California Dreaming, Adelaide, Star Trek.

To give some scale to what has happened here so far,  The 2018 California fires burnt 2 million acres; the 2019 Amazon fires 2.2 million acres; and the 2019 Siberian fires 6.7 million acres. So far, up until this morning,  Australia’s 2019/20 fires have burnt 15 million acres. To further put that into scale, 60,702 square kilometers or bigger than Denmark ( with Wales on the side) – Think West Virginia  Here, we are, to a large extent,

I wonder if he has the answer?

protected in that  any fire that started here would be out fairly quickly since – although we have some trees – we don’t anything like the density of woodland and forests like NSW and Victoria and, of course, other parts of SA. Yes, we have had a couple of fires here but mainly grass fires that were put out fairly quickly and a few of them were started by morons who thought it was fun. The court did too because it gave them a slap on the wrist and sent them home. The only serious fire near here is in Middleback Road and that’s about 50+ kilometers away. We did have rain here on Sunday and it started raining when I took Benji out at 6am. The rain, although not heavy, continued throughout the day. It was of some help but not as much as had been hoped for. At the moment the main (only) sealed highway between Western Australia and South Australia remains cut off and  trucks are still backed up at the border or at several service stations. Life here continues much as normal and there are no restrictions. However, there is talk about  how the bushfires may effect how we view holidays and if it really is in the best interest of Australia for people to be taking holidays and travelling during the  fire season. Perhaps we should look at holidays in the cooler periods, Spring or  Autumn. Most schools are fully air-conditioned so perhaps we should be looking at keeping the schools open during the hot weather, changing the semester dates. so that the long six week school break does not fall in summer during the fire season. But this is Australia, reluctant to change even when the reasons are  slapped in your face – a very much “She’ll  be right mate”attitude. What’s happened is alarming in that when fire has gone through an area,

To Boldly go…

generally it will come back again – in about 50 / 60 years. But here it’s only been 15 years since fires went through some areas and that is unusual. However, at the end of it all,  nothing much will happen. The fires will eventually go out, people will discuss how we are going to tackle them in the future, and they will still be talking when the next fire season comes around. We  do not seem to have either the social nor the political will  to put a stop to the seemingly endless cycle – Fire – destruction – rebuild – repeat.  We build houses with a Star Trek Philosophy _ “Boldly go where no one has gone before”.   Oh look, a lovely, pristine landscape – we could fit 10,000 houses, roads, supermarkets  etc. in this area and call it Ocean View Housing Estate.

Australia, like some other countries, has a serious problem. That problem is Queensland and the reliance of Queensland on Coal. The political party that attacks Queensland’s love affair with coal is in serious trouble when it comes to elections and votes. True the coal powered power stations are being closed down here, but there are many others across the world and a number of them rely on Queensland coal – the mining and exporting of coal from Queensland. Between the coal industry and the mining industry in Queensland we are  talking about 47,000 jobs. Australia exports a staggering 370.1 Million Tons of coal a year. The loss of jobs and the destruction of the Queensland Economy and the flow-on effect that will have,  does not bear thinking about.

Wednesday saw me in Adelaide. I did my least favourite thing and that is travel to and from Adelaide by coach. Had I driven down it would have meant an overnight stay and I didn’t want that, so the price for not doing that was 11 hours on a coach. Oh Joy!!  I use Ryobi tools and the only supplier of Ryobi, tools, batteries and accessories in South Australia is Bunnings. Apart from which there were a few other things I wanted I also wanted a couple of large things from Bunnings but they can wait until I go down in February with the car. Fires are still burning out of control in Victoria and  Kangaroo Island here in South Australia. It’s not improving at the moment. The temp today (Thursday) was 45c. Tomorrow (Friday)  27c

Towards the Final Curtain F

The Blue Lake, Mount Gambier

Well, that’s Mount Gambier over for another year. The trip was interesting, to say the least. There was a fatal car smash at the dreaded junction of the Inter-state Highway and the Copper Coast Highway, with the rescue helicopter called in. The traffic was backed up for miles in all three directions.  The elderly female driver died at the scene with the husband air lifted out by the Rescue Helicopter. He died a few hours later in the Royal Adelaide Hospital. This is a dangerous intersection and I have had a couple of near misses myself with drivers coming off the Copper Coast Highway and either not seeing or ignoring the give way signs. The Inter-state has “right of way”.  The State Government and Federal Government have allocated funds to try and fix the problem but there seems to be no sense of urgency and the construction wont start until

You can see the buildup of traffic. The only alteration to this photograph is my erasing of the reg, plate

“sometime” in 2020. Still, as it’s not in Adelaide, no one worries much.   Between the detours and the delay, I was about two hours down.  Generally, I shop off for a break at Port Wakefield, but considering the volume of traffic going through because of the accident, delays and diversions, I decided against stopping and carried on to Adelaide. Thursday was not too bad with regard to the weather. I was able to get some shopping done in town and at the Central Market.

