Fangorn, Road Trip and Benji

Conducting a funeral is never fun, conducting two in one week is even less fun, particularly when one (Today / Friday) is conducted in a 43c heat. The funeral on Monday saw the church packed to capacity but the funeral today was even bigger and we had to  erect a gazebo outside and have extra chairs in the shade. There was more than 170 there because that’s the number of Orders of Service ( O.O.S.) I  printed and the ladies distributing them at the door ran out and I couldn’t print others because the church photocopier can’t process A5 paper and that part of the O.O.S. I printed at home from the computer. Even with the two reverse cycle Daikin Air- Conditioners running at their coldest, it was still sticky in the church – so many people. Lunch in the hall was  relatively easy and the two big A/C units there did keep the temperature at reasonable levels, given the number of people  Anyway, that’s it and although  we told our friends in the Funeral Service that it was nice to see them, we really hope not to see them for a little while longer than four days.

Going out - Friday
Going out – Friday

When I came back from Mount Gambier I really didn’t have time to do much, subsequently I didn’t download the photographs from the camera. I

Coming Home - Saturday
Coming Home – Saturday

didn’t go to the blue lake or the sinkhole gardens this time but I have heard that the possums are back in residence again at the sinkhole gardens so I will get down there next time – which should be in May. As I said, the weather was odd so you will see that reflected in the photographs of the River Murray – both sets taken at the same spot  – one Friday – one Saturday – and there is quite a difference between the two. The Friday is a bit misleading since that was really the residue of the Thursday night storm and by the time I reached the Forest of Fangorn – well, Penola Forest – but it looks like Fangorn!-  the weather had, surprisingly,  cleared and it turned out a really nice day. Driving through the forest area is always interesting – just watch out for the big timber trucks. Although trucks are not all I watch out for – if I ever see a person in a long  robe, a pointed hat and a white beard, I’m outta there!  By the time I reached  Naracourte the weather was really nice and driving was  enjoyable.

Part of the Forest of Fangorn - well, Penola anyway
Part of the Forest of Fangorn – well, Penola anyway

The drive alongside the forests is always very quiet and considering the amount of traffic i.e. heavy  timber trucks,  the roads are in very good condition. I didn’t have time to go to the Winery this trip since I had to be in Mount Gambier for Friday afternoon and didn’t have a lot of time. I rather like the wines of the Limestone Coast. Most are small  wineries and not readily available in the larger regional shops – or, indeed, in many of the shops outside the region. I like  Browns of  Padthaway T. Trellis Shiraz, which is a small family estate, but I like most of the wines of this region more so than the Adelaide Hills or the Barossa. I also like the wines from the Margaret River in Western Australia. If  you go into any of the  bottle

Saturday - return
Saturday – return

shops most of the stock  available  is from the larger, well known wineries and little of other regions.

The weather, as seems to be usual at the moment, is very changeable. I took Benji out for a drive this afternoon and we went out to Point Lowly – about 25 miles from here. As Annabell often says, he doesn’t care where you go, he’s with his daddy and that’s all that really matters to him.  I assume he enjoyed the drive – he settled down on the front seat and lay there all the time. He never seems to want to sit up or stick his head out of the window, just  sits quiet and peaceful.    The weather  out at Lowly was a bit cooler and a bit more windy and some of the photographs I  scrapped because they were out of focus – or fuzzy. It’s like a lot of driving

Start of a short road trip
Start of a short road trip

around the area – not a lot to see.



