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

Toward the final curtain G

It was suggested that since the disruption – whatever it was – at the hotel,  did not really affect me, it seems a little excessive to be changing hotels because of that.  Well, yes, up to a point that’s true, but I stay there because it is conveniently  close to the road leading directly to the South Eastern Freeway.  Mount Gambier is five hours

and that’s what matters
I miss my dog when I am away.

away. A long drive on a country road after the freeway exit. Not the sort of roads you travel when you are sleepy. (no road is!!)  Not getting enough sleep before setting out and getting tired along the way puts me and other road users at risk. I need the rest, so if my Little Park Bench is not providing that, I need to be somewhere that will. As for Mount Gambier itself, I have already decided on a new hotel. I have had a few problems with the present set-up, so It needs to be changed.

The weather since I came home, has been cold, wet and windy. All the work that I did, before I left for Mount Gambier, clearing up the leaves and a general tidy up, has all gone for nothing and the place look just as untidy as it was before I started. The next few days, with a combination of high temperatures and north winds is not looking too great.  I have the feeling that the lady’s coffee morning on Wednesday may well be called off. Annabell is talking about not going to the hospital tomorrow afternoon, which is fair enough. It is for physiotherapy and not really a medical necessity.  I also believe that I was right and the  Coffee Morning on Wednesday  is  cancelled – oh well, so much for my quiet time :o)

The morning began well and Benji and I went for our morning walk without any concern. The temperature was fine and we completed the walk  and back home for a treat and coffee ( the coffee for me!) . It is supposed to be 37c today (Tuesday)  but I expect that will happen sometime during the day. But at the moment (11am) I really don’t see it happening, but you never know with this weather. It was not bad enough for Annabell to not go to the hospital, but we didn’t linger and came directly home.

Wednesday and the temperature is forecast to reach 44+c today.   The temperature didn’t reach the forecast 37c  yesterday and peaked at 32c. Today over 100 schools have been closed in South Australia  today due to

temperature of 44+c and high winds leading to a “catastrophic” fire danger.  We are not included in the school closure list, so none of our schools will be closed for the day.  I took Benji out for our walk this morning. I re-set the alarm from 5:45  to 5:30, and 15 minutes can make a great difference –  and it did today. We were on the road for 5:45 and, although it was light, the sun didn’t show his face until we were less than 100 yards from home.  It is now 10;30 am and I have stopped working outside. Not that I am too concerned about the sun and the heat but I am concerned about Benji. I go outside – he comes outside and, really, it is far too hot for him to sit in the sun, and it’s too risky with the wind to put the shade umbrella up. So here we are.  And before you suggest it, yes I could close the doors and not let him come out, but given he is my dog and he likes to be with me, it is not really a solution. Better I stay inside and let him keep me company  :o) . At the moment it is about 36C and the wind is starting to build up somewhat.  Given that it is a hot wind I expect the temperature to exceed the forecast 44c  ( it did!)

Thursday:  Good walk this morning. I have gotten into the habit of feeding the Magpies. I  bought a box of oat biscuits (cookies) and when I pass the Magpies I crumble a couple in my hand and drop the bits for them. I look back further on and see them eating. We also saw two kangaroos – a big one ( and I mean BIG) and a smaller one further

Dust storm further north (not my photograph)

on. First time I have seen kangaroos in the area for a while since the rain has produced sufficient feed and water for them out bush although it is starting to dry up now. I get  comments when I suggest the temperature “crashed” to 23c, but I  suppose I could just say “dropped” but that really does not convey the massive change in temperature that occurs. Wednesday 46c  – Thursday 21c and 21 is cool –  less is cold and the wind changes to the south – which is a cool to cold wind.  It all be verra confusing…  LOL

Towards the final curtain D

Whilst the good people of the Northern Hemisphere wax lyrical about Autumn – or Fall, here in this little corner of the Southern Hemisphere, Spring has  Sprung and Dear Mother Nature has

Rawnsley Bluff – Flinders Ranges

given us a reminder of who is really in charge. The temperatures this week have steadily climbed to 41c, with a  high North Wind. In this corner of the planet a North Wind is a hot wind coming off the desert. It was not the most pleasant of days to be running a fundraising Barbecue for the RFDS , but never the less, we did it anyway. Given that it was the middle of a long weekend and  many people were away, if we  made more than $150, I will be very surprised.  Why did we do it- we were asked to – that simple. And, of course it was for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  However,  we have a policy  that if a trader asks for the RFDS to do a fundraising venture, I will do my upmost to get a team together and accept on the  belief that if we refuse, they may ask someone else next time. LOL, I have even organised a fundraising event from one thousand kilometers away when I was in Mount Gambier – and yes, I have had my head examined –  several times!!  Most of the time it’s good fun – we work and chat with customers and when it comes to the RFDS, people are very generous, and they were this weekend too – even although there were not all that many –  and I  expressed the belief that there was more money put into the donations tin than there was to the cashbox. Anyway, it’s funds that we didn’t have at the start of the day and that’s what matters.  Having been through an early 41c on Saturday,  the temperature crashed overnight to be 24c on Sunday – Monday wasn’t too bad and today (Tuesday) I was feeling very cold when I took Benji out for a walk at 6am. I guess I was too pig-headed to go back for a heavier jacket, so I just continued with the walk, but it was a cold morning.

