The WaWa – all change.

Chienne when the world was very young,.

In all of my life I have only ever bought one dog from a Pet Shop. I have to truthfully say that I have looked and liked what I saw – but then, I didn’t know any better. I bought this dog from the Pet Shop, because I knew the owner, she was also a dog groom and she also ran boarding kennels. We called the dog Chienne – I know some people in France use this as an insult but to me it just simply meant what she was a Female Dog. This was almost sixteen years ago. She died at just over fourteen years of age. She never had a day ill in her life and the only time she had to wear a “Collar of Shame” was when she had been to the vet for “The Operation”. She was a lovely dog, dearly loved by everyone who came into contact with her, particularly the Love of Her Life – my youngest son, Andrew. She also helped to fill an interesting matchmaking role, but that’s another story. My reason for reliving all this, is not to inflict sadness on myself, but to state a point – and the point is this – in my life I have only ever had one experience of a pet shop and that experience was very positive. I do not for one second doubt that many

Puppy Farms are dreadful places and should be closed down. My heart aches  when I think of some of these poor animals. However my only experience was a positive one and it is very difficult to set that aside. Every dog, including Benji, was a rescue dog. Only Chienne was a Pet Shop Dog and she was one of the most lovable dogs I have ever lived with – and to be honest it took me a  while  to stop calling him and at times referring to Benji as Chienne. That’s how imprinted she was on me.

The WaWa and I have become quite close to the point where I can go to her,  lift her up and she snuggles into my  neck. In my  wild erratic fancy, I had visions of her searching where would be the

Hello peeple..
The WaWa

best point to sink her teeth into, but that’s being unkind  :o)  I can also sit down on the floor and when Benji is not around I can sit and play with her, scratch her ears and her belly and  pet her back and head. Tippysmom was spot on when she said that  it will be an incredible wrench if /when the owner comes back and I have to give her up. I never meant to get attached to her but I have – and that’s a concern.

I have been working outside – even in the high temperatures we have had this week – because I want to get as much of the garden finished as I can. At the moment I have completed about half of what needs to be done and I would like to get most of it finished this week.  For the  gravel I am using Granite Chips – not cheap but they look good and they hold their colour for a long time. Other stone chip seems to fade after a while whereas Granite does not. The Frangipani  are coming along well as are the four Mandevilla / white /pink and two red. All very nice and should last until about mid-May, which is when I head off to Mount Gambier for four days. I water and feed the flowers and plants before I go and hope that will be enough to last them until I get back. And before you ask, the answer is NO.

A post ago I used a photographs of snow in Neilson. The photographs was taken in the morning, and by mid-afternoon the snow was all gone. It didn’t last long apparently.

Still no word about what is happening with Arrium. As far as we know there are two  buyers interested – One British and one South Korean. The uncertainty is such that there are so many houses

For Tippysmom / My Back Yard

for sale around the town;  a number of houses foreclosed by the bank and I know of at least one house – a big house – where the owners just packed up and walked away, leaving everything to the bank. As I said before our major shopping Mall, once advertised as the largest outside of Adelaide,  has 18 empty shops. However on a positive note we believe that a large retailer will be moving into the larger of the empty shops ( 3 in 1)  soon. Good in that it  is a large area and will take away the empty look from that section and also that it will provide jobs.

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Nearly back to Normal.

Some of the blame game and the complaints have started already with truck drivers unhappy with the closure of Port Wakefield. Also the Port Wakefield service stations have lost a lot of

Just a little bit wet.
Just a little bit wet.

money this long weekend. Anyway, one of the complaints is that the authorities were too hasty in closing down access to Port Wakefield despite the fact that the water continues to rise. The weather cleared and there has been an aerial inspection of the damage to the power pylons. In this area alone there were six pylons bent and twisted like children’s toys and overall there were 23 destroyed or damaged pylons in the system.  And just to make life interesting – another storm is bearing down on us and should be here by late Monday / Tuesday with an estimated 100mm of rain – Oh Joy!! However, the bulk of the main storm has now moved into Victoria and New South Wales. On the subject of these two  States, South Australia is very, very thankful for the teams of  Emergency Workers that have crossed the Border to help us out, assist in the clean-up and  give our emergency crews some much needed rest. Considering there are state wide floods in both Victoria and New South Wales, the help  is more than appreciated.  There is to be an investigation into the State-wide blackout and why 1.7 million people were left without power – some for 25 hours and some still waiting for the restoration of full power – Arrium, Port Pirie, Port Lincoln and Roxby Downs  for instance. Arrium is just holding things together with limited power.   The way things are going in South Australia these days I think we will soon be singing the Depression Song:

