Heatwaves, Fires and Gardens

Decorating the Shopping Mall Food Court

After the two mini-heatwaves things have not only died gown they have gone downright silly. This last week – the last days of spring and the first days of summer, have been cold, wet, dank and generally miserable. I mean it was only touch and go that I wear gloves when out walking with Benji first thing in the morning. However, I did have a heavier than usual jacket on. The fires are still burning in Queens;land and New South Wales while in other parts of the states – there being a drought there is nothing much to burn. A former Moderator died  and  the service was last Wednesday. Annabell was unwell and I  spent the day looking after her, so I was not able to go down to Adelaide to the service. Then on Friday past, one of our oldest members – 97 – died. He was a member and his wish was that the funeral should be at the church. His two daughters are charismatics and  they insisted that the funeral  be at their hall.

The others all bounced away.

This is not what he wanted but their argument is that they are family and their wishes prevail regardless  of what we might “think” he wanted. But it’s not something you argue about, so his daughters had their way and since they had no idea what they were doing – and didn’t ask anyone for advice, it was not perhaps the  the best run service. The oldest daughter telephoned us at 9:30 (the funeral is at 11am) and asked if we would do the introduction and open the service. They didn’t even consult with their own acting pastor, nor tell him what they were doing. He was as much in the dark as we were.  Anyway, we got through it in a decent / respectful manner – which was important.

Thursday and my car is going for a minor repair. The rear light is not working and it seems it needs a part replaced. It arrived yesterday so the mechanic is going to do the repair this morning. Shouldn’t take long. Took Benji out for his walk this morning and was surprised to see lots of kangaroos at the  far end of the walk.

These, however seem more skittish than usual and took off as soon as I came into view. A braver than the rest stayed and I did get one (not so great) photograph. Since there has been some rain there should be still some food and water left out in the bush.  I have  started laying out food for the birds but not near the house – not with all these cats around the place. Mostly for the Magpies which are big enough and strong enough to  chase the cats off.  If you have never been swooped by Magpies, you are very lucky. I have and let me tell you, it’s not fun.  During the breeding season they are fierce in defending their nests and their territory and  they can cause serious injury. However, there are no trees up this end – no nests – no swooping – reasonably friendly Magpies.

I said – years ago – when we moved here, that my house was the last house in town and that beyond me was bush. Of course that is no longer the case and there are many houses that

Same garden other side of the driveway
One of the few gardens

were build  beyond me to accommodate  the  “Mining Boom”demand for accommodation.  Not very many of the houses are privately owned. There are very few gardens – mostly the front area is covered in gravel and is a car-park rather than a front garden – sometimes between 6 – 8 cars, SUVs or mining vehicles. There are a few gardens but “few ‘ïs about the right word. I’ve never taken a photograph because it would be too time consuming to open Photoshop and  scrub out all the individual  registration numbers and, in some cases, the mining identifications of the vehicles that are parked on the gravel.

The fires continue in New South Wales and Queensland. Over 40 firefighters have arrived from Canada to help our firefighters battle the  fires. The City of Sydney is not immune and the dust and smoke from the fires drifting over the city are causing more than a few problems, and the photographs from Zambia showing the drying up of the Victoria Falls, is more than a worry. The temperature today was 46c

Towards the Final Curtain B

Before
After

Blank, Blank, Blank and Blank again!! I don’t know what I have done but I have lost 800 blank words. A full post gone along with all the photographs.  I have no idea how I did it or even what I did, or even if it was my own fault, but everything just vanished

