Three and a half days – that’s how long I was away – three and a half days. The way Benji reacted you would think I have been away for three and a half years. He went absolutely ballistic – the WaWa wanted to say hello but he charged right at her and knocked her out of the way to get to me. I had to sit on the floor and try to attend to both of them. It took us ages to get Benji to calm down and he ran around the house like a mad thing, and heaven help anyone – including a WaWa – that got in his way. This is the longest I have been away from him and Annabell tells me he was not a happy puppy. Since I came home, he has hardly left my side. Odd thing is that as soon as I go to bed he jumps down from the bed and goes into his own bed and no amount of coaxing will get him back up beside me again – although he does stay on his bed and watch me, which is odd – very.
Generally I have taken Benji with me when I go out – provided I am not going to be too long – and leave the windows partly open and he enjoys the drive. He is not a demonstrative dog so he is not up at the window or sticking his head out, but he just curls up quietly on the seat. I mentioned this to Annabell and her comment was that he’s with his daddy, so he’s quite at peace curled up. However, as the weather gets hotter I can take him out less and less – example was Thursday when the temperature topped 37c. Much too hot to take him out and leave him in the car – even with windows open. Driving is ok – we have the A/C on when we are driving and we did go down to the beach for a walk and some Ice Cream. I am not sure if dogs are allowed Ice Cream, but he enjoys it and I enjoy my Cornetto.
Now that the weather is hotting up I hope to get outside more and get some work done. Sounds strange working in the hotter weather but up here that means very little wind and you can do a lot when there is no wind. I have plans for part of the area and although I have a picture of what it might look like in my head ( that’s a worry!) I just have to wait and see it it works out. I am part of the way into the plan in that I have cleared the area and laid down weed matting and ordered the artificial turf. But then as the poet ( Robert Burns) wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men go aft agley and leave us naught but grief and pain for promised joy” and what all that means is that that’s the end of the hot to warm weather for at least the next ten days, back to rain, wind and cool days until at least early December.
Generally the family all come over here for dinner on a Sunday. It has been this way for years. However this Sunday Andrew called and said that we were to come to his place for a Barbecue. We chatted around while everything was cooking and when we sat down at the table Andrew got the wine, poured a glass for me, poured a glass for John and was going to pour a glass for Patrica (Trish) when he moved the glass away and said quite clearly “no you can’t wine – you’re pregnant”. Talk about dropping a grenade on the table!! Annabell was sitting next to Trish and hugged her, Trishs’ mum just burst into tears, my word but it was an interesting meal – and of course – at the end of the food we got to see the scans over coffee. The baby should be born late May, early June – we think she is about 12 weeks. I never thought this would happen and I told people “That ship has sailed” It seems that there is yet another tide.
The drive to Adelaide and then on to Mount Gambier was completed in beautiful weather; an average of 34c. I spent Thursday in Adelaide, and, as I had promised myself, I visited Miss McGregor at the nursing home. She is in the locked (closed) section so I was escorted in by the Chaplain. I have to confess that I was taken aback by the changes in Mary’s looks. She has lost a lot of weight and she looks different. The voice, however, although
less strong, remains much the same. I am told that her health is good and that although she is confined to bed ( being unable to walk) but also that she takes part in limited activities. I have never had a “conversation”with a dementia (Alzheimer) person before so I was unsure of how to proceed, but I just talked about mutual people we knew and I was pleased that some of the names were familiar to her. I, sadly, was not but I had accepted that from the beginning and felt that it was not really important that she remembered who I was – the important thing is that I know who she was/is. I mentioned one name and she responded by asking how he was. I told her that, sadly, he died last year and she was sad, but a short time later she mentioned his name again and asked how he was. I decided to tell her that he was fine. She mentioned other people who have also passed and I told her but then she mentioned them again and asked how they were and I saw little point in repeating the sadness each time, so I told her they were well. I stayed with her for some time going over the same subjects and talking about the same people and after I left I decided that whenever I am in Adelaide I will make time to go out and visit with her. I wish to make sure that this is not a case of out of sight – out of mind. She deserves better.
