Traffic Jams, Fires and Summer Holidays

Sun arise, he come in the morning.

After  the high of 46c the temperature has dropped back to reasonable levels and we have had some rain. Not a lot and not very heavy but very dark overhead clouds that promised much – delivered little. Still it was rain;  it was cold and it was damp and wet and it did have an effect on the fire areas and for that we are thankful. I put Benji’s jacket on and donned my rain jacket and we went out. Benji goes slightly weird when it comes to puddles. After living in a cage I don’t think he quite knows what puddles are, so he eventually  jumped over the flowing spoon drain. I actually thought for a moment  he was going to just stand there looking at it and I was going to have to lift him over  :o)  We don’t generally go walking when it’s wet so this was new to him. I mean, he’s walked over it before – every day in fact – but this time it had water in it and he’s not used to that. I did take Chienne out in the rain sometimes and with lady-like aplomb she walked right through  any puddles that were in her way.

Tomorrow the temperature is due to reach 33c then back town to  the mid 20’s. Apart from the Kangaroos, and Koala Bears, Australia is known for its Eucalyptus Trees. There are many

Spreading the love ?

different types but the type that seems to be move prevalent is the type that sheds its bark, leaves and branches. An example – albeit a small example – is the one just down from my house, the one that I dislike. The area was cleaned up by council recently so there is not as much litter as there usually is. But you get the idea – the bark falls off the tree and collects around the bottom. and there’s your fuel all around the forest floor, that goes then the trees go. So imagine a good number of these in a forest setting !!  These trees contain oil and they explode shooting the  burning embers and sparks across containment lines, spreading the fire.  A post or so ago I suggested that it might be time to think about how we do things in

Normal holiday weekend at Port Wakefield

Australia and the absolute stupidity in taking major holidays in the middle of the fire season. These last week have really brought that home and we have seen firefighters, emergency service and police organising massive evacuations rather than fighting fires. – Over 4000 people evacuated to a beach-  and a good number of them were holiday people –  because there was nowhere else for them to go as their town burned.  We have all been praying and wanting rain to help with the fire fighting efforts but now headlines tell us that  serious rain storms in the fire areas could lead to flooding and landslides because the stability of the soil may have been compromised. We just  can’t take a trick it seems!    Up here, well, nothing much changes. It’s been cold(ish) these last few days and this morning (Thursday) the  temperature when I took Benji out was 11c. The RFDS have been arriving and departing several times  a day and there was an arrival at 4am the other morning. There was an interesting short article from the Bureau of Meteorology which suggests that we are reading the forecasts wrong.  I though, I would read this and gain some clarity and I did. It became clear to me that they have as much understanding of what’s going on as the rest of us. I discovered that I was more confused after reading the article than I was before I  read it.

Because it has been much cooler I have been taking Benji to the Wetlands and we have been feeding the Geese and Ducks. When we arrive at the area they are nowhere in sight – I take off the backpack and next thing I see them all waddling towards us. Benji stays back as I feed the birds. Here the other birds were still making their way up. There is a little black duck that is a sort of favourite but it’s not in this photograph. The black spots on the ground are the feed -I am using sunflower seeds and they seem to like it a lot. I saw that some had moved back to the old area, so I will have to ensure that I have enough for both areas in future. I still find it interesting that the usually pushy seagulls hang back and don’t come too close to the geese and ducks.

Very Mary Poppins   = “Feed the Birds”

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.

Adelaide, Home and a mini-reflection

Rundle Mall early evening

The drive to Adelaide was not too bad. The weather up in this little corner of the world was good, but  there was bands of rain and mist sweeping across from about Snowtown onward.  Annoying in that  you just switch on the wipers and then  within a minute switch them off again. Bright sun, then another band moves in and wipers on, then off, then….  until after Port Wakefield – about 100 klms. from Adelaide. I  spent much of Adelaide shopping and getting things for Annabell as well as  spending time in Bunnings for garden things and a new hammock. I also wanted to get  a  new canopy for the garden seat, but no luck there. I did buy one on line a while ago but Australian Garden seats  are smaller than a three seat and larger than a two seat – awkward – I may have to get one made. Friday is late night shopping in town and I like to wander through Rundle Mall. Surprisingly enough, it was not very busy although is was cold. From there I walked the half mile or so to the Central Market which was open until 9pm.  I didn’t do much at the market other than get some new cook books and a bag of mandarins,

