2019 – Meet the New Year – Same as the Old Year :o)

See you next Year….

Well, time to think about taking down the tree and all the decorations. Once I’ve done that here, I’ll go down to the church, dismantle and put away the Christmas Tree there. Then after that I might take a drive down to the  supermarket and get myself some Hot Cross Buns – might even pick up an Easter Egg whilst I’m there. Sad, isn’t it?? I mean we  only just cleared Boxing Day and the Hot Cross Buns were in the shops already.  Don’t know about the Easter Eggs, but it wouldn’t surprise me.  Things have been fairly quiet on all fronts – a heatwave followed by two serious thunderstorms, then back to more normal weather for this time of year. We will have one day ( Thursday) when the temp. is forecast to hit 42c but other that that fairly normal mid 30s,

The company John works for has just completed a multi-million dollar upgrade and a rebuild of part of the facility. Because of the disruption they are well behind on orders and need to catch up – so they have that as well as starting up new equipment and sorting out any problems that may arise with the new plant and equipment, so in order to bed in the new plant, and work on catching up with orders,  the company has gone on twelve hour shifts for the time being. John is on nightshift —- bit of a shock to the system :o)  Andrew is supposed to be on holiday but he was called out and t

Friends together.

here was a possibility that he would be called out again, so he stayed at home. And there you are – Annabell and I – for the first time ever – spent New Year’s Eve on our own – well  we did have Benji and Dougal – but no other uprights. Did get text messages from both boys so  that was good. Sam ( Dougal’s daddy) is still in hospital. It was thought that they had sorted the blood loss problem and he was  allowed to go and stay with his daughter for a bit before coming home, but after two days he was rushed back into hospital. This was just before Christmas and I haven’t heard how things are since. We could have Dougal for a bit longer. That’s ok – he is not a problem.

Got the dogs out early this morning before the temperature  builds up to the expected 42c today. This time next week I should be in Adelaide. I have some things that I need to do and I want to get the problems with Annabell’s  mobile (cell) phone sorted out. We do not have an Optus shop here, only an agent and they can’t do much other than sell you a phone. So, anyway, here we are in 2019 and I have to say that I haven’t really noticed much difference. I’ve gone back to an A5 Organiser rather than an A6 mainly because I was having difficulty getting A6 inserts and I am not really keen on Filofax Personal. Years ago David Jones used to be the place for Filofax and other Organisers  Years ago it was also so simple – not so now. Now if I want inserts for my organiser I have to order them from overseas – the UK or the USA – in the case of the USA $30 for the inserts and $26 for postage and that’s $US converted to $AU $87, which is  ridiculous. I could go into Officeworks  and buy a brand new Organiser with inserts for just about that. Ok so it wont be good quality leather, but chuck that  in a cupboard somewhere and  use the inserts that come with it.   So I have gone back to a larger size because, oddly enough, the inserts are easier to get and I can download them and print that size on my printer. Not so A6.

Monday Lisa

I’m not very good at joining things but I did join a  Filofax/Organiser site  and although I still follow it,  I find that there is very little that really interests me on there these days. I find  my self playing  Batman’s Joker – “Why so Serious?” There is also a regular round table Skype call but it’s always a Sunday and the family are here so I never take part. Oh and  to help me in  the joy I find in taking photographs I  attended the local Camera/ Photography Club. I did very well, I thought. I lasted  two meeting before I came to the conclusion that it was not really for me. and I left. I like taking photographs and I always have a camera with me everywhere I go. I have an old Nikon Coolpix L100, which I keep in my laptop bag. I bought this off some old fellow called Noah many years ago. I am not a great photographer but I like taking photographs. I have bought many books on photography, but I found them confusing even after the blurb says that they are targeted at beginners. I suppose one day they will come in handy as door stops.

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“Could we start again, please?”