Funerals and Ships of State

Driving to Mount Gambier was “interesting”since I  at one point I had the A/C on because the outside temperature was 41C and at another I had the heating on at low because it was chucking it down and a bit on the cold side. In fact I sat at the table in front of the window at my hotel and watched a major storm break over Adelaide – 35,000 homes and businesses lost power – again. First time I have stayed in this Motel since this was  the period of the Major Bike Race “Tour Down Under” and everything was booked. Normally, I would not have been traveling to Mount Gambier at this time but this was a Special Meeting. It was a hectic four days, alternating between very hot to cool to cold to very hot and the demister on because the windscreen was fogging up. It was a strange and tiring five days. And no the five was not a mistake. I arrived home on Sunday afternoon to be told that one of our elderly ladies had died and her funeral was at the church on Monday 10am. It was a fairly big funeral and the church was filled to capacity. Poor Benji, I abandoned him for four days and I took off again at 9am Monday and didn’t get home until early afternoon, then back out again to take Annabell shopping. By late afternoon I was back home and able to sit down with him – me with my feet up and him on my lap. We did not go out on Monday evening for our walk simply because the forecast rain that had held off all day came pouring down. We had heavy rain all night.

This morning (Tuesday) I took BJ out and there are dark and heavy clouds everywhere, and it was really very cool. I had a look at the satellite image and  it looks as if the  large rain band  will go across the top and although we might get a few spots, I think we will miss the bulk of the rain this time. I’ve had people from Queensland wanting to know what Rain Dances we are doing in South Australia, because they could do with some of the wet stuff up there. The week began with a funeral and it will end with a funeral. The  man I mentioned some time ago as having cancer and not expected to be with us  at New Year, was,  and passed yesterday evening. The funeral will be on Friday at 11am, so what was a hectic four days turned into five days and has now turned into  nine days. Tonight I will start to put the order of service together. Presbytery was not popular because I was away and couldn’t do the Order of Service for the funeral on Monday so they had to put something together without me. Isn’t it nice to be missed?  :o)

I have not commented at all on the US Election, the President or the Women’s Marches, nor the comments made by celebrities, however as I am told that this is a global issue and I should “Jump in “to the debate I find that I cannot. Having said that I will contribute this:

In the darkest days of World War Two, when Britain was on its knees and everything looked bleak and dark, the President of the United States,  Franklin Delano Roosevelt,  wrote to Winston Churchill and with the official letter he also included in his own handwriting the following extracts from a poem by  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – “The Building of the Ship” thus my contribution to the debate is to return these words to you.

Sail on, sail on O ship of State
Sail on, O Union strong and great
Humanity, with all its fears
And all the hopes of future years
Is hanging breathless on thy fate.

Sail on nor fear to breast the sea
Our hearts and hopes are all with thee,
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears
Our faith, triumphant oér our fears
Are all with thee – are all with thee.


I think " Somebody" might be a West Highland Terrier fan.       Just saying..................
I think ” Somebody” might be a West Highland Terrier fan.                                                                                                                                                                          Just saying………………

Poems and Promises

I was doing something for Annabell the other day and I came across this short poem by the great Author “Unknown” Most, I suspect, will pass it over but it speaks to me:

I explained it to St. Peter,
I’d rather stay here
Outside the pearly gate.
I won’t be a nuisance,
I won’t even bark, I’ll be very patient and wait,
I’ll be here, chewing on a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be.
I’d miss you so much, if I went in alone.
It wouldn’t be heaven for me.

I  think when it is time and I make the journey I will arrive in a field with many dogs and somehow, I don’t know how, but somehow, I will recognise the barks and voices of my dogs and they will all come to greet me. I will sit myself  down on the celestial field and  be overwhelmed by the love and affection  between me and my dogs – long parted friends back together again.  I will walk with the dogs towards a great gate at the far end of the field and as I approach it, it will open. I will ask the Gatekeeper, “am I really allowed in here?”and he will answer, “Yes, of course – your dogs have vouched for you”.

Me to me – “Do you think this means something?”

Me back to me “Yes – it means you’re cracking up!”

I think it must be something to do with the excitement of Yogi going home today. I am not unhappy about that but at the same time, not greatly overjoyed.  This last month we have hardly

Eyre Highway west of town.
Eyre Highway west of town.

noticed he has been there – if you forget for a moment his bouncing on me at 4am and the chaos trying to feed all three dogs at the same time – he has been no bother. I have to say though, he is petrified of the WaWa and he only leaves my room when we go out, or he goes out and at dinner time. I think he will be glad to go home and be on his own again with his own peeps. And now that he has gone home, it will be quiet for a little while – well at least until the WaWa starts up again at some shadow.

