Towards the Final Curtain F

The Blue Lake, Mount Gambier

Well, that’s Mount Gambier over for another year. The trip was interesting, to say the least. There was a fatal car smash at the dreaded junction of the Inter-state Highway and the Copper Coast Highway, with the rescue helicopter called in. The traffic was backed up for miles in all three directions.  The elderly female driver died at the scene with the husband air lifted out by the Rescue Helicopter. He died a few hours later in the Royal Adelaide Hospital. This is a dangerous intersection and I have had a couple of near misses myself with drivers coming off the Copper Coast Highway and either not seeing or ignoring the give way signs. The Inter-state has “right of way”.  The State Government and Federal Government have allocated funds to try and fix the problem but there seems to be no sense of urgency and the construction wont start until

You can see the buildup of traffic. The only alteration to this photograph is my erasing of the reg, plate

“sometime” in 2020. Still, as it’s not in Adelaide, no one worries much.   Between the detours and the delay, I was about two hours down.  Generally, I shop off for a break at Port Wakefield, but considering the volume of traffic going through because of the accident, delays and diversions, I decided against stopping and carried on to Adelaide. Thursday was not too bad with regard to the weather. I was able to get some shopping done in town and at the Central Market.

At about 10:30 I started to get a bit weary so to bed I went, only to be rudely wakened at 3am with thumping, banging and loud, continuous screaming. Next thing I saw the flashing blue and red reflection on the window blind (police car) – more banging- bit more screaming – a female screaming like a banshee, lots of voices, some sharing their innermost thoughts, then quiet. By then I was wide awake and although I sort of dozed off in fits and starts, I never really got to sleep again. It was either a domestic thing or a sex thing. Don’t know and never asked.  At 6am I was showered, dressed and booked out. By 6:30 I was on the road again – and it was raining.

The drive on the freeway to Tailem Bend was not one of the best drives I have had recently – it didn’t just rain, it poured, with the windscreen wipers sometimes having difficulty in coping.  Fortunately, there was not a lot of traffic on the freeway at that time in the morning, which was just as well, considering the conditions. First time I have ever driven in the daytime with headlights on.  By the time I reached Tailem Bend the rain has eased off – not stopped, just eased off.  I did, however, get my usual photograph of the River Murray. The Murray is looking ok,

The River Murray

but the dull overcast conditions gives you some idea of what the weather was like. More rain on the way to Mt. G. but at least  it was a lot lighter than on the freeway.   Mount Gambier was not so great this trip.  The cold and the rain caused a few electrical failures in Mt. Gambier, one of which was the heating in the hotel. Second concern I have had here, one last year and not another one this year. Perhaps time for a new hotel. One of our members is in Hospital and is not expected to survive. It is really a waiting period. All of his family are there, and no visitors are allowed, other than family. It has been a week since I returned from Mt. G. and I really expected to be called down to  Adelaide.

Fires continue to rage out of control in New South Wales and Queensland with five lives being lost. Here in South Australia we had a bush fire  in the bottom area of the peninsula outside Port Lincoln which was bad enough to put Port Lincoln  under threat.  Fortunately, that one  was brought under control and extinguished reasonably quickly.

The weather here at home has been cool to cold but that is about to change as the forecast is a rapid climb in temperature to 43c on Thursday.   Joy!!!

Hahndorf to Tea Tree Plaza to Home.

