Things Fall Apart

The car at Drysdale.
The car at Drysdale.

Having got the car home at the weekend I  booked it into the garage for repairs and service on Monday afternoon. It was returned to me yesterday afternoon ( Tuesday) repaired and serviced. It was mainly ignition problems which meant a new ignition coil assembly and a new set of high tension ignition wires. A few things besides plus a general service and new spark plugs. So the car seems to be running well, but no trips for a little while. I did call the clerk and asked if there were any papers I needed to have or anything I need to be aware of arising out of the meeting I missed. He will send me copies of the paperwork and I’ll send him  copies of the Annual General Meeting Report. I know that one of the issues discussed was the introduction of SKYPE as a means of conducting the meetings. I objected to this last time it came up and I  will object to it again, and fortunately, I am not alone in this. Those who advocate Skype do so on the basis of use for small meetings or the fact that they call their children inter-state several times a week and the system works well. Yes it does for small meetings and for individuals but in our case I do not believe that Skype should be used as it is a poor substitute for face to face meetings and useless in determining the overall mood of the meeting and at times body language is as important as the spoken word in determining the mood of the meeting. Anyway, that’s part of my view and I have no doubt the issue will be raised again in August.

The news from the Administrator of Arrium, however, is not quite so good. It is now generally believed that Arrium will be broken up and sold off. Much of the Arrium holdings are profitable but the steelworks is running at a loss and is responsible for much of the current debt. The University of Flinders have produced a projected  model of the consequences of the demise and loss of the steelworks to the region and the State.  The immediate consequence would be the loss of some 3500 jobs, but then there are the suppliers and contractors and the businesses  that supply Arrium locally – about 4000 jobs locally and regionally – so overall about 7500+ jobs. The financial consequences to  Whyalla and surrounds would be the loss of half a billion dollars in revenue. The consequences to the State is estimate at $800 Million in lost revenue. But according to Arrium there are two sides to Arrium – the good Arrium which has mining interests and two electric arc

The Steelworks ( not my photograph)
The Steelworks ( not my photograph)

furnaces on the East Coast that produce steel products and makes good profits selling these to the construction industry. The Bad Arrium is the Whyalla Steelworks and the South Australian Mining Operations that are burning cash faster than the Good Arrium ( Moly-Cop) can generate it. One of our major hotels has closed down and gone into liquidation as a direct consequence of the Arrium Debacle – it was the preferred hotel for visiting staff, for Arrium Functions and various courses. It had become dependent on Arrium for the majority of its business and revenue, so when Arrium  went into administration the hotel lost its main source of revenue. The banks are – at this stage – opposed to any plan that means the closure of the Steelworks – understandable self interest. What has been calculated is the proposed loss of revenue locally and State, but what has not been calculated is the loss to the banks – the actual money owed by Arrium aside.  There are hundreds of families, these families have mortgages, have loans, have credit cards. If the steelworks were to close and all these people were without jobs – and given the state of Arrium it would be unlikely that they would get anything near their redundancy entitlements – people unable to pay their mortgage. What happens? does the bank take control of this property? Well yes, I guess so. Does this then mean that the banks now have millions of dollars in property that no one wants- well can’t afford. Given that in the late 1970s / early 1980s  when BHP Steel were in trouble – the shipyards closed and the steelworks contracted, we went from a population of 36,000 to about 23,000 – the same could happen again. The Administrator suggests that  the South Australian  operation s – Steelworks and Iron Ore Mines – could be up for sale in July and he hopes to see Arrium out of the hands of an Administrator by Christmas. I sincerely hope so.

Drive to Melbourne Part 2

From the crowds at the 12 Apostles  Tourist Complex we headed back inland through rain forests with an occasional glimpse of the coastline until we reached

Part of the 12 Apostles
Part of the 12 Apostles

Marengo  ( no battle here – different Marengo) then Appollo Bay. We stayed in Apollo Bay for a little while to  have a bit of a break – food and fuel – then all the way along the coast to Lorne. Lorne is where my trip to the Great Ocean Road stopped so many years ago. When I  visited Drysdale (Victoria) during my sister’s last

The Memorial Arch
The Memorial Arch

illness and then her funeral, my Brother-in-Law took me touring  through the Ballarine  Peninsula and then on the Great Ocean Road as far as Lorne, so, in essence, this was me actually completing the journey. From Lorne we drove to the Memorial Arch and then wandered on to the beach. There were quite a few people on the beach and

