A bit of a mixed bag!!

Mom , dad and the WaWa – reunited
Benji and the WaWa at the beach

On Friday 8th April 2016, Sooah brought her dog, Kongsoon, around to us. It had been agreed that we would look after the dog for the three months they were back in South Korea, whilst the immigration authorities sorted things out.  Kim, Sooah’s husband,  had an employer and a sponsor, sadly the employer and the sponsor were the same company – which collapsed with the Arrium problems. With no sponsor and no employer, Sooah and Kim had to go back to South Korea while things were sorted out. It was expected that this would take about three months but things did not go as planned ( not that we knew any of this) and they did not return, nor did they send any word. After about ten months we began to think of the dog as our dog. A year passed and still nothing, then in July of this year,  whilst I had Annabell at the doctor, I got a message to say that she was going to visit us and collect the dog. I told her where I was and said I would let her know when we were back home We didn’t know that they were in Australia, let alone Whyalla.  I called her ; she arrived and we made arrangements for the dog to be returned. Seems they were offered employment in Sydney, so they accepted. They came to town to collect their things left with other people, then to us to collect the dog. The following morning, Thursday 20th. July, at 6am they came; we loaded all the dog things into the covered trailer and, after tearful farewells, Sooah took the dog and they left to head to Sydney. The oddest thing is that I knew she at least was well because I would post a photograph of the two dogs at the lighthouse or the beach and she would post a “like”then nothing. I tried to message her, as did others, but no reply. Anyway, it is all over now – they are both lovely people and Annabell and I wished them well. I

Tanks for the Memory.

really do hope everything is well and they have settled into their new home in a new state. Sooah gave Annabell a lovely card which contained a Woolworth Credit Card, which we didn’t know about until after they left. The WaWa  did cause concern and perhaps we were guilty of that in the initial stages since we didn’t correct any behaviour problems, believing that she was with us for only a short time. But in the end she became my BFF and in essence I could do anything with her – except get her to be friends with Benji when they were in the house. Outside – no problems, but she considered the house was hers and he had no right to be there.

The Army have been doing exercises around the town for most of the week. I was stopped and sent back from my usual walk, road blocks were set up and cars examined and the occupants checked, there were also holding areas for suspicious people. All done in good spirit and people were willing to participate. This was  Cadet Officers from the Military College at Duntroon. Next year we will have the Army back again for another Joint exercise with  other countries. Last time there was about 15,000 troops with heavy equipment, tanks and armoured carriers. Should be interesting.

The last two days have been  celebrated by lightening, thunder and heavy rain. Been a lovely two days really  :o)  Unlike others, Benji is not phased by the thunder, which is probably just as well since there is a lot of it.  It is now 4:45 on Friday morning ( Thursday Thanksgiving in the USA) and the rain has finally stopped. It really has been heavy – bounce of the sidewalk rain – and I expect to hear about and see some flooding here, but if Adelaide has had anything like this, there will probably be serious flooding.

When we picked up the Simulator last time

The RFDS Simulator  is always in demand and getting it is difficult. We have managed to do just that but it’s a year away. We wanted the simulator for the Christmas Pageant but knew that the chances of getting it for this year were zilch –  however – we have got it for next year. Last time we had it for three days and we made the most of that, setting it up at Woolworth Carpark, and with the Council down at the Foreshore. Don’t know how long we will get it for this time – hopefully, the weekend, which will allow us to benefit from it being here.

Advertisements

Cuttlefish and Cold Water

One of the Three Dives for the day.
One of the Three Dives for the day.

