2019 – Meet the New Year – Same as the Old Year :o)

See you next Year….

Well, time to think about taking down the tree and all the decorations. Once I’ve done that here, I’ll go down to the church, dismantle and put away the Christmas Tree there. Then after that I might take a drive down to the  supermarket and get myself some Hot Cross Buns – might even pick up an Easter Egg whilst I’m there. Sad, isn’t it?? I mean we  only just cleared Boxing Day and the Hot Cross Buns were in the shops already.  Don’t know about the Easter Eggs, but it wouldn’t surprise me.  Things have been fairly quiet on all fronts – a heatwave followed by two serious thunderstorms, then back to more normal weather for this time of year. We will have one day ( Thursday) when the temp. is forecast to hit 42c but other that that fairly normal mid 30s,

The company John works for has just completed a multi-million dollar upgrade and a rebuild of part of the facility. Because of the disruption they are well behind on orders and need to catch up – so they have that as well as starting up new equipment and sorting out any problems that may arise with the new plant and equipment, so in order to bed in the new plant, and work on catching up with orders,  the company has gone on twelve hour shifts for the time being. John is on nightshift —- bit of a shock to the system :o)  Andrew is supposed to be on holiday but he was called out and t

Friends together.

here was a possibility that he would be called out again, so he stayed at home. And there you are – Annabell and I – for the first time ever – spent New Year’s Eve on our own – well  we did have Benji and Dougal – but no other uprights. Did get text messages from both boys so  that was good. Sam ( Dougal’s daddy) is still in hospital. It was thought that they had sorted the blood loss problem and he was  allowed to go and stay with his daughter for a bit before coming home, but after two days he was rushed back into hospital. This was just before Christmas and I haven’t heard how things are since. We could have Dougal for a bit longer. That’s ok – he is not a problem.

Got the dogs out early this morning before the temperature  builds up to the expected 42c today. This time next week I should be in Adelaide. I have some things that I need to do and I want to get the problems with Annabell’s  mobile (cell) phone sorted out. We do not have an Optus shop here, only an agent and they can’t do much other than sell you a phone. So, anyway, here we are in 2019 and I have to say that I haven’t really noticed much difference. I’ve gone back to an A5 Organiser rather than an A6 mainly because I was having difficulty getting A6 inserts and I am not really keen on Filofax Personal. Years ago David Jones used to be the place for Filofax and other Organisers  Years ago it was also so simple – not so now. Now if I want inserts for my organiser I have to order them from overseas – the UK or the USA – in the case of the USA $30 for the inserts and $26 for postage and that’s $US converted to $AU $87, which is  ridiculous. I could go into Officeworks  and buy a brand new Organiser with inserts for just about that. Ok so it wont be good quality leather, but chuck that  in a cupboard somewhere and  use the inserts that come with it.   So I have gone back to a larger size because, oddly enough, the inserts are easier to get and I can download them and print that size on my printer. Not so A6.

Monday Lisa

I’m not very good at joining things but I did join a  Filofax/Organiser site  and although I still follow it,  I find that there is very little that really interests me on there these days. I find  my self playing  Batman’s Joker – “Why so Serious?” There is also a regular round table Skype call but it’s always a Sunday and the family are here so I never take part. Oh and  to help me in  the joy I find in taking photographs I  attended the local Camera/ Photography Club. I did very well, I thought. I lasted  two meeting before I came to the conclusion that it was not really for me. and I left. I like taking photographs and I always have a camera with me everywhere I go. I have an old Nikon Coolpix L100, which I keep in my laptop bag. I bought this off some old fellow called Noah many years ago. I am not a great photographer but I like taking photographs. I have bought many books on photography, but I found them confusing even after the blurb says that they are targeted at beginners. I suppose one day they will come in handy as door stops.

Winter and a Baby Due.