Foundation Stone

Leaving Hahndorf we headed in the general direction of Adelaide. After all the uphill and down dale and round every corner, the drive out of Hahndorf really floored me. Flat,  good road. and within less than ten minutes we were on the approach road to the South Eastern Freeway, direct to Adelaide then through town to Tea Tree Plaza. A brief stop at Bunnings for young John (not me!!) and on to the  shopping center. I had been given direction where I should find the shop that I wanted, but I’m stuffed if I could find it, and no shopkeeper in the area had ever heard of it. Anyway, by this time  we had to set off for home. I drove to Port Wakefield then had to stop. I had to hand the driving back to John. Generally, I wear dark clip-on shades when driving during the day. I did not for three days.  I had my eyes tested last week and asked for my driving glasses to have an anti-glare coating. This was done  so when I picked up my glasses on the Tuesday  I did not wear any protection from the sun, believing that the anti-glare coating was all I needed, and to be honest, it seemed to be. Wednesday we left and I drove to Adelaide. Thursday we collected the car and although John was driving, I was sitting looking out without any clip-ons. Thursday was a 39c day. I continued like this throughout the day, and took over the driving at Tea Tree Plaza. By the time we reached Port Wakefield  my eyes were so strained and painful, to continue driving was dangerous for both of us, so John took over the driving. I went into my bag and  got the face cloth from my wetpack, poured cold water on it and washed my face and eyes. I  put the clip-on shades back on. By the time we reached the Tin Man (245 k) my eyes had calmed down and I was going to take over the driving again, but John decided he would drive us home – which he did. I felt bad about that but I really did believe that the anti-glare coating would be sufficient. I was wrong. I have eyes that are sensitive to very bright sunlight, which creates a bit of a problem – although I have shades of different degrees of darkness scattered all over the place, house, bedroom,  car, garage and some float around the sheds

If I could I would take him with me – always.

The scenery on the road to Lobethal was  incredible, but with the narrow roads and no stopping areas (unlike Scottish Highlands Roads) I was unable to take photographs. Mind you not that they would have been much

good with trees blocking much of the view.  With John doing his thing at several Beer Places I was able to have a quiet wander around Lobethal. Here I came across the white church and the foundation stone dated 1921. The place was a Uniting Church Building but since the Uniting Church did not exist in 1921, the original church was something else. My smartphone was not being very smart so I had to wait until I came home. As it turned out the white church was founded in 1921 as Tweedvale Presbyterian Church. Tweedvale is the name that was given to Lobethal during the anti-German feeling  in WWI. It reverted back to its original name Lobethal by Government Decree in 1934. So the White Church began life as a Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterian Church had existed there since 1869 but it was 1920 before they had sufficient funds bu build their own place.

This last week has been the first mini heatwave of the season with the temperature peaking at 39c on  Thursday. Friday was 34c and on Friday afternoon the thunderstorm started and it rained.  Saturday morning and was still raining, so we were unable to go out for our morning walk. Benji is curled up in his bed so I don’t think he was too put out. The rain continued until early Sunday morning and by the time  I got up it had stopped. We did go out and  it was interesting to see that the ground is so dry that the water in the pit had already started to soak away into the soil. In some communities in New South Wales, water is being shipped in because their own source of water has dried up. I feel for our fellow citizens but am thankful that we still have a good supply of water and decent rains to back it up. Having said that, it did rain in New South Wales and Queensland over the weekend. Not enough to break the drought but very welcome none the less. Anyway, it was a nice two days away, but nice to get home again. However, this coming Thursday (7th Nov) I head off to Mount Gambier.

Towards the final curtain D

Whilst the good people of the Northern Hemisphere wax lyrical about Autumn – or Fall, here in this little corner of the Southern Hemisphere, Spring has  Sprung and Dear Mother Nature has

Rawnsley Bluff – Flinders Ranges

given us a reminder of who is really in charge. The temperatures this week have steadily climbed to 41c, with a  high North Wind. In this corner of the planet a North Wind is a hot wind coming off the desert. It was not the most pleasant of days to be running a fundraising Barbecue for the RFDS , but never the less, we did it anyway. Given that it was the middle of a long weekend and  many people were away, if we  made more than $150, I will be very surprised.  Why did we do it- we were asked to – that simple. And, of course it was for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  However,  we have a policy  that if a trader asks for the RFDS to do a fundraising venture, I will do my upmost to get a team together and accept on the  belief that if we refuse, they may ask someone else next time. LOL, I have even organised a fundraising event from one thousand kilometers away when I was in Mount Gambier – and yes, I have had my head examined –  several times!!  Most of the time it’s good fun – we work and chat with customers and when it comes to the RFDS, people are very generous, and they were this weekend too – even although there were not all that many –  and I  expressed the belief that there was more money put into the donations tin than there was to the cashbox. Anyway, it’s funds that we didn’t have at the start of the day and that’s what matters.  Having been through an early 41c on Saturday,  the temperature crashed overnight to be 24c on Sunday – Monday wasn’t too bad and today (Tuesday) I was feeling very cold when I took Benji out for a walk at 6am. I guess I was too pig-headed to go back for a heavier jacket, so I just continued with the walk, but it was a cold morning.

