The Benji.

The boys came home late on Sunday night. By 11:00pm I was getting concerned that I had not heard from them. I did not want to telephone because if they  were home, John James would be in bed because he has an early rise in the morning and if I telephoned Andrew I could waken him, but more importantly I could waken Connor. I hummed and hawed for a bit but in the end my anxiety got the better of me and I grabbed the keys of the car. Annabell insisted that I take the dog with me, so I did. I drove into town  drove by John’s place and saw that his  vehicle was

Adelaide Central Post Office built 1867 – now abandoned.

parked in the driveway. I then drove by Andrew’s place and saw that the wrecked car was in the parking area and the new car parked in the drive. I drove a little further on, turned down a side street and drove home. I arrived home quite satisfied that all was well and the boys were safe. I accept the fact that some people might think I was being quite silly, but I just could not settle until I knew everyone was home. After that I went to bed and slept quite soundly.  When I was growing up a favourite saying of mothers was “If you don’t behave I’ll smack you into next year” Sadly my mother has passed long ago otherwise I’d go and see her and ask if that offer is still open.

Tuesday morning Andrew came over after he dropped Connor off at Child Care and we went for a drive in the new car. We drove the long way out of my area into the country and then through town to the foreshore. He parked the car, got out and said “Your turn now”.”Now I am very happy with my Ford. It’s ten years old and not a smart car by any means. This car was a two years old smart  car with all the latest technology – push button start. I was somewhat apprehensive, but I drove it back home whilst Andrew pointed out some of the features and the heads-up display on the windscreen – current speed and the speed limit of the area. the outside temperature and a press button cruise control as we went back the long way to my place.  All very impressive but I think it would take me a fair bit of time to get to know it all..

Wednesday was a bitterly cold morning and the coach for much of the journey to Adelaide was like an ice-box. I walked from the coach station to Rundle Mall and for some reason the place was something of a disappointment. I found  the buildings old, run down and somewhat dilapidated. I suspect my overall mood didn’t really help much.  Many of the  shops were still closed and in a number of cases people were kept standing outside  shops as the traders imposed social distance limits on the number of people allowed inside at any one time. Not that there were many people around anyway. This was especially true at the Apple Store where  Apple had erected barriers outside their store. I stopped to watch as the techs, wearing masks and gloves came out,  as one person left,  to escort another person inside – past the security guards at the main door. By this time I was needing a coffee fix but most coffee places sold coffee but no place to sit and drink it. If you had a coffee it was in a paper cup and you had to take it outside to drink  — standing up of course. The food courts at Myers were no better – food shops open but tables and chairs removed. In all, it was all very depressing and to make matters worse,  the camera shops I wanted were closed –  except Harvey Norman, and they didn’t have much. Also several buildings are no longer in use are are simply closed up and abandoned – the Central Post Office being simply one example.  It was not only the main P.O. for Adelaide, the upstairs  area housed the Telecommunications Museum.

Is it time yet??
A foggy old morning

After I arrived home, I didn’t think I was ever going to get to bed as Benji went gaga. You would have thought I had been away for a month rather than just a day – mind you it has been a while since I was away from him.  Still, it was good to be back home again after what was really a disappointing trip that only really succeeded in getting me out of town for sixteen hours, ten of which were spent travelling. On  Friday morning we did not go out for our morning walk. We were up and ready but we didn’t go out. Perhaps the photograph to your left might give you an idea  :o) However, by early afternoon it had all cleared and we took a stroll down to the beach and then drove out to the Lighthouse for a bit.

The new updated SA Gov. forms for Stage 3  have just gone on line and I have completed the figures for the church and according to  the new easing of restrictions, we can open the church. I will have to get this information out and see where we go from here.. The new easing of restrictions start on Monday 29th so that gives us time to get organised for next week. All being well we should be back next Sunday..

Towards the Final Curtain T

Well, are we :o) ?
No, but getting there..

Much of the restrictions have been removed in South Australia and we are now allowed to travel – only within the state, but it’s a big state. Up here there’s not a lot, at least not for people like me – dog owners. We are surrounded by either Conservation Parks, National Parks and the Army Play-Pen. Of course, you can travel to the National Parks (with a permit) and the Conservation Parks, unless you happen to have a dog – then it’s a different story. Even under control and with a responsible owner, dogs are just not allowed.  One of the reason put forward is that even under control a dog will pee and that creates a smell which a  native animal would pick up, be afraid and run away – abandoning its home and leaving its babies to die of starvation. I always thought mothers would fight to protect their young, but apparently not in our National Parks. Here they just smell strange smells and run away. In the past certain species were almost wiped out because of unrestricted  hunting and yes, because of vandalism. National Parks were created to preserve a natural beauty as well as the flora and fauna within the area – I understand all that. However, there surely has to be a balance and if that means employing a few more Park Rangers, then that’s the price we have to pay. I think there are several small National Parks in and around Adelaide where dogs are allowed, but not up here. In this area alone there are 15 National /Conservation Parks and if you go further north you run into the Simpson Desert and there are four

Wilpena in the Flinders Ranges

National/ Conservation Parks covering some 54,338 square kilometers of that.

