Promotion, Fund-raising and Aeromedical Jet

Part of the Team at  OTR / with Ambulance Service.

It’s been a very busy end to the week. Thursday  we were involved in a promotion with the opening of the new  On The Run (OTR) Service Station. OTR are one of the sponsors of the Royal Flying Doctor Service so we help them out but we also have the opportunity to promote the RFDS. The OTR is the “home”of the Krispy Kreme Donuts, which we gave away for free on opening day. Personally I don’t like them. They are great in most people’s eyes and I know people in Adelaide that go for them in a big way, but I find them just a tad too sweet for my taste. But we had a good day – talked to a lot of people and gave out flyers . On Friday the Prime Minister visited the Governor-General and  a General Election was called for the 18th May, so we can expect the letterboxes to be crammed with election material for the next weeks. Friday I  took Annabell to the doctor for a check-up, called John (my son) and reminded  of the RFDS Fundraiser on Saturday. Spent the afternoon working in the garage. Saturday morning I decided to have some time off so, I did not set the alarm and slept until almost 6:30. The dogs slept too and we didn’t go for our walk until almost 7am.

The dogs are well and enjoyed the walk this morning. It was interesting in that everything was quiet. Generally it’s still dark when we go out but it was light today and perhaps the other dogs were asleep which means that Dougal didn’t go ballistic like he general does if he hears a bark – or, indeed, any undetermined noise.  The Kangaroos  were few and far between this morning but  because it was light I saw for the first time some of the damage the Kangaroos had caused. I have walked the same area for a long time and watched it change over the years. I have watched a man  lay in concrete slabs and  edging to mark out his lawn area, cover the area in new topsoil, plant seed and water the area ( got wet a couple of times) and watched the grass take root and  finally become a nice lawn, which,  thanks to the Kangaroos, is in the process of being destroyed.  I can understand the frustration that must be involved here, but I still think leaving out water for them is the right things to do.

The New RFDS ICU Jet.

We did fairly well at the fundraiser  today. Started at 9am and finished at 1pm. It was interesting in that a number of people wanted to ask about the new RFDS  aircraft – the world’s first – and at the moment, only – aeromedical Jet – a Flying Intensive Care Unit. We wont see this here and it will be used for the long haul runs to the far north of the State.  At the meeting last week were were  told of the Whyalla Child Care Center.  This Center, like  a number of places, is on the flight path to the airport and every day the children see the RFDS Aircraft fly overhead. They sort of adopted the RFDS and some of the children said they wanted to be nurses and  go on the aircraft, some wanted to be pilots and one wanted to be a

Friends together.

doctor for the RFDS. Knowing the children like to play with boxes, one of the mothers brought in some empty boxes. The children made their very own RFDS aircraft and since they see it every day, they new which colours to use.  We thought this was fantastic and contacted Central Operations, who were very impressed. They sent me up a box of balloons, wrist bands, colour-in pages and a heap of put together  aircraft.

Annabell had a telephone call from Ina in Adelaide. I was out with the dogs at the time but Annabell says she was sounding really good and she hopes

to be back home in  about ten days. This means that Dougal might not be with us for more that another week or so – if Ina is correct. Not that I want to see him go, really, but Benji has been a bit odd this time – have no idea why. They have not been fighting or causing concern. apart from two spats, but that happens. Perhaps Benji doesn’t want to share anymore, whatever the reason, it feels different this time.

Adelaide, Kangaroos and walkin’ the dog!

