Looking Back – Looking Forward

New Planner/Binder
New Planner/Binder (2015/6)

For more years than I care to remember I have used ring planners. For a period I went through the Palm Pilot craze but in the end I came back to paper and ringed planners – mainly Filofax. Of course my planners did not survive the move from Scotland to South Australia being limited in what we could bring (weight) However,  like much of our things they were packed in Tea Chests and stored in my Father-in-law’s cellar. The idea was that once we were settled we have the teachests sealed and shipped out to South Australia. Sadly after we had been here a few months and were starting to settle down,  my in-laws house was broken into and most of the things from the cellar were destroyed or stolen, that also included all my photography equipment and the photograph

albums. The photographs were of no use or importance so we suspect they were dumped in the  nearest safe trash bin. Very little of the crystal and none of the silver we had been given as gifts remained. None of my  planners remained. The thing that upset us the
most was not the glass or silver or photograph equipment, but rather the photographs themselves. We have no photographs of the
boys as babies or little children other than what we have  taken in Australia. Before we left Scotland Annabell and I took the boys all over the country and took photographs of them at various places, Fort William, Loch Ness, Stirling Castle, Edinburgh Castle and Mons Meg, Sweetheart Abbey, Jedburgh Abbey, St. Giles Cathedral, Elgin Cathedral,
scandaDornoch Cathedral and Dunblane Cathedral, Paisley Abbey and Dunfermline Abbey,  Bannockburn and Robert Bruce, Duart Castle, Loch Earn, The Rannoch Moor, Glencoe and, of course, Glasgow Cathedral and other places too numerous to mention.   Photograph of Annabell’s family and my family – all gone.

Here in Australia the Palm Pilot was the thing so I went through a Palm Pilot phase and I think I still have a couple hanging around somewhere. But I tired of that and went back to  Ring Binders again. I have been there ever since. Generally I used a Filofax and did so up until a few years ago when I  started to use  an Organizer from a Dutch company called Van der Spek. Generally I change my Organizers/Planners every two years and I have just ordered my third  Van der Spek and for the very first time ever, I have chosen something that is neither black nor brown. I have chosen a colour called  French Blue. People thought I was being silly when I asked what colour/shade French Blue is as there are so many shades of Blue. All I got in reply was “Blue” which didn’t really help.  It should be here in a few weeks and I am anxious to see what it looks

Been a long day. Need rest!
Been a long day. Need rest!


This time last year I had great hopes for the coming 2016. I had lost both Chienne and The Man and there was still much sadness there but there was Benji and I looked forward to life with him.  I  suspect one day I will get out of the habit of referring to him sometimes as Chienne. There has been much sadness in 2016 but there has also been joy and I will see the year go with mixed feelings. My one shining light has been Benji – as it should be. I have lost friends this year, some fur-friends, some human friends, some who have passed and some I have just lost and they are the saddest of all. But I have also found new friends and that helps with the sadness of loss.  Again I look forward to the coming year and hope that 2017 will be a better year, but like all years there will be a mixture of joy and sadness, laughter and tears,  but we need them both, one to balance the other,  and all we can really hope for is that the joy will be more than the sadness and the laughter greater than the tears.

I have no doubt that there will be other posts between now and the end of the year, but for now, I want to say thank you to all of you for being here and for your lovely comments and conversations. I hope we can share 2017 together.

Getting it from both ends!

Just Because
Just Because

The operation went quite well. I say quite well because things didn’t go according to plan. Apparently there was a lot more damage than they thought and I ended up with a lot more done than had been intended. They discovered several bone fragments there  so all of that had to be repaired. I am in bed at home and having difficulty walking – although today I did take Benji for a walk. With my sticks we walked down the hallway into the sitting room, and then back to my bedroom. I was fair exhausted. I have given instructions to Annabell that if I ever again feel that I would like the fairly mild pain to be replaced by an operation and a pain that required pain killers and the inability to walk for a time – I just want her to introduce my brain to a 4 x 2. She says a few days and the pain will go and the need for sticks will  be gone and I can get back to being normal again – well what passes as normal for me.  Benji sits down at the end of the bed keeping guard – making sure that WaWa or her mistress don’t attack me. Annabell brings in the ice pack – in a towel – and Benji sits up and moves towards her. I grab him. Oh he doesn’t harm her or even growl,  he just uses his snout to push her away from me.


