Concerning..

Temperature today (Friday)  was 41c and tomorrow a 44c day before a cool change comes in in the late afternoon. Our area of the state has been designated as  extreme risk for bush fires. Other parts of the State, particularly, Penola and Mount Gambier where the major forests are, has been designated catastrophic.   Water Bombers are on standby. I took Benji out very early this morning before the sun came up and I took him out a little while ago, when the sun had gone down and  the road had cooled down and not hot on his paws. I went out and tested the road with the back of my hand before I did take him out. By the end of the evening we did have some  bush fires – three to be exact. Two of these were under control, one was still causing concern. This morning (Sunday) I took Benji out at the normal time for his walk. I had on a polo shirt and wished I had a jacket on. It was very cool this morning, dull and low cloud cover – almost cold. Talk about  the weird weather patterns. Today did, in fact, climb to 47c

Last couple of days Annabell has not been too great. The hot weather sometimes gets to her, particularly when her system is low to begin with and she has been very tired these last few days. I will keep an eye on her and monitor how she is. But you know, people are strange. Not so long ago people in church were complaining that it was too hot and the old A/C was not really doing the job anymore. So, we had a long discussion and purchased two reverse cycle air conditioners – one for the top end, one for the bottom area. Yes,—– you guessed it – people asking if we could turn the A/C  up or off because it was too cold. I mean it took us a while to get the cash together to buy the blooming things and have them installed – oh well, you can’t win ém all.

It’s not really me

Going back to the Apple concerns again – I  am told by someone who has an iPhone 6 that it has slowed down and she finds it annoying. I am more puzzled now than I was because I have an iPhone SE which is, in essence, a slightly modified 6 in a different case and it should be slowing down, but I honestly say that I have not noticed any difference. Then again, perhaps it could simply be that  I don’t use the phone often enough to notice any difference. However, it must be said that the iPhone was a sudden rush of blood to the head and I have always had a Samsung just about forever. After this contract is completed, I am definately going back to Sumsung.

These last couple of days we have not gone out in the mornings. I still get up, but the Benji seem reluctant to go out and I am not going to drag him out because I think it’s good for him. It probably is, but that’s not the point, I am finding there is not the enthusiasm  there, so perhaps we will give the early morning a miss and do something else, like go to the wetlands  mid-morning. Yes it could be weather related, but I don’t think so. We are now

Still my boy.

into our third year since adoption and some things are starting to show, like his new reluctance to be petted, and if lifted he goes nuts. He wasn’t like that before, he was  very loving and very cuddly and perhaps a steressful 14 months may have something to do with that and only now, 6 months later  I find

it’s starting to manifest itself. But in a number of ways he’s not quite the same dog he was. I used to be able to lift him and carry him on my shoulder – now I can’t and I don’t know why the change. But he’s still my boy and we will work together and sort out any problems with patience. As for the walks, I only went out in the early morning to escape the flies, perhaps we can still go out but at a later time and I can use a personal fly spray – although I sometimes think the darn stuff attracts  them.

 

Fires, Funerals and Scammers

One view of the fire front ( Not my picture)
One view of the fire front ( Not my picture)

The fire burning out of control in SA has a fire perimeter of some 240 klm. Fortunately it is well away from us, but even so it was a dangerous and deadly fire. Two people are confirmed dead, one is still missing and  many people injured. The property losses are high and the  livestock losses have been very heavy.  We had fire crews come over from New South Wales and Victoria to help bring the fire under control. The high winds didn’t help. I know, driving back from Adelaide  last Wednesday, the wind was fairly strong and pushed the car about a bit, which made the driving a bit tiring.

I was only just home, had a coffee and Annabell told me that the husband of one of our friends died suddenly.  Annabell suggested that I get changed and go visit, so that’s how I spent my afternoon.  Poor Benji -daddy  just got in and now he’s gone again.  Everything has gone to the Coroner in Adelaide and  all she has to to do now is wait until the Coroner makes his/her decision and hands down his/her report. Then the family can make arrangements for the funeral – which they hope will be next week sometime – in Adelaide.

After talking with herself I decided to  take the coach to Adelaide for the funeral.  It means that I can go down Wednesday morning, go the funeral and be home on Wednesday night.  Tell you whatbells – the “best laid plans” thing is fairly accurate. I was planning not to be  away again until February at least,  but life has a way of upsetting plans.  There are reports that the lowest of the low have been at work in the fire devastated  areas. By “Lowest of the low” I refer to the trash known as looters. There have been reports of looters raiding the damaged property that had to be evacuated in haste leaving everything behind. I’m sure I read somewhere that we used to shoot looters. Honestly, I don’t know what is more devastating, to lose your house and everything in a major fire, or to come back and find the house intact, but broken into and your valuables stolen by looters.

