Wetlands and Dogs

These last few days Benji has been very reluctant to go out for out early morning walk. I can understand this – it  has been very cold. I thought that I would leave the walk to later in the morning – say 8am instead of 6am. I also thought it might be a good idea that we go to the Wetland instead of a local walk. It was a cold but lovely morning this morning and the  ponds at the wetlands were like glass – no breeze at all – not a ripple.

Wetlands this morning

However I  decided it was not such a good idea. There were a good number of people about and all of them had a dog, or dogs/. Benji does not get on well with strange dogs so the walk really wasn’t much fun for him. I think we will just stick to the local area in the morning and go to the wetlands in the afternoon when it seems to be a lot quieter. The interesting thing was that all the people with dogs this morning were males.  If I want to go to the foreshore I have to remember to take bags with me as the council has not yet replaced the dog waste bags that it removed for the upgrade.

Benji is a rescue dog and we have not known what his true age was.  In October of this year it will be

Hello peeple..

four years since we adopted him. At the time I was told he was three years, so plus the four we have had  him, that would make seven. I always felt he was older and it turns out I was right – he was born in November 2010, which means he will be nine years, not seven, this year. All of this is academic because in the end I don’t care what age he is, he’s my boy and I love him dearly. However, it may go a ways to explaining why he is so reluctant to get out of bed and get out of the house at 6am on a winter morning – and – I shall have to take the pace at which I walk into consideration and slow down a tad. Of course the reluctance to get out of  bed and get out of the house on a cold winter morning could simply be a kind of human trait, since sometimes we are pretty reluctant to do similar ourselves. I had out longer than usual last night and he actually did slow down and he seemed to me to be a bit tired, so I lifted him up on my shoulder and carried him for a while. One of the neighbours asked  “who was taking who for the walk?” After a little while I put him back down and he seemed to have a lot more energy

This coming weekend is the weekend of the Whyalla  Show (Fair). The RFDS will be on display again this year but  I will not be attending this year as I will be in Adelaide for a Presbytery Meeting. We have Yogi here! Jim took what is believed to be a slight stroke and was taken to hospital. Fay is spending much of the day there so she asked if we would look after Yogi for a few hours. I said I would and went down and collected him at 8am this morning (Wednesday) I  said before that he has not been a well dog and he has certainly lost a fair bit of weight and he is crying a lot, but that could be because this was all so sudden and he is anxious  and does know what is happening. At the moment he is a sad little dog, but Benji and me will look after him for a bit.. Yogi was only here for a few hours and he “cried”much of that time. I held him up on my lap but I had to be careful and not put Benji offside.

As it turned out, Jim did not have a stroke – not even a minor one.  He underwent a brain scan an ECG and various other tests and when they proved negative he was allowed home. When I took Yogi back home Jim was

Benji at the Long Beach

sleeping.  He will check in with the hospital every few days for a little while to make certain everything is ok. However they really don’t know what caused the turn he had. Fay was chastised by the doctor because she drove him to the hospital instead of  calling an Ambulance. Her comment was that  the ambulance can take too long to arrive and is was  quicker to drive him to hospital.  That’s a worry…

 

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Beach, Wetlands and Dougal is Back

Benji at the Beach

On Friday I set out to Port Augusta -80 klms away. Annabell had been sent a cheque from the UK and  it was in  Pounds Stg.  – no one here would even look at it because it was a foreign currency cheque. Added to the fact that it was a crossed cheque, meant that the trip to our branch in Port Augusta and back  was necessary.  We set off around 9:30 – oh “We” that’s me and Benji not me and Annabell – but I did the medication in her eyes before we left. Benji really likes road trips. He gets his car harness on, is clipped into the seat and he settles down. He watches me just to make sure I am concentrating on driving and not being distracted. We have this all worked out, I drive, he supervises – it’s a good arrangement.

