Dogs, Heaven and the RFDS Jet

Glen Coe

… then I’ll hike it through Glen Falloch where the mountain breezes blow

And I’ll draw up in the evening  in the Valley of Glen Coe.

Of course, in my idea of heaven the road wouldn’t be there and all the dogs I have had throughout my life would be with me.  There  would be cloud and mist but  it would never be  cold. There would be sunshine sometimes, but not too much and if food was needed, then it would just be there as required.  I think there would be no people – I have never really been much of a people person – at least I don’t think so because really, I prefer solitude. I loved the isolation of being in the mountains, away from noise, people and civilisation  and yet, many of the things I do or am involved in,  are serving or helping people.I used to think that  this was God’s idea of a practical joke – He knows I am not really a people person, so  He sees to it that all the things I do I am involved with people. But then,  God is  just and to balance  this out He also gave me a love of dogs, and over the years all the dogs that I have had, each one has been the joy of my life, all in their own different ways. In a blog I read recently I wrote about this and mentioned that for some time after Benji was adopted I was calling him Chienne, but he was very forgiving.  You know, you read it all the time but  it never really becomes trite “A dog is the only creature on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

We definitely cannot have Max back again. I know I keep saying this but twice already today there have been several  ‘spats’ between the two and when Annabell and I have to go out, we do not leave them together – something we have never had to do with any other visitor – not even the WaWa. There has been rain and high wind over much of the State. We have had some rain and some wind but nothing like the lower areas. About twenty miles further out in the bush there was some flooding and the road to where my son works was flooded. He decided to come in the back way, which, as it turns out, was not a great decision. He ran into a pothole and  damaged the converter and tore the exhaust system. We got it back and into the garage and his  ‘detour’ will set him back about $600.  I will be leaving the post as Secretary of the  RFDS Branch at the AGM in July. Don’t know what happens after that – we’ll see. I  decided to leave because at one point I was concerned for Annabell after the car crash  and the fact that we never seemed to be away from the hospital or the Doctor Surgery. Things have calmed down, everything seems to have cleared but we have a  young lady who is very keen to be secretary and she has sort of taken over, and come the AGM, we will elect her as the Secretary and I will bow out. Well, not really, there are some things I said I would continue to do

People said it couldn’t be done. They said no one could do it. So we tackled this thing that couldn’t be done and we did it – a world first.  The  Royal Flying Doctor Service was under a bit of a cloud with the new  Intensive Care

The New RFDS I C U Jet.

Unit (The new Jet).  People were concerned that it wouldn’t work in South Australia because it wouldn’t be able to land on a dirt strip in the far northern outback of the State. So the RFDS organised an outback Sheep station get the airstrip ready because the jet was coming. The sheep station is 370klms north of Port Augusta, a 7 hour drive from Adelaide. The jet covered the distance in just under 40 minutes and made a perfect landing on the  dirt runway.  It made just as  perfect take-off. There is a you tube of the landing, which I have saved,  and I hope it works. In areas further north than the Flinders it would take the  normal RFDS Aircraft about 1 hour and forty-five minutes to cover the distance back to Adelaide. The Jet will do it in just under an hour, which makes a big difference in a life emergency.

We have not seen the jet up here and it is unlikely that we ever will – well not for a medical emergency anyway – perhaps for a goodwill visit.  —- I have deleted the You Tube Video as I have been told that it is a channel 7 video and thus copyright.

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A bit of a mixed bag!!

Mom , dad and the WaWa – reunited
Benji and the WaWa at the beach

On Friday 8th April 2016, Sooah brought her dog, Kongsoon, around to us. It had been agreed that we would look after the dog for the three months they were back in South Korea, whilst the immigration authorities sorted things out.  Kim, Sooah’s husband,  had an employer and a sponsor, sadly the employer and the sponsor were the same company – which collapsed with the Arrium problems. With no sponsor and no employer, Sooah and Kim had to go back to South Korea while things were sorted out. It was expected that this would take about three months but things did not go as planned ( not that we knew any of this) and they did not return, nor did they send any word. After about ten months we began to think of the dog as our dog. A year passed and still nothing, then in July of this year,  whilst I had Annabell at the doctor, I got a message to say that she was going to visit us and collect the dog. I told her where I was and said I would let her know when we were back home We didn’t know that they were in Australia, let alone Whyalla.  I called her ; she arrived and we made arrangements for the dog to be returned. Seems they were offered employment in Sydney, so they accepted. They came to town to collect their things left with other people, then to us to collect the dog. The following morning, Thursday 20th. July, at 6am they came; we loaded all the dog things into the covered trailer and, after tearful farewells, Sooah took the dog and they left to head to Sydney. The oddest thing is that I knew she at least was well because I would post a photograph of the two dogs at the lighthouse or the beach and she would post a “like”then nothing. I tried to message her, as did others, but no reply. Anyway, it is all over now – they are both lovely people and Annabell and I wished them well. I

