Birthday, drug test and Max going home

Sunday June 2nd, Today is our grandson’s 2nd Birthday. Last year we had a big Birthday Party and took over part of the local area park and the Barbecue Units. This year was very much low key with only family invited to the house for cake and presents. So much has happened in the last two years that the time has  just flown. Indeed, it’s almost time for the ladies to start work on organizing the Ladies Brunch, their main charity fundraiser for the year. This is always well advertised and generally well attended. This afternoon I completed  the posters for the function and gave them to Annabell.  Next she will give me a list of the addresses they have to be sent to and I’ll make  the address labels, then take down to the Post Office.  This is a long weekend for us ( Queen’s Birthday Weekend). On Monday we will still do the grocery shopping since the supermarkets are open even if everything else is closed. Son is still having problems with his car so he telephoned and asked if I could take him to work. As I said before, he works about 20 klms. out of town. Anyway, I picked him up at 6am this morning and was stopped at the Security gate for a random drug and alcohol test – and – since I was not an employee,  had to do an induction test  to be allowed to drive through the Steelworks site. They own all the land. All that done and we set off to his company and we were driving along at the 40kpm speed when he decided to tell me that this was the part of the dirt road where he had damaged his car –  “Oh but it’s been graded since then”  Well thanks John, I  really needed to know that. Made me feel so much better!  I really enjoyed  driving 40 kms at 30kph. Well, at least when they finished the drug and alcohol testing it was light, which was a bit better, wasn’t any warmer but at least there was light.  I picked him up again in the late afternoon and then took the car to the carwash and gave it a bath to get rid of any salt from the saltworks. The steelworks own all the land in that area and that borders the beginning of the land owned by the army for its play-pen, but there is only one road through and that’s through the steelworks site and aloingside the saltworks – hence the bath.  John’s place is right on the very edge of  the  army Play-Pen.  After  several years, farmers who farmed and kept sheep on that land are still fighting the Defence Force ( Fed. Govt) for  fair compensation for the Compulsory Purchase Order the Feds imposed on them. They left us a sliver of land for the Wild Dog Hill Conservation Park.

Wednesday: Was awake at 1:36 this morning. A thunderstorm exploded overhead, woke the dogs, which woke me. They started barking and  I had almost all the lights on and unsure of what was happening: the noise of the rain pounding down was incredible. Got the dogs settled down but it took me ages to get back to sleep – lying in bed and listening to the  heavy rain.  I slept until the alarm went off at 5:45 but it was still raining so no walk this morning. Of course, I was willing but those two went all woosie on me  :o)  Yes, it’s still “dogs” but Max will be going home either tomorrow,  (Thursday) or Friday. At

Giant Cuttlefish

the moment (7:20am) it is still raining although not quite so heavy.   Telephone call today and Max will not be going home until Sunday so we have him for three more days. Well, he’s been here for three weeks so we can manage three more days.

The Cuttlefish season is upon us again and I have to organize the volunteers for the catering for four dates – two at the end of this month and a further two at the start of the following month. I believe this is the last I shall be organizing  and we should ( better have!!) a new Secretary  after the AGM on1st July.  Will be quite a change but I feel it’s needed although I will still be doing some things until the new Secretary finds her feet and takes over everything. She’s a clever lady so that shouldn’t take her too long and I might see about me talking to the traders and getting her telephone number with them instead of mine, but we’ll see.  I have organized the Cuttlefish people so that’s ok – the next two dates will not be organized by me – at least, I hope not.

Winds of Change

The daytime temperature has been nice but the mornings are cold – probably not in Adelaide – but up here, cold. The evenings have been much the same

Some of the larger birds at the wetlands. Swans have gone, though.

and I have taken to be rugged up if I take Benji for a walk around the wetlands in the evening as the sun  is on the wane. The other day my son sent me a message – “Wetlands in 30 mins.” so off  Benji and I trotted to the wetlands and caught up with him and the pram The day is great, warm and sunny, but the mornings and evenings are still cold. The month of November is a very busy month for the Royal Flying Doctor Group here. I said in the last post that I was asked to organise a fundraiser for this weekend – which I did – but this coming weekend is particularly busy with three events all going off on the one day. Next Saturday  I will be on the go from 8am to at least 9:30 pm. Still if it raises funds for the RFDS, it’s all worth it. I will be doing a fundraiser at the hardware store from 8;30 until 1:30 – a quick change and over to the Ada Ryan Gardens and the RFDS Simulator and  showing people through that until the close of the After Pageant Fair at 9pm and by the time we tidy up and get everything put away, it will probably be close to 10pm. Never mind – worse things happen at sea, or so they tell me.

