Spring has Sprung..

The Wetlands towards the bridge.

Spring be here! With the warmer weather and there being no restrictions, the wetlands has become a busy wee place. There are a number of reasons for this, the weather is nice, it’s quiet and peaceful and the kiosk is very popular. The food is good, well cooked, tasty and reasonable priced. Benji likes his Ice-Cream so when it’s been warm  and we have completed our walk I have taken him to the kiosk, bought a dog portion in a  cup for him and a cone for me. I get Rum and Raisin, he gets Vanilla. We have not been around to the ducks and geese for a little while. Benji has been having a bit of a problem with his paw so I thought it best to keep him off the gravel path.  The serious gravel at the back of the Wetlands going down to where the geese are, I generally carry him over.  Irrespective of the weather, the Wetlands has become the  ïn” place at the moment and although the walking areas are  fairly quiet, the kiosk is always active – and the Ice-Cream is nice.

Yesterday  was a lovely day, hardly a breeze and 24c – really nice and yes, the Wetlands was packed. There was not a parking space to be had. I drove through drove to the foreshore and

Looking up the hill instead of down.

we spent the afternoon there. There was more seagrass than there was sand but what sand there was Benji enjoyed. We left just before schools ended for the day and were able to miss the traffic through town. Today – another nice day – the Wetlands was busy but there were spaces in the carpark so I parked there and took Benji for a walk, doing our figure of eight (8) We start off at the bridge and go around until we reach the other side of the bridge, – we cross the bridge and walk in the same direction, returning to the bridge and  completing a circuit of the area. I took a few photographs and we went home. At home I removed the disk from the camera to load

The New Jetty – still not complete yet. Should be open in a few weeks.

the photographs onto the computer and had lunch. After lunch the boy and I took off to  Hummock Hill and the Foreshore. I tried to take a photograph and could not – I had forgotten to get the disc out of the computer. I  drove up to  the Electrical Retailers and bought a new disc – I needed a spare anyway. From there we drove back to the foreshore and Hummock Hill and spent the afternoon there. It was a lovely afternoon and the place was quite busy with a good number of people around.

This week was the AGM of the  local  Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and I was asked to resume the role of Secretary- which I did. Annabell wasn’t terribly happy, but although I have had concerns I feel that the organisation and its goal is bigger than petty differences. Anyway, due to Covid  the group has not been operational for  four months so it was a fair break. Time to get back to work. Having said that, we have had three funerals in the last four weeks (the latest this afternoon). We hadn’t even started this funeral today when we were told that another of our friends had died. Sad, yes, but we wont be involved with that.

It’s only Wednesday and already I want the weekend to hurry up and get here. It’s been a very strange week – funerals aside –  and up to a point Benji has not been given as much

Spring Gazinias

attention as I would like. Sunday, sometime  after the boys had left, I ended up taking Annabell to the hospital; Monday the RFDS AGM: Tuesday, Ladies Coffee evening: tonight just

We will have Yogi back for a few days next week.

too tired to do much and Annabell wasn’t feeling the best.  The funeral today took a lot out of her. The Church Newslletter/|Magazine is due out next week. Well, that’s not going to happen! I would like it to but I am less than halfway through it. I do want our magazine to end up like the State Magazine to which very few contribute – which is very sad.

I had Annabell at hospital at 1am this morning and I have to take her back at 8:15 this morning when the two doctors are on duty. She is not a well lady and I am concerned about her. Acording to the nurse this morning she may require a whole bank of tests to determine the problem, so we will just have to look after her and support her. I need to be at church, but other than that I will cancel all my activities for this weekend – Annabell is more important.

Wandering again.

After the trip to Point Douglas and the Lighthouse, the weather took a turn for the worse and winds of 120kph, with driving rain were predicted. The rain wasn’t too bad but the wind had  a few of us worried. I was worried