The entrance to the new part of the hospital
The entrance to the new part of the hospital

The upgraded hospital opened last year at a cost of $60 million. In contrast, the Adelaide Money Pit AKA The New Royal Adelaide Hospital, is the third most expensive building on the planet and costing over $2.5 Billion not even considering the massive delays, problems, cost blowouts and  now probably wont be opened until  sometime next year – September/October is being touted. I have nothing but praise for our people and our hospital. Calvary  have begun construction of a new state-of-the art private hospital in Adelaide and the joke is that the new Calvary Hospital will probably be up and running before the new RAH is opened. The Premier didn’t think that comment was funny.

Easy had a birthday last week and both Benji and I wished him well. I have no idea when Benji’s birthday is but I have decided that his birthday will be the day I  brought him home from Mount Gambier to his new family – the day I adopted him. Seems to me that this is as good a day as any.As I said I missed Easy’s birthday but  Benji and the WaWa hope to be able to attend the  Tea Pawty that Christmas in holding next week.  By the looks of things this is going to be a case of previous years when I had both male and female dogs – Chienne and the Man – this time I think it’s going to be Benji and the WaWa. I would really like  Sooah to come back but with the state of the economy here in South Australia, I really don’t see it happening – which is quite sad really, she is a lovely young lady. After discussions with Annabell we decided that we really cannot do anything with the WaWa until after October because there is still the chance that Sooah may return. After that we will start the process of changing ownership.

Monday and after a quiet weekend the first of the bandages  will come off tomorrow. Provided everything is ok we will remove the second bandage when Annabell comes back from her Coffee Morning on Wednesday. I think the removal of the outer bandages should allow me a greater degree of flexibility and movement and I am quite looking forward to that.Annabell is out for two days at her coffee evening and morning so I have a little time to myself – well me and the dogs, but that’s cool.  You know, I think medical professionals can be very thoughtless at times. Here I am recovering from knee surgery and my cardiologist decided that this would be a really good time for me to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours – a heart monitor at one end, recovering from a knee operation at the other – sleep has not come easy these last few days   :o)  – Yes, you have to smile!!  It’s either that or sneak off and cry in some corner..

Wind and Weather

Saturday 7th.


I can relate to that.
I can relate to that.

It has been raining since the early hours of this morning and it has not let up yet. It’s not heavy, bounce off the roadway, kind of rain but it is constant and it is steady. Needless to say we did not go for our morning walk and  by the looks of things the Wetlands are out for the time being. Still, good rain and everyone is quite happy. The forecast for the weekend for our region is rain for most of the next two days. Have to say though, I was supposed to be at Mount Gambier this weekend – postponed until next week, so hope the weather is better for visiting the sailing ship and the gardens. I would also like – on the way through- to stop off at Padthaway Estate Winery.  Rain kept up until about nine(ish) last night and I took Benji out for a walk. Forty minutes later and we just got within 100 yards of the house when it started again – fortunately slowly.

Sunday 8th – Mother’s Day

Now it really is bouncing off the roadway. It’s 4am and it’s pounding down and there is a very strong and high wind at its back. Looked at the weather forecast for today and it tells me that it will be cloudy with periods of rain and a temperature around 20c. Probably all this will kick in at dawn but in the meantime, Welcome to Mother’s Day  !! It went on most of the day and when it did stop there was a high wind. This morning ( Monday) there was no rain to speak of but there was a very high wind and a bit of a battle walking with Benji at 5:50am. We drove into town to do some things and on the way back – it really started to rain. We just made it in when it when it became dark and then really came down; heavy bounce of the roadway rain and a driving wind. That was about an hour ago and now, looking out,  I think of the old song – “Blue skies smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see”.  Weird weather!!

We, as I said, took a fair belt of rain and wind but no real damage other than some minor road flooding. Elsewhere, when the storm really hit, there was serious flooding, power lines down and trees down cutting off roads in  Adelaide and Norwood. Several thousand were left without power before the lines were repaired. For us, storms either go above us or below us, very rarely do we ever get caught in the actual path of a storm. If the storm front is big enough, we get a bit of a side-swipe, but nothing really major.

