Things Fall Apart

I have to be honest and say that Benji and I have not really done very much of late. This is the coldest winter period we have had in many years  with the overnight temperature and the early morning  down to 1c. The Port was down to 0c and over the last few days this has been the morning temperature and just too cold to go wandering  around in the dark, and to be honest I sense a lack of keenness  in Benji to go wandering in the cold morning. Like me, he sticks close to the heater.  Daytime temperature is around 13c / 14c, which,  for us is cold. However, the winter sun sees us wandering abound the Wetlands and observing the progress – or lack thereof – of the new kiosk. I don’t wish to be negative about these things, but can you come back next year. The local council own and run the wetlands and the local council are building the kiosk. I mean, it might be very nice when  it’s finally finished but at the moment it looks like two side by side shipping containers.

The Ferry today with the Tall Ship in the background

I recently read a post  that, apart from the mention of a place I had never heard of, wandered around Glasgow to places I remember, yet don’t remember. The

Now this is a ferry !!

places and things I remember have gone or have changed beyond recognition. One example of this was the Govan Ferry, which today, I think,  is a smart boat that crosses the River Clyde in next to no time unlike the BIG Govan Ferry I remember, which was slow and ponderous.   I worked for HM Customs and Excise. I was stationed at the White Horse Distillery in Port Dundas. Part of the Bonded Warehouses had been built by Prisoners of War  – French POW who fought for the Emperor Napoleon. You felt that the place had been there forever and would never change – yet it is gone – flattened, the Distillery and the Bonded Warehouses – I have no idea when but it’s all gone. “Things fall apart” to be sure. On of the men in the church took his two daughters back to Scotland  and when they came home he wrote a piece for the “New Voice” the church magazine which I edit. In it he talked of his holiday and the places he and his daughters visited. Before he left Jennifer, one of his daughters,  asked if there was anything I would like from Scotland. I asked if she could bring me back a few postcards from Glasgow. Anybody asks me, that’s what I always suggest. I use them as monthly dividers for my Filofax. Anyway, they travelled across the British Isles and finally came back to Glasgow – Govan, where John was brought up. It was mostly about Govan he wrote and expressed his sadness that the places of his childhood were gone. He tried to find the houses he and his wife lived in when they were first married, but they too have gone. Certainly the official buildings are still there, but other places are  destroyed and built over. Some of the places he talked about I knew, particularly the Cinemas – none of which remain. The Govan he remembers has gone forever.

I miss  the Dear Green Place, and I really do believe it is true ‘You can take the man from Glasgow, but Glasgow from the man” I get irritated with people who bag Glasgow, particularly a Minister, who I will not name,  who bagged the city just before the Commonwealth Games. Which, I understand , was an outstanding success for the games and the city.

Not a lot of progress on the Kiosk

But things do change – even here. As I said before, when we moved here this was the last house in the town. There was only bushland beyond us. The Mining Boom happened and what was empty land became a private housing estate and places I walked the dogs, were now gardens. I don’t see the Kangaroos as much.  But the mining boom has been and gone and went, and so has the big pay packets. They can no longer afford the big boat, or the Jeep or even the five bedroom house – so the jeep’s gone, the boat’s gone and the house is up for sale. Sad but no one thought to put money away it was just earn and spend. And they borrowed – so what they get for the boat, vehicle and house will mostly go to pay debts. That is the sad aftermath of the mining boom for some.

Rain, Farmers and discredited theories

The rain it falleth on the just and on the unjust fella

But more upon the just, because the unjust stole the just’s umbrella

A touchy subject, I know, but it has been raining for the last few days here. I mention this, not because I wish irritate people, but because this is most unusual for us to have so much rain in such a short space of time. Yes, in the bottom area of the State – Adelaide and the South East, where the farming and the vineyards are located, it rains a fair bit. The soil down there is green,  lush and fertile. Up here it’s reddish, dry (not today though) and not all that productive.  The further north you go the less productive the land becomes and the topsoil is presently somewhere out at the bottom of the Great Australian Bight  ( dust storms) as a result of  a discredited theory that was common in the 19th Century – “Rain Follows the Plough”. By the early years of the 20th Century what had been the Golden North, became a dustbowl – just like States in the USA where the same theory was applied. The area, stripped of all native vegetation, never recovered. It is a vast area dotted by ruins and  broken dreams. In one area we are still living with the effects of that period when one Goat farmer(?) could no longer keep his goats nor could he sell them, so he simply broke down the 2011-10-25-08-48-45.jpgfences and let them go. Can you imagine what damage they have done to the soil of the ranges and the native wildlife since?