Tanks for the Memory.

really do hope everything is well and they have settled into their new home in a new state. Sooah gave Annabell a lovely card which contained a Woolworth Credit Card, which we didn’t know about until after they left. The WaWa  did cause concern and perhaps we were guilty of that in the initial stages since we didn’t correct any behaviour problems, believing that she was with us for only a short time. But in the end she became my BFF and in essence I could do anything with her – except get her to be friends with Benji when they were in the house. Outside – no problems, but she considered the house was hers and he had no right to be there.

The Army have been doing exercises around the town for most of the week. I was stopped and sent back from my usual walk, road blocks were set up and cars examined and the occupants checked, there were also holding areas for suspicious people. All done in good spirit and people were willing to participate. This was  Cadet Officers from the Military College at Duntroon. Next year we will have the Army back again for another Joint exercise with  other countries. Last time there was about 15,000 troops with heavy equipment, tanks and armoured carriers. Should be interesting.

The last two days have been  celebrated by lightening, thunder and heavy rain. Been a lovely two days really  :o)  Unlike others, Benji is not phased by the thunder, which is probably just as well since there is a lot of it.  It is now 4:45 on Friday morning ( Thursday Thanksgiving in the USA) and the rain has finally stopped. It really has been heavy – bounce of the sidewalk rain – and I expect to hear about and see some flooding here, but if Adelaide has had anything like this, there will probably be serious flooding.

When we picked up the Simulator last time

The RFDS Simulator  is always in demand and getting it is difficult. We have managed to do just that but it’s a year away. We wanted the simulator for the Christmas Pageant but knew that the chances of getting it for this year were zilch –  however – we have got it for next year. Last time we had it for three days and we made the most of that, setting it up at Woolworth Carpark, and with the Council down at the Foreshore. Don’t know how long we will get it for this time – hopefully, the weekend, which will allow us to benefit from it being here.

Elections, MPs and visiting dogs.

out and about
out and about

Last week we had an election and to put it bluntly – it was a schnozzle. In order to govern – in South Australia –  a party must have 24 seats to give it a working majority. We ended up with  Labor 23 – Liberal 22 and Independents 2. There was still postal votes to count and the two party leaders were having talks with the independents. They couldn’t decide – then – one of them dropped a bomb by suddenly deciding that he was ill and went off on three month sick leave leaving the one  to decide on the future of the state government. He decided that he would support the Socialists and subject us to another four years of borrow and spend. Still, he got a Ministry and a few Dollars for his trouble so he’s happy. Now comes the problem of the Westminster System – 24 Labor, 22 Liberal 1 independent – the first order of business is to install a Speaker which should be from the government party – not always but usually. Liberal will refuse to supply a speaker which means the government must,  which then puts the  numbers at 23 Labor, 22 Liberal and 1  independent. These guys play games like the nice clowns they are,  thus if a government man/women  goes off, the opposition supplies a pair (one of their members who wont vote)  so that the balance of numbers is maintained, so in effect the opposition keeps the government in power whilst attacking it. Me, I have no such scruples, as leader of a party in that situation I would simply refuse to supply a pair ( this is a convention not a rule – a “gentleman’s agreement” ) which could and probably would lose crucial votes in the House and if the opposition forced a vote of no confidence it would, in turn,  force the government to call a new election. The system is very much open to abuse.  It is still

This is Izzy
This is Izzy

an active system in the UK Parliament and also in the US Congress.

Now, here’s a thing that gets me – and I am not intentionally insensitive  – but the independent underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor and is now undergoing chemotherapy and cancer treatment and I cannot help but  think that he and his family knew about this before the election, but , three days after the election he goes off for four months and  maintains his full PMs salary  and benefits. If it transpires that he is not well enough to resume his seat then we will have the added expense of a by-election to elect a new member. I don’t know, am I being overly critical here?

You know I look at dogs in conditions of heavy snow and I sometimes wonder how my two would cope in that kind of weather, but I suppose as dogs do, they would quickly adapt. Probably better than we humans.