Snow in Canberra

and nothing I have been able to do  has helped to restore the post. I can’t even remember what I wrote. The name of the post is still there but the 800+ words are gone.  I feel that this is merely another chapter in the  frustration that has been me and WordPress over the last year. I have now come to accept Spam as simply a different name for the Inbox but in trying to search for this missing posts I came across posts that I never knew existed. I expect it’s a bit too late to do anything now, but at least two nice people are probably reflecting on my rudeness in not replying to their messages, particularly the lady in Sydney NSW Anyway, this has really added to what has been a really, really bad week. Started off  well with me having to go to hospital for x-rays on my left wrist and arm. Out walking with Benji early Monday morning, I tripped and fell to the ground so fast I was  down before I realised what had happened. For a few moment I just lay there unable to move. Sadly I didn’t hit my head – I say sadly because I figure doing so might have knocked some sense into me.. As for Benji – I think he must have decided Daddy wanted a bit of a rest so he came over, licked my face, then sat down – totally unconcerned. I discovered that I could not put any weight on my left arm so it took me a few minutes to get back up again and discover that apart from the left wrist and arm, I was ok. We finished the walk and went home. Annabell was awake and  she seemed to realise I was in some pain so she helped me get my outdoor clothes off. I managed to see my doctor who sent me to the hospital for x-rays. He also had a few choice words to say about the fact that I drove to the surgery – not the brightest of things to do, but there you are.  Anyway, nothing is broken or cracked,  some trauma to the arm muscles  which has caused swelling and will settle down again – in the fullness of time.  What I did do, though, was go see the Pharmacist  and get a support strap that would allow me to vigorously attack the keyboard.  One of our elderly ladies died on Friday last and there was a funeral to arrange and an Order of Service to  create, print and photocopy. Why didn’t I ask someone else to do it??  Simple – there is no one else! We cancelled Annabell’s hospital visit on Tuesday afternoon because of the funeral, but I did take her to her coffee evening on Tuesday night. One of the things that that always stresses  me is whether or not I have made sufficient copies of the Order Of Service. I stress about it every time, but we always seem to be ok. In the before photograph it was discovered that there was a slight “lip”in the concrete which had to be attended to. That was smoothed out with quick drying cement and a heater the day before the  the workmen started. We put a heater on for a few hours so by the time they came it was dry and work could begin. – And no, I didn’t do it – they did.

Benji likes the new floor
Fire New South Wales

Whilst some parts of the country are in severe drought, other parts are on fire, other parts are running out of water, and Canberra has snow. Spring and snow in Canberra. Well, ok, not quite a patch on the “Beast from the East” but snow…  Last night it was announced on the news that people with breathing difficulties as well as babies and the very elderly, need to stay indoors tomorrow – Thursday. This will be a day of very high wind and there will be  problems with duststorms. This will present life threatening concerns for people with breathing difficulties.  Today is Thursday and I can tell you that it has been blowing all day – sometimes  85 – 100 kph with a temperature of 35c. There is certainly a lot of dust and it has not been – and is still not – a nice day. Still, it could be worse, we could be in a fire zone area. Yet, there was hardly a breath of wind when Benji and I went out at 6am this morning.

What with me deciding to experience homelessness and curl up on the concrete with my dog, we have fallen far behind our step and millage total for the week. Just have to write this week off. Sarurday and we have a Fundraising event  for the RFDS at the local Hardware. Son John, me and one other will do this one. Hope the weather is a bit better than it currently is

Kangaroos and Living Plants

As far as we understand, the funeral will take place at the Church on Tuesday at 11am. That’s what we organised, however, her son, breezed in from London and would have preferred the funeral to have been on Thursday past so he could catch the weekend flight back to London.  Although I have  done all the work –  the Order of Service just needs the nod and I can start printing, collating and have it ready for Tuesday, I am advised that there may well be changes  and not to print just yet. There is a meeting with the son on Sunday  and if he decided to change things to

The small park around the corner

what he wants, it doesn’t leave me a lot of time to get everything organized, printed, collated and out. No pressure, yesterday will be fine. :o)

Ina is back in hospital and  we had a phone call to ask if we would look after Dougal for a few weeks, I was out  but Annabell said that it would be fine. The daughter has been staying for a bit but we will get  Dougal when she goes home sometime next week. Don’t mind really, Dougal is no trouble at all. He and Benji get on fairly well and Benji doesn’t seem to mind Dougal sharing his toys. The only thing Benji gets cranky about is the sleeping arrangements. Dougal occupied the place next to me and Benji got cranky about that and made certain  Dougal understands who sleeps where in future.

We spent most of Monday afternoon at the church getting the place ready for the funeral.   I  printed, collated 120 copies and passed each pile over to Annabell for folding. She can’t do a lot but she was sitting down and could do that for me – I mean, she couldn’t help with moving furniture and re-arranging pews, but she could do the folding, a total of 120 x 2 double sided copies, so she was a great help in doing what she did

The funeral went well as well as funerals are and our little church was  full with close to 110 people – which is our maximum.l She joined the church in 1987 and was a Member of the Board of Management, Board Treasurer and Leader of the Sunday School. The children loved her and it was so very pleasing to see many of the former Sunday School  (grown up and married of course) there to say farewell.  It was one of the former Sunday School members who read the lesson. The service lasted over one hour mainly because the “in-thing”in Australia at the moment is to have a Power Point and that took up time. The committal at the Cemetery was relatively short and we returned to the church hall for lunch, which all the ladies of the church provided.

