Have been down to the wetlands the last few days and found the water level has really dropped. So much so that the bottom of the main pond is visible in one area. Still, walking around is not any different. Well it is a bit in that the Benji has a sore paw and walking on gravel hurts him, so I have to carry him over the gravel parts. Well, ok – I guess that’s part of the job description. The work on the Cafe/Kiosk seems to have come to a halt for the moment and I am not really expecting much movement until next summer. See, I am optimistic! The Whyalla jetty was damaged in a storm last year and closed down for safety reasons. It was popular with fishing people and people who just wanted a walk along its length. However, it has taken council until now to decided to replace it. The new jetty will be twice the size of the old jetty and will have a circle in the middle. They say that this is the design that was voted on by public consultation but I don’t remember being asked. I suspect that it is one of these things you never hear about unless you follow the daily “doings”of council.
The reason for us being down the wetlands these last few days has to do with Benji. I normally set the alarm for 5:45 and by 6am we are on the road. The last few days he has been very reluctant to go out in the morning and the other morning when we did go out, we had only gone about 100 yards when he came right to my side and sat down and his demeanor made it clear that he really didn’t want to go. So, I turned round and took him home. Later on in the morning he was a bit more lively so I got him into the car and we drove to the wetlands. He was quite
walking and checking the p-mail – except with the gravel area. Age — well I was told he was about 5 when I adopted him and he has been with me for over two years so he’s about 7(ish) – not really old at all.
The little jetty behind Benji – in the photograph – is used for launching boats. No, not boats for people, since that’s not allowed, but radio controlled boats. While we were down there one of the boats that had been sailing suddenly stopped and refused to move. The radio controller having no effect. Since it was too far out to reach he had to telephone the council and explain and they reluctantly allowed him to put a real boat into the pond to retrieve the radio controlled boat, which had now floated over to one of the islands. He was allowed to get the motorboat but to remove the real boat as soon as that had been done. The water is ‘run-off water” not suitable for animals nor humans and, of course, the lack of rain has meant no run-off water, or very little.
Recently I was reading a post about “How we met” which I found interesting. How we met… I had decided that I was not going to a retreat, since I had already been at several, and stay home. One of our Collegiate Ministers, decided I must have made a mistake and picked me up in the morning. It was there at the Church of Scotland Conference Center, Carberry Towers, that I met Annabell. The following August we were married with both ministers conducting the service – Alex Keith and James Currie. That was a wee while ago !! Can’t remember the piper’s name though. Actually if we want to be correct her name is not Annabell, it’s Annabella, named after Queen Annabella, Wife of Robert III, King of Scots.
Talk about “Back to the Future” as once again I made the journey out to the Port for the same reasons as last week. I was supposed to head out on
Tuesday but late Monday afternoon I received a telephone call from the Doctor Surgery reminding me I had an appointment on Tuesday afternoon. I probably could have still gone to the Port and been back in time, but I decided to leave it until Wednesday. So, Wednesday morning I headed off to Port Augusta and the Bank. My business at the bank was completed a lot quicker that I had anticipated so I was able to spent some time at Big W, then The Office Shop before heading to the Arid Lands Botanic Garden. I bought three new native plants before heading off for a wander at the Lookout area. There are some really nice walking paths and they would be great to take Benji, but as I said, dogs are not allowed. Yes, I agree they could make a ruling that dogs have to be kept on a leash at all times but there will always be the drongo(s) that believe that rules don’t apply to them and put the native wildlife in danger. I have to say that the weather was lovely, but too warm to leave Benji in the car for any length of time. The Joy Baluch Bridge is the main crossing point of the Upper Spencer Gulf but there is another crossing a bit further up. This is Yorkeys Crossing and is supposed to be the route for heavy vehicles, which are reluctant to use it and instead use the main bridge. There was a pedestrian bridge but due to structural damage
this was closed, so pedestrians are forced to use a narrow pathway on the main bridge. The Federal MP has highlighted this and shown how close the trucks come to people using the narrow walkway, but nothing was ever done. The reason drivers are reluctant to use Yorkeys Crossing is that it is a long detour and the road between the crossing and the main highway, is an unsealed, dirt road on either side, so for big vehicles it can present problems. It also puts added pressure on the main bridge, which, because it is now used by pedestrians, the speed limit is 40KPH over the bridge. The Port Augusta Council have been asking for the State Government to seal the road, and repair the pedestrian crossing, but the previous state government was more concerned with extending a motorway in Adelaide to get people home by cutting four minutes off the traveling time. We really hope the new government can do something about the problems around the state outside of Adelaide.
