Winter rain cometh!

In happier times
In happier times

It would appear that the “Parcel”thing may well have been some sort of scam. What the purpose of it is or was, we have no idea but it

The WaWa
The WaWa

would seem several people across the town received such an email. Anyway, it has been deleted but it seems such a strange thing without any definable purpose.  After we dropped Andrew back at his place yesterday, he apparently continued to work on the cleanup after we left. Andrew’s house is an older house – actually it is two houses joined together – professionally done – and he has rooms everywhere inside and sheds and garages out the back, a cubby house and  what used to be a home office – similar to mine. There are trees and bushes planted out front and they have been allowed to become overgrown. To the right of the house (left of the main garage) there is a water outlet, which feeds water into a “river” that runs along the front of the house, under a bridge and ends in a pond at the left side of the house. Over the years the  bushes have become overgrown, the  river is clogged up and the pond is full of leaves and branches. We discovered solar lights and gnomes fishing there. Andrew has not really done much since it’s only in the last seven months or so that he stopped running back and forth to Roxby Downs – the  big South Australia Mining Area – ( he’s a Systems Engineer) and settled in to home. So he has this project of cleaning everything up and  getting it all back together again. He says he has reservations about  getting the water flowing again, but he does want the  “riverbed” cleaned up.  Me?  I would go all out to get the water flowing again, but that’s just me. I had a waterfall here and it grieved me when we discovered that it had  deteriorated too much to be put back  into use. But I did work on it and turned it into a sort of rock-raised flower bed.  But these things are not uncommon here –  many people built water features in the days when water was water and plentiful. Most of them would have been turned off forever when water ceased to be water and became a major source of State Government Revenue –  and South Australia has the highest water costs in Australia. We also have the highest gas prices, the highest power prices and the highest State Government charges. We are in the process of building the third most costly building in the world- the Money Pit known as the New Royal Adelaide Hospital. But we have a spendthrift government – and I believe Arrium is merely an example of a system, which might not quite be broken, but has bits falling off it. It’s a borrow and spend culture.

I have started to do some work on the back garden.  Shared my ideas with No. 1 son and he was not too impressed. He thought my ideas were good but some parts were too big for the available

And the RFDS were there
And the RFDS were there

space. Anyway, I’m working on it. I have emptied and moved the first of the two sheds and I hope to have the second one moved to its new location sometime today.  (didn’t happen)

Thursday 16th: That was yesterday and today the rain is pounding down outside and the lightening is lighting up the sky. Rain was definitely on the weather forecast for today. At the moment I can only hear – it is still too dark to see anything yet. And yes, you may assume that we did not go out for our morning walk. Call me a wimp if you will, but walking dogs in the middle of a rain storm, with the accompanying thunder and lightening,  does not fit into my definition of a good morning’s exercise   :o)  However, I will go and check up on the WaWa – Benji is curled up asleep. – as is the WaWa.

To add to the gloom of the place, our Mayor – Mr. Jim Pollock – died and his funeral is this coming Monday.

 

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Melbourne – Part 3

My first view of Ethiad Stadium
My first view of Ethiad Stadium

Edinburgh Military Tattoo Melbourne

Day three of our trip and today is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I think everyone was up and ready bright and early. The Tattoo was at 1pm but we had no idea where the Ethiad Stadium was, what the area was like and what kind of parking to expect. We  talked about this and made the decision to call a taxi, deciding that this was, by far, the easiest choice – probably expensive – but easier and less stressful. At about 12 we headed off to the Stadium. On the way there we passed what we were told was the largest Shopping Mall in the Southern Hemisphere – Chadstone Shopping Center. I decided that had to be a must if possible. We decided to hit the merchandise  area and this is where we had a major disappointment. As part of my birthday gift, Andrew and John had purchased a Tattoo Merchandise Voucher. We heard nothing from anyone so we assumed that this would be in the form of a kind of Tattoo Show bag