The Bay through the trees
Taken at the top of the hill on the Fitzgerald Bay Road

about the eucalyptus at the far end of the back yard, however, they survived. I suppose, really, they stayed where they were and I survived not having fallen trees and a mess to attend to. I will never make a ‘real Aussie”mainly because I hate Australian Eucalyptus  trees.  They are great where they should be – in the Australian Bush – they should not ever be in an urban environment – where they are. And they are there deliberately because the council of then ( and members of the council today) insist that  we do not import exotic trees and that the native trees for the state be used. Exotic, by the way, are not some trees from some far flung region of the planet, but merely trees that grow in a State other than South Australia — New South Wales, for example. I hate them because they are messy and shed leaves , twigs and bark everywhere. The leaves are toxic and nothing will grow near them. In a fire they are the most dangerous tree in that they are full of oil and where other trees burn, eucalyptus trees burn,  heat up and then the oil explodes sending embers and sparks across containment lines, thus spreading the fire. And lastly, they are dangerous in that they are subject to stress and  when under stress they can – without warning – drop large tree branches. In Adelaide several people have been killed because of branches falling on their cars and here, two little children were killed playing when a large branch fell on them. And I think I have said much of this before and it’s only the  really high winds these last days that have brought it all back to mind.

This morning,however,  being a fairly calm morning, I got ready to take Benji out for our 7am walk, He didn’t want to go. I did not force him but I  confess that I badgered him a bit and in the

You’ll keep, Daddy, you’ll keep.

end we went walking. About one third distance into the walk and he started limping and a few moments later he was lifting his front right paw.  Yes, I did think there was something there as he warned me off when I tried to  move the paw pads to see it there was anything.  He limped with this paw in the air so I told him we were going home and I lifted him and carried him part of the way. Only part of the way because he is no lightweight. Anyway, we got back on to the concrete and I put him down. Facing the way home, the tail went up in the air and he set off with a jaunty  stride – no sign of  a paw problem. He walked quite the thing. We got to the corner and the house was across the road, but I turned the corner and kept walking, and so did he. By the time we got back to the house we had walked more than one and a halt times the distance we normally walk. Yes, you are free to chastise me as much as you like, but I felt quite good about that!

The Shingle Ridge – rare and unknown.

Today being the 22nd August, which means that there are only nine days until Spring. I suspect that in the fullness of time I will complain about the excessive heat but at the moment I am over this cold and would like some warmth, I would like to get out and about with the camera. We have a “Foreshore” which is a different thing from an actual “Beach” I would also like to camp overnight at Point Lowly area so that I can  photograph the sunset and then photograph the sunrise the following morning. And yes, I would have Benji with me. Don’t know how he will go sleeping in a tent, so it should be interesting.

There was a post from the local council suggesting that not  many people had responded to the requests for photographs for the Council Calendar.  I thought “why not?” so I put in five entries. They probably wont get used but at least I entered. However, I did get a reply asking to submit a photograph of the Lighthouse without the time and date stamp on the photograph – which I did – so you never know.   The Shingle Ridge is a  ridge of shingles that run for several kilometres. No one seems to know how or why or even when, it was formed, The ridge is about six or seven feet high and about ten or more feet wide.

Towards the Final Curtain U.

I’m only getting out if there’s food..

The weather for the last few days has been quite mild and at 22c  good for wandering around  the lighthouse and the foreshore.. Most of the restrictions have been lifted so it’s

What ?? Get out of the car on to the cold road??? You Jest!!

good to get out and about . However, it was never really much of a problem up here. The kind of restricted period has given me  a lot of time to play with my cameras and I have bought a macro lens for the Canon and ordered one for the Nikon. As I said before, I  have a lot to learn and whilst I have no one here to teach me ( will be better when the camera club starts up again) but I like to potter around taking photographs of things and places that interest me and, of course, lots of photographs of Benji – who even has his own folder on my computer. It is still very cold in the mornings. On Tuesday morning Benji and I went up to Hummock Hill to photograph the sunrise. It was bitterly cold and my hands were freezing. Like little digits of ice! Anyway, I took  quite a few photographs of the rising sun and the surrounding area, but I just don’t seem able to get the setting right for a sunrise. Photographs club starts back next week, so I will  start to get some information that I can put into practice.  I did buy a new Camera Backpack which I am quite pleased with. With the restrictions in place the President of the Camera Club posted a letter, number or colour on the website each week. This week the letter was “J” and Annabell and I came up with a few ideas. I did go to the Shopping Centre and photograph the Jewellers, but I wasn’t too happy with that – I felt it was “Ordinary” and  I wanted something different. In the end I drove into town and photographed the Court House and posted it under the tile “Justice”. Our court house, unlike Adelaide, is  a reddish brick building, not at all inspiring but  I was quite happy with what it represented.

