For those who have been watching, I finally managed to get a couple of hours sleep in the recliner, some of that sleep with a dog on my chest. By the time Annabell woke me it was almost 10am so I had about three hours sleep. Still, as they say in Australia – Better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. After the trauma of the night ( or should that be terror of the night) looked outside and saw a clear blue sky – barely a cloud and what was there was white and fluffy. Took Annabell shopping and paid the car registration. We were going to start to lay food for Christmas Dinner but it is being held at the Son’s place. Annabell will bring salads, a Pavlova and a coleslaw- and yes it will be about 40c. Just about finished all the presents and my oldest son thinks I’ve lost the plot. I’m so sorry, but I thought everyone has Christmas Presents under the tree from Santa to the dog. Annabell is already using her Christmas Gift. She wanted a new computer chair so we went out and I bought her a new chair. That’s what she picked, so that’s what she got – not that exact chair, of course, but pretty close – no point in just me picking it, I wont be using it.
The way things are at the moment gives the impression that we ( as a town) have turned the corner and that prosperity has arrived with the new Arrium owner. Part of the reason for this is that the shopping centre is festive, bright and cheerful and fulfilling its role as the largest shopping centre outside of Adelaide. However although we accept things as they are today, it is somewhat deceptive in that the empty shops are not new business that has taken up residence in town, but rather what is called “pop-up shops” These are shops that open up, filling the empty places for a limited period. After Christmas and New Year are over they will close and leave and we will go back to being the largest shopping centre outside of Adelaide with 30% of the shops empty. The organization that owns the shopping centre ( one of several) is PPI Management Funds based in Adelaide. I wonder how much is actually being done to attract business to the area. One of the places that features on their website as part of this centre, is the large Radio Rentals showrooms. This was closed down and has been empty for the best part of three years and Dick Smith Electronics, went bankrupt and closed down about five years ago. Spotlight, another large area, is also closed and the original Cheap as Chips Variety Store, moved to another area several years ago and their old shop (also a large area) is closed down and empty. However having said that I do believe that we are about to turn the corner and and engineer I know tells me that if only half of what GFG Alliance has said it will do is actually done, there will still be enough work for at least 10 – 12 years. Mr. Gupta, the new owner, said in an interview recently that he has allocated over $1 Billion to develop and upgrade the mill and the surrounding region. We are still having shops close down and we hope the
exodus will reverse soon and people will start to return. However, three new shops have opened in the last month, with corresponding extra employment, so it’s not all doom and gloom, but the problem is that the areas that are empty are big and very visible.
For the last few weeks I had been telling Benji that he had to behave because if he didn’t behave, the WaWa would come and chastise him again. Well, he didn’t behave well enough for Santa – even although Santa left him new toys – so today, the WaWa came – and not just any old WaWa but THE WaWa, Kongsoon herself – with her Staff, namely Sooah and her husband. What a wonderful surprise that was to have them both here for a while. Most unexpected. Benji went straight to the room got one of his toys and sqeeked at her :o) then took off like a scalded cat – very much discretion being the better part of valour. Soon as he came in, she went for him, so I put him in the room untill they left. It was the safest thing to do.