The babies have been cuddled up inside all of today. It’s been cold and wet outside and only an idiot – like daddy – would be working in the garden in this weather , even if he is under cover. I have just watched the news and some of the small communities further north have had more rain in the last three days than they have had in the last 25 years – interesting. Perhaps there is hope for us yet..

I was working in the   rock garden area under the porch and decided that I would freshen it all up by digging part of the centre out and put in a large(ish) ceramic pot, fill it with blood and bone, soil improver and  potting soil. It’s a smallish area and it could do with something to brighten it up. Particularly now that I am about to order the  alsynite for the pergola roofing. In that area I am going to plant a rose bush. The surrounding area I will cover in  blonde coloured pine with the inner section in red coloured pine chips. It might work and it might not – wont know until I do it I suppose.

Walking, Food and a Million Paws

The Maltese Terrorist
The Maltese Terrorist

Saturday, 6;30 am and took the dogs walking. Heck it was cold. Glad I put on a jacket because had I not done so I would have had to come back inside for one. I was also wearing gloves. Last night I took the dogs out and had a heavy jacket, but it looked nice this morning and I didn’t realise how cold it was. I think winter is on its way. Time to get the fires out of the garage and dust them off, I think. – Actually winter (officially) is only ten days away.

Well, we’ve had no more visitors – which is good. I have also been  conscious of the debate regarding soft dog food. I realise there is a vast difference between being responsible for two dogs and being responsible for 12 ( or even (sigh) 13) dogs and I can’t for the life of me begin to imagine what the feeding bill amounts to. However, our “soft” dog food ( the dog food I use)  is in the form of a  roll – the name of the product being Prota Dog,  Dog food. I cut sections of this and then cut it up – the size of the final cut depending whether it’s for Chienna or Mannie. The point is I can very clearly see what I am cutting and  I’m fairly happy and the dogs are well and healthy – and my vet is happy with them.  This is not what you would call premium dog food – we do have “Premium” food which is very expensive, but as I said, my dogs are happy and healthy. I am not sure what “Kibble” is. I suppose I could Google it but I  think it’s simply what we call “Dog Biscuits”  – dry food.  I put a measured cup of the  biscuits into a bowl and leave it beside their water dish. They eat  this at their leisure – if they feel the need for a nibble, they will eat some biscuits. I also ensure they they have plenty of water.  Sometimes  the man is a “bit tired” so I will be a woose , sit down and hand feed him – put bits of the food in my hand and et him eat from there. Feeding my dogs  ( and I repeat they are fit, well and healthy) costs me about $45 a month, which I know some people spend every couple of days. That’s for the soft food roll and the dog biscuits. The rolls are 3 kilo  each.

This week is  the “Million Paws Walk” an annual fundraising event organised by the RSPCA.  A lot of dog clubs organise local A Foxy Ladyevents under the banner of the RSPCA and raise funds that then go to the overall  Australian total. It’s not a “Fee Entry” but rather a personal donation – you give what you feel you can afford and that might only be a dollar or two – with some children giving their pocket money.  I would like to take my two but it’s on a Sunday and I am pretty much tied up on a Sunday.  However, I made a donation.  And I have just been notified that my friends club in Adelaide raised $564.

Sneaky, very sneaky!

about 1.5 feet to go - but I have it worried.The weather really warmed up very nicely and then, just as you were starting to welcome spring, it turned on you  and it’s raining again. Was cold yesterday and rained for a good part of the evening and into the nighttime.  The weather has stared to improve despite the drops in temperature and the rain, but at least it is no longer raining every other day. The sun has been out for the last two days and provided it stays good tomorrow I will make a start on the concrete work and start to get the area ready for her  clothes line. Once the line is up I will start work on having the area levelled out so that she can walk on it with relative safety. The badly uneven surface of the crazy paved area is too much for her.

I went across town to the Brick and Paving  supply place and had a look at bricks to  slightly change the shape of the area but the bricks hat I wanted are no longer available, so I will have to come up with another idea. I have completed the cement and he unit is now in the round. With any reasonable luck I should be able to place the clothes hoist in the  area and then it will be a simple  matter of  stringing it all together.  I have not yet decided how I will smooth the area out but I’m working on it.  am also doing the section outside my office, which I have never been happy with. So, as spring comes on and moves towards summer, there is a lot of work that I want to be done, some of which I would like finished before Christmas.

The dogs are well although the little man has started to slow down a little when I take him out for the evening walk.  carry him for a little while to give him a bit of a break. He is nearly 12 years of age now.

