Trip to Port Pirie Pt. 2

Having had lunch at the Tin Man, we had a bit of a walk before going back to the car and heading off to Port Augusta. He did his usual – curl up on the front seat and go to sleep – whilst I concentrated on the driving. On arrival at the Port I managed to complete the remainder of the shopping and we had a small snack and a good long walk along the Esplanade, sat down and had a bit of a break. Oddly enough, although it was  quite warm in Port Pirie, Augusta was not quite so warm and instead of the A/C I put the heater on for a bit. The drive back was uneventful and as we neared the town, I noticed a cloud of dust. As I drew near to the source of the dust I discovered that it was caused by several of the Army Tanks heading towards the live-fire area. (more on this later) The boy and I had been away since about 8am and it was now approaching 4pm, so all in we had a good day out together, The Shopping Center at Pirie was really interesting and I would liked some time to explore it. I have a ‘thing’about shopping malls and centers and find them fascinating places. It probably comes from the fact that when we were growing up in Scotland there were no shopping malls or shopping centers. In fact there weren’t  supermarkets until the mid 1970s – and they were few and far between. Most shopping was done in individual shops – Fishmongers – Fruit and Veg at the Green Grocer – Grocers,( butter, milk, cheese, bread ) Butcher, Baker and yes, we did have a Candlemaker. (Shearer of Govan) We had two big grocer shops close to us, Galbraith and the Co-op. There were probably others that I don’t remember. All-in-all, we had a really good day out – well I did, he just curled up on the front seat.

Flowers along the pathway at the Wetlands

On Friday, Annabell had medical appointments so not much doing. Saturday I spent the day working in the garden sweeping up leaves and doing a general tidy up. I bought  two new plants and will attend to them on Monday. On Sunday (today), after church and lunch the boy and I got in

The Black Swans

the car and drove down to the Wetlands. Lovely day with a nice temperature of 25c, just the job for a circuit and a half together. Flowers out and to add to the  day, the Black Swans were back again.  The Kiosk is still not open. It was supposed to be open this week but there you are – perhaps next week.

This morning (Monday) was a bit on the cool side for our morning walk. Still it is supposed to be around 28c during the course of the day. A nice day in the Arid Lands. On the subject of Arid Lands, the Arid Lands Botanic Garden is under a cloud – re. funding. The ALBG was started many years ago as an initiative of the Port Augusta City Council, but with budget being “tight” the Port might not be able to  keep  the funding going for much longer. However, having read that I have to say the recent trip to Pirie showed me the amount of redevelopment going on in the port. The Feds and the State Government will start construction on the new major bridge soon. so there will be a fair amount of work at

Not too bad looking – but who minds as long as the coffee is good and it sells scones.

Port Augusta.  I have  started extra work in the back garden and have planted three new plants – two in the front garden and one (so far) in the back. The soil here is poor and thin so I  do have three raised flower beds – two front and one back. They contain 280 ltrs of potting mix rather than soil. In the front I have  a Plumbago and a Coleonema and at the back I have a second Coleonema.  I also have a  growing Sturt Desert Rose which I will plant in a different area. I have

Native Bush from the Arid Lands B.G.

a lot of hope for this because the native plants are growing well. I would like to get time this week to  drive out to the ALBG but in order to do that I would have to leave Benji at home – and he wont like that. He does not like getting left – not at all. It’s bad enough when I have to go to away for days at a time.

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More wind – still annoying

Native Bush from the Arid Lands B.G.

Not counting today, only four days left until Spring is here. Not going to miss winter one little bit.  The days have been mild but the mornings and evenings have been very cold. This morning it was foggy and very cold – so cold that I really entertained thoughts of giving up the morning walk, turning round and heading for home and a heater. I didn’t!! However, as soon as I got in I went directly to my room and turned my heater on full. Benji has had his breakfast and is curled up in his bed. However, we can’t really complain too much since the weather this last week has been  mild and it has been  enjoyable walking around the Wetlands  with Benji during the day. It has also allowed my to get back out in the garden and start the process of cleaning up the 40 billion leaves.  Ok so I exaggerate  – there’s only 20 Billion. I also have an area out front that I have tried to grow things in without success. I had a think about this and finally decided this last week to dig it all out and remove all the soil and replace it with new material ( 3 x 70 ltrs of material) and finally, on Saturday, I bought new plants from the Garden Centre and planted them – we’ll see what happens. Oh and I also put down fertilizer. My stick was just that – a stick, so that’s gone.  With the lack of rain the Kangaroos have been wandering well into the  area looking for water and food. In another area, close to bushland, they have Emus wandering around. I see the Roos in the new area beyond me, but I haven’t seen any down near me—-yet.