At the stadium concourse
At the stadium concourse

and I presented the Voucher at the Merchandise Area only to be told that this had nothing to do with them and that the Tattoo Administration should have contacted me and sent the goods to me directly. This never happened. (More on this) Also Andrew wanted a Tattoo Teddy Bear for  Trish, but they had run out of them.  I just bought the usual – a golf shirt, T shirt and a Baseball Cap. Our seats were  not too bad, but the best Andrew could get at such short notice. They didn’t know about it and it was something they dreamed up for my Birthday at almost the last

Aboriginal Fire Ceremony Welcome to country.
Aboriginal Fire Ceremony Welcome to country.

moment, but I have to say the seats were not bad at all and we had a fairly good view of things.  For anyone who has been to Edinburgh or seen the Tattoo on Television, the format is fairly standard and flows swiftly from one section to the next. I think over the years most people ( or perhaps just me) have   decided on their favourite.  I liked all things from the Governor’s Guard of Honour, Australian Defense Force Band,  Pacific Islanders, The New Zealand Maori the King of Norway’s Guard, the Scottish Country dancers, the South Australia Police Band, Massed Pipes and Drums, but my favourite over the years is the Top Secret Drum Corps from Switzerland. They fascinate me.

The performances by all the cast ( 1200) was outstanding up to and very much including the closing performance and the Lone Piper. If I were to make one complaint it is that due to the roof being closed over the smoke from fires and guns took a long time to clear so a lot of the photographs have a smokey look about them,not as sharp as they should be – if that makes sense.. Would we go again – most certainly – I would even give up Celtic Thunder to go back to Melbourne.

Pipes and Drums
Pipes and Drums

At the end of the Tattoo we managed – after a while – to grab a taxi and make our way to  Chadstone Shopping Center  – and yes, it is a massive place but it was late in the afternoon so we really didn’t have much of an opportunity for a full exploration of the centre – perhaps next time – although I did need to get to Optus and have some adjustment made to my phone. Since the distance between Chadstone and Oakleigh wasn’t too far, we walked back to the hotel. We had  something to eat and drink in Chadstone, so no one really felt like dinner, so the boys read whilst I did some work on the computer – I carry a portable modem with me. An early night was in order for the drive home in the morning. – Confession – I went out to  the nearest KFC ( about five/six minutes walk away) and had a Cheeseburger.

Top Secret Drum Corps
Top Secret Drum Corps

Drive to Melbourne Part 2

From the crowds at the 12 Apostles  Tourist Complex we headed back inland through rain forests with an occasional glimpse of the coastline until we reached

Part of the 12 Apostles
Part of the 12 Apostles

Marengo  ( no battle here – different Marengo) then Appollo Bay. We stayed in Apollo Bay for a little while to  have a bit of a break – food and fuel – then all the way along the coast to Lorne. Lorne is where my trip to the Great Ocean Road stopped so many years ago. When I  visited Drysdale (Victoria) during my sister’s last

The Memorial Arch
The Memorial Arch

illness and then her funeral, my Brother-in-Law took me touring  through the Ballarine  Peninsula and then on the Great Ocean Road as far as Lorne, so, in essence, this was me actually completing the journey. From Lorne we drove to the Memorial Arch and then wandered on to the beach. There were quite a few people on the beach and

Me at the Memorial Arch and Digger Memorial area
Me at the Memorial Arch and Digger Memorial area

we had only been there a few minutes when we realised that we were the only males. I managed to get some photographs of the area once I had moved away from  where the females were. We had been driving all day and by the time we reached the Arch the sun was against us, which made it difficult for photographs. Sorry about that but I thought I

Taken on my first visit
Taken on my first visit

had better include one photograph of me to show that I was really there. However, once you get over that shock, be assured it is the only one – promise  :o)

Most people don’t realise that the Great Ocean Road, from Torquay to Allansford (243 klms) is the Largest World War One Memorial in the world. It was started in 1919 by returned soldiers as a memorial to those who fell in the Great War. It was completed in 1932 and over 3000 returned soldiers worked on its construction using little more than picks, hammers, shovels, explosives and horse and cart.  Quite an achievement, but it did cost several lives

From the Memorial we drove to Aireys Inlet and then to Bells Beach. I have to confess that like the first time I was there, I was very underwhelmed with the area. There’s not a lot of beach at Bells Beach but I understand from About Easter onwards the surf and