As I mentioned in another post,  the Royal Flying Doctors Service (Support) were catering for a three day diving course about 3 million miles out of town, in the middle of nowhere, right next to the sea and very little shelter. Man it was cold. Well, ok, a slight exaggeration on the millage, but it was a long way out of town. The dive was organised by the  “Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries  (EMS) Group” to view the  Giant Cuttlefish  in their

Giant Cuttlefish
Giant Cuttlefish

natural environment and to give people the opportunity to interact with them. The water in this part of the gulf is very clear and most people used a boogie board to allow them to get face down in the water  and a snorkel  for air. The more adventurous had weights and got down among the creatures – there were hundreds of them. They are a strange creature – weird looking with the ability to change colour at will to attract females.    The EMS Group kept trying to persuade  us to leave the catering Gazebo, don a wet suit and get into the freezing cold water. Oh did I ever mention that I do not have masochistic tendencies, plus the fact that it was quite cold enough where we were thank you. I actually would have  gone with them but not without any preparation – like very warm clothes to change into  and a cup of our own hot soup afterwards. They are going to run the course again next year so I may well take the opportunity to go out with them then. Also this is the first time we have been involved with this and we didn’t know what would be required. Next year we will be better organised. Like with the Operators- Advertising was not all that great and on the first day people bought their own food because they didn’t know we would be there. Apart from hot food we also provided, hot tea, coffee, chocolate and hot soup. There were three dives each day – 10am / 12 noon / 3pm. It was cold and colder when the wind

It was a very cold day at nowhere.
It was a very cold day at nowhere.

was coming off the water. The Cuttlefish mate in the cold water during winter.

The election goes on and will continue for some time yet. We still have no outcome although it is looking more likely that the government will survive – just – and that it may well have a workable majority although the wheeling and dealing with the independents continues.

I did say that the rain had passed and it has – sort of. It’s still wet but the rain has been reduced to a drizzle with the odd overnight shower, which means that garden work is mostly out for the moment. The army are still here and we have a group catering for them at their camp in Jubilee Park.  I don’t have  anything to do until Saturday week.

The WaWa continues to attack Benji and Benji will not defend himself. Annabell and I have decided that  if Sooah does not return to Australia, then we cannot keep the WaWa. It would not be fair on BJ. The WaWa is a friendly, playful little thing and is all over me when I come home after being out for a few hours. I can play with her and I can “fight”with her, but she hates BJ with a passion. I also have a fear that BJ will snap and retaliate and really cause some serious injury – and that bothers me more than a little because a snap and injury could well change the whole nature of Benji and I really don’t want that to happen. And to make matters worse, Sooah has not been in contact with us so we really don’t know what is happening.

Since writing this Sooah has been in contact with us and we now know what is happening. Her husband is still working on brushing up his English and should be good enough to get through

Benji & The WaWa
Benji & The WaWa

the English Test and all being well she hopes to be back in Australia by October of this year – or very shortly afterwards.  That’s fine and gives us something to work towards. I have also been to see the Vet and sometimes next week  we will get the WaWa up there and perhaps see if we can get a muzzle small enough as a temporary measure and protect Benji. Meanwhile we have a  water spray bottle to use, also as a temporary measure. We have tried that already and she definitely does not like that.

 

Elections and 4th July

Well the rain finally stopped and although it’s been dry it has been cold. How cold? well an escaped prisoner in New South Wales telephoned the police, told them where he was and asked them to come and collect him and take him back to prison because he was freezing cold and worried about hypothermia. Of course, it does not ever get that cold in South Australia – at worst about 2c overnight and about 11c during the day,which is quite cold enough for me. It has rained a little bit – nothing quite exciting, but wet enough to soak the ground to a slight mud area. There’s really not a lot I can do about this at the moment. I really need a few days of completely dry weather to be able to work in the area.

We can see you!!
We can see you!!

The largest military exercise ( Operation Hamel) in South Australian history and one of the largest ever staged in Australia has started with almost 10,000 military taking part. The fictional Country of Cultania  is under attack by heavily armed terrorists and the Government of East Cultania have asked for assistance.  A task force of  Australian, New Zealand, British and American troops  are currently evacuating expats and other nationals to the now military secured Whyalla Airport. I believe 5 RAR have moved into the city center and more evacuations are underway. Annoying that the main camp at Jubilee Park and the Airport are not to far away, but the most I have ever seen was the  troops and equipment at the “Show and Tell” last Friday. I have not even seen any of their patrols day or night. Of course  the exercise has really only started and it will go on for a while yet.