The RFDS apart, it is going to be a busy time at church over the next month. The Lutheran Church are holding an Advent Service next week to which Annabell (my wife) and some other members of the congregation will be attending. With the other lady still on the sick list, I am still the Tuesday and Wednesday driver, and to add to that I have to take Annabell and pick up another lady for the Lutheran Advent Service on Wednesday afternoon. I thought after Mount Gambier things would start to calm down – oh sure, lead up to the Pageant,  Christmas, Carols in the Park and New Year and  you think things will calm down?

I had a bit of a “wake-up”call on Monday evening. On Sunday, the family come here for dinner. This Sunday Andrew did not come. We held off dinner, but still no Andrew. I tried to telephone him, but no reply. He was on call,  so we assumed he had been called out. Monday I tried several times to call him and again after dinner on Monday -still no reply. So I got into the car and drove to his place. He opened the door and he looked fit and well to me, but I asked how he was. He said he was fine. Talked to Trish and she was fine too. Trish quietly left the room leaving

My Grandson.

me with Andrew. I had just done what Andrew believed I would do when he did not turn up on Sunday and his phone remained unanswered – I would get in the car and drive over – and that is exactly what I did.  His reason for doing what he did is that he believed that this was the only way he could get me to come to his house. In the last year I have not been there to see my grandson, or play with him, because there has always been a reason to prevent me getting there –  organising some function or event for the RFDS – a church function or I am away for days at either Para Hills,  Naracoorte, or Mount Gambier on church business. And if i’m not doing that, I am up to my eyes in paperwork. He asked if I had to do the things I do – i.e. why me, why not someone else? I edit the church Magazine. This takes up time and effort but as much as I have tried to get people to even contribute – well,  everyone wants a magazine but no one is willing to help. The same with the State Newsletter – write on what’s happening here for the State Newsletter –  every other month I have asked for someone to do this- no one has ever responded. I have to go to the places I go to because that’s my role over and above running the service,  if you like. There are three of us who run the church, neither of the other two are fit to undertake the stress of  driving around the State – and by fit I mean medically – one is disabled and the other is recovering from  Cancer, which leaves me. Helen take care of everything locally and undertakes many of the visits, I look after things beyond local – that’s my role. I have to prepare reports for each of these meetings and be prepared to answer any questions that may arise. But Andrew is right, I am so tied up in other things that I am missing the growing up of my grandson – and to be very blunt and truthful – he is the only one I am likely to have.  Things will have to change and soon. I relayed all this to Annabell and she said she was not surprised  at Andrew’s method of getting me over there. “Your son knows and understands you more than you think he does”

 

The Bank and The Port

The Flinders Hotel/ Pt. Augusta

Today (Wednesday) after the ladies had gone, I drove Annabell  to Port Augusta. Since we were both going to be away for quite a few hours, I decided that we should take Benji with us. I felt he would enjoy the trip. Difficult to tell, really, since he curls up and goes to sleep. The

Not the greatest photograph, but best I could do.

reason for the journey was that Annabell needed to go to the bank and sort some things out.  Unfortunately, the nearest branch to us is 80 klms away in the Port. Whilst she attended to what she needed to do in the bank, I took Benji for a walk around the main street. Yes it was a bit warm but not too bad and he did his bit for the environment by watering a few trees. Annabell wanted to transfer money to Scotland but she had been having difficulty on line, so we came here to sort it out. Back at the car Benji and I had a drink of cold water and then shared a Hot Dog – not my first choice but easy to get fairly quickly.  Annabell came back and we headed off to Better Homes and the garden center. I was able to get some plants to replace the plants burned.  I actually wanted to go to the Arid Lands B.G. but with Benji that was not possible. The drive home was quiet and we did take note  that the long promised passing lanes on the Eyre Highway are finally under construction.

Well there you are, I survived another week of the ladies being here. Only six weeks to go!! It’s not too bad and I get out in the evening with Benji and in the morning- if I remember to get the car out of the driveway in time – we go to the wetlands. If not, we just go for a district walk.

