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.

Walks, Fete and and second dog.

Best I could do
I thought it was funny

Getting much lighter in the morning, but not all that much warmer. The days, however, are warmer and we had a little taste of summer when the temperature climbed up to 35c. That was exciting!! The following day it was 28c then fell back to  normal early spring temperatures of 20(ish). However, high 20s – low 30s and the flies are out in force already. One of the advantages of the light in the morning is that a number of Kangaroos have been gathering at the far end of the fence line. Not that we get anywhere near them as they bounce off before we get even close enough to take a photograph but, still, it’s nice to see them and take what photograph we can. I carry a Nikon with me, it’s not really up to serious photography, but it is easy to carry around. When I go to Mount Gambier I generally take the larger camera with me..

Our clocks went forward an hour so it’s back to dark in the mornings. We had a few days of really nice spring weather then back to sort of late winter – cold, wet and miserable. Today (Saturday 7th) it had been raining much of the night and it’s still raining. We did not go out for our walk this morning, but he still got his morning treat – which I thought only fair because he was up and ready to go. The church mini Fete took place today and given the early heavy rain we were concerned that it might have to be cancelled again. However, by 7:30 the rain cleared and the sun shone brightly. The Fete was well attended and overall we raised over $1400. I paid for it in that I was on my feet for much of the day and my knee has been playing up something shocking. This evening I lay down and read a book – vegged out I think.

A recent comment mentioned the surprise that Mount Gambier is over 1000 miles round trip. This is part of the problem living in South Australia and partly why it continues to be

Towards the Flinders
One of the gorges through the lower Flinders

underdeveloped – the tyranny of distance and a lack of a major water supply. Just driving to the Lighthouse and back is nearly 50 miles. This distance will take you from Glasgow to Lochearnhead or from Edinburgh to Callander ( give or take a couple of miles)  Some of you may remember that one of our elderly ladies was moved from here to Quorn Hospital because there were no beds at any of the aged care facilities here. I visited her several times as did some of the other ladies – a round trip of 145 miles. For me the problem is that we here are “inbetweeners” too far north to get the benefit of the rolling landscapes of the south, and not far enough north to get the benefit of the rugged  mountain country of the Flinders Ranges. To get to either means several hours driving and of the two I prefer the Flinders Ranges.

For the next three days I will have two dogs. When Ina had to go down to the hospital in Adelaide, Irene – a mutual friend – looked after Dougal. Irene is not in town any more so when I was round there the other day getting some things for the Fete, Ina  talked about her need to put Dougal into care for a couple of days. I said she was not to do this and she was to bring Dougal round to me and Annabell and I would look after him for the two days. I went home and told Annabell what I had done and she said “good, Dougal is a lovely Shih-Tzu and should be no problem”.  Ina brought the dog this evening and after she went home, the three of us- Benji, me and Dougal went out for a walk. Dougal and Benji hit it off and currently they are wandering around outside like old pals.

 

Winter and a Baby Due.

It would seem at times that I lead a very busy life. Generally this is far from the truth – my life is  quiet and peaceful. However, having said that, this year has been different and because of things that have happened, here and elsewhere, I have had to to a lot of travelling. There are four conferences a year, two in Adelaide, two in Mount Gambier. These take place every three months – although having said that, this is the third time I have been to Mount Gambier since January.  The West Terrace Committee, of which I am a member, generally meets twice a year – or as required. This time it came right after Mount Gambier, so I was only just home for less than a full day and then away again for another two days. This is where it becomes slightly bizarre. Because of a fear campaign, many young mothers are refusing to have their children vaccinated and as a result many things we thought were eradicated are making a comeback – one of these is Whooping Cough. This has increased to the extent that  if a woman is about to have a baby, the adults associated with that baby –  Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts etc. – are “Advised” to have a Whooping Cough Injection. My son and his partner are about to have a baby so Annabell and I, along with my other son,  need to have this Whooping Cough injection. All of this travelling over May really told on me and I was tired and somewhat rundown. Our injections were scheduled for the day after I got back from Adelaide. I should have delayed them, but time is running out and we needed them now, so we had them. Annabell and son John are fine.  I ended up with Flu-like symptoms and am in bed sick. I was concerned but I am assured that this is not uncommon and I just have to see it out. Normally it would have been ok but my  body turned gangster on me and forced me to bed. Annabell is very good and feeds me hot Lemon and Honey drinks. It has already started to dry up and I should be fine in a day or so.

The WaWa has recovered and I have removed the Medical Collar. The only concern is that with me being in bed, the dogs are not getting out for exercise.  I dare say they will be fine for a few days. The family were here this evening and  the date for Trish is tomorrow (29th) anything after that and he’s late. – And yes, it is “him” but no name as yet, or if there is they are not telling anyone.

The Arrium Saga takes another twist as the Shareholders have formed a group “Arrium Shareholders United”which are opposed to the Administrator and are opposed to the company being sold. They maintain that Arrium today is a different company than it was fourteen months ago. They also maintain that the company is viable and trading well and that it should be taken out of Administration, re listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), a new Board of Management put into place and negotiations commenced for refinancing. The Administrator has considered the suggestions and  declared them as unworkable – the price for steel and the price for Iron Ore has decreased while the cost of power continues to increase, and there is the little matter of the $2+ Billion debt – and that the only viable option to ensure long term stability is to sell the company as a whole. The closing date for offers was 31st May at 5pm. There are two contenders – one South Korean the other British. The Administrator will consult with the stakeholders – Banks, Unions, State and Federal Governments and an announcement made in about three weeks.

Yesterday an old friend arrived with a “Hi. Remember me?” as he plunged the overnight temperatures down to -1c and it was cold taking Benji out for our morning walk. You notice I said Benji  not  “The Dogs” yes, she’s not silly and fails to see the point of getting out of a perfectly warm bed when it’s still cold and dark.  Actually I really don’t blame her. Our Old Friend has not been very friendly these last few days. No snow – of course – but lots of frost on the grass.  Hmmm – maybe the WaWa has the right idea………..

**newsflash**   The  Baby was born at 3:13 this afternoon (Friday 2nd June) and, would you believe, they still have not decided on a name. Anyway, until then as far as I am concerned, he is Andrew Junior and he was just over  seven pounds

Home; a place for coming from!

Coonalpyn in the Mist

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

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


Still a touch of blue there

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

Is photography going to the dogs?

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

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

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

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

In Adelaide

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