Some time ago i wrote that I had a lady in my driveway and I looked after her until the RSPCA came. I later found out that it was the next door dog. She is a digger and digs her way

Still open and wild
Still open and wild

out or under fences. Anyway she had been an almost constant visitor this last week and I have been looking after her until her owner gets home and tries to block up yet another hole. To try and relieve the pressure I have been taking the dog – her name is Izzy – out walking bring her back then taking my two out. And because she had been digging again she had to stay here until her owner came home. I have no idea what breed of dog she is but she is a very friendly dog. However, it seems he no longer lives next door but  has bought a house in another part of town. The fencing is still to go up and the place secured before he can move  his dog over there so he is  visiting her every  day on his way home from work – which is when I have seen him. He  says it will be another couple of weeks before the place is ready and he can move Izzy up there with him.  In the meantime, I’ll keep an eye out for her and take her for a walk. She’s no trouble so she is welcome here.

On Friday I head off to Adelaide again. I’ll be away for two days so we just have to hope that everything will be ok until I get back. I want to leave Adelaide at a reasonable time and get home in time to attend a Barbecue at my son’s place. My son and his partner bought this place about four months ago and they have decided they are settled enough in to have a House Warming Barbecue for

It's a hard life
It’s a hard life

family and friends. He was not too impressed when I said I have to be in Adelaide but I  should be able to get back at a reasonable time. I wont be hanging about because there is a Football match on in town and the place will be crowded, so I’ll by-pass the city for the weekend and stay out in the suburbs.

Cell phones, Flowers and Teddy Bears

Aren’t mobile (Cell) phones wonderful. During the trip back  home I was able to call herself and get her to have a taxi waiting for me when the coach arrived at the

Samsung S 3
Samsung S 3

terminal. Thus, I was home at 11:50 – before midnight  :o) Apart from the  crazy idea of walking through Adelaide, I was fairly fresh by the time we got in and then home. I stayed up for a while and worked on my notes and report – which I have  about four weeks to complete.  It was a good meeting, interesting and very worthwhile and I am really glad that I made the decision to go. Thursday I took herself to her medical appointment and spent most of the day in and around the house keeping an eye on her since she had had pre-op medication. Friday and she was admitted into the hospital – Day Surgery.  I took her up to the hospital at 7am and at 7:30 they came to collect her. I came back home.  As the time started to wear on past lunch I  was just a tad concerned. I didn’t get a call to go back and pick her up until 2:30, but I spent a good deal of the time working on the introduction and the first part of the report. I went to the hospital when I was called but it was after 3pm before we were finally on our way home. The rest of the day was fairly quiet and I let her rest. Dinner was  light and simple and after the news she watched Rugby and I vanished into the room to do some work. I did take the dogs out for a while. Anyway,  we don’t have to go back to the hospital until 5th June, so we have a bit of a break, which should allow us to return to semi-normality for a bit.

The Lasiandra
The Lasiandra

As an aside  – I have to say that I told the doctor’s practice manager over the phone that  I was going to charge her for all the white-out I was using as she changed times and dates on me. Next time I went up there she handed me a Liquid Paper unit.  My comment was ” I was only joking” her comment was ” Yes but I’m not and I have to change the date for the next appointment ”  :o)

Since the hospital I have been busy planting several rows of Lettuce and several rows of Parsley. I have also planted an attractive  Lasiandra Jules, so it would be nice if that takes. The Sturt’s Desert Rose amazes me. The flowers are so delicate, but the bush on which they flourish is as tough as nails. It’s amazing the contrast between the hardy plant and the delicate flowers that never last more than a few hours.

I continue to take the dogs out each night and whilst I still carry the Man for a bit, I find that I am not carrying him for

A Man and his  Teddy Bear
A Man and his Teddy Bear

as long as I used to. I think perhaps the cooler weather is good for him. I believe that and the fact that I take them out after the sun goes down ( no flies ) is a great help. He does sleep a lot but he is still eating well and he still gets excited about going out – in fact if I am slow in getting ready, the pair of them are not slow in t

elling me.  The Man is about thirteen and a half and the problems with his life before he was rescued are really starting to tell.  He has no teeth and when I give them their treat in the morning, Chienne takes hers out side and I close the door on her – that way I can break his treat up and hand feed him until it’s all gone. I have not measured him for a set of wheels since he seems to be walking a lot better in this cooler weather and I would rather he continues to  walk whilst he can, but I will order them when I think it’s necessary.