At about 10:30 I started to get a bit weary so to bed I went, only to be rudely wakened at 3am with thumping, banging and loud, continuous screaming. Next thing I saw the flashing blue and red reflection on the window blind (police car) – more banging- bit more screaming – a female screaming like a banshee, lots of voices, some sharing their innermost thoughts, then quiet. By then I was wide awake and although I sort of dozed off in fits and starts, I never really got to sleep again. It was either a domestic thing or a sex thing. Don’t know and never asked.  At 6am I was showered, dressed and booked out. By 6:30 I was on the road again – and it was raining.

The drive on the freeway to Tailem Bend was not one of the best drives I have had recently – it didn’t just rain, it poured, with the windscreen wipers sometimes having difficulty in coping.  Fortunately, there was not a lot of traffic on the freeway at that time in the morning, which was just as well, considering the conditions. First time I have ever driven in the daytime with headlights on.  By the time I reached Tailem Bend the rain has eased off – not stopped, just eased off.  I did, however, get my usual photograph of the River Murray. The Murray is looking ok,

The River Murray

but the dull overcast conditions gives you some idea of what the weather was like. More rain on the way to Mt. G. but at least  it was a lot lighter than on the freeway.   Mount Gambier was not so great this trip.  The cold and the rain caused a few electrical failures in Mt. Gambier, one of which was the heating in the hotel. Second concern I have had here, one last year and not another one this year. Perhaps time for a new hotel. One of our members is in Hospital and is not expected to survive. It is really a waiting period. All of his family are there, and no visitors are allowed, other than family. It has been a week since I returned from Mt. G. and I really expected to be called down to  Adelaide.

Fires continue to rage out of control in New South Wales and Queensland with five lives being lost. Here in South Australia we had a bush fire  in the bottom area of the peninsula outside Port Lincoln which was bad enough to put Port Lincoln  under threat.  Fortunately, that one  was brought under control and extinguished reasonably quickly.

The weather here at home has been cool to cold but that is about to change as the forecast is a rapid climb in temperature to 43c on Thursday.   Joy!!!

Lobethal to Hahndorf

Lobethal main street

The largest Brewing Company is owned by the Japanese, but that aside, South Australian  “Beer” is actually  a lager beer, which the boys don’t like. Andrew has a list of the Microbrewery places in South Australia. They consider Lobethal to be one of the best. Actually I think almost all of the beer manufacturing in South Australia is foreign owned.  I liked  Lobethal., a quiet place, not very overtly German, like some of the other towns in the area – particularly our next stop. I had a wander around the  main street, which for a weekday, was very quiet.  I did, of course, find the little white church and took photographs of   the 1922 foundation stone. Around the place there were many  posts and posters highlighting the benefits of the Lobethal Lutheran  School.  All this came about in 1838 when George Fife Angas left South Australia to recruit prospective colonist for the new  Province in South Australia.  A number of Lutherans were anxious to leave the town of Klemzig In Prussia because of persecution by the   King of Prussia. They were led by their Pastor,  Augusta Ludwig Kavel. They settled in  a small parcel of land by the River Torrens which they called Klemzig after the town they had left. Over the years the area has been absorbed into the City of Adelaide. The second wave of German Settlers move further into the interior of the colony and purchased land there. There were a number of settlements of which Lobethal and Hahndorf are

The old church bell at the white Church- Lobethal

but two.  With the anti-German feeling during the World War One, many of the German names were abolished and  changed – Lobethal became Tweedvale. Most of the names were changed back by government decree in 1934 all except  Petersburg. Petersburg became simply Peterborough. In 1934 when the other towns were allowed to return to their original names, Peterborough decided not to and to remain as it was. Interestingly, the first ever Lutheran Church in Australia was built in Lobethal and the 1641 Bible of Pastor Kavel is kept there.  Not too sure about that so I will have to do some searching.

