Travelling, cars and planes

This is the new groomer
This is the new groomer

First off – an apology to CDL for ever doubting her! I was asked this holiday weekend to help a friend in his back yard. They have just bought this house and the area along the back of the fence has gone wild – feral even. The previous owners planted  Bougainvillea, never cut it, never trimmed it but allowed it to take over. As if that was not bad enough they had also planted a creeper called here in Australia ‘ Mile a Minute”  and a vine that’s called  ” Clematis Virginiana”  masses and masses of that stuff. Cutting the Bougainvillea was a nightmare but it fell quick enough – after it had poked its way through my gloves a couple of times.  The biggest problem, however, is that vine – it’s everywhere, over sheds and over the garage roof. We took two full trailer loads to the dump and were still only at the start of it. The vine is quite nice but again it had been left, never cut never trimmed, never looked after and as a result it is invasive. We also discovered that the back fence was badly damaged and will have to be replaced. The weight of all the years of plant neglect have really  taken a toll.

I head off to Adelaide tomorrow, stay overnight in Adelaide then head off to Mount Barker for a conference.  I will be staying at the Grand Chifley in South Terrace. and depending on what time the conference finishes I may have to stop somewhere overnight and travel home on Sunday morning.  I have to be very honest and say I had fully intended to have a “cold” this conference and put in an apology but the place is in crisis and there will decisions made that could seriously alter the entire structure of how things run. There may well be – and probably will be –  things touted that we in the north will have difficulty living with and I will oppose them, but once upon a time there was a balance between liberals and conservatives but that balance is gone and I am, in essence, the last of the liberals and I am always outvoted. TeeHee – there’s 14 of them and 1 of me. Why do I even bother going? Good question, but the  rules are very clear that every site must elect a representative and that representative must attend  the bi-monthly conference. The consequences for not attending for at least three meetings without a valid reason, can have consequences for the representative and the area represented. I am very selective on when I am ‘unable’  to  attend and this weekend would have been one of those. Why?? Well,  Herself and  the ladies are having a big  fundraising function for  the Hospital Cancer Unit this weekend – Saturday to be precise. There will be coffee, tea, cakes, scones,  biscuits, cookies, scones, all sorts of goodies- and did I mention scones.  Anyway, I had intended to be here but now, because of the crisis that developed I need to be there, if only to ensure that the rules are adhered to and insist that my objections  be noted in the minutes to show people here that I did not sit quietly and allow us to get railroaded. Travelled down yesterday and it poured all the way down. Went for coffee with friends then made my way to South Terrace and my hotel. I had a good comfortable night and sorry to say to CDL it rained for a good part of the night – and cold with it.

This morning I set off to Mount Barker a again the rain poured down and on the Freeway that was not too comfortable. Still made it with time to spare  as I write this on my tablet I am having coffee and cake ( don’t tell herself – about the cake) in  place called Gawler Street Cafe and very nice it is too. Still chucking it down and the cafe is nice and warm. Will have to drag myself away in a little while and it will be cold  — and the

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

weather is not all that much better.

I just had a look at the lunch menu and it looks good. May well come back here for lunch. Actually I did come back for lunch. Had a nice lunch here and they have a wood fired oven. If I had had more time I would have ordered a pizza. The meeting finished at just before 3pm and I wasted no time in getting back on the road.  I wanted to be on the motorway (freeway)  and heading home as soon as I could.

Ok that was last week. This week I have just once again come back from a cold, wet and miserable Adelaide. My son has gone off to Scotland and Europe  for six weeks and I took him down to Adelaide Airport. By and large the two days were not too bad but the first half on my journey home was up South Road, to the  Motorway and then to the Port Wakefield Road, in the dark and rain. Had breakfast at Port Wakefield, by which time it was light, so I and drove home – and didn’t even stop at the Tin Man.  John called at 11am to say that he had arrived in Dubai then a quick  call to say that he had arrived in Glasgow. He’s looking forward to his adventure and I’m looking forward to having him back safe and well. He’s meeting up with some Engineering people in Munich, so that should keep him happy. Three more weeks and I’m in Adelaide again.  Oh Joy!!