The moon in the morning

It’s been a kind of hectic time this last few weeks between getting ready for Christmas and organising fundraising events for the RFDS – the last one being on 23rd December. I was not able to help out at the Carols in the Park event because we were holding a Carol Service at the church at the same time.. Nor was I available for the Pageant. Still and all it was still hectic. Annabell was not the best and she was feeling a bit unwell, but she brightened up somewhat over the Christmas days – particularly Christmas Lunch with the family and, of course, the grandson. The boys organised Christmas Lunch this year. I  attended to the Watchnight Service on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day and we were at Andrew’s and as I said, Annabell was not too well, but for all that she had a good time with  her boys. She did well for gifts and we have always made a point of two sets of gifts and two sets on cards. Her birthday is on 24th December so we have always given her one card and one gift for her birthday and a card and gift for Christmas. We have always made certain she has never missed out and that the two things are always kept separate. On the subject of separate, I had a telephone call from a member of the congregation who  has offered to  take over as State Newsletter Correspondent. This is good and one less thing I have to be concerned with.

We were back home by 4:00 and as she was very tired I made her go and lay down for a few hours. I fed the dogs.  I didn’t take the dogs out as I didn’t want to leave her home alone – even for the hour it would take me to walk the dogs.  When she did wake up a few hours later she was feeling a little better, so I made her some tea and a sandwich. She has been a lot better today. Andrew was supposed to be on holiday this week, but he is still on call

Also, during the week I made a trip to Adelaide. There were some things I needed and wanted and could only be bought in Adelaide. I did, however, go through to Victoria Square

Part of Victoria Square

and took a photograph, or two , of part of the square. Victoria Square is quite large so I was only able to photograph a small part of it. The square started a $24 Million upgrade but after half was completed, the Adelaide City Council had funding issues and the rest will have to wait for the moment..

Sam and Ina ( Dougal’s people) are still in Adelaide. Sam,as I mentioned before, was quite ill and is still having a blood loss so it is unlikely we will see them back for a little while yet. Ina did telephone during the week to let us know what is happening. Dougal has now been with us for  five weeks. It doesn’t seem like that  and as things are we will have him for a little while longer. That’s ok – he’s fine – needs a haircut, but otherwise, fine. The weather has been hot to very hot with a fire ban declared throughout the area for the next few days- Tuesday 36c / Wednesday 41c / Thursday (today) 45c / Friday 46c and then down to the mid 30s for next week. Dogs out very early in the morning and late at night – if it’s not too hot during the day and by late I mean after 8pm.  There have been lots of Kangaroos around the place and this morning was no exception – all of them looking for water and food. I have a bucket of water out in the garden and I top it up every few days. I also  make sure the bird

Next stop – Cowell – 96 miles away and nothing in between.

bath also has water in it – although not today – today I was the “plant” that was watered as the fixture of the hose blew apart and I was soaked. Fortunately it was at the end of the walk. For those who have not seen it – this is my “back Yard”. Thousands of square miles of nothingness but wild animals and  saltbush. The photograph is looking West – north of us  are salt lakes and desert. I want to drive up there sometime but at the moment it is waaaay too hot.

One more week and things can start to get back to what passes for normal – a new week – a new year.  So until  I am back on line again, I wish everyone a Happy and Joyful New Year.

Have a great New Year.

 

Model Trains and Kangaroos

The Enchanted Forest – my favourite.

The Model Railway Exhibition was brilliant. Oh yes, it was  a very busy weekend for the RFDS but there were compensations and one of those was that retired Senator Buckland  who is President of the Club said that the RFDS people would be allowed into the exhibition free of charge. The  setups were fabulous and I was really amazed at the amount of work that had gone into them. What really floored me was that some of the exhibits  were large in their own right but  amazing that they were really only part of a larger set up. There were  model railway set-ups from as far away as Western Australia but also sets from  Adelaide and  various places in Victoria.

The weather was changeable over the last  couple of weeks and we did have some rain during the Model Railway two days. Not long after that we were looking after Dougal for a few days as his people went down to the Royal Adelaide for tests. However, she is still not the best so she will have to go back down on the 20th of this month and we will have Dougal back with us  again.