The fact that we have a shortage of water is illustrated in the level of water at the Wetlands. There is still a fair volume of water in the pools but the drop in water

The new Kiosk at the Wetlands.

level is fairly obvious. The black Swans returned – briefly – but I hope that this is a sign of things to come and the swans and  big ducks will return.  The Kiosk is just about completed  and I believe it’s due to open sometime next week.  If the day is very warm to hot – and it will be in summer – I really think that if the opening hours are good,  the kiosk will do well. I do a full lap and a half when I am there, but if, after a full lap, I could have a drink and  relax, I could end up doing two full laps. A full lap is 3.5 Klms – so Benji and I, when we go to the Wetlands, do 5.35 klms. The front – across the bridge from the car park, is the barbecue areas, the exercise area, the flying fox, the grassed area for family play, and the children’s play area. There is also a barbecue area  just down from the carpark and just beyond that is where the kiosk is situated.

The Wawa (Kongsoon) back with her mun again.

All winter I have escaped colds and flu. There are two days of winter left and I have come down with a very heavy cold.  Seen out winter the cold, fog and wind and now this.  What happened to all this Vitamin C and all those Oranges and Mandarins that I have consumed by the bucket load?? I sort of feel cheated.  To add insult to injury the high winds have returned. So much for my leaves cleaning.       Don’t really know, some blame climate change whereas others ( and a growing number) blame stuffing around  with clock changes and daylight saving. We have always had strange weather up here but I really do not remember the continual and sustained wind that we are having presently causing concern to both country and city. Today (Wednesday) it’s warm, it’s overcast,  the temperature is 26c ,  yet we have high winds 42 – 65 km/h – battering the place again. It is now after 9pm and the wind is still going and no sign of letting up. Reports of dust storms across the mid north and pollen  is being blown arond as a result of the mild conditions.  And still not much rain. The little rain we did have was, according to the farmers, too little, too late.

I had been thinking of the WaWa recently and surprisingly, I actually miss her. In the last three or four months she became my friend and wanted to be lifted up to sit with me on the chair, with Benji. Then she left, but these last months made up for everything.

PS All night. The wind died at 10:30 Thursday – for a whole two hours before starting up again.

 

 

Swans, Beach and a Day Trip

There are now four pairs of Black Swans at the Wetlands

Up until fairly recently there were areas that were a sort of sanctuary – Benji went there and the WaWa stayed clear. One of these areas was my bed. Benji  curled himself up at the back of my legs and slept there. However, over the last week or so the WaWa has become my BFF and she now— gasp— sleeps with me. Thus my bed is no longer a Benji Sanctuary  and if he goes up on the bed she stands and barks at him.  Oddly enough, she is quite calm sleeping close to him at night –  although she is closer to me. She still walks quietly beside him when we go out walking in the morning and at night. I know it’s old hat but still no word about if or when Sooah is coming back and this Friday it will be a year since she left Kongsoon  (WaWa) with us.  It  could be months or it could be another year, or never, we just don’t know. However the WaWa is settling down and we can do a lot with her and the coffee ladies have sort of adopted her and when I

Just a little paddle in the water.

kept her in my room, they asked for her, so I let her out and they were happy with her running around them and letting them pet her . Everyone has noticed the difference in her this last while back.

For a while there was only one pair of black swans at the wetlands. Now there are four pair and we really do hope that we will get to see some little black swans in the not to distant future. Today at the beach much of the seagrass is back but there was more than enough clear sand to be able to  play in and we even got to go into the water for a bit, although Benji is not keen and I had to coax him. Next time we go down with the intention of going into the water, I’ll take some treats with me and see what we can do. Other than that it was a great afternoon and the dogs enjoyed playing and chasing in the sand.

The view toward Port Augusta
At Woolshed Flats off the Road.