Chienne and the Man
Chienne and the Man

Bluechickenjay  wrote a post recently about stats and I agree with much of what she wrote although she talks about 50 visits and she’s quite happy whereas I have never had fifty visits in me life  :o) –  Well that’s not true – there was a  lot of kind and lovely people who visited me and left kind words when Chienne died so suddenly last year. She is right in one respect that it really is not about the numbers. If that were the case I would have left long ago. My Mother’s Day post had three visits and one (1) comment. In these last few  weeks I have been touched by the departure of CDL and I thought that would be a good time for me to go also, but here I am, still here.

True to say I am not  frightfully good at this but I enjoy doing it and it is not about numbers – it is something I like to do and I felt that I would miss it. However, having said that, I still think  the life span on this is drawing to a close – the sands of time are sinking.

Home and Away

Taken by my son last year
Taken by my son last year

France,  and Paris in particular, are recovering from the recent atrocities inflicted on that beautiful city and people are returning to normal life and revisiting the places they once felt safe in. One restaurant owner said that all traces of the  damage had been erased and the place repainted and customers, albeit slowly, are coming back. My son  spent last year touring Europe from Vienna to Casablanca spending the longest time of his tour  in Paris. He greatly enjoyed wandering the

The Tomb of Napoleon ( son's Photograph)
The Tomb of Napoleon ( son’s photograph)

streets of Paris, paying his respects to the  Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe and then paying My respects to the Emperor Napoleon. John  liked Paris a lot and was greatly saddened by the damage inflicted on her. Oddly enough , and I apologise to any Italians, he didn’t like Rome at all. Some of the photographs in parts of Europe that I use were sent to me by my son

Been a tad on the warm side this week with temperatures hoovering around 40c. Cooler today – only 38c – but a day of extreme fire danger since high winds and possibly dry lightening strikes are forecast. However, I think there is a cool change forecast for late Monday or early Tuesday.

Our Moderator and his wife visited us yesterday (Sunday) conducted the Service and joined us for Christmas Lunch afterwards. We had been criticized by some  for the money we spent on the installation of two reverse-cycle air-conditioners, but at 41c, there was not a single adverse comment in sight – a very pleasant lunch in a pleasantly cool hall. Of course, safe to say that the majority voted in favour of the  air-conditioners, but the dissenters were very vocal, however,  fact is that without these air-conditioners  the hall would have been much too hot and uncomfortable to spend any length of time in, let alone have the whole of the congregation sit down to lunch.

The expected cool change came in a little earlier than expected and there was widespread lightening strikes across the State – we even had some rain. However, we were not too bad but parts of the lower state are without power and will be for some days. We have our own power station here – Northern Areas Power Station ( NAPS) – but this is a coal fired station which is coming off line


during 2016. From then on we will be part of the main system and whatever power failures they get, we will probably get too.

The good aspect to all of this is that Benji never missed a beat. The noise of the thunder and the rain – such as it was – didn’t seem to bother him in the least. It didn’t last long at all.  Herself always felt really sorry for Chienne because the noise so severely affected her and there was not a lot we could do other than the Vet

Chienne and The Man
Chienne and The Man

medication to try and calm her down. We did buy her a Thundershirt, but it didn’t work for her. It’s cleaned and packed away since Benji has no need of it. I have also been trying to give away one of the dog houses but no one seems to want it and BJ has no need of two. Actually we did have three but I dismantled one and stored it in the garage – will probably do the same with the other one.

Annabell and Benji get along well, so much so that at lunch she becomes his BFF – I get ignored because he really doesn’t like my diet  food – I guess he figures he’s a dog not a rabbit.  Benji is still not registered yet. I have written to the Canine Animal Register in Victoria and they still have not sent me his Registration and Microchip papers yet. It is now ten days since they informed me that the papers would go into the post that very day, and I  believe that either this was a falsehood or there has been a mail holdup by highwaymen on the Cobb & Co Stagecoach ( Australian Wells Fargo)  because using a stagecoach is the only way a letter could take ten days to come from Melbourne. Why don’t I register him here anyway?? I cannot because his microchip  still lists his previous owner and if anything happened here and he  went wandering I would have difficulty  getting him back because he would be shipped off to Victoria and I have no proof that he is my dog, so I need these papers.

The Man, Vets and Adelaide again.

