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.

 

Road Trip, Benji and Baby

My Almond tree in blossom
Some Wetland Birds

I have just returned from two days in Adelaide. Conference this time was at Para Hills. The drive down was uneventful and the weather was excellent. The most frustrating part of the journey was the Main North Road and the roadworks that had the traffic banked up. Anyway, that was not so bad but I think watching snails overtake us was a bit depressing. Got cleared of that and was going well until King William Street and the roadworks outside the Festival Center, then more road works on the way to Bunnings at Parabanks. This is good because I know why there is never enough money to upgrade and repair country roads when everything is being spent in Adelaide. But as our Socialist Government keeps telling us “It’s good for South Australia” although how all this development in Adelaide and the million being spent on upgraded tram lines – in Adelaide – benefits a country town one thousand kilometers away from Adelaide in the far north of the state, is way beyond my comprehension. But then, not living in Adelaide, I don’t understand these things. But even at this conference – the first since the sale of Arrium –  and people asking me how things are in town now that Arrium is sold.  “Things will  be better and there will be more confidence in the community, you’ll be doing well now” – but what they think about is a sort of instant gratification and that’s not how it works. Many jobs were lost, those who survived had to accept 10 – 15% pay cuts, Westlands, the largest undercover  shopping area outside Adelaide still has over 30% of the shops empty and we still have over 600 houses up for sale and some of these are homes that were taken over by the banks when people could not pay their mortgage. Yes things will change, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Recovery will take time and the new owner will have to do something that helps to increase

Hello peeple..

the returning confidence, because, it is presently fragile and I believe it wont take a lot to damage it.  On 1st September there is a “Meet and Greet”rally to be held in the Ada Ryan Gardens. The RFDS will be doing the catering as part of our fundraising.  We hope to have the opportunity to meet the new owner, talk to him and have a photo opportunity.

Annabell kept telling me every time I called her that Benji was not a happy puppy. He hardly left my room except to go outside and come for his food. If the doorbell rang he would come charging through, stand looking at the door until it was open. Annabell said you could almost feel the disappointment  when he saw it wasn’t his daddy, so he turned and went back to the room. He really misses me when I am away from him. But it’s a two-way street and I miss him too.

Four Hours Old

On  2nd June of this year, our grandson (Connor Logan)  was born. I no longer feel quite as isolated from certain conversations as I did. However, it’s not all solved in that my grandson is a mere  three months old whereas most of the people in the church have grandchildren that are married, have children, or are out in the world carving out a life for themselves, some are serving in the armed forces. However, my grandson may still be a babe at his mother’s breast, but he has life ahead of him;   a world with all its new technology and wonders waiting for him to discover. In spite of the crazy people and events, the world is still an exciting and wonderful place. The chaos and events taking place in this era,  will, I believe, pass and by the time he is ready to go out into the world, it will be an even better place than it is now.

Part of the shopping center has been blocked off and a large new shop is under construction. I understand it will be a new variety store. I’m not really fussed but if it is big enough it will create employment and perhaps it will signal the  rebirth of the shopping center and fill many of the empty shops.  This is a development that I look forward to seeing.

Arrium, winter and Sooah returns.

Sooah and the WaWa in May 2016

One of the things I dislike about this time of year is that it’s cold. Well, of course it’s cold. That’s why it’s called winter, you idiot.  Well, yes, I suppose so, but by the time it’s warm enough to actually go work outside it’s practically lunch and given another hour and the temperature starts to drop again.  Add to this is the fact that Annabell does not sleep very well, so,  the other reason for not going outside early is that I would have to put on lights and I would probably make noise, so I could waken her – and I’d rather not.  As I said, she doesn’t sleep too well so she needs her sleep. I can do some tidy up but I can’t attend to the leaves on the turf because that would require the Blower/Vac and that makes a noise. ** Well, a Newsflash**   Just had a message ( two minutes ago)  from Incheon, South Korea .   Sooah and her husband will be leaving South Korea on the third week in July to arrive back in South Australia. This is excellent news because it will mean that not too long afterwards the WaWa will be going home. There is no doubt that we will miss her – I will miss her –  but Annabell is pleased for Benji’s sake and I  agree with her.   He has spent much of this last year being confined with me in this room. He only is safe when he is with me either here or when we are out. It will be good that the Benji will have HIS  house and home back again.