It still lives

I have been outside since the heatwave mourning dead plants, clearing up the mess and cleaning out the plant pots. In doing so I discovered that the age of miracles  hasn’t passed as the photograph will show. This was, to all accounts a dead plant and in among the dead and brown leaves was a hint of green, which I have worked with. It’s encouraging as we draw towards the last weekend of summer. The mess is not caused by dead plants but rather the piles of  boxes, bags of clothes and unwanted furniture that my niece decided she didn’t want to take back to Adelaide.  Some has gone and Lifeline will come and collect the remainder of the furniture on Monday. I’ll spend part of the weekend  sorting through the boxes and the bags. In a couple of weeks the boys are heading over to Melbourne for some concert. Andrew is staying in Melbourne for a few days but John is coming back to Adelaide. I said I would go down and pick him up. It’s only an overnight stay and gives me the opportunity to do some shopping for Annabell at Tea Tree Plaza or the Elizabeth Center. I have been thinking about a new camera and this might be an opportunity to have a look around.

Still no word about the specialist and the insulin stuff as yet and the earliest we can get to see the eye specialist is May

Annabell, Funerals and Monday again

Annabell

If being away this time was full of frustrations being at home this week has been full of concern and anxiety. Annabell  is ill and on Monday I booked her into the doctor. He saw her, examined her and decided that she needed to go to hospital to have an infection attended to. She could barely walk. The infection is on both legs.. I got her up to hospital,  she went into A & E and I called the boys. Andrew drove down to the hospital. John was away but he called me  after a bit to find out how things were with his mum. The consulting doctor was a  Gentleman from the Sub-Continent and at times difficult to understand but he ordered a whole bank of tests so we were there for much of the night, but he would not admit her, gave her  a prescription for an anti-biotic and we were sent home. The late night chemist was still open so I was able to get her medication. I also stopped off for a take-away for dinner – a late dinner but we were both hungry. Tuesday I telephoned some people and said that Annabell not would be at the coffee evening or morning for this week.  After left to go to the Conference, the Session Clerk  called me to let me know that one of our parishioners had died so when I came back I not only had to look after Annabell, I  had a funeral Order of Service to organise. I have also been taking care of the housework and the cooking as well as everything else. But all is well and I  can manage. The funeral is today, not the best Order of Service I have done, but time was a factor – or rather, the lack of it.  Still,  by this afternoon things should start to settle down into routine. I will book Annabell into the doctor on Friday for a follow up and let him know what happened at the hospital. I will do that when I get back from the funeral. Annabell will not be going out. For the  time being I wont be doing much outside of the house, other than shopping,  until Annabell is well again. Benji is fine and he and I  go out for our walks in the evening. However, at the moment I make sure that Annabell is settled before we go out – and I take the phone with me and make sure the house phone is close to hand for her.

I did mean to say that the other week when  the ambulance arrived and she was taken to hospital, one of the neighbours came over and asked if there was anything she could do – which I thought was very kind of her. I have had  several telephone calls to ask how she is so that’s been nice. As it turned out I was able to book her into see Doctor this afternoon, so that’s good and at least will allow her a good rest starting tonight. The funeral went well, despite a few problems but everything worked out in the end.  Raymond had been a Lodge member, and  a dozen of his lodge brethren said prayers outside the church before the casket was put into the hearse. They then formed a  Guard of Honour at the church gates as we led the hearse and following party out into the street. It was quite interesting. Took Annabell to the doctor this afternoon and he was concerned that the hospital had not contacted him to inform him of her treatment, but was pleased with regards to the tests that were undertaken as well as the  EKG – which will happen in a few weeks.  He has put her on a course of antibiotics – flucloxacillin – and will see her again on Tuesday.

Poor Thing :o)

Well, there you be – it’s Monday again. On Saturday we had a double function at the church. I attended the first, which was  a lunch, but the second I did not and came home to see to Annabell. Once I was sure she was ok, I took Benji for a run out to the Wetlands. Sunday I left her sleeping and went to church. Normally we have coffee and cookies in the Hall after the service, however, I made my apologies and  after the service, I went over to the shop for bread and went home.  It was just the boys on Sunday evening,  so dinner was fine. The boys and I did the washing and tidy up afterwards. John’s car is in for repair, so although Andrew brought him over, I took him shopping and then home. So that’s ended our week and here we are at Monday again. Should be a quiet day and tomorrow we are back to the Doctor. It’s all go!!

 

 

So begins another year.