Not a lot of beach at Bells Beach
Not a lot of beach at Bells Beach

waves get quite big and powerful. Sometime I would like to come back and see it like with the big waves pounding the

Bells Beach where the Australian Surf Championships are held
Bells Beach where the Australian Surf Championships are held

surf. I also understand that the place gets quite crowded.  I would also like to be able to do this journey over a longer period of time. By the time we reached Torquay were starting to get pushed for time and we still had a fair way to go to Melbourne. In fact the hotel called Andrew to ensure that we were still coming. We picked up the freeway and headed on into Melbourne arriving at our hotel in Dandenong Road fairly late but still in time to get freshened up and get down for dinner – an opportunity to relax and unwind.

Settling in: New home: New family.

Been a long day. Need rest!
Been a long day. Need rest!

Tuesday and  things are settling down. Benji has settled in well and  has the full run of the house and the yards. We have been out walking but the harness I have is just a bit tight so I will see about getting a new one today.  This has been the October Long Weekend, with Monday being Labour Day and most shops closed. Everything will be back to normal today.

Annabell has never really been a dog person but I have to say that she and Benji have taken to each other. So much so that last night he jumped up on her lap settled down and they watched TV together. I think he might be an NCIS fan. However, I do have a small problem – he gets into the car without any problem – getting him out of the car is something else again. He will  work out fine  – time and patience.

Andrew came round to visit yesterday and take Benji out for a walk – to get to know him. He was quite impressed with  the dog who is both placid and affectionate.  This morning I told him ( Benji, not Andrew)  No when he tried to jump on my lap as I was using the keyboard. He walked away, then took a leap, went over the armrest and landed on the chair at my back – where he currently is – perhaps he figures if he’s at my back and I can’t see him, I can’t say no :o) Seems logical.

This is my Good Side
This is my Good Side

Clever – sneaky, but clever.  I have had to go out a couple of times and all I see is a  furry face at the window when I go to the car and when I drive out. Annabell says he goes to his bed and then goes back to the window when he hears the car again, which means I see a furry face at the window when I come home. We took him out with us to the  Westlands Mall. Herself wanted to do some grocery shopping for the family dinner tomorrow and Benji and I went for a walk around the  area and back to the entrance, keeping in the shade.  He enjoyed that and started getting excited when he saw  Annabell coming back.

I think I am starting to recover  for what was for me a long two days. I still can’t over the fact that I came down the steep descent from Crafers to the City in the dark, when I hate  having to do it (rarely thankfully) in daylight and I have to the same journey all over again in November. The scenery was very different from this part of the world – grass, flowers,   the vines and wineries of the Limestone Coast to the forests of Penola. I didn’t get to see much of Mt. Gambier. I didn’t even get to see Mount Gambier Church since I really wanted to be in Bolivar before it got dark, which, as you know, I didn’t succeed in doing.

Anyway, he has settled in and enjoys his  two walks  each day. I take him out in the morning and again in the evening. The evening walk will get later as it gets lighter mainly to avoid the heat from the sun. According to the long range weather forecast it is to be a long, hot  dry summer with some areas having extended drought conditions.. Let’s just hope that it is not too bad.

 

Nearly back to “Normal” (??)

PeekaBoo - I see you.
PeekaBoo – I see you.

I have removed myself from several on-line groups that I belonged to. I really had not a lot in common with them to begin with – indeed the only thing we really had in common was our collective use of ringed planners i.e. Filofax. I was also finding that the vast majority of the members were female and at times the posts tended to stray very much away from planners to babies, illness, relationships, anti-men rants and I sort of lost interest. It was like being an Android user in an iPhone community.   I found myself thinking more and more of Charles de Gaulle – “The more people I meet , the more I love my dogs,”

So that’s the end of that. I am sorry because I have been a member for some time and it was interesting and enjoyable for a while – before it became more of a social gathering. I am still with one and  I hope that will remain on task. We’ll see. This afternoon I am taking Chienne to see the Vet. She has been drinking  a lot of water and peeing everywhere. She has even wet her bed in her sleep. We think she is diabetic but that’s really for the Vet. to determine. Chi. will be 14 this year but apart from the waterworks, she is seems healthy enough, still runs around

Chienne and her Thundershirt
Chienne and her Thundershirt

like a mad thing, is out walking with me most nights, so no problems about activity, eats well – so I really don’t foresee much in the way of problems with her in the immediate future. I miss the Man and I think Chi. does too.

