Cars, Dog Stroller and Cars.

What now my love, now that you’ve left me, how can I live through another day?

It has now been seven days since the car was towed away and the  repairs started. The unit for the ignition system was supposed to be over here from Port Pirie yesterday and, I imagine, fitted yesterday and today. I would like to have the car back  sometime today, but, to be really honest, I am not very hopeful. Today, being Friday, summer officially ends in two days and Monday 1st March is the 1st day of Autumn (Fall)  Summer begins on 1st December and ends on the last day of February, a total  of 90 days and from that total we have only really had 14 days when we could say “Summer is here.” A total of three heatwaves – 5+4+5-  there has been a lot of rain, there is flooding in Queensland and people being evacuated – cyclones in the north have meant heavy rain here accompanied by high winds. In fact I don’t recall seeing all that much on the weather charts but high winds. Well, that’s not strictly true, sometimes the forecaster  forecasted  “damaging winds 95kpm+)  I answered a comment by Tippysmom the other day and I said it was a nice day with a gentle breeze and it was for about half the morning before the wind increased. I took Benji out for a walk and before I was halfway through the walk I was struggling  and ended up carrying my hat rather than wearing it. In fact, the long range forecast is for more rain

I am concerned in that it is not very long before I have to take Annabell to the clinic at Flinders medical and I still don’t have a car. Yes, I realise that the  visit to the Clinic is ten days away but that’s wont stop me from worrying. Yes I worry, it’s my job  :o)  I worry, Benji does the relaxing – we share the load – that’s what friends do!

Lovely day for a stroll

I am beginning to believe that the birthdate on the Adoption Papers for Benji – 2010 –  rather than the Microchip birth date – 2012 – is the correct one. That would make him 11 this year. I have noticed that he is starting to slow down just a bit and it was very noticeable this morning when he started tiring and dragging towards the last 200 yards of our morning walk. I thought he looked

so tired that I lifted him up on my shoulder and carried him the rest of the way. This afternoon I wanted to go for a walk and he came with me. We had not gone far when he really started to slow down. I turned around and came back home. I got the  “Dog Stroller” out of the garage, cleaned it and put a thick blanket in there for him to sit on. Lifted him him in,  attached the harness and off we went. He loved it, sitting there watching everything around him and still being out with his daddy. Can’t get better than that. ( I have to mention that it is over 34 years since I pushed a pram for any distance and I forgot how tiring it is on the arms)  I also took a bottle of water and a collapsible bowl so we could both have a drink.  Well, yes, I got some looks from passing motorists, but who cares. Benji was comfortable

John & Rene’s Toyota Camry which I am now  using.

On the subject of friends, a member of the church heard that I did not have a car so  she phoned another friend who telephoned me. She asked if it was correct that I did not have a car at the moment and wanted to know how I was getting about. I said either I was not or I  was by taxi. She said that they have a spare car and I was welcome to use it. I said it was ok and my own can should be back soon. I thought that was that until she  and her husband dropped off a Toyota Camry in my drive. They handed me the keys, said it was registered until June and I can bring it back when I no longer need it. So there we are, I  have a car- now  I can take Annabell out as needed. Just as well since I ended up at the Emergency Dept. at the hospital with her  last night. She was not a well girl – had another infection.

Things Fall Apart

The car at Drysdale.
The car at Drysdale.

Having got the car home at the weekend I  booked it into the garage for repairs and service on Monday afternoon. It was returned to me yesterday afternoon ( Tuesday) repaired and serviced. It was mainly ignition problems which meant a new ignition coil assembly and a new set of high tension ignition wires. A few things besides plus a general service and new spark plugs. So the car seems to be running well, but no trips for a little while. I did call the clerk and asked if there were any papers I needed to have or anything I need to be aware of arising out of the meeting I missed. He will send me copies of the paperwork and I’ll send him  copies of the Annual General Meeting Report. I know that one of the issues discussed was the introduction of SKYPE as a means of conducting the meetings. I objected to this last time it came up and I  will object to it again, and fortunately, I am not alone in this. Those who advocate Skype do so on the basis of use for small meetings or the fact that they call their children inter-state several times a week and the system works well. Yes it does for small meetings and for individuals but in our case I do not believe that Skype should be used as it is a poor substitute for face to face meetings and useless in determining the overall mood of the meeting and at times body language is as important as the spoken word in determining the mood of the meeting. Anyway, that’s part of my view and I have no doubt the issue will be raised again in August.