Of course, all this is working on the assumption that she will want the dog back, but we will cross that bridge if we come to it. We have tried to make it

Seems

ok, but really, poor Benji has had a lot to put up with this last year. He is a loving, affectionate animal and he deserves better.  The WaWa has become my BFF and Sooah will have to deal with that just as I had to deal with the attacks, the blood and bandages for the first six or more months . But then, as Sooah is her long lost momma, it shouldn’t really be much of a problem.

The weather continues to be cold and today we have had our first rain  for  months. Not a great deal but enough and it is supposed to be raining again tomorrow. The Stan cartoon is from the local newspaper so the Copyright is the Whyalla News. I think I said already that the British Consortium have put in a counter bid, which is believed to be substantially higher than the Korean bid, but the administrators are continuing to negotiate with the preferred bidder – the Korean Consortium – who were the highest bidder when the bids closed.

My only excuse – if excuse it be – is that I experienced a sudden rush of blood to the head and instead of buying a new Samsung, as I normally would, I  took a brainstorm and bought an iPhone. I only hate it when I am feeling calm, generally the thought of bouncing it off a wall somewhere gets me through the day. On the 8th June we were changed over from ADSL to the NBN ( National Broadband Network) and since that date, we have not had a landline telephone. Thus I really need my mobile phone  ( That’s cell phone to you)  it’s the only communication I have and Annabell has to use it too, so all calls regardless of who they are for, has to come through this iphone. At the moment that keeps it from being bounced off the wall. People tell me that I will get used to the iphone system, and Apple and once I do I will wonder how I ever managed without it.Yes, well, I don’t see that anywhere on the horizon. Actually, with this heavy mist again, I don’t see much of anything really.

 

Arrium, Brunch and Misty Days

For much of last week and for what remains of this week, I have been playing gofer.

“Would you go to the supermarket and get me more flour”

“Why do you need so much flower? We’re supposed to feed ém not fatten ém!”

“Well if I don’t have flour I can’t make scones”

“Will that be one bag or two?”

Anyway,  think part of the reason this weekend went so quickly is that we had a function and I spent much of the week helping  and running back and forward to the supermarket for supplies. Then we had the function, and the  relaxation after that before reality crept in and we remembered we have a big function this coming weekend  (Sat. 17th) – This is the  Brunch Weekend! More running around.  Probably just as well, the mornings and evenings are cold -1 / -3 c  cold. This morning, for example, it was -1c but there was also a heavy mist – we don’t get fog – and visibility down to about 35 yards. We did go out for a walk this morning- despite the cold and the mist – and Benji seems to be turning into a ten feet dog – he is currently  incapable of walking for more than ten feet  and he stops, has a sniff and a pee. I keep telling him he’s wasting valuable coffee time, but it just doesn’t seem to make an impression. It was interesting walking in the mist – everything was so quiet. Haven’t done that in a long while.

Hello peeple..

The WaWa is not getting any better . Yes, I seem to have become her BFF but at the expense of Benji. Her Jealousy is such that she will go for Benji if he come near me when she is around. Benji has turned on her a few times and I once had to physically remove him as he had her pinned down. I would really like to say that it made a difference but almost as soon  I got him off her she went straight at him again. From time to time I muzzle her when it gets too much and that does make a difference, but it’s not ideal and I don’t enjoy doing it. And before you ask, yes it was from the Vet and it is fitted to her,  but the WaWa believes that this is her house and Benji is an intruder. I still have an insanely optimistic  view that it will settle down and they will become friends. Armed neutrality would be an improvement.

The preferred offer for the purchase of Arrium is the bid from South Korea but there are still some things to work through yet. They have said that they will spend the necessary funds to upgrade the operations and that could be good for employment in the town. They have a very different method of operation, which is also very successful and they may introduce this system here in a planned upgrade.  It could also assist in getting Sooah back if there are additional employment opportunities.

