Getting out and Walking.

This is our "Back Yard"
This is our “Back Yard”

Benji has had a good day. He had not one, but two good walks today.   We went down to the Wetlands and had a good walk  around the main pond. We even used the new bridge. I brought him back and had some supper and then went out for a walk around the block – not as good as our  original walk, but  a decent start. All in about 5.5 klms. At the start of next week I hope to feel good enough to be able to go back to our morning walk – probably not the full walk yet but we will build back up to the 10 klms per day we were doing before the knee problems.

The weather has been clearing up and the temperature tomorrow will be a nice 34c. Couple of days like that and the  rainstorms will be forgotten. Sadly it wont last at the moment but it will start to do so as the season wears on. I should be able to get some work done in the garden for a  change.  This last week has been a sad and horrific week for news. First there was the  disaster that killed four people at Dreamworld in a horrific accident.  Also in Queensland, a man waiting at a bus stop, got on, threw some inflammable liquid on the driver and set him alight, then sat down on the seat at the bus stop and watched. Others helped to get passengers off the bus. When the police and fire truck arrived the man was still sitting on the seat and still watching. It has been reported that he has a criminal record and has mental health issues. The driver died.   Here in

It's been a hard days night :o)
It’s been a hard days night :o)

South Australia there is concern regarding the number of home detentions that judges are handing out –  car driver kills three people, judge rules it was not careless driving but simply a moment of inattention  that caused the head on collision, so he gets home detention –  a whole five months.  It’s even more of a joke because there are not enough people to run the system and monitor home detainees  so you might as well tell them to just go and sin no more and try  to be a good citizen – “and what’s that – you need your license because your brother-in-law is an alcoholic and needs you to run him to the bottle shop, well that’s very community minded and I believe we can grant that for you.” Also in SA the Building Company Collapse that has left over 200 houses in limbo, has debts of quite a few millions. And on the subject of millions there is now an investigation to determine whether the Arrium board were trading whilst the company was insolvent. But buyers are now lining up so we might have a sale before Christmas and  a hope that this will bring some stability to the town.

Saturday: After yesterday I decided that I had put this off long enough so rather than to wait and see how I feel next week, I got up, got dressed and took Benji out for his morning walk at 6:30 am. It was not a long walk but it was a start and each day I will go a little further until I get back to our full route again. He lay there watching me and as soon as I lifted the track suit, he was up and at my side all ready to go. We did part of the old route and he got to check the mail, so he was quite happy. It was warm as predicted but the wind kept the temperature down and it was still a coolish wind.  We did much the same as we did yesterday about 5.7 klms , so we are about halfway there. I am quite happy with my  reduced route for the time being.


Two days without rain – Joy!

We are somewhere over there.
We are somewhere over there.

In court this week, a teenager admitted that he had deliberately started fires in South Australia that could have had  catastrophic consequences. Judge was pleased that the lad took responsibility for his actions. His little arson adventure ( acting out his frustration with life)  caused the loss of bales of hay, damage to farm equipment and the destruction of a farm shed – all in – about $80,000 damage. But the judge said that she believed that he understood that he had been a naughty boy, and that he was really sorry – so she suspended his sentence.  You have to love South Australian  Justice.

I didn’t know the gun was loaded

And I’m so sorry my friend

I didn’t know the gun was loaded

And I’ll never, never do it again.
This last week has been Whyalla Pride Week, a week when people organize and take part in activities that showcase the town .  Saturday was the Day in the Park and the RFDS  Barbecue was

Part of the RFDS (Local) fundraising
Part of the RFDS (Local) fundraising

there. I was not on duty but  my son was and I did go down and see what was happening and have a slow wander around. I stayed for a little while and the weather was  not too bad – warm, sunny with a bit of a cool breeze. Just nice I thought for a walk along the beach with Benji, so I went home and picked him up. We drove to the beach, parked the car and I got out. It was freezing cold. The “light wind”of  Civic Park was blowing a bit harder here – and it was cold, coming in off the Gulf. I lasted about ten minutes without a jacket of any kind then gave up and got back into the car, strapped Benji back in and headed up the hill, sat in the car for a few moments before heading back home. Last night, suitably clothed, I took him out for a walk. I am still not good enough to do our full walk but I did not too badly and achieved 8697 steps – which is about 4.7klms. I have decided – depending on the weather – that I will take him walking in the mornings and try to get back to our walking routine. I think it will take me a bit to get back to our day routine. However, I did (confess time) become somewhat of a slave to the Fitbit and I have decided I will use it as a guide – not let it dominate things.


