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.

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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.

Concerning..

Temperature today (Friday)  was 41c and tomorrow a 44c day before a cool change comes in in the late afternoon. Our area of the state has been designated as  extreme risk for bush fires. Other parts of the State, particularly, Penola and Mount Gambier where the major forests are, has been designated catastrophic.   Water Bombers are on standby. I took Benji out very early this morning before the sun came up and I took him out a little while ago, when the sun had gone down and  the road had cooled down and not hot on his paws. I went out and tested the road with the back of my hand before I did take him out. By the end of the evening we did have some  bush fires – three to be exact. Two of these were under control, one was still causing concern. This morning (Sunday) I took Benji out at the normal time for his walk. I had on a polo shirt and wished I had a jacket on. It was very cool this morning, dull and low cloud cover – almost cold. Talk about  the weird weather patterns. Today did, in fact, climb to 47c

Last couple of days Annabell has not been too great. The hot weather sometimes gets to her, particularly when her system is low to begin with and she has been very tired these last few days. I will keep an eye on her and monitor how she is. But you know, people are strange. Not so long ago people in church were complaining that it was too hot and the old A/C was not really doing the job anymore. So, we had a long discussion and purchased two reverse cycle air conditioners – one for the top end, one for the bottom area. Yes,—– you guessed it – people asking if we could turn the A/C  up or off because it was too cold. I mean it took us a while to get the cash together to buy the blooming things and have them installed – oh well, you can’t win ém all.

It’s not really me

Going back to the Apple concerns again – I  am told by someone who has an iPhone 6 that it has slowed down and she finds it annoying. I am more puzzled now than I was because I have an iPhone SE which is, in essence, a slightly modified 6 in a different case and it should be slowing down, but I honestly say that I have not noticed any difference. Then again, perhaps it could simply be that  I don’t use the phone often enough to notice any difference. However, it must be said that the iPhone was a sudden rush of blood to the head and I have always had a Samsung just about forever. After this contract is completed, I am definately going back to Sumsung.

These last couple of days we have not gone out in the mornings. I still get up, but the Benji seem reluctant to go out and I am not going to drag him out because I think it’s good for him. It probably is, but that’s not the point, I am finding there is not the enthusiasm  there, so perhaps we will give the early morning a miss and do something else, like go to the wetlands  mid-morning. Yes it could be weather related, but I don’t think so. We are now

Still my boy.

into our third year since adoption and some things are starting to show, like his new reluctance to be petted, and if lifted he goes nuts. He wasn’t like that before, he was  very loving and very cuddly and perhaps a steressful 14 months may have something to do with that and only now, 6 months later  I find

it’s starting to manifest itself. But in a number of ways he’s not quite the same dog he was. I used to be able to lift him and carry him on my shoulder – now I can’t and I don’t know why the change. But he’s still my boy and we will work together and sort out any problems with patience. As for the walks, I only went out in the early morning to escape the flies, perhaps we can still go out but at a later time and I can use a personal fly spray – although I sometimes think the darn stuff attracts  them.

 

Traveling again / warm to cold weather

The drive to Adelaide was uneventful – a good drive in warm to hot weather. The car played up a little bit but then it seemed to sort itself out and was ok for much of the weekend. I did get to the new Pet Supply Shop that I had seen on my last visit and I did manage to get a collapsible silicone water bowl for Benji. This can stay in my bag for when we go out and the weather is warm and he needs a drink. I hope we get use of  it because considering the cost, we need to get lots of water in it. Generally, when I am heading to Mount Gambier, I stay in

Grain Silos at Coonalpyn

Adelaide at South Terrace, but due to a change it times I decided to push through to Murray Bridge and stayed there for the night.  The meeting didn’t start until 12 noon so in essence I had  four hours to get from Murray Bridge to Mount Gambier – too easy  ( HA!!)   The problem is that the GPS told me one thing – like the distance and the time needed to get there, what it does not tell me is road conditions, small towns all along the way that require speed reductions, fuel stop, and I got there in time to grab a drink before the meeting began.  This is the first time I have tried going via Murray Bridge  and I found it stressful to worry about time whilst driving. I should spend time thinking about the meeting- not the time it’s taking me to drive there. You are probably thinking that I am going senile in that I have driven to Mount Gambier often enough in the last few years, I should know all these little places.   Yes – that’s very true, but then I was driving to  Mount Gambier  and it  wasn’t an issue – this time I was driving to a timetable and that was an issue because these places were causing me to slow down and that was taking up time. Anyway, that’s it for M.G until May of 2018. The next meeting will be in Adelaide in February.