Barbecue, dogs and movies

Saturday and I spent the morning  helping to run a fundraising Barbecue for the RFDS. We were only there about three hours and managed to  raise about $340, which is not  bad. Herself had a good night last night  and after I laid out her breakfast I  set off to the BBQ. I did call a couple of times to make sure everything was ok. It’s not been all that bad of a week and we were able to relax for a bit as things calmed down. Monday we are at the hospital again and we’ll see how things go from there.  I have been giving the Man a medication that was recommended to me and we have noticed that he is crying a lot less and is much more active. Well, yes, I still have to carry him for a bit, but just to get his wind back, you understand, not that he needs it, of course  :o )  On the other hand, if he didn’t run around like a mad thing and expend all his energy in the first five or six minutes, it might be a tad different.

Not sure where I got this from, but it works for me.
Not sure where I got this from, but it works for me.

Monday and we are back to the hospital again. This afternoon she goes to have an  Echocardiograph, which is an ultrasound of her heart. They are, I believe, doing this because she failed the Stress Test last week. Well, she didn’t actually fail it, she couldn’t walk on the treadmill as fast as they wanted her to so they abandoned it. With this test the rules are that we MUST be there on time or the test will be cancelled. Should not be a problem. This will be our last appointment until Friday, so after today, provided all goes well,  I should be able to wind down for a little. I don’t know – perhaps it’s just me but I really fail to see what these tests have to do with a blood loss, but I suppose they have to eliminate other possibilities.  I am supposed to go to a meeting next Wednesday and I think I might just be able to fit it in. However, it means taking a coach to Adelaide and a coach home. I can get the 6am coach, go to the meeting then get the 6pm coach back home, ready to take her to the Specialist on Thursday. I really need to attend this meeting because I  have to write a report and it would be better that I was there and talk to people rather than simply write the report from the information I have to hand – comprehensive thought it might be.

Interesting post recently with reference to the Oscars. The writer asked her followers to list their three favourite movies – mine being, Casablanca – The Man Who Would be King – A Man For all Seasons – these are the three I would take with me to a desert island, but I have to say that there are “Runners Up” that I like:   Hatchi -55 Days at Peeking – The Day after Tomorrow ( yes I know the science leaves a lot to be desired, but I like it), Shadowlands – The Remains of the Day –  On The Beach (with Fred Astaire not the remake) Braveheart – The Lion in Winter. I would quickly get fed up with the Lord of the Rings, but I would take the three Narnia Movies with me and one other probably surprising selection – Yankee Doodle Dandy – with James Cagney.

I have some worry about the Man and he is not only slowing down but there is a loss of strength and control in his back legs. He still runs about the house like a mad thing, but he does lose his balance a bit and falls. Still,  he gets up and carries on. As soon as we get herself settled again, and whilst there does not seem to be any immediate concern, I will get him to the vet for advice. Other than that, this is a long weekend and Monday is a public holiday, so I have the weekend to sit down and contemplate the heavens – or something.

Hospitals. Canberra and Gooseberry Bushes

ANZAC Parade Memorial, Canberra
ANZAC Parade Memorial, Canberra

Over the last week or so  things have not been so well for some of the people I receive mail from – some of the posts I follow  – and this  distresses me because  I look on you all as extended friends and I find it all the more sad where animals, dogs or cats, are concerned. I have  parted with three dogs and two of them died in my arms. The little man still gets excited about going out but he spends a good bit of the time with me carrying him and I suppose it must look strange – me walking along with two dogs, one on a leash and one in my arm.  But he likes to see what’s going around him and he does enjoy his outings.

We were at a medical appointment yesterday and did not get home until after 6pm. At one point there was talk of admitting Annabell into hospital as her blood pressure was 210/70 – well that’s what they told me. But in the end it was decided to let her come home. Poor thing was tired and  rather than start to try and make something for dinner, I got a take-away on the way home. After dinner she went to bed and has been sleeping since – well almost, I did hear her get up once during the night. Of course, I did say that 2014 was fairly reasonable thus far, and that’s true but only because I am keeping things organised and can make sense of all the appointments, but having a blood pressure of 210/70 is, to say the very least, worrying. Also receptionists calling me and changing days and times  of appointments doesn’t help  :o) But we are fine – we can manage – me, herself, the dogs and a Filofax.