Once I built a railroad and made it run

Made it race against time

Once I built a railroad, now it’s done

Brother, can you spare a dime

Chienne and her Thundershirt
Chienne and her Thundershirt

When Chienne died last year and it was decided that I would get another dog, I made it clear that I wanted a mature dog, not a puppy. I said about 5 or 6 years old would be good. I looked at this Diego (Now Benji) and he at five – going on six , seemed to fit the bill so I travelled to Mount Gambier to have a final  look at him and bring him home. Now I know I have gone through this before but bear with me – there is a point.  I adopted him and brought him home and Annabell decided that  she should give him his name and chose, Benji.  We decided that he should have a birthday, and since we had no idea (no papers-on way) when he was born the date of his adoption was chosen as his Birthday.  Last  Tuesday, the day before the storm,  his final papers came from Victoria and I learned that he was born on  the First Day of May 2013. In other words, he was a puppy, really. Not what I wanted at all. But although I didn’t really know the difference, my Vet never corrected me or said anything that would lead me to believe me I was wrong and that he was much younger than I believed. However, the rescue group is a small scale operation and funding is what they can raise, so they wouldn’t have the resources to do any investigation and probably accepted what they had been told.  What is for sure is that if his real age had been known, yes,  it is very possible I would have passed him over and looked for something else, but the universe has a way of arranging these things and I stopped, looked and having looked long enough, I knew he was for me. I did buy him a Birthday Present for tomorrow so I will still wrap it up and give it to him.

Me and some of my toys
Me and some of my toys

There was a very rare occurrence here during the week. A set of smaller  fingers got onto my computer – which I had foolishly left open – and wrote comments on several places. Then, having been found out attempted to delete everything as she had been shown in school. I have no idea where she went or what she did, but I will wait and see if there is  any fallout and correct and apologies where I can – if I can.

Sun is shining, birds are singing, trees are in blossom – it’s spring!! And – it be 33c in our little corner of the universe. Blue skies for the remainder of the week :o) This time next week – on the way to Adelaide – will probably rain!!

 

Road Trip, Lovely people and Gazinia

A Gazinia by my early walk
A Gazinia by my early walk!

This weekend I head back down to Adelaide. It’s been a quick and not uneventful holiday for Catherine, but we have been out and about as much as we could and I think  she has been happy enough. She is talking about coming back in two years. Once I take her back to the airport and stay overnight in the hotel, in the morning I may be heading off to Mount Gambier, which is about a four mile drive from Adelaide. I have been as far as Naracourte  and Mt. Gambier is about 150 klm further on from there – Have Camera – Will Travel ! There is no certainty that this will actually happen and I wont know what I am doing until another day or so, but I am hopeful.

I am starting to come back to the world after a traumatic week.  After having lost The  Man and then Chienne, I was starting to get a bit on the down side and slightly depressed.  I am not sure if it is just a cliche or not but people talk about “The kindness of strangers” and I was overwhelmed by the messages of kindness and sympathy that seemed to just keep coming. The kind thoughts  expressed by  people I had never ‘met ‘ was very humbling and something I will always remember.

A few days ago I pulled the car off the highway to the side of the road, got out with a camera and took some photographs of roadside flowers. These  very pretty flowers are

Ana again
And here  again

called Gazinia and in many parts of Australia they are considered to be weeds and  councils have attempted to eradicate them. I am quite thankful to say that here they have not been successful and I do believe they have given up trying. The flower that grow in perfusion are full of life and colour and make a very welcome change from the  (beloved by a very few) Saltbush.  Here in my little corner of the universe, I find the saltbush that I am familiar with dead and boring = dead boring!  I suspect there are species of saltbush that flower and look pretty ( never seen any) and I suppose that saltbush is part of Australia but then, so are flies and I can’t recall anyone ever waxing lyrical about them. The South African  Gazinia, however, have become so popular that many people have  taken some of the roadside plants and replanted them in their garden and have been rewarded with an explosion of

Marley
Unknown (?)

colour. Before you ask, yes I am thinking about it!!