Me at the Memorial Arch and Digger Memorial area
Me at the Memorial Arch and Digger Memorial area

we had only been there a few minutes when we realised that we were the only males. I managed to get some photographs of the area once I had moved away from  where the females were. We had been driving all day and by the time we reached the Arch the sun was against us, which made it difficult for photographs. Sorry about that but I thought I

Taken on my first visit
Taken on my first visit

had better include one photograph of me to show that I was really there. However, once you get over that shock, be assured it is the only one – promise  :o)

Most people don’t realise that the Great Ocean Road, from Torquay to Allansford (243 klms) is the Largest World War One Memorial in the world. It was started in 1919 by returned soldiers as a memorial to those who fell in the Great War. It was completed in 1932 and over 3000 returned soldiers worked on its construction using little more than picks, hammers, shovels, explosives and horse and cart.  Quite an achievement, but it did cost several lives

From the Memorial we drove to Aireys Inlet and then to Bells Beach. I have to confess that like the first time I was there, I was very underwhelmed with the area. There’s not a lot of beach at Bells Beach but I understand from About Easter onwards the surf and

Not a lot of beach at Bells Beach
Not a lot of beach at Bells Beach

waves get quite big and powerful. Sometime I would like to come back and see it like with the big waves pounding the

Bells Beach where the Australian Surf Championships are held
Bells Beach where the Australian Surf Championships are held

surf. I also understand that the place gets quite crowded.  I would also like to be able to do this journey over a longer period of time. By the time we reached Torquay were starting to get pushed for time and we still had a fair way to go to Melbourne. In fact the hotel called Andrew to ensure that we were still coming. We picked up the freeway and headed on into Melbourne arriving at our hotel in Dandenong Road fairly late but still in time to get freshened up and get down for dinner – an opportunity to relax and unwind.

An unexpected Adventure!

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

Sunday – apart from church – is family day and in the evening the family all come over to our house and share dinner together. Last night, however, was special for me. Although my birthday is not until April, the family –  Annabell, John, Andrew, Patrica and the Girls – decided on an early Birthday Gift. In February my boys are taking me to Melbourne to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. A reconstruction of the front facade of the Castle is being built in Ethiad Stadium in Melbourne and the permanent staff from Scotland will be coming over. I am so looking forward to this – the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Scot Dragoon Guards.  They (the family) all know that  I have a great fear of flying so we are driving there and the boys want to go via the Great Ocean Road, which means I will get back to the  Memorial Arch but this time I have will my photograph taken with each of the boys.  This is the area where there was a deadly fire a few months ago but it has now been cleared for travel.  We should also make time to stop at Bell’s Beach. Isn’t it interesting that I am already  creating photographs in my head and what I want to do.It would be really neat to make a detour to Drysdale and see what’s happened to my  Sister’s property, but I don’t think we will

The WWI Memorial Arch - Great Ocean Road
The WWI Memorial Arch – Great Ocean Road

have the time for that. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is just magic and I  will have to contain myself until the week after I come back from Presbytery, which, fortunately, is in Adelaide this time.

Apart from the Tattoo, this will be the first time in years that the boys and I have been away someplace together – so I am quite looking forward to that. Of course it’s four days that I will miss Benji and I will miss our  splashing around at the beach. He will miss his  hotdog reward, but I’ll make it up to him. It wont take us long to get back on track. However, it is going to be an interesting start to the month – Adelaide this coming weekend – Adelaide the weekend after – Melbourne the week after that. Yes, Benji will think I’ve abandoned him.

Benji and I tried out a new walking route this morning. Interesting but turns out to be over 1000 steps shorter than our current route. Since today is a public holiday ( Australia Day) I might drive round the route and see where I could make a detour to make up the additional steps. If you’re interested it is calculated to be 1320 steps per kilometer and Benji and I cover about 12500 steps per day which is about 5.7 miles or 9.5 kilometres and we do this every day. I realise this to professional walkers, this is probably just a warm up,  but it’s a lot for  the dog and me – 50+ klms per week.