A day in the park
A day in the park

We have heard from Sooah and it is unlikely that she will be back in October as she had hoped. She and her husband now have to find a sponsor and employment. Given that South Australia has the highest unemployment rate in Australia and things have deteriorated since she left in late April, this could prove to be a problem. Only this week a major  Building Company ( Homestead Homes/ Ashford Homes in Victoria) has collapsed leaving thousands in strife – contractors, people who are now left with partly constructed houses and young couples who paid a deposit have lost everything. Partly constructed houses are covered by insurance, but builders are very reluctant to take over another builders work. Why?? Well as one builder explained, ” I have  to guarantee the work when I hand it over and I do not know what is underneath the concrete, I do not know what is behind the walls, my people didn’t do the plumbing or the electrical work – it’s all very messy.” There are approximately 207  properties involved.

However, Sooah and her husband will not be back this year so Annabell and I are going to trap the feral WaWa, get her into a crate and up to the

Spot the WaWa
Spot the WaWa

vet. I  want her examined and I want her measured up for what probably will be a 00 muzzle – not because she is a vicious dog, but we want her to stop attacking Benji. ( she NEEDS a bath and I value my fingers!) Also I want advice on what we can do about this almost constant barking – which is driving Annabell crazy. Benji lives with me and  generally he is with me in my room. He  can’t have the run of the house as he did before because she will attack him.  Yes Benji has turned on her a few times but it’s not made any difference – she just comes right back again. As someone said, Benji is paying the price for my promise. Overall,   the barking and the problems

with Benji aside, the WaWa is a funny, friendly little dog that loves playing with her toys and chasing a ball. I don’t want her to be really curtailed but I need to stop her attacking Benji if she has to stay here for an indefinite period.

Rain,Wind and Lazy Days.

Last Friday I drove down to Adelaide in lovely weather. It was an excellent day for a drive and I enjoyed the journey. Well I did until  I reached the crossroads of the State ( The Tin Man) and discovered that I had left my  laptop bag at home – so an exciting two days ahead – no laptop, no modem and – more importantly – no diary. That’s the first time I have ever done that.  I completed the task I had to do at Elizabeth, then continued on to Adelaide and met up with a young friend who is currently continuing her studies at Adelaide .  We spent a few hours drinking coffee and catching up with each other’s news. I walked her back to the railway station then caught the tram to the Central Market.  My son had asked me to look at some computer things for him  and the computer store was  halfway down Franklin Street. The  walk to this store was something I had done many times before, but on this occasion it was a nightmare and I was in pain not long after I got off the tram. When I finally got to the computer place it was to find that the  store was closed down and empty – which – to say the very least – was a tad annoying! Anyway, got back to Rundle Mall,  rescued the car from the  Car Park and drove to the hotel. Once I unloaded the car I was in no mood for anything other than getting  my feet up.  I did buy a small notebook  so I was able to keep a note of things for my diary. I spent most of the evening propped up on the hotel bed with a good book.

The Saturday meeting didn’t last long since there was only one item on the agenda – what used to be called an “in hunc effectum” meeting before the use of  outdated Latin phrases was discontinued about four years ago.  Anyway, by 11:30 I was on the road home and called Annabell to let her know I was in Port Wakefield. The drive home was something else. Given the poor state of the highway, depressions, potholes, poorly repaired sections and a high wind into the bargain, it was not the relaxing drive it was the previous day. The Port Wakefield Road is part of Inter-State National Highway 1 and I believe the responsibility of the Federal Government.   I arrived in Port Augusta tired. I did some shopping there, had coffee and fuel and headed  out to the last 80 klms.