The bank was a great help even if it did take up more than an hour of our time. The cheque had to be  confirmed by Adelaide which required  a confirmation email, paperwork to sign and wait. Left said bank,  got Benji out

The Feral Geese at the Wetlands.

of the car and took him for a short walk. Back to the car, seat belt on and I went back to the bank. The email had arrived from Adelaide  and I had to sign an agreement that meant I paid the fee of $15 for the clearing of the cheque and the depositing of same in Annabell’s account.   That done, I drove round to Big W and did some shopping, then went for some lunch. I had  fresh cooked chips (French Fries- sort of) and a bottle of water. The Benji had   cooked Chicken and share of my water. I have a collapsible silicone bowl that I keep in the car for just such times   We sat on a bench at the jetty and watched the world.  That done, another short walk then headed for home. I would liked to have stopped in at the Arid Lands Botanic Garden, but no dogs are allowed, so that was out.

Nice Day – Empty Beach

This afternoon- Sunday – we took a walk down to the beach. I didn’t stay there long because I only had a single waste bag with me and the Council have not seen fit to replace the bag dispensers. The area was almost empty. There was a few children in the new  play area with parents  close beside on benches, but otherwise, not busy at all. As you can see from the photograph that the beach is all but deserted I used the bag I had and decided to drive back to the wetlands. The wetlands has become very popular and the Kiosk was  crowded again. I managed to get a place in the car park, got some bags from the dispenser and set off.  Like Friday, it was another warm and sunny day – bit cool at times but generally a good day for walking. We did find the  birds. I have asked some people who know these things and I am informed that the birds are “Feral Geese, Domestic, Non-Native” No one seems very sure where they came from, but they are there and settled in by the looks of things. Apart from the geese there are Muscovy Ducks and  an interesting little bird – black and white with long pink legs – which I discovered are called Black Neck Stilts – apparently native to much of the USA but we do have them here in Australia..

Annabell is improving, just in nice time for the grocery shopping tomorrow. She goes to the supermarket, I do all the other jobs, post office; newsagent,: chemist then meet up with her

Dougal at the beach

to help her  finish off and then checkout.  After that – generally a coffee before we head home.  Ina has has to be taken to Adelaide for  check-up and more tests. She is not a well lady. Sam is taking her down tomorrow (Wednesday) and later on this afternoon he will bring Dougla round here. Annabell and I will look after him until they get home – they hope Friday but probably Saturday. I don’t mind, Dougal is no trouble and he and Benji get on well together.

Dougal came to visit not long after I brought Annabell back from her Coffee Morning, and after a little while I got  both Benji and Dougal  ready and took them down to the Wetlands. We had a good wander around the wetlands and although it had been my intention to stop off at the Kiosk, the fact that there were people with dogs there already deterred me from doing that. However, we did go down to the foreshore and had a wander and a play on the beach.  I understand that Yogi is not a well dog at the moment. I hope he gets better soon. Still, he has a good Vet. – not the same Vet as Benji, but a good Vet.

An interesting week and a Survivor.

Part of the Wetlands today (Monday)

After  our shopping trip this morning, (Monday) I helped Annabell get things sorted out them took Benji off to the Wetlands. It has been very cold here these last two days and this morning Benji  didn’t want to get out of bed and go for a walk in the cold at 6am. With the temperature at -2,  I can’t say I blame him, so we didn’t go and stayed in the room with the heater on. By the time I took him to the Wetlands

Benji at the Wetlands

it was a bit warmer and he was quite happy to  go out. We had a good walk  around the wetlands – bit of a breeze and cool, but not too bad. The Kiosk is closed down for alterations but it should be up and running again shortly. The rain the other week has helped to make the wetlands look a bit more visually pleasing – as you can see – but we do need a lot more rain. In our walks recently there have been a lot of Kangaroos wandering about looking for water again. They have even been seen in Nicolson Avenue, which is a fairly busy road. At the moment it is a fairly mild day in that the last few days have been mornings of  – degrees while today (Tuesday)  was 4c,  still a bit on the cold side but ok for a morning walk. Benji and I will be out and about most of this week as we endeavor to keep out of Annabell’s way. This weekend in the Ladies Brunch, so she will be busy baking in the kitchen. Apart from keeping out of the way,  Benji and I will be ‘gofers’ and drive to the various shops to get anything she needs, if and when she needs it.