On Tuesday morning I set off for Adelaide. I was  not too far from Adelaide (less than 90klms) when my son contacted me and said that there had been a change of plans and that they were both arriving in Adelaide on Tuesday night and  heading home on Wednesday morning, so I didn’t need to come down after all.  I told him where I was and how impressed I was but I hope I shall be able to cancel  the second room at short notice. This is the hotel I use when Presbytery is in North Adelaide. I took a run out to the shopping center at Tea Tree Plaza and did some shopping for Annabell. I like TTP and am generally quite comfortable there. For  some reason I don’t like Marion Shopping Center. Can’t think why but I just don’t like it. It doesn’t seem to have a lot of character and I find it quite antiseptic. Later on in the afternoon I was at a place that has  an overload of character – The Central Market.  It’s one place I really enjoy wandering around.  Anyway, I  went to the hotel and booked in, explaining why I no longer need two rooms and why I need to cancel one. No problem. They were very understanding.  Once I booked in and put my case in the room,  I took the bus into town. I had some things I wanted for myself at Kikki.k and David Jones

For more years than I care to remember I have used a  Filofax but in recent years it has become ridiculously expensive to get inserts. I think I said before that I can, of course, get inserts from the

I see the moon, the moon sees me!!

UK and the USA  but the cost of shipping/postage is greater than the cost of the inserts.  Yes I can download but my printer cannot not cope with the size and I am not about to buy a printer that can so I can use it once a year. Anyway, there are several printing shops in Adelaide so at the last meeting of the year ( late November early December) I can download, save to a USB and have the inserts printed off for less than $10. For years it was so simple and there were two Filofax outlets in Rundle Mall, Adelaide –  Borders and David Jones. Borders has gone and David Jones don’t really stock much now.

It’s been ages since Benji and I were down at the wetlands. It’s really been too hot  and  sadly there is only a limited amount of shade there. This whole week the temperature will be around the mid 30c mark and still too hot to take him onto the concrete paths at the wetlands for any length of time. Interestingly, there is no shade at the Wetlands Kiosk. Not long after it opened I took Benji for a walk then stopped off for a coffee for me and a small Ice Cream for Benji. The cost was over what I anticipated which I thought was a bit much. I have not been back since. I also notice that it is closed for a number of days during the week, so perhaps it is not doing as well as was expected. Personally, I think the lack of shade might have something to do with that.  The forecast for next week is  for cooler temperatures, so perhaps we can get back down to afternoons at the lighthouse and the wetlands.

In the early evening.

This morning on my walk with Benji, the place was covered in Kangaroos – they were everywhere. Not just the odd one or two as normal, but mobs of them. Why no photographs – it’s 6am and it’s dark. In the early evening, I go around the park/ play area: I no longer go through it. There are quite a few Kangaroos there in the evening and I find that even although Benji is under control and does not offer a threat – he doesn’t even bark at them – they still take off when they see the dog, and that’s my problem. There is bushland across from the park and that’s where they make for, but it means crossing a road and they would just take off without  any concern for traffic. Hitting a Kangaroo is not  good –  it kills the Kangaroo, but  the car would be a write off and  depending on the angle of the hit – the driver could be too. So, I go around the park and leave them be – it’s safer that way

Australia – Frying tonight!!

Thursday 24th Jan. This morning I took Benji out for his walk at 05:30. I thought I might as well, I was awake anyway. Actually, I had been awake since 3;40 – it was a very hot, sticky night and I

Our little corner of the Universe

didn’t sleep too well.  We saw quite a few Kangaroos and when I got back I made certain my water container – a big blue bucket – was full. I also filled the bird dish.  Annabell and I had to go out since we had an unplanned medical appointment for Annabell. We moved across to the shopping centre and got her medication, the supermarket for milk  and a few things then we came home.  On leaving home this morning to take Annabell for her appointment, I did something I don’t usually do – I left a fan on for Benji so that he could stay cool until we got back. We didn’t waste time,  got what we wanted and headed home. Inside and put the A/C back on again. The temperature climbed to an “official temperature” of 48.6 but my monitor read 50c and the reason it read 50c is because it couldn’t go any higher. At  even the official 48c, the reverse cycle A/C had  difficulty trying to cope. The government  were noted and warned that the  electric system was “struggling” so for the first time ever, the massive generators were switched on  to help the  grid. Despite this precaution Adelaide and  some districts around, suffered power blackouts – and this on the hottest day ever.   Around 8pm it had cooled down a bit so we went out for our evening walk.  I was outside a short while ago and felt that it was warmer than when I took Benji out earlier, I checked the monitor and found that it was sitting at 36c and it is now 23:05, Might not be the best night for sleeping.