Since coming home the weather has been wild and windy and to round off a bad weather week,  it  has been raining heavily all night. There was an interesting report on the news the other night about the consequences of all this rain – things  are growing like wildfire – I know that by the continual battle against the weeds that we are all having –  but already the pollen count has been very high and starting to foreshadow what  could be the worst hay fever season on record.  I spend a small fortune on weed killer and by and large the weeds laugh at it,  have a ball and invite their friends to the party.

It now be official!  I went to my diet people this morning and was weighed at 82.7 kilo.Not good but a lot better that I had expected and a loss since I was last weighed a few weeks ago. I not only want to get back to where I was before the operation but to push further to about 77 kilo. I shall be happy then.  Anyway this bad weather has not been “all bad”and not going out at night means that my Associate (Benji) and I  had a few lazy evenings plonked on the bed, propped up watching season 6 of Downton Abbey.  I had a look and season 10 of Lewis is not out on DVD yet. I have all the others.

Sands of Time..

Me in my Daddy's car
Me in my Daddy’s car
A Gazinia by my early walk
A Gazinia by my early walk

Yes it did rain and we did have some high wind but not quite as bad as was expected. However, it looks like  two good driving days to and from Adelaide this weekend. I have had to explain to people why an “Urgent Meeting” takes two weeks to organize. Firstly the rule states that seven days notice must be given and secondly people have to gather not only from across the State but also the representatives from  Queensland. The actual meeting is less than a month away but this is business that is too important to be left to that meeting therefore  this extraordinary meeting had been called. However, that’s good because it gives me a day in Adelaide to do any shopping that either I want or Annabell wants. The meetings are always on a Saturday and always at 9 am so in order to be there on time, I need to be down a day before, which gives me the day in  the city to do what I want.  People generally don’t understand that these rules and regulations were written  mainly for a European style urban organization with large gatherings of people – suited to the United States, Canada and the Eastern States of Australia. It falls apart somewhat when you have a small and scattered population such as we have in South Australia

Saturday was a glorious day and I was down at the beach as I said. The  day was organised by the director of the Whyalla Players and was a promotion for the play (Musical) Mary Poppins. People were just asked to be at the foreshore about 1pm and bring an umbrella with them. I

Umbrella people
Umbrella people

enjoyed the photo shoot but I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of people.  Yes there were enough people to make it worthwhile, but the lack of numbers saddened me, considering the  outstanding success of their last production “The Phantom of the Opera” They have been rehearsing  for about seven months now and it’s a big production with many singers. After the photo shoot, which was covered by the local paper and the area television station, I drove up Hummock Hill and took some photographs of the area, including one of part of Arrium. The State-wide blackout and the loss of power has cost Arrium dearly. The employees have taken a further 10% pay cut so it’s getting close to the bone and there is not a lot more the workforce can accommodate and still survive. The reason that this was accepted was that  it’s better to take a hit and try to manage with less, than try to manage with nothing at all.

I am just a tad frustrated in that this knee seems to be taking a lot longer to recover than I had anticipated.  It is still slightly swollen and I still have some residual pain at times and I am not the most patient of people. I am getting out and about and I will be driving to Adelaide, but I have come to accept that during my day in Rundle Mall, I think I may have to have that infernal cane with me and do my best to cope with this niggling pain.  Grrr ………

The Echocardiograph  was good and everything seems to be in order. I am told that there is a very tiny leak in one of the valves , but nothing to be concerned about. I wont be waiting in line for open heart surgery any time soon.

Two weeks after the blackout and power has finally been restored to most of industry – considering the millions lost by Arrium and the Steelmill, it’s small comfort. Even less of a comfort is the fact that not only is South Australia in decline and being run by a government that have no idea what they are doing, it wont take much more to send Whyalla into decline. The state of the economy, a government and organizations that  cannot think of anything further than Bolivar, the uncertainty of Arrium and associated industries and we have a shopping centre that was once promoted as the Largest Regional Shopping Center in South Australia – outside of Adelaide  – that is heading towards a tipping point with close to one third of the shops closed and empty. Now, comes the news that at the end of this month another large business will close its doors – more unemployment and an empty (Large) shop. The business – Radio Rentals. Unlike Dick Smith, RR is not going under, it’s just closing its store here through high rents and lack of business.