the one in Victoria might be around the Fozziemum area so I hope everything is ok there. We have had  mid 40c temperatures for much of the week , which topped out here at 45.8c and again fairly dry ( a few spots) lightening strikes. This is a new record for us since our highest temperature on record was 44.6c Today (Sunday) the temperature dropped down to 32c but very humid. Spots of rain about the place – light shower – and I mean light – here or there is not really helping much. I have been getting up early in the morning to take Benji for his morning walk. Late at night – after the sun has gone – we go out for our evening walk.

It’s been a year since I had the minor heart concern and the Cardioversion  to set everything to rights. Last week I went for some tests and for my trouble I have been called to the surgery to discuss the results with the doctor. As I said to a good friend I am feeling really great but I dare say the doctor will soon put a stop to that. Although it could simply be that my BSL is up – which is fair enough since I am naughty at times and I do like chocolate   :o)

Home and Away

Taken by my son last year
Taken by my son last year

France,  and Paris in particular, are recovering from the recent atrocities inflicted on that beautiful city and people are returning to normal life and revisiting the places they once felt safe in. One restaurant owner said that all traces of the  damage had been erased and the place repainted and customers, albeit slowly, are coming back. My son  spent last year touring Europe from Vienna to Casablanca spending the longest time of his tour  in Paris. He greatly enjoyed wandering the

The Tomb of Napoleon ( son's Photograph)
The Tomb of Napoleon ( son’s photograph)

streets of Paris, paying his respects to the  Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe and then paying My respects to the Emperor Napoleon. John  liked Paris a lot and was greatly saddened by the damage inflicted on her. Oddly enough , and I apologise to any Italians, he didn’t like Rome at all. Some of the photographs in parts of Europe that I use were sent to me by my son

Been a tad on the warm side this week with temperatures hoovering around 40c. Cooler today – only 38c – but a day of extreme fire danger since high winds and possibly dry lightening strikes are forecast. However, I think there is a cool change forecast for late Monday or early Tuesday.

Our Moderator and his wife visited us yesterday (Sunday) conducted the Service and joined us for Christmas Lunch afterwards. We had been criticized by some  for the money we spent on the installation of two reverse-cycle air-conditioners, but at 41c, there was not a single adverse comment in sight – a very pleasant lunch in a pleasantly cool hall. Of course, safe to say that the majority voted in favour of the  air-conditioners, but the dissenters were very vocal, however,  fact is that without these air-conditioners  the hall would have been much too hot and uncomfortable to spend any length of time in, let alone have the whole of the congregation sit down to lunch.

The expected cool change came in a little earlier than expected and there was widespread lightening strikes across the State – we even had some rain. However, we were not too bad but parts of the lower state are without power and will be for some days. We have our own power station here – Northern Areas Power Station ( NAPS) – but this is a coal fired station which is coming off line


during 2016. From then on we will be part of the main system and whatever power failures they get, we will probably get too.

The good aspect to all of this is that Benji never missed a beat. The noise of the thunder and the rain – such as it was – didn’t seem to bother him in the least. It didn’t last long at all.  Herself always felt really sorry for Chienne because the noise so severely affected her and there was not a lot we could do other than the Vet

Chienne and The Man
Chienne and The Man

medication to try and calm her down. We did buy her a Thundershirt, but it didn’t work for her. It’s cleaned and packed away since Benji has no need of it. I have also been trying to give away one of the dog houses but no one seems to want it and BJ has no need of two. Actually we did have three but I dismantled one and stored it in the garage – will probably do the same with the other one.

Annabell and Benji get along well, so much so that at lunch she becomes his BFF – I get ignored because he really doesn’t like my diet  food – I guess he figures he’s a dog not a rabbit.  Benji is still not registered yet. I have written to the Canine Animal Register in Victoria and they still have not sent me his Registration and Microchip papers yet. It is now ten days since they informed me that the papers would go into the post that very day, and I  believe that either this was a falsehood or there has been a mail holdup by highwaymen on the Cobb & Co Stagecoach ( Australian Wells Fargo)  because using a stagecoach is the only way a letter could take ten days to come from Melbourne. Why don’t I register him here anyway?? I cannot because his microchip  still lists his previous owner and if anything happened here and he  went wandering I would have difficulty  getting him back because he would be shipped off to Victoria and I have no proof that he is my dog, so I need these papers.

Fires, Funerals and Scammers

One view of the fire front ( Not my picture)
One view of the fire front ( Not my picture)

The fire burning out of control in SA has a fire perimeter of some 240 klm. Fortunately it is well away from us, but even so it was a dangerous and deadly fire. Two people are confirmed dead, one is still missing and  many people injured. The property losses are high and the  livestock losses have been very heavy.  We had fire crews come over from New South Wales and Victoria to help bring the fire under control. The high winds didn’t help. I know, driving back from Adelaide  last Wednesday, the wind was fairly strong and pushed the car about a bit, which made the driving a bit tiring.

I was only just home, had a coffee and Annabell told me that the husband of one of our friends died suddenly.  Annabell suggested that I get changed and go visit, so that’s how I spent my afternoon.  Poor Benji -daddy  just got in and now he’s gone again.  Everything has gone to the Coroner in Adelaide and  all she has to to do now is wait until the Coroner makes his/her decision and hands down his/her report. Then the family can make arrangements for the funeral – which they hope will be next week sometime – in Adelaide.

After talking with herself I decided to  take the coach to Adelaide for the funeral.  It means that I can go down Wednesday morning, go the funeral and be home on Wednesday night.  Tell you whatbells – the “best laid plans” thing is fairly accurate. I was planning not to be  away again until February at least,  but life has a way of upsetting plans.  There are reports that the lowest of the low have been at work in the fire devastated  areas. By “Lowest of the low” I refer to the trash known as looters. There have been reports of looters raiding the damaged property that had to be evacuated in haste leaving everything behind. I’m sure I read somewhere that we used to shoot looters. Honestly, I don’t know what is more devastating, to lose your house and everything in a major fire, or to come back and find the house intact, but broken into and your valuables stolen by looters.

My mail system is still down and although I am getting some limited mail through the browser, it’s not ideal. My son is coming over tonight and we will download and install a new mail program, so by the end of the day we should have everything up and running. I have stripped most of the MS programs from the old machine but I have kept it active because my photograph programs are in there and  the difficulty of downloading and installing them again is not really  worth the trouble. Better to leave them where they are.

To be cheated (scammed) gives one a sick and empty feeling and, unfortunately that’s what has happened. I thought the  site I was using to download Microsoft Programs was a genuine site – it

Would it were so easy.
Would it were so easy.

even has a Google Certificate – but it was not and not only did I not get the program, I lost the cash I paid for it. Not a happy person since my bank said they could not block or stop the payment since I had paid  voluntarily and there was nothing they could do except advise me to open a paper trail by writing to them and then, if there is no response or no program forthcoming, I can, in the fullness of time, open a legal dispute claim and attempt to get my money back. And that, it seems to me, is how they succeed with what they are doing – it’s a long and expensive procedure so people just either don’t go through with it, or never start. So from that, you can understand that my email system is still not working correctly. The site, by the way – and to all intents and purposes, it is a sponsored site by Google – is still up and running and I have been advised not to name it as this could create legal concerns.