When the temperature hits the mid to high 40c it very rarely lasts for more than two days – three tops. But even those two days are enough to do a lot of damage. The north of the State,
the Flinders Ranges and beyond change from arid lands into desert landscape. In the spring these areas are alive with grasses and wildflowers – the area becomes a sea of colour – wonderful to behold. People come from all over Australia and beyond to photograph the Flinders wildflowers. Yet, within a short space of time, spring changes into summer, the sun starts to bight and burns up the grasses and the wildflowers and the dry, brown desert land returns. We are, the driest area in the driest state of the driest continent. We have one river, to the west of the state, the Murray and that’s being done to death slowly. All the lakes you see to the north and west of the state are all dry salt lakes – so big they even have world landspeed races and records on them. Water is pumped from the Murry some 300 miles away and without that much of South Australia would simply cease to exist. The Murry Pipeline is the umbilical cord of the north on which much of the settlement of the state beyond Port Wakefield relies. If we have a really warm and prolonged summer we start to eat into the water reserves and we have to ration water. No watering of gardens is allowed except under certain conditions. However since we have a spendthrift government, we built a water desalination plant – a couple of $billion, but who’s counting – which was put
into mothballs because in the time it took to build – delays, cost blow-outs, over-runs, usual SA Govt. project- we had several wetter than usual winters and the catchment
areas were all at capacity so water was no longer an issue. But despite all the precautions and the special Mandevilla Fertilizer, a day and a half of 46/47c heat is enough to undo all the careful tendering that you may have done over the late winter and spring to little more than dead brown leaves. Both the Frangipani didn’t fare all that much better. Two days undid all the work and expense of months. I came home at midnight from Adelaide, played with Benji, had a chat with Annabell then close to 1am went out and watered all the plants before going to bed, but by then the damage was probably already done and the Friday was even hotter. I had great hope for the Mandevilla but I think they have gone too far to be saved now. – Update – I have been told by the garden people not to dig up or pull out what appears to be dead plants. I should keep on tending to them because it is very likely that the extreme heat has killed and burned the surface shoots and leaves, but it is more than possible that the plant itself is still alive and will respond to care, attention and watering. Ok I can do that and we’ll see what happens.
At the moment it’s too hot to go wandering so although I have been thinking about the Arid Lands Botanic Garden (ALBG)and getting native plants that probably would survive the heat in this area, I’ll leave the 150 klm drive off for the moment. I think I have said before that dogs are banned at the ALBG – which is understandable given the nature of the gardens and the native small reptiles ( mainly harmless lizards) that roam freely around the place.
Not sure if I mentioned this before but my son had to have a meeting with the Environment /Wildlife Officer of the Mine. A few days before, he was called out for a problem at one of the areas and was on his way to the mine. An Eagle, chasing prey, mistimed and miscalculated its attack and flew into the side mirror of Andrew’s Vehicle, killing the bird and smashing the side mirror. The report was sent by the company to the Environment Officer and although no blame was attached to Andrew it was considered unfortunate in that the Environment and Wildlife people had been running a program to re-introduce the Wedge-Tails (Eagles) back into the area. The damage to the vehicle and the replacement of the side mirror cost over $700. Sad but at the same time fortunate for Andrew that it was not a fully grown adult – these birds are BIG with a wingspan of up to 9 feet.
Tomorrow I head off to Adelaide and a wonderful 42c, so shopping should be a load of fun. When the arrangements were made there was no indication of this kind of temperature but regardless, my son ( with whom I am hitching a ride) has to go down anyway, so I didn’t want to appear as a wimp by not going :o) Still the drive down will be in an AC car and the shops will have the
AC on, so really it’s only going between the shops that I want and Annabell asked me to go to that will be a little bit of a problem – only a little bit. Andrew is heading to Port Adelaide for an appointment. He will be staying overnight but I have an appointment on Friday morning, so I will catch the late coach home. I also want to get my traveling modem recharged and I could do that here, but they make such a song and dance about it that I generally wait until I am in Adelaide to get it recharged for the year.
The drive down was uneventful and the A/C was kept going all the way. I generally stop at the Tin Man, but Andrew prefers to drive directly to Port Wakefield and then have his stop. We arrived in Port Adelaide early for his appointment so we went and had an early lunch. He went for his appointment and I sat and read the magazines. Back into the city and shopping – I had my modem recharged and then went and bought some new clothes, as did Andrew, but for his son rather than for himself. We had coffee in Rundle Mall and then walked ( 42c) to the central market. Normally we would have taken the tram, but they were out of service so It was a nice, pleasant walk. We spent some time at the Tour Down Under (TDU) Village. After this Andrew walked with me to the Coach Terminal and we parted. I caught the late coach home, getting in at midnight. We did drive down together but he was staying the night whilst I had to be back for a
meeting Friday Morning (Today) Stateliner have a new coach which was impressive in that along the side of the coach were UBS sockets for charging phones and music players or even laptops/tablets.
