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!!!

Nearly back to Normal.

Some of the blame game and the complaints have started already with truck drivers unhappy with the closure of Port Wakefield. Also the Port Wakefield service stations have lost a lot of

Just a little bit wet.
Just a little bit wet.

money this long weekend. Anyway, one of the complaints is that the authorities were too hasty in closing down access to Port Wakefield despite the fact that the water continues to rise. The weather cleared and there has been an aerial inspection of the damage to the power pylons. In this area alone there were six pylons bent and twisted like children’s toys and overall there were 23 destroyed or damaged pylons in the system.  And just to make life interesting – another storm is bearing down on us and should be here by late Monday / Tuesday with an estimated 100mm of rain – Oh Joy!! However, the bulk of the main storm has now moved into Victoria and New South Wales. On the subject of these two  States, South Australia is very, very thankful for the teams of  Emergency Workers that have crossed the Border to help us out, assist in the clean-up and  give our emergency crews some much needed rest. Considering there are state wide floods in both Victoria and New South Wales, the help  is more than appreciated.  There is to be an investigation into the State-wide blackout and why 1.7 million people were left without power – some for 25 hours and some still waiting for the restoration of full power – Arrium, Port Pirie, Port Lincoln and Roxby Downs  for instance. Arrium is just holding things together with limited power.   The way things are going in South Australia these days I think we will soon be singing the Depression Song:

Once I built a railroad and made it run

Made it race against time

Once I built a railroad, now it’s done

Brother, can you spare a dime

Chienne and her Thundershirt
Chienne and her Thundershirt

When Chienne died last year and it was decided that I would get another dog, I made it clear that I wanted a mature dog, not a puppy. I said about 5 or 6 years old would be good. I looked at this Diego (Now Benji) and he at five – going on six , seemed to fit the bill so I travelled to Mount Gambier to have a final  look at him and bring him home. Now I know I have gone through this before but bear with me – there is a point.  I adopted him and brought him home and Annabell decided that  she should give him his name and chose, Benji.  We decided that he should have a birthday, and since we had no idea (no papers-on way) when he was born the date of his adoption was chosen as his Birthday.  Last  Tuesday, the day before the storm,  his final papers came from Victoria and I learned that he was born on  the First Day of May 2013. In other words, he was a puppy, really. Not what I wanted at all. But although I didn’t really know the difference, my Vet never corrected me or said anything that would lead me to believe me I was wrong and that he was much younger than I believed. However, the rescue group is a small scale operation and funding is what they can raise, so they wouldn’t have the resources to do any investigation and probably accepted what they had been told.  What is for sure is that if his real age had been known, yes,  it is very possible I would have passed him over and looked for something else, but the universe has a way of arranging these things and I stopped, looked and having looked long enough, I knew he was for me. I did buy him a Birthday Present for tomorrow so I will still wrap it up and give it to him.

Me and some of my toys
Me and some of my toys

There was a very rare occurrence here during the week. A set of smaller  fingers got onto my computer – which I had foolishly left open – and wrote comments on several places. Then, having been found out attempted to delete everything as she had been shown in school. I have no idea where she went or what she did, but I will wait and see if there is  any fallout and correct and apologies where I can – if I can.

Sun is shining, birds are singing, trees are in blossom – it’s spring!! And – it be 33c in our little corner of the universe. Blue skies for the remainder of the week :o) This time next week – on the way to Adelaide – will probably rain!!

 

Raining Still.

Storm Damage
Storm Damage

Well, we survived the first really Major rain storm of the season. Sadly, however, so did that  blooming stringy bark gum tree. I felt sure it would fall down – it’s half dead and hanging over the road – but no, it’s still there. If they work the same way as Adelaide we’ll have to wait until it falls down and kills or injures someone before anything gets done. The reason for that is simply if councils decide a tree is dangerous or dead and causing a hazard and decide to remove it, you can  bet with certainty  that there will be a protest group and demonstrations against the council and the workmen. Just about two years ago when we did feel the brunt of a serious storm, which caused some flooding and widespread damage, trees came down all over the town. Once the place had been cleared up and regenerated  the question arose on which trees to replace the  removed trees. The council looked over Australia and decided that it would plant Illawarra Flame Trees, ( from New South Wales) which were colorful and more suited to an urban environment than the Gum trees. Two of our council members organised a protest again the council using “exotic” trees instead of the trees that were native to this area. Thankfully we got the Flame Trees.  The storm Damage photograph shows part of the main road through town – Nicolson Avenue – both sides of the Avenue were blocked to traffic for a while. The good thing about the Flame Trees is that they will allow other things – like grass – to

Illawarra Flame Trees
Illawarra Flame Trees

grow alongside them. They don’t kill off everything around them the way Eucalyptus Trees do.