On Thursday (28th.)  I took a trip down to Adelaide. I did not  think driving down and back was a great idea so I took the coach down – well, yes, good and bad. The good was that I arrived

Pipes and Drums for New Year

there stress free  however the bad was sitting for so long my knee froze and I had difficulty walking for a bit. Mind you, I get the same sitting at the computer for too long. I really must get this attended to sooner rather than later.  Part of the reason for going to Adelaide was to get Annabell’s new phone sorted out. We do not have an Optus Shop in town – we have an Optus reseller, which is not quite the same thing. They will sell phones and accessories and create contrtacts, but they  are not authorised to do repairs, these things have to be done at an Official Optus Shop, with trained staff and  resources. If your mobile ( cell) phone breaks down, you can take it to the place here and they will send it off to Adelaide for repair. From here the nearest Optus Shop is either Adelaide or Port Lincoln – Port Lincoln, well if you are going to travel that distance you might as well go to Adelaide and have the benefit of all the other shops.

On Wednesday, as some of you may know, we had a visit from Sooah, her husband and The WaWa. Benji was not happy – not at all. I think it was a question of “Just when you thought it

My friends will save me

was safe to….” However, it was a short visit and absence has certainly not made the heart grow any fonder as far as Benji is concerned. Still it was fair karma for what he did to me causing the word “Adoption” to enter my head.  Well, I was singing, and he – my associate and companion –  got up out of his bed and left the room. I mean, that’s a bit harsh, don’t you think??  I was not all that impressed.  Anyway it was lovely to see Sooah and her family again – even the WaWa – and she was looking good –   ( the WaWa that is ) still agro,  but looking well.  And I did manage to get a cuddle from her and she perched on my shoulder and  neck. I could suggest she was looking for a good spot on my neck to sink her pointed teeth into, but that’s a bit on the mean side  :o)

Benji’s “Friend”

Annabell bought me a set of six  Bohemian Crystal Wine Glasses for Christmas and as we had Christmas Lunch and Dinner with my son, his family and all the family, at Andrew’s House, I never really had the opportunity to use them. I certainly will tonight and the wine will be single malt, 18 years old, made in Tain, Scotland.

Overall New Year here was fairly quiet. Annabell went to bed about 12:30  John James and I  sat chatting until about 01:30. At 6am I got up and took Benji out for his walk.  The days since New Year’s Eve have been busy in that one of our ladies ( in a nursing home) passed away and her funeral is on Thursday. I have had a busy few days getting  things ready for that  writing the Order of Service, printing, photocopy and collate. Well yes, not intensive work, but time consuming and a paper jam didn’t help. The family want to do a power point of highlights in their mother’s life  so I met the two sons and we set that up. The sad thing is that with all the new people in church today, most of the people who knew the lady, are gone.

All this stuff with Apple and the deliberate slowing down of iPhones,  I honestly can say that I have not noticed any difference in my iPhone and whilst I am not (like some) attached to my phone by an invisible umbilical cord, I do use it every day. One of my sons, for example, carries two phones around with him – his personal phone and the company phone, even at home when he is on call-out.

Well, hello there!

The temperature – apart from a couple of days – has not been too bad. Generally February is the hottest month, but  last year it was shown that the hottest month was Feb/April, so we’ll see this year. I really don’t have a lot of confidence in long term forecasts. I sometimes think they pull numbers out of a hat and use them. I was glad to see that the Kangeroos are starting to come back to the top area – and this is what can happen if you leave your gate open   :o)

Getting things done

Our Town
Our Town

Although most people are wearing the “Brave Face”  there is a depressed aura about the place.  There are empty shops in the major shopping mall and more to come – Dick Smith – Sazzi Shoes – Mensland – Spotlight- Thompson and Waddington ( Optician) –  Link Engineering – Martelco Plant Hire – and our major employer, Arrium Mining ( Former BHP Steel) is hemorrhaging cash  and trying to negotiate with State and Federal Governments for a major  financial bailout. They asked  the employees to take a 10%  pay cut but they voted against doing so because they had just been awarded a 3% pay rise, and that was to be scrapped so in essence what they were really asking was for the workers to take a 13% pay cut. It effects us all but we will lose two families from the church because they were sponsored by Link Engineering, which  is now no more. Both husbands were employed by Link and without employment  they have to go back to South Korea and they have been here for three years. I realize that these names mean nothing to you, but names are not really important because what they represent is people loosing jobs. Link Engineering and Martelco Plant Hire are not recent start-ups – they have been around for a good while  The upshot of part of this, however  is that I may be getting a second dog. One of our Korean couples has a small