The news from the Administrator of Arrium, however, is not quite so good. It is now generally believed that Arrium will be broken up and sold off. Much of the Arrium holdings are profitable but the steelworks is running at a loss and is responsible for much of the current debt. The University of Flinders have produced a projected  model of the consequences of the demise and loss of the steelworks to the region and the State.  The immediate consequence would be the loss of some 3500 jobs, but then there are the suppliers and contractors and the businesses  that supply Arrium locally – about 4000 jobs locally and regionally – so overall about 7500+ jobs. The financial consequences to  Whyalla and surrounds would be the loss of half a billion dollars in revenue. The consequences to the State is estimate at $800 Million in lost revenue. But according to Arrium there are two sides to Arrium – the good Arrium which has mining interests and two electric arc

The Steelworks ( not my photograph)
The Steelworks ( not my photograph)

furnaces on the East Coast that produce steel products and makes good profits selling these to the construction industry. The Bad Arrium is the Whyalla Steelworks and the South Australian Mining Operations that are burning cash faster than the Good Arrium ( Moly-Cop) can generate it. One of our major hotels has closed down and gone into liquidation as a direct consequence of the Arrium Debacle – it was the preferred hotel for visiting staff, for Arrium Functions and various courses. It had become dependent on Arrium for the majority of its business and revenue, so when Arrium  went into administration the hotel lost its main source of revenue. The banks are – at this stage – opposed to any plan that means the closure of the Steelworks – understandable self interest. What has been calculated is the proposed loss of revenue locally and State, but what has not been calculated is the loss to the banks – the actual money owed by Arrium aside.  There are hundreds of families, these families have mortgages, have loans, have credit cards. If the steelworks were to close and all these people were without jobs – and given the state of Arrium it would be unlikely that they would get anything near their redundancy entitlements – people unable to pay their mortgage. What happens? does the bank take control of this property? Well yes, I guess so. Does this then mean that the banks now have millions of dollars in property that no one wants- well can’t afford. Given that in the late 1970s / early 1980s  when BHP Steel were in trouble – the shipyards closed and the steelworks contracted, we went from a population of 36,000 to about 23,000 – the same could happen again. The Administrator suggests that  the South Australian  operation s – Steelworks and Iron Ore Mines – could be up for sale in July and he hopes to see Arrium out of the hands of an Administrator by Christmas. I sincerely hope so.

More winds and faling trees

A quiet Moment

I was up early and got the brushes, shovels and rake all ready, as well as the suction/blower. I spent yesterday cleaning up, sweeping up and filling the mean, green recycle bin. I put the  dog houses back into place. I had moved them so I could clean up. It was such a lovely day that I broke out the hammock and put up the big double brolly. Had lunch, quick couple of hits with the personal fly spray and into the hammock for a rest and a read, then back to work.  For a while, all of yesterday, the place started to look neat and tidy again.

The Severe Wind Warning was slightly downgraded but we still had winds of up to 95kph and the big gum tree on the corner came down. The Council, SES  (State Emergency Service) and the Police had the road blocked off because only part of it came down and the other part was none too safe. My son asked me to take some photographs but no one

Lovely Day!! (38c)
Lovely Day!! (38c)

was allowed near it. All my work in cleaning and sweeping was to no avail and I had two branches from the other tree (small branches) snap off. Anyway, it will have to stay untidy until I get back from Adelaide. The car is with the Electrical people and they believe it should be ready today.  If not, then I have the use of my son’s car. However, the mechanic said it should not be too difficult and he would get to it this afternoon (Thursday)

Half his luck..

I have just returned from two days in Adelaide and I have come to the conclusion that I am getting too old for this nonsense. I sat in my Hotel Room, shivering – not because of cold  -just shivering. Herself says it was probably an adrenaline  rush because of the over tiredness. At the moment I still feel washed out.after leaving Adelaide at 2pm and driving 400k  back home.  My Associates were happy to see me as I was to see them. I do wish I could take one of my dogs to the meetings, that would be nice  :o)

Sunset, dogs and trees

The end of the Road – Really!

