Kangaroos and Living Plants

As far as we understand, the funeral will take place at the Church on Tuesday at 11am. That’s what we organised, however, her son, breezed in from London and would have preferred the funeral to have been on Thursday past so he could catch the weekend flight back to London.  Although I have  done all the work –  the Order of Service just needs the nod and I can start printing, collating and have it ready for Tuesday, I am advised that there may well be changes  and not to print just yet. There is a meeting with the son on Sunday  and if he decided to change things to

The small park around the corner

what he wants, it doesn’t leave me a lot of time to get everything organized, printed, collated and out. No pressure, yesterday will be fine. :o)

Ina is back in hospital and  we had a phone call to ask if we would look after Dougal for a few weeks, I was out  but Annabell said that it would be fine. The daughter has been staying for a bit but we will get  Dougal when she goes home sometime next week. Don’t mind really, Dougal is no trouble at all. He and Benji get on fairly well and Benji doesn’t seem to mind Dougal sharing his toys. The only thing Benji gets cranky about is the sleeping arrangements. Dougal occupied the place next to me and Benji got cranky about that and made certain  Dougal understands who sleeps where in future.

We spent most of Monday afternoon at the church getting the place ready for the funeral.   I  printed, collated 120 copies and passed each pile over to Annabell for folding. She can’t do a lot but she was sitting down and could do that for me – I mean, she couldn’t help with moving furniture and re-arranging pews, but she could do the folding, a total of 120 x 2 double sided copies, so she was a great help in doing what she did

The funeral went well as well as funerals are and our little church was  full with close to 110 people – which is our maximum.l She joined the church in 1987 and was a Member of the Board of Management, Board Treasurer and Leader of the Sunday School. The children loved her and it was so very pleasing to see many of the former Sunday School  (grown up and married of course) there to say farewell.  It was one of the former Sunday School members who read the lesson. The service lasted over one hour mainly because the “in-thing”in Australia at the moment is to have a Power Point and that took up time. The committal at the Cemetery was relatively short and we returned to the church hall for lunch, which all the ladies of the church provided.

It still lives

I have been outside since the heatwave mourning dead plants, clearing up the mess and cleaning out the plant pots. In doing so I discovered that the age of miracles  hasn’t passed as the photograph will show. This was, to all accounts a dead plant and in among the dead and brown leaves was a hint of green, which I have worked with. It’s encouraging as we draw towards the last weekend of summer. The mess is not caused by dead plants but rather the piles of  boxes, bags of clothes and unwanted furniture that my niece decided she didn’t want to take back to Adelaide.  Some has gone and Lifeline will come and collect the remainder of the furniture on Monday. I’ll spend part of the weekend  sorting through the boxes and the bags. In a couple of weeks the boys are heading over to Melbourne for some concert. Andrew is staying in Melbourne for a few days but John is coming back to Adelaide. I said I would go down and pick him up. It’s only an overnight stay and gives me the opportunity to do some shopping for Annabell at Tea Tree Plaza or the Elizabeth Center. I have been thinking about a new camera and this might be an opportunity to have a look around.

Still no word about the specialist and the insulin stuff as yet and the earliest we can get to see the eye specialist is May

Mount Gambier Part 1

I was reading up about the wawa recently in the  and the page on the History of the breed began with the words  “If you have ever had a Chihuahua then you know that they are not hard to love at

Almost like brothers
Almost like brothers

all ” and I couldn’t help thinking to myself – Not this one – this is the sister of the wawa from Hell who currently resides in Arizona and who had another go at me last night. Fortunately I got my fingers away in time.  I tell you, it’s going to be a long four/five months. On the other hand, Yogi goes home tomorrow and I will be sad to see him go – he has really been no bother at all to look after and as I said before after a few territorial adjustments Yogi and Benji have got on very well these last two and a bit weeks.