DSCF0006
ANZAC Parade from the National Memorial

She needs to rest so I am chief cook and bottle washer for the time being. Goodness, it’s perhaps as well that I actually like to cook. There are some things she cannot eat so I have to be careful but this evening I made Omelette with cheese, onions , vegetables and a small side salad, a slice of  chocolate cake and cream. I fed the dogs after the dishes were washed and put away – oh yes I am very domesticated. I suppose that’s the price of growing up in a household of females. But she is able to cope fairly well and is still cheerful and things are not quite so bad and once they get to the bottom of this and perhaps the two appointments this coming week will help to do just that.

The garden, whilst not neglected, has had little more than merely maintenance – i.e. sweeping up leaves and keeping things tidy. Although I did plant a Hibiscus in a new (to me) and unusual way.  I cut the bottom off a planter and split it down the side. I dug the hole for the Hibiscus larger than necessary and put the planter in the hole. I then  put a good  amount of propagating sand in the bottom, put in the Hibiscus and filled up the rest of the planter with the sand – then watered it in. In a few days I will remove the container and hope that the plant takes. Surrounded by the sand I think it might. And the Gooseberry Bush is pushing out shoots, so the cooler weather is good for it.

The Man sleeps a lot, which I expect is good for him. He still gets excited about going out and now is actually sending me a summons when HE thinks it’s time to go  :o) I take them out at 7:30 because the sun has started to go and the flies are a lot less. At about 7:20 he starts barking and whining and it’s as if the little character can tell the time.

Whilst herself was sleeping today I wandered through my files to find some photographs of our trip to Canberra. I would like to back there and perhaps we will if and when herself is up to the travel.

Could we start again, please?

At the start of the week we were breaking records for heat, and sending out bushfire warnings  by Thursday we were breaking new records – for rain. Talk about a weird week. It’s Saturday 8am and we have just had yet another downpour. At least there is one consolation and that is that both of my rainwater tanks are overflowing. The major highway, west of here, was closed down and drivers were diverted  to the longer and more isolated highway to the north.They were also advised to fill up because there would be no fuel for at least 200klm.  Some localised street flooding here but nothing much to speak of – no homes were in any danger. Adelaide floods because Adelaide is on an ancient flood plain and there is the runoff from the Adelaide Hills. There a few dips in the roads here and we do get a bit of water at these places, but nothing  comes near any of the houses – not like Adelaide.

Some years ago (2005) I took a party of teenagers to the National Capital of Canberra. It was amazing since very few of them had ever been out of the State – actually, some of them had never been out of the Eyre Peninsula. One of the stops we made was at the South Australia/Victoria Border and irrespective of the time ( day or night) stop was made for photographs with the border post  – Welcome to Victoria – very much in the  photograph. We went by coach, which had two drivers, was fully air conditioned, had a television and a DVD player. Nineteen hours on the coach was ok – frequent stops for comfort and food (yes there were facilities on the coach), watching movies, reading and just chatting or listening to music.

We had a bad year last year and the start of this new year has not been too bad. This is not to say that everything that bothered us last year has gone – it has not, but we are learning to cope with it and move on. Herself contracted MRSA some years   (5) ago and we are still living with the aftermath of that. In order to eliminate the infection drugs were pumped into her through a picc line but although they seemed to control then eliminate the  Staph infection, they compromised her liver and kidney functions. She spent over three months in hospitals, mainly the Royal Adelaide, which meant me traveling back and forth  and staying in Adelaide for days at a time. When she came home, we still had to travel back to the RAH for check-ups – we still do but not as often. A few years ago she became quite anemic and it was discovered she was losing blood. She was taken into hospital and given blood transfusions.  It was thought that this would solve the problem – and it did – for a while. Now we are back to square one again, she is losing blood, is anemic, very tired and the doctors are not sure what to do since the blood transfusion  should have solved the problem.  However, 2014 is better in that I have things better organised than I did last year. I can organise and to some extent control the visits to the doctor, to fit around a timetable – the specialists are very different. Being in the country we have no specialists here – they all have to come up from Adelaide and these times I cannot adjust. We have to attend these at the time and date specified. Today I have managed to get the doctor at 4pm – next Monday a Specialist at 11am. I was due to attend a meeting in Adelaide but we have a hospital visit  on that day so it will be an apology But we are fine and everything is good.  I am fit and healthy, except when I do silly things, like go up and down ladders at home all day wearing only sandals and cause some damage to my foot, but otherwise, fit and healthy. The Man is still pottering around, slowly and slightly unsteady. He seems to cope with falling down a bit,  and it seems to distress me more than it does him. I think the time for the wheels is just about upon us.