I was not involved at the RFDS Fundraising this weekend but I did drive down to the Cuttlefish Area to  catch up on what was happening. Both days have been very productive both for the  RFDS and the Cuttlefish Dive

the Point Lighthouse

Organisers. It was very busy and despite having extra supplies, the RFDS  was starting to run out. Fortunately by that time things were slowing down and heading towards the end of the day. Benji and I left the Cuttlefish area and drove round to the far side of the point  and  the Lighthouse. I like the lighthouse – it’s a nice drive and  it’s a  quiet enough area and the lighthouse always makes for a good photograph subject.  I have a one-person tent and I was thinking of upgrading this to a larger tent  which would allow me to go off overnight with Benji and a photo trip. Of course we would always be at the edge of the National Park and actually driving through the Park should not be a problem as long as I  keep him in the car when I get out to take any photographs.  All pretty much in the air at the moment – not really the weather for camping.

I went back out and did another round of sunrise photographing, but still not happy with the results. I’ll most likely delete them again. Well,  if nothing else, the delete function on the camera is getting a good workout. Anyway, it was -1c and bitterly cold so I’m not doing that again – at least, not until it’s a bit warmer. Benji and I have not been going out in the

Ada Ryan Gardens

early morning walking because it has been so cold. We have taken our walk later in the day when it’s a bit warmer. We also go wandering in the Wetlands and the Foreshore.  To add to the cold the last two days have been wet. According to the forecast we will have showers  until Tuesday – so not a lot of walking. The Cuttlefish Diving is on again this weekend for a three day period – Friday, Saturday and Sunday (today being Saturday) and the RFDS are organising the catering for the three days. A very busy three days for the crews involved, For the remainder, I have been to the council and the two hardware stores and no indication as to when they will be ready recommence their weekly barbecues.

I include the Ada Ryan Gardens photograph mainly because the Council with grants have been working out there and have spent a bunch of cash to install new  ground lighting. It looks impressive on the council  page so as soon we as get some dry weather I will go out some evening and take photographs of the gardens under the new lighting.

OTT Restrictions, Ruby Princess, ANZAC Day

Bin Night — I-so-late — I-so-late

I agree with much of the isolation, social distancing and lockdowns but I think some places and people have gone just a tad too far – slightly OTT. Understand, I am not whining and want them all to stay in place but some things I am concerned about. Let me explain: just before all the restrictive movement and other measures came into effect, Annabell was instructed by her doctor to  take her blood pressure reading twice a day ( morning and evening) over ten days and  record the results. At the end of the ten days, he wanted to see the results. Annabell had told him that I had a machine that recorded Blood Pressure and heart rate. So I did this for her over the ten days. We printed it off and Annabell wrote a short report. I was to take it to the surgery and  hand it in . The envelops was clearly marked for the Dr.. I arrived at the clinic only to find a locked door and a notice that I was to go to a window outside in the carpark where I would be attended to. I did this and was confronted with a window about seven feet from the ground, fly screen covered and looking down on me. I have to admit that her “what can I do for you”had a tone of “what do you want? I explained that I had a letter from Annabell that needed to go to Dr…..  Her comment was “I don’t think I can accept that”  I looked at her and said “Fine”and turned to walk away — “oh I have hand sanitizer and gloves on now so I  suppose I can accept it” I said nothing, handed it up and walked away.  I’m not impressed., really I’m not. I fully understand the need for social distancing and the need to keep our front line workers safe, but I honestly felt that this was just Over the Top, to have people standing in the carpark taking up to a flymesh covered window. I drove  along there the other day and there were still people standing at the window. Today (Thursday 23rd) we are in the throes of the full  treatment – Thunder, Lightening and heavy rain – I wonder if there are people standing outside at the window this morning? Okay – Okay, my whinging is over!!

The investigation into the Ruby Princess continues. The figures from the Federal Government indicate that 10.47% of all Coronavirus cases in Australia are directly related to the Ruby Princess. In South Australia the figure is higher at 21% of all cases in the state. The ship has been ordered to leave Port Kembla this afternoon and to leave Australian Waters. The really sick have been removed to hospital. —- The Ruby Princess left Port Kembla and headed out of Australian waters on Thursday afternoon.  I believe she is heading to Indonesia – not sure why.

Annabell is still well. I have been the one to go out and do any shopping or anything that needs to be done. I still take Benji out in the early morning and the only people I see at that time in the morning are a few people in

The Benji

cars heading off to work. These days we don’t go out every morning. Oh I get up and ready to go out, but he is reluctant to go and I don’t intend to force him. Sometimes I just sit down beside him – he puts his head on my leg and I sit and scratch his ears for a while. If we don’t go out in the morning I generally take him for a drive in the afternoon and we have a walk around the Wetlands which is also quiet.