It would seem at times that I lead a very busy life. Generally this is far from the truth – my life is  quiet and peaceful. However, having said that, this year has been different and because of things that have happened, here and elsewhere, I have had to to a lot of travelling. There are four conferences a year, two in Adelaide, two in Mount Gambier. These take place every three months – although having said that, this is the third time I have been to Mount Gambier since January.  The West Terrace Committee, of which I am a member, generally meets twice a year – or as required. This time it came right after Mount Gambier, so I was only just home for less than a full day and then away again for another two days. This is where it becomes slightly bizarre. Because of a fear campaign, many young mothers are refusing to have their children vaccinated and as a result many things we thought were eradicated are making a comeback – one of these is Whooping Cough. This has increased to the extent that  if a woman is about to have a baby, the adults associated with that baby –  Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts etc. – are “Advised” to have a Whooping Cough Injection. My son and his partner are about to have a baby so Annabell and I, along with my other son,  need to have this Whooping Cough injection. All of this travelling over May really told on me and I was tired and somewhat rundown. Our injections were scheduled for the day after I got back from Adelaide. I should have delayed them, but time is running out and we needed them now, so we had them. Annabell and son John are fine.  I ended up with Flu-like symptoms and am in bed sick. I was concerned but I am assured that this is not uncommon and I just have to see it out. Normally it would have been ok but my  body turned gangster on me and forced me to bed. Annabell is very good and feeds me hot Lemon and Honey drinks. It has already started to dry up and I should be fine in a day or so.

The WaWa has recovered and I have removed the Medical Collar. The only concern is that with me being in bed, the dogs are not getting out for exercise.  I dare say they will be fine for a few days. The family were here this evening and  the date for Trish is tomorrow (29th) anything after that and he’s late. – And yes, it is “him” but no name as yet, or if there is they are not telling anyone.

The Arrium Saga takes another twist as the Shareholders have formed a group “Arrium Shareholders United”which are opposed to the Administrator and are opposed to the company being sold. They maintain that Arrium today is a different company than it was fourteen months ago. They also maintain that the company is viable and trading well and that it should be taken out of Administration, re listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), a new Board of Management put into place and negotiations commenced for refinancing. The Administrator has considered the suggestions and  declared them as unworkable – the price for steel and the price for Iron Ore has decreased while the cost of power continues to increase, and there is the little matter of the $2+ Billion debt – and that the only viable option to ensure long term stability is to sell the company as a whole. The closing date for offers was 31st May at 5pm. There are two contenders – one South Korean the other British. The Administrator will consult with the stakeholders – Banks, Unions, State and Federal Governments and an announcement made in about three weeks.

Yesterday an old friend arrived with a “Hi. Remember me?” as he plunged the overnight temperatures down to -1c and it was cold taking Benji out for our morning walk. You notice I said Benji  not  “The Dogs” yes, she’s not silly and fails to see the point of getting out of a perfectly warm bed when it’s still cold and dark.  Actually I really don’t blame her. Our Old Friend has not been very friendly these last few days. No snow – of course – but lots of frost on the grass.  Hmmm – maybe the WaWa has the right idea………..

**newsflash**   The  Baby was born at 3:13 this afternoon (Friday 2nd June) and, would you believe, they still have not decided on a name. Anyway, until then as far as I am concerned, he is Andrew Junior and he was just over  seven pounds

Traffic Comments and Walking with WaWa

I think daddy set up this bed for me. Isn’t he kind..

A long weekend has just concluded and things will get back to normal. Anyone with any degree of intelligence, stays away from Adelaide at this time – unless there happens to be a specific reason for going – conference, Adele Concert, International Cricket Match, and so forth. Even at the best of time Adelaide traffic is heavy, but then as I keep saying, 15% of the land mass is occupied by 85% of the population – give or take the odd percentage and South Australia  is bigger than most European countries and bigger than Alaska. We are fortunate in that we do not

Oh that’s what these things do!?!

have the traffic problems experienced by other places – mind you there is only one other place in South Australia- Adelaide, so generally our drivers here in the north  are still largely courteous and considerate, although we do find with younger drivers that no one has really impressed on them what that lever on the right of the steering wheel is for. That’s the one that goes backwards and forwards and makes a strange clicking sound. Other drivers find the sound soothing,  strangely comforting  and just leave it on. Other than these little quirks, driving here is  good.  I find the drivers in Adelaide, rude and impatient and very intolerant – but then, I suppose that’s no different from any other major city.  However, the roads into Adelaide get so congested that it doesn’t take much to bring traffic to a halt and create a  major back-up. An event – whatever – and half the city is closed down. I’ve been caught up in that once. Never made that mistake again. On a long weekend like this everyman, woman and their dogs head north and the generally quiet Port Wakefield becomes a major bottleneck since all traffic – coming or going – has to pass through it. One slight problem and the traffic can be banked up either way for quite some distance.  But to compare our traffic to  the USA or any other major European City, is just plain silly. The entire population of South Australia would probably  fit into one of the Boroughs of New York.