Went for a walk to the Wetlands this afternoon and  had coffee in the Kiosk with Jennifer, Milan and Max.   The usual sniffs but at least  Benji didn’t snarl at Max and we had a peaceful time with coffee and scones. The day was warm and sunny and 21c but I can see that already the water  is starting to evaporate. There is supposed to be some rain on Saturday – in nice time for the cuttlefish and the Cake Stall – will not interfere with what Annabell and the ladies at the Ladies brunch but it could interfere with both the RFDS events.

Rejoice with me!  Today is Friday – the end of the week – an entire week without a single hospital visit nor a doctor visit. Is that something  to rejoice about or what! Next week is different, and will include an ECG for her,  but we’ll deal with that when it’s next week. In the meantime, it’s been a good week.  Saturday and it’s all happening. It’s 6:30am today is the Cuttlefish diving, the RFDS Catering out there, the RFDS Cake Stall at the Hardware store and the Ladies Brunch — and —- it’s chucking it down. Isn’t that fun. It will be ok for the Cuttlefish Divers, they are going to get wet anyway, the ladies Brunch will be indoors, but the Cake Stall and the Cuttlefish Catering are currently at risk. Right at the moment I am being hassled  but I am not taking him walking in the heavy rain, so he can just go

The last surviving Mandevilla.

back to his bed for a bit;.

The rain faded away by about 7:30 and it turned out a fine day – almost. Everything went well, the Cuttlefish Catering, The  Cake Stall and the Ladies Brunch. The cuttlefish catering we wont know until  the  end of today and we get the two days  and the cake stall calculated. The Ladies Brunch was good but not as good as it has been. We think there was just too much on this weekend – something the ladies are going to have consider if they decide to continue next year. I did say almost a fine day since the rain came back about 3pm but only in the form of a few quick showers. Not enough to cause much concern. The Cake Stall had sold everything by 11:30 and they had nearly three full tables of home baking – and it all went.

Taken at 10am as the heavy, wet mist was  slowly clearing.

Tomorrow (Monday 1st July) is the AGM of the RFDS here and my last  time as Secretary. There is some doubt as to whether or not  the  Secretary Elect will  go forward to election but either way, I will not. The Secretary elect was elected as Secretary but not without some controversial maneuvering. Members of the “In Group” wanted their man to be Secretary but the  Coordinator from Central Operations in Adelaide who was chairing the meeting, ruled this as Out Of Order, since the person concerned was not at the meeting and therefore unable to agree or not to his election.   Oh, yes, and we were told at the meeting that the RFDS Jet, which was to make a visit to each of the areas, will not be coming. Central Operations decided to  send the Jet to the properties of each of the major corporate sponsors instead and since it is now in operation, there is not time for any regional visits.

John’s wheels, Benji and the WaWa

Took the dogs to the Wetlands this afternoon. The rain we have had over the last week has had  a reasonable effect but it still needs more to bring the ponds back to capacity. The boys were very good and walked well – like old pals, in fact. Pity they could not behave like that at home.  Still to be fair, it’s not the fault of Max – Benji is the culprit here and as I said, for some reason he does not like Max. On Sunday, Max went home.

I have just returned from a trip to Adelaide. My son’s car has “given up the ghost”so he needs a new car. He asked me to take him to Adelaide since there was nothing here that he liked.  There is only one car dealer here and private buys are a bit “dodgy”  I took him to a decent dealer, “Adelaide Auto Sales”at Mawson Lakes. We spent some time there looking at various SUV models and he finally settled on a Ford Territory. Personally I preferred the