Not long after Dougal went home I left for Mount Gambier. Stayed overnight in Adelaide and drove to Mount Gambier on the Friday. Set off for Adelaide right after the meeting  on the Saturday and stayed overnight before hitting the road again at 05:30 since I really wanted to be home at 11am – well not so much home but to be in the church for part of the 11am  (Armistice Day) Service – which I was. The weather has warmed up and over the last few days we

This morning on our walk

have been in the mid 30c. I took Benji out for a walk  at 6am before it  started to heat up and the ground was still cold. I was surprised to see Kangaroos around since I assumed the rain for much of the week just gone, would have been enough to keep them happy. They only really come near the town when there is little to drink and not much feed out in the bush. Not the best of photographs but they were a bit back off the road and trying to hold a dog, hold  the smartphone steady and take a picture, wasn’t all that easy. Tomorrow it is supposed to be overcast with the possibility of  rain and a bit of a storm – at least that’s what the state forecast was. The local news was not quite so certain in regard to the weather, so it might rain, but then, it might not. —- It did..

In a few days the Officer Cadets of the Military College , Duntroon, Canberra will be here for three weeks  to conduct exercises. There will be command posts set up around the town and  the army is calling for volunteers to take part in the population evacuation exercises. I didn’t do that last time but I think I might  have a shot at it this time. At the moment the Cadets are doing some training at Cultana before they come over here for the next three weeks. As it turns out I wont be since the registration is this coming Saturday and I  had a call from the  Mitre 10 hardware wanting me to organise a RFDS Fundraiser for this Saturday. I have been on the phone much of the afternoon getting a team together

The Ambulance Ramping crisis continues with 18 Ambulances at the Royal Adelaide waiting to be attended to. Whilst they are there, they are not available for any emergency. The photograph was taken by

18 ambulances with patients on board – waiting…….

an ambulance para-medic. But there you are – the most expensive hospital on the planet and it doesn’t work and it can’t cope. If a real medical crisis, where many people are affected,  ever hit Adelaide and South Australia, we would be well and truly stuffed.

Benji and I have been out and about. I took him back out to the lighthouse and then to the wetlands. Sometime over this weekend I really must get the model railway photographs sorted out. I take hundreds of photographs but am not the best of photographers.

Around the area.

Benji relaxing – which he is good at :o)

I mentioned before that the day I was outside was a lovely warm, sunny day. The contrast is that yesterday afternoon it started raining, was cold and Adelaide had a major thunderstorm. We got a little bit of a side swipe, some lightening, bit of thunder and some rain. Today it’s dry but cold and overcast – very much back in winter mode although not quite as cold, but still cold. The army has now left  their Cultana Playpen so we have a military free month until the next  group come over from Canberra. The next group will be the Officer Cadets from the Military College in Canberra who will come here for their final exercise before returning to the College to undertake their final exams. This group will not be out at the PlayPen, but will be under canvas at the  showground – same as last time – and they don’t have tanks. Not that we saw much of the tanks this time round. Interesting in that we were told to expect live-fire shooting from tanks and artillery. We heard nothing, but then the Training Ground ( Playpen) is over 2500 Square Kilometers in size.

Much of the last  week has been cold and miserable with rain off and on. Also it is now dark again in the mornings since the clocks went forward an hour.  My  6am walk with the dog  is dark with the light not happening until close to the end of our walk at 7am. The forecast for the week is dull and overcast with possibly some rain. The weekend, however, should be warm  and sunny.  Today and tomorrow  the RFDS Local Group are guests at the new On The Run (OTR) Service Station. Apparently the  billionaire  owner of the OTR is now a sponsor of the RFDS so we have been invited to the pre-opening tonight and the official opening tomorrow.