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day and I have set up the letterbox with poppies and candles. In the morning I will go out at 5:55 and light the candles so that we  “light up the Dawn”  at 6am, then quietly repeat the Ode and a minute’s silence.  After that I’ll take Benji for a walk ( about 6:15) . On the subject of Benji – the Photograph theme for last week was the Letter  R so I submitted a photograph of Rascally Rabbits. Don’t know what I am going to do this week as the theme is the letter B. Verra difficult.  The rules are that it cannot be a photograph you already have.It has to be a new photograph taken after the  Friday  Theme release date. I have a week to come up with something.

“Gam zeh ya’avor” This too shall pass.

This turns ordinary people into thieves who steal from patients in a hospital

Any crisis tends to bring out the best in some people. However, conversely, in some people it brings out the worse and worse is when you steal things from a medical facility. Like all hospitals our hospital has a bottle of hand sanitizer at the end of each bed. The nurse or doctor makes use of this when they move from patient to patient. Visitors may also make use of it. There are  hand sanitizing stations at the end of each corridor and at the entrance/exit to the hospital. Why all this information? Well I am certain you know where I am going with this – people have been stealing the bottles, not just from the corridors but from the patient’s beds. One of our ladies  in church has a small dog she takes  to visit the elderly in the nursing homes. She kept a bottle of hand sanitize to uses in here visit to the different patients. She also lets people use it if they have been petting the dog, her bottle was stolen when she was distracted.  In the news this morning there are reports of a busload of people travelling several hours to a country town  outside of Melbourne and stripping the local supermarket. We are not in lockdown but if this continues we should be.

I have just been watching a National Broadcast by the Prime Minister in which he outlined some of the measures that the National Cabinet  have taken overnight and he was quite adamant that schools should not close. The best medical advice available is that the closure of schools would cause more harm than good and  apart from which the virus seems to act differently with young people than it does with adults. He also  pointedly attacked the whole process of panic buying that is happening as stupid and completely unnecessary – we have sufficient stocks of food and we have the ability to manufacture most of what we need. The pointless panic buying of stocks of toilet paper needs to stop – it is unnecessary.   I mean only last week there was a fight in a Woolworth Supermarket over rolls of toilet paper and security were forced to deal with it. It has reached the stage that people are stealing rolls of toilet paper and hand sanitizer from hospital toilets . I think, really, it’s sort of legal looting.                What is the “National Cabinet”?  The Premiers of the other states, the two Chief Ministers of the Territories and the Prime Minister meet twice a week to formulate a National Response for all Australia, not a piecemeal State by State response. We are all in this together and the States, Territories and the Federal Government need to work together as one. Great exercise in unity. I hope it lasts.

Well, Benji wasn’t using it.

A few days ago the Catholic Church here in South Australia suspended their Easter Services and their Mass in response to the Virus. This morning the Presbyterian Church has suspended services for the moment. This also to include all meetings of boards of Committees. I guess the Congregational AGM, which was due this coming Sunday,  will not now take place. The General Assembly Emergency Meeting  will  keep us up to date by daily emails as the situation develops. This afternoon will be spent sending out emails to those of our congregation who have  them and telephoning those who do not. Also this morning was an email and letter from the CEO of the RFDS which has suspended all fundraising activities until at least 31st June.  Annabell  attended the  Ordination Service of the new Pastor  at the Lutheran Church last week and we were thinking that it was good that it was last week whilst there was still some sense of sanity about the place. Oh and by the way, she said the new Pastor is  very young —- Only a boy – were her words  :o)

Just Because

I have also decided that this might be  the last time I will have Dougal here. Yes he and Benji get on fairly well, but  when I have to go away it means that Annabell has to look after both dogs for two or sometimes four days, depending on where I am going. She is really not able to do that anymore.  As it happens I didn’t have to go away this period but that’s not the point. This time was only  to be for a few days- this coming Monday it will be Five Weeks since he came. There is also the problem when we are out walking. A dog barks and Benji  ignores and walks on. Dougal, on the other hand, goes ballistic and just about pulls my arm off.  But, but, the other day I had had enough, got Benji, put him in the car and he and I drove off to the Wetlands and then the beach It was nice out walking just Benji and me.