Talking to Andrew last night and some things have been sorted out at Arrium.  Andrew is back in there again to continue on with the original contract,( which has been restored)  but the  Administrator is really going to have to do something about the management culture at Arrium which uses all sorts of tactics to avoid paying bills for as long as possible. This, in part, accounts for the fact that suppliers are owed so much money and some of these supplies are vital to the continued operation of the plant. If the administrator does not sort this culture out then it leaves the door open for this whole drama to repeat at some future date. I also think some members of the management have to realize that SA stands for South Australia, not South Africa.    Today is ANZAC Day and  for the first time in many years I did not attend the Dawn Service. Yes, I set the alarm; yes I did get up and dressed, but two faces looked at me expectantly and were quite excited because this was the time I usually take them out. My logic was that the  Dawn Service will be crowded, no one will miss me and I really should not be going to MacDonalds for Breakfast afterwards, and I delivered the ANZAC Service at Church on Sunday;   so yes,  I put on my jacket, put on the leashes and the three of us went out together and I thought, “that’s as it should be!”

Tomorrow will be my last morning walk with Yogi and when I come home I will have to gather all his gear – bedding etc., and have everything ready when he gets collected. It has been interesting with the two dogs walking and tonight it will be just me and Benji again.

Urgent email arrived late last night to inform all members of the Commission that there is no accommodation  within 50K of Mount Gambier. This is due to the ANNUAL Jazz Festival which takes place on that weekend. I put the word annual in capitals to emphasise it since the Mount Gambier people who arrange all this should have known that the Jazz festival was on that weekend and

The Lady Nelson - Mount Gambier
The Lady Nelson – Mount Gambier

either changed the venue or  altered the date of the meeting. There is nothing in Penola and I am not going to Naracoorte (109K). I have tried a number of places and I still have two to answer this morning – Dartmoor and Nelson. both across the border in Victoria. Heck at this rate I could have just about driven to Melbourne and back. Nothing available at Nelson but I  seem to have managed to get accommodation at Dartmoor Vic., which is about 55k from Mount Gambier. That’s not too bad. I can still visit the  Sailing Ship The Lady Nelson and the Umpherston Sink-hole Gardens on the way through to Dartmoor although I am so glad it’s Dartmoor Victoria and not Dartmoor England. However, if I get there and I meet anyone called Baskerville I’m out of there !! As far as I can see for a small rural settlement it has a lot of interesting things to offer and I hope my camera is kept busy


Melbourne – The journey Home

Andrew with Trish's Koala Bear
Andrew with Trish’s Koala Bear

We drove out of the hotel carpark fairly early on the Monday morning to begin the journey home. I have to say that I was impressed with the drive through Melbourne and found that getting out of Melbourne is actually easier than getting out of Adelaide. Once we left the hotel carpark, the journey consisted of a succession of freeways, toll roads and back to freeways again – moving seamlessly from one to the other. It was our intention to  get some breakfast along the way but it was Dadswells  Bridge before we stopped – about 300klm.  This is the home of the Giant Koala and I convinced Andrew to buy a large  Koala Bear toy for Trish to compensate for not being able to get the  Tattoo Teddy Bear.   I also bought one for Annabell. We had a quick snack there before driving on to Horsham

From Horsham Service Station
From Horsham Service Station

where we finally filled up with fuel for the car and for us.  Melbourne – Ballarat – Ararat –  Horsham -Bordertown – Murray Bridge – Mount Barker – Adelaide – Port Wakefield – Home. . I thought we would be stopping in Adelaide for the night, but the boys decided that they wanted to get home so we pushed back through to Port Wakefield – fuel and food – then drove the remaining 300 klm to home. At 11pm, Annabell was surprised to see us as she had expected us to stay in Adelaide overnight. Benji went gaga, he was so delighted to see us (me) back safe and sound. We drove from Melbourne to home – about 1300 klm with Andrew doing most of the driving – which he enjoys anyway. Overall, a fantastic trip on every account – me being away with my boys, the Great Ocean Road, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Melbourne, Chadstone Shopping Centre  and then the drive home.

Tailem Bridge and a healthy looking River Murray
Tailem Bridge and a healthy looking River Murray

The day after we arrived home Andrew telephoned the Tattoo organizers and asked about the Merchandise. He was told that there had been a glitch in the system and many people were without packages. The ship was now on its way to New Zealand and would be attended to when it arrived there. It was not. Andrew telephoned again and was told that the packages would be sent out from Edinburgh (Scotland) in a few days. As it happened the package arrived last Friday and Andrew brought it over last night. It was quite a good package;  I particularly liked the coffee mug – and I  have quite a few  commemorative coffee mugs from various events. However, it’s good to be home and with any reasonable luck I should not have to move again until early May and then out to Mount Gambier for a church conference. Although, since coming home, my computer crashed  (Windows 10) and as a result had a meaningful conversation with the Factory Reset Button. Lost much but I was also able to save much and managed to start again. I did have to  rebuild my Outlook Address book and some addresses I still have not got, but they  haven’t got in contact with me to ask why the silence.