Benji and I went for a walk around the Wetlands then went out for a drive. Like  most dogs, they really don’t care where we drive to as long as they are in the car with mama or dad they are quite happy. Well we drove west,  about 10  miles out of town and I took a few photographs just to show

Another view - west.
Another view – west.

what our surrounding landscape is like and why we have to drive forever to get so someplace that isn’t flat. Victoria has the Grampians – which I have driven through several times when I visited Drysdale  and I suppose I have been through the Blue Mountains – albeit by train. The family were here this evening. I think I did mention that Andrew’s partner was pregnant. Anyway, she had  the 20 week scan and the child is a boy. I was overjoyed at this but I would have been just as overjoyed had the child been a girl. Anyway, it’s summer. How can you tell if it’s really summer? When you have a shower in the morning and it doesn’t matter what tap

The other side is just as empty
The other side is just as empty

(sorry -faucet)  you turn on, they are both hot!

On Sunday afternoon, I decided to do what I had promised after Yogi went home, take the boy down to the beach, have a walk then sit under an umbrella with ice cream. Well it never really happened – although we were at the beach. During our walk along the sand, a white Pit bull  came out of nowhere and attacked us. I was able to get Benji up on my shoulder, but the thing was after him. Fortunately we were close to the  roadway and two teenagers came running out of their car to assist. They used a perfect medium to chase the dog away – they threw sand in its face. They didn’t hit the dog or harm the dog in any way, but it definitely didn’t like handfulls of sand being thrown at it so it took off – no collar, harness – nothing. The boys wanted to make sure that Benji was ok and he was but they stood out on the road until I reached my car and got him and me inside.  There was no real harm done but it was a bit scary – and here’s the thing – there are big notices all along the entire foreshore area that all dogs must be kept under control at all times. There is a fine of $2000.. I don’t know – perhaps some people seem to think the rules don’t apply to them.

Passion and Purpose- the road to take me home.

I have known many people who have  said unkind words and wished them could take them back, but of course, they cannot. I, on the other hand, sometimes say things, or express views  that perhaps say more than I intended to, and this too cannot be undone. I very rarely say unkind things, but I perhaps  open slightly more than I intended to.  Of course, when you are the one doing the writing, this is not too much of a concern because you always have control over what you write and you always have the option of changing what you have written, even after it is posted. However if you are responding to the post of another, you only get one opportunity to make corrections, or alter sentiments or expressed view and the moment you hit “post” that opportunity is lost forever. However, I often think of the story of Solomon and the Ring and I take comfort from that -” Gam Zeh Ya’avor” This too shall pass / Joy and gladness, Sorrow and pain, all things will pass, nothing lasts forever.  Oh I don’t know though — I remember reading an old Egyptian Proverb  “Man fears time. Time fears the Pyramids”

Lovely Day!
Lovely Day!

20170113_074724Last night there were dire warnings about a weather front moving in, which was bringing  high winds and severe rain. Well I took the dogs out last night and the sky, while not the best, was reasonably clear – a bit humid and sticky but otherwise ok, no sign of rain and  only a light breeze. This morning, all was quiet and I got the dogs and myself ready to go out and down it came and it has been raining for the last two hours – no wind to speak of, but lots of rain. I hope the rain does not last all day and that no flights are grounded.  Yogi’s parents are due home today and Yogi goes home tomorrow morning. Really, he has not been a lot of trouble and he and Benji get on well together. He’s a quiet,  lovable thing although I do so wish he would not express this love and affection by bouncing all over me at 4am. Still only one more day. Last feeding time at the Zoo chaos tonight, then he goes home tomorrow. Give them time to get home and settled down and recover and then get the dog back in the morning – provided there are no flight delays because of the weather..It is now 10am and the rain has stopped for the moment, but as I remarked, I don’t think, that despite all this rain, it has not cooled down any and there certainly was no danger from any wind – not even a slight breeze.

