Adelaide, Home and a mini-reflection

Rundle Mall early evening

The drive to Adelaide was not too bad. The weather up in this little corner of the world was good, but  there was bands of rain and mist sweeping across from about Snowtown onward.  Annoying in that  you just switch on the wipers and then  within a minute switch them off again. Bright sun, then another band moves in and wipers on, then off, then….  until after Port Wakefield – about 100 klms. from Adelaide. I  spent much of Adelaide shopping and getting things for Annabell as well as  spending time in Bunnings for garden things and a new hammock. I also wanted to get  a  new canopy for the garden seat, but no luck there. I did buy one on line a while ago but Australian Garden seats  are smaller than a three seat and larger than a two seat – awkward – I may have to get one made. Friday is late night shopping in town and I like to wander through Rundle Mall. Surprisingly enough, it was not very busy although is was cold. From there I walked the half mile or so to the Central Market which was open until 9pm.  I didn’t do much at the market other than get some new cook books and a bag of mandarins,

Victoria Square, Adelaide

which I am fond of, but I did take what I thought was a  fairly reasonable shot of Victoria Square, which these days is well lit up. Before it was dull and dreary but in recent years Adelaide has started to look  much more interesting and welcoming at night – provided you don’t go wandering off the main areas. We still have a few problems in that regard and it’s still not a good idea to go wandering off on your own in less frequented areas – “safety in Numbers”still applies. One of the streets that was a major concern has mostly been “tamed” with most of the “nightclubs”having been moved on.

Built as a minesweeper and launched in 1942 HMAS Whyalla saw service mostly in the Pacific. She was one of 60 “Bathurst  Class” Minesweepers/ Corvettes and was awarded

HMAS Whyalla
Launched 1942

three Battle Honours for her service. She was decommissioned in 1947 and sold to the Victorian Government, renamed “Rip” and used as a Lighthouse supply ship  and various other civilian duties. In 1984 she was to be sold for scrap. HMAS Whyalla was the first ship built in the Whyalla Shipbuilding yard and rather then let it be scrapped and forgotten the Whyalla City Council negotiated with the Victorian Government to buy the ship. This was done and the ship was brought back to Whyalla with

a volunteer crew and under her own steam. She remained in the slipway until 1987 when she was -slowly- moved 2 kilms to her present landlocked position  as the centerpiece of the Whyalla Maritime Museum, which was opened in 1988. I have taken family and visitors to the Maritime Museum  but Annabell has stayed in the car or watched from the  ground – the stairs being too much for her. There are a number of seasonal things that attract people here not the least of which is the  diving to observe the giant cuttlefish. This has grown in size in the last few years and the RFDS (Whyalla) has been involved every year since it began. This year, this month, in fact,  it will be 40 years since Annabell and I, and the two boys moved to Australia. We had been married 10 years to the month when we left Scotland. Much has changed

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Wetlands and Dogs

These last few days Benji has been very reluctant to go out for out early morning walk. I can understand this – it  has been very cold. I thought that I would leave the walk to later in the morning – say 8am instead of 6am. I also thought it might be a good idea that we go to the Wetland instead of a local walk. It was a cold but lovely morning this morning and the  ponds at the wetlands were like glass – no breeze at all – not a ripple.

Wetlands this morning

However I  decided it was not such a good idea. There were a good number of people about and all of them had a dog, or dogs/. Benji does not get on well with strange dogs so the walk really wasn’t much fun for him. I think we will just stick to the local area in the morning and go to the wetlands in the afternoon when it seems to be a lot quieter. The interesting thing was that all the people with dogs this morning were males.  If I want to go to the foreshore I have to remember to take bags with me as the council has not yet replaced the dog waste bags that it removed for the upgrade.

Benji is a rescue dog and we have not known what his true age was.  In October of this year it will be

Hello peeple..

four years since we adopted him. At the time I was told he was three years, so plus the four we have had  him, that would make seven. I always felt he was older and it turns out I was right – he was born in November 2010, which means he will be nine years, not seven, this year. All of this is academic because in the end I don’t care what age he is, he’s my boy and I love him dearly. However, it may go a ways to explaining why he is so reluctant to get out of bed and get out of the house at 6am on a winter morning – and – I shall have to take the pace at which I walk into consideration and slow down a tad. Of course the reluctance to get out of  bed and get out of the house on a cold winter morning could simply be a kind of human trait, since sometimes we are pretty reluctant to do similar ourselves. I had out longer than usual last night and he actually did slow down and he seemed to me to be a bit tired, so I lifted him up on my shoulder and carried him for a while. One of the neighbours asked  “who was taking who for the walk?” After a little while I put him back down and he seemed to have a lot more energy