`The Hay Convoy at Iron Knob SA. * Photograph by Angel Giles *

Did sleep reasonably well. Took Benji out this morning and was very surprised to see that many of the places on our walk had also put out buckets of water. I thought this was great. One place had a cleaned  rubbish bin filled with water.  I have increased the size of the container I use.

One of the incredible things that happen here  are the Hay Convoys. Much of New South Wales and most of Queensland are in drought. Thus farmers cannot feed their  animals. The farmers in Western Australia donated about 3500 bales of Hay – enough to fill 50 trucks and these are being trucked  from Western Australia to New South Wales. The convoy was passing through South Australia on the Inter-State about 30 miles away. A number of people  were going out to the Iron Knob truck stop to greet the trucks and the truckers and wave them on . I was invited to go with them and I really wanted to, but I had an unplanned medical appointment for Annabell and that was at the same time as the trucks were going through. I did ask my friend Angel to take lots of photographs – which she did

Daddy wasn’t using it so I was keeping it protected for him.

As I said before – the weather is strange and very unpredictable. From the hottest place in the commonwealth to being really quite cool when I was out a little while ago with Benji. It was ok, but  really cool  (17c) considering the temperature over the last few days. I  did, however, remark to Annabell the other day when we were having these rolling power outages, that it was a bit sad when you have to walk about the house with a torch (flashlight) in your pocket and candles  placed around the place – just in case, you understand. I have faith in Power Networks, I mean who else can tell over 100,000 people who have just lost power of the hottest day ever, that it was a blown fuse – and tell it with a straight face? That takes talent..

When I was growing up in Scotland the early days Fish & Chip shops sometimes put a notice in their window ‘Frying Tonight” That’s what it felt like here.

Things Fall Apart

I have to be honest and say that Benji and I have not really done very much of late. This is the coldest winter period we have had in many years  with the overnight temperature and the early morning  down to 1c. The Port was down to 0c and over the last few days this has been the morning temperature and just too cold to go wandering  around in the dark, and to be honest I sense a lack of keenness  in Benji to go wandering in the cold morning. Like me, he sticks close to the heater.  Daytime temperature is around 13c / 14c, which,  for us is cold. However, the winter sun sees us wandering abound the Wetlands and observing the progress – or lack thereof – of the new kiosk. I don’t wish to be negative about these things, but can you come back next year. The local council own and run the wetlands and the local council are building the kiosk. I mean, it might be very nice when  it’s finally finished but at the moment it looks like two side by side shipping containers.

The Ferry today with the Tall Ship in the background

I recently read a post  that, apart from the mention of a place I had never heard of, wandered around Glasgow to places I remember, yet don’t remember. The

Now this is a ferry !!

places and things I remember have gone or have changed beyond recognition. One example of this was the Govan Ferry, which today, I think,  is a smart boat that crosses the River Clyde in next to no time unlike the BIG Govan Ferry I remember, which was slow and ponderous.   I worked for HM Customs and Excise. I was stationed at the White Horse Distillery in Port Dundas. Part of the Bonded Warehouses had been built by Prisoners of War  – French POW who fought for the Emperor Napoleon. You felt that the place had been there forever and would never change – yet it is gone – flattened, the Distillery and the Bonded Warehouses – I have no idea when but it’s all gone. “Things fall apart” to be sure. On of the men in the church took his two daughters back to Scotland  and when they came home he wrote a piece for the “New Voice” the church magazine which I edit. In it he talked of his holiday and the places he and his daughters visited. Before he left Jennifer, one of his daughters,  asked if there was anything I would like from Scotland. I asked if she could bring me back a few postcards from Glasgow. Anybody asks me, that’s what I always suggest. I use them as monthly dividers for my Filofax. Anyway, they travelled across the British Isles and finally came back to Glasgow – Govan, where John was brought up. It was mostly about Govan he wrote and expressed his sadness that the places of his childhood were gone. He tried to find the houses he and his wife lived in when they were first married, but they too have gone. Certainly the official buildings are still there, but other places are  destroyed and built over. Some of the places he talked about I knew, particularly the Cinemas – none of which remain. The Govan he remembers has gone forever.