Relaxing in the car

I have come to the conclusion that although the WaWa is my new BFF, this last year has not been fair on Benji. The only times he is safe from her is when he’s out with me or when he’s here in the room with me. If it is a nice day Bernji and me will go outside with the  disc player and we will sit together on the garden swing and listen to Sinatra.  So, if Sooah did return  and wanted the dog back, I would hand her over, but I rather suspect she would have a difficult time with her, because she is certainly not the WaWa she left with us fourteen months ago.

Monday and another very  heavy mist morning with visibility reduced to about 20+ feet. These days I cut the walk short and do not go to the end because I dislike not being able to see the bush ( land) on either side of me once I have cleared the houses. However I make up for the lost area by doing a circle of the block before I start the morning walk, so he’s not getting short changed :o)

The Brunch on Saturday went very well and we catered for about 70 people. We ran out of sandwiches and I did offer to go to the shop and get bread, butter and things for sandwiches but we had plenty of cakes, scones and biscuits. Have no idea the final figure of what we raised but I expect I  will find out soon enough.

Winter and a Baby Due.

It would seem at times that I lead a very busy life. Generally this is far from the truth – my life is  quiet and peaceful. However, having said that, this year has been different and because of things that have happened, here and elsewhere, I have had to to a lot of travelling. There are four conferences a year, two in Adelaide, two in Mount Gambier. These take place every three months – although having said that, this is the third time I have been to Mount Gambier since January.  The West Terrace Committee, of which I am a member, generally meets twice a year – or as required. This time it came right after Mount Gambier, so I was only just home for less than a full day and then away again for another two days. This is where it becomes slightly bizarre. Because of a fear campaign, many young mothers are refusing to have their children vaccinated and as a result many things we thought were eradicated are making a comeback – one of these is Whooping Cough. This has increased to the extent that  if a woman is about to have a baby, the adults associated with that baby –  Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts etc. – are “Advised” to have a Whooping Cough Injection. My son and his partner are about to have a baby so Annabell and I, along with my other son,  need to have this Whooping Cough injection. All of this travelling over May really told on me and I was tired and somewhat rundown. Our injections were scheduled for the day after I got back from Adelaide. I should have delayed them, but time is running out and we needed them now, so we had them. Annabell and son John are fine.  I ended up with Flu-like symptoms and am in bed sick. I was concerned but I am assured that this is not uncommon and I just have to see it out. Normally it would have been ok but my  body turned gangster on me and forced me to bed. Annabell is very good and feeds me hot Lemon and Honey drinks. It has already started to dry up and I should be fine in a day or so.

The WaWa has recovered and I have removed the Medical Collar. The only concern is that with me being in bed, the dogs are not getting out for exercise.  I dare say they will be fine for a few days. The family were here this evening and  the date for Trish is tomorrow (29th) anything after that and he’s late. – And yes, it is “him” but no name as yet, or if there is they are not telling anyone.

The Arrium Saga takes another twist as the Shareholders have formed a group “Arrium Shareholders United”which are opposed to the Administrator and are opposed to the company being sold. They maintain that Arrium today is a different company than it was fourteen months ago. They also maintain that the company is viable and trading well and that it should be taken out of Administration, re listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), a new Board of Management put into place and negotiations commenced for refinancing. The Administrator has considered the suggestions and  declared them as unworkable – the price for steel and the price for Iron Ore has decreased while the cost of power continues to increase, and there is the little matter of the $2+ Billion debt – and that the only viable option to ensure long term stability is to sell the company as a whole. The closing date for offers was 31st May at 5pm. There are two contenders – one South Korean the other British. The Administrator will consult with the stakeholders – Banks, Unions, State and Federal Governments and an announcement made in about three weeks.