So sorry to hear that a freak major storm seems to have paid a visit to the area around Denver Colorado. Not fun for poor Sam and some damage to the roof of the house – which is a worry. I think our wild weather has passed for the time being. Probably just as well or we would have a lot of soggy soldiers.   As I have said before, really serious storm are a rarity here. Generally storms pass above us and head into New South Wales, or below us and go visit Victoria. Now we seem to have settled down to our normal winter – cold to colder and dry.

Friend said the other day that he was all electioned out and he would be glad when this election is over. Well, it’s not over and wont be for a while yet

Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday USA

We are starting to look like Italy  and some of the other European countries with a multiplicity of political parties. Everybody wants to have their own political party and we are getting to the stage where neither of the major parties can govern without making deals for support from  independents. The Senate paper with all the independents looked very much like a Ancient Scroll  rolled up at the ends. I’m convinced half of them are  British Monster Raving Loony Party ( real registered party – honestly) in disguise. I don’t know why we don’t have a “Destabilize the Governance of the Nation”Party  According to  what I can find,  there are 57 “Parties” that contested this election. Hey I just figured it out – we’re a Heinz Country –  57 Varieties. However, not all of these parties or groups are contesting in every state. Some are purely state based but the fact remains that  taking so many votes has ensured that we have a hung parliament for the second time in six years and more chaos and possibly an early election. Wheeling and dealing and souls being sold for a financial advantage – irrespective of what excuse they give for accepting. What – me  Cynical? Never.

What will happen – whoever wins – is that we will have three years of no government. Well, yes we will have a government in name but a government unable to get any of its legislation through – a government that will run in the name of its political party but not a government that can function  for the benefit of the nation – a government that will be at the mercy of independents,who could change at any time. There are still seats that are not yet declared and at the moment the government party is ahead, but that will still not give them enough seats to govern in their own right. There are still over two million votes to be yet counted.  Interesting times…

PS: All the pundits are predicting that we will have a new election within 12 months.

A welcome break but hard work.

I know, hard to believe, but it’s raining again. By this time I expect your thoughts are along the lines of “I wish he would just shut up about that rain” Well, I just wish it would stop raining for a while – I’m getting waterlogged.   To add insult to injury it’s  cold – freezing really. This is not surprising because the  fiction writers that forecast the weather have said cold, wet with the possibility of snow in the Adelaide hills this weekend. In Scotland it rains from time to time and one of my most loved definitions of Scottish  weather comes from a Ken McClure book

Summer in Scotland
Summer in Scotland

“Fenton’s Winter” where the two main characters are in Edinburgh sheltering from the rain in a doorway. One says to his mate “All this rain – do you think maybe God has something against Scotland?” His friend’s reply “No – I think it’s a character development agreement  He has with John Knox. I mean, lets face it, if we were enjoying ourselves we’d feel guilty!”

But if it rains so much how can we tell the difference between winter and summer ?  Oh that’s easy – in Summer the rain is actually quite warm – wet, but warm,  whereas in winter the rain is very cold, and we have a special name for it – Snow.. I know, Scottish people joke about the weather all the time, but what else can we do ?

The seriousness of the weather is such that the Adelaide central bus station has said that it will stay open all night during the  extreme weather. It will provide a place of warmth and shelter for the elderly and the homeless. There will also be food and hot drinks provided. I have to say that the Bus Station has gone up in my estimation of it.  There is flooding in most areas in Adelaide, expected flooding in the Adelaide Hills and still looks like snow in the wee small hours. But we have been told to  brace for wild weather over the next few days. Like the weather we have had thus far has not been wild enough?