Taking the back down to the bare earth had  a few problems – it became a sea of mud during the rain storm, so everything is halted until the ground dries out. That means not moving the second shed for the time being. Perhaps by the weekend things will dry out.  However, there are two functions one church and one RFDS.  I have to attend the Church function but  son John is helping to run the RFDS function. The new concrete pathway is being laid out and the cars will no longer be able to access the  church grounds for at least a week. That should be fun!  Been raining off and on for most of the day. Managed to get out with Benji for a little while between rain showers. It was still raining but kind of spot raining rather than real rain so it wasn’t too bad.

Yes we are there somewhere..
Yes we are there somewhere..

Saturday:  Yes, well, so much for drying out at the weekend. If this rain keeps up I’ll go fishing or swimming out back. Yes it is Saturday and yes it is still raining. Not quite sure if this is merely a continuation of the original rain storm, or new rain.  Just before it started to get really dark yesterday ( about 3:30)  I took Benji out in the car and we went driving to various parts of the area and took photographs of the town shrouded in rain and mist. I also took a photograph of the storm drainage area, which is pretty full at the moment and probably today is in need of its own drainage area. I dare say the developer intends to finish off the drainage area and extend it to the  pipeline for the wetlands – in the fullness of time.

Have concerns that both functions for today might be canceled – well the Barbecue for the RFDS at any rate mainly because there is no shelter at Mitre 10 and although the function at the church is under cover ( in the hall) this continual heavy rain will probably deter a fair few people

Just Because//
Just Because

considering that they will have to walk in all the rain to get into the church since the grounds are blocked off to cars. Nipped down to see how the group were doing at the Barbecue at Mitre 10. Not all that good from what I saw. Just John and the team – no people despite the fact that Mitre 10 have a big sale on.

The sun has got his hat on.

A few minutes walk from the house
A few minutes walk from the house

The weather has warmed up again and I have been back out in the garden. I am working on  the Crazy Paved  area and trying to decide what to do with it. The blemishes make it unusable for herself. It had been my intention to make this her clothes line area but the  ground is so uneven that I really cannot expect herself to walk on it in safety – but I have already gone through all this. I have started the re-edging and am halfway through that. Once I have that completed I will make a decision on what to do, but I rather suspect I am leaning towards having it concreted over – it would be just too much to  big a job and much too time-consuming to dig it out and start again – not that I would anyway.  It looks  fairly reasonable from a distance but up close it is badly done and very uneven. It’s the devil to try and keep clean  because the dust and leaves get into the cracks and the uneven divisions between the stones and make it a hard job to sweep.   I started by saying that the weather was warming, but in this little corner of the Commonwealth, it can heat up to a point where it really is silly to go out and work (unless you have an occupation that requires outside work) because the temperature can really do nasty thing to you. I personally believe that working outside in the garden in temperatures of 46c  (115f) is pointless because it is exhausing and draining, and that’s what the temperature climbed up to on Monday and despite being watered, fed and mulched, many plants died. I have questioned the  contents of plant information tickets – they say the plant can be full sun, but what does that mean? Does it mean full sun in the highlands of Victoria or full sun on the edge of the desert in northern South Australia. I rather suspect they are  created in Victorian and New South Wales temperatures and not for  40+ of  country South Australia, so “Full Sun” does not really relate to this little corner of the world. Our ‘ Full Sun”  kills them off. I was told that they should survive if I  ensure that the ground is mulched to protect the roots and that they are well watered, but it really didn’t make a lot of difference and the only two plants that survived the extreme heat of  last week were the two “Sturt’s Desert Pea” – which is not really all that surprising since it is a plant well adapted to desert life. However, they are short lived plants and will really only last the season, but at least I might have some colour.

A “feature” of our part of the world is a North Wind. In many parts of the world, particularly in the UK, a North Wind is a very cold wind – they even have a poem about it ” The North Wind doth blow and we shall have snow” Well here, the North Wind is a  hot wind that blows off the hot desert and pushes temperatures up as well as being draining, making the heat worse than it is already. The dogs have been inside in the cool.

Damp Thursday

Exciting – Wet Wednesday morphed into damp Thursday with everything still soggy and wet. The upper areas of the State are flooded and the rain is set to continue bringing more problems for an already flooded area. I think the sun came out today but I  must have blinked and missed it. Summer officially ended yesterday – and wouldn’t you know it. Still we are not too bad in South Australia only just over one third of the state is flooded. In New South Wales about 75% of the State is flooded and Queensland is not off the hook just yet. Amazing, really – for all our modern technology a few days of rain and everything grinds to a halt and half the country floods. And here we are, Morphed yet again into Wet Friday. Still can’t get any work done outside. This is not usual at all..