As it happens I am heading to Mount Gambier on Saturday morning. I was not sure for a while but a telephone call this morning confirmed it. I am overjoyed. Bit too early for the Blue Lake I suspect. If I get away from the hotel early on Saturday morning I should be in Mt. Gambier by about lunch and back in Adelaide by mid-afternoon. I don’t think I will be able to drive the whole way home, so we will probably stop off some place for the night  – I expect Highway 1 Caravan Park. A lot will depend on how I feel and it might well be that I will stay in Mount Gambier rather than drive the four hours back to Adelaide. In fact the more I think about that the more I warm to the idea.

Garden, stone and a Pussycat

Trailer empty - getting there.
Trailer empty – getting there.

It’s now been two days since the Windows 10 near disaster and everything has been restored. I did have to make a few changes but nothing too dramatic.  So the lesson – for me anyway – is stay away from Win 10 for the time being.  However it brought home the old saying “To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer”  —Paul R Ehrlich

I did do a fair amount of work on the back area and have completed about half of the work I was doing.  It is on the far side on Annabell’s washing line area so was not able to complete the work for the moment. This area – the crazy paving area – is also on the plan to be redone.  Just to refresh:  this crazy paving area looked good  until you see it really close up – or you are partly disabled and have to hang a washing out on it. It was not well done and is very uneven, so uneven that Herself cannot walk on it. At the moment I have the area partly covered by outdoor underlay and that allows her to get the washing out. Still it’s not a permanent solution and once I finish this current job, I will probably make a start on her washing area before tackling weed central.

In ten days from now I  go down to Adelaide and collect Catherine from Adelaide Airport. Both Herself and I are looking forward to her being here. It’s been eight years since we last had her with us, so apart from working

PeekaBoo - I see you.
PeekaBoo – I see you.

outside, I have also been doing a spot of redecorating in  what will be her bedroom for the duration.

Chienne is well. I need to take her to the vet and get her nails done and  have a quick check that everything is ok. At 14 she eats well, sleep well and we go out for walks most nights. The neighbour’s cats (2) seem to have adopted this area to sleep in, or to sit in the tree and supervise my work. This is not pleasing to Chienne, although it does give her the opportunity  to exercise her vocal chords. Although that was not the case this afternoon when one of the cats made itself a little hiding place under the weed matting where I was working. I had to wait until she got out and wandered away before I could resume work

I went outside last night – camera and tripod – into the back  garden( AKA Weed Central) and tried to take photographs of the moon. Why? you might ask. Well, I was reading this article about how to take photographs of the moon so I thought I would follow the instructions and  try it. Had it worked there would be photographs here – there is not!  We’ll just say no more on that.

Some weeks ago, on a trip back from Adelaide, I stopped again at Lochiel. I took some photographs of the lake and also of the Lakeview

150 years of history gone.
150 years of history gone.

IMG_0420Hotel. In the early years of the Province of SA there were little stop places where the bullock drivers stopped for the night. The wool was brought down from the north on bullock carts and little places like Lochiel  were stopping places. The Pub/Hotel was 150 last year when it went up in flames and all that history lost, I wish they would either knock it down or do something because it is a sad sight when you drive through the area.

Hospitals, Traveling and Adelaide

IMG_0353
The Hill from the Foreshore

I really should not make promises that I find difficult to keep. I did promise me and a few other people that I would curtail the running back and forth to Adelaide so often, yet here we are – just back – going off again on Tuesday to Memorial Hospital – spend two weeks at home before taking off again for two church conferences – one on Friday, one on Saturday. Probably all day Friday and then back again on Saturday. The one on the Fridays may well be the last of its kind for many years and it is likely that we will dissolve the State Assembly and be controlled from Brisbane and there is no way I am going to travel to Brisbane for a meeting. Traveling to Naracourte was one thing, Brisbane is a very different proposition. This will mean that there will be no one to represent this area. Well, not a lot I can do so little point in worrying about it.  Apart from anything else the expense involved not to mention the time away from home as well as the traveling itself just too time consuming – and as a point on interest I just looked it up – 4360 klm there and back (2180 each way) but this is really speculation and it may well be that the meeting will not vote to dissolve itself and vote to stay independent  and in time (short) go quietly and gently into the night. Now I don’t have much time between trips since John James has to go for knee surgery next week, so back down again. Yes, I know, but who else is going to take him and bring him back home if not me? Isn’t that  what dad’s are for? Part of the job description?