The problems and concerns with WordPress are not getting any better and I have to rescue more and more posts and comments from the Spam Folder. In fact most of the posts from  Tales around the Ranch,   Glasgow Galavanter, Spoon you, My Golden life (sort off because they do vanish and I have no idea where to). These are the main ones but there are others – Scotland with the Wee White Dug, is a frequent visitor to the Spam Folder. I am  really thinking of adding a new  comment when I reply to people  – RFS – Rescued from Spam   :o) Always providing that I find them in the first place. Others have either stopped writing or they are somewhere else and I have not found them yet. – but I will. This is only recent and I have no idea why it is happening.

The pre-opening of the OTR Service Station was interesting and attended by the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, The State MP for the area, the Federal MP for the Region, councillors, and business

Wetlands Kiosk
New OTR Service Station

leaders and the RFDS. It was quite an evening, lots of food, some speeches and some presentations. The  Regional Manager of OTR will attend the RFDS Meeting in November and explain to the members how the sponsorship works and how the  charity money is distributed by OTR. The RFDS is their preferred sponsor but they have a few other charities that they  contribute to.

I have decided that I am well and truly over walking in the morning dark and the sooner we get into summer the better. Apart from being dark, it is cold and windy and not really  the best time of the day.  It was fine until the clock change. If I leave it until later his biological clock gets put out of whack and there could be an “accident’. When the alarm goes off he’s up and ready to go but he has to wait for me getting dressed – “come on dad, hurry up” .  The Wetlands Kiosk has its opening today, so,  sometime during the morning I will get down with Benji and have a coffee and a walk – depending on the weather, of course and the length of time I am at the OTR Service Station.  I did drive  around that way going home from the Service Station last night and there were a few cars and light on in the Kiosk and the area around it getting everything ready for the opening today, I expect.

 

It’s all happening……….

The fall-out over the sudden collapse of the South Australian  Construction/ Engineering company,  York Civil, continues with sub-contractors owed hundreds of thousands of dollars and projects in Adelaide, Western Australia and New South Wales now under threat. I was not being facetious the other day when I said that staff arrived at work on Monday morning and by lunch had all their things in cardboard boxes and were heading out the door – that is exactly how it happened. By  Monday evening there was some hope – by Tuesday it was gone and the company ceased trading. In the last few months we have lost two Engineering Companies here – Stassi Engineering and Ottaway Engineering, which is not helping. However, York Civil was not involved in any projects here. I thought the big City Council / GFG Alliance Joint Announcement was yesterday but I was wrong -it is today (Wednesday) The reason for today is that the

My Almond Tree in Blossom

State Premier, Steven Marshall, will be here today.

During my Adelaide trip Yogi went home.  Jim’s son came and collected him. We don’t mind looking after Yogi – he is no trouble and he and Benji get on well.  Jim is not allowed to drive and Fay is looking after him, so I have become the taxi driver for the Coffee Ladies ( well,  three ) until further notice. Jim’s son will be going home to Western Australia to his own family  today.  I have spent the last two days organising people for the  RFDS Stand at the Show this weekend. We have one and a half days to be on duty and I have managed to get everyone organised and ready to go. I will be there on Saturday covering two shifts from 1pm to 8pm and close. It’s really an information only stand. We can have donation tins and we can run a raffle but we are not allowed to sell anything. Still it should be an interesting day and a half and I would like to think that we get to talk to a lot of interesting – and interested – people. I spoke to the chairman of the Men’s Shed and they were offered a stand at the show, but couldn’t get any volunteers to help run it — which I thought was sad.

1st Announcement: The Premier has just announced that the State Government will commit $100 million to the building of a new 7

Lovely Day

-12 High School to replace the three  current, and declining  High Schools. The Senior High School, was a 1960s style school and it showed it. The students did not like it, mainly because  it was quite depressing and its facilities were old and worn.  The labor government did an assessment of the school and suggested that it was too big for the number of students, so they wanted two wings closed down and classes merged – and – they would no longer pay for the cleaning of these areas. Three teachers refused to move because of the disruption it would cause their students. They were told by admin. that their classrooms would no longer be cleaned. Fine!! The three “rebels”bought a decent  Hoover between them and undertook to clean the classrooms themselves. Their students decided that they would help out so some came in early to help their teachers clean up. Recently the School has spent a lot of money trying to brighten up the place. It’s not too bad looking now, but it’s still tired.

