“Could we start again, please?”

The moon in the morning

It’s been a kind of hectic time this last few weeks between getting ready for Christmas and organising fundraising events for the RFDS – the last one being on 23rd December. I was not able to help out at the Carols in the Park event because we were holding a Carol Service at the church at the same time.. Nor was I available for the Pageant. Still and all it was still hectic. Annabell was not the best and she was feeling a bit unwell, but she brightened up somewhat over the Christmas days – particularly Christmas Lunch with the family and, of course, the grandson. The boys organised Christmas Lunch this year. I  attended to the Watchnight Service on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day and we were at Andrew’s and as I said, Annabell was not too well, but for all that she had a good time with  her boys. She did well for gifts and we have always made a point of two sets of gifts and two sets on cards. Her birthday is on 24th December so we have always given her one card and one gift for her birthday and a card and gift for Christmas. We have always made certain she has never missed out and that the two things are always kept separate. On the subject of separate, I had a telephone call from a member of the congregation who  has offered to  take over as State Newsletter Correspondent. This is good and one less thing I have to be concerned with.

We were back home by 4:00 and as she was very tired I made her go and lay down for a few hours. I fed the dogs.  I didn’t take the dogs out as I didn’t want to leave her home alone – even for the hour it would take me to walk the dogs.  When she did wake up a few hours later she was feeling a little better, so I made her some tea and a sandwich. She has been a lot better today. Andrew was supposed to be on holiday this week, but he is still on call

Also, during the week I made a trip to Adelaide. There were some things I needed and wanted and could only be bought in Adelaide. I did, however, go through to Victoria Square

Part of Victoria Square

and took a photograph, or two , of part of the square. Victoria Square is quite large so I was only able to photograph a small part of it. The square started a $24 Million upgrade but after half was completed, the Adelaide City Council had funding issues and the rest will have to wait for the moment..

Sam and Ina ( Dougal’s people) are still in Adelaide. Sam,as I mentioned before, was quite ill and is still having a blood loss so it is unlikely we will see them back for a little while yet. Ina did telephone during the week to let us know what is happening. Dougal has now been with us for  five weeks. It doesn’t seem like that  and as things are we will have him for a little while longer. That’s ok – he’s fine – needs a haircut, but otherwise, fine. The weather has been hot to very hot with a fire ban declared throughout the area for the next few days- Tuesday 36c / Wednesday 41c / Thursday (today) 45c / Friday 46c and then down to the mid 30s for next week. Dogs out very early in the morning and late at night – if it’s not too hot during the day and by late I mean after 8pm.  There have been lots of Kangaroos around the place and this morning was no exception – all of them looking for water and food. I have a bucket of water out in the garden and I top it up every few days. I also  make sure the bird

Next stop – Cowell – 96 miles away and nothing in between.

bath also has water in it – although not today – today I was the “plant” that was watered as the fixture of the hose blew apart and I was soaked. Fortunately it was at the end of the walk. For those who have not seen it – this is my “back Yard”. Thousands of square miles of nothingness but wild animals and  saltbush. The photograph is looking West – north of us  are salt lakes and desert. I want to drive up there sometime but at the moment it is waaaay too hot.

One more week and things can start to get back to what passes for normal – a new week – a new year.  So until  I am back on line again, I wish everyone a Happy and Joyful New Year.

Have a great New Year.

 

Boom, Bust and feet on the Desk.

Nine Months ago this was all empty land.
Nine Months ago this was all empty land.

Since I came out of hospital and after a few days rest, I started to take Chienne for walks again. They were not long walks but that was more for my benefit than it was for hers. What’s also been interesting is that The Man, who has been increasing in strength, also comes with us sometimes. He refuses to use his Stroller, refuses to be carried and insists on walking. Yes, he does trip up from time to time and I have watch him because he wanders,  but all that apart, he seems to enjoy his walks. Can’t see where he is, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with his sense of smell. As I said before, he tries to stay as close as he can to Chienne. The walking is slow and easy and that’s fine. We also find that he sleeps very close to Chienne – right up against her in fact. One of Andrew’s girls suggested that I should put Chi and the Man in the stroller together and perhaps that would settle him down. Tried that!  She settled down quite happily he screamed and screamed and went nuts. I un-clipped him and he sprang out of my hand onto the concrete where he promptly fell and rolled over – he was that desperate to get out. Lucky he didn’t hurt himself.  So we’re back to square one. I don’t understand!

More houses.
This used to be the end of the road – more houses.

Christmas was held at my younger son’s place this year. We spent a family Christmas with  John, Andrew & Patricia and the girls, also Patricia’s mum. Herself wasn’t doing the cooking for the first time ever. Actually Andrew did much of the cooking, which is a credit to Herself.  He left for Roby Downs and should be away for about 12 days. New Year was a quiet time and although I did stay up and see in the New Year, I brought it in with Lemonade ( oh the shame of it all!!) with the 26 year old Single Malt staying where it is for the time being. Very sad, really! Reminds me of Zathras from Babylon 5 “Have very sad life –  will probably have very sad death, but at least there is symmetry”

Have been doing a lot of reading of late and once I sat back in the chair here, opened my Kindle and put my feet up on the desk. I think there must be some kind of special desks in the movies or on TV because I found the feet on the desk thing very

See I am relaxing  :o)
See I am relaxing :o)

uncomfortable. However, that apart, it has been a relaxing  few days.