Well, the  predicted “Storm of the Decade”kind of fizzled out. The weather Pixies said 60mm of rain and we got about 20mm – Adelaide Hills which they said could be flooded got about 12mm,

Scruffy, the Beautiful
Scruffy, the Beautiful

no wind – barely even a gentle breeze – the difference between a computer program and Mother Nature. Picked up Jim and Faye at the Airport and took them home. They will pick up Yogi tomorrow. I have to remember to remove the spare harness from Yogi after his walk tonight.

jamisonI was so sad to hear about Jamison. Christmas told me and the da Phenny confirmed the sad news. We have lost a lot of  furfriends lately. I think we have to love and look after  those we have whilst they remain with us.  I have been thinking of some things of late and I miss all of my dogs and I have fond memories of them all – some perhaps a little more than others.


Welcome to summer – maybe..

Hmm - Bought Benji a coat - not a success....
Hmm – Bought Benji a coat – not a success….

Saturday and the temperature today is due to be 41c with a cool change later in the afternoon. A severe weather warning was issued by the SA Police with the possibility of an electrical storm and the potential for  lightening strikes setting off fires.  I sometimes believe my dog thinks I  don’t love him anymore. I mean surely if I loved him I would take him out in the car with me – right?  Well,  no!  When it’s 41c outside it is going to be at least 50c in the car and even  with the windows cracked open, if you leave a dog in a car in those temperatures  he/she could go into heat stress and they could die very quickly – but of course you know this. Benji does not understand. He only knows that I am going out and not taking him with me – and I get that pained look that some dogs are very good at. And hardly a month goes by when a person does just that and leaves a dog in a hot car. But it’s not all bad in that people are now becoming more aware of the dangers of leaving a dog in a car on a very hot day and if they see this, they notify authorities – RSPCA or SA Police. Oh and by the way, this is not confined to dogs, people have gone in to shops,

The Foreshore
The Foreshore

and other places,leaving a child in the car and last year, sadly,  several children died.     In essence, if I go out today, and I will – Benji will not be coming with me and I’ll get “The Look” If we had been on our own, we might have gone down to the beach and had a walk in the sea but Yogi is not as well-mannered as Benji and barks at anything that moves. Perhaps after Yogi goes home – in five days – the Benji and I will  drive down to the Foreshore and have an Ice-Cream treat. I think he deserves it – not only does he have a WaWa to contend with, he has also had Yogi for a month. He has a small tub, I have a cornetto  and we sit outside under the shade of an umbrella.

Still Saturday and the temperature peaked at 42c: now the cool change predicted has come charging in with high winds – cooling down fast and some driving rain. We are expecting thunderstorm and possibly lightening  in the late evening. No dog walks and I will have to keep an eye on Yogi – he does not like thunder. Benji and the WaWa seem not to bother too much. Actually as I try to type a certain dog who shall remain nameless is sitting on my lap making life difficult because he thinks  I should be scratching his ears not making a noise on keyboard.  Before summer started and it was still raining – a lot – I bought Benji a waterproof coat. It was not a success. On the subject of not a success – the plants I bought  at the beginning of the week are all dead. I tried to get them established before the heat set in but it still killed them. The rain has gone but there is still a wind and the temperature has

The sky at night - after the rain.
The sky at night – after the rain.

dropped down to 30c a drop of 12 degrees in less than an hour.

Happiness is a fresh-smelling warm blanket! We decided that the blanket on the WaWa bed was a bit grubby looking so at about  8 o’ clock  last night we threw it in the washing machine. Washed and spun, I then took it out to the garage and the drier and  put it in there for an hour. It  came out all warm and fluffy ( reminder to clean the  fluff catcher on the machine), folded up and back on her bed in time for bed-time.