My mail system is still down and although I am getting some limited mail through the browser, it’s not ideal. My son is coming over tonight and we will download and install a new mail program, so by the end of the day we should have everything up and running. I have stripped most of the MS programs from the old machine but I have kept it active because my photograph programs are in there and  the difficulty of downloading and installing them again is not really  worth the trouble. Better to leave them where they are.

To be cheated (scammed) gives one a sick and empty feeling and, unfortunately that’s what has happened. I thought the  site I was using to download Microsoft Programs was a genuine site – it

Would it were so easy.
Would it were so easy.

even has a Google Certificate – but it was not and not only did I not get the program, I lost the cash I paid for it. Not a happy person since my bank said they could not block or stop the payment since I had paid  voluntarily and there was nothing they could do except advise me to open a paper trail by writing to them and then, if there is no response or no program forthcoming, I can, in the fullness of time, open a legal dispute claim and attempt to get my money back. And that, it seems to me, is how they succeed with what they are doing – it’s a long and expensive procedure so people just either don’t go through with it, or never start. So from that, you can understand that my email system is still not working correctly. The site, by the way – and to all intents and purposes, it is a sponsored site by Google – is still up and running and I have been advised not to name it as this could create legal concerns.

 

Bushfires and flooding rains.

Today in the Adelaide Hills
Today in the Adelaide Hills ( Not my photograph. Photographer unknown)

At this moment of writing there are two fires burning out of control but the one causing the most concern is that in the Adelaide Hills. Already much  property has been lost but, thankfully, no lives. There are 100 units and 550 fire fighters together with 8 water bomber aircraft. Some 200 rural firefighters from New South Wales are on their way to South Australia to help our people. Units and firefighters are also being sent from Victoria – which is battling its own fires. At the moment this is not shaping up to be a good fire season. This is now deemed to be the worst fire in the Adelaide Hills for 30 years.  The fire is now burning on a 130 klm

distance between two new houses
distance between two new houses

perimeter  with over 10,800 hectares burnt. By any stretch of the imagination it is a significant fire. Today (Sunday) the temperature has fallen from 44c down to 35c and the wind – at least up here – has died away. It was still a Little bit windy when I took Chienne out for walks last night. The recent reports say that 30 homes have been destroyed and 14 firefighters injured – not seriously- and that almost 600 firefighters are trying to contain this blaze which is now burning on a  200 klm perimeter. The concern is to try and get it under some kind of control before the temperature build up again – which is forecast for tomorrow.

Things are starting to get under control and I now understand about 85% of the fire is within containment lines and the wet weather this weekend should help. Adelaide is dry and I head off to Adelaide on Monday morning.  No meetings – shopping expedition.  I’m looking for a Dalek for my son’s birthday on the 19th. There was one here and I thought I would get it later but when I went back – it had gone. I should be able to get one at the ABC Shop in Adelaide. I will only be away for the day and no more trips until February. Apart from which I am not driving.  Andrew and Trish are going down for a medical appointment so I’ve bummed a lift with them. They drop me off in town, I do what I want to do and get the evening coach home. No stress at all.

On the subject of stress, four of our young people were on their way back from an archeological dig  on the far side of the Peninsula and were only 35 klms from town when they happened to meet up with  a driver who was determined to kill himself.  He ran – at  full speed into them head on.  The driver and the front seat passenger  were killed outright, the two in the back seat were seriously injured – one flown to Adelaide by the RFDS in a very serious condition, the other to the local hospital. The other driver  was also flown to the RAH by the RFDS. He was so badly smashed up it is unlikely he will survive. The funeral of one of the young people was held yesterday, the second is today. And before you ask, yes I knew them. Not one of them was over 24 years of age. The other driver is 36 years of age – he was driving a Nissan Patrol –  I do not know him. As far as we know he is under guard at the Royal Adelaide and if he does survive, ( he is in a coma) charges will be laid against him by the SA Police.  A sad start to the new year for many.

My New System for 2015
My New System for 2015

Something made me think recently about librarians (probably because I like the TV Show) and I was considering our local library and we have no young people there at all. Sad really. Do not know about other places, but our library shows no sign of  decline – always well attended. After days of 43/44/44/42 degree heat everything goes haywire and we are right in the middle of a major rain and thunderstorm. Chienne is, of course, going slightly crazy and I have medicated her. The forecast is for flooding rains in this part of the State. I don’t see it, but you never know.

 

Adelaide, Driving and Bushfires

Friday Adelaide:

They grow them BIG in Scotland.
They grow them BIG in Scotland.