At this moment there are over 1108 houses under construction. These are not government houses, these are fairly large private development houses. The mining boom is happening to the North of-us and we have become the fly-in / fly-out destination. When we bought this place, we were the very last house. Not any more!!   However, I have this fear that we could go right back to square one when the mining boom peters out and that there will be a glut of houses for sale and no buyers.  The developers could make a few dollars on houses like  mine which is the older style and size South Australian house, sitting on a quarter acre. You could get two modern houses on that. The widow of one of our former RFDS  members did just that – sold the house they had together in town – this was demolished to make way for two new town houses. Sure, there are no gardens, no lawns, no flower beds and barely enough room for  a washing line, but moderns are not interested in flowers and gardens today so they don’t care. Kids grow up in the house and in their rooms – we grew up in fields and woods, in playing with our friends during the long summer days that lasted until 10:30 pm. We very rarely saw home until it was time to come home for food. However, on the plus side, there are people prepared to pay extra  for more land so they can have a garden and flowers and a place for the children to play and when you consider the amount of land that is actually available it’s pretty much a money grab. However, having said all that the main drawback to development in outback South Australia is the same as it has always been and always will be – WATER. There was an  up-surge of tourism into the Flinders Ranges and the people there wanted to extend the Hotel and the facilities, but doing so would have put so much pressure on the little water that was available the plans were  shelved.

Well it was a very quiet Christmas and New Year. I sent in letters of resignation to one of the State Committees and I am giving serious consideration to

Seems about right!!
Seems about right!!

resigning as Secretary to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Support Group. The trailer will no longer to kept here because it was dropped in my driveway and I had the job of getting it behind the gate – and it was no lightweight. I also had the problem of getting it out ready for collection. Herself put the foot down on that. However, the trailer yes but the other – I will wait until I see the cardiologist in a couple of weeks.

 

Adelaide, Flinders Ranges and the Man

Driving into Adelaide - what's not to love??
Driving into Adelaide – what’s not to love??
Just nice.
Just nice.

Heading down to Adelaide at the weekend. My son is taking his partner for some tests she has to have so they are driving down and I am going down with them. They will drop me off in the city and I’ll catch the coach home in the evening. I thought I would grab this last opportunity to do some Christmas shopping and see what I can get for Herself. Not too much for me – I’m easy to fix; a Bunnings Gift Card in an coloured envelope and I’m happy. This is not the scheduled trip that I spoke about – that has been cancelled – so this is the last until February. I have resigned from one of the State Committees and I  will not be going to the Assembly, so my runs to Adelaide will be considerably cut down. Between Assembly, Conference, Committee meetings, The Commission, Alan’s illness, Alan’s passing and Alan’s Funeral, the last year or so really took a lot out of me and I have no desire to repeat the exercise.

I’ve been trying to palm off The Man to my other son  :o) I said I would just keep a photograph because it will be cheaper than keeping him. He is well,  growing in strength and eating like a  horse. I can’t keep up with the amount he eats at the moment. I am forever filling his bowl with food and I still hand feed him his treat in the morning.    He has even been out on walks twice in the last week. He generally stays close to Chi but he does wander about until he finds his way back to her side.  I have to watch him like a hawk because he crosses in front of me at times and the idea of getting up close and personal with the roadway does not appeal to me.

My Filofax - Scanda Personal
My Filofax – Scanda Personal

I bought a friend a Pink Filofax for her birthday last year and she makes great use of it. So much so that she asked me to help her find an A4 Filofax for her study next year. Interesting because I have temporarily abandoned Filofax for a similar system but with a different maker – Van der Spek , a Dutch company , and unlike Filofax these binders ( planners/Organizers)  are hand made. It will be an interesting exercise and to be truthful I will not be surprised if I am back to my Filofax by Easter, but I will try to get used to the smaller A6 unit.

I read the interesting Road Trip by Uncle Spike and for me to travel on the kind of highway that he is using, I am looking at close to 1000 miles – Melbourne – Sydney – Canberra. Melbourne would be the closest at a mere 700 miles. Also the land around here is fairly flat, with a very small population – 350,000 in an area about 904,880 sq.klms  The Flinders Ranges is the largest Mountain Range in South Australia. It’s about 270 miles in length with the highest peak being St. Mary’s Peak at 3,780 feet. Have not been into the Flinders for ages. Must try and get up there for a couple of days before it gets too hot.

