Wetlands, Lighthouse and Dust Storms

Dougal and Benji at Wetlands

Dougal came for a stay last Thursday.  Being flat out for much of last week we didn’t get out much but I did manage to get  them both to the Wetlands for a walk. Still no rain to speak of so there is no change in the water levels. It might not seem like that from the photograph, but then looks can be deceiving , however, the main pond still has water in it. Still it was a good time together and if he is still here, I  will take them both for a drive  out to the Lighthouse at the weekend.  At the end of this month we may be looking after a new dog for two weeks. One of the ladies at the church asked me if I would be willing to look after her dog for two weeks . Annabell was there at the time  and she said we would love to. I totally agree since the lady in question is one of the coffee ladies group and she has a Pug called Max – that should be fun.

During this week we experienced one of the  consequences of the drought.  The weather up until last Thursday was  fair – bit warm but fair- Friday was a different thing

This was at Port Wakefield , I believe.

altogether. Friday we had high winds – as high as 95 klms per hour in places. The traffic ground to a halt in Port Wakefield area as visibility was  zero, due to thick dust storms. We had high winds here and some experiences of the dust storms but nothing like the other areas of the  peninsula. Port Lincoln faced winds of over 100 kms. per hour and it was so bad that the power company shut off the power to Port Lincoln and the surrounding area – some 15,000 people without power. The reason was to protect Port Lincoln.  The power company was concerned that the high winds would bring down trees and branches onto power lines sparking a fire, which, in the high wind conditions, could take hold and spread very quickly. Adelaide also took a bit of a

Wont look at the Camera.

battering. As I said, we were not too bad – things happen above us or below us,

In the far north of the State, things are different  and the desert is blooming again. The flood waters from Queensland have made their way down and are currently pouring into Lake Eyre – normally  dry. As the waters have made their way down from Queensland and filled the dry river beds, the desert is now watered , everything along the way is blooming and there is an abundance of wildlife, swans, ducks, wild geese and pelicans. The  water will create islands in the lake where the birds can breed and raise chicks without foxes and dingos being able to get to them. Lake Eyre is 9,500 square klms however the Lake Eyre Basin and catchment area is 1.14 million square klms. It’s a big, big basin and lake Eyre itself is some 15 meters – about 50 feet – below sea level.  Last time it flooded my  son, John,  took the  flight up there and flew over Lake Eyre and the surrounding area. I did see the photographs and it was quite a spectacular sight to see the water flooding into the lake.

I took the dogs to the lighthouse and we had a good wander around the place and a good long walk  around the point. The weather was nice – bit on the warm side (34c) but quite nice. Benji did his usual and refused to look at the camera.  The drive to and from the lighthouse is 76 klms. or 46.25 miles, so it’s not something I do  too often but there’s no where else we can go – everything else around us is either a conservation area, or a  reserve area and  the whole of the Flinders Ranges are National Parks.

One of the things I enjoy doing is taking photographs. I agree I’m not all that good at it but I like doing it. I did go to a photography club some years ago , but  wasn’t too impressed with it. I am thinking I might give it another go. It seems to have a  different attitude to it these days so perhaps I might not find it quite as I did last time. One can but try. But then I have also changed since then and and I do believe I have quite mastered the Box Brownie now.

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Lighthouse, Wetlands and Spencer Gulf

Benji at the lighthouse.

Friday 22nd. Just after lunch I  put a blanket over the front seat in the car, strapped Benji in and off we went to the Lighthouse. It was a lovely day, warm but not hot, so it was a comfortable ride for the 24 miles. Of course, with the air conditioner on it would have been a comfortable ride anyway, but he did what he usually does, curl up facing me and  have a nap. We spent some time wandering about and it was good for us to be out and about again after all the hot weather we have had recently.

We came back home by way of the town center and I  went into the lolly shop and bought 250gms of sugared almonds, because I knew she had them in for the first time in a long time. I know, but it’s my indulgence and they remind me of my childhood in Scotland – every lovely crunch of them. In the evening, after the news, I took Benji down to the wetlands. It’s been a while since we were there. To say I was shocked is an understatement. The amount of water loss is incredible. With the continued drought and the fact that there is no

The loss of water at the wetlands

water going into the system, this, plus the water going out to water the trees, lawns and plants has really taken its toll. Having said that, it did rain for a bit last night and although it rained for several hours, it was fairly light rain and didn’t make a lot of difference to anything.

