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.

“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.

 

Parks, Birthdays and Shows

Artists impression

I am happy to say that Annabell is very much improved and  has started going back to the coffee evenings. Have no idea why they call them coffee evenings – most of the ladies drink tea. Oh well. I took Benji down to the Wetlands to see  the progress on the new Kiosk. It’s coming on well and should be opened soon. The electricity had been cut off to the area whilst work is being done on the  kiosk. There doesn’t seem to be much happening on the outside so I suppose it is all happening inside – well I hope that’s the case. But really,  some form of kiosk  here is well overdue and this one is close to one of the three barbecue areas which should increase the traffic on warm days. I have come down here on public holidays and being family friendly the whole area is well patronised, so the kiosk should do well. My concern is that some “couldn’t care less” dog people are not cleaning up after their dogs and it is becoming noticeable. There are  dog bag  dispensers  situated all over the park, plus there are notices but neither seem to help. I don’t know what the answer is. So, a small minority, not doing the right thing, give us all a bad reputation.   When we came here at first  there was,  on the outskirts of town,  a Fauna and Reptile park and an animal sanctuary. Again this was well used and I took a number of visitors down there. There was a Snow Tiger  that was no longer able to perform at a circus. The circus people were going to have it put down so the owners of our park bought it and brought it to  the Fauna Park where it lived in peace and quiet for its last years. However due to financial problems the Park was closed down about 14 years ago.

The Mini-Godfather and his minder

Recently a local business family have expressed interest in opening the park again and work has already started on cleaning it up and getting it back in shape. A lot of people and businesses have donated time and equipment to help get it up and running again. Most of us remember it from when we took our own children there.  It is believed that the park will be open in time for the September school holidays.

Wilson Park is a family friendly park not very far from Andrew’s house. This is where they held Connor’s birthday party. However, it has drawbacks in that there are no Barbecue facilities there so in order to have a Barbecue Andrew and friends loaded a Barbecue onto a trailer, moved it down to Wilson Park and then manhandled it

Magpie at the Dog Trough.

off.   Just off the designated playground, Council in its infinite wisdom have decided to construct a second skate park. It’s about 30 feet away from where we had the children on Sunday, so that should be “interesting”.

Going back to the Wetlands again – when I was down there with Benji the other day, I took this photograph  of a Magpie drinking from the dog trough. Not spectacular, but I thought it was interesting enough to share as something you don’t see very often,

Denver held a Pet Expo and I said that we never held anything like that here and that’s true. However, I did discover that  in April of this year there was a two day  Animal Expo in Adelaide, billed as the biggest in South Australia, which is really not all that difficult because I don’t think many country towns can afford to run such a specalised event. It is also unlikely that many traders would attend such an event in a country town because of the costs involved – and really not a great return on outlay. Sad but true. However, and this is the thing, until I read the Denver information and started looking at this area, I had never heard of the two day event in Adelaide – which indicated how widespread  the advertising for the event was.  On a final note – it has been raining off and on – heavy and light – for the last 24 hours. I guess that means that the drought in this area has been broken and that the Emus population that  invaded the town, can now go back home.

 

Christmas

A dog and his toys

For those who have been watching, I finally managed to get a couple of hours sleep in the recliner, some of that sleep with a dog on my chest. By the time Annabell woke me it was almost 10am so I had about three hours sleep. Still, as they say in Australia – Better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. After the trauma of the night ( or should that be terror of the night) looked outside and saw a clear blue sky – barely a cloud and what was there was white and fluffy. Took Annabell shopping and paid the car  registration. We were going to start to lay food for Christmas Dinner but it is being held at the Son’s place. Annabell will bring salads, a Pavlova and a coleslaw- and yes it will be about 40c.  Just about finished all the presents and my oldest son thinks I’ve lost the plot. I’m so sorry, but I thought everyone has Christmas Presents under the tree from Santa to the dog. Annabell is already using her Christmas Gift. She wanted a new  computer chair so we went out and I bought her a new  chair. That’s what she picked, so that’s what she got – not that exact chair, of course, but pretty close – no point in just me picking it, I wont be using it.