Sunday  a.m.  and it’s raining so no walk this morning. Well it did stop and we did go out and I did get as far as the end of the Carport before it came down again, so back into the house we went. I figured that they had been “out” so I did give them their after walks treat – I know, I’m a woose.

The Sands of Time

The WaWa
The WaWa

April – a month that will live in infamy  – well not quite. After all some wonderful people were born in April – like me for example. However, April was when we acquired the WaWa, or rather, when we (I) agreed to look after the WaWa for a limited period. It’s almost January – nine months later –  and she’s still here. We have not heard a word from Sooha since she went back to South Korea. We have written to her and sent emails to the address she gave – all of which have bounced back. I do not know what we are going to do. WaWa is a playful, friendly and loyal little thing and  now that I have made contact with the new vet I will talk to her and see what we can do with regard to her attacking Benji and whether a .oo soft muzzle will help – at least it will stop her nipping at his back legs. And I really can’t understand this- I mean it has been eight months. I would really have thought that things would have settled down by now and she would have gotten used to Benji being around. Jealousness continues to be the main problem   She can be a real pain in the tuchus, but she has to stay – anything else, however well meaning , would be unconscionably cruel. I have no regrets about taking her –  I am being honest when I say she is a lovely dog, friendly, playful, loyal – I just wish we could sort out her jealous attacks on Benji and stop her barking at the least little shadow.

Aside from dogs, 2017 will be a year of change – changes that will be generated by me. There are some things I have let slide and I intend to change them. However, as the Rachel Hunter add

Mandevillia ( not mine - sadly)
Mandevillia ( not mine – sadly)

once said – “it wont happen overnight, but it will happen”. And here   I mention that  after months of pretending to be just a stick stuck in dirt (potting mix) the two Frangipani have started to grow. There are leaves and other bits sprouting – which I am very pleased about.  The four Mandevillia  are also growing well and the Poinsettia is still a vibrant Red. My Almond tree is good and I would like a Mulberry  Tree, which I will look for when I am down in Adelaide soon. This afternoon, the dogs and I, Benji and Yogi, went to the garden shop and bought new plants – two South Australian Natives and six Geraniums. I will plant them this evening when it is a bit cooler. I use raised planted beds and potting mix because my soil here is not good. When we moved here and I looked at an area with horrible black bark on it, I decided to clear it all off and turn it into a Rose Garden. I did all the things, prepared the soil, bought rose fertilizer  and spent a fortune on rose bushes at the garden shop. Every single one of them died. I tried other things and they died too. The soil, it seems had been poisoned – or sterilized – same thing really.  The White Ceder tree has taken off again, so this time I will really have it sorted out – no more being nice.

I’m still  having problems with the aftermath of the knee operation and have difficulty kneeling on the ground – or indeed kneeling at all. Still,  as a famous Australian politician once said,  “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”. And on that note it must be said that our current crop of  “fly by night” politicians are doing everything they possibly can to make certain that is how Australia will be under their watch – claw $2.5 Billion out of pensions – a crisis with Centrelink and millions $$  being demanded in repayments , which no one understands, but the good thing is a pay rise for politicians and government staff and the $2.5 Billion they ripped out of our Seniors’ Pensions should help to fund the  pensions, lurks and perks for politicians.

Sooha and Kongsoon - now called The WaWa
Sooha and Kongsoon – now called The WaWa

Since I started this, we have heard from Sooah and although she is well and still working with the Immigration  Department to achieve a return to Australia, there is no indication when that will actually happen. What this means is that the WaWa will be here for the foreseeable future. Yogi will be going home shortly as the friends return from Perth in Western Australia on Friday week and I will pick them, up from the Airport. The week after I head off to Adelaide and then Mount Gambier and  an extra-ordinary meeting. Oh come now, what’s a 1300 mile journey and three hotels for a three hour meeting between friends?  Still it gets me time to have a wander in Adelaide and I have  a pile of Bunnings Gift Cards to use and a Mulberry bush to find.

And finally – we are in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures hovering around the high  30s to the low 40s – what joy..