Yesterday an old friend arrived with a “Hi. Remember me?” as he plunged the overnight temperatures down to -1c and it was cold taking Benji out for our morning walk. You notice I said Benji  not  “The Dogs” yes, she’s not silly and fails to see the point of getting out of a perfectly warm bed when it’s still cold and dark.  Actually I really don’t blame her. Our Old Friend has not been very friendly these last few days. No snow – of course – but lots of frost on the grass.  Hmmm – maybe the WaWa has the right idea………..

**newsflash**   The  Baby was born at 3:13 this afternoon (Friday 2nd June) and, would you believe, they still have not decided on a name. Anyway, until then as far as I am concerned, he is Andrew Junior and he was just over  seven pounds

The WaWa – all change.

Chienne when the world was very young,.

In all of my life I have only ever bought one dog from a Pet Shop. I have to truthfully say that I have looked and liked what I saw – but then, I didn’t know any better. I bought this dog from the Pet Shop, because I knew the owner, she was also a dog groom and she also ran boarding kennels. We called the dog Chienne – I know some people in France use this as an insult but to me it just simply meant what she was a Female Dog. This was almost sixteen years ago. She died at just over fourteen years of age. She never had a day ill in her life and the only time she had to wear a “Collar of Shame” was when she had been to the vet for “The Operation”. She was a lovely dog, dearly loved by everyone who came into contact with her, particularly the Love of Her Life – my youngest son, Andrew. She also helped to fill an interesting matchmaking role, but that’s another story. My reason for reliving all this, is not to inflict sadness on myself, but to state a point – and the point is this – in my life I have only ever had one experience of a pet shop and that experience was very positive. I do not for one second doubt that many

Puppy Farms are dreadful places and should be closed down. My heart aches  when I think of some of these poor animals. However my only experience was a positive one and it is very difficult to set that aside. Every dog, including Benji, was a rescue dog. Only Chienne was a Pet Shop Dog and she was one of the most lovable dogs I have ever lived with – and to be honest it took me a  while  to stop calling him and at times referring to Benji as Chienne. That’s how imprinted she was on me.

The WaWa and I have become quite close to the point where I can go to her,  lift her up and she snuggles into my  neck. In my  wild erratic fancy, I had visions of her searching where would be the

Hello peeple..
The WaWa

best point to sink her teeth into, but that’s being unkind  :o)  I can also sit down on the floor and when Benji is not around I can sit and play with her, scratch her ears and her belly and  pet her back and head. Tippysmom was spot on when she said that  it will be an incredible wrench if /when the owner comes back and I have to give her up. I never meant to get attached to her but I have – and that’s a concern.

I have been working outside – even in the high temperatures we have had this week – because I want to get as much of the garden finished as I can. At the moment I have completed about half of what needs to be done and I would like to get most of it finished this week.  For the  gravel I am using Granite Chips – not cheap but they look good and they hold their colour for a long time. Other stone chip seems to fade after a while whereas Granite does not. The Frangipani  are coming along well as are the four Mandevilla / white /pink and two red. All very nice and should last until about mid-May, which is when I head off to Mount Gambier for four days. I water and feed the flowers and plants before I go and hope that will be enough to last them until I get back. And before you ask, the answer is NO.

A post ago I used a photographs of snow in Neilson. The photographs was taken in the morning, and by mid-afternoon the snow was all gone. It didn’t last long apparently.

Still no word about what is happening with Arrium. As far as we know there are two  buyers interested – One British and one South Korean. The uncertainty is such that there are so many houses

For Tippysmom / My Back Yard

for sale around the town;  a number of houses foreclosed by the bank and I know of at least one house – a big house – where the owners just packed up and walked away, leaving everything to the bank. As I said before our major shopping Mall, once advertised as the largest outside of Adelaide,  has 18 empty shops. However on a positive note we believe that a large retailer will be moving into the larger of the empty shops ( 3 in 1)  soon. Good in that it  is a large area and will take away the empty look from that section and also that it will provide jobs.

Past, Present, and Future.