One of the drawbacks of living  “in the sticks” is the fact that I miss city shopping. I don’t mean that the shops here are not good, they are, but there are things  not available in the country that are commonplace in the

Fires NSW & Queensland

city. For example, I want shoe polish, not the common  New Zealand (Kiwi) Shoe polish but a polish that is produced here in Australia and is not petroleum based. Decent size Australian Company but products not available here. We really only have one shoe shop here and that’s  “Spendless” with   small shoe departments  in Harris Scarfe and Target. The shoe shops we did have have all gone. How can you survive in a place where 60% of the population wears flip-flops or no shoes, 35% wear sandals or sneakers and only 5% of us wear  actual shoes.

Over many (Too many) years I have  gone from paper organisers, to electronic organisers ( Palm Pilot ) and finally back to paper, Filofax, Van der Spek, Mulberry and  my current Kikki.k. I have gone from Personal, to A6, back to personal and finally to A5 and Kikki.k. It was all so very easy once. I was in Adelaide fairly often so was able to buy what I needed in either David Jones or Borders, and in a few of the stationers.  Not so now. David Jones no longer stock much  in the way of Planners/Organisers and I think has only one Filofax in stock and Borders closed down. Now I have to order on line from China, Hong Kong,  or,  if it is from the UK or the USA,  I  practically have to donate an

Benji on the Hill; We were just up there again this afternoon.

arm or a leg to defray the postage costs. For other things I  have a supplier in Perth, Western Australia, and she’s very good.  For my inserts these days, I download  a system that I like in the size I want, copy it to a USB and take it to the local printer who will print everything for me in an A5 size — I supply the paper, which is great because it means I get the paper quality that I  really want.. And yet, it would appear that  paper-based planners and still quite popular, but in South Australia it certainly doesn’t feel like that.

 

Towards the final curtain C

Overlooking the foreshore this afternoon

After the medical alert and the dust storms, we had two days of rain. Still, at least it washed the dust away. The pit at the end of the street is completely full. Benji and I took a walk down there a short while ago when it stopped raining for a bit. More rain is forecast for tomorrow. We were lucky in that our fundraising event was  rain free but it started just as we were starting to pack up. In that respect we were pretty lucky.  It rained today (Sunday) but the fundraising team that were out managed to avoid the showers and stayed a bit longer. It rained for much of the afternoon so we didn’t get out for our walk until later than usual.

One of the common problems I have is the buffering of this machine. I try to watch YouTube or a movie on Netflix and  what I am watching stops and I get to watch the pretty blue circle going round and round until  the program catches up and it all comes back again. As far as I understand this means that the computer does not have sufficient RAM to cope. Well, during the week I put the computer in for an upgrade and 4 more gigabits of RAM giving me a total of 8 gigabits. Surely that should be enough to stop the buffrering – or whatever it’s called.  No. 2 son suggested that we should get a repeater which would boost the WiFi signal from the Modem. I am not the one who watches the television but there you are  I got the repeater from Harvey Norman and set it up for her.

Today much of what I have seen are reminders that the clocks go forward next Sunday (6th Oct.) That’s ok and  probably necessary,  howeffer—- Christmas Decorations are not and I am seeing these in shops already – I mean by-pass Halloween, Thanksgiving and whatever else and go directly to Christmas. This is just money-grabbing silliness.  It’s the same at the pump, the second after  it was announced that the oil production facilities had been damaged in an attack – Australian  fuel prices shot up. It is now announced that  there has been major repairs and production is back to what it was before the attack, but the prices are not coming down.

I went down to the Wetlands with Benji about 10am this morning (Saturday) and I have to say that the kiosk was R.J.F.  (Ram Jam Full)  The new roof has gone up giving shelter from  any rain and shade from the sun. There were also a lot of people walking around. The Wetlands is becoming very popular and it would be nice if the council spent as much time looking after the Wetlands and presenting it better,  than is does with their  $6 Million + Jetty that they rave about. I don’t like the jetty – or at least the plans for the new jetty, one little bit. I feel that close to seven million dollars  could be much better spent.  However it being Monday, the Kiosk is closed. They are open six days so they do need a bit of a break to catch up on upgrades and  cleaning.