I spent much of the morning walking the trail towards Yorkeys Crossing and up to the top of the escarpment. I find the view quite pleasant with
the Flinders Ranges in the distance. Looking back towards the Gardens and the Shop area is quite interesting. Way beyond the hills in the distance is part of the way home. and between where I am standing and where I am going there is nothing – no houses nor people – mind you, there’s no water either. Coming back down from the escarpment to the carpark I had a chat with some visitors from Germany. Driving back to the main road I stopped and pulled off road as best as I could so that I could get out and photograph a family of emu. In the early paragraph of this post I mentioned the problems with allowing dogs in the area – even on leash – because some people would believe the rules don’t apply to them – this was brought home to me as I was photographing the Emu. For obvious reasons, the speed limit in and around the area is 40KPH with restrictions that the wildlife has right of way. As I was parked a white sedan came from the opposite direction and passed me at about 60+, despite the fact that there were Emu in the area – rules didn’t apply to him.
Anyway, I have decided that I need a new camera. My Nikon is getting old and is really overdue for replacement. Think I might have to talk nicely to “She who must be Obeyed”.
Today (Wednesday) after the ladies had gone, I drove Annabell to Port Augusta. Since we were both going to be away for quite a few hours, I decided that we should take Benji with us. I felt he would enjoy the trip. Difficult to tell, really, since he curls up and goes to sleep. The
reason for the journey was that Annabell needed to go to the bank and sort some things out. Unfortunately, the nearest branch to us is 80 klms away in the Port. Whilst she attended to what she needed to do in the bank, I took Benji for a walk around the main street. Yes it was a bit warm but not too bad and he did his bit for the environment by watering a few trees. Annabell wanted to transfer money to Scotland but she had been having difficulty on line, so we came here to sort it out. Back at the car Benji and I had a drink of cold water and then shared a Hot Dog – not my first choice but easy to get fairly quickly. Annabell came back and we headed off to Better Homes and the garden center. I was able to get some plants to replace the plants burned. I actually wanted to go to the Arid Lands B.G. but with Benji that was not possible. The drive home was quiet and we did take note that the long promised passing lanes on the Eyre Highway are finally under construction.
Well there you are, I survived another week of the ladies being here. Only six weeks to go!! It’s not too bad and I get out in the evening with Benji and in the morning- if I remember to get the car out of the driveway in time – we go to the wetlands. If not, we just go for a district walk.
At the weekend we had the State Election. Australia has compulsory voting, so, if you do not exercise your democratic right to vote, you get fined. Of course, once your name is marked off on the roll, how you vote, or spoil the paper, is your business. I do know some people who have put 1 in every box, effectively, spoiling the paper – which is legal. Some time after the election the Electoral Commission will announce the final voting figures including the number of spoiled papers. Anyway, that’s all over and we have a change of government. The Socialist Government had been defeated and left behind $8 Billion in state assets, which it has sold off and spent as well as a $14 Billion State debt – and that’s interesting for a State that is bigger than most countries in Europe but has a population of less than 2 million.. The new government is a majority government and will govern in its own right. The last term of the Socialists only happened because they bought off several of the independents- offering them a ministerial portfolio to support them and the independents sold out and sided with the socialists – keeping them in power for the last four years. To be honest the state is not a basket case case – far from it – but it does have a lot of problems and concerns, which the new government will have to address fairly quickly – particularly the loss of young people.
Young people are leaving the state because they feel that there is a lack of opportunity here. That’s a worry.
A new fundraising venture by the Royal Flying Doctor service is that we have organized for pens to be created with the RFDS Logo and the quality is fairly good. I have bought a number and I intend to send them out to people. Not for sale but as a gift ( they are already paid for)
Tomorrow I will go through to the Port again for a similar reason we went through last week – it’s the nearest branch of our bank – 100 miles round trip for a bank visit. I have decided not to take Benji this time, which means that I can go to the Arid Lands B.G. I will just be going on my own this time – no Annabell. Some shopping and get back to help Annabell get things ready for the ladies tomorrow evening. Wednesday and Yogi goes home so Benji will be back on his own again.