I think both here and overseas, one of the major talking points is the weather and how strange it has been – we expect winter snow – and we get none / we expect summer heat – and it’s limited to a couple of days.  We had a heatwave a few weeks ago when the temperature topped 44c. Last week, and this week we were warned of another heatwave and possible power cuts – neither of which happened. I took Benji out this morning, turned round and came back inside and changed into a heavier jacket. True it was still dark, but it was cold – not winter cold, but cold enough for a different jacket. Temperatures have been warm to very warm. Using the term “Hot” would be – for us here anyway – a slight exaggeration.  I look on the weather people as I look on the South Australian Government – take everything they tell you with a large pinch of salt.

Michaela Denis

When I was growing up in the 60s there was a pioneer couple appeared on Television – black and white, of course, we didn’t have colour until the mid 70s – anyway,  this pioneering couple were Armand  and Michaela Denis. As far as I know they retired in 1961,  but their films and the Wildlife TV Programs were shown well into the  1960s because they were pioneers in Wildlife Filming, setting man of the standards. If I remember correctly I think one of their  TV programmes was “On Safari”   Interesting in that the  Denis couple were closing their career just as another broadcaster was starting his – David Attenborough.

Took Benji and the WaWa down to the Foreshore for a Beachie. There is a small problem here – in order to have a beachie you needs a beach. Today was not a good day with about 10% beach and 90% seaweed. Oh  a Beachie is South Australian for a romp around the beach. Depending on the weather we might go North sometime this

A Seagrass Beach

week. This morning we didn’t go anywhere. Generally I get up with the alarm, get dressed and the Boy and I go out for our morning walk. Well, I got up and I got dressed and I got ready to go out, but he refused. I don’t know what was wrong with him, but he just didn’t want to go out. In fact when I produced the leash, he looked and went back to bed. Going back to yesterday, it’s not really seaweed on the beach –  it is seagrass, which is a different thing altogether. The area of sand in the photograph is all there was and the photograph makes it look much larger an area that it really was.

Tanks for the Memory.

Lots of rumbling – like thunder – the army is back playing in the Play-Pen again. Apparently  there are some War Games going on. No idea how long this will go on  or how long they are here for. I have not seen any  army people around the place. The photograph is from when they were here last year and conducted Operation Hamel. —- Sorry about the caption, I couldn’t resist it. I’ll try harder next time  :o)

This morning I sent yet another email over to Korea (South) and at the moment it has not bounced back. Of course this is not to say that it wont during the course of today, but at the moment it’s looking fairly good.  The Coffee Ladies are here this morning and they were here last night. They are lovely ladies and many of them have dogs so they don’t mind Benji and the WaWa wandering around – which is good. They pay the host a few dollars each for coffee, tea and cookies, but what remains they save and bank  for the year and  this is donated to several charities. Last year they presented me with a cheque for $1000 donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service,  $1000 to Riding for the Disabled and $1000 to help with the medical bills of a young boy who was involved in a serious accident and requires a number of operations. So, they do good and sometimes someone brings scones, or Annabell makes them – I likes scones……. I can be bribed so easily  :o)

This morning (Friday) I opened my mail box when I came back from our walk and there was an Email from Sooah. She is doing well and loves the photographs I have sent her. She says that it looks like Kongsoon ( WaWa to us) and Benji are good friends and she is pleased. ( Shush – our little secret!) She says she hope to see us soon – but that could just be politeness with no

Somewhere, underneath this is a WaWa

indication if and when she is returning. However, the note did sound positive so that was good. I will keep sending and even although things bounce back from time to time, I wont give up. At the moment no one is really sure what is going on – there is still major uncertainty in the town and our Shopping Mall – Which was once billed as the largest outside of Adelaide – has 19 empty shops. There are so many houses up for sale it’s unreal – there is an offer ( two I believe) for Arrium and the Feds have made it clear that if the buyer is not willing to commit to a long term future for Arrium and the Steelworks and upgrade the outdated equipment, then they would not be inclined to give approval to the sale. At the moment there is still some hope that things will settle soon and we can get on with life.  ==== Past, Present and Future / The Past was exciting / Present full of uncertainty / Future has limited hope – but still hope)