After the Wetlands we went for a quiet wander in the shade around the Ada Ryan Gardens –  The gardens are looking fairly good but they tend to highlight a problem – why dog owners

Flowers at the pathway

get a bad reputation- dog poo. Well not enough to be a major concern but enough to be a noticeable concern. Difficult to miss on the  brick walking paths. When we came here Ada Ryan Gardens was the main place for  outings. We used to take all the  Sunday School children – and parents – to a picnic in the gardens several times a year. We could have a barbecue or just a simple picnic with sandwiches,  biscuits and cold  drinks from several Eskies. We played games and fed the ducks in the duck pond. But then the vandals came and began throwing stones at the ducks, killing several. The council installed  higher fencing, but that didn’t deter them and after  two more ducks were killed, the council removed the ducks, drained the duck pond and filled it in. We also had an enclosure where  several injured kangaroos were kept and looked after, but the vandals attacked them too and they were removed and the enclosure dismantled. In the 1980s we had a lot of trouble with vandals, which all the experts blamed on living in the country and isolated from the facilities and opportunities that are enjoyed by the good people of
Adelaide. Like all things,  that passed but I wonder what the new reason is these days for all the vandalism and youth crime ( as young as 13/15) currently taking place in Adelaide.  Hhmmm…

The weather is starting to warm up a bit – 33c today 30c tomorrow and 37 on Friday. Fires are still burning in New South Wales and Queensland but in some places there is an added concern in that several towns are running out of water. There are no water restrictions in South Australia since we have had enough rain to fill the reservoirs and they are fairly healthy. One town in NSW is spending 14 Million to run a pipeline from that town to another town to access their dam. Problem is that the dam is now reduced to 50% capacity so by the time the pipe is complete there might not be enough water to go around both towns .  The long range weather forecast is not  very encouraging..

 

Towards the Final Curtain B

Before
After

Blank, Blank, Blank and Blank again!! I don’t know what I have done but I have lost 800 blank words. A full post gone along with all the photographs.  I have no idea how I did it or even what I did, or even if it was my own fault, but everything just vanished

Snow in Canberra

and nothing I have been able to do  has helped to restore the post. I can’t even remember what I wrote. The name of the post is still there but the 800+ words are gone.  I feel that this is merely another chapter in the  frustration that has been me and WordPress over the last year. I have now come to accept Spam as simply a different name for the Inbox but in trying to search for this missing posts I came across posts that I never knew existed. I expect it’s a bit too late to do anything now, but at least two nice people are probably reflecting on my rudeness in not replying to their messages, particularly the lady in Sydney NSW Anyway, this has really added to what has been a really, really bad week. Started off  well with me having to go to hospital for x-rays on my left wrist and arm. Out walking with Benji early Monday morning, I tripped and fell to the ground so fast I was  down before I realised what had happened. For a few moment I just lay there unable to move. Sadly I didn’t hit my head – I say sadly because I figure doing so might have knocked some sense into me.. As for Benji – I think he must have decided Daddy wanted a bit of a rest so he came over, licked my face, then sat down – totally unconcerned. I discovered that I could not put any weight on my left arm so it took me a few minutes to get back up again and discover that apart from the left wrist and arm, I was ok. We finished the walk and went home. Annabell was awake and  she seemed to realise I was in some pain so she helped me get my outdoor clothes off. I managed to see my doctor who sent me to the hospital for x-rays. He also had a few choice words to say about the fact that I drove to the surgery – not the brightest of things to do, but there you are.  Anyway, nothing is broken or cracked,  some trauma to the arm muscles  which has caused swelling and will settle down again – in the fullness of time.  What I did do, though, was go see the Pharmacist  and get a support strap that would allow me to vigorously attack the keyboard.  One of our elderly ladies died on Friday last and there was a funeral to arrange and an Order of Service to  create, print and photocopy. Why didn’t I ask someone else to do it??  Simple – there is no one else! We cancelled Annabell’s hospital visit on Tuesday afternoon because of the funeral, but I did take her to her coffee evening on Tuesday night. One of the things that that always stresses  me is whether or not I have made sufficient copies of the Order Of Service. I stress about it every time, but we always seem to be ok. In the before photograph it was discovered that there was a slight “lip”in the concrete which had to be attended to. That was smoothed out with quick drying cement and a heater the day before the  the workmen started. We put a heater on for a few hours so by the time they came it was dry and work could begin. – And no, I didn’t do it – they did.

Benji likes the new floor
Fire New South Wales

Whilst some parts of the country are in severe drought, other parts are on fire, other parts are running out of water, and Canberra has snow. Spring and snow in Canberra. Well, ok, not quite a patch on the “Beast from the East” but snow…  Last night it was announced on the news that people with breathing difficulties as well as babies and the very elderly, need to stay indoors tomorrow – Thursday. This will be a day of very high wind and there will be  problems with duststorms. This will present life threatening concerns for people with breathing difficulties.  Today is Thursday and I can tell you that it has been blowing all day – sometimes  85 – 100 kph with a temperature of 35c. There is certainly a lot of dust and it has not been – and is still not – a nice day. Still, it could be worse, we could be in a fire zone area. Yet, there was hardly a breath of wind when Benji and I went out at 6am this morning.

What with me deciding to experience homelessness and curl up on the concrete with my dog, we have fallen far behind our step and millage total for the week. Just have to write this week off. Sarurday and we have a Fundraising event  for the RFDS at the local Hardware. Son John, me and one other will do this one. Hope the weather is a bit better than it currently is