The way things are at the moment gives the impression that we ( as a town) have turned the corner and that prosperity has arrived with the new Arrium owner. Part of the reason for this is that the shopping centre is festive, bright and cheerful and fulfilling its role as the largest shopping centre outside of Adelaide. However although we accept things as they are today, it is somewhat deceptive in that the empty shops are not new business that has taken up residence in town, but rather  what is called “pop-up shops” These are shops that open up, filling the empty places for a limited period. After Christmas and New Year are over they will close and leave and we will go back to being the largest shopping centre outside of Adelaide with 30% of the shops empty. The organization that owns the  shopping centre ( one of several) is PPI Management Funds based in Adelaide. I wonder how much is actually being done to attract business to the area. One of the places that features on their website as part of this  centre, is the large Radio Rentals showrooms. This was closed down and has been empty for the best part of three years and Dick Smith Electronics, went bankrupt and closed down about five years ago. Spotlight, another large area, is also closed and the original Cheap as Chips Variety Store, moved to another area several years ago and their old shop  (also a large area) is closed down and empty.  However having said that I do believe that we are about to turn the corner and  and engineer I know tells me that if only half of what GFG Alliance has said it will do is actually done, there will still be enough work for at least 10 – 12 years. Mr. Gupta, the new owner,  said in an interview recently that he has allocated over $1 Billion to develop and upgrade the mill and the surrounding region. We are still having shops close down and we hope the

I’m baack…..

exodus will reverse soon and people will start to return. However, three new shops have opened in the last month, with corresponding extra employment,  so it’s not all doom and gloom, but the problem is that the areas that are empty are big and very visible.

Benji’s Nightmare returns…

For the last few weeks I had been telling Benji that he had to behave because if he didn’t behave,  the WaWa would come and chastise him again. Well, he didn’t behave well enough for Santa – even although Santa left him new toys –  so today, the WaWa came – and not just any old WaWa but THE WaWa, Kongsoon herself – with her Staff, namely Sooah and her husband.  What a wonderful surprise that was to have them both here for a while. Most unexpected. Benji went straight to the room got one of his toys and sqeeked at her :o) then took off like a scalded cat – very much discretion  being the better part of valour. Soon as he came in, she went for him, so I put him in the room untill they left. It was the safest thing to do.

Yams, Walkies and Snow

During the course of an afternoon, Annabell will ask me if I would like a coffee – chocolate biscuit or scone. Now I know I have casually mentioned in some posts that I like scones, but in a situation like this I will choose to have a scone rather than a chocolate biscuit. You see, I can’t share a chocolate biscuit, but I can share a scone with my Associate. You have to think of these things  :o)  This afternoon, being Thursday, I did as I promised I would do, I got out the Mandoline / Mandolin slicer,   sliced the Sweet Potatoes and put the slices on two baking trays and put these in a 120c oven for three hours. After about halfway I’ll go and turn them.  I just hope, after all this, the dogs like them and they don’t end up in landfill – or I end up eating them myself.  Don’t balk – it’s sweet potato not actual dog food. If this does work, I might give the  Peanut Butter recipe a go.

Benji and the WaWa at the beach

I lift her leash and her tail goes off like a wee helicopter. Last night I put her on Annabell’s lap while I got Benji ready and she was not happy and Annabell says she was watching my every move and when I came back in with Benji on his leash she was straining to get down. Once she was down on the floor she made straight for the door, ready to go. The difference is remarkable and this morning I was sitting on the floor giving the WaWa ear and belly scratches. She is a changed little girl.

I am not altogether sure what is going on but for the last three days there have been police and police cars all around this area. There was five officers went into a house three houses away, two more officers on the street and parked outside our house was one of the police cars. I mean even if you are a law abiding citizen ( is there such a person?)  having a police car practically parked outside your door is a little bit disconcerting.  I thought of an escaped convict but that would have been all over the news and it was not a drug thing because had that been the case there would have been vans and chemical containment vehicles there and there wasn’t – so I don’t know what’s going on. I know their dogs keep escaping but that would not involve what must be half the city police force.

Yes daddy, I will sweep up – but first – The Nap..