2nd Announcement: British Billionaire owner of GFG Alliance has announced the launching of a $1Billion energy program, the first phase of which will begin outside of Whyalla in early 2019. This will be a 280 Megawatt Solar Power Station capable of powering 100,000 homes and the larger part of the needs of the GFG Alliance Steel Plant. Initial creation of 350 new jobs.  The company said the 600 gigawatt hours of generation per year was enough to power 96,000 average homes, with its 780,000 solar panels spread across 11 square kilometres, an area 550 times larger than Adelaide Oval. It would offset 492,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Before the rain came today.

3rd Announcement: GFG Alliance will supply the steel for the construction of the  165 metre  Jetty. The Jetty was damaged in a storm surge over a year ago and has been out of commission since.  A public debate was held and suggestions made for the shape and size of the new jetty and the final plans will now go out for tender. Once approval is granted, the Council, State Government and GFG Alliance will each contribute to the funding of the project. Again, the creation of new employment

There were a few  minor announcements but these were the main three, so it is possible that things will start to look up and  I hope this will start to rebuild the confidence since it is now certain that the major players, the State Government and GFG Alliance have illustrated their commitment to the future of the area.

And the winner is……………………………….

It’s coming soon.

I left home on Friday morning, it was quiet, no rain, no wind and the sun was showing its good side. For most of the day the weather  was good for a winter day and I had a fairly enjoyable trip down until I reached the city, that is. I had programmed the GPS to take me out to Adelaide Airport and the RFDS Base. Never having been to that end of town before I had to rely on the GPS – bad mistake. It took me the best part of an hour and a half to get to the Airport as the GPS led me into just about every street in the entire  side of the city. “Take the second turning on the left” or words of a similar nature are words that I came to hate. Speaking to friends later I was told that I was  in roads that I should have been no where near. However, I did arrive at Adelaide Airport only to discover that the RFDS Base is not there any more. It has moved to a new area. After being told where the new Base is I set off again, with similar results. I finally gave up and pulled into Harbour Town. I telephoned the Base from the car-park and was told that I was only minutes away and that the base was in the Airport grounds behind Harbour Town. Three minutes later, and after instructions from Lindy & Mary  (RFDS Staff) I was at the Base. I wasn’t lost, you understand – I do not get lost, although from time to time I do become “Geographically Misplaced”  I collected all things that I needed to collect and made my way back out. Tapley’s Hill Road, took me to Sir Donald Bradman Drive, which I knew would take me directly to town and less than 20 minutes later I was in town and heading out to North Adelaide. Not my best day and by now it was raining. After a coffee in my hotel, I decided to  go into town. By this time the rain was pretty heavy so I gave that a miss. I never got half the things I wanted to do. By the time the Conference finished on Saturday, It was chucking it down , so I decided to go home rather than go shopping. Driving out of town was an illustration of what I have been saying to you – the further north I drove the less rain. By Snowtown (150 klm North) the sky was blue and the clouds were white rather than gray. A few spots at the Port and that was about it.

In the last two years I have lost a number of people that I did not expect to lose. I felt all was well, but they just stopped writing – well at least to this page, I still see them on other pages. In the last two months a further two have left and I can’t help wondering who will be next. So, I am considering what I do from here.