Toward the Final Curtain Q

Part of Victoria Square, Adelaide

I have been away since Friday attending a meeting of the Presbytery. It was announced to the meeting that a former Moderator, who last attended a meeting ( hale and hearty I might add) in August of 2019. had died. There was no indication of what was to come when he attended in August of last year. In the November meeting we were informed that he was ill and then the news that it was an aggressive brain cancer. He stabilized over Christmas and New Year but at the beginning of this month (February) he was rushed into hospital as the cancer had become more aggressive.  Sadly, it was terminal and he died on 13th February. We expect his funeral to be sometime this week, so I may be heading off to Adelaide again. Ok well that’s Plan A but I have the feeling that I may have to activate Plan B, which is to submit an apology and stay here instead.

When I got home on Saturday evening I  said my “hello” to Benji and then got Annabell in the car and up to the Emergency Dept at the Hospital. She had been unwell all day and was in some discomfort. She has an UTI and was in a bit of pain. She was seen to fairly quickly and after some tests and samples, she was given medication to last her until today. I have made the appointment with the doctor so we’ll see what happens, but this is happening much too often and we really have to get to the cause of the problem. Why did I have to

They are still around.

take her to hospital??? Because she put up with the discomfort all day and never called anyone, not even one of the boys. They could have had her up at the hospital  during the day . But she said, she didn’t want to cause a concern so she suffered until I got home. She worries me!! At the moment she is sleeping. She got up and showered early in case we were able to get a very early appointment. However as it is an afternoon appointment, she has gone for a rest and a bit of a sleep. We have spent the last week either at the doctor,  the clinic for blood tests or the hospital for particular medication. We have the weekend off and we start again first thing on Monday morning. Since I wrote all that a week ago, we have spent most of the week travelling back and forth to doctors, blood tests and hospital.  It seems her potassium levels were off the chart and that really concerned the doctor so we have spent the week working on getting that back down to normal. I was unaware of the

The Area Hospital

dangers of high potassium – I’m not anymore!! Tomorrow is, as I said, Monday again and we start a new week and see what that brings

Prior to leaving for Adelaide I  listened to the weather forecast which was for rain, thunderstorms and possibly hail for Adelaide, so I put a raincoat on the back seat. The drive down to Port Wakefield was great – traffic was light and the weather was good. The weather in Adelaide was excellent, about 33c and no sign of any rain. When you go to a foreign country there are always somethings you miss from the “Old Country” For us Scottish people it is the very simple things in life – Scotch Pies, Potato Scones, Ayrshire Bacon, and Lorne  Sausages, Irn Bru and Lees Macaroon Bars  Well, there is a butcher that does make these but he is miles away from the centre of Adelaide. However, having contacted him I was told that he supplies Continental Foods in Salisbury Shopping Centre and the same company in Ingle Farm Shopping Centre  both of which are within easy reach. From where I was, Salisbury was closer – and yes, I got everything I wanted and packed it into a Cooler with Ice Blocks. Continental Foods, so I was also able to get Lees Macaroon Bars – mind you, just about had to take out a bank loan for them.

I did not get to the funeral. It had been organised for Saturday – a private family funeral and a Memorial Service in the afternoon.  Apart from the fact that I needed to get home for the service on Sunday. I had arrangements this week and next week with the RFDS, I also wanted to be here just in case we had to go to the hospital again.  Sad I was not able to attend, but these things do happen.

 

Towards the Final Curtain P

Early this morning

Friday 31st. January.  The temperature  yesterday (30th) peaked at 46c and didn’t drop below 28c the whole night. The ground being still hot, I waited until after the sun had gone down and things calmed down a bit before I ventured out with Benji, after I checked the road.  It was muggy (very humid) but bearable for the first five or six minutes of the walk, then the wind suddenly sprang up. At first we kept on walking but the wind became stronger and started lifting the dust up. This dust was hitting my face and Benji looked uncomfortable,  so I made the decision to get home. When we did get home the first thing Annabell asked me was “where did that come from?” Shortly after, the wind just vanished and the rain started. Now, the forecaster said that we would have heavy rain with the possibility of flooding. We could hear the rain on the carport and I went outside to have a look and came back in and told Annabell that the ground wasn’t even wet. What it did do was increase the humidity and made for a more uncomfortable night. I have not had a lot of sleep.  It did rain a bit off and on during the night.  This morning Benji and I went out but being tired I sort of put it off and finally made the decision to go out at 06:30. It was still sticky but not too bad and there was some (not a lot) of water in the guttering and the spoon drain. I looked at the weather on the BoM page and it says a 9% chance of rain, 77% Humidity, Temp. 36c.  Tomorrow is the first day of February. This has always been the month we were most concerned with because it was always the hottest month of summer. Be interesting to see how it plays out this year.  This section was written early this afternoon and it has been fairly quiet