The run down to Adelaide was quiet and uneventful. The temperature was  38c and it was hard to get out of the air – conditioned car at times  :o) I managed to get all the things I wanted done and was able to get repairs to my Filofax. It’s close to 25 years old and with TLC it should be still going in another 25 years.

Rundle Mall was  most entertaining, despite the heat. I always like the buskers in the Mall.  I had been asked to get a couple of things but in that I failed – out of stock. Of course it was crush room only – half the Mall is being dug up again so there were narrow walkways at either side of the construction areas.  The fellow in the photograph is quite real, I had to crane  my neck just to talk to him. Lots of people were taking photographs with their children standing next to him. Actually, If you really look at the hands, they don’t really match up with the size of the person, so, although I was not about to ask, the person was real enough, but I don’t think the height was. But regardless, he was walking well and it really was well done – however it’s done.

Tomorrow the temperature will be 42c and I will be driving in the hottest part of the day. By the time the meeting finishes, I do not stay for lunch, and I get on the road again, it will be well after 1pm. Of course that’s depending on several people  not talking for as long as they generally do.

Saturday -Adelaide

got bigger as I got closer.
got bigger as I got closer.

Head off to the conference this morning. It’s only 7:10 am and already there is a bit of heat in the air. As I said yesterday, I hope the “hot air” is kept to a minimum and I can get away at a reasonable time. All very good and I was on my way home by 12:40.  From Port Wakefield onward there were constant warnings about the fires off the Main Highway. I was concerned when I saw the smoke cloud from far off and knew that I was heading in that general direction.  Beyond the Tin Man there were police cars and emergency vehicles and several ambulances. We were safe, but that is the

Now out of control
Now out of control

nearest I have ever been to a bushfire. The emergency services on the car radio were informing people to be ready for evacuation and that the fire had breached the containment lines and was now out of control and the flames were now visible as it sweeps towards the National Highway.

Sunday – Home.

This is now the worst fire since Black Tuesday when the Mount Remarkable National Forest went up in flames and threatened the towns of Wilmington and Melrose  not to mention the fuel depot at Mambray Creek. Unfortunately Wilmington as well as Warnertown are both in the firing line.  The fire can now be seen from here  as it lights up the horizon on the other side of the Gulf.

Fires, thunderstorms and fires

Fires burning out of control 90 miles from here.
Fires burning out of control 90 miles from here.

Over 20 fires are still burning in South Australia and the residents in the Northern Grampians in Victoria have been told to be ready to evacuate as a massive fire burns out of control. Once our fires are under control we will be able to spare firefighters to go over to Victoria and help out. I am so glad that we don’t do fires or floods here. The heat has not abated any and we are still in the mid to high 40s and have been for five days now.  I have tried my best with water and mulch but my plants have just burned off and the Natives are struggling. And the constant wind means that my garden has become a leaf depository on steroids. Once this heat is over and we go back to normal it will take me ages to clean the place up. The heat I can take but I have never known a period when we have had constant wind day in-day out and it becomes more of a struggle to keep the place clean because the dust gets everywhere.  The wind is fanning the fires burning out of control some 95 miles away in the National Park. However the main threat is in Victoria where several small town have been evacuated.

Right at this very moment we are in the middle of a thunderstorm and Chienne is going gaga. Her distress is now passed to the Man and he is a bit upset. It is loud and it is a bit scary. I have medicated Chienne but I am reluctant to give anything to the Man that I have not already cleared with the Vet.  The Thunderstorm is a cause for further concern and it is believed that the lightening could spark off further Fires. Tomorrow the temperature is due to crash from 44c today to an overnight low of 30c and then down to a cool 28c tomorrow, and then we just wait for the next belting  :o)

It’s down to 29c at the moment but over the border in Victoria fires are still burning out of control and although conditions in the South East of  SA are starting to ease, we still have a couple of fires burning out of control with over 12 homes destroyed. If the cool weather lasts for a bit. I’ll  go out and  plant the Pencil Pines.

The cool weather is really not helping the areas where the fires are burning because of the wind change – and it’s a fairly strong wind. All it’s doing is causing the fires to change direction and

The fires on the far side of the Spencer Gulf
The fires on the far side of the Spencer Gulf

add more problems for the hundreds of firefighters battling the blazes.  I have posted here a photograph that was taken from a hill at the foreshore. In the foreground to the left, is the Iron Ore export jetty and in the distance, over the water is the fires burning on the hills at Port Germain about twenty miles away. And yes I did say that the fires were a long way from us and that’s true (170 klms by road) but I have not yet seen or heard of a fire that can travel across 20 – 25 miles over open water.