Not a lot happens up here. At the moment we are like a potato – everything that is really good is underground – waiting. I would not go so far to say that our glory days are over and that we

Well, are we :o) ?

just go quietly into the night, but there are promises and we live on promises – many of which remain unfulfilled. The  buying of Arrium;  the company brought from the brink of death by Mr. Gupta and the GFG Alliance. Lots of promises, lots of plans, but not really a lot on the ground. Impatience?? Perhaps but it has been a year this month since Arrium  was bought and whilst there is some returning confidence, it’s not as much as was expected.  Some things will have to change, no doubt about that and at the moment we have no real idea of what these changes might be. We look outward and see that one of the largest construction companies, involved in multi-million government projects, has collapsed and closed its doors,  and many people came to work on Monday  morning and by Monday lunchtime, had put their personal belongings into boxes and were out the door for good. It was that fast. That could have happened to us, but it didn’t. Theirs was a sudden shock, ours was a long, slow, painful decline and we are still to raise ourselves up from that.  There is supposed to be a “Big Announcement” today by Mr. Gupta and GFG Alliance, with Mr. Gupta here in town. So we will see what that brings.

 

Benji, sunny days and passing lanes

Despite the blood red moon today, it’s cold. Strange though, it was quite mild when Benji and I were out early (05:00 – early) because I wanted to see the blood moon – freaky.. So  we decided to go for our walk since we were out anyway. As I said it was really quite mild but as the morning progressed it got colder. I was forced at 8:30 to put the heater on.

Benji catching some rays from the winter sun.

Although today was slightly unusual  as generally  it has been cold all night and through into the morning. The days have been  mild, so much so that Benji took up residence on one of the outdoor chairs and sat facing the sun and lifting his head so the  warmth could get to his chest. It looked strange, but he sat that was for quite a bit. We had a morning out at the lighthouse and then on Wednesday we drove through to the Port and spent the morning there. No Arid Lands Botanic Garden (ALBG) because dogs are not allowed in the area,  well, in the carpark is the limit,  and since the carpark is a  fair bit away from the shop and the nursery, I wont leave him in the car for that length of time. If it is my intention to go to the ALBG then I will not take Benji with me.

I  think I did mention that my niece has come back to town. Anyway I picked her up yesterday and took her to the airport to catch a flight to Adelaide. She asked me to look after and feed her cat, a black and white cat called Felix. I agreed to do this. It’s  been great fun – and I have the blood on my ankles to prove it.  The thing attacks me from under the table and I am so glad I was wearing a track suit and not just trousers, otherwise there might have been more blood. It’s like walking into a room with a snake there – it hisses.  Generally I have no problems with cats, but this is one oddball animal.

You may remember that I talked some time ago about the Passing Lanes for the Whyalla-Port Augusta Road. Well the Feds gave most of the money for construction, the State Labor government procrastinated and delayed the project for three years.  then, just a few months before the State Election, the project was started. The intention was to boost the Government’s chances of re-election. It didn’t happen and we had a new government to pick up the mess left by the last spendthrift government. Work continued on the  bypass lanes and they were finally finished a few months ago. Almost immediately there were complaints about the quality of the new roads, great indentations where the road met the bypass lane – making it dangerous particularly for anyone on a motorbike – and after a mere three months potholes had developed. There are concerns about the quality of the road surface. The bypass lanes are partly closed, or  are very reduced speeds, until urgent repairs are carried out. I did say, when I got home, that I was not very impressed with the bypass lanes, period. I thought the surface was poor and underwhelming. Talk about cheap and cheerful. Anyway the arguing has already started regarding who pays for the  repairs – the government or the contractor. The contractor are doing what many contractors do –

Benji on the Hill

blame someone else. In the meantime the roads are partly closed.

Flinders Drive and the entrance to the Medical Center

Towards the end of this week we will have Yogi again. No idea at this stage how long for but it might be a while until they return from Adelaide and Jim recovers from the operation at

Flinders Medical Centre. He is very casual about it, which I suppose is a good thing, but it seems to me that having a cancerous liver removed is not casual thing – but then, perhaps that’s just me. I don’t mean that you should  make yourself ill by worrying but I just think it requires a little more “respect”.

I have lost several posts. I contacted the people concerned and they tell me that I am still with them and they are still sending to me, but I am not getting anything. Of all the UK posts I only have one remaining. My computer guru ( No. 1 Son) has gone thought my Outlook Express account and can find no changes, so I don’t know what’s happening.