A beautiful drive to Mount Gambier – sunny and a warm 34c in Adelaide – not so much in M.G. but still nice. I did what I promised myself I would do and that was to visit some of the wineries of the Limestone Coast – my favourite wine area. I was in no hurry to get to MG so I took my time and ended up with a half dozen bottles of wine from several places – a mixture of Shiraz and Cabernet-Sauvignon, with one Vintage Cab-Sav. However, I was still able to spend time at the Blue Lake, The Umperston Sinkhole Garden and the Sailing ship, The Lady Nelson. Although no one is allowed on the ship, I was amazed that something this small could make the long voyage from England to Australia. I would have gone to the Caves but after the stairs at Umpherston, I gave the caves a miss. The stairs at Umpherston were enough torture on my knee for one day, although I found the gardens quite impressive and I would have liked to go back later in the evening and perhaps feed the possums that live there at night, but I didn’t for a number of reasons.
Saturday was very different – cold, wet and miserable and the meeting dragged on well into the afternoon. That being so it was after 4pm before I got away from MG and I believed that I could make the descent from Crafers into Adelaide before the failing of the light. I did not count on there being heavy rain storms and dark clouds so, in essence I did two of my most favoured things in all the world – the descent from Crafers in the dark and in the middle of a rain-storm- what joy! I made it through town and headed to Bolivar – in the rain – to find that it was closed (irritating) so I pushed on through to Dublin only to find that they have a very nice hotel for which they have lost their accommodation license. I decided to drive back to Two Wells and stayed there overnight. Didn’t get much sleep because the rain belted down and the wind was pretty fierce and having a balcony outside my room didn’t really help. I know, I just like complaining!!
Sunday I got up early, had a quick wash ( no shower – I’m a mucky pup) and hit the road as soon as it got light. It looked good, dull, overcast but dry. That didn’t last long and I had only passed Dublin (again) when the rain started. Much of the time it was quite heavy but occasionally I was going through a bounce off the road kind of rain. And the really fun part was that the
corrugations and depressions on the Port Wakefield were all filled with water, which made for an exciting drive. Fortunately there was no other traffic on the road and I was the only idiot out in this inclement weather, which was just as well because I skidded twice. This weather pattern kept up until I passed Crystal Brook about 200 kms from home. After that, clear skies, dry road, sun and blue skies even. I started to wonder if the previous 200+ kms were just a bad dream. I made good time after that and arrived back at the church just as the urn was boiling and people were having coffee and biscuits. A good way to end the trip. Oh yes, and the River Murray is looking good and I did make a stop at Tailem Bend on the way through – not on the way back.
The weather today was a warm 34c. I took the Benji on a small road trip of about 100+ lkms – wandering around the region and ending up having Ice-Cream at the Foreshore Cafe. He had a small tub I had a Cornetto. Well, we sat outside since we couldn’t go inside in the
cool but that aside, we enjoyed our Ice Cream and it would have been much easier if a certain someone hadn’t kept trying to eat the wooden
spoon as well as the Ice Cream. My predictions are going to prove right and already on the first warm to hot day and the flies were ferocious. We finished our Ice Cream and were glad to get back into the car again . A few flies in the car but they went as soon as we started driving with both windows open. Inovation… I brought water but I forgot a container for Benji. Well I did what they did in “The Lighthorsemen”I took off the Akubra and emptied the water into my hat and he was quite happy to drink it from there. – Yes, push in the crown to make a bowl and it can hold water.
Just shows how quickly things change – or how media get things wrong – not really sure which at the moment. Yesterday it was announced that at the meeting of shareholders it was agreed that Arrium would be sold as a whole company. Now, this morning it was announced that Molly-Cop is to be sold off to an American company for $1.6 Billion in a separate deal with the funds being used to pay back creditors – about $0.50 in the Dollar. But this is the last I will mention this because it’s all a mess and things change from day to day. . However, Molly-Cop is being sold (now sold) to American Industrial Partners – but here again there is confusion in that the “Australian”says $1.2 billion while the Arrium Administrator says $1.6 Billion. But there is still a group of shareholders that are opposed to Arrium being sold off now that the Iron Ore Prices and the Steel Prices have risen. They want the company to be handed back to the shareholders and that the company continue to trade and thus trade itself back into profit again. Yes well, As they said in “The Castle” – “Tell him he’s Dreaming”. The idea that we go back to trading and perhaps in a few years go through all this trauma again ( probable) is not really appealing. The idea, I thought, is to mitigate the pain, not increase its severity whilst prolonging it. But as I said, last mention.