Guard Duty is exhausting
Guard Duty is exhausting

I took the Man to the vet this afternoon because his behaviour was causing me problems. I have not said anything on line because y áll had enough problems but I have been exhausted when I get out of bed in the morning and The Man is the reason for this exhaustion and also the reason why I extended my Sabbatical. I have been wakened two, three and four times a night – most nights – with The Man just yelping – I investigate and he is standing facing a blank wall and just yelping, or he is staring off into space and bark/yelping. He calms down and a couple of hours later, he starts again Its ‘been a concern and after a while I do get tired and sleep deprived.     Ok what I know, –  his arthritis is “progressing” he is going blind, he is loosing his hearing and we suspect there is something akin to a Dog form of  Dementia. Mustapha  (The Vet) believes that he wakens up in the dark, declining eyesight, scared, not knowing where he  is, goes outside to have a wee, and forgets how to get back in  – poor eyesight in the dark – gets scared, barks for help,  not a lot we can do really other than comfort him and make him feel safe. Well, no! On the way home I stopped off at a hardware store and left him in the car with herself comforting him, and bought two fairly bright night-lights.  One I will power on tonight and the other is an outside motion sensor light. I really do know what else I can do. He has a bit of a cough so some medication for that, 10ml of Fish Oil and his arthritis medication. So we’ll see how we go from here. And no, nothing will happen to him. It is not being cruel – he is still much loved and It is my responsibility and my opportunity to repay him for some of the fun we have had together over the last 13 years. Well not strictly true, to say that there is nothing we can do Instead of wheels I have ordered a “Dogger”a stroller for dogs. It should arrive sometime in the next week or so and I will introduce him to it when I get back from Adelaide this coming weekend.  Ok, I know I did say that I was staying home until the end of September and generally that’s true, but I need to go be in Adelaide this Friday and Saturday, so back to my little park bench in South Terrace.

A Man and his  Teddy Bear
A Man and his Teddy Bears

The Man has an abscess on his bottom and we have been looking after that. This was also a visit to the vet. We have antibiotics and a saline wash twice a day and rather than diminishing  it seems to be slightly larger if anything. I will go on for another few days with the medical treatment, then I will make another trip to the vet.  I don’t know what can be done, but the fact that he is old and in decline regarding his health, in not an issue,  he still needs good quality vet treatment and I want him to have just that – he deserves it. But somethings are working – he has been sleeping a lot better since the night light. He is sleeping through the night and – importantly – I am too!!  Such a little thing, like a night light,  has made an enormous difference.

When I get back from Adelaide I will spend all next week running back and forth from hospital with Herself. We have appointments every day, except Friday. On Tuesday she is going for an Ultrasound on her kidney and perhaps from all this we can finally discover why she is loosing blood. I took her to hospital last week and she recorded a BP of 235/90, which she thought was quite ok. She worries me at times.
The drive down to Adelaide was, thankfully, quiet and uneventful and I am now safely in  my little Park Bench in South Terrace. Ron was a piper in the Black Watch, Highland Regiment. He was one of the  Black Watch Pipers that   Mrs. Kennedy asked to play at her  husband’s funeral in 1963. Her husband, of course, was JFK. This is an interesting story of itself and sometime I will relay it – perhaps in the next post. As far as we know, there is only one piper remaining of the

Wilpena in the Flinders Ranges
Wilpena in the Flinders Ranges

pipers who were chosen for the funeral.

Oh, the Dog Stroller arrived on Saturday morning but since herself was out with one of the boys. I was still driving back from Adelaide but the postal people left a note on the door saying that it could be collected on Monday. I will do that and I  really do hope this will help. At least it will get him out and about in safety and pain free.


Adelaide, Games and the Man

Glasgow of the Commonwealth Games.
Glasgow of the Commonwealth Games.

I had been telephoning Alan every couple of days to have a quick chat and see how he was. I tried to call him last week without success. This worried me a bit so I called my niece and was informed that he had had a major stroke and was moved to the  HDU at the Flinders  Medical Center. I called the Flinders a little while and was told that he is not good. I  think I might be heading to Adelaide soon. If he is still with us, I will drive down on Friday anyway and see him. I cannot get away before that because I am contracted for the week and will be out of town – not out of touch, just out of town – until Thursday afternoon. Herself cannot travel –  John is in Florence so it will be Andrew and I that will attend when necessary. He’s had such a poor time over these last few years, not being able to do anything , hooked up to oxygen and watching TV all day. He’s six hours  and over 530 klms away so getting to see him is not easy, but I have been calling him and chatting to him a couple of times each week.  On Monday night I got the call that I had been  expecting, but not quite so soon. Alan died on Monday evening. The remains wont be released until tomorrow (Thursday) and the funeral will be organized for Monday early afternoon. It will only be a small funeral for family and Monday afternoon is to give Andrew and I time to drive down. Also we have to get back on Monday night because I have to take herself to her doctor on Tuesday. I will be home all of next week then I’m out of town again, then down to Adelaide to collect John from the Airport. At the moment he is in Florence and will be heading off to Berlin and Munich next week to start a tour of Northern Europe, a cruise on the Danube and then home.

