Rain,Wind and Lazy Days.

Last Friday I drove down to Adelaide in lovely weather. It was an excellent day for a drive and I enjoyed the journey. Well I did until  I reached the crossroads of the State ( The Tin Man) and discovered that I had left my  laptop bag at home – so an exciting two days ahead – no laptop, no modem and – more importantly – no diary. That’s the first time I have ever done that.  I completed the task I had to do at Elizabeth, then continued on to Adelaide and met up with a young friend who is currently continuing her studies at Adelaide .  We spent a few hours drinking coffee and catching up with each other’s news. I walked her back to the railway station then caught the tram to the Central Market.  My son had asked me to look at some computer things for him  and the computer store was  halfway down Franklin Street. The  walk to this store was something I had done many times before, but on this occasion it was a nightmare and I was in pain not long after I got off the tram. When I finally got to the computer place it was to find that the  store was closed down and empty – which – to say the very least – was a tad annoying! Anyway, got back to Rundle Mall,  rescued the car from the  Car Park and drove to the hotel. Once I unloaded the car I was in no mood for anything other than getting  my feet up.  I did buy a small notebook  so I was able to keep a note of things for my diary. I spent most of the evening propped up on the hotel bed with a good book.

The Saturday meeting didn’t last long since there was only one item on the agenda – what used to be called an “in hunc effectum” meeting before the use of  outdated Latin phrases was discontinued about four years ago.  Anyway, by 11:30 I was on the road home and called Annabell to let her know I was in Port Wakefield. The drive home was something else. Given the poor state of the highway, depressions, potholes, poorly repaired sections and a high wind into the bargain, it was not the relaxing drive it was the previous day. The Port Wakefield Road is part of Inter-State National Highway 1 and I believe the responsibility of the Federal Government.   I arrived in Port Augusta tired. I did some shopping there, had coffee and fuel and headed  out to the last 80 klms.

Since coming home the weather has been wild and windy and to round off a bad weather week,  it  has been raining heavily all night. There was an interesting report on the news the other night about the consequences of all this rain – things  are growing like wildfire – I know that by the continual battle against the weeds that we are all having –  but already the pollen count has been very high and starting to foreshadow what  could be the worst hay fever season on record.  I spend a small fortune on weed killer and by and large the weeds laugh at it,  have a ball and invite their friends to the party.

It now be official!  I went to my diet people this morning and was weighed at 82.7 kilo.Not good but a lot better that I had expected and a loss since I was last weighed a few weeks ago. I not only want to get back to where I was before the operation but to push further to about 77 kilo. I shall be happy then.  Anyway this bad weather has not been “all bad”and not going out at night means that my Associate (Benji) and I  had a few lazy evenings plonked on the bed, propped up watching season 6 of Downton Abbey.  I had a look and season 10 of Lewis is not out on DVD yet. I have all the others.

Sad and doleful tidings

Well, things are going from bad to worse. An American company offered to bail out Arrium to the tune of $1.4 Billion Dollars – $950 million and the remainder raised by Arrium Shareholders. The financial backers and creditors of Arrium  rejected the deal and trading was halted on Arrium in the Australian Stock Market. It’s not looking good and there is now talk of the major banks and

Dick Smith - empty and gone.
Dick Smith – empty and gone.

creditors extending a $400 Million loan to Arrium to try and pay off some of its debts, but the sting in the tail is that the Banks and Creditors will appoint an Administrator. We have had politicians, senators and others here all day and there was  one thousand people strong rally and march through part of the town – mainly around the CBD and the main street. And no, I was not involved in either. I was at the hospital with Annabell and later in the afternoon  we had Benji at the Vet for a check-up. We don’t know about injections and I have not managed to get much information from the rescue people so what we decided is to leave him for the moment and in a few months we will give him the five-in-one injection. Overall his health is very good although I did get a bit of a slap on the wrist because he has put on weight since his first visit in  November of last year. I find this difficult because he is well exercised – walks close to 60 miles a week – with me – is not overfed and does not get a lot of treats. And it’s a walk, not a casual stroll – with a few stops along the way. Anyway, I’ll have to cut down his food intake a little and get his weight down. Today (Wednesday) is not helping since it has been chucking it down for most of the night and it’s still raining.