One of the drawbacks of living  “in the sticks” is the fact that I miss city shopping. I don’t mean that the shops here are not good, they are, but there are things  not available in the country that are commonplace in the

Fires NSW & Queensland

city. For example, I want shoe polish, not the common  New Zealand (Kiwi) Shoe polish but a polish that is produced here in Australia and is not petroleum based. Decent size Australian Company but products not available here. We really only have one shoe shop here and that’s  “Spendless” with   small shoe departments  in Harris Scarfe and Target. The shoe shops we did have have all gone. How can you survive in a place where 60% of the population wears flip-flops or no shoes, 35% wear sandals or sneakers and only 5% of us wear  actual shoes.

Over many (Too many) years I have  gone from paper organisers, to electronic organisers ( Palm Pilot ) and finally back to paper, Filofax, Van der Spek, Mulberry and  my current Kikki.k. I have gone from Personal, to A6, back to personal and finally to A5 and Kikki.k. It was all so very easy once. I was in Adelaide fairly often so was able to buy what I needed in either David Jones or Borders, and in a few of the stationers.  Not so now. David Jones no longer stock much  in the way of Planners/Organisers and I think has only one Filofax in stock and Borders closed down. Now I have to order on line from China, Hong Kong,  or,  if it is from the UK or the USA,  I  practically have to donate an

Benji on the Hill; We were just up there again this afternoon.

arm or a leg to defray the postage costs. For other things I  have a supplier in Perth, Western Australia, and she’s very good.  For my inserts these days, I download  a system that I like in the size I want, copy it to a USB and take it to the local printer who will print everything for me in an A5 size — I supply the paper, which is great because it means I get the paper quality that I  really want.. And yet, it would appear that  paper-based planners and still quite popular, but in South Australia it certainly doesn’t feel like that.

 

The May Travels

I miss my dog when I am away.

Sunday: Annabell is much better today. The antibiotic kicked in and she is a lot better than she was last night. She has to take the second antibiotic this evening and we will go see the doctor tomorrow. I am feeling much more relaxed than I was  yesterday. When we returned from the hospital I called the boys and asked them not to come over on Sunday as normal. They were concerned but agreed. Sadly this means that we didn’t get to see the Grandson this week Annabell has been having a  difficult time of late but hopefully this infection has been the underlying cause and, with a treatment of antibiotics,  we should be able to get on top of that fairly  quickly – or so I am told.

Thursday: I headed off to Naracoorte to the quarterly  conference. The boys kept an eye on Annabell whilst I was away. I was very late in leaving mainly because I had appointment with my cardiologist at 10am and I  could not afford to miss that. This was a long  appointment in that it lasted a whole 15 minutes when it normally lasts 10 minutes. I am well and everything is as it should be so really it was just an ECG and then a quick chat about how things were and the fact that he continues to be pleased. I don’t see him again for a year. By the time I reached Adelaide it was late in the afternoon and it took me some time to get clear of bank business before I got into town. I did get some shopping done for Annabell but by and large I  booked into my hotel and stayed there. It was a cold, wet and miserable trip down – rained most of the way, and it was Thursday – no late night shopping in the city. I slept well enough and after booking out set off to the South-Eastern Freeway towards Murray Bridge and then Tailem Bend. Cold, and miserable and the weather was not great either!!  I bought the car in the summer and was more concerned with the A/C – never thought much about the heating — well, you don’t when the outside temperature is 41c.  I practically  froze  on the drive from Adelaide to Tailem Bend. I did have some hot food there before continuing on to my next overnight stay. Here I really had problems in that I was not, for reasons unknown, booked in. Every cabin was taken and I was offered the bunkhouse which consisted of a

I often wonder how she is.