Well the thunderstorms have made their way up the Peninsula and it has been really chucking it down for the last few hours – almost non-stop since about 8:30pm and it is now almost 11pm and it’s still going. This is flooding rain and  I expect some flooding around the town but not too much since the storm water drains should take away most of it. Of course, that’s what they said at Port Lincoln and that flooded badly. However, we are not as low-lying as Port Lincoln.  I had a look out of the back window and the back garden is flooded – almost a pond . The noise is incredible when added to the thunder and the little bit of lightening (not a lot) If it stops by the morning I really want to go have a look at the pit at the far end of the area and see how much water is in that. Given the ferocity of the storm I should imagine it will be pretty full.  The Pit is about 16 feet deep. It is

The “pit” is close to overflowing, but it didn’t.

almost midnight and it’s still raining – not with the same ferocity as it was earlier but still raining. There has been serious

Bunnings and Mitre 10 have also been flooded

flooding in Port Lincoln and the Lower Eyre Peninsula but it was too late before we got it hit to be able to determine, what, if any, damage there has been here.

Saturday 1st February.  The rain continued fairly heavy until after midnight. It then eased off a bit but it rained the whole night. It is now 05:45 and although I turned off the alarm I still woke up and it was still raining and starting to get heavier again. It’s still not light enough to see outside – and in case you ask – no we are not going out for our walk this morning. With the flood water drains in operation this rain should do wonders to the sort out the  lack of water in the Wetlands. However, it has now been raining for about 11 hours and still no indication that it’s about to stop any time soon. Yes, it did stop but it was almost 1pm before it did and even after that there was a bit of a smattering of light rain for a bit. However, Benji and I did drive to the outskirts of town and photograph the second of the new “Welcome” posts.

There has been some minor flooding and the road to Iron Baron has been cut off by floodwater and closed by the police and State Emergency Service. Other than that nothing much else reported other than a few minor leaks in the food court at the shopping center. It is certainly strange, Australia- On Fire today – Flooding tomorrow. Annabell has been sick again and we visited the Emergency Dept. at the Hospital. In the morning I will make an emergency appointment with her doctor. Really, something has to be done about these continued  UT infections and the on-going damage to her liver and kidney functions. We have to get to the bottom of this – and soon.

Traffic Jams, Fires and Summer Holidays

Sun arise, he come in the morning.

After  the high of 46c the temperature has dropped back to reasonable levels and we have had some rain. Not a lot and not very heavy but very dark overhead clouds that promised much – delivered little. Still it was rain;  it was cold and it was damp and wet and it did have an effect on the fire areas and for that we are thankful. I put Benji’s jacket on and donned my rain jacket and we went out. Benji goes slightly weird when it comes to puddles. After living in a cage I don’t think he quite knows what puddles are, so he eventually  jumped over the flowing spoon drain. I actually thought for a moment  he was going to just stand there looking at it and I was going to have to lift him over  :o)  We don’t generally go walking when it’s wet so this was new to him. I mean, he’s walked over it before – every day in fact – but this time it had water in it and he’s not used to that. I did take Chienne out in the rain sometimes and with lady-like aplomb she walked right through  any puddles that were in her way.

Tomorrow the temperature is due to reach 33c then back town to  the mid 20’s. Apart from the Kangaroos, and Koala Bears, Australia is known for its Eucalyptus Trees. There are many

Spreading the love ?

different types but the type that seems to be move prevalent is the type that sheds its bark, leaves and branches. An example – albeit a small example – is the one just down from my house, the one that I dislike. The area was cleaned up by council recently so there is not as much litter as there usually is. But you get the idea – the bark falls off the tree and collects around the bottom. and there’s your fuel all around the forest floor, that goes then the trees go. So imagine a good number of these in a forest setting !!  These trees contain oil and they explode shooting the  burning embers and sparks across containment lines, spreading the fire.  A post or so ago I suggested that it might be time to think about how we do things in

