More wind – still annoying

Native Bush from the Arid Lands B.G.

Not counting today, only four days left until Spring is here. Not going to miss winter one little bit.  The days have been mild but the mornings and evenings have been very cold. This morning it was foggy and very cold – so cold that I really entertained thoughts of giving up the morning walk, turning round and heading for home and a heater. I didn’t!! However, as soon as I got in I went directly to my room and turned my heater on full. Benji has had his breakfast and is curled up in his bed. However, we can’t really complain too much since the weather this last week has been  mild and it has been  enjoyable walking around the Wetlands  with Benji during the day. It has also allowed my to get back out in the garden and start the process of cleaning up the 40 billion leaves.  Ok so I exaggerate  – there’s only 20 Billion. I also have an area out front that I have tried to grow things in without success. I had a think about this and finally decided this last week to dig it all out and remove all the soil and replace it with new material ( 3 x 70 ltrs of material) and finally, on Saturday, I bought new plants from the Garden Centre and planted them – we’ll see what happens. Oh and I also put down fertilizer. My stick was just that – a stick, so that’s gone.  With the lack of rain the Kangaroos have been wandering well into the  area looking for water and food. In another area, close to bushland, they have Emus wandering around. I see the Roos in the new area beyond me, but I haven’t seen any down near me—-yet.

The fact that we have a shortage of water is illustrated in the level of water at the Wetlands. There is still a fair volume of water in the pools but the drop in water

The new Kiosk at the Wetlands.

level is fairly obvious. The black Swans returned – briefly – but I hope that this is a sign of things to come and the swans and  big ducks will return.  The Kiosk is just about completed  and I believe it’s due to open sometime next week.  If the day is very warm to hot – and it will be in summer – I really think that if the opening hours are good,  the kiosk will do well. I do a full lap and a half when I am there, but if, after a full lap, I could have a drink and  relax, I could end up doing two full laps. A full lap is 3.5 Klms – so Benji and I, when we go to the Wetlands, do 5.35 klms. The front – across the bridge from the car park, is the barbecue areas, the exercise area, the flying fox, the grassed area for family play, and the children’s play area. There is also a barbecue area  just down from the carpark and just beyond that is where the kiosk is situated.

The Wawa (Kongsoon) back with her mun again.

All winter I have escaped colds and flu. There are two days of winter left and I have come down with a very heavy cold.  Seen out winter the cold, fog and wind and now this.  What happened to all this Vitamin C and all those Oranges and Mandarins that I have consumed by the bucket load?? I sort of feel cheated.  To add insult to injury the high winds have returned. So much for my leaves cleaning.       Don’t really know, some blame climate change whereas others ( and a growing number) blame stuffing around  with clock changes and daylight saving. We have always had strange weather up here but I really do not remember the continual and sustained wind that we are having presently causing concern to both country and city. Today (Wednesday) it’s warm, it’s overcast,  the temperature is 26c ,  yet we have high winds 42 – 65 km/h – battering the place again. It is now after 9pm and the wind is still going and no sign of letting up. Reports of dust storms across the mid north and pollen  is being blown arond as a result of the mild conditions.  And still not much rain. The little rain we did have was, according to the farmers, too little, too late.

I had been thinking of the WaWa recently and surprisingly, I actually miss her. In the last three or four months she became my friend and wanted to be lifted up to sit with me on the chair, with Benji. Then she left, but these last months made up for everything.

PS All night. The wind died at 10:30 Thursday – for a whole two hours before starting up again.

 

 

Advertisements

Home; a place for coming from!

Coonalpyn in the Mist

The last post I wrote was on the 28th April, almost three weeks ago. I took off to  Mount Gambier and was there for a two day conference – two days to get there, conference, two days to get back, change clothes and off again for two days in Adelaide. Poor Benji – this is not helping his seperation anxiety one little bit. The WaWa is not too bad since she has Annabell but Benji is my dog and he does not like me being away from him. Anyway, I did bring him back two new toys and a new collapsable, silicone water bowl for when we are out walking in warm weather.