Benji seems to have put his paw down in revolt “no more photographs with me and the WaWa”. Every time I stopped to try and take a photograph he  came quickly back and went behind my legs. He did this every single time when we were out yesterday afternoon. On Wednesday morning when the coffee ladies are here I’ll take them both down to the Foreshore and see what the beach is like and see what happens there. If the seagrass problem gets too bad, the council send in front loaders to clear if away and use it – with other stuff – for mulch.

On Sunday I had to quietly call Annabell through – there was Andrew sitting on the chair, the WaWa lying lengthwise along his lap, and he was scratching her and playing with her. When he stopped scratching her belly, she hit him with her paw until he started again. Sadly I was too stunned at what I was watching to get the camera and I was also afraid that if I moved,  it would break the moment. Unreal is a much overused word, but that’s what it was. I have taken advice and early this morning when Benji and I go for our long walk – I  decided to take the WaWa with us. She was willing and walked most of the way . I did carry her for a little bit, but mostly she did it on her own.  The photograph of

This was taken in Neilston not far from Glasgow today.

Benji – I did not set this up, he lay down beside the brush himself. This other photograph is for Denver in Colorado. It was sent to us this morning by a friend who lives in a place called Neilston,  outside Glasgow. I thought you would like and appreciate it  – and my life insurance is up to date  :o)

Update, the house mentioned is now empty and there is a notice on the gate “This property is under Security Surveillance ” same notice as the house the bank foreclosed in another part of our walk route.  It’s really quite sad and the Sacked Arrium Management has a lot to answer for – but then they have gone so they never will.

Traffic Comments and Walking with WaWa

I think daddy set up this bed for me. Isn’t he kind..

A long weekend has just concluded and things will get back to normal. Anyone with any degree of intelligence, stays away from Adelaide at this time – unless there happens to be a specific reason for going – conference, Adele Concert, International Cricket Match, and so forth. Even at the best of time Adelaide traffic is heavy, but then as I keep saying, 15% of the land mass is occupied by 85% of the population – give or take the odd percentage and South Australia  is bigger than most European countries and bigger than Alaska. We are fortunate in that we do not

Oh that’s what these things do!?!

have the traffic problems experienced by other places – mind you there is only one other place in South Australia- Adelaide, so generally our drivers here in the north  are still largely courteous and considerate, although we do find with younger drivers that no one has really impressed on them what that lever on the right of the steering wheel is for. That’s the one that goes backwards and forwards and makes a strange clicking sound. Other drivers find the sound soothing,  strangely comforting  and just leave it on. Other than these little quirks, driving here is  good.  I find the drivers in Adelaide, rude and impatient and very intolerant – but then, I suppose that’s no different from any other major city.  However, the roads into Adelaide get so congested that it doesn’t take much to bring traffic to a halt and create a  major back-up. An event – whatever – and half the city is closed down. I’ve been caught up in that once. Never made that mistake again. On a long weekend like this everyman, woman and their dogs head north and the generally quiet Port Wakefield becomes a major bottleneck since all traffic – coming or going – has to pass through it. One slight problem and the traffic can be banked up either way for quite some distance.  But to compare our traffic to  the USA or any other major European City, is just plain silly. The entire population of South Australia would probably  fit into one of the Boroughs of New York.

Out last night

The family were here at the weekend and they were amazed at the changes that have taken place with the WaWa.  John came in and she started by barking at him then

Bit better – not much, but a bit

jumping at him, so I told him that she wanted him to pick her up. He was reluctant to do so, but then he bent down, put his hand under her and lifted her up into his arms. He was amazed at how she was. Andrew came in later and she did the same thing to him, barked then jumped at him and I told him to pick her up. Andrew thought it was a bit of a joke, but on  assurances from John and I he bent down and picked her up. She snuggled into his shoulder and he wandered about the house for the next half hour with the WaWa on  his shoulder. The boys just could not believe the changes in her in a week. I am very pleased that all our patience is starting to pay off and she is becoming what she really is – a friendly, lovable and playful little thing. First few days of our walks I carried her part of the way, now I don’t and she walks the whole distance. We generally walk within the bike lane. I pick up her leash and her tail is going fit to create a hurricane  I have to admit though in the early morning when I have Benji out on his own I don’t mind his stopping at every tree, bush and clump of grass  to have a sniff – it’s  the almost forever NCIS investigation of every blade of grass in that clump that gets me.