Out last night

The family were here at the weekend and they were amazed at the changes that have taken place with the WaWa.  John came in and she started by barking at him then

Bit better – not much, but a bit

jumping at him, so I told him that she wanted him to pick her up. He was reluctant to do so, but then he bent down, put his hand under her and lifted her up into his arms. He was amazed at how she was. Andrew came in later and she did the same thing to him, barked then jumped at him and I told him to pick her up. Andrew thought it was a bit of a joke, but on  assurances from John and I he bent down and picked her up. She snuggled into his shoulder and he wandered about the house for the next half hour with the WaWa on  his shoulder. The boys just could not believe the changes in her in a week. I am very pleased that all our patience is starting to pay off and she is becoming what she really is – a friendly, lovable and playful little thing. First few days of our walks I carried her part of the way, now I don’t and she walks the whole distance. We generally walk within the bike lane. I pick up her leash and her tail is going fit to create a hurricane  I have to admit though in the early morning when I have Benji out on his own I don’t mind his stopping at every tree, bush and clump of grass  to have a sniff – it’s  the almost forever NCIS investigation of every blade of grass in that clump that gets me.

We are hearing from Sooah a bit more frequently now and she has responded several times to the photographs I put on line, which is very good and I am well pleased. I think she  must have been reading from the start and was upset by the fact that the initial behavior of her dog was causing me problems. There are still problems with Benji when they are in the house, but outside of the house they are more like Big Brother and Little (adopted) Sister and the play and walk well together. Something we need to work on. I have to say that the changes have been quite remarkable, but very welcome. Now if I could just get her to stop ambushing Benji ……………………….

 

Melbourne – Part 3

My first view of Ethiad Stadium
My first view of Ethiad Stadium

Edinburgh Military Tattoo Melbourne

Day three of our trip and today is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I think everyone was up and ready bright and early. The Tattoo was at 1pm but we had no idea where the Ethiad Stadium was, what the area was like and what kind of parking to expect. We  talked about this and made the decision to call a taxi, deciding that this was, by far, the easiest choice – probably expensive – but easier and less stressful. At about 12 we headed off to the Stadium. On the way there we passed what we were told was the largest Shopping Mall in the Southern Hemisphere – Chadstone Shopping Center. I decided that had to be a must if possible. We decided to hit the merchandise  area and this is where we had a major disappointment. As part of my birthday gift, Andrew and John had purchased a Tattoo Merchandise Voucher. We heard nothing from anyone so we assumed that this would be in the form of a kind of Tattoo Show bag

At the stadium concourse
At the stadium concourse

and I presented the Voucher at the Merchandise Area only to be told that this had nothing to do with them and that the Tattoo Administration should have contacted me and sent the goods to me directly. This never happened. (More on this) Also Andrew wanted a Tattoo Teddy Bear for  Trish, but they had run out of them.  I just bought the usual – a golf shirt, T shirt and a Baseball Cap. Our seats were  not too bad, but the best Andrew could get at such short notice. They didn’t know about it and it was something they dreamed up for my Birthday at almost the last

Aboriginal Fire Ceremony Welcome to country.
Aboriginal Fire Ceremony Welcome to country.

moment, but I have to say the seats were not bad at all and we had a fairly good view of things.  For anyone who has been to Edinburgh or seen the Tattoo on Television, the format is fairly standard and flows swiftly from one section to the next. I think over the years most people ( or perhaps just me) have   decided on their favourite.  I liked all things from the Governor’s Guard of Honour, Australian Defense Force Band,  Pacific Islanders, The New Zealand Maori the King of Norway’s Guard, the Scottish Country dancers, the South Australia Police Band, Massed Pipes and Drums, but my favourite over the years is the Top Secret Drum Corps from Switzerland. They fascinate me.

The performances by all the cast ( 1200) was outstanding up to and very much including the closing performance and the Lone Piper. If I were to make one complaint it is that due to the roof being closed over the smoke from fires and guns took a long time to clear so a lot of the photographs have a smokey look about them,not as sharp as they should be – if that makes sense.. Would we go again – most certainly – I would even give up Celtic Thunder to go back to Melbourne.