The foreshore from the Hill
The foreshore from the Hill
IMG_0348
Great mounds of this seaweed along the Foreshore

I was out wandering today and took the camera with me. It was a nice day – cool, windy but dry. I had a wander down the Foreshore and took a few pictures. Even in summer our beach is not as well frequented as it could or should be. The little children don’t like the idea of having to go through the thick rings of seaweed – you never know what can hide there – broken glass for instance. Sadly, yes, it has happened – we have alcoholic idiots like other places – we are not immune from  clowns and vandals. But we have a high youth unemployment problem and it’s not getting any better with South Australia now having the highest overall unemployment in Australia.

John Jnr had his knee operation and everything went well. There are no hotels anywhere in the vicinity of the Flinders Hospital, but there was a house  available for a short term rent, so I took that and stayed there for the three days. Picked John up on Friday morning and drove us home. It was a long drive ( no sharing this time), finally getting in at 4pm, having made two detours for Herself.  Chienne was glad to see me and I had to spend some time with her before I could do anything. Next week we do it all again. However, to be fair, next week was really not in the plans, and it is an “Urgent” meeting and this time I will be in town – not stuck 28 klms away in Bedford Park ( Flinders Hospital area) The house was  comfortable but I was not very impressed with Bedford Park – very difficult to get in and out of with a major highway on one side and Flinders  Hospital and Medical Center on the other and to get out  I have to cross all the

Flinders Drive and the entrance to the Medical Center
Flinders Drive and the entrance to the Medical Center

lanes of the major highway – what fun!! – Please don’t ask – it’s South Australia, we have weird ways of organizing things. Did that at 5:30 am on Friday morning and drove round to the parking area at the hospital. Why 5:30? – it was quiet and only light traffic. Any other suggestions??

Bedford Park is blocked off by a wall and a fence from Flinders Drive so the only way in and out is off the Main Highway. We didn’t know this when we booked the house, but I have to say – as you can see – that it is handy for the hospital, which is at the back of the Medical Center. There are three hospitals here, the Public Hospital / The Neurosurgical Hospital / Flinders Private Hospital .

Comments, bridges and dogs

I believe it was something in the order of $A69 Million that was spent on the hospital and I still have to go to the Flinders Medical Center (FMC)  in Adelaide for an echo-cardiogram.  Well that’s not strictly true ( would I lie??)  I could have it done here, if I am prepared to wait  Monday 7th September until the specialist comes up from Adelaide. When I discovered that,  I contacted my Cardiologist and let him know and he had his secretary organize  the exam for next Wednesday ( now tomorrow) – in Adelaide. The specialist only comes here once every three weeks (for two days)  – hence the  overflowing appointment book. But fear not – the State Government are borrowing a bunch of dollars and building a $2.4 Billion Hospital In Adelaide making the Adelaide Hospital the Third most expensive building in the world:

1 One World Trade Center New York City 104 541 m 2014 $3,900,000,000
2 Palace of the Parliament Bucharest 12 84 m 1988 $3,000,000,000
3 Royal Adelaide Hospital Adelaide 11 41 m 2016 $2,100,000,000
4 The Palazzo Las Vegas 53 196 m 2007 $1,900,000,000
5 The Shard London 73 306 m 2013 $1,900,000,000

Since this list was produced there has been a bit of a cost blowout and the project is about six months behind schedule. But that’s ok,  Like most Australian Labor State Governments, they will borrow and spend and then blame the Federal Government for not giving them enough money – so  although they cannot manage their budget – it’s all the Feds. fault. It’s like Greece – it’s always someone else’s fault.

Last night was the Annual General Meeting of the RFDS and as of last night I am no longer Secretary.  I had been having discussions with Suzzanne over the last four or five months and she was willing to take on the position. However, a new position was created for me,  that of Assistant Secretary with the idea that I will  help Sue over the next year to get her settled in and then at the AGM next year, pass everything over to her and bow out. Frank & DebbieAnyway, we presented Central Operations with a cheque for $38,000,oo, which is a really great effort considering that times are pretty tough in SA at the moment with the highest unemployment in the Commonwealth – and getting worse .  Andrew’s ( my younger son) partner had been told that the bank will be closing down her branch by the end of the year, so she will be redundant.   Falling revenues means that the Fed Govt are cutting back in all areas of service, but we are still going to spend $17 Billion  on new Fighter Aircraft that we don’t need and a further $22 Billion on submarines that we don’t  need – we can’t not let the boys have their toys – only these particular boys don’t want some of the toys but the govt. are getting them anyway.  That $40 Billion alone could could be a great help in bringing the budget back into the black. I have to confess that our Prime Minister is not the sharpest  knife in the drawer The only time he should open his mouth is just to change feet. Although having said that, the opposition is not all that much better.