Anyway,  in regard to the restrictions, we and the Lutherans are in much the same pickle. With the dimensions of our church and Social Distancing we can only have 15 people – that’s all the government will  allow within the church given the dimensions.  The Lutheran Church  has much the same problem so it would appear it will be mid July before the restrictions and lifted completely and we can open the church to normal services again. Tonight South Australia will open the borders to the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania / Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland remain closed, at least for the time being. The RFDS are still flying – they never stop, but they are seeking donations because the  money that we. the “Ground Crew”  raise throughout Australia has dried up. We are stood down and there is next to no fundraising. Yes the big mining and corporate sponsors are still contributing but as long as the Social Distancing rules continue,  there’s nothing we can do. The Photography Club starts back next week but then we have a place large enough to cope – there are only 14 of us. Sadly I will not be attending the first meeting back since I will be in Adelaide. I was supposed to go last week but I cancelled it because I  was a tad concerned about Annabell. As it happened she was ok, but I  decided to  make the date for the 24th. Of course that was before I knew we were going to start back with the Photography Club that day. I am going down by coach and I have to book well in advance since the coach is only allowed to  seat 20 passengers. Not my favourite mode of travel but at least I can be assured of a double seat to myself.

Andrew’s damaged car

For almost 11 Years my son Andrew has been travelling to and from Olympic Dam in the far north of South Australia. It can be a dangerous road out in the middle of nowhere. Up until today he has remained safe, but this morning (Thursday) travelling home he ran into a mob of Kangaroos and ran into one, smashing the offside of his car, taking out the light, the electrical system and the side panel.  All the damage was on the side so he was able to nurse the car home, but it is not in a condition to be driven. Andrew and his partner are separated so he only gets to have Connor when he is home and is able to collect him from Childcare. He needs to see Connor, so to that end, he has my car. Both he, John and Connor are heading to Adelaide on Sunday morning. Andrew has an appointment at hospital, which should take about 40 minutes, then on the freeway to Murray Bridge and possibly pick up a new car. I should have my can back this evening (Saturday).

General wandering and playing with the camera.

The far end of town.

For my submission to the letter  ” D ”  it was my intention to drive the  112 kilometre (Return trip)  and photograph a derelict  Service Station ( Gas Station).  When we came to Australia this little township was a thriving

Sunrise over town center

place and the service station, apart from selling fuel and groceries, maintained a small fauna park and we were taken there by my sister and her family and we visited this service station to get fuel and to let my boys see a kangaroo close up. There were two settlements, Iron Knob (where we were) and Iron Baron. In the mid 1980s there was a downturn in the price for iron ore and both townships suffered a decline. Iron Baron was closed  and the people drifted away. When it reopened again, it was decided that people should no longer live in the area so everything was sold off and the entire township was bulldozed. Nothing remains. People who work there are now taken in by bus from here. A couple of years ago I went out to Iron Knob and went to the old service station. It was closed down and abandoned – derelict.  It was my intention to drive out there and photograph it but things didn’t quite work out as I had planned and I never managed to drive out to Iron Knob, but I needed a submission so – D for Dog. As an alternative it would have been D for Dinosaur but a certain dog ( who shall remain anonymous)  had a good chew at it over the last few months and it was no longer presentable.

The empty main area of the mall.

Things are slowly returning to a kind of normal. There are no longer any restrictions on  food or any supermarket items, many shops – except the smaller ones here – are re-opening and the shopping mall is  fairly empty looking as people have not adjusted to the  lifting of restrictions. Tonight was late night shopping and the place was empty, although I have to say that most of the smaller shops were closed. Still keeping social distancing – hotels are closed and churches are still closed. We could have ten people but we felt it would be too traumatic trying to manage that, so we will leave things as they are until phase 2 takes effect in a few weeks.  Long time ago we had a number of camera shops here – now we don’t have a single one. Yes we have shops that sell cameras and some lenses but that’s it. Camera accessories have to be bought on line or in Adelaide. I want filters from my camera and since I can not get what I want here I will have to wait until the restrictions regarding transport are lifted next week and I can take the coach down to Adelaide and do a mini shopping trip. At the moment I really don’t want to drive there and back mainly because it

Ada Ryan Gardens

means an overnight stay and that’s still a bit iffy. Anyway I have some filters coming over from New South Wales so they should be here early next week.