This coming weekend is the weekend of the Whyalla  Show (Fair). The RFDS will be on display again this year but  I will not be attending this year as I will be in Adelaide for a Presbytery Meeting. We have Yogi here! Jim took what is believed to be a slight stroke and was taken to hospital. Fay is spending much of the day there so she asked if we would look after Yogi for a few hours. I said I would and went down and collected him at 8am this morning (Wednesday) I  said before that he has not been a well dog and he has certainly lost a fair bit of weight and he is crying a lot, but that could be because this was all so sudden and he is anxious  and does know what is happening. At the moment he is a sad little dog, but Benji and me will look after him for a bit.. Yogi was only here for a few hours and he “cried”much of that time. I held him up on my lap but I had to be careful and not put Benji offside.

As it turned out, Jim did not have a stroke – not even a minor one.  He underwent a brain scan an ECG and various other tests and when they proved negative he was allowed home. When I took Yogi back home Jim was

Benji at the Long Beach

sleeping.  He will check in with the hospital every few days for a little while to make certain everything is ok. However they really don’t know what caused the turn he had. Fay was chastised by the doctor because she drove him to the hospital instead of  calling an Ambulance. Her comment was that  the ambulance can take too long to arrive and is was  quicker to drive him to hospital.  That’s a worry…

 

Dogs, Heaven and the RFDS Jet

Glen Coe

… then I’ll hike it through Glen Falloch where the mountain breezes blow

And I’ll draw up in the evening  in the Valley of Glen Coe.

Of course, in my idea of heaven the road wouldn’t be there and all the dogs I have had throughout my life would be with me.  There  would be cloud and mist but  it would never be  cold. There would be sunshine sometimes, but not too much and if food was needed, then it would just be there as required.  I think there would be no people – I have never really been much of a people person – at least I don’t think so because really, I prefer solitude. I loved the isolation of being in the mountains, away from noise, people and civilisation  and yet, many of the things I do or am involved in,  are serving or helping people.I used to think that  this was God’s idea of a practical joke – He knows I am not really a people person, so  He sees to it that all the things I do I am involved with people. But then,  God is  just and to balance  this out He also gave me a love of dogs, and over the years all the dogs that I have had, each one has been the joy of my life, all in their own different ways. In a blog I read recently I wrote about this and mentioned that for some time after Benji was adopted I was calling him Chienne, but he was very forgiving.  You know, you read it all the time but  it never really becomes trite “A dog is the only creature on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

We definitely cannot have Max back again. I know I keep saying this but twice already today there have been several  ‘spats’ between the two and when Annabell and I have to go out, we do not leave them together – something we have never had to do with any other visitor – not even the WaWa. There has been rain and high wind over much of the State. We have had some rain and some wind but nothing like the lower areas. About twenty miles further out in the bush there was some flooding and the road to where my son works was flooded. He decided to come in the back way, which, as it turns out, was not a great decision. He ran into a pothole and  damaged the converter and tore the exhaust system. We got it back and into the garage and his  ‘detour’ will set him back about $600.  I will be leaving the post as Secretary of the  RFDS Branch at the AGM in July. Don’t know what happens after that – we’ll see. I  decided to leave because at one point I was concerned for Annabell after the car crash  and the fact that we never seemed to be away from the hospital or the Doctor Surgery. Things have calmed down, everything seems to have cleared but we have a  young lady who is very keen to be secretary and she has sort of taken over, and come the AGM, we will elect her as the Secretary and I will bow out. Well, not really, there are some things I said I would continue to do

People said it couldn’t be done. They said no one could do it. So we tackled this thing that couldn’t be done and we did it – a world first.  The  Royal Flying Doctor Service was under a bit of a cloud with the new  Intensive Care

The New RFDS I C U Jet.

Unit (The new Jet).  People were concerned that it wouldn’t work in South Australia because it wouldn’t be able to land on a dirt strip in the far northern outback of the State. So the RFDS organised an outback Sheep station get the airstrip ready because the jet was coming. The sheep station is 370klms north of Port Augusta, a 7 hour drive from Adelaide. The jet covered the distance in just under 40 minutes and made a perfect landing on the  dirt runway.  It made just as  perfect take-off. There is a you tube of the landing, which I have saved,  and I hope it works. In areas further north than the Flinders it would take the  normal RFDS Aircraft about 1 hour and forty-five minutes to cover the distance back to Adelaide. The Jet will do it in just under an hour, which makes a big difference in a life emergency.