Our major employer – Arrium Mining – has gone into Voluntary  Administration with  debts of over $4 Billion,  $3 Billion of which is owed to the banks, over $1 Billion owed to other creditors and $500 million owed to the Staff. Things are not looking good and trading has been suspended. But what  gets me is that the management have run the place into the ground, it owes money everywhere, but somehow it’s the Government’s fault. And the reason it’s suddenly the government’s fault is that the Federal Treasures and the Prime Minister didn’t visit with their cheque book and  hand over a free of any interest cheque for $5 billion and bail the company and its management out right there and then. Well it probably is the government’s fault and I just don’t understand how these things work. Things are not looking so good and there is now open talk of a break-up of the group and parts being sold off. It is a very worrying time for everyone and $5 Billion is a lot to make up and  in order to save the company and 8,000 jobs, the major loss making steelworks may have to be sacrificed. On the news tonight the government pleaded with Arrium management not to put the company into Administration, but the banks put pressure on the management and they caved in and appointed an approved Administrator.  In these last few days I  have met some of the people who were with Link Engineering and have lost their jobs. One family was the son of one of our families at church.

Sooha and Kongsoon
Sooha and Kongsoon

The new lady dog will arrive tomorrow at 8am. Sooah and her husband have to clear out the house this weekend so she is bringing me the lady tomorrow. Her name is Kongsoon, which is not too bad. The name, I found out means  “Little Bean” Sooah is of the opinion that she is coming back so really we are only fostering her dog for a while – at least that’s the plan. We’ll see – I hope she is right but I have my doubts  at least for the present. Well, there you are! I thought we were safe since my son didn’t work for Arrium however, he is a Systems Engineer with Logicamms and now that Arrium is in Receivership all contracts have been suspended until further notice.  Arrium cannot pay the contractors until the Receiver has completed  his investigation and authorities the money to be paid. Andrew is still being paid, of course, but the company now has someone sitting around doing nothing – and getting paid. This being the case, they want him to go down to Adelaide and assist with some of the projects they have  down there  – at least until Arrium is up and running again and authorized to pay out the cash to its contractors. However, the company have asked him to consider re-locating to Adelaide. So the Arrium crisis is  having an effect on us.

Tornadoes, Cyclones and Bushfires – it’s all go around here!

White PoinsettiaI suppose all countries are strange in their own way but Australia seems to be strange in every way. South Australia is scorching, Victoria is burning, parts of New South Wales are burning, Western Australia is wet and Queensland,  battered by cyclones and a couple of  tornadoes is flooding, battered and bruised. At the Australia Day celebrations yesterday we were running a fundraising barbecue for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and just after 6pm, my son went home and got a pullover. I’m not silly, I already had one in my car so I just went and got that, and by 6:30 people were donning jackets and pullovers as the wind became stronger and colder and by the time the fireworks were set off (9pm) it was very cold. Despite that, it was a good and very busy day which stared at 1:30pm and finished at 8:30pm and everything we had was sold. I think somewhere around $900 will be added to the funds. Our small group has contributed $100,000 over four years whilst places like Roxby Downs in the far north contributes $100,000+ every year. Mind you,  it is one of the largest mining areas in Australia and they have a much greater need of the service than we have..

My  brother-in-law is back in hospital again and not very well so I will be going back down to the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide to see him.  I would like to go down now but it will be chaos on the roads as this is a long weekend and school starts back on Tuesday so there will be families returning from holidays, students going back to University and  school and people returning home at the end of a long weekend.  Not a good time to be ravelling. Tuesday should be much quieter. On the way home I will most probably call into the big Garden Centre  at Two Wells and see what’s available. I know — self-inflicted punishment –  but I  have this weird theory that sooner or later, something will take and my efforts will be rewarded,  then I can sit back and relax and count the pigs as they fly past.

Things seem to be going from bad to worse in Queensland and the State Government have asked the Feds. to give Army assistance because the  state emergency services can no longer cope. It’s not quite of the scale of two years ago, but getting pretty close. We are lucky in South Australia – we get hot and the temperature goes up and down like a yoyo at times, but really, we don’t get the extreme weather conditions coming in from the Pacific and Indian Oceans.   ——–A White Poinsettia – never seen one before so I bought it.