I went looking for some polystyrene this afternoon and discovered that the pet shop has a sale on this  Thursday and one of the items is a collapsable ramp that I can put outside so the man can walk up  rather than jump up the stairs. I know I am probably going slightly overboard but  he’s my man and it’s  part of my job description to look after him. Anyway, depending on how the unit looks  and works, I might end up buying two.

My car goes in for repairs ( excuse me, didn’t you do that last week?) and hopefully the fuel gauge should be fixed. First time was to determine the problem (took about an hour) Parts were ordered and I took the car back  at the end of the week ( Last Friday) but he couldn’t do the job because my son, who borrowed the car for a while, very kindly filled the fuel tank – and you can’t  replace things in the fuel tank when it’s full of fuel. I have had to drive around for a few days and today is the day it goes back in to finish the repairs. I don’t think it should take all that long to do and I should have it back by lunch. – Car back and repaired…

Went down to the sale and had a look at the dog ramp, which wasn’t too bad. Didn’t get one though because  they decided that this – and a few other things – were not part of the sale. Anyway, came up with a new idea. Went to the garden shop and bought kneeling pads and wrapped them in  carpet and they fit just neatly and let him get on and off his bed without trauma. Good. However, herself decided that they were not good enough so she got out her sewing machine and, using some spare material she had left over from something, made two “pillowcases”  One to  put the pads into and one to change. This is the person who just “tolerates” the dogs, but  maintains she is not a “dog person”. This is the same person who went to the craft store and bought a heap of material and made a dog coat for the little man when we first rescued him  – he had to have all his own coat cut off because it was so matted and she didn’t want him to be cold. But, she doesn’t really like dogs all that much  :o)

Messy Native Trees

This weekend we have a fundraising venture for the Royal Flying Doctor Service at the “Collage of Technical and Further Education” – TAFE. It’s the first day back for the new semester so the collage  will put on a  barbecue lunch for the students and staff.  We will cook and serve it and TAFE will give us a donation. I think it is going to be a very busy month.  And the Saga of the Native vs Exotic Trees still continues. If you look at the mess and look over the road not only is there a mess, but nothing else grows near it.  I don’t like native trees planted along  pathways and medium strips.

Fires, flood and cyclones – again.

With some people, a break just cannot be caught!  Parts of Victoria were on fire and now other parts are threatened by torrential rain and flooding. Same in New South Wales as storm fronts  sweep in  from the Pacific and the Coral Sea, dumping massive amounts of rain. Sometimes it’s an advantage to live in the most boring state in the commonwealth. And in between all that comes the news that a young volunteer fire fighter has been killed. He was cleaning up after a fire when a tree branch fell on him.

Now we have major flooding in large areas of Queensland /  New South Wales and reports of three dead including a 17 y.o.boy who was swept into a flooded drain. He and his mate were wading through the water at the Golf Club looking for golf balls when they were swept away. His friend survived. Thousands have been evacuated and there are flood warnings out on over 15 river systems across two states. Sometimes we get a bit of localised flooding in Adelaide, but never to the same extent because we just don’t have the river systems. On top of all this comes the news that Western Australia is bracing for another tropical cyclone.

The last few days we have had high temperatures and yesterday at 43.5 was the high of three days of mid 40s. Today it’s supposed to be back down again –  think in the high 20s – just another day when you go to bed hot and bothered and wake up in the wee small hours looking for a blanket as you shut off the overhead fan. Added to this is the fact that it’s raining and things change very quickly  Apart from not doing flooding we don’t do snow here either.  Although, having said that we do have the occasional hail storm that temporarily covers the ground and looks like snow – for all of half an hour.

I am confined to the house and sheds and garage for most of the day. My car is away for repairs. Nothing too serious – the fuel  gauge is not working and I need that to be working when I drive to Adelaide.  It tells me the distance to empty so I can plan the fuel stops – although the truth is I really don’t need it because it’s a set route from here to Adelaide – unless I want to deviate by several hundred miles and arrive from a different direction. But the reason I use the distance to empty function is that if I want to get home for something, knowing where the petrol (gas) stations are,  I know how far I can go without having to stop for fuel.

A “Red Alert” has been issued for people in parts of the coastal areas of Western Australia as Cyclone Rusty approaches. Rusty is a category 4 cyclone , punching winds of up to 250kph and  although it’s a thousand miles away from us, we will expect to get some residual rain, not enough to cause any problems, but some. It is expected to hit land  this  afternoon sometimes – if it keeps its current speed.