Due to lack of  aged accommodation here one of the ladies from our church has been moved to Quorn – about 80 miles ( 130 klms)  away. One of her friends  wanted to go and see her before she went home to Adelaide tomorrow, so I decided to take her. Lovely day, good drive and a fun-filled conversation.It’s not something I can do every  few days or even every week, but I will encourage people to visit her as often as we can so that she does not get depressed by feeling isolated, particularly as she has no family here in Australia.  The drive from Stirling North to Quorn is not the easiest of drives for us “Townies” with the long winding country road through the Pichi Richi Pass, and the lower Flinders Ranges,  but it’s not too bad – bit tight in places, but not too bad. The lady we went to see was bright and cheerful and seems to have settled in fairly well. She has a room at the Quorn Country Hospital and she says she is well looked after and the staff are friendly and very nice. It is a typical, single level, country hospital. It was a good visit and the only  tears were when it was time for us to leave and make our way back home. When a bed is available here she will be moved back – but she understands that this could take a while. We did a bit of shopping in Port Augusta before heading back home.

Mount Gambier Part 2

My Sturt Desert Rose
My Sturt Desert Rose

To pick up from the other day – Mount Gambier informed me on Monday that there was no accommodation to be had within a 50 k radius of Mt. Gambier on account of the annual Jazz Festival. I spent the next two days telephoning all around the  area  outside the 50 k to try and find accommodation. I felt it was important to attend. I finally found accommodation in  Dartmoor, Victoria about 55 k from Mt. Gambier.  I was quite pleased about that. Last night, Wednesday , a new email to inform me that because of the lack of accommodation in Mt. Gambier and surrounds, it was decided to  change the date of the conference from Saturday 7th May to Saturday 14th May. Can’t say I was terrible impressed since I now had to contact the Dartmoor Hotel,  cancel the booking and explain why. Actually they were very good about it and I thanked them for their consideration.   How that effects us here – we had organized  a congregational dinner for Saturday 7th May.  It was decided, that because of the clash with Presbytery, the dinner was changed from Saturday 7th May  to Saturday 14th May to allow me to attend. We cannot alter it again – that would be just too much and it would start to impact on other things. So, I wont be attending the dinner – I’ll be driving back to Adelaide. I’m not impressed. Anyway, the only real consolation is that I can spend a bit more time at the Lady Nelson Sailing Ship and the Umpherston Sink-hold Gardens. It also means that after a spot of dinner I can go back down to Umpherston for a night tour because I understand at nighttime the place has a lot of possums and they are very friendly- so that should be interesting. However, I have read that the possums are not around every night, so I hope they are when I am there –  I would love to see them.

Benji and the WaWa.

Benji
Benji

Benji is fairly calm and placid, but for all that, he is not a pushover and will stand up for certain things. He is used to playing with his toys on his own or with me.  The other day he brought his toy into the lounge and was playing with it for a while, then he left it. A short time later the wawa started playing with it and  a bit of a disagreement ensued. Benji went back to his toy, lifted it and walked out of the room with it and put it on his bed, which is in my room. I just stood quietly and watched this. It was very interesting and I really wish I had had a camera on me at the time. Actually, there are toys all over the lounge and it looks more like a large play-pen than a lounge room. Also, although the wawa seems to have “adopted” Annabell, she does come to greet me when I get home after being out – however, Benji gets a tad jealous about this and pushes her out of the way.

The last few mornings have not been all that great so instead of going out early, I have coffee and  a play on the computer then we drive down to the wetlands and spend a good hour and a half down there. We still go walking around the district at night but the mornings in the wetlands have been very interesting – never knew that the place could get so busy with walkers, joggers and cyclists. Fortunately for us ( Benji and me)we go off the  the general track and since the walkers, joggers, etc. don’t go there ( it’s gravel and dirt tracks rather than  bitumen)  we can  walk in peace

Photograph I took in Naracoorte
Photograph I took in Naracoorte

and quiet. It’s amazing how many people think the  wetlands is the area  enclosed  by the bitumen – which covers about two ponds, when there are seven ponds in total. Admittedly, the area of the bitumen is the area that has been most developed with swings, barbecue area, flying fox, grasslands for sport and recreation, whereas the remaining area is still gravel and dirt track – it’s also the area where much of the wildlife is – Black Swans, Ducks and  Australian Moorhens – or Marsh-hens, which I first came across in Naracoorte two years ago. The ones here are very skittish and take off as soon as you approach them – perhaps having the dog might have something to do with it – I don’t know.