Normal holiday weekend at Port Wakefield

Australia and the absolute stupidity in taking major holidays in the middle of the fire season. These last week have really brought that home and we have seen firefighters, emergency service and police organising massive evacuations rather than fighting fires. – Over 4000 people evacuated to a beach-  and a good number of them were holiday people –  because there was nowhere else for them to go as their town burned.  We have all been praying and wanting rain to help with the fire fighting efforts but now headlines tell us that  serious rain storms in the fire areas could lead to flooding and landslides because the stability of the soil may have been compromised. We just  can’t take a trick it seems!    Up here, well, nothing much changes. It’s been cold(ish) these last few days and this morning (Thursday) the  temperature when I took Benji out was 11c. The RFDS have been arriving and departing several times  a day and there was an arrival at 4am the other morning. There was an interesting short article from the Bureau of Meteorology which suggests that we are reading the forecasts wrong.  I though, I would read this and gain some clarity and I did. It became clear to me that they have as much understanding of what’s going on as the rest of us. I discovered that I was more confused after reading the article than I was before I  read it.

Because it has been much cooler I have been taking Benji to the Wetlands and we have been feeding the Geese and Ducks. When we arrive at the area they are nowhere in sight – I take off the backpack and next thing I see them all waddling towards us. Benji stays back as I feed the birds. Here the other birds were still making their way up. There is a little black duck that is a sort of favourite but it’s not in this photograph. The black spots on the ground are the feed -I am using sunflower seeds and they seem to like it a lot. I saw that some had moved back to the old area, so I will have to ensure that I have enough for both areas in future. I still find it interesting that the usually pushy seagulls hang back and don’t come too close to the geese and ducks.

Very Mary Poppins   = “Feed the Birds”

Normality is an illusion!

Me feeding the wild geese a few days ago.

Thursday: January 2nd 2020.    Things are going from bad to worse to catastrophic. Nearly 4000 people trapped on a beach as fire destroys their town. Royal Australia Navy ship  will rescue close to 1000 people each trip using their boats and any other boats available to ferry people from the beach to the ship. This is the only way out. New South Wales has declared a State Of Emergency and  close to 10,000 people are moving out of the area ahead of the monster fire. Currently 17 people are missing and there are grave fears for their safety There are serious concerns for the remnants of the Cudlee Creek fire here in South Australia that was only just contained and there is concern that it may breach the containment lines.  The Middleback Road, about 30 klms from here has been closed due to fires and the two sealed roads between South Australia and Western Australia have been cut off due to fires. Nothing is moving and trucks are backed up. The Service stations and two small towns have run out of supplies, including  most of the basic needs, bread, milk, water and toilet paper. I did mention that we had a thunderstorm, but as I also said, bashing, crashing, flashing but no splashing and this has been a problem since the dry storm lightening strikes  started other fires.   It has been cool here the last few days but  it is set to reach about 44c from tomorrow. Even just writing this, it is hard not to get emotional.

I picked up young John at just after 1pm and we drove to Port Augusta. I wanted to visit better Home Supplies to get a replacement canopy for the garden swing. This,

A swinging Benji

sadly, got caught in the wind and was badly torn. I also wanted   some special bouncing balls for Connor that I couldn’t get here. Visit the Arid Lands Botanic Garden for some tea and scones. Well, I failed at the canopy – there was nothing there. I tried several places  for the balls without success. Then as we were leaving and heading to the Arid Lands B.G. I  came to a halt at the Reject Shop and  decided to try for the balls in there. Well, they did not have what I wanted but they did have something that would fit the bill – the important thing was that the balls did what I wanted – light up as they bounced. I bought one at a stall at the Carols in the Park, and Connor was fascinated by it and everyone got involved in playing with him. I only got the one, but I really wished I had bought more. Didn’t make that mistake this time and bought three. Office National was closed until next week so failed there. On the way  to the Arid Lands BG, John had a look at the time and decided that perhaps it was best to head for home, so that’s what I did. But overall a good afternoon, pleasant drive, not too warm but sadly too warm to bring Benji.