We are hearing from Sooah a bit more frequently now and she has responded several times to the photographs I put on line, which is very good and I am well pleased. I think she  must have been reading from the start and was upset by the fact that the initial behavior of her dog was causing me problems. There are still problems with Benji when they are in the house, but outside of the house they are more like Big Brother and Little (adopted) Sister and the play and walk well together. Something we need to work on. I have to say that the changes have been quite remarkable, but very welcome. Now if I could just get her to stop ambushing Benji ……………………….

 

Adelaide and a Dinosaur

Adelaide Arcade
Adelaide Arcade with the fountain in front.

Just after 1:30 pm Andrew picked me up and we headed off to Adelaide. We drove directly to Port Wakefield before we stopped for coffee and something to eat. From there we drove to Adelaide – Andrew to his hotel, me to mine. Fortunately both were in South Terrace – The Chifley and the Sage – Andrew in the Chifley. Why not in the same hotel, or even sharing a room? Well this was not a planned trip – Andrew was going down for a meeting so I  bummed a lift from him and I just booked to stay where I normally do in Adelaide, whereas Andrew’s room was booked by his  company. In the morning I made my way into town – had  scones (and butter) and coffee at the Coffee Club in David Jones. Refreshed I  went up the road to the Apple Shop to find out what was wrong with my laptop. Here I need to bore you further with an explanation. My Apple MacBook Pro is working fine – it’s great – no problems– however  (there’s always a “however”isn’t there?)   although it is working very well, it will not upgrade. I am running an operating  system that is at least three upgrades behind what I should be running and I am starting to find that some things I download will not operate because the OS is out of date. Why wont it update? Well, that’s what I was seeking an answer to. I didn’t get one – well I got one of sorts. After  going through it the tech admitted he had seem nothing like it. Everything is there but it will not upgrade and we don’t know why. They believe that the best solution is to  wipe it clean and start with a fresh install then upgrade that to the current OS.  That I could not do because I do not have a recent backup, so  we are back home again and I will do a backup before I go back down.

Andrew finished his meeting and I met up with him again. We went off to Bunnings and we both did some shopping there and I checked out some of the things I would like for the garden – which I need a trailer for. Leaving Bunnings we headed for home again stopping at Port Wakefield for fuel and food. We arrived home at about 9:40 – a long and tiring day.  I may do the backup this weekend and perhaps take a run down during the week and have the clean and install the new operating system. All I have to do then is put the backup back into the computer. Actually I might get

Sleeping with a Dinosaur
Sleeping with a Dinosaur

the Tech to do that for me – probably cost, but worth it. In Adelaide we came across   “The Pet Barn” a big pet accessories shop.  Well, yes, I did buy some new toys for BJ, one of which was a Dinosaur. Since I gave him the Dinosaur he has hardly let it go and he takes it up on my bed with him. I managed to  get it on its own for a bit and took a photograph. His duck was a bit grubby so I gave it a wash. Came out quite well and the squeaker still works.

Although I’ve been in Adelaide the weather up here has been calm and warm – today is a mild 24c and whilst the warmer weather is welcome, it wont last and we’ll be back to cold and wind again soon. However, I did take advantage of the warmer weather to get some work done and this morning I  hope to hook up the trailer and get down for a load of Granite Chips and make a start on the back.

The WaWa continues to go for Benji and the spray bottle is no longer having any effect; Yesterday was not a good day. The WaWa never shut up the entire day. Spent much of the day outside or driving – always with Benji with me – even if I was going to the hardware store, I took him with me. Keeping him with me and  stopping the WaWa from nipping at his back legs has become a constant battle and although I do not wish away time, October can’t come soon enough. Sooah  insists she will be back then – I hope so, I really hope so. I have to have something in place before November when I head off back to Mount Gambier and be away for  four and a half days and I wouldn’t be at ease worrying about him.