Mount Gambier was cold, but it generally is this time of the year. Annabell told me that it was raining at home. I had no rain to speak of other than a few


Still a touch of blue there

showers in Adelaide and some early morning mist in Coonalpyn and Tintinara. It was cold and I didn’t really didn’t do a lot but I did get out to the Blue Lake, which it was still marginally Blue but starting to fade and not the vivid blue of my visit last November. I had intended to get to Bunnings but ran out of time and had to get back to the hotel ready for the first meeting that  afternoon. It was almost 9pm before I got “home” and called Annabell to let her know I was still around. The second meeting started on Saturday afternoon and was supposed to finish at 2:30. At it happened it finished at 4:40 and I was only able to get as far as Naracoorte (115klm) before it got dark and I  called a halt for the night. I had intended to get to Tailem Bend and Naracoorte was about 230 klm short. This meant that I had to make 800+ kilms if I wanted to get home on Sunday afternoon.  Starting to get a bit tired I called a halt every hour or so and used my facecloth, soaked in cold water, to wash my face, not to mention the coffee at Port Wakefield, the Tin Man and Port Augusta. As it was it was getting dark before I pulled into the driveway. Annabell was not at home.  Knowing that I was away the boys had opted to look after her during Mother’s Day and dinner was at Andrew and Trishs’ place. I could have gone up and joined them, but I decided not to and to let the boys look after her.   The dogs, however, were happy to see me and the WaWa is now my new BFF.

Is photography going to the dogs?

Monday I spent  sorting things out and repacking and Tuesday I took off to Adelaide. I miss Annabell – of course – but I also miss the dogs and I have come to think of both of them as  My Dogs. They will always be Benji and the WaWa but I feel that the WaWa is now my dog  as three months has now turned in to 14 Months and no contact nor any indication if Sooa will return.

The meeting in Adelaide was interesting and I have organised with the CEO to have a meeting with himself and  one of the advisors and discuss how we will

Thw WaWa with her collar – not the best because she wouldn’t stay still. Benji looks on bemused

procede with the restoration of two of the  graves in the West Terrace Cemetary. Both of these graves are of two of the three founders of the Church in South Australia ( 1860) and both have been neglected to the extent that both are on the endangered list. After the meeting in early July and the CEO has an opportunity to inspect the graves, we  should be able to come up with a plan and hope that Mount Gambier – and Queensland – will also get inhvolved and these graves can be protected. For me it has been a frustrating sort of time in that I really didn’t get time to do the things I wanted to do. I wanted an archway for the garden and had fully intended to get out to Bunnings but didn’t , either trip. Also I want to get the WaWa to the vet as she has a bad cut. My vet has gone to see his sick mother again and the clinic is closed – the other vet was too busy to even have a look, so, tomorrow I will phone the clinic. If there is no reply I will make a second call and take the WaWa to the vet in Port Augusta – about 50 miles away.  The Vet was

In Adelaide

open so I took Kongsoon (The WaWa) over to see him. The wound is not as bad as it looks so, with a slight washing and application of some cream it should start to heal up without causing her too much concern. – Mea Culpa…..

Yams, Walkies and Snow

During the course of an afternoon, Annabell will ask me if I would like a coffee – chocolate biscuit or scone. Now I know I have casually mentioned in some posts that I like scones, but in a situation like this I will choose to have a scone rather than a chocolate biscuit. You see, I can’t share a chocolate biscuit, but I can share a scone with my Associate. You have to think of these things  :o)  This afternoon, being Thursday, I did as I promised I would do, I got out the Mandoline / Mandolin slicer,   sliced the Sweet Potatoes and put the slices on two baking trays and put these in a 120c oven for three hours. After about halfway I’ll go and turn them.  I just hope, after all this, the dogs like them and they don’t end up in landfill – or I end up eating them myself.  Don’t balk – it’s sweet potato not actual dog food. If this does work, I might give the  Peanut Butter recipe a go.

Benji and the WaWa at the beach

I lift her leash and her tail goes off like a wee helicopter. Last night I put her on Annabell’s lap while I got Benji ready and she was not happy and Annabell says she was watching my every move and when I came back in with Benji on his leash she was straining to get down. Once she was down on the floor she made straight for the door, ready to go. The difference is remarkable and this morning I was sitting on the floor giving the WaWa ear and belly scratches. She is a changed little girl.

I am not altogether sure what is going on but for the last three days there have been police and police cars all around this area. There was five officers went into a house three houses away, two more officers on the street and parked outside our house was one of the police cars. I mean even if you are a law abiding citizen ( is there such a person?)  having a police car practically parked outside your door is a little bit disconcerting.  I thought of an escaped convict but that would have been all over the news and it was not a drug thing because had that been the case there would have been vans and chemical containment vehicles there and there wasn’t – so I don’t know what’s going on. I know their dogs keep escaping but that would not involve what must be half the city police force.

Yes daddy, I will sweep up – but first – The Nap..

Benji seems to have put his paw down in revolt “no more photographs with me and the WaWa”. Every time I stopped to try and take a photograph he  came quickly back and went behind my legs. He did this every single time when we were out yesterday afternoon. On Wednesday morning when the coffee ladies are here I’ll take them both down to the Foreshore and see what the beach is like and see what happens there. If the seagrass problem gets too bad, the council send in front loaders to clear if away and use it – with other stuff – for mulch.