Thursday and I head off to Mount Gambier. First stop is Adelaide where I will stay overnight before heading off to M.G. on Friday morning. After the warm and sunny 34c the temperature crashed and it has been cold for the last couple of days. This morning, when I took BJ out I put on a heavy jacket as protection from a cold, biting wind. In our walk there is a section of ground that I walk across to take me from one area to another. I do not know why, but when we went onto that ground, about 15+ feet – Benji goes bottom up, head down, digs in his paws and will not move. It could be the yellow, stubble grass(?) that hurts his paws, but he will not move and no amount of talking or pulling will make him move. Well that’s the way I want to go so I do what any daddy would do, I lift him up and carry him across. Well, you know what they say – He aint heavy, he’s my brother” o:) That apart, it’s a good walk.
The interesting news of this week is that the Electronic Patient Administration System, crashed across most of the major hospitals in the State. Fortunately no patients were at risk during the 10 hour crash ( this time) but doctors and medical staff have been complaining about the system (American) that’it’s clunky. chunky and slow. Not only that but in the new, much vaunted, third most expensive building on the planet, plagued by constant delays. running over budget, New Royal Adelaide Hospital, the builders and designers never included any provisions for storing patient records – all of which will have to be stored off-site. Ah, the joys of living in South Australia.
Tuesday am: Got up, dressed and out with the Benji at 6am this morning. We have not gone back to the old route and are in the process of planning a new one. The reason I didn’t do this before was simply that with the old route I had become a slave to the fitbit and was more concerned with steps than enjoying a walk with my dog. I am not going to let that happen again – so a new start and a new route and an acceptance that the 10 klms a day was forced and sometimes I was taking the dog out at 10:30 at night because I needed to make up distance and I knew where to go and what part of the route to take that would allow me the steps needed to achieve the goal. A thoughtful gift from my younger son had a sting in the tail. But the thing is that there are not so many different places to go walking here and generally if I am not going to the beach, wetlands or the gardens I go walking in the dark around the area. The dark because it’s quiet and because there are no flies. I hate flies and living in outback South Australia is not much of a help in that regard :o) With all this rain and flooding I think it’s going to be a bad season. The only recent change was the drive out to the Wild Dog Hill Conservation Park. Not something I want to do on a regular basis because the track is so appallingly bad in places.
I had to smile!! A lady from Chattanooga – on another site- was complaining about a high electricity bill. It was $300. There are people here in South Australia who dream of a $300 electricity bill – almost salivate really! The highest electricity costs in Australia and among the highest in the developed world. Some of the largest companies in the State considered closing down for a while to try and combat the soaring electricity costs in South Australia. Only last week one of the Electricity Providers wanted to increase costs and the application was turned down by the regulator. The provider is now appealing against the regulator’s decision.
There are, as far as we are aware, three interests in Arrium – one from Japan, one from Korea and and a British company and as far as we can make out, the British company is the front runner. The Administrator is hoping that the company will have a new owner by Christmas. My one concern – and the concern of many – is that the unions don’t screw things up by doing
something silly. For this to succeed we need everyone working together. I don’t know if it’s just me ( probably is) but I get the impression that we are being sidelined. In the past when the media wanted a quote from a Mayor in the region it was to Mayor Jim Pollock they came for a comment. These days they look to the Mayor of Port Augusta for a comment. I stated in a post some time ago that I didn’t want the current Mayor to be elected. I felt we needed a strong, independent voice, not a party hack who will fall into line with whatever North Terrace decrees. Jim Pollock looked like a Mayor and inspired confidence – this one does neither. The sideline is subtle, but I think it’s there.
Amazing how quickly things change. In the news last night the British Steel Company was the “Front Runner” for buying Arrium, now, today less than 24 hours later the South Korean Steel Company is being “courted” and an Arrium Delegation is in South Korea.
Had a serious panic this morning. I was working on the front door installing a new security door and left to go fetch another tool. And yes, I did leave the door open. A short while later I happened to notice that there was no WaWa. I searched the house for her and could not find her. I searched all around the grounds – nope. Locked up and went wandering around the area looking for the lost WaWa. Came back to get the car and go further. Decided to search the house again – nothing in my room – nothing in the other rooms – went into Annabell’s room – nothing…….wait, was that a movement?? Lifted the cover and there halfway under the bed was the WaWa. You have no idea how relieved I was to see her. I complain about her but I never want any harm to come to her. I was just so glad she was safe and well – little pipsqueak bully that she is!!
I called an old school friend the other day and asked him what he was up to. He replied that he is working
on “Aqua-thermal treatment of ceramics, aluminium and steel under a constrained environment.
I have to say I was very impressed!!
However, on further inquiring, I learned that he was washing dishes with hot water —– under his wife’s supervision.