At this point I wrote some thoughts on Australia Day and deleted them. Better to let the so called elites of society have their say because at midnight I think they turn back into pumpkins. I just  have to say though, I love the way some Australians get elected as “Australian of the Year”and use the opportunity not to celebrate their achievements but to tell the rest of us what a racist, guilty of religious discrimination lot we are.    For me – well I often think of Sir Walter Scott “The Lay of the Last Minstrel”

O Caledonia! stern and, wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e’er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Still, as I view each well-known scene,
Think what is now, and what hath been,
Seems as, to me of all bereft,
Sole friends thy woods and streams were left;
And thus I love them better still
Even in extremity of ill.
By Yarrow’s streams still let me stray,
Though none should guide my feeble way.,
Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break,
Although it chill my wither’d cheek;
Still lay my head by Teviot Stone,
Though there, forgotten and alone,
The Bard may draw his parting groan.

Computers and Bushfires

Hmm.. As I suspected my BSL was  much higher than it should be. I got a lecture about health and chocolate so he upped my medication to give the insulin a better chance of controlling things.

The new Office Suite
The new Office Suite

That’s how it will be for the next six weeks then back again to ensure that I have behaved and the medication is doing its job. Provided both issues are  in sync I can drop back to maintenance level.   Finally, I have a full email system back in action. I  bit the bullet and installed Office 365. Cost me the office 2016 that was already installed, but there you are, if I wanted Outlook and a mail system, it had to be done. Everything seems to be up and running up to a point – the point being the recreation of my address book, which I will do tonight.

You load 365 and what do you get

An Office Suite and deeper in debt

Oh St. Peter  don’t you call me

I can’t log off

I owe my soul to Microsoft

Ok, being silly but all is done and everything is up and running again, so I no longer have any excuses. Hopefully this new system will stabilise everything and I wont have the problems I had in the past – like mail vanishing into cyberspace.

The Vet is closed down until  Monday 4th January.  If we do have any problems there is another Vet in town that we could go to, but I always think that is fraught with danger in that once you go

Never doubted it Mr. Vader - Sir.....
Never doubted it Mr. Vader – Sir…..

there you might not come back. Mustafa has been closed since 11th   December. I went up to see the Grooms at Fussy Dogs and explained that Benji is a rescue dog and I have no idea how he would react around other dogs – I can only go by how he reacts around me and the family. She said she would accept him and see how he went. I took him up yesterday and, well,  chuffed ( means really proud/happy)  just about says it all and he related well to the other dogs. The girls were quite fond of him and said he was a  lovely pup easy to work with.

We had Christmas Dinner at my younger son’s place and all the family were there. It was a great day and I allowed myself one small glass of wine – since I was driving. Don’t like Coke-Cola much so drank lots of iced water. It was a long, hot,  day and by the time I got home I could barely keep my eyes open. West to the Watchnight Service, then home then up at 5:30  mainly  because someone  felt that since it was light it was time  for walking – so we did.  I am still having problems with the Victorian Registration people and I still have not received any paperwork from them with regard to Benji. However, I have been in to see our Council and  I will fill in the forms for them and for the Victorian Registration people and they will deal with it. In the meantime I need a Statutory  Declaration signed by a J.P. and  they will register the Benji with a note of his registration re the  address on his microchip. If no success,  we may have to think about a second Microchip.

Just thought I would mention that it has always been our tradition that the Christmas Offering is a  Retiring Offering, people decide to leave something or not. We did announce that the retiring offering this year would go to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and a respectable amount was handed over to the RFDS Treasurer.

A devastating fire along the Great Ocean Road has caused widespread damage with over 110 homes destroyed. A difficult area to get into and a major tourist attraction. I have only traveled a short distance along the GOR when I was in Drysdale and it is a beautiful area. This main fire and some other fires are still burning in Victoria but New South Wales and Victoria are working together on  containing them. There are over 500 firefighters trying to control the major fire on the Great Ocean Road I think this is going to be a difficult  fire season.

On the Road again!

side01Still working on the area at the side of the Crazy Paying. I have, as I said the other day, completed all I have to do for the moment, but once I get settled down a bit I’ll make the change I want. However that’s not likely to happen until the crazy paving area is underway. In the top planter I have Purple Lavender  and in the lower planter I have White Jasmine.  I will get some more plants when I am in Bunnings. With my black thumb I don’t expect them to last.  However, I take comfort from the fact that you can’t kill river stone  :o)  Also, on the way home I’ll take Catherine for lunch at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens and perhaps get a few things there. Well,  depending on how she is and when we leave Adelaide, it may well be afternoon tea and scones.