I have been back working out in the garden – mainly cleaning up the neglect  that has taken place over the last few months. We also  had a little bit of rain – not a lot – which was enough to send the weeds into overdrive. I pour on weed killer – they laugh at me and  grow even faster and more prolific. But then again, I hit them with weed killer – Chienne pees on them  :o)  Helpful…

Although we have only had a miniscule amount of rain – we have had wind – lots of wind. Indeed many people have commented on the number of really windy days this year. What this has done is lay down dust everywhere – everything outside is covered in fine dust. Having  constructions going on, ( new houses) the land is cleared and the bare earth throws up considerable dust in the wind. A couple of times I have turned back from walking Chienne that direction.  Now that I am (almost) back to full activity again I can start to do a cleaning up, although, short of a flame thrower, I don’t know what to do about these persistent weeds.

The visit to the Vet yesterday was not as good as I hoped it would be. The blood sugar level was around 4.3, which sort of rules out diabetes, but it also brings other things into play that I don’t want to think about – liver and kidney problems I really should stop making any kind of prediction. I said the same about me on my first visit to the cardiologist and look how that turned out. Now about Chienne. However, Mustapha has taken blood samples and sent them off to the lab so we should know sometime next week. Her and me both – she waits on Lab results, I wait on Cardiologist final results, post cardioversion.   I am feeling good and spending the day out in the garden. In about an hour or so I have to go and collect John and we take a trailer load of rubbish to the dump. This evening, now that Andrew is back from Roxby, we are all getting together for a family dinner at Andrew’s place.

Next Stop – All change! Move right along please!!

I guess it will take me some time to get used to the fact that The Man is no longer here. I still wake up in the early hours of the morning expecting to hear him, but I have no doubt that will slowly fade in time. He was such a big part of my life, more so this past year and I miss him. I keep thinking about little things – sometimes I smile, sometimes I don’t. I am fine and taking things fairly easy I will continue on the heart medication for a few weeks after the Cardioversion and then slowly come off this and be pretty much back to normal. I expect to be down in Adelaide during this month but I will not be traveling nearly as much as I have done this last year or so. I think the chaos of the last 18 months is over and things will settle down. After the Easter Function I intend to cut back on a lot of things with the RFDS on the theory that I wish to assist, I do not intend to be a reluctant passenger on one of  the aircraft making use of the services.

Hotel Room 1
Hotel Room 1

In mid-April I have to be in Adelaide for the West Terrace Trust meeting and  then relax until the end of May. I will most probably drive down and stay overnight in my regular hotel.  It is comfortable and I have ample room for my laptop and in the morning it is quiet enough

Hotel Room 2
Hotel Room 2

to allow me to get away and on the road home fairly early before there is much traffic through the city.

Sometimes parents just have to accept second place. No. 1 son came over early this evening. They have a big project on and he has been working all sorts of odd hour, so we have not seen much of him. Anyway, he came in, said hello to his mum, said hello to me then asked the question that indicated his “real” reason for the visit – “Where’s the Man”?  I told him and he went outside. He stayed for a little while then came back inside. John Jnr was very fond of the Man and he misses him. Andrew is still up North and wont be back until sometime on Sunday. He was supposed to be back yesterday but he has had to stay on to supervise the commission of a new plant and he wont finish that until Saturday – all being well he should be home Sunday afternoon. I think his partner and the girls will be glad to see him. However, from what I can gather this will be his pattern until late June – a few days home then back up to Roxby Downs again.

20130723_114229
Guard Duty is hard work.

Since my medical and health concerns – which seem to be sorted out – I have given a lot of thought to where I go from here, and what I do with this site. I have enjoyed all of this up to a point but it has concerned me that of all the people who purport to be followers only one commented  on line on the The Man and one in a private email ( Thank you) – so two, out of how many?  I also found that there are others – blogs by the page load from them –  but not even so much as a “like” for me, which was somewhat disconcerting. I don’t intend to be a “stat” making up one of a nice set of numbers. The  the departure of The Man has been a sort of catalyst:   that and my “involvement” with local and Adelaide  hospitals and the curtailing of much of my traveling, will  mean that things change – they have to.