Friday 3rd January:

State of Emergency in effect in NSW and Victoria. There are now 8 confirmed deaths with 28 people unaccounted for. One reporter spoke to the firefighters who said that they did not want to be looked on as “Heroes” because calling them “Heroes”overstates their ability to control the fires and downplays the long term psychological effect of fighting these fires.  The  road between Western Australia and South Australia remains cut off and is likely to be so for some time.  In one service station some 250 trucks are stranded all loaded with  produce. The Supermarkets have already warned that this could lead to severe shortages in some areas over the next few days. Emergency supplies have been  dropped in to several of the roadhouses.  In Victoria over 100,000 people

We’ll always have Paris

have been urged to leave making this the largest evacuation in Australia’s history.   It is 16:00 and my thermometer is reading 48c  Goodness knows what it’s like in the fire areas.  I did not post any photographs of the fires. I think there is more than enough of these in the main media and on television, including the BBC. Haven’t been to the wetlands for a few days since it’s been too hot, but if it calms down tomorrow I’ll take a run out with Benji and I have bird seed for the ducks and geese. LOL notice how the seagulls stay back.   —– I have been told that the Middleback Road Fire is still burning and the road is still closed..

I read a post recently and I was totally lost for words. It was about a modern day city that merely bears the same name as a city I knew  and worked in over 40 years ago. But the city this lady write about is a very different city from the one I knew over 40 years ago. This is a fun place, a vibrant, exciting place and my problem is that since this is not the place I once knew, I really don’t know how to respond. I’m stumped.  Perhaps some time in the not too distant future, if the fires don’t burn us all, I might try and organist a visit and see this City for myself.

Heatwaves, Fires and Gardens

Decorating the Shopping Mall Food Court

After the two mini-heatwaves things have not only died gown they have gone downright silly. This last week – the last days of spring and the first days of summer, have been cold, wet, dank and generally miserable. I mean it was only touch and go that I wear gloves when out walking with Benji first thing in the morning. However, I did have a heavier than usual jacket on. The fires are still burning in Queens;land and New South Wales while in other parts of the states – there being a drought there is nothing much to burn. A former Moderator died  and  the service was last Wednesday. Annabell was unwell and I  spent the day looking after her, so I was not able to go down to Adelaide to the service. Then on Friday past, one of our oldest members – 97 – died. He was a member and his wish was that the funeral should be at the church. His two daughters are charismatics and  they insisted that the funeral  be at their hall.

The others all bounced away.

This is not what he wanted but their argument is that they are family and their wishes prevail regardless  of what we might “think” he wanted. But it’s not something you argue about, so his daughters had their way and since they had no idea what they were doing – and didn’t ask anyone for advice, it was not perhaps the  the best run service. The oldest daughter telephoned us at 9:30 (the funeral is at 11am) and asked if we would do the introduction and open the service. They didn’t even consult with their own acting pastor, nor tell him what they were doing. He was as much in the dark as we were.  Anyway, we got through it in a decent / respectful manner – which was important.

Thursday and my car is going for a minor repair. The rear light is not working and it seems it needs a part replaced. It arrived yesterday so the mechanic is going to do the repair this morning. Shouldn’t take long. Took Benji out for his walk this morning and was surprised to see lots of kangaroos at the  far end of the walk.

These, however seem more skittish than usual and took off as soon as I came into view. A braver than the rest stayed and I did get one (not so great) photograph. Since there has been some rain there should be still some food and water left out in the bush.  I have  started laying out food for the birds but not near the house – not with all these cats around the place. Mostly for the Magpies which are big enough and strong enough to  chase the cats off.  If you have never been swooped by Magpies, you are very lucky. I have and let me tell you, it’s not fun.  During the breeding season they are fierce in defending their nests and their territory and  they can cause serious injury. However, there are no trees up this end – no nests – no swooping – reasonably friendly Magpies.

I said – years ago – when we moved here, that my house was the last house in town and that beyond me was bush. Of course that is no longer the case and there are many houses that

Same garden other side of the driveway
One of the few gardens

were build  beyond me to accommodate  the  “Mining Boom”demand for accommodation.  Not very many of the houses are privately owned. There are very few gardens – mostly the front area is covered in gravel and is a car-park rather than a front garden – sometimes between 6 – 8 cars, SUVs or mining vehicles. There are a few gardens but “few ‘ïs about the right word. I’ve never taken a photograph because it would be too time consuming to open Photoshop and  scrub out all the individual  registration numbers and, in some cases, the mining identifications of the vehicles that are parked on the gravel.

The fires continue in New South Wales and Queensland. Over 40 firefighters have arrived from Canada to help our firefighters battle the  fires. The City of Sydney is not immune and the dust and smoke from the fires drifting over the city are causing more than a few problems, and the photographs from Zambia showing the drying up of the Victoria Falls, is more than a worry. The temperature today was 46c