We have not seen the jet up here and it is unlikely that we ever will – well not for a medical emergency anyway – perhaps for a goodwill visit.  —- I have deleted the You Tube Video as I have been told that it is a channel 7 video and thus copyright.

Thank Goodness Its Friday

Once Dougal went home, the times walking were a little more comfortable and less frustrating. Dougal is a barker  and tends to go gaga if he hears another bark or, indeed, any noise. It does not make for a really enjoyable  walk with him dragging and pulling. Benji, on the other hand is sort of like a  modern teenager – some other dog barks  –  ” meh whatever!”. Although we never had any concerns, because our fences are secure, I am told by other people that Dougal tends to be something of an escape artist and Sam has had to go searching for him more than once.

The empty bird area at the back pond

I took Benji to the Wetlands this afternoon and it really is starting to look quite sad. The birds have deserted the back pond where they generally hang out.

I am told they are Wild Geese.

The four wild Geese have taken to wandering around the area of the main pond, the ducks and swans have gone and the back pond – what’s left of it – has become the haunt of seagulls. Thursday week – 9th May – I set off to Narracourte for the quarterly conference.  There will be one overnight stay in Adelaide and a second overnight stay at Padthaway. The meeting does not begin until 12:30 so it is likely to last for most of the afternoon since each of the churches has to bring their  Books for inspection, stamping and cleared  by Presbytery. That wont take five minutes so it is unlikely that I will get much farther than back to Padthaway since I will not drive on the Riddoch  Highway and the Dukes Highway  at night. There has been several accidents recently on that stretch of the road recently. Apart from which,  I like staying in Padthaway since it is one of the few places that are dog friendly.

The flood waters from Queensland continue to pour down the Diamantina River  into  South  Australia and then drain into Lake Eyre. Having said that I have also to

say that it has been raining for a good part of the late evening and into the night. It was not the soft, silent rain that really doesn’t do much but a decent rainfall for several hours.  I must try and get down to the Wetlands and see what difference – if any – it might have made. Wednesday:  Never got out to the Wetlands, had a bit of a wetlands in the back garden. It’s chucking it down here again and I I was surprised to learn that despite the widespread rainstorms, some parts of the State missed out – bummer. Looks as if we wont be going out for our walk tonight again.  Well, as it happens, the rain went off and we did get out for our walk. I went directly to the water catchment area at the end of the street and although there was a good amount of water in there, I  did believe that there was less than I thought there would be.

I thought that I would be able to go to the Wetlands tomorrow (Thursday) after the 10 am  Hospital appointment with Annabell, but as of this afternoon,(Wednesday) we have a further appointment on Thursday at 2:30pm. However, at this stage, Friday is looking good  :o) Talk about ‘Things Fall Apart” – I take Annabell and another lady to the  Tuesday coffee evening and she and the other lady get picked up on a Wednesday. This same lady picks up Annabell for visits and other meetings. Well, this lady now has a new car and guess what?????   Annabell cannot get into this new car, so I have more driving around to do. Oh well, I do believe it’s part of the job description.

Dougal and Benji together.

I think it comes under the heading of “Sickness and Health ” :o) And, since the Universe is not altogether finished with me for the moment, Dougal came back this afternoon – right after we came back from the dentist.   Sam is heading off to Adelaide to be with Ina for a little while – then when he comes back he is going into hospital himself, so I have no idea how long we might have Dougal this time. He’s not a really concern, just the fact that he has never learned to ignore  barking and other sounds without going gaga, I’ll have to put on the harness again if I take him out walking but  we have had a fair belt of rain here the last few days, so we’ll see how things go. I didn’t expect to have Dougal back quite so quickly but at least Sam knows that he can go  visit his wife in Adelaide safe in the knowledge that his dog is being looked after and taken care of.  It’s Friday – no doctors, no hospital visits – FREE…  Woo Hoo

Promotion, Fund-raising and Aeromedical Jet

Part of the Team at  OTR / with Ambulance Service.

It’s been a very busy end to the week. Thursday  we were involved in a promotion with the opening of the new  On The Run (OTR) Service Station. OTR are one of the sponsors of the Royal Flying Doctor Service so we help them out but we also have the opportunity to promote the RFDS. The OTR is the “home”of the Krispy Kreme Donuts, which we gave away for free on opening day. Personally I don’t like them. They are great in most people’s eyes and I know people in Adelaide that go for them in a big way, but I find them just a tad too sweet for my taste. But we had a good day – talked to a lot of people and gave out flyers . On Friday the Prime Minister visited the Governor-General and  a General Election was called for the 18th May, so we can expect the letterboxes to be crammed with election material for the next weeks. Friday I  took Annabell to the doctor for a check-up, called John (my son) and reminded  of the RFDS Fundraiser on Saturday. Spent the afternoon working in the garage. Saturday morning I decided to have some time off so, I did not set the alarm and slept until almost 6:30. The dogs slept too and we didn’t go for our walk until almost 7am.