Our Grandson at 8 months

At the weekend we had the State Election. Australia has compulsory voting, so, if you do not exercise your democratic right to vote, you get fined. Of course, once your name is marked off on the roll, how you vote, or spoil the paper, is your business. I do know some people who have put  1 in every box, effectively, spoiling the paper – which is legal. Some time after the election the Electoral Commission will  announce the final voting figures including the number of spoiled papers. Anyway, that’s all over and we have a change of government. The Socialist Government had been defeated   and left behind $8 Billion in state assets, which it has sold off and spent as well as a $14 Billion State debt – and that’s interesting for a State that is bigger than most countries in Europe but  has a population of less than 2 million.. The new government is a majority government and will govern in its own right. The last term of the Socialists only happened because they bought off several of the independents- offering them a ministerial portfolio to support them and the independents sold out and sided with the socialists – keeping them in power for the last four years. To be honest the state is not a basket case case – far from it – but it does have a lot of problems and concerns, which the new government will have to address fairly quickly – particularly the loss of young people.

Our New RFDS Pens

Young people are leaving the state because they feel that there is a lack of opportunity here. That’s a worry.

A new fundraising venture by the Royal Flying Doctor service is that we have organized for pens to be created with the RFDS Logo and the quality is fairly good. I have bought a number and I intend to send them out to people. Not for sale but as a gift ( they are already paid for)

Tomorrow I will go through to the Port again for a similar reason we went through last week – it’s the nearest branch of our bank – 100 miles round trip for a bank visit. I have decided not to take Benji this time, which means that I can go to the Arid Lands B.G. I will just be going on my own this time – no Annabell. Some shopping and get back to help Annabell get things ready for the ladies tomorrow evening. Wednesday and Yogi goes home so Benji will be back on his own again.

Road Trip, Benji and Baby

My Almond tree in blossom
Some Wetland Birds

I have just returned from two days in Adelaide. Conference this time was at Para Hills. The drive down was uneventful and the weather was excellent. The most frustrating part of the journey was the Main North Road and the roadworks that had the traffic banked up. Anyway, that was not so bad but I think watching snails overtake us was a bit depressing. Got cleared of that and was going well until King William Street and the roadworks outside the Festival Center, then more road works on the way to Bunnings at Parabanks. This is good because I know why there is never enough money to upgrade and repair country roads when everything is being spent in Adelaide. But as our Socialist Government keeps telling us “It’s good for South Australia” although how all this development in Adelaide and the million being spent on upgraded tram lines – in Adelaide – benefits a country town one thousand kilometers away from Adelaide in the far north of the state, is way beyond my comprehension. But then, not living in Adelaide, I don’t understand these things. But even at this conference – the first since the sale of Arrium –  and people asking me how things are in town now that Arrium is sold.  “Things will  be better and there will be more confidence in the community, you’ll be doing well now” – but what they think about is a sort of instant gratification and that’s not how it works. Many jobs were lost, those who survived had to accept 10 – 15% pay cuts, Westlands, the largest undercover  shopping area outside Adelaide still has over 30% of the shops empty and we still have over 600 houses up for sale and some of these are homes that were taken over by the banks when people could not pay their mortgage. Yes things will change, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Recovery will take time and the new owner will have to do something that helps to increase

Hello peeple..

the returning confidence, because, it is presently fragile and I believe it wont take a lot to damage it.  On 1st September there is a “Meet and Greet”rally to be held in the Ada Ryan Gardens. The RFDS will be doing the catering as part of our fundraising.  We hope to have the opportunity to meet the new owner, talk to him and have a photo opportunity.

Annabell kept telling me every time I called her that Benji was not a happy puppy. He hardly left my room except to go outside and come for his food. If the doorbell rang he would come charging through, stand looking at the door until it was open. Annabell said you could almost feel the disappointment  when he saw it wasn’t his daddy, so he turned and went back to the room. He really misses me when I am away from him. But it’s a two-way street and I miss him too.

Four Hours Old

On  2nd June of this year, our grandson (Connor Logan)  was born. I no longer feel quite as isolated from certain conversations as I did. However, it’s not all solved in that my grandson is a mere  three months old whereas most of the people in the church have grandchildren that are married, have children, or are out in the world carving out a life for themselves, some are serving in the armed forces. However, my grandson may still be a babe at his mother’s breast, but he has life ahead of him;   a world with all its new technology and wonders waiting for him to discover. In spite of the crazy people and events, the world is still an exciting and wonderful place. The chaos and events taking place in this era,  will, I believe, pass and by the time he is ready to go out into the world, it will be an even better place than it is now.

Part of the shopping center has been blocked off and a large new shop is under construction. I understand it will be a new variety store. I’m not really fussed but if it is big enough it will create employment and perhaps it will signal the  rebirth of the shopping center and fill many of the empty shops.  This is a development that I look forward to seeing.