We bought two new beds this afternoon, so Chienne has a place to relax wherever she wanders. We also bought her two  “hoodies” fleece lined.  It is getting cold and Chi. is no longer a young thing and if they keep her warm, that’s great. The weather has been bitter with snow on the Adelaide hills. Didn’t last long, of course,  but long enough for the early risers to get up there and to experience actually being outside when snow is falling. We have had some wild weather of late – well some parts of the state have we’ve just had cold and rain. The wild weather is mostly at the bottom area of the State – as it generally is. We very rarely get the wild weather experienced by other areas.

I am starting to get just a tad concerned.  Comments that I know I have written seem to have vanished – who knows where!  I know I wrote a comment on the Galata Bridge  but it’s no where to be found. I don’t know though, perhaps I pressed delete instead of post – don’t think so but I guess it’s possible. If so – sorry!! Also I am finding things that Outlook has been “hiding”from me. I have only just read ( actually five minutes ago) that dear Gracie is blind and I understand the problems that this will cause, but apart from these nasty corners that kept trapping him, The Man managed fairly well  ( we wont talk about the head-butting of Chienne)  But it’s concerning  in that I don’t know if its the computer the program (MS Outlook Express)  or simply me going senile.  I think it might be me – well that’s what the voices are suggesting   :o)  It’s a worry…

 

 

Thunderstorms, Lookouts and a Goldfish Bowl

Tuesday 19th May – time 3:48 am. Last night around 9:30 we had a serious thunderstorm – the works, thunder, lightening and heavy rain. Chienne was not a happy lady. By 11:30 it seemed to have gone and everyone settled down. The rain had gone and more importantly the thunder and lightening. By 11:30 I went to bed, herself went to bed and Chi settled  down on her bed. At  2am I was wakened by an incredible crack of thunder and the storm had not only come back, it seemed to be right overhead – the combined noise of the  thunder and the rain crashing on the roof was almost deafening and to say Chienne was going gaga is definitely an understatement. At the moment things have quietened down somewhat and Chienne is spread out on the floor at my feet. The poor thing must be exhausted – two very stressful periods so close together.

I finally got back to bed and reset the alarm for 7am which gave me an extra half hour. Poor little lady. Must be horrible to have such sensitive hearing where even a loud noise

From the Lookout
From the Lookout

can set you on edge. She’s not neurotic – the word I would use is skittish. Other than unexpected thunderstorms, Chienne has been good and  there has only been a couple of nights this week when we have not been out for a walk.

I was out and about today and I actually remembered to take my camera with me. Nothing much happening but I thought I would take a couple of photographs from the Lookout Area,  The large building slightly left of centre  is the High School. At the outbreak of  WW2 ( you must have heard of it – it was in all the papers) there was a shipbuilding industry here. It was believed that it needed to be protected so the hill was fortified with big gun emplacements and like Singapore all pointing out to sea. But then again, there is one of the world’s largest deserts behind us so it is unlikely an enemy could have at us overland. In the second photographs there is a hill to left of centre – this is where the gun emplacements were

We had a lunch at church today and I was talking to one of the ladies. We got on to the subject of photography and it turns out she is a keen photographer and is a member of the local photography group. I  expresd surprise since I was unaware that there was a  local photography group.  It was an interesting chat and it looks as I might be going to a couple of meetings when I get back from Naracoorte and we’ll see if it meets my needs. At least I will have some photographs to have  judged from my stay in Naracoorte and, of course, for anything interesting I see on the journey.  On the subject of Naracoorte, I leave in the morning and the agenda only arrived this afternoon. And it was in a very odd format that my  computer did not

Another from Lookout Point
Another from Lookout Point

recognize, so I asked for it to be resent and it was. Just as well since it seems I have been allocated a role in the Second Sederunt . So much for my plan of having a leisurely breakfast and walking in at the morning tea and biscuits break  :o)

A couple of the ladies will keep an eye on Herself during the week. She had a bit of a fall last week – nothing too serious, but worrying. We have everything set up and Andrew gets back from Roxby Downs tomorrow so he and John will also keep an eye on her. Great – nothing like living in a goldfish bowl  :o)