The dogs are well and enjoyed the walk this morning. It was interesting in that everything was quiet. Generally it’s still dark when we go out but it was light today and perhaps the other dogs were asleep which means that Dougal didn’t go ballistic like he general does if he hears a bark – or, indeed, any undetermined noise.  The Kangaroos  were few and far between this morning but  because it was light I saw for the first time some of the damage the Kangaroos had caused. I have walked the same area for a long time and watched it change over the years. I have watched a man  lay in concrete slabs and  edging to mark out his lawn area, cover the area in new topsoil, plant seed and water the area ( got wet a couple of times) and watched the grass take root and  finally become a nice lawn, which,  thanks to the Kangaroos, is in the process of being destroyed.  I can understand the frustration that must be involved here, but I still think leaving out water for them is the right things to do.

The New RFDS ICU Jet.

We did fairly well at the fundraiser  today. Started at 9am and finished at 1pm. It was interesting in that a number of people wanted to ask about the new RFDS  aircraft – the world’s first – and at the moment, only – aeromedical Jet – a Flying Intensive Care Unit. We wont see this here and it will be used for the long haul runs to the far north of the State.  At the meeting last week were were  told of the Whyalla Child Care Center.  This Center, like  a number of places, is on the flight path to the airport and every day the children see the RFDS Aircraft fly overhead. They sort of adopted the RFDS and some of the children said they wanted to be nurses and  go on the aircraft, some wanted to be pilots and one wanted to be a

Friends together.

doctor for the RFDS. Knowing the children like to play with boxes, one of the mothers brought in some empty boxes. The children made their very own RFDS aircraft and since they see it every day, they new which colours to use.  We thought this was fantastic and contacted Central Operations, who were very impressed. They sent me up a box of balloons, wrist bands, colour-in pages and a heap of put together  aircraft.

Annabell had a telephone call from Ina in Adelaide. I was out with the dogs at the time but Annabell says she was sounding really good and she hopes

to be back home in  about ten days. This means that Dougal might not be with us for more that another week or so – if Ina is correct. Not that I want to see him go, really, but Benji has been a bit odd this time – have no idea why. They have not been fighting or causing concern. apart from two spats, but that happens. Perhaps Benji doesn’t want to share anymore, whatever the reason, it feels different this time.

Adelaide, Kangaroos and walkin’ the dog!

On Tuesday morning I set off for Adelaide. I was  not too far from Adelaide (less than 90klms) when my son contacted me and said that there had been a change of plans and that they were both arriving in Adelaide on Tuesday night and  heading home on Wednesday morning, so I didn’t need to come down after all.  I told him where I was and how impressed I was but I hope I shall be able to cancel  the second room at short notice. This is the hotel I use when Presbytery is in North Adelaide. I took a run out to the shopping center at Tea Tree Plaza and did some shopping for Annabell. I like TTP and am generally quite comfortable there. For  some reason I don’t like Marion Shopping Center. Can’t think why but I just don’t like it. It doesn’t seem to have a lot of character and I find it quite antiseptic. Later on in the afternoon I was at a place that has  an overload of character – The Central Market.  It’s one place I really enjoy wandering around.  Anyway, I  went to the hotel and booked in, explaining why I no longer need two rooms and why I need to cancel one. No problem. They were very understanding.  Once I booked in and put my case in the room,  I took the bus into town. I had some things I wanted for myself at Kikki.k and David Jones

For more years than I care to remember I have used a  Filofax but in recent years it has become ridiculously expensive to get inserts. I think I said before that I can, of course, get inserts from the

I see the moon, the moon sees me!!

UK and the USA  but the cost of shipping/postage is greater than the cost of the inserts.  Yes I can download but my printer cannot not cope with the size and I am not about to buy a printer that can so I can use it once a year. Anyway, there are several printing shops in Adelaide so at the last meeting of the year ( late November early December) I can download, save to a USB and have the inserts printed off for less than $10. For years it was so simple and there were two Filofax outlets in Rundle Mall, Adelaide –  Borders and David Jones. Borders has gone and David Jones don’t really stock much now.