John’s new Wheels

Sliver-Blue one, but he settled on the Black.  The reason for the SUV is the high clearance which on the back roads could get him out of any trouble a lot easier.  I had booked two hotel rooms but having got his vehicle, he decided he wanted to go home, so I led him back to the Port Wakefield Road and after a stop at Bolivar when I asked him to call me from Wakefield,  any other stop and to call me when he gets home. I went back into town and did some shopping before heading off to the hotel for the night. John called me from Wakefield, Tin Man and when he got home. I had intended to head out to Bunnings this morning but decided I would follow John and head for home. I started out at 6am expecting to be in Wakefield by  sunrise and continue the rest of the way in the daylight.  I did, of course, but it was not without its interesting moments. There is a lot of reconstruction and road works  at the bridge where the Northern Express branches off. It was dark, I was unaware of  the situation so I followed what I thought was the right traffic cone-lined lane and ended up on the Northern Expressway. My GPS, which I had programmed for home led me off the Express to the Penfield Road, exit then to Virginia and back to Highway A1 – The Port Wakefield Road,  and all of this was done in the dark and I don’t like driving at night. Still the Port Wakefield Road if a fairly large, well divided  four lane highway from Gepps Cross in Adelaide all the way to Port Wakefield and I generally  drive this in the dark to be in Wakefield for the sunrise  so that I can  continue by daylight. Wildlife on the Port Wakefield Road is unusual.

After my unscheduled  detour I drove directly to Port Wakefield and stayed there for  breakfast before heading off to the Tin Man.  I decided, since I had sufficient fuel,  not to stop and drove

Benji and Bowtie

directly to Port Augusta, did some shopping there and headed for home.  Crazy Benji went gaga and I eventually had to sit on the floor with him for a bit until he settled down. You would think I had been away for weeks instead of just a day and a half,.  After I emptied the car and sorted out my case, I took Benji out for a walk. That made him happy, just him and me together.  I actually do miss him when I am away. However, all being well, I wont be away again until August and then only for a day and a half.

I have been looking through some old photographs and I came across photographs of Kongsoon ( the WaWa) and oddly enough, I do miss her and wonder how she is. We never hear from them

The WaWa

so we’ll probably never know. Sad, but there you are.

Dogs, Heaven and the RFDS Jet

Glen Coe

… then I’ll hike it through Glen Falloch where the mountain breezes blow

And I’ll draw up in the evening  in the Valley of Glen Coe.

Of course, in my idea of heaven the road wouldn’t be there and all the dogs I have had throughout my life would be with me.  There  would be cloud and mist but  it would never be  cold. There would be sunshine sometimes, but not too much and if food was needed, then it would just be there as required.  I think there would be no people – I have never really been much of a people person – at least I don’t think so because really, I prefer solitude. I loved the isolation of being in the mountains, away from noise, people and civilisation  and yet, many of the things I do or am involved in,  are serving or helping people.I used to think that  this was God’s idea of a practical joke – He knows I am not really a people person, so  He sees to it that all the things I do I am involved with people. But then,  God is  just and to balance  this out He also gave me a love of dogs, and over the years all the dogs that I have had, each one has been the joy of my life, all in their own different ways. In a blog I read recently I wrote about this and mentioned that for some time after Benji was adopted I was calling him Chienne, but he was very forgiving.  You know, you read it all the time but  it never really becomes trite “A dog is the only creature on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

We definitely cannot have Max back again. I know I keep saying this but twice already today there have been several  ‘spats’ between the two and when Annabell and I have to go out, we do not leave them together – something we have never had to do with any other visitor – not even the WaWa. There has been rain and high wind over much of the State. We have had some rain and some wind but nothing like the lower areas. About twenty miles further out in the bush there was some flooding and the road to where my son works was flooded. He decided to come in the back way, which, as it turns out, was not a great decision. He ran into a pothole and  damaged the converter and tore the exhaust system. We got it back and into the garage and his  ‘detour’ will set him back about $600.  I will be leaving the post as Secretary of the  RFDS Branch at the AGM in July. Don’t know what happens after that – we’ll see. I  decided to leave because at one point I was concerned for Annabell after the car crash  and the fact that we never seemed to be away from the hospital or the Doctor Surgery. Things have calmed down, everything seems to have cleared but we have a  young lady who is very keen to be secretary and she has sort of taken over, and come the AGM, we will elect her as the Secretary and I will bow out. Well, not really, there are some things I said I would continue to do

People said it couldn’t be done. They said no one could do it. So we tackled this thing that couldn’t be done and we did it – a world first.  The  Royal Flying Doctor Service was under a bit of a cloud with the new  Intensive Care

The New RFDS I C U Jet.