Today has been another scorcher with the temperature hitting 46c – at least that’s the official temperature – in real life, it’s actually hotter. Interesting though, after three hot days we are in line for a thunderstorm. I took Benji out a little while ago and I could see some clouds starting to gather.
Saturday: As it transpired, nothing (as yet) came from the Gathering of the Clouds but the weekend is yet young. I have sat next to the AC, drinking Iced Water and listening to John Denver / Frank Sinatra. I think everyone of a certain age has a favourite John Denver – mine is Poems, Prayers and
Promises. As for Sinatra – it doesn’t matter what Sinatra sings, I like them all, but if I had to pick just one, I think it would be a choice between My Funny Valentine / It was a very good year. I think everyone has a favourite Sinatra and every one would probably be different. Driving down to Adelaide on Thursday I was subjected to heavy rock – my son’s car/ his music. Same rule – as in my car/my music.
I think the saddest thing for me is that in this hot weather I cannot take Benji out with me. I cannot take him into the supermarket and I cannot leave him in the car. And yet, hardly a week goes past without some report about police having to free dogs from a hot car and no windows open. And then this week a man went off and left the child in the car – she survived but only just. Even in relatively mild weather and I have Benji in the car, I check the time I get out the car and I carefully watch my watch when I am in a shop and make sure I don’t waste time. If I consider it too warm I wont take him and have to accept – The Look – but it’s worth it to ensure that he stays ok.
Well, the thunderstorm began at about 3am – woke Benji up and that woke me up. Have been up since. Thunder lasted about half an hour but the rain has persisted and it’s wet and miserable. I hate this weather – not because it’s wet and miserable – but because it makes a fellow feel homesick! Right at this moment it’s still chucking it down – so much for the 47c only a few days ago and even the 41c yesterday. Lazy days at the beach in the sun with the dog, then thunderstorms and heavy rain -just like Scottish weather sometimes, only the warm bits are just a tad warmer. It’s a differfent sort of heat and you can cope. Just as well as the brown wouldn’t be suntan – it would be rust :o)
Temperature today (Friday) was 41c and tomorrow a 44c day before a cool change comes in in the late afternoon. Our area of the state has been designated as extreme risk for bush fires. Other parts of the State, particularly, Penola and Mount Gambier where the major forests are, has been designated catastrophic. Water Bombers are on standby. I took Benji out very early this morning before the sun came up and I took him out a little while ago, when the sun had gone down and the road had cooled down and not hot on his paws. I went out and tested the road with the back of my hand before I did take him out. By the end of the evening we did have some bush fires – three to be exact. Two of these were under control, one was still causing concern. This morning (Sunday) I took Benji out at the normal time for his walk. I had on a polo shirt and wished I had a jacket on. It was very cool this morning, dull and low cloud cover – almost cold. Talk about the weird weather patterns. Today did, in fact, climb to 47c
Last couple of days Annabell has not been too great. The hot weather sometimes gets to her, particularly when her system is low to begin with and she has been very tired these last few days. I will keep an eye on her and monitor how she is. But you know, people are strange. Not so long ago people in church were complaining that it was too hot and the old A/C was not really doing the job anymore. So, we had a long discussion and purchased two reverse cycle air conditioners – one for the top end, one for the bottom area. Yes,—– you guessed it – people asking if we could turn the A/C up or off because it was too cold. I mean it took us a while to get the cash together to buy the blooming things and have them installed – oh well, you can’t win ém all.
Going back to the Apple concerns again – I am told by someone who has an iPhone 6 that it has slowed down and she finds it annoying. I am more puzzled now than I was because I have an iPhone SE which is, in essence, a slightly modified 6 in a different case and it should be slowing down, but I honestly say that I have not noticed any difference. Then again, perhaps it could simply be that I don’t use the phone often enough to notice any difference. However, it must be said that the iPhone was a sudden rush of blood to the head and I have always had a Samsung just about forever. After this contract is completed, I am definately going back to Sumsung.
These last couple of days we have not gone out in the mornings. I still get up, but the Benji seem reluctant to go out and I am not going to drag him out because I think it’s good for him. It probably is, but that’s not the point, I am finding there is not the enthusiasm there, so perhaps we will give the early morning a miss and do something else, like go to the wetlands mid-morning. Yes it could be weather related, but I don’t think so. We are now
into our third year since adoption and some things are starting to show, like his new reluctance to be petted, and if lifted he goes nuts. He wasn’t like that before, he was very loving and very cuddly and perhaps a steressful 14 months may have something to do with that and only now, 6 months later I find
it’s starting to manifest itself. But in a number of ways he’s not quite the same dog he was. I used to be able to lift him and carry him on my shoulder – now I can’t and I don’t know why the change. But he’s still my boy and we will work together and sort out any problems with patience. As for the walks, I only went out in the early morning to escape the flies, perhaps we can still go out but at a later time and I can use a personal fly spray – although I sometimes think the darn stuff attracts them.