Today both Annabell and I are  exhausted.  The family at the back of us were having an 18th Birthday Party. The father came around and told his neighbours  what was going to happen and said he would try and keep the music to a reasonable level. Well, that was a lie right there! He did  indicate that they were going to play music, but they didn’t. I don’t know what the heck it was they played but music it was not – it was just a thump, thump, thump. My son follows Iron Maiden, and some other sort of heavy metal and though I  don’t like to admit it, it is music – of a sort – but this last night, until 2am was just a continual thump, thump, thump. I almost took a serious dislike when the alarm went off at 6am. I did not have

The Spencer Gulf at the Lighthouse.

a good night, but Benji and I went out for our walk in the calm,  early, cloud covered morning. Today was the Congregation Annual General Meeting, so  church was well over two hours long. I think Annabell is resting – good for her. We go back to the doctor this week and we expect he will increase the  amount of her insulin again. At the moment she is not too bad, but  the readings are still higher than he would like.  ( He did increase the  level to 17ml.)

The drought continues to bite in the north of South Australia and over in Victoria. There has also been high and strong winds that have  turned the bare paddocks into dust bowls and animals are starting to perish for lack of food and water and the dust that gets everywhere – into the animal eyes and mouth. There’s not a lot of help being handed out. Must have looked away for a moment and when I looked back, March is just about finished and we are rushing towards April. Today – Thursday 28th –  Dougal is coming to stay for a little while. I have no idea how long this time as Ina is still in a Respite Center outside of Adelaide.

Under our system, you can qualify for traveling assistance if you have to travel for treatment.  The hospital at the Port does not have Nuclear Medicine facilities – our hospital does. So  this lady had to travel from Port Augusta to Whyalla for treatment –  a distance of 80 klms. ( 160kms round trip) She does not quality for assistance because the cut off point is 100 klms.  This lady is traveling 160 klms twice a week for treatment but does not  receive assistance. This was highlighted with the  Minister for Health and he  agrees that many of the  rules were made to  apply to Adelaide not the country areas. He has promised to have a look and overhaul where necessary.

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

Model Trains and Kangaroos

The Enchanted Forest – my favourite.

The Model Railway Exhibition was brilliant. Oh yes, it was  a very busy weekend for the RFDS but there were compensations and one of those was that retired Senator Buckland  who is President of the Club said that the RFDS people would be allowed into the exhibition free of charge. The  setups were fabulous and I was really amazed at the amount of work that had gone into them. What really floored me was that some of the exhibits  were large in their own right but  amazing that they were really only part of a larger set up. There were  model railway set-ups from as far away as Western Australia but also sets from  Adelaide and  various places in Victoria.

The weather was changeable over the last  couple of weeks and we did have some rain during the Model Railway two days. Not long after that we were looking after Dougal for a few days as his people went down to the Royal Adelaide for tests. However, she is still not the best so she will have to go back down on the 20th of this month and we will have Dougal back with us  again.

Not long after Dougal went home I left for Mount Gambier. Stayed overnight in Adelaide and drove to Mount Gambier on the Friday. Set off for Adelaide right after the meeting  on the Saturday and stayed overnight before hitting the road again at 05:30 since I really wanted to be home at 11am – well not so much home but to be in the church for part of the 11am  (Armistice Day) Service – which I was. The weather has warmed up and over the last few days we

This morning on our walk

have been in the mid 30c. I took Benji out for a walk  at 6am before it  started to heat up and the ground was still cold. I was surprised to see Kangaroos around since I assumed the rain for much of the week just gone, would have been enough to keep them happy. They only really come near the town when there is little to drink and not much feed out in the bush. Not the best of photographs but they were a bit back off the road and trying to hold a dog, hold  the smartphone steady and take a picture, wasn’t all that easy. Tomorrow it is supposed to be overcast with the possibility of  rain and a bit of a storm – at least that’s what the state forecast was. The local news was not quite so certain in regard to the weather, so it might rain, but then, it might not. —- It did..

In a few days the Officer Cadets of the Military College , Duntroon, Canberra will be here for three weeks  to conduct exercises. There will be command posts set up around the town and  the army is calling for volunteers to take part in the population evacuation exercises. I didn’t do that last time but I think I might  have a shot at it this time. At the moment the Cadets are doing some training at Cultana before they come over here for the next three weeks. As it turns out I wont be since the registration is this coming Saturday and I  had a call from the  Mitre 10 hardware wanting me to organise a RFDS Fundraiser for this Saturday. I have been on the phone much of the afternoon getting a team together

The Ambulance Ramping crisis continues with 18 Ambulances at the Royal Adelaide waiting to be attended to. Whilst they are there, they are not available for any emergency. The photograph was taken by

18 ambulances with patients on board – waiting…….

an ambulance para-medic. But there you are – the most expensive hospital on the planet and it doesn’t work and it can’t cope. If a real medical crisis, where many people are affected,  ever hit Adelaide and South Australia, we would be well and truly stuffed.