The first two days away were fairly good but today the weather closed in again and it rained for much of the day. As far as I can see, tomorrow wont be much better, but at least that’s the last day for the moment.

Hmmmm.. :o)
Hmmmm.. :o)

Thankfully, home but getting ready to head off to Adelaide for a funeral. The day and time has been changed, which rules  out Andrew. Herself has had to change her hospital appointment.  This means I will be going down on my own, and it’s at Hackham West, an hour+ out of Adelaide. Of course I have been offered a bed for the night but I am yer aktual weirdo who dislikes staying with people. Going down to Adelaide people offered me  a bed for the conferences, but I never took up any of the offers so they understood and stopped offering to put me up.

Tomorrow I head off to Adelaide for Alan’s Funeral. I believe it is going to be a quiet, private family funeral – which is probably best. I’ll  stay overnight in South Terrace, I think there’s a nice park bench there, and  travel through to the funeral on Tuesday. I have booked two nights so I’ll leave early Wednesday morning and be home just after lunch. So far the weather looks like – Monday dry and sunny – Tuesday, Wet – Wednesday, dry and sunny. If it’s a nice day on Thursday I might go over and attack some more of that vine. I can see the main roots now, so once I cut away more of the actual vine I should be able to get to the roots of the thing. That would be good and probably help.

I have not seen a lot of the Commonwealth Games and when I did turn on the TV all I did see was talking heads and repeats of repeats, so I kind of gave up. I think Australian Television works on the theory that if it’s worth showing once, it’s worth showing forty times.

The Man is  well and as soon as I get back from Adelaide we are going to order the wheels for him. I took them out the other night and I carried him most of the way. I asked about his medication and the Vet says 1 half tablet per day is enough for his weight. He sleeps a lot and when hes awake, he eats – boy does he eat, but he never seems to gain any weight. I sort of envy that  :o) Chienne is fine and doing well. She came in and slept with me a couple of times, but like the Man she prefers her own bed. John is heading to Berlin and Munich. Was not impressed with either Rome or Venice.

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.

Fires, Dogs and Thank you.

Winmalee after the fire had passed

The situation in NSW is not getting any better. This morning a further 70 firefighters left South Australia to head to the  crisis center. There are additional fire units coming from as far away as Western Australia. We are fire free but we are back to Severe Wind Warnings again and at the moment it is blowing pretty bad – just keeping an eye on that other gum tree.

The military are believed to have been responsible for starting of  one of the larger fires through “live-fire” exercises. They are being very cagey at the moment. However – as I have said we are not really in a fire area but I also said that the military have taken over several stations (ranches)  – not too far from here  our emergency services were called out to assist in fighting a bush fire in one of the “training” areas. Anyway, that was put out.

Since starting this the fire situation has improved and the firefighters are starting to get things under control, but it is a concern that we have this kind of crisis and the fire season has not really begun. There is a very strong indication that the military were responsible for the  fires at Lithgow.

The dogs have been good. The Man sleeps a lot but  he seems to make up for it in bouts of high activity. He’s eating better since I gave up the chicken and rice and 20130723_114204started him on “puppy food” on the understanding that this should help to bring his weight back up again. I gave up on the chicken and rice because he just wouldn’t eat it – Strange dog!!  He uses a lot of energy during the high activity periods, then he sleeps. I also feed him treats and because I have two dogs and not one, Chienne also has to have a treat – can’t give to one and not the other. They have walks twice a day – morning and evening.

I am  humbled by the fact that a number of people thought of us during the height of the fires in NSW. We are  one thousand miles away from the fire front ( about 1700 kilometres) but as a friend said, all the rest of the world hears is that Australia is burning. Thank you for your concern – Herself, the Dogs and Me are fairly safe.