Unit (The new Jet).  People were concerned that it wouldn’t work in South Australia because it wouldn’t be able to land on a dirt strip in the far northern outback of the State. So the RFDS organised an outback Sheep station get the airstrip ready because the jet was coming. The sheep station is 370klms north of Port Augusta, a 7 hour drive from Adelaide. The jet covered the distance in just under 40 minutes and made a perfect landing on the  dirt runway.  It made just as  perfect take-off. There is a you tube of the landing, which I have saved,  and I hope it works. In areas further north than the Flinders it would take the  normal RFDS Aircraft about 1 hour and forty-five minutes to cover the distance back to Adelaide. The Jet will do it in just under an hour, which makes a big difference in a life emergency.

We have not seen the jet up here and it is unlikely that we ever will – well not for a medical emergency anyway – perhaps for a goodwill visit.  —- I have deleted the You Tube Video as I have been told that it is a channel 7 video and thus copyright.

The May Travels

I miss my dog when I am away.

Sunday: Annabell is much better today. The antibiotic kicked in and she is a lot better than she was last night. She has to take the second antibiotic this evening and we will go see the doctor tomorrow. I am feeling much more relaxed than I was  yesterday. When we returned from the hospital I called the boys and asked them not to come over on Sunday as normal. They were concerned but agreed. Sadly this means that we didn’t get to see the Grandson this week Annabell has been having a  difficult time of late but hopefully this infection has been the underlying cause and, with a treatment of antibiotics,  we should be able to get on top of that fairly  quickly – or so I am told.

Thursday: I headed off to Naracoorte to the quarterly  conference. The boys kept an eye on Annabell whilst I was away. I was very late in leaving mainly because I had appointment with my cardiologist at 10am and I  could not afford to miss that. This was a long  appointment in that it lasted a whole 15 minutes when it normally lasts 10 minutes. I am well and everything is as it should be so really it was just an ECG and then a quick chat about how things were and the fact that he continues to be pleased. I don’t see him again for a year. By the time I reached Adelaide it was late in the afternoon and it took me some time to get clear of bank business before I got into town. I did get some shopping done for Annabell but by and large I  booked into my hotel and stayed there. It was a cold, wet and miserable trip down – rained most of the way, and it was Thursday – no late night shopping in the city. I slept well enough and after booking out set off to the South-Eastern Freeway towards Murray Bridge and then Tailem Bend. Cold, and miserable and the weather was not great either!!  I bought the car in the summer and was more concerned with the A/C – never thought much about the heating — well, you don’t when the outside temperature is 41c.  I practically  froze  on the drive from Adelaide to Tailem Bend. I did have some hot food there before continuing on to my next overnight stay. Here I really had problems in that I was not, for reasons unknown, booked in. Every cabin was taken and I was offered the bunkhouse which consisted of a

I often wonder how she is.

room with two bunk beds, one on top of the other) a fridge and a small tv (that didn’t work) It was a broom cupboard with bunks.  The kitchen was about 200 yards in one direction and the facilities 150 in another direction. I discovered what a great thrill it was to walk two hundred yards, rugged up against the cold and the rain, plus the same distance back, to make a mug of coffee. The discussion of the facilities is not for gentlefolk, so we just wont go there I did not have a shower in the morning. I did have a rubdown with a cold, damp facecloth and when I drove the last distance to the conference I stopped off in town, bought myself a pair of gloves and  deodorant. I have to be truthful and say that yes it was a broom cupboard, but the bunkbed was comfortably and I slept well. Both meetings were poorly attended and only half of the commissioners were present. Still more than enough to hold the meetings. I got my books attested and signed fairly early on and I did the books of two other places. I had hoped to be clear by 3:30 but if not I would simply stay there in town and head for Adelaide in the morning. As it happened, the lack of numbers meant that we concluded business by 2:45 and I hit the road. I wanted to reach Tailem Bend before dark, and I did. I pulled into the River Edge Caravan Park and  I was allocated a lovely cabin overlooking the River Murray. On a really nice day it would be very pleasant to sit outside in one of the chairs  and watch the river and the birds – all very relaxing.