Tomorrow (Friday) we have been asked – at very short notice I might add – to organise catering for  part of the army group that has taken over parts of the town.  Presently there are about 4000 Military Personnel, soldiers and admin. here in town. No we are not catering for  all that lot – but we are catering for about 200+ who have organised a “Show and Tell” day at Civic Park . The bulk of the Army Group are stationed at Cultana – which is the military playpen of about 2090 square km. and that’s only part of it. Anyway it’s part of the main training area for the 1st. Brigade, 7th Battalion  Royal Australian Regiment (7 RAR) as well as units of the Australian Light Horse – so a lot of soldiers wandering around the town. Annabell has medical appointments tomorrow so I can’t help out until later in the day. On the Sunday, we have organised a Cake Stall so that should be interesting. I wont be at that! This is being held in the Stratco (hardware company) carpark.  Oh Annabell is making

Attack Helicopter
Attack Helicopter
Mr. Spananberg considers adding a new tool to Student Behaviour Management
Mr. Spanenberg considers  a new addition to Student Behaviour Management

cakes and biscuits (cookies) for

Some of the group ) my photograph)
Some of the group  ( my photograph)

this,  but I wont be there other than first thing in the morning to take her things down to the RFDS stall.

Next weekend ( 1st. 2nd. 3rd. July) we are catering for a big diving course being held out at Point Lowly – about 30 km from here. I am there on the Saturday and I have to pick up a couple of people and take them out there. We are three groups, one Friday, one Saturday and one Sunday. I have the Saturday group. Our contribution to Central Operations will be $45,000 this year – which is  pretty good for a small band of people.  It’s been a lot of work at times but we have the highest number of  RFDS landings in Australia – 573 this year. It’s not that we have a lot of sick people here but if there is an accident or an emergency in a community hospital  further north, the RFDS will pick up the patient and bring them to the nearest major hospital – us. It may well be that all we can do is stabilize , call back the RFDS and get the patient off to  the Flinders Medical Center or the Royal Adelaide Hospital for specalised treatment that we cannot provide. So a lot of that accounts for the large number of landings.

Tornadoes, Cyclones and Bushfires – it’s all go around here!

White PoinsettiaI suppose all countries are strange in their own way but Australia seems to be strange in every way. South Australia is scorching, Victoria is burning, parts of New South Wales are burning, Western Australia is wet and Queensland,  battered by cyclones and a couple of  tornadoes is flooding, battered and bruised. At the Australia Day celebrations yesterday we were running a fundraising barbecue for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and just after 6pm, my son went home and got a pullover. I’m not silly, I already had one in my car so I just went and got that, and by 6:30 people were donning jackets and pullovers as the wind became stronger and colder and by the time the fireworks were set off (9pm) it was very cold. Despite that, it was a good and very busy day which stared at 1:30pm and finished at 8:30pm and everything we had was sold. I think somewhere around $900 will be added to the funds. Our small group has contributed $100,000 over four years whilst places like Roxby Downs in the far north contributes $100,000+ every year. Mind you,  it is one of the largest mining areas in Australia and they have a much greater need of the service than we have..

My  brother-in-law is back in hospital again and not very well so I will be going back down to the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide to see him.  I would like to go down now but it will be chaos on the roads as this is a long weekend and school starts back on Tuesday so there will be families returning from holidays, students going back to University and  school and people returning home at the end of a long weekend.  Not a good time to be ravelling. Tuesday should be much quieter. On the way home I will most probably call into the big Garden Centre  at Two Wells and see what’s available. I know — self-inflicted punishment –  but I  have this weird theory that sooner or later, something will take and my efforts will be rewarded,  then I can sit back and relax and count the pigs as they fly past.

Things seem to be going from bad to worse in Queensland and the State Government have asked the Feds. to give Army assistance because the  state emergency services can no longer cope. It’s not quite of the scale of two years ago, but getting pretty close. We are lucky in South Australia – we get hot and the temperature goes up and down like a yoyo at times, but really, we don’t get the extreme weather conditions coming in from the Pacific and Indian Oceans.   ——–A White Poinsettia – never seen one before so I bought it.