room with two bunk beds, one on top of the other) a fridge and a small tv (that didn’t work) It was a broom cupboard with bunks.  The kitchen was about 200 yards in one direction and the facilities 150 in another direction. I discovered what a great thrill it was to walk two hundred yards, rugged up against the cold and the rain, plus the same distance back, to make a mug of coffee. The discussion of the facilities is not for gentlefolk, so we just wont go there I did not have a shower in the morning. I did have a rubdown with a cold, damp facecloth and when I drove the last distance to the conference I stopped off in town, bought myself a pair of gloves and  deodorant. I have to be truthful and say that yes it was a broom cupboard, but the bunkbed was comfortably and I slept well. Both meetings were poorly attended and only half of the commissioners were present. Still more than enough to hold the meetings. I got my books attested and signed fairly early on and I did the books of two other places. I had hoped to be clear by 3:30 but if not I would simply stay there in town and head for Adelaide in the morning. As it happened, the lack of numbers meant that we concluded business by 2:45 and I hit the road. I wanted to reach Tailem Bend before dark, and I did. I pulled into the River Edge Caravan Park and  I was allocated a lovely cabin overlooking the River Murray. On a really nice day it would be very pleasant to sit outside in one of the chairs  and watch the river and the birds – all very relaxing.

Winds of Change

The daytime temperature has been nice but the mornings are cold – probably not in Adelaide – but up here, cold. The evenings have been much the same

Some of the larger birds at the wetlands. Swans have gone, though.

and I have taken to be rugged up if I take Benji for a walk around the wetlands in the evening as the sun  is on the wane. The other day my son sent me a message – “Wetlands in 30 mins.” so off  Benji and I trotted to the wetlands and caught up with him and the pram The day is great, warm and sunny, but the mornings and evenings are still cold. The month of November is a very busy month for the Royal Flying Doctor Group here. I said in the last post that I was asked to organise a fundraiser for this weekend – which I did – but this coming weekend is particularly busy with three events all going off on the one day. Next Saturday  I will be on the go from 8am to at least 9:30 pm. Still if it raises funds for the RFDS, it’s all worth it. I will be doing a fundraiser at the hardware store from 8;30 until 1:30 – a quick change and over to the Ada Ryan Gardens and the RFDS Simulator and  showing people through that until the close of the After Pageant Fair at 9pm and by the time we tidy up and get everything put away, it will probably be close to 10pm. Never mind – worse things happen at sea, or so they tell me.

The RFDS apart, it is going to be a busy time at church over the next month. The Lutheran Church are holding an Advent Service next week to which Annabell (my wife) and some other members of the congregation will be attending. With the other lady still on the sick list, I am still the Tuesday and Wednesday driver, and to add to that I have to take Annabell and pick up another lady for the Lutheran Advent Service on Wednesday afternoon. I thought after Mount Gambier things would start to calm down – oh sure, lead up to the Pageant,  Christmas, Carols in the Park and New Year and  you think things will calm down?

I had a bit of a “wake-up”call on Monday evening. On Sunday, the family come here for dinner. This Sunday Andrew did not come. We held off dinner, but still no Andrew. I tried to telephone him, but no reply. He was on call,  so we assumed he had been called out. Monday I tried several times to call him and again after dinner on Monday -still no reply. So I got into the car and drove to his place. He opened the door and he looked fit and well to me, but I asked how he was. He said he was fine. Talked to Trish and she was fine too. Trish quietly left the room leaving

My Grandson.