Pipes and Drums
Pipes and Drums

At the end of the Tattoo we managed – after a while – to grab a taxi and make our way to  Chadstone Shopping Center  – and yes, it is a massive place but it was late in the afternoon so we really didn’t have much of an opportunity for a full exploration of the centre – perhaps next time – although I did need to get to Optus and have some adjustment made to my phone. Since the distance between Chadstone and Oakleigh wasn’t too far, we walked back to the hotel. We had  something to eat and drink in Chadstone, so no one really felt like dinner, so the boys read whilst I did some work on the computer – I carry a portable modem with me. An early night was in order for the drive home in the morning. – Confession – I went out to  the nearest KFC ( about five/six minutes walk away) and had a Cheeseburger.

Top Secret Drum Corps
Top Secret Drum Corps

Weeds, Stone and Windows 10

I've made a start
I’ve made a start

I have to admit that it is not the prettiest  of things but it’s clean, neat and tidy and since I  don’t seem to be able to grow anything here, clean, neat and tidy seems like a reasonable compromise. That’s only part of the area I am doing, I haven’t even thought of starting in weed central yet. The stone is called Tregalana and is, I think,  20cm. I have two days in Adelaide and I hope to have the backhoe work completed, the area laid out and partly covered in stone by the second day and look at the Hexagonal Pergola that I would like and organise  getting it home. Probably mean a third day with the trailer. That’s not so bad in mid-spring when the days are longer. It means I can go down with John, get what we want and drive back, with John taking a turn at driving. Yes, that would work. The stone for this area will be about two trailers ( about 1.75 tons)  but for weed central, could be a lot, lot more.

I know I said a fair bit about the new Wetlands and the work being done there but I really am impressed with  the way

Another area of the wetlands
Another view of the wetlands

the area is being developed. When it is finished and the  plants have grown it will look nice.

Well that was exciting!! I received a notification that Windows 10 was ready to download on this computer so I went ahead and began the upgrade. By late afternoon it had froze on “32%” and stayed there for most of the day and well into the evening. Using my tablet I found out that 32% was a common problem  and there was really not a lot I could do about it. What I did do was unplug the computer and restart the computer, Windows restored Windows 8.1 and aft5er a few scares it restarted with no problem.  ( HA!!)   I left the  computer alone for a while and went off to help herself. When I came back the machine had gone into “Sleep Mode”, which is normal. What was not normal was the fact that I could not get it out of sleep mode. Again I closed down and went for a restart – not this time, The machine refused to reboot. I tried several things but nothing worked. I got out the copy of Windows 8 and put that in ( yes it had power) and tried to reboot it on that – again nothing. Left it off overnight. This morning I tried again – same result – nothing.  Then I had a thought.  ( don’t be concerned, I recovered quickly)  Some time ago I had a problem with the printer and after trying many things to get it working I hit on the idea of  disconnecting it from the mains – and on re connection, it worked.  I had my doubts that something as simple as this would  work on the computer, but I went ahead and carried out the process of disconnection

Almost....
Almost….

and re connection. Hit the on button and, yes it worked and to prove it I am here. Now here’s the problem, I didn’t  rescue everything and I lost some things – mail being one of these things ( Outlook – go figure) I also have a few programs that are not working as they should and I may have to reinstall them. I think I will give Windows 10 a miss for the time being.   The icon is still sitting there in the right corner but it can stay there for the moment. Once I fix things I’ll stay with 8.1 for the time being.

Trips, Tag & Caught.

Only a week until the trip to the South East. Still not certain if I will have company or not but it kind of looks like not. What is about to follow will seem pretty silly to most people and you’re right – it is, but it’s fun. Herself and I play a game when we are out in the car. If a Police car passes, or turns off just as we turn on the road, the game we play is  “that they nearly caught us that time”.  From time  to time (not very often though – only once before  this year) we do “get caught” For example, we pulled into the car park of the supermarket

Tagged!!
Tagged!!

and I took herself shopping. When we came out, this was the picture: I think we were well and truly “caught”that time. It’s a sort of playing Tag with someone who does not know they are playing.  Ok,  so to all you serious minded people it’s probably silly, but I have friends who play at finding  a particular coloured car on a particular day. What can I say – it’s not of medical concern –  it’s a country town – there’s not a lot to do :o)  But it could have been worse – I could have had a bald tyre or something , or I could have had a sudden rush of blood to the brain and signed myself up for a half marathon. :o)