How do you think things should change?  I would be interested in your comments.

 

Chienne and The Man

Chienne (Chi for short)
Chienne (Chi for short) as a young puppy

Her name (Chienne)  means several things but I prefer the term “Female Dog”  Unlike the Man, Chi was not adopted or rescued, Chi was bought by me – well, actually both of us –

Chienne and her Thundershirt
Chienne and her Thundershirt

from a Pet Shop. Now  when you have calmed down and brought your arms back to your side after throwing them up in horror, let me explain.  This was a small town pet shop – it was not part of any big group – animals were not generally part of  what the shop did :  it provided boarding – short and long term, was a grooming service;  herself and I knew the owners and the dogs she did have from time to time, were checked by the Vet – who, by the way, is still our Vet. He still looks after Chienne (Chi (Chee) for short)) and has done for the last twelve years.. However, there was adoption of a sorts because – and we do not know why – Chienne adopted Andrew. Andrew moved out years ago but work commitments meant he had to leave her behind but he did come  over a couple of times a week just to take her out . Even now, she can tell when his car  pulls into the driveway and she goes nuts – the excitement is amazing. Heck she never gets that excited for  me when I come back from Adelaide  but then I only feed her and walk her,  look after her and pay the Vet bills.  I suppose by extension Andrew and Trish’s girls get nearly similar treatment. Chienne revels in all the attention from her beloved Andrew and the girls.  The Man, on the other hand is different. He is a rescue dog. He had, from all accounts, a pretty rotten time and was sick, matted and looked really sad and pathetic. There were other dogs at the pound that day but for some reason I asked for him. He was brought home bathed and cleaned then taken to the groom. He was pretty sick and spent time in  “Hospital” with our Vet looking over him. He had been kicked about the mouth and a good number of his teeth were in a bad way. The Vet tried to save as much as he could but in the end, over

A Man and His Chair
A Man and His Chair

about a year, all his teeth were removed. I just have to cut things up smaller but he eats well.  Unlike Chienne he dislikes the girls and tries to go away and hide when they come over. They think of him as a puppy and want him to play so he tends to get grumpy and I have been quite happy a couple of times that he has no teeth. The little one – Tallia – wants to keep picking him and and trying to cuddle him like a little doll and this makes him very unhappy. I generally open the door and he takes off to his secret den in the garage and only comes back when they have all gone. I can understand – he’s old and he doesn’t like being pulled about, poked and prodded not to mention being treated like a doll – it’s just so undignified.  I think if the girls went to the UK they would qualify for entrance to one of what I think is one of the top schools there – I believe it’s called  St. Trinians  :o) The man sleeps for much of the day and although he gets excited when I

Out in the bush
Out in the bush

get ready to take them out, he only walks for a little while then I have to carry him for  a bit, but this is fine – he’s not heavy. In the early days, when we moved here, there were Kangaroos around the place and I would see them when I took the dogs out. However, over the last few years most of the land has been fenced off and earmarked for future house development, so we don’t see the Roos any more, glad in some ways, sad in others. I have looked at two sets of wheels for him, one set being metal the other being PVC – the PVC only recommended for dogs under 6 kilo and he is only 3 kilo. Over the next week or so I will give thought to getting him measured up and the measurements sent off to the United States. And before you ask, I can get a set of wheels made in Australia but it is cheaper to buy the good in the USA have them shipped over here and pay the postage costs than it is to have them made in Australia. Still, it could be worse, they could be made right here in South Australia, then we really would know what charges are all about in the highest taxing state in the Commonwealth. We have a government that wants to play with the big boys but in order to do this, it needs money – so it borrows and spends and borrows again – hence the fact that 1,oo9,000 of a working population have a collective debt of  75% of revenue with an interest bill alone of $780 Million per year – and that’s before it spends the next four years accumulating even more debt. And it will because they  are addicted to spending

A Man and His(?) Office
A Man and His (?) Office

because that’s what the big boys do.