I am still having major problems with my email system and I know I’ve just lost another batch of mail. It was there this morning but when I went back into MS Outlook a little while later it was all gone. I cannot find it anywhere, so it looks as if I am going to have to bite the bullet, buy a new MS Outlook – from Outlook 2010 –  Outlook 2013- and see where we go from there. If it cannot be fixed it might be just as cheap to have a new battery put into the AppleMac and abandon the PC. Please understand I am not ignoring anyone. Everything else is fine, just MS Outlook.

Trees, terrorists and Puppy Food

SAMSUNGSome may remember this photograph I took some time ago. It was one of two eucalyptus trees outside. Part of this came down in the severe wind we had a week or so ago. This one came down over the road and part of the street was blocked off until the emergency services and the council were able to clear the area. In the background  you can see another tree and this has been examined and found wanting – it’s not in good shape and may have to be  cut down.

The medication seems to be working for the Man and he is eating a lot better now. I also find that he is a lot more active – when he is not sleeping that is. What I have been doing is feeding him  smaller meals but more of them. It means having to isolate him from Chienne from time to time. However, she doesn’t miss out too much and she gets her share of the treats. I have started the little man on Puppy Food and that seems to be working, and the interesting thing is that it is mainly chicken and rice. Don’t really mind as long as he keeps eating and starts to put on a little weight.

The NSW Bushfires are finally under control although they are still the subject of a watching brief.   It would be good to say that the fires were all caused  by nature – lightening strikes – but sadly that’s not the case. Some of them were deliberately lit, and even sadder is that some were lit by children who are under age to be charged. Well, that may well be the case, but their parents are not!!   If a dog attacks and seriously injures a person, we can charge the owner of the dog, so why don’t we charge the parents of the arsonists for failing in their parental duty of care. We talked a lot about charging people who  deliberately light fires in bushfire areas  with “Domestic Terrorism” but nothing much happened.

I started with a tree and I will finish with the same tree. This is what is left of the tree 20131029_185015today. Now, all we have to do is wait and in the fullness of time, the council truck will arrive, cut out the roots and clean up the area. The trouble with being on the periphery – everything takes so long to get here. Not a great photograph. The tree was much bigger than it would appear here.

History, Fires and Blame Game

battlelinesThere is always a silver lining in everything – if you know where to look for it. I looked for it in “Revolution” no, not me – the TV Programme. Incapacitation has allowed me to start to catch up on series 1 of the programme, so I can look at Series 2 knowing what is happening.  I remember years ago when the boys and I went to see “Patriot” and there were young people sitting in front of us who thought it was all stupid – “I mean, come on, lines of soldiers walking towards each other and standing fifty feet away and letting other soldiers fire guns at you – that’s just stupid, they never did that”.   This should have surprised me, but it didn’t. Australian Students know very little of history, next to nothing about international history not all much more about Australian History.  History is a dirty word that many schools have done their best to expunge.

There is no one like Mother Nature for putting things into perspective. Here am I in the Arid Lands, complaining and being grumpy about a few miserable trees that have fallen, made a mess  that I have to clean up, whilst our neighbours in New South Wales are fighting a desperate battle to save lives and property. Only one killed, thankfully, but the homes lost will number in the hundreds. Already over 80 properties have been lost to the fires. One Hundred firefighters from the MFS fire threat(Metropolitan Fire Service) and the CFS (Country Fire Service) have set out  from South Australia to take over part of the work from the exhausted NSW Fire Service. Units and people are also setting out from Victoria. Being in a non-fire area it is difficulty to imagine the terror of a bushfire. Of course we could have a grass fire but it’s not the sam thing and if the bush beyond us caught fire then the levy bank that was created for the once in a generation flood, would help to contain any fire that came even remotely close.

I did get The Man to the Vet and  we adopted him 11 years ago but the Vet. thinks he is closer to 13 – perhaps older. Difficult to tell because of his background. However, he has lost weight – from 3.5kilo to 2.6 kilo. and there seems to be no reason for that.  Yes he  wobbly on his rear legs and his joints are pretty slack. There is some pain there but not a lot and  apart from the weight loss, he’s in reasonable

A Man and His Chair
A Man and His Chair

shape for his age. When we closed the doors and put him on the floor he ran around without any signs of distress.  However, I have to give him 10 ml of Carprofen per day and Pernaease Powder also daily. I have been out this morning and he has been running around with no discomfort,  I will, however, take the “Dog Sling” out with me when we go for walks at night – which we have not been for a few days now, but I should be able to get out with them tonight.

Addition: So far reports are that 194 houses have been destroyed,  83 properties destroyed with a further 37 damaged – and it’s still goes on. And although they only took up the reigns of government last week, the Greens have blamed the government for this disaster.  ” Don’t know how or what, or why, but let’s just blame the government anyway”.