The Budget  was presented to Parliament and People and the general feeling is that it’s an  Election Budget” the sort of budget that a government produces when it’s looking to an election coming up and spends money to influence votes. The government denies that this is the case but considering the horror of last year’s budget and the fact that a lot of it has still not passed through the Senate, it’s very suspicious.  However, the likelihood is that this government will be elected and all the rage against it over the last year will vanish as the new  spending budget takes effect. Apart from which, the Opposition is full of faceless, bland people, with the leader being  the man who stabbed not one, but two Prime Ministers in the back. Did the dirty on Kevin Rudd, then backed Julia Gillard then stabbed her in the back and welcomed Kevin back into the job. Probably just as well that Rudd and Gillard  have gone from parliament or else Shorten would probably  looked to see which of his knives were still available.

I set off on Sunday morning for Naracoorte and according to the weather forecast it promises to be a nice sunny day. Assembly is due to finish on Wednesday morning and it

Chi, just a few days ago
Chi, just a few days ago

depends when it finishes. If it finishes late I will leave Naracoorte but may have to stay overnight in Adelaide. If this is the case, it may well afford me the opportunity to get some shopping, particularly  Bunnings, although Herself wants me to stop at the Bagman (it’s a company – not a person)  and pick up some sleeves of polystyrene  trays for the ladies  craft and baking tables. The update is that John will not be coming with me. His boss is away sick and John has to run the place until she gets back from sick leave. Pity, I would have liked his company.

Chienne is well. In fact she is doing great. Still drinking copious amounts of water, but eating and walking well. I am still taking her out every-night, so she is getting plenty of exercise but also plenty of rest.

Nearly back to “Normal” (??)

PeekaBoo - I see you.
PeekaBoo – I see you.

I have removed myself from several on-line groups that I belonged to. I really had not a lot in common with them to begin with – indeed the only thing we really had in common was our collective use of ringed planners i.e. Filofax. I was also finding that the vast majority of the members were female and at times the posts tended to stray very much away from planners to babies, illness, relationships, anti-men rants and I sort of lost interest. It was like being an Android user in an iPhone community.   I found myself thinking more and more of Charles de Gaulle – “The more people I meet , the more I love my dogs,”

So that’s the end of that. I am sorry because I have been a member for some time and it was interesting and enjoyable for a while – before it became more of a social gathering. I am still with one and  I hope that will remain on task. We’ll see. This afternoon I am taking Chienne to see the Vet. She has been drinking  a lot of water and peeing everywhere. She has even wet her bed in her sleep. We think she is diabetic but that’s really for the Vet. to determine. Chi. will be 14 this year but apart from the waterworks, she is seems healthy enough, still runs around

Chienne and her Thundershirt
Chienne and her Thundershirt

like a mad thing, is out walking with me most nights, so no problems about activity, eats well – so I really don’t foresee much in the way of problems with her in the immediate future. I miss the Man and I think Chi. does too.

I have been back working out in the garden – mainly cleaning up the neglect  that has taken place over the last few months. We also  had a little bit of rain – not a lot – which was enough to send the weeds into overdrive. I pour on weed killer – they laugh at me and  grow even faster and more prolific. But then again, I hit them with weed killer – Chienne pees on them  :o)  Helpful…

Although we have only had a miniscule amount of rain – we have had wind – lots of wind. Indeed many people have commented on the number of really windy days this year. What this has done is lay down dust everywhere – everything outside is covered in fine dust. Having  constructions going on, ( new houses) the land is cleared and the bare earth throws up considerable dust in the wind. A couple of times I have turned back from walking Chienne that direction.  Now that I am (almost) back to full activity again I can start to do a cleaning up, although, short of a flame thrower, I don’t know what to do about these persistent weeds.

The visit to the Vet yesterday was not as good as I hoped it would be. The blood sugar level was around 4.3, which sort of rules out diabetes, but it also brings other things into play that I don’t want to think about – liver and kidney problems I really should stop making any kind of prediction. I said the same about me on my first visit to the cardiologist and look how that turned out. Now about Chienne. However, Mustapha has taken blood samples and sent them off to the lab so we should know sometime next week. Her and me both – she waits on Lab results, I wait on Cardiologist final results, post cardioversion.   I am feeling good and spending the day out in the garden. In about an hour or so I have to go and collect John and we take a trailer load of rubbish to the dump. This evening, now that Andrew is back from Roxby, we are all getting together for a family dinner at Andrew’s place.