Benji and I have been out and about. I took him back out to the lighthouse and then to the wetlands. Sometime over this weekend I really must get the model railway photographs sorted out. I take hundreds of photographs but am not the best of photographers.

Lazy Spring Days.

Benji at the deserted Long Beach

I have not written for a while, mainly because I was reluctant to do so until such time as I knew what was happening with this account. Well that can be summed up in a single word – nothing. I have written twice to WordPress without reply so I have – for the time being – decided to treat my spam folder as an alternate inbox. A sort of halfway house really since posts and comments do appear for a few seconds in the inbox and then dissapear

White Sands

into the spam folder. Why is it so?? I have no idea!

A few weeks ago  Benji and I went out to the garden. It was a lovely, warm spring day – about 28c -. I put up the umberella, brought out my laptop and my Filofax and intended to do some work. I had papers to sort out and a couple of emails to write for the RFDS. Benji plonked himself down on the padded bench until it became too warm for him so he slid under the table where the tablecloth and the umbrella protected him from the sun. It

Lovely Day!

was such a lovely day and I was sorry that spring and summer could not remain as this was. It will, however get hotter as the weeks go on, so I just enjoyed the day as it was.  In the time since writing, we have been back to the Port, but, sadly, not the Arid Lands Botanic Garden, we have spent quite a few afternoons at the Wetlands and a couple of afternoons out at the lighthouse.  I found some interesting birds at the Wetlands and put a photograph on line. I thought them to be pretty birds and at another part of the walk one of these birds approached me, then Benji moved and the bird walked away. I have since found out that these very pretty white birds are Feral Geese, and (so I am told) very aggresive. They seemed harmless enough to me.  The Kiosk has been opened for an afternoon, selling coffee only and trying to get some feedback before official opening, which is the 10th. October. The above photograph of Benji was taken at what used to be a very popular beach on the way to the lighthouse. It was one of the areas we used to  take all the children to fish and play – my sister’s children and my boys. Then it was decided that the point would be just right for the Santos Liquids Processing plant so much of the area was closed off for a long while. Now it is very rarely visited and even then only by people on the way to and from the lighthouse who see the expanse of white sand from the road, or people, like me, who remember it from  ages past.

Hello. What’s your name?

At the Wetlands the birds are slowly returning and we now have two pair of Black Swans. I hope the third pair will return. I did mention the Wild

The Wild Geese

(Feral) Geese and then there is this fellow and I have no idea who he is, but I have seen him a couple of times at different parts of the  area.

I have also been doing some work in the garden. There is an area that has not been neglected but it seemed that whatever I planted there – died. I decided it must be the soil, so I dug it all out, removed it and replaced it with fresh soil toppoed by potting mis and  fertilizer. Watered it all in and planted some  flowers. They lasted for two days until the next door  87,000 cats dug them up. Kind of them, I thought.. I am not giving up and have bought new plants, posts and chicken wire. We’ll see how that does.

Benji, sunny days and passing lanes

Despite the blood red moon today, it’s cold. Strange though, it was quite mild when Benji and I were out early (05:00 – early) because I wanted to see the blood moon – freaky.. So  we decided to go for our walk since we were out anyway. As I said it was really quite mild but as the morning progressed it got colder. I was forced at 8:30 to put the heater on.

Benji catching some rays from the winter sun.

Although today was slightly unusual  as generally  it has been cold all night and through into the morning. The days have been  mild, so much so that Benji took up residence on one of the outdoor chairs and sat facing the sun and lifting his head so the  warmth could get to his chest. It looked strange, but he sat that was for quite a bit. We had a morning out at the lighthouse and then on Wednesday we drove through to the Port and spent the morning there. No Arid Lands Botanic Garden (ALBG) because dogs are not allowed in the area,  well, in the carpark is the limit,  and since the carpark is a  fair bit away from the shop and the nursery, I wont leave him in the car for that length of time. If it is my intention to go to the ALBG then I will not take Benji with me.

I  think I did mention that my niece has come back to town. Anyway I picked her up yesterday and took her to the airport to catch a flight to Adelaide. She asked me to look after and feed her cat, a black and white cat called Felix. I agreed to do this. It’s  been great fun – and I have the blood on my ankles to prove it.  The thing attacks me from under the table and I am so glad I was wearing a track suit and not just trousers, otherwise there might have been more blood. It’s like walking into a room with a snake there – it hisses.  Generally I have no problems with cats, but this is one oddball animal.