Dick Smith in happier days
Dick Smith in happier days

dog and they cannot find a home for it so it’s either surrender it to the RSPCA – the Council Pound ( Kill Pound) or put it to sleep. Sooah was told by one of the older ladies that she should talk to me and ask if I would be willing to take her – yes it’s a girl –  I had a talk with  Herself and she  agreed that we would take the dog. We don’t know the dog’s name but if it’s a Korean name, we’ll have to change that  :o)

Robert Burns wrote in “To a Mouse” – ‘The best laid schemes of mice and men gang (go) aft agley (astray) and leave us naught but grief and pain for promised joy” and Easter was sort of like that. I had plans – Thursday, take trailer to dump and empty same – go to sand yard and fill trailer with 20mm stones, (1 ton)  come home, lay out weed matting and start to spread out stone, going back for further loads as necessary.   Good Friday – Church / R& R. Saturday, back to work/ Sunday, Church and Family / Monday finish off and tidy up.  One of our (older) ladies died and we  had to organise a funeral. I  designed and prepared the Order of Service after I was notified on  Tuesday Evening. Discovered that the church photocopier was gaga, so all the printing had to be done here on this computer and my printer. Funeral was on Thursday. Good Friday and everything closed.  Now move to Tuesday of this week – chucked it down most of the day – Wednesday Medical appointments for Annabell, so now here we are on Thursday and I am about to go outside and connect the trailer. Hey, it’s only a week late   :o)

Benji on the driveway
Who – little ole me??

Sand yard, one load of stone laid – back to sand yard, second ton, not laid, need more weed matting. Will carry on Friday after medical appointment. So yes, it will take a while but I will get it done and I hope it will look nice when it’s finished.  I will brighten up the area by having at least two  medium size raised flower beds and fill them with potting mix and then, of course, some  flowering plants from the Garden Center, then sit back and watch them die – which is about normal for me. Actually, a good start was to get the plants home in the car without Benji chewing them.

Funeral, Legend, Temperatures

The new Office Suite
The new Office Suite

It is like an old worn record that everyone is tired of hearing – I still have a limited mail service. At the moment I am using my ISP web mail which is very limited in what I can do. I  installed MS Office 2016 which did not have Outlook. So I asked the local computer centre technician if Outlook 2013 would be compatible and work with Office 2016. I was assured that it would. It did not! Wouldn’t even look at it. We tried a number of solutions but none of them worked and I am reluctant to download Outlook again because of the last  problem. So I am still without full mail and will probably be forced into doing what Microsoft wants us all to do – not buy a program  outright any-more, but rather take out a subscription, pay a fee either monthly or yearly – Office 365 – you pays your cash, download the full office suite, then 365 days later – you pays an annual fee.

I have a funeral tomorrow – George was a soldier in the Royal Engineers, was with the 8th Army in North Africa, Egypt, El Alamein, then saw service in Italy where he was wounded. Since there was only one male member of the family,  three people from the church were asked to act as Pall Bearers. I was asked to be one. For me it was a privilege  and I felt that I was carrying someone from this world into history and legend. And, of course, he would have been familiar with another group  that200px-Royal_Engineers_badge have also passed into history  – Ali Baba Moreshead and his 20,000 thieves  ( Major General Leslie Moreshead and the 9th Australian Division.) who also fought at El Alamein. George was 94 this year. There also members of the RSL – Returned Servicemen’s League –  the President who called everyone to  “Stand Fast” then recited the  Ode, followed by the Bugler playing the  Last Post, a minute’s silence and the Stand Easy.  For the general student – well in SA anyway –  anything beyond Afghanistan is  history – heck anything beyond the sms message of an hour ago is pretty much history.

There is a new fire burning in Victoria that is causing some  concern as well as one in Tasmania. I think the one in Victoria might be around the Fozziemum area so I hope everything is ok there. We have had  mid 40c temperatures for much of the week , which topped out here at 45.8c and again fairly dry ( a few spots) lightening strikes. This is a new record for us since our highest temperature on record was 44.6c Today (Sunday) the temperature dropped down to 32c but very humid. Spots of rain about the place – light shower – and I mean light – here or there is not really helping much. I have been getting up early in the morning to take Benji for his morning walk. Late at night – after the sun has gone – we go out for our evening walk.

It’s been a year since I had the minor heart concern and the Cardioversion  to set everything to rights. Last week I went for some tests and for my trouble I have been called to the surgery to discuss the results with the doctor. As I said to a good friend I am feeling really great but I dare say the doctor will soon put a stop to that. Although it could simply be that my BSL is up – which is fair enough since I am naughty at times and I do like chocolate   :o)