The Remembrance Service at the Memorial was quite different this year in that it was attended by over 200 Officer Cadets from the Defense Force Academy who are here to  complete live exercises as the final set of exercises before they return to Canberra for their final exams. I was not at the service, but I was told all about it when I arrived back home.

A number of farming towns have organised an artist to paint their grain silos. Coonalpyn was the first in South Australia and depicts the youth of the town. Other areas are taking this idea up but as far as I am aware it is not a cheap option and there’s not a lot of change from $85,000.

Relaxing on the swing.

Yogi has settled in back at home. I spoke to  Jim and he tells me that Yogi was just a bit stressed. Odd because he’s been here a few times and he has always been fine. But he is getting older and that could be a factor, but he and Benji get on well together.  Last time he was here, the WaWa was still with us, so perhaps he missed the WaWa. On the subject of the WaWa – never heard a  word from Sooah after she and her husband left with the dog.

Since I came back from Mount Gambier the weather has been cold, wet and windy – wind not so much, but definitely  cold and wet. We had a good week of really nice warm weather but that’s well and truly gone for the time being.   I know you can have an “Indian Summer” but can you have an “Indian Winter”?   The Cadets are out and about and yesterday evening I  was blocked from going on my walk with Benji and had to come back and go a different way – they were undertaking an exercise. I understand there was a “car explosion”and the  “Army”was deployed to secure the area – not that we got to see much because the area was blocked off.

This afternoon I have an appointment with my Cardiologist , so that should take a good part of the afternoon – drive to the hospital, have ECG, wait , wait, go, ten minutes with  himself, leave, take Annabell to library.  Quiet afternoon, really. Not that I could do much outside – too  cold. Still summer and warm weather can’t be too far away.

Back on my own again.

Dougal – a new Best Friend.

Yesterday afternoon (Tuesday)Dougal went back home. Even after only two days I was a bit sad to see him go. Benji and Dougal got on so well together. Annabell was amazed. It was a lovely day and I was sitting on the garden swing, rocking it gently back and forth – Benji sitting at one side of me and Dougal sitting on the other side. Sadly, Annabell and a camera (any camera!!)  do not get on well together, so no photographs. But, Benji and Dougal got on very well together.  Yesterday, as I said, was a lovely day – warm and sunny with a temp of 30c, however, today (Wednesday) it is wild  with winds up to  75 with gusts of 90 kph. Will not be surprised if there are trees down.

Thursday 12th.  Be careful what you comment on because a tree that came down was one of mine – the one that was next on the list to be trimmed. Of course, the bulk of the major branch was in the neighbour garden so I spent the afternoon over there cutting it in bits and lobbing it over the fence. I am bruised, battered,  cut, cleaned and  bandaged ( thank you Annabell) but I got it cleared out of his yard. A part of it fell back on me and hit my shoulder as it caught on the fence and I do believed I uttered something along the lines of “Oh, the vagaries of inanimate  objects”  words to that effect.  Antiseptic wash, Savlon

Almond pods by the score

Cream and a bandaged hand that still hurts. Fortunately  young Benji was not there to hear anything that might be considered untoward.  Oh well, worse things happen at Flanders.  However, now that everything is back in my garden, even if it is piled up at the fence, it’s my worry and I can take my time clearing it. There is, however, another branch that is a cause for concern but that will have to wait until I get back from Adelaide and call the tree people. Hopefully we wont have a mini-storm between now and then. What I would like is a quiet week. Just looking at my diary for this week it’s very busy which partly explains why I went into the tree cutting thing without being properly dressed and

Benji at the lighthouse

ready. Had I been, I probably would not have acquired so many well placed cuts and bruises – and no, I do not have a chain saw. These

The road to the lighthouse; The other side of the distant hills

things  are best left to people who understand and are familiar with them.  Anyway, it was not the almond tree that caused the problem although since one branch heavily laden with almond pods is reaching over the fence,  he (neighbour) is unhappy about that. Now me -I would have looked forward to lots of free almonds

After the sort of mini-storm, everything quietened down again. I decided that I will leave the cleaning up until I get back from Adelaide. This should be the last meeting of the West Terrace Committee. Now only one more meeting in Mount Gambier in early November and that will be me for the year. This is good because I have so much work to do around here and  less travelling would be great.

Monday and in an hour I set off to Adelaide. The weather is good – sun all the way. Same tomorrow 34c  I think. Her microwave gave up the ghost so I’ll be looking for a new one for her.