Lovely weather and visiting dogs.

I still miss this little face.

This is the photograph that I submitted for critique  and whilst they waxed lyrical about each other’s photographs they were not thrilled about my photograph – bad lighting, poor composition, were two of the  comments and when it came to scoring, it didn’t do well at all. I am not averse to criticism, even negative can be helpful, if done correctly, but they just didn’t like this and there was no constructive criticism. Anyway, I’m fairly comfortable with my photographs. I agree they could improve but not this way.

Got back from Adelaide last night. Was midnight before I got home and  close to 1am before I got to bed and then back up at 5;45 to take the dogs out. It took me a while to settle the dogs down when I got home – you would think I had been away for weeks instead of just one day.  I had to have everything done on the one day because I needed to be back for Annabell’s medical appointment. It was a fairly good trip – and I got everything that Annabell asked me to get for her but when it came to me – fail. David Jones has very little in the way of Organizers, or inserts these days, Kikki.K had nothing, Typo had nothing, same story at Officeworks, which I did find surprising. I have some things coming from the USA so I

Benji at the Port.

shall just have to exercise patience and wait until they arrive before I can finish the change-over.

I did, however, get Annabell a new cookbook.

We bought an air-fryer and although it has a small cookbook along with the instructions, Annabell wanted something more so I looked for an Ari-Fryer Cookbook for her. I got this at Dymocks in Rundle Mall. We have no book shops at home. The last one closed down years ago. Yes the newsagent sells a limited number of books and the library has not caught up with Air-Fryers yet. Come to that, neither has Dymocks and there were only four books to choose from. Even in Adelaide many of the bookshops have closed down -Dymocks, Borders, Angus & Robinson, were the main bookshops in Adelaide. By contrast, Dymocks, the remaining bookshop, was crowded and many of the customers were young people. Anyway, I got her a cookbook and she is quite happy with it.

We have a Nursing Home here  but the beds are very limited and it is not unusual for people to be sent to care  in other places where a bed is available. This could mean they are sent over 100 miles away. If you remember I did visit one of our congregation who had been sent to a nursing home in Quorn which is about 90 miles from here. We have another person who has been sent there and I am going to visit him early next week.

Ferry at Tailem Bend – River Murray

The four Test Cricket matches against India have ended with a well deserved win for India. There’s no question of the fact that India really dominated the entire series and in all honesty should have ended 3 1 instead of 2 1. India dominated the last Test Match from start to finish and should have come away with a win, but bad light and  bad conditions means that the match was abandoned and it became a draw. Be interesting to see how they do with a different set of skills in the ODI (One Day Internationals) ( Not very well, I fear!!)

In ten days from now we would have had Dougal for three months in what was to be a week to ten days visit. Anyway, he went home today. I took him round to Sam this afternoon. I think Dougal was glad to be home and glad to see his people. I’ll miss him but it’s nice to be back to me and Benji again. I think Benji will be quite happy and we had a good walk – just the two of us – this evening. We should be clear now until sometime in December when we get Yogi back for a bit. You never know, we could have Dougal back for a few visits if Sam has to go back to Adelaide for tests.

Games, Betting Tips – and Bunnings.

David Gower
David Gower

One of the saddest things in Australian Sport took place this week – a Batsman playing for South Australia was hit with a Cricket Ball and was rushed to hospital where he died two days later. No doubt, when the dust settles and the period of grief in the International Cricket World has run its course, there will be an full analysis and investigation. I suspect that much of it will revolve around the standard – or lack thereof – of protective helmets but it will be interesting to see if the Australia obsession  with speed and bounce will come under scrutiny. I doubt it and if anyone does mention it,  they will be ignored because speed and bounce wins games. When Australia was on the receiving end of this they turned it in to “Folklore”and anti-English sentiment –  The Devil himself would have been more welcome than Jardine or Larwood. It was called “Bodyline” and in this day and age we have gone far beyond that and although Larwood was the fastest bowler of the day, modern bowlers are trained and taught and work to achieve speeds that Larwood never even dreamed of in 1938. Current speeds are  up to 102 miles per hour and the best Larwood ever achieved was believed to be 80 miles per hour. Commentary is not how well the bowler bowled but what speed he bowled at.   But it must be said that Australia is not alone in this obsession with speed and bounce and regrettably it has become endemic.   Larwood did settle in Australia in 1950 after his cricket career was over and was warmly welcomed by the people. Cricket is a game that once  had gentlemanly traditions, but commercialization of the game has subsequently tended to elevate the principle of “win at all costs” above traditional ideals of  sportsmanship. Feed the masses – “Bread and Circuses”   Once you got match commentary – now you get commentary and betting tips.

Ready to go.
Ready to go.

Today  is the Christmas Pageant and we are running a fundraising for the RFDS at the “After Pageant Fair”. As I recall, we did fairly well at the Fair last year. We have another fundraising event on Sunday, but I wont be doing that. Like other groups in South Australia we are running out of volunteers. It’s the same people doing more and more and most of us are starting to get tired – well, I know I am, considering everything else in my life at the moment. Up early this morning and put the car out on the roadway so that I can get the RFDS Trailer out and Frank can get in and collect it sometime this morning. At the end of the day, it will be brought back here because this is where it’s stored.  I believe the Pageant was very good this year.  – I wouldn’t know since we never get to see it :o)

We had an exciting thunderstorm last night with a lashing of heavy rain. Chienne was medicated and The Man  slept through it all – as he generally does. Fortunately the weather for this coming weekend will be warm and sunny with no hint of rain. This will mean a fairly pleasant drive down to Adelaide and an equally pleasant drive home the following afternoon.  This is the last for the year and I have one more trip to make, but that is for  other reasons. However, once this weekend is over I hope to get back outside and get to work on  cleaning up the garden and finishing off some of these projects – that would be nice. My plan is to detour on the way  down to an area called  Parafield where there is a nice, big Bunnings store. It’s over 260 k away from here but it’s the nearest one there is.