Ada Ryan Gardens
Part of the Avery at Ada Ryan Gardens.

You have probably heard that we are having a few problems with China and the 80% tariff that have put on our barley. In essence, they have shut down that market to us. That left us in a bit of a hole, but  now India have said that they would be interested in Australian malt barley and will start with an order of 500,000 tons and increase as things develop.  I said before, that I believe that a new relationship with China will come out of this..

Benji and I hit the road at 05:50 this morning, After all the rain the place was a bit on the damp side, but it was cool rather than cold, dull and overcast. It’s supposed to be a nice day today so I may well take a run out to the lighthouse for a bit.  We decided ,  well I decided,  not to go to the lighthouse but to stay closer to home and since it was a nice day we went for a wander around Ada Ryan Gardens. The Gardens are looking well cared for. In the Spring and Summer and Early Autumn, mothers and prams meet up and have picnics with their children – there are barbecues areas and free electric barbecues at either end of the gardens. And there is a very large children play area – currently closed off – and for the people who like something more substantial, there is the cafe at the foreshore.  A lot of clubs use the area and the barbecues for “get-togethers. When we had children at the church, we also used it with children and parents.  The letter for the coming week  is “K ” so I will see what I can come up with in a week.

Some restrictions eased.

Sunrise over the Gulf

It’s been an odd week in which not a lot has happened. Andrew came back from Roxby Downs and we had the family together last night for the first time in two weeks.And that was about the only real highlight for the week.   However, he heads back up again on Wednesday so it will be several weeks before we see him and Connor again.  However, when Andrew was over here he did set up Zoom for me now  I have to wait until Mount Gambier are ready to start. They were supposed to be doing a couple of practice runs so we’ll see. With the travel restrictions I feel unable to move anywhere and Benji is getting reluctant to get out of bed at 6am to go walking. Well, we still have been walking but not in the mornings. Provided the  day is dry and he is fine in the afternoon, we make up for lost timje by wandering around the Wetlands and feeding the Geese and ducks.  It’s a good walk with plenty  things about the place to sniff at, check the mail and leave a reply. It’s starting to get better for me too as it gets colder and there are few flies about. There is little point in driving out to the lighthouse other than just the drive, there’s really nothing for Benji to do other than curl up and nap on the front seat during the 40klm drive out and  the same back to the house.

On the news front, between all the  belligerent posturing from the Donald and the trade and financial  threats against Australia from China, South Australia is starting to get  the virus under control. For fourteen days we had no new cases in SA, on the fifteenth day we had one new case, and none since. That being so and since all things seem to be reasonable clear, South Australia is lifting a number of its restrictions as of today – Monday 11th May. Still no church yet. Yes, we can have a gathering of 10 and we did  consider having three services, but  we believed that

could create more problems than it solved.  We need to be thankful for the restrictions that have been lifted and be patient for the remainder next month in phase 2.

Ten months ago I requested a Specialist Referral Note to be sent to my Cardiologist. I was told by my doctor that he would do this closer to the time. It was never done and now we are out of time. I steeled myself and underwent the degrading and humiliating experience of talking to a mesh covered window like an errant schoolchild. It seems to be generally assumed that when this is all over we wont be going back to ”

Still the Lighthouse.

normal” some things  have changed and may never go back to the way they were. I believe the relationships we have had with our doctors is one change that may not ever go back to what it was. I am honestly considering changing to a different medical practice. Yes, I understand the thinking “Heck John, a bit of inconvenience and you are going over the top. Settle down and don’t be so dramatic”  Yes, I understand and there is every likelihood that I wont change and  walk away from one of the best doctors in town, but the fact that this is my thinking concerns me somewhat. We have set up the zoom as much as we can – now I have to wait until  contacted on Saturday morning with the code and the access ID. We will see how that works. As it happens it worked very well and I was very pleased. We were concluded by 11:45, so that was good.. The next conference is in August and we are starting to look at a video conference for that meeting if the restrictions are

Sunrise through the bushes


in  force. We don’t think so but some members, who have difficulty getting out of bed ( ok so I am being unkind!)  want to stay with the Zoom, therefore we have decided that we can do both. those who wish to can physically attend the conference and others can  stay with the video. We’ll see how it works if everything is good to go in August.  The word for this week is D – yes I know “Dog” but that’s just too easy. What I have in mind  (if it still exists) is some 30 miles away and with the restrictions on most travel lifted, I can drive out there with Benji. What I have in mind ia  D for Derelict and I will let you know how that works out.