At the moment I have over the last day or so, designed and printed an Order of Service – cover page and contents – for a Funeral tomorrow. One of our ladies died suddenly and I was asked to do the Order of Service for her.  Generally I do that anyway, but the church photocopier is on long service leave for necessary repairs so everything has been done here on my computer and printer – all 100 x 4 page  Documents. Just as well the  Board of Management are paying for the ink cartridges – although only 30 of that total have parchment covers and are in colour – for family. The remainder are in greyscale.  I dare say I will get back to what I was doing in the garden ===in the fullness of time    :o)

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

The Drive to Melbourne Part 1

Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road

Day 1

We left home – John, Andrew & Me –  on Friday morning and drove to Adelaide, stopping at Port Wakefield for fuel and food. I had  expected we would share the driving so I assumed there would be a changover at Wakefield, but no, Andrew decided to stay as driver. From Wakefield we drove through Adelaide then on to our next stop at Tailem Bend – then Keith, through Naracootre, Penola and finally to our overnight

Commodore Motel Mt. Gambier
Commodore Motel Mt. Gambier

stop at the  Commodore Hotel in Mount Gambier, arriving there at 6pm. After  getting the rooms sorted out, we decided to go for a walk through town and get something to eat. We could have eaten at the hotel  but we needed a walk to compensate for the driving and sitting. As it turned out we found a nice Pizza Place that seemed to be quite busy. That’s usually an indication that the food is good, we  went in there. It was good so we stayed a while to

A very old Post Box.
A very old Post Box.

wind-down and have a few drinks. I did come across something interesting in Mount Gambier –  at least 50+. A very old Post Box. Have not seen one of them since childhood.

Day 2

The primary object of the trip was, of course, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Melbourne, but the secondary object was to travel the length of the Great Ocean Road. That being the case we drove from Mount Gambier, crossing into Victoria and then down to Port Fairy. Most of this area is forest country so really not a lot to see, although I still maintain that like the Road to Mount Gambier, I would not be surprised to see Gandalf, or at least a Hobbit. We had a stop for cool drinks in Port Fairy. Back inland again to Warrnambool and our first real drive along beside the Ocean started   again at Peterborough – to the Bay of Martyrs – Bay of Islands These were interesting and provide a great indication of just how fragile the coast is in this area. I think the rock faces are mainly

Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands

Limestone – soft and washed away over a short space of time. I understand that the road had to be

realigned a couple of times because the coast had collapsed. From the Bay of Islands we drove to Port Campbell where we stayed for lunch and a walk around the town. Our next stop was The Twelve Apostles National Park. This really floored me. I have never seen so many Chinese/ Asian people in the one place – there were hundreds of them and buses of them arriving every few minutes. There were so many people that it was difficult to get near the edge to take photographs. The top of the walkway as you can see is just people.   Personally I think this is a bit on the dangerous side in that if someone fell, they are dead – no discussion of that because by the time help arrived the person will have either drowned of been battered to death against the rock face. – always assuming they survived the fall in the first place.  There were two helicopters operating and they were going non-stop. As one landed one took off and the queue was something else.

This walkway out to the end was just wall-to wall people.
This walkway out to the end was just wall-to wall people.



The Big Adventure.

Ok, that’s the second run to Adelaide over now we just have the  five day trip to Melbourne and back. I am so looking forward to the Tattoo. In nearly 65 years the Edinburgh Military Tattoo has only moved out of Edinburgh four times and three of these time have been to Australia. I have never been to the Australian event – this will be a first time. We are, as I said earlier, going via the

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

Great Ocean road. Our first run on Friday will be from here to Mount Gambier. The boys will do in one run what I generally take two to do – overall about  1000klms. But then as Herself suggests, there is nearly 30 years of a difference   :o)

At the moment Windows 10 is still causing me heartache. I  spent some time with a Microsoft Guru who was very helpful and  finally got  Word, Outlook, Excel, Power Point and Publisher all working – fantastic.  Still have problems in that the start/menu button is still not working on windows 10 and I cannot access the apps – which means that although these programs are working I can’t quite get to them because I can’t get into the applications folder – grrrr… Not only that, my computer refuses to recognise my printer – they wont talk to each other.  I am not altogether sure why but I seem to spend a lot of time these days  humming Trini Lopez   (If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning) It is definitely  a true saying “To err is human – but to really stuff up you need a computer”