me with Andrew. I had just done what Andrew believed I would do when he did not turn up on Sunday and his phone remained unanswered – I would get in the car and drive over – and that is exactly what I did.  His reason for doing what he did is that he believed that this was the only way he could get me to come to his house. In the last year I have not been there to see my grandson, or play with him, because there has always been a reason to prevent me getting there –  organising some function or event for the RFDS – a church function or I am away for days at either Para Hills,  Naracoorte, or Mount Gambier on church business. And if i’m not doing that, I am up to my eyes in paperwork. He asked if I had to do the things I do – i.e. why me, why not someone else? I edit the church Magazine. This takes up time and effort but as much as I have tried to get people to even contribute – well,  everyone wants a magazine but no one is willing to help. The same with the State Newsletter – write on what’s happening here for the State Newsletter –  every other month I have asked for someone to do this- no one has ever responded. I have to go to the places I go to because that’s my role over and above running the service,  if you like. There are three of us who run the church, neither of the other two are fit to undertake the stress of  driving around the State – and by fit I mean medically – one is disabled and the other is recovering from  Cancer, which leaves me. Helen take care of everything locally and undertakes many of the visits, I look after things beyond local – that’s my role. I have to prepare reports for each of these meetings and be prepared to answer any questions that may arise. But Andrew is right, I am so tied up in other things that I am missing the growing up of my grandson – and to be very blunt and truthful – he is the only one I am likely to have.  Things will have to change and soon. I relayed all this to Annabell and she said she was not surprised  at Andrew’s method of getting me over there. “Your son knows and understands you more than you think he does”

 

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.

Out and about

This is so true.
The Spencer Gulf (Beach)

It’s now into Autumn (Fall) and the days are still warm to very warm ( 28 – 37C) but it’s not too bad and we can still get out and about – just have to make sure the ground is not too hot. Message last week  suggested that I should be in Adelaide this weekend and I did try and comply – honestly. However, I did send a message and tendered an apology. I will not be going to Adelaide this weekend for several reasons 1) the Adelaide Fringe Festival – 2) Womadelaide – 3) the Adelaide Cup – 4) It’s a long weekend and 5) I really  am not going to pay the  inflated Adelaide accommodation prices this weekend. However, I am not alone in this in that the people from the South East ( Keith to Mount Gambier) will have a similar problem. Anyway, I can think of lots to do here rather than drive back and forth to Adelaide this long weekend.

It’s starting to get quite cold in the mornings and soon I will have to change from a middle weight jacket to a heavier jacket. In the summer the hot  north wind comes off the desert and pushes the temperature up. In winter the wind blows in off the  Spencer Gulf bringing cool to cold air from the Indian Ocean and right at the moment the wind is from the Gulf in the early morning and the late evenings. At the end of this month, the clocks go forward ( I think!)  and that will make a change. We will still go out at the same time – that doesn’t change. I had intended to take a run through to the Arid Lands Gardens to get plants to replace the plants the sun kindly burned to death for me. Annabell does not go out into the garden – too many hazards there for her –  fine for  us but not for her, so when I am away, I try to make sure that the plants are watered before I leave – but 47C was just too much and I was away for four days. Anyway, it’s not a total loss and I still have one single Mandevilla  remaining. Still, look on the bright side in that we have managed through the heat of summer without  any major bushfire. Oh, we have had a few fires  that were attended to, but nothing too major.

At the moment Annabell is hosting the Ladies Coffee evening and morning.  She (we) were only to do it for this month but she suggested that she (we) do it for the next two months –

Benji and his Hi Vis. Vest

March and April. This would mean that she (we) would not have to host it again for the remainder of this year  (barring emergencies/Illness) Why the (we) well, she cannot  carry the things – extra chairs, sort out the tables and set out the chairs and put everything away on the Wednesday afternoon- so in essence, she gets the credit, but it’s a joint effort given that there things she cannot do. Actually, I’m not altogether sure that she knows where the garage is  :o)  Benji does well and  he gets well petted by everyone, but I generally have him in the room with me. Barring emergencies or Special Purpose Meetings, I  should not be leaving for Mount Gambier until mid May.

When the ladies were here this morning I took Benji for a wander round the wetlands. Still a bit on the sticky side, but not too bad. I think the temperature today was about 32C but the ground was cool,  so he was ok. It being a week day I was able to talk to the workmen down

Main Pond – Wetlands

at the Wetlands and I was correct in my assumption that they are preparing the foundations for a Kiosk/Cafe at the entry to the Wetlands. This will be a good move and will certainly attract more people to the area and that in turn will lead to the upgrade and development of the Wetlands. Sadly though, Benji is not good with other dogs – other than those he already knows, like Yogi and Dougal, so this means that once the kiosk is up and running and it attracts more people to the area, it could restrict our visits to the Wetlands. But for all that, it’s a good development.