On Sunday I had to quietly call Annabell through – there was Andrew sitting on the chair, the WaWa lying lengthwise along his lap, and he was scratching her and playing with her. When he stopped scratching her belly, she hit him with her paw until he started again. Sadly I was too stunned at what I was watching to get the camera and I was also afraid that if I moved,  it would break the moment. Unreal is a much overused word, but that’s what it was. I have taken advice and early this morning when Benji and I go for our long walk – I  decided to take the WaWa with us. She was willing and walked most of the way . I did carry her for a little bit, but mostly she did it on her own.  The photograph of

This was taken in Neilston not far from Glasgow today.

Benji – I did not set this up, he lay down beside the brush himself. This other photograph is for Denver in Colorado. It was sent to us this morning by a friend who lives in a place called Neilston,  outside Glasgow. I thought you would like and appreciate it  – and my life insurance is up to date  :o)

Update, the house mentioned is now empty and there is a notice on the gate “This property is under Security Surveillance ” same notice as the house the bank foreclosed in another part of our walk route.  It’s really quite sad and the Sacked Arrium Management has a lot to answer for – but then they have gone so they never will.

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 ……………………….

 

Our woes continue

Do not believe anyone who tells you that small dogs – such as a small  Chihuahua (short coat) are a push over. Having had this little one for 36 hours I can tell you that her teeth are like needles. I am just praying that  a) she settles down soon and b) that we don’t run out of bandaids for my poor fingers. I understand – it is scary for her, her momma has gone, she is with strangers and they have a great BIG dog ( well to her he’s big) and this is a scary big place. I  did feed her this morning and although I got a ‘back off’ kind of a growl, I did managed to scratch an ear without having my fingers covered in blood again. No they are not big bites, her teeth might be as sharp as needles but fortunately they are not big and besides I bleed a lot.

Sunday and she is starting to settle down and perhaps tomorrow I might remove the bandaids. If nothing else it will help in not having to type  words twice due to the mistakes I am making because of the bandaids on the tops of my fingers- and stop laughing, this is serious!! Anyway, from one to three dogs in one fell swoop. Benji, Kongsoon and now Yogi, Benji is, of course, our boy, Kongsoon is the little one that we have taken in and Yogi is a friend’s dog we are looking after for a week or so. I hope I survive. It’s just unfortunate timing. We had arranged to take Yogi months ago, but the collapse of Link Engineering and the problems with Arrium meant that people lost jobs and  we took in Kongsoon because her family has to go back to South Korea and re-apply. Link Engineering was their sponsor and their employer.  They could have re-applied here but the danger with that is that if it was refused they would have to leave the country and be unable to reapply for three years. By going back to South Korea on their own and re-applying there, if it is refused, they can apply again in six months.  Immigration rules I do not understand..

Some of the subcontractors and suppliers are back in the plant but others who have biggish projects  have had their contracts terminated by the Administrator because in the present climate he cannot justify the expenditure.  Logicamms is one of those.  Logicamms have  contracted for a new large project in Adelaide and Andrew will be doing work for that. At the moment  material and design specs will be sent up but that’s only short term – long term they want Andrew to consider re-locating to Adelaide. There has been what has been called a Bloodless Coup at Arrium.  The Company (Arrium) appointed its own Administrator  and he has been working with the  the government, the local community and the creditors to stabilize Arrium and see what can be done to  keep the company operating.  The banks and the AWU (Australian Workers Union)  were unhappy with this and, despite being warned by the government to stay out of it ( which they ignored) moved in, sacked the  Arrium appointed Administrator, appointed their own Administrator and, in essence, seized control of the company.  Robber Barons – generally known as Banks – and a Union working together – that’s scary.  The contractors are still in limbo and some are owed many thousands of dollars. Everything is an absolute mess but the new administrator is moving to reassure everyone that the intentions are good and they have the future of the company and the city as their foremost concern – but it’s still a mess and the creditors, mainly the banks,  are pushing for a forensic investigation of the Arrium Board’s  financial accounts.

**  Arrium’s wrathful lenders are working to convince the steelmaker’s latest administrator to bring forward a forensic investigation of the company’s accounts to assess whether or not there are grounds to pursue its past management or board of directors. The agreement between “incandescently furious” debt and bond holders and The Australian Workers’ Union that resulted in Monday’s change in administrators is said to include a concession that will bring forward a forensic assessment of the Arrium accounts.**  From the Financial Review.

 

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.