It’s not even halfway through winter and I’m over it.

The Christmas Plant.
One of my Plants – this one was given to me as a gift.

Australia, like Florida, is generally associated with  sun, sea and sand and fairly laid back lifestyle. Much of the time this is generally the case but these last few years have been a trial and our weather has been very strange. We had some hot weather for a couple of days last “summer” and the same the “summer” before that but we have not really had what Australia would call a “summer”.  It wasn’t so long ago that I was saying that I was not too fussed about the heat and looked forward to weekends and barbecues. My barbecue  has cobwebs on it at the moment. I only used to a few weeks ago when we had a gas failure and no gas for four days so I cooked everything on there barbecue. The long warm, sunny evenings sitting outside with the laptop and a glass of wine- seem like something from another time and place  We have unprecedented rain and flooding and only last week two mini-tornadoes struck Adelaide causing a fair bit of damage.  Cold, wild and wet and this is global warming??? I think we should re-write the Song ” I come from a land down under, the place of rain and snow and thunder”  Raining Monday and a good part of Tuesday. It’s Wednesday and thus far it’s dry.

I  have to head off down to Adelaide this week. Normally I would call the Dog Rescue and see if there is any dogs requiring transportation and take them down with me, but this time, it’s not my car so I won’t be able to. I might try and organise a trip to Adelaide the following week – at least an overnight trip. Tomorrow I will get the Standard Roses and  plant them as soon as I get back from Adelaide.

Rain, snow, ice and frost – and that’s the good parts!

This was when it was almost at its best.It’s been raining  since about 11pm last night. I have not really had a lot of sleep because I have a crazy Foxy Lady with very sensitive hearing and the loud rain on the pergola roof convinced her that “The Sky is Falling!”. The Maltese Terrorist did , as any good terrorist should, just pretend it wasn’t happening and go to sleep. But Chienna cried for most of the night. She would calm down for a bit and I would start to doze off, then she would start up again as the rain increased. Noise and darkness – not a good combination. At the moment she is calm.  I don’t know why I even bother to mention the rain since it seems to be happening quite often. I think we are having so much rain of late because someone “Up There” has confused us with Austria. According to the news tonight it has been the coldest and wettest start to winter in 24 years. Adelaide had a month of rain in two days and Mount Remarkable – thirty miles from here – had snow. That’s just scary.. I did go out on the bike this morning but even with extra clothing, it was just too cold for me. After one tour of the area, I gave up and came home.  The frost on the roof of the cars I went past did little to warm me up. I went to the travel agent and said that I wanted to go to Scotland for the Summer. She said ” that was last Wednesday and you’ve missed it” Oh well. On the garden front, nothing much has been done. I did plant a number of rose bushes and the Standards should be in this week sometime.   Given the cold and wet weather, that’s about as much as I’ve managed to do between showers and frost.

Cold with a slight frost in the mornings.

The Wet Driveway and front gardenOn either side of the driveway is an area about two feet wide. When I did the garden I did not attend to this mainly because I wanted to get  the granite and the wood chips finished first. I had intended to get to it soon, but the weather put paid to that idea for a while.  However, the last days have been fairly dry – cold but  no rain – so I started work on getting these two areas cleared, One is completed but the other side  will have to be dug out, the old edging dug up and replaced. Provided I don’t get called in over the next couple of days I should manage to get most of it done – at least to the stage where I am ready to replace the edging. Once I have both sides clear and the edging in place I’ll get another load of granite and get that down. That should be that finished and I can then think about getting stared on the next project, which will be getting Annabell’s clothes line area completed. The decking, which is yet another project has been put on the middle burner for the moment – it’s not  too far away and  if the weather becomes too inclement, I can easily bring that forward. For the moment it is not raining so much but the mornings and evenings are cold with the mornings having a light frost. And I have been called into work where I would have preferred to be at home. Still, only two weeks and everything is on holiday and I  can relax knowing that there will be no phone calls in the morning.  I have used this photograph before to show it raining but it also shows the area between the driveway and the edging. This is what I am cleaning out. There is another section on the other side of where the photograph was taken and that will also have to be done. I had hoped to do it this week but being called to work has put that on hold at least until the weekend.

The dogs have been well and although I have not been able to take them out in the mornings I do take them out for a good long walk each night. The little man still gets tired and needs a bit of a break so I still lift him and carry him for a little while – until he gets his second wind and takes off again. Both dogs are over ten years old but the little one had a very difficult life before we adopted him.