Thank Goodness Its Friday

Once Dougal went home, the times walking were a little more comfortable and less frustrating. Dougal is a barker  and tends to go gaga if he hears another bark or, indeed, any noise. It does not make for a really enjoyable  walk with him dragging and pulling. Benji, on the other hand is sort of like a  modern teenager – some other dog barks  –  ” meh whatever!”. Although we never had any concerns, because our fences are secure, I am told by other people that Dougal tends to be something of an escape artist and Sam has had to go searching for him more than once.

The empty bird area at the back pond

I took Benji to the Wetlands this afternoon and it really is starting to look quite sad. The birds have deserted the back pond where they generally hang out.

I am told they are Wild Geese.

The four wild Geese have taken to wandering around the area of the main pond, the ducks and swans have gone and the back pond – what’s left of it – has become the haunt of seagulls. Thursday week – 9th May – I set off to Narracourte for the quarterly conference.  There will be one overnight stay in Adelaide and a second overnight stay at Padthaway. The meeting does not begin until 12:30 so it is likely to last for most of the afternoon since each of the churches has to bring their  Books for inspection, stamping and cleared  by Presbytery. That wont take five minutes so it is unlikely that I will get much farther than back to Padthaway since I will not drive on the Riddoch  Highway and the Dukes Highway  at night. There has been several accidents recently on that stretch of the road recently. Apart from which,  I like staying in Padthaway since it is one of the few places that are dog friendly.

The flood waters from Queensland continue to pour down the Diamantina River  into  South  Australia and then drain into Lake Eyre. Having said that I have also to

say that it has been raining for a good part of the late evening and into the night. It was not the soft, silent rain that really doesn’t do much but a decent rainfall for several hours.  I must try and get down to the Wetlands and see what difference – if any – it might have made. Wednesday:  Never got out to the Wetlands, had a bit of a wetlands in the back garden. It’s chucking it down here again and I I was surprised to learn that despite the widespread rainstorms, some parts of the State missed out – bummer. Looks as if we wont be going out for our walk tonight again.  Well, as it happens, the rain went off and we did get out for our walk. I went directly to the water catchment area at the end of the street and although there was a good amount of water in there, I  did believe that there was less than I thought there would be.

I thought that I would be able to go to the Wetlands tomorrow (Thursday) after the 10 am  Hospital appointment with Annabell, but as of this afternoon,(Wednesday) we have a further appointment on Thursday at 2:30pm. However, at this stage, Friday is looking good  :o) Talk about ‘Things Fall Apart” – I take Annabell and another lady to the  Tuesday coffee evening and she and the other lady get picked up on a Wednesday. This same lady picks up Annabell for visits and other meetings. Well, this lady now has a new car and guess what?????   Annabell cannot get into this new car, so I have more driving around to do. Oh well, I do believe it’s part of the job description.

Dougal and Benji together.

I think it comes under the heading of “Sickness and Health ” :o) And, since the Universe is not altogether finished with me for the moment, Dougal came back this afternoon – right after we came back from the dentist.   Sam is heading off to Adelaide to be with Ina for a little while – then when he comes back he is going into hospital himself, so I have no idea how long we might have Dougal this time. He’s not a really concern, just the fact that he has never learned to ignore  barking and other sounds without going gaga, I’ll have to put on the harness again if I take him out walking but  we have had a fair belt of rain here the last few days, so we’ll see how things go. I didn’t expect to have Dougal back quite so quickly but at least Sam knows that he can go  visit his wife in Adelaide safe in the knowledge that his dog is being looked after and taken care of.  It’s Friday – no doctors, no hospital visits – FREE…  Woo Hoo