You may remember that I talked some time ago about the Passing Lanes for the Whyalla-Port Augusta Road. Well the Feds gave most of the money for construction, the State Labor government procrastinated and delayed the project for three years.  then, just a few months before the State Election, the project was started. The intention was to boost the Government’s chances of re-election. It didn’t happen and we had a new government to pick up the mess left by the last spendthrift government. Work continued on the  bypass lanes and they were finally finished a few months ago. Almost immediately there were complaints about the quality of the new roads, great indentations where the road met the bypass lane – making it dangerous particularly for anyone on a motorbike – and after a mere three months potholes had developed. There are concerns about the quality of the road surface. The bypass lanes are partly closed, or  are very reduced speeds, until urgent repairs are carried out. I did say, when I got home, that I was not very impressed with the bypass lanes, period. I thought the surface was poor and underwhelming. Talk about cheap and cheerful. Anyway the arguing has already started regarding who pays for the  repairs – the government or the contractor. The contractor are doing what many contractors do –

Benji on the Hill

blame someone else. In the meantime the roads are partly closed.

Flinders Drive and the entrance to the Medical Center

Towards the end of this week we will have Yogi again. No idea at this stage how long for but it might be a while until they return from Adelaide and Jim recovers from the operation at

Flinders Medical Centre. He is very casual about it, which I suppose is a good thing, but it seems to me that having a cancerous liver removed is not casual thing – but then, perhaps that’s just me. I don’t mean that you should  make yourself ill by worrying but I just think it requires a little more “respect”.

I have lost several posts. I contacted the people concerned and they tell me that I am still with them and they are still sending to me, but I am not getting anything. Of all the UK posts I only have one remaining. My computer guru ( No. 1 Son) has gone thought my Outlook Express account and can find no changes, so I don’t know what’s happening.

Road Trips, Lighthouse, and WaWa thoughts.

Just chillin’ Man..

For the last ten days or so I have been sick. It was brought home to me in no uncertain terms that I am not invincible and like everyone else, I can get laid down with the Flu. I have not had the Flu for a very long time and since I do eat a lot of fruit and veg – too many Oranges!! –  I figured I had built up a natural immunity. Yes, well, that clever idea went out the window. Actually, I felt so bad at one stage I thought of throwing myself out of the window, but seeing as how we don’t have a window that is more than two feel off the ground, it seemed like a wasted effort for no return – apart from which, it was raining again.

Benji has hardly been out and there have been a couple of accidents, but that’s ok, I know he has been a little  neglected due to my lack of attention, but we are almost back to normal so we can start getting out and about again. Not that he was abandoned since a lot of the time he jumped up and curled up on the bed beside me. I received notification that I have to be in Adelaide in a few weeks time and when I am down there I want to go and check out the new pet shop – well not a “pet” shop but rather a pet supply shop. It was only just opening last time I went down and I really didn’t get a lot of time to wander around but I did get a collapsible  silicon bowl that I can take with me and always have a water bowl that I can use when Benji and me are out and it’s a warm day and he needs a cool drink. I want to go back to that shop and have a good look around and see what they have in the way of accessories and toys.

The Lower Flinders Ranges from Matthew Flinders Lookout ( Arid Lands)
Warning Matthew Flinders Lookout

Tomorrow should be the Church Mini-Fete but due to illness it has had to be cancelled. I am supposed to be running a fundraising function for the Royal Flying Doctors next week, but that’s still a way off so we will see how things progress. There is no let up on this Flu Bug in South Australia.

This morning I picked up young John and we drove out to  Better Home Supplies, did some shopping for garden things and had lunch at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens. The weather was warm and, sadly, just a tad too warm to have Benji sitting in the car whilst we went shopping – and,  of course,  no dogs allowed at the Arid Lands. It would have been a nice trip for him. If it’s a nice day tomorrow  I’ll take him for a

Benji at the lighthouse

run out to the lighthouse and then the beach.

I wanted to take him a bit further and perhaps go away for the day and to that end I  looked for “Pet Friendly” places in South Australia, particularly the Eyre Peninsula. I found one but their idea of “pet friendly”was to supply  a lockable  dog house that can be placed outside the accommodation. So, I can sit in the cool comfort of the accommodation whilst Benji stays outside in the heat in a dog kennel —— I don’t think so!!  We did take a run out to the lighthouse and had a good afternoon. Two very nice ladies approached Benji and made a fuss of him, rubs and ear scratches and, of course, he lapped it all up. They also asked a lot of questions about him. Photograph of him at the lighthouse, but he kind of tends to blend in with the surrounding stones. At least the WaWa stood out against the stones. I often wonder how the WaWa is and how she is settling in to her new environment. I miss her a bit but I do not think Benji does. I don’t even have an address for Sooah so I can’t find out. Anyway, perhaps the best thing is simply to let it go.

From the Breakwater down from the lighthouse area.

Elsa, the Ninja is celebrating her first Anniversary and we send her, Sam and the family our very best wishes.