Cricket, Trekies and Roses

How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished.

Five wickets fallen for a total of 22 runs. That is abysmal in any language. England is down and Australia is slowly kicking the life out of it. Not good, not good at all – bad for England and bad for cricket in general. But the question has to be asked why England has performed so badly and my view is that they are burned out. They have come to Australia at the end of a fairly hectic tour in India and Sri Lanka whilst Australia haven’t been anywhere yet and are fresh and on fire. Just listening to the comments and no one seems able to believe how bad England are. They are coming up with all sorts of excuses and I feel they are just wandering around the problem – there is far too much cricket and too much is being asked of the players. India and Australia have a lot to answer for in this regard –

The strange people you meet in Adelaide  :o)
The strange people you meet in Adelaide :o)

Australia with the Big Bash League and India with its India Premier League = lots of money involved. And yes many of the  Test Cricketers in England don’t play for the IPL but they are still involved in International Tours and England has just finished a tour of India and Sri Lanka, so my feeling is they are burned out – too much cricket. There is no such thing as an “Off-Season” anymore and it’s less of a sport and more of a business venture with the potential for corruption with the serious on-line betting and betting on individual players and ball by ball results. This is already under investigation and corruption has already been  an ugly feature of the Indian Games. But that aside. England really has some serious soul searching to do. They didn’t lose the Ashes, they gave them away as a Christmas Gift. Oh and if anyone is thinking ‘Just Sour Grapes” please remember I am Scottish, not English – winning or loosing is not the issue, the game is and this was not a game, it was Play School on a Cricket Oval.

The weather has been odd lately and when I have taken the dogs walking in the mornings I have been wearing a track suit. Same at night, it is decidedly chilly. At the moment it’s a case of half walk half carry with the Man. However, he’s still had full mobility wandering around the grounds and the house and I really don’t mind having to carry him sometimes. But it is getting to the point when I need to give serious thought to a set of wheels for him.  On Friday I

 Sturt Desert Rose
Sturt Desert Rose

head off to Adelaide, returning Saturday. I said I would go down and spend some time with Alan and this might be the last opportunity I get for a while, since the weather is starting to heat up again and should be in the mid to high 40s next week. It means navigation the vagaries of the South Road but it is starting to come together now so it’s perhaps not quite as bad as it used to be.

Cricket, Paintings, Poems and New Year

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

I liked cricket. Notice the word “liked”. I used to sit up to the wee small hours of the morning to watch the Test Match in the UK. I loved to watch the skills and the sportsmanship of Ian Botham, Clive Lloyd. Vivian Richards, Graham Gooch, Dennis Lillee , Rod Marsh, Alan Border, Richard Hadlee,  Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, David Gower, Kapil Dev, VVS Laxman – to name a few. I loved to listen to the commentary  of former – before my time – greats such as Freddy Truman. These days I very rarely watch cricket because it’s just not the same game anymore.  Money, technology, and changes of rules have altered the game to the extent that I think it’s called cricket, but it’s in name only. Yet having said that, over a quarter of a million people turned up this last week to watch the Melbourne  Boxing Day Test. When I liked cricket, the decision of the Umpire was final – if he said OUT you were OUT or NOT OUT, as the case may be.  Not any more – technology and the spy camera can have the decision of the umpire overturned, after all there’s money involved here. The Big Bash League, T20 have contributed to the death of cricket as we have known it. There is a lot of money being thrown

David Gower
David Gower

around and why should a person bother playing this Test Cricket  stuff when he can make a lot of money playing in the T 20 – or even going over to India and playing there. Even ODI ( One Day International) games are suffering.  T 20 is irreversible, it brings in punters and revenue, it brings in the players with  just the ability to batter the ball to all sides of the ground with as few as strokes as possible. If people want to watch this game, fine, but  – inflated egos, players who believe that they are greater than the game itself,  are not for me, I leave all that to the Me/Now generation and their overwhelming desire for instant gratification – The Big Bash.  These last few years – I don’t know – but it’s just not the same.

There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night —
Ten to make and the match to win —
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote —
‘Play up! play up! and play the game!’

Yes. well, I always liked Sir Henry Newbolt. Not many people did – he is very Victorian and very dated. I liked his poems about Drake, Devon and Clifton.  Surprisingly enough, I often think of

The Fighting Temeraire
The Fighting Temeraire

Newbolt, probably because on the wall in front of me is a copy of  “The Fighting Temeraire” by J.M. Turner, and one of the great poems by Newbolt  is The Fighting Temeraire. There was an exhibition in Adelaide called “Turner From the Tate” and people expressed disappointment that  The Fighting Temeraire was not included. I don’t think they really understood the title of the Exhibition “Turner from the Tate” because the Temeraire is not in the Tate, it’s in the National Gallery.  Oops…

So here we are, 31st. December and the last post for the year. It’s been an interesting year, sometimes difficult, sometimes frustrating, but always good. I, like others have had periods of ups and downs and it’s been a year when I discovered that I am no longer superman – I cannot lift and move fallen trees on my own – no longer invincible  – I damaged my  sciatic nerve in trying to do so, but it was all good :o) lessons generally can be.  A quiet night tonight – we are far enough away from the main areas not to be bothered by clowns. Tomorrow, the boys, Trish and the girls will be here for lunch and then we are back to “normal” –  Old  Clothes and Porridge .  I hope everyone has a great new year. I will watch the Edinburgh Tattoo and have a glass of something, wet, alcoholic and 22 years old.

Take care everyone – if you are driving – take special care – and I look forward to being with you again in the New Year.

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.