We spent some time wandering around Lobethal before heading off to Hahndorf for a late lunch. John had been there before so he chose the  place where we would have our meal. We had a quiet walk through the local area before entering the  “German Arms Hotel” Hahndorf was one of the areas settled by the  German Settlers who became prosperous in the new settlement.  The South Australian Wine industry, the largest in Australia had its Genesis here with several German families who realised that the cool climate of the Adelaide Hills was perfect

The German Arms
Hahndorf SA

for  growing grapes and producing wine. There are a large number of Wineries in this area and I am led to understand the the Wolf Blass Gallery and Museum will be built at Hahndorf. Unlike Lobethal, Hahndorf displays its German Heritage  in a number of ways, not the least of which is its food and restaurants. Having been here several times, John took me to the German Arms a German Bierhaus and Restaurant. Because of

The German Arms

the long drive ahead of us we settled on Lemonade ( boo — hiss)  John  ordered a Trio of German Wurt with some sauce, -which he said was really good. I was  less adventurous and had  a Chicken and Prawn Pasta with a really nice  cheese sauce. The portions were very large and I was unable to finish my meal. The staff did offer me a take-away box, but I felt it was a long drive and quite warm – too warm to carry in a car for 550 kilometers. Not being a food blogger in any way shape or form, it never really occurred to me to take photographs of our meal.  The place was really nice, the staff friendly,  the service excellent  and it just had a really good atmosphere. I would have liked to have spent a lot more time there.

Leaving the German Arms carpark  John set the  Tom Tom for Tea Tree Plaza. I needed to go there to get some things for the

Lobethal: Car park at back of the  Bierhaus — not customers.

church before heading home. As I said in  the previous post, our drive through to Lobethal and then to Hahndorf was uphill, downhill, narrow roads, sharp twists and turns, well,  less than ten minutes after leaving Hahndorf we  were on the approach road to the South Eastern Freeway and  a short while later at Adelaide. I asked John why we didn’t go that way in the first place,  “my way was more adventurous”.  Sheesh…

Adelaide and Lobethal

Adelaide

For the last two days John and I have been in Adelaide and elsewhere. I needed to go down to Adelaide to get some work done on the car. I could have had the parts sent up here by freight and asked my mechanic to do the work, but in this instance even my mechanic advised me to go to Adelaide since the cost of transporting the parts up here was be more than the parts were worth. So to Adelaide I went. John wanted to come with me in the hope that if the alterations were done in time we could head out to Lobethal. He wanted to visit the Lobethal Bierhaus  to get beer – yes you read right – it is a microbrewery and the boys, John and Andrew, really like the beer, so when they are in the vicinity ( or even just in Adelaide) they head to Lobethal and the brewery.

We didn’t get away from home until after 1pm. – Wednesday is Coffee Ladies morning and I  take and collect Annabell. This meant that it was after 6pm before we got to the hotel

Rex Hotel

and booked in.  The reason for the Wednesday departure is simply that the car was due at the workshop at 8am. With the temperature at 34c we drove with the A/C on for most of the way, stopping at the Tin Man and – briefly – at Port Wakefield. We arrived at the hotel at just after 6:16 pm and booked in.  We also discovered that Bunnings (Mile End) was open until 9pm, so after getting the bags  out of the car and into the room, we headed to Bunnings. I had a few things I needed to get as did John. We  got what we wanted then headed back to the hotel for dinner. John had a beer with his dinner, which he suggested was only marginally better than water with  food colouring. The food was very good and  I enjoyed my Shiraz. My reason for staying here is simply that the garage where I am taking the car is just along the road.

Thursday morning and after a good sleep in a very comfortable bed I got washed and dressed and  took the car to the workshop at 7:45. At 8am the  mechanic came out and we had an inspection of the car exterior. That done I went back to the hotel for a coffee. The alterations didn’t take long at I had a call just after 9:40 to tell me the car was ready for collection. We collected and paid for the car and with John driving we set off. The temperature being 39c, we drove with the A/C on. I was very thankful John was driving because Lobethal is up in the Adelaide hills, narrow, climb hills, descend hills, twists and turns the whole way and from where we started to arrival in Lobethal it was a good hour of concentrated driving.

Inside the Brewery.

As it turned out the Brewery was closed, but we met a man and talked to him and told him where we had come from, so he went and spoke to the boss, who came out and invited us inside. They were closed and only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but he said that they always look after their faithful customers so he was quite happy to get

An interesting selection if you like Beers.

John what he wanted. I telephoned Andrew and asked is he wanted anything so we bought two bottles for him. The bottles, by the way, are 2 litres each. Before we left we were taken for a brief tour of the distillery, which was really interesting. Storing the  big bottles in the car and packing them with towels and clothes to keep them safe, we had a wander around the town for a little while. I found an interesting church  – Lobethal Uniting Church – with a foundation stone dated 1922, so with that date it means that it started out as something else as the Uniting Church did not exist then. My thought was for a Congregational Church but I decided to research when I came home.

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

Another View

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.