It’s been ages since Benji and I were down at the wetlands. It’s really been too hot  and  sadly there is only a limited amount of shade there. This whole week the temperature will be around the mid 30c mark and still too hot to take him onto the concrete paths at the wetlands for any length of time. Interestingly, there is no shade at the Wetlands Kiosk. Not long after it opened I took Benji for a walk then stopped off for a coffee for me and a small Ice Cream for Benji. The cost was over what I anticipated which I thought was a bit much. I have not been back since. I also notice that it is closed for a number of days during the week, so perhaps it is not doing as well as was expected. Personally, I think the lack of shade might have something to do with that.  The forecast for next week is  for cooler temperatures, so perhaps we can get back down to afternoons at the lighthouse and the wetlands.

In the early evening.

This morning on my walk with Benji, the place was covered in Kangaroos – they were everywhere. Not just the odd one or two as normal, but mobs of them. Why no photographs – it’s 6am and it’s dark. In the early evening, I go around the park/ play area: I no longer go through it. There are quite a few Kangaroos there in the evening and I find that even although Benji is under control and does not offer a threat – he doesn’t even bark at them – they still take off when they see the dog, and that’s my problem. There is bushland across from the park and that’s where they make for, but it means crossing a road and they would just take off without  any concern for traffic. Hitting a Kangaroo is not  good –  it kills the Kangaroo, but  the car would be a write off and  depending on the angle of the hit – the driver could be too. So, I go around the park and leave them be – it’s safer that way

Kangaroos and Living Plants

As far as we understand, the funeral will take place at the Church on Tuesday at 11am. That’s what we organised, however, her son, breezed in from London and would have preferred the funeral to have been on Thursday past so he could catch the weekend flight back to London.  Although I have  done all the work –  the Order of Service just needs the nod and I can start printing, collating and have it ready for Tuesday, I am advised that there may well be changes  and not to print just yet. There is a meeting with the son on Sunday  and if he decided to change things to

The small park around the corner

what he wants, it doesn’t leave me a lot of time to get everything organized, printed, collated and out. No pressure, yesterday will be fine. :o)

Ina is back in hospital and  we had a phone call to ask if we would look after Dougal for a few weeks, I was out  but Annabell said that it would be fine. The daughter has been staying for a bit but we will get  Dougal when she goes home sometime next week. Don’t mind really, Dougal is no trouble at all. He and Benji get on fairly well and Benji doesn’t seem to mind Dougal sharing his toys. The only thing Benji gets cranky about is the sleeping arrangements. Dougal occupied the place next to me and Benji got cranky about that and made certain  Dougal understands who sleeps where in future.

We spent most of Monday afternoon at the church getting the place ready for the funeral.   I  printed, collated 120 copies and passed each pile over to Annabell for folding. She can’t do a lot but she was sitting down and could do that for me – I mean, she couldn’t help with moving furniture and re-arranging pews, but she could do the folding, a total of 120 x 2 double sided copies, so she was a great help in doing what she did

The funeral went well as well as funerals are and our little church was  full with close to 110 people – which is our maximum.l She joined the church in 1987 and was a Member of the Board of Management, Board Treasurer and Leader of the Sunday School. The children loved her and it was so very pleasing to see many of the former Sunday School  (grown up and married of course) there to say farewell.  It was one of the former Sunday School members who read the lesson. The service lasted over one hour mainly because the “in-thing”in Australia at the moment is to have a Power Point and that took up time. The committal at the Cemetery was relatively short and we returned to the church hall for lunch, which all the ladies of the church provided.

It still lives

I have been outside since the heatwave mourning dead plants, clearing up the mess and cleaning out the plant pots. In doing so I discovered that the age of miracles  hasn’t passed as the photograph will show. This was, to all accounts a dead plant and in among the dead and brown leaves was a hint of green, which I have worked with. It’s encouraging as we draw towards the last weekend of summer. The mess is not caused by dead plants but rather the piles of  boxes, bags of clothes and unwanted furniture that my niece decided she didn’t want to take back to Adelaide.  Some has gone and Lifeline will come and collect the remainder of the furniture on Monday. I’ll spend part of the weekend  sorting through the boxes and the bags. In a couple of weeks the boys are heading over to Melbourne for some concert. Andrew is staying in Melbourne for a few days but John is coming back to Adelaide. I said I would go down and pick him up. It’s only an overnight stay and gives me the opportunity to do some shopping for Annabell at Tea Tree Plaza or the Elizabeth Center. I have been thinking about a new camera and this might be an opportunity to have a look around.

Still no word about the specialist and the insulin stuff as yet and the earliest we can get to see the eye specialist is May