 

A society addicted to “Celebration”

Christmas in Rundle Mall
Christmas in Rundle Mall

Christmas is an event that takes place from 1st. November to 30th December. Almost immediately after Halloween we start to see Christmas Decorations in the shops along with plum puddings and fruit mince pies. By the end of November and early December the whole thing is in full swing and the advertising machine is on overdrive. In essence things really stop today – 27th December – and by next week all the Christmas Stuff will have gone except some of the dated stuff that didn’t get sold and traders are trying to flog off an a fraction of the cost. At the end of today the Post Christmas Sales – at least the major ones – will be over. The reason for the delay in South Australia is because we are “Adelaide-Centric”and all Adelaide central shops are open for business,- Boxing Day Sales – but the suburb shopping centers are not allowed to open  on Boxing Day because it might take away revenue from Rundle Mall and surrounds. They have to wait until today.  By mid January, Easter Eggs and Easter decorations will start to appear and the bakers will start to produce Hot Cross Buns – which political correctness requires us to call ‘Easter Buns”  With any reasonable luck we might manage to clear Australia Day on 26th January before the madness begins again. As a society we seem to be addicted to celebration –  we’re not fussy – just give us a good excuse and the bunting is out and the flags are being waved. In Australia any excuse is good for a party and drink.

The  forecast for the New Year is for temperatures of 40+ and Victoria (the State) has been warned to expect  the possibility of lightening strikes and bushfire and there is a Cyclone warning in the north of Western Australia.  Today is 37c but at least there is no wind – yet! I cannot recall when we had continual wind like we have had this year – it’s quite depressing. Still, I suppose we should be thankful – we are in the middle of nowhere, we don’t do floods and we don’t do fires and if there is a local fire, it’s small and put out very quickly,  and,  the nearest major fire zone is about 70 miles away in the Mount Remarkable National Park.

still nowhere
-and all around there was empty land

On the last road trip I did take some photographs but there’s really not a lot to see and what you can see is all owned by the army. Sometime next week – after the New Year road madness is over, I want to take a run down to Adelaide and head out to see Alan. I did promise that I would get down and spent some time with him  after the Christmas-New Year period, and I would like to do that.

My little Man continues to confuse me – I suppose that’s his job – in that he seems to have difficulty controlling his back legs, he falls down, yet when he is outside in the garden he seems to move like a proverbial hare. I take him out for a walk and he tires very easily, so I lift and carry him for a while – only a short while and he fights to get back down again, but then it’s not long before he is tiring and dragging behind again — I can only walk so slowly!! Other than that, he seems to be quite happy, but he does sleep a lot. I have not yet measured him up for the wheels and I think I might put it off for a little while yet – but not too long I think.

.

Old dogs, Candles and Present Shopping

This is the "Younger" Man
This is the “Younger” Man

It’s getting to the close to publication time with the magazine and I have been very busy –  well this is the Christmas Edition and there are 20 pages in this edition. Added to this is the fact that as I have been doing this I have also been setting up the first edition for 2014. I am aiming to have the Christmas Edition out by 10th December – after I get back from the Conference on the 7th December – a date, no doubt etched into many hearts.

The temperature has been wandering around the 38/39c mark these last few days and I believe it’s going to be around 39c again tomorrow. The dogs have been spending most of their time inside and enjoying the cool. I don’t have a swimming pool and I have always wondered how the dogs would take to the water. I have been trying to buy  what’s called a clam-shell kiddies pool – just a little thing to see how they would take to it. Not as easy as it sounds as none of the toy shops stock this any more – have no idea why. candle05Anyway, this is on my list for Adelaide.

On the subject of Adelaide I have booked into my second hotel out at Bolivar – about 20k. out of the city. I will drive right into the city and may well have to drive right out again. This particular week is the start of the Second Test Match between England and Australia, and the first day is Thursday 5th December. I haven’t even tried to book the hotel in town and if I did get a room, the place would be crowded anyway. Better to stay well out of town and avoid the crush. This means that I probably wont be shopping in town but will probably go out to Westlakes, Modbury and the big shopping center out there – either that or Elizabeth. The only trouble with that is that neither Modbury nor Elizabeth have a Swarovski and I want a few things there – that’s only in Rundle Mall. But the Test is not the only thing happening in Adelaide that weekend, there’s a Film Festival, several tours, including the Justin Bieber Tour, not that any of this was even considered – or probably known – when dates were set in February. Further to that I did talk to some friends who are also going to town on that same weekend and they did say that they had difficulty booking anywhere and they have also had to move out of town for accommodation.  I hope to be able to do some Christmas shopping although trying to buy anything for Herself is a trial – no

19th Century Christmas Shopping - so much easier  :o)
19th Century Christmas Shopping – so much easier :o)

bags, no shoes, no perfume, no jewellery. no new mobile phone – doesn’t leave a whole lot to chose from – sometimes it’s just too difficult.

My son has bought a new house and we have been helping him and his partner move into it. That was fun using trailers and vans, although I did have to go and empty my trailer before it could be used. It’s a big house with lots of room to move about, so the girls are very happy. Before I leave for Adelaide I  have two RFDS functions and two more, including the Carols in the Park between then and Christmas. After that we have several weeks free before our next big function, which is Australia Day on 26th January.

I have been taking the dogs out each night and The Man has certainly slowed down, but that’s ok. I’m not in any hurry and I am quite content to walk at his pace and give him a lift when he tires. The medication is really starting to kick in and he has finished his dinner these last few nights – which is very good.