Benji got a severe talking to the other day as I tried very nicely to impress on him that wakening up and pouncing on a sleeping form at 04:20 does not a happy daddy make.  :o) Must have worked


because the last two mornings I have slept until 6am –  thank you BJ.  This five days away to Melbourne is going to be fun. The poor dog went gaga when I came home from Adelaide and that was only overnight — how is he going to be after five days? This will be the longest time I have been away from him since he was rescued and brought home. The longest I have been away from him was two days and Herself tells me he just sulked in his bed only coming out to go out and to eat. Yes, of course I will miss him.

I am looking forward to the Tattoo and some shopping afterwards. We set back to home on Monday – overnight in Adelaide and home sometime on Tuesday morning.  Herself has also been having problems with her computer but rather than upgrade ( it is an old computer) so when we get to Adelaide we are going to have a look around and see what we can find.

Anyway we leave in two hours so I had better start getting showered and things ready. I am taking the camera (of course) and the laptop with me and we’ll see how we go.

An unexpected Adventure!

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

Sunday – apart from church – is family day and in the evening the family all come over to our house and share dinner together. Last night, however, was special for me. Although my birthday is not until April, the family –  Annabell, John, Andrew, Patrica and the Girls – decided on an early Birthday Gift. In February my boys are taking me to Melbourne to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. A reconstruction of the front facade of the Castle is being built in Ethiad Stadium in Melbourne and the permanent staff from Scotland will be coming over. I am so looking forward to this – the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Scot Dragoon Guards.  They (the family) all know that  I have a great fear of flying so we are driving there and the boys want to go via the Great Ocean Road, which means I will get back to the  Memorial Arch but this time I have will my photograph taken with each of the boys.  This is the area where there was a deadly fire a few months ago but it has now been cleared for travel.  We should also make time to stop at Bell’s Beach. Isn’t it interesting that I am already  creating photographs in my head and what I want to do.It would be really neat to make a detour to Drysdale and see what’s happened to my  Sister’s property, but I don’t think we will

The WWI Memorial Arch - Great Ocean Road
The WWI Memorial Arch – Great Ocean Road

have the time for that. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is just magic and I  will have to contain myself until the week after I come back from Presbytery, which, fortunately, is in Adelaide this time.

Apart from the Tattoo, this will be the first time in years that the boys and I have been away someplace together – so I am quite looking forward to that. Of course it’s four days that I will miss Benji and I will miss our  splashing around at the beach. He will miss his  hotdog reward, but I’ll make it up to him. It wont take us long to get back on track. However, it is going to be an interesting start to the month – Adelaide this coming weekend – Adelaide the weekend after – Melbourne the week after that. Yes, Benji will think I’ve abandoned him.

Benji and I tried out a new walking route this morning. Interesting but turns out to be over 1000 steps shorter than our current route. Since today is a public holiday ( Australia Day) I might drive round the route and see where I could make a detour to make up the additional steps. If you’re interested it is calculated to be 1320 steps per kilometer and Benji and I cover about 12500 steps per day which is about 5.7 miles or 9.5 kilometres and we do this every day. I realise this to professional walkers, this is probably just a warm up,  but it’s a lot for  the dog and me – 50+ klms per week.

At this point I wrote some thoughts on Australia Day and deleted them. Better to let the so called elites of society have their say because at midnight I think they turn back into pumpkins. I just  have to say though, I love the way some Australians get elected as “Australian of the Year”and use the opportunity not to celebrate their achievements but to tell the rest of us what a racist, guilty of religious discrimination lot we are.    For me – well I often think of Sir Walter Scott “The Lay of the Last Minstrel”

O Caledonia! stern and, wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e’er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Still, as I view each well-known scene,
Think what is now, and what hath been,
Seems as, to me of all bereft,
Sole friends thy woods and streams were left;
And thus I love them better still
Even in extremity of ill.
By Yarrow’s streams still let me stray,
Though none should guide my feeble way.,
Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break,
Although it chill my wither’d cheek;
Still lay my head by Teviot Stone,
Though there, forgotten and alone,
The Bard may draw his parting groan.