I miss  the Dear Green Place, and I really do believe it is true ‘You can take the man from Glasgow, but Glasgow from the man” I get irritated with people who bag Glasgow, particularly a Minister, who I will not name,  who bagged the city just before the Commonwealth Games. Which, I understand , was an outstanding success for the games and the city.

Not a lot of progress on the Kiosk

But things do change – even here. As I said before, when we moved here this was the last house in the town. There was only bushland beyond us. The Mining Boom happened and what was empty land became a private housing estate and places I walked the dogs, were now gardens. I don’t see the Kangaroos as much.  But the mining boom has been and gone and went, and so has the big pay packets. They can no longer afford the big boat, or the Jeep or even the five bedroom house – so the jeep’s gone, the boat’s gone and the house is up for sale. Sad but no one thought to put money away it was just earn and spend. And they borrowed – so what they get for the boat, vehicle and house will mostly go to pay debts. That is the sad aftermath of the mining boom for some.

Garden, work, and a dog.

For the moment work outside has come to a halt. It was raining for much of yesterday and it’s raining again today. I realise that probably makes me a bit of a woos – not getting out there and shifting the rock in the cold and the pouring rain, but there you are – guilty as charged. I might be annoyed at the weather but I bet you Weed Central is loving it. If it dries up during the day I might get something done.  I was also thinking of taking a run out to somewhere along the highway and have a look at what’s around. It would be great if we still had

The lower Flinders Ranges.
The lower Flinders Ranges.

Kangaroos wandering at the far end of the road – where everything used to end. I have not seen any wildlife since the area was fenced off and they started building houses there. It’s also meant that I have had to change where I take Chienne walking since the route we used to take is fenced off now.

One week from today and I go down to pick Catherine up from Adelaide Airport. We will be staying overnight in South Terrace before heading north in the morning – probably have breakfast along the way. Herself is very excited – you can tell be the way she has panic attacks every five minutes  :o)

The rain stopped and after lunch I went out and finished off the work I had to do. That is it – well not really,  because I have decided on a change that will extend the stone area by about four or five feet into the washing ( crazy paving) area. It will not impact on where she works and will help to create a better looking area all round.

At the risk of offending people, I have to confess that there are times when I despair of South Australia in particular and Australia in general. Inattention, drove  through a give way sign, killed four people – suspended sentence.  In New South Wales –  Man arrested – kidnapped and raped five children – three of these little children, one 9 years old, one 17 year old, held a knife to their throat and told the young children that if they made a sound he would kill them. He got 12 years –  just over 2 years per child-  and it’s not even 12 years – he’ll be out in seven.  It occurs to me that we as a society don’t have to really do or say anything that could bring the law into disrepute – they are doing a very good job on their own without any outside help. Did you know that  you can score a 25% discount on a sentence if you plead guilty and save the state the cost of a trial? That’s not justice – that’s money.  No wonder people want to come to Australia – you can do just about anything, get a slap on the wrist, told you are naughty and sent home. I  mean by his actions –  He Killed Four People – he can go home – they can’t – ever. I think there is something to be said for the American system where you get to elect judges or vote them out of office, but I suppose even that has flaws. Having said that I do so like the American sentencing system – life means life – 99 years sounds good.

Got all excited for a little while. I found a little Maltese wandering around looking kind of lost. I didn’t want to leave her so I brought her inside, as I was going out at the time.

No - it's not The Man , it's a Girl - close though..
No – it’s not The Man – close though..

Took Annabell to the hairdresser and then came back to attend to the little one.  Chienne was no problem – well two girls together, what more needs to be said  :0) We fed her and watered her then I put a collar and a lead on her and took her out to walk round the area. After about ten minutes this guy comes running out and calls the dog by name and she runs to him – so we found her daddy, who was very pleased and happy to have her back. Didn’t get a photograph to the two girls together but at least the little one is now home safe and sound.