Flies, Distance and Diggin’ Dogs

Because of the mild to warm weather (apart from last week) the flies are out in their billions and they are ferocious. I just wont take the dogs out walking during the day unless I am covered from heat to toe in personal fly spray. Now in case  the word “woos”  is entering your head let me say that when I am talking here I am not talking about the odd annoying fly, but  clouds of them that follow you as you walk about during the day. This is something that people are never told in the Tourist Brochures, but in the summer months outback Australia has a serious fly problem. Unfortunately we have started early this year. We have a friend who is a nurse  in the far north of the State and she tells us of the problems they are having up there and the  high incidence of eye infections due to the large number of flies this year. We are bad enough, but it gets worse the further north you travel. Not quite so bad – in fact hardly at all – in the city due to the lack of breeding ground. At the moment, even going out to work in the garden is a constant irritation. If you want to know more about this and see what I’m on  about, look on the internet for ” Aussie Salute”

I contacted some friends in Canberra recently and asked them about a particular issue that I-in South Australia – knew nothing about. Surprisingly, neither did they. However they did make enquiries for me, even calling a large Veterinary Practice,  as well as the RSPCA,  and a Dog Rescue group, and although no one they spoke to had ever heard of the issue, they did manage to trace a  Narelle Jensz to the  purchase of a 77 hectare property designated “Wildlife Sanctuary” called Kinabo in a place called Gundaroo, a small village outside of Canberra.

Australia – The reason why!

So, why did I go to all this effort?  Well, because I was a little concerned about a suggestion I should know something – and I didn’t.  Apart from being one of the most urbanised countries in the world, Australia is incredibly parochial. South Australia is the fourth largest State in the Commonwealth and still bigger than  both Alaska and Texas. Asking most people from SA if they know what is happening in Canberra is like asking someone from Phoenix or Queens (NY) if they know what’s happening in  Portland (Oregon), or in London what’s happening in Inverness – and Canberra is a thousand miles from here.

I have started work on blocking off the fence joining the other property. Up until now I have kept the dogs out of the area by keeping the gate closed. The dogs on diggin'the other side of the fence are large dogs and “diggers” and I am well aware that they will never be able to dig a hole big enough for them to get through, they could dig a hole  big enough for my little ones to get through – and that’s a worry. I have spoken to my neighbour and he is aware of the problem but he says as soon as he blocks off one area they find another one. There is only about eight feet of fence that concern me so I will attend to it and see that it will not happen. Not many dogs can dig through bricks and cement.

The sun has got his hat on.

A few minutes walk from the house
A few minutes walk from the house

The weather has warmed up again and I have been back out in the garden. I am working on  the Crazy Paved  area and trying to decide what to do with it. The blemishes make it unusable for herself. It had been my intention to make this her clothes line area but the  ground is so uneven that I really cannot expect herself to walk on it in safety – but I have already gone through all this. I have started the re-edging and am halfway through that. Once I have that completed I will make a decision on what to do, but I rather suspect I am leaning towards having it concreted over – it would be just too much to  big a job and much too time-consuming to dig it out and start again – not that I would anyway.  It looks  fairly reasonable from a distance but up close it is badly done and very uneven. It’s the devil to try and keep clean  because the dust and leaves get into the cracks and the uneven divisions between the stones and make it a hard job to sweep.   I started by saying that the weather was warming, but in this little corner of the Commonwealth, it can heat up to a point where it really is silly to go out and work (unless you have an occupation that requires outside work) because the temperature can really do nasty thing to you. I personally believe that working outside in the garden in temperatures of 46c  (115f) is pointless because it is exhausing and draining, and that’s what the temperature climbed up to on Monday and despite being watered, fed and mulched, many plants died. I have questioned the  contents of plant information tickets – they say the plant can be full sun, but what does that mean? Does it mean full sun in the highlands of Victoria or full sun on the edge of the desert in northern South Australia. I rather suspect they are  created in Victorian and New South Wales temperatures and not for  40+ of  country South Australia, so “Full Sun” does not really relate to this little corner of the world. Our ‘ Full Sun”  kills them off. I was told that they should survive if I  ensure that the ground is mulched to protect the roots and that they are well watered, but it really didn’t make a lot of difference and the only two plants that survived the extreme heat of  last week were the two “Sturt’s Desert Pea” – which is not really all that surprising since it is a plant well adapted to desert life. However, they are short lived plants and will really only last the season, but at least I might have some colour.

A “feature” of our part of the world is a North Wind. In many parts of the world, particularly in the UK, a North Wind is a very cold wind – they even have a poem about it ” The North Wind doth blow and we shall have snow” Well here, the North Wind is a  hot wind that blows off the hot desert and pushes temperatures up as well as being draining, making the heat worse than it is already. The dogs have been inside in the cool.