I went down to buy a set of car stands which were on special for Father’s Day   ( today only 60% discount) Couldn’t find them so asked an assistant who went off to look for them. Little while later he came back – “Sorry Mate, that’s a typo error, we don’t actually have them” Was not very impressed. Didn’t think it was worth the effort to  kick up a fuss since I’ll be down in Adelaide on Thursday and will hit Bunnings Thursday morning, so I’ll have a look then. I wanted a Ryobi Cordless Drill and  these are only sold by Bunnings so the Boys gave me gift cards for Bunnings – I’m very easy to please!!!

Only two days left and I am off to Adelaide. The weather looks to be good – 20c Thursday / 24c Friday so it will be two good days for driving.  Depending on the traffic and time, I would like to be able to stop somewhere along the way and take some photographs but the point here is that the road is much the same and I have just about taken

Bells Beach where the Australian Surf Championships are held
Bells Beach where the Australian Surf Championships are held

photographs down and back many times. Which is why I am looking forward to the meeting in November. This will be held in Mount Gambier and I have not been there before.  My family lived in Drysdale, Victoria for a while and I was out there a few times. Last time I was there was for my sister’s funeral. I drove to Kaniva, stayed there for the night and drove to Drysdale in the morning. My Brother-in-Law decided to take me touring the Bellarine Peninsula and out as far as the Memorial Arch at the start of the Great Ocean Road. We also  went to Bells Beach and Fort Queenscliff. Alan never got over my sister’s passing and six months later the children moved him to Adelaide. I was against this move but not my decision. He was comfortable and settled where he was and his friends were there.  His health deteriorated  and died 18 months later.

Going off to pack for the morning – and no, I do not travel light, one holdall for clothes and things, and another for cords, chargers, laptop, Modem. The camera batter is on the charger at the moment, but I’ll still take it – you never know…

Sunset, Meerkats and a Memorial Arch

When the world was young
When the world was young

I began writing this some years ago and in essence I wrote it for myself. Actually, that’s not really true – I started off in My Space and I was writing it as a letter for one person. My Space changed and I no longer wrote there. I came on here but it was never the same.  I never really expected to have any “followers” – I felt that that’s something interesting people have. Of course I am thankful for any comment, advice or concern, and for the lovely people I have met but I’m not exactly setting the world on fire now, am I?  But as I said, I started this mainly for myself.  These last 12 months have been something of a revelation, that this is not really going anywhere, discovering personal limits, discovering I am not invincible as well as doing everything possible to wreck my health by living out of a suitcase for

The WWI Memorial Arch - Great Ocean Road
The WWI Memorial Arch – Great Ocean Road

much of the last eighteen months.  In looking back over the last 12 months I have to ask myself what, if anything,  I have achieved.  The answer is, regretfully,  nothing. I only retain  the West Terrace  Committee and that  mainly because it’s working with a wonderful group of people. A refreshing change, which is always welcome.

This next weekend – the weekend after Australia Day –  I will be in Adelaide for three days. I have organized this to make it as stress free as possible. I drive down on the Thursday, perhaps a bit of shopping – a visit to Bunnings –  Office Works – relaxed day; quite night at the hotel, good sleep. Friday, all day session – finish about 5:20, perhaps a bit of late night shopping and a meal in town, quite night at the hotel, good sleep. Saturday, breakfast, check out, drive home – simples!! (cue in cute Meerkat here) – On the way back I’ll try and get time to stop into the Arid Lands Gardens and if I leave early enough I might get there in time for lunch — they make very nice scones!!

Bells Beach where the Australian Surf Championships are held
Bells Beach where the Australian Surf Championships are held

When I visited Alan out at Drysdale we toured the Bellarine Peninsula. I am particularly pleased with this because it was among the last things he did before he before he became confined to a hospital room on oxygen. I only mentioned to Herself the other day that I did wonder if Alan might have still been alive if he had remained in Drysdale surrounded by his friends. Difficult to say.  I was also thinking that I would like to take a trip back to Drysdale and have a quiet trip around the place and tour the Bellarine Peninsula with herself, but I don’t know if

The Big Koala: a refreshing break on a long journey
The Big Koala: a refreshing break on a long journey

she would be well enough for such a long journey. If we did go, it would have to be in small, easy stages to give her a break. But the added concern is that this is Australia and not all than many places are Dog Welcome. I know there is one in Drysdale so we would probably stay there. However, that’s all speculation and quite unlikely. It’s impossible to get her to Adelaide let alone Geelong.