Victoria Square, Adelaide

which I am fond of, but I did take what I thought was a  fairly reasonable shot of Victoria Square, which these days is well lit up. Before it was dull and dreary but in recent years Adelaide has started to look  much more interesting and welcoming at night – provided you don’t go wandering off the main areas. We still have a few problems in that regard and it’s still not a good idea to go wandering off on your own in less frequented areas – “safety in Numbers”still applies. One of the streets that was a major concern has mostly been “tamed” with most of the “nightclubs”having been moved on.

Built as a minesweeper and launched in 1942 HMAS Whyalla saw service mostly in the Pacific. She was one of 60 “Bathurst  Class” Minesweepers/ Corvettes and was awarded

HMAS Whyalla
Launched 1942

three Battle Honours for her service. She was decommissioned in 1947 and sold to the Victorian Government, renamed “Rip” and used as a Lighthouse supply ship  and various other civilian duties. In 1984 she was to be sold for scrap. HMAS Whyalla was the first ship built in the Whyalla Shipbuilding yard and rather then let it be scrapped and forgotten the Whyalla City Council negotiated with the Victorian Government to buy the ship. This was done and the ship was brought back to Whyalla with

a volunteer crew and under her own steam. She remained in the slipway until 1987 when she was -slowly- moved 2 kilms to her present landlocked position  as the centerpiece of the Whyalla Maritime Museum, which was opened in 1988. I have taken family and visitors to the Maritime Museum  but Annabell has stayed in the car or watched from the  ground – the stairs being too much for her. There are a number of seasonal things that attract people here not the least of which is the  diving to observe the giant cuttlefish. This has grown in size in the last few years and the RFDS (Whyalla) has been involved every year since it began. This year, this month, in fact,  it will be 40 years since Annabell and I, and the two boys moved to Australia. We had been married 10 years to the month when we left Scotland. Much has changed

Another View

John’s wheels, Benji and the WaWa

Took the dogs to the Wetlands this afternoon. The rain we have had over the last week has had  a reasonable effect but it still needs more to bring the ponds back to capacity. The boys were very good and walked well – like old pals, in fact. Pity they could not behave like that at home.  Still to be fair, it’s not the fault of Max – Benji is the culprit here and as I said, for some reason he does not like Max. On Sunday, Max went home.

I have just returned from a trip to Adelaide. My son’s car has “given up the ghost”so he needs a new car. He asked me to take him to Adelaide since there was nothing here that he liked.  There is only one car dealer here and private buys are a bit “dodgy”  I took him to a decent dealer, “Adelaide Auto Sales”at Mawson Lakes. We spent some time there looking at various SUV models and he finally settled on a Ford Territory. Personally I preferred the

John’s new Wheels

Sliver-Blue one, but he settled on the Black.  The reason for the SUV is the high clearance which on the back roads could get him out of any trouble a lot easier.  I had booked two hotel rooms but having got his vehicle, he decided he wanted to go home, so I led him back to the Port Wakefield Road and after a stop at Bolivar when I asked him to call me from Wakefield,  any other stop and to call me when he gets home. I went back into town and did some shopping before heading off to the hotel for the night. John called me from Wakefield, Tin Man and when he got home. I had intended to head out to Bunnings this morning but decided I would follow John and head for home. I started out at 6am expecting to be in Wakefield by  sunrise and continue the rest of the way in the daylight.  I did, of course, but it was not without its interesting moments. There is a lot of reconstruction and road works  at the bridge where the Northern Express branches off. It was dark, I was unaware of  the situation so I followed what I thought was the right traffic cone-lined lane and ended up on the Northern Expressway. My GPS, which I had programmed for home led me off the Express to the Penfield Road, exit then to Virginia and back to Highway A1 – The Port Wakefield Road,  and all of this was done in the dark and I don’t like driving at night. Still the Port Wakefield Road if a fairly large, well divided  four lane highway from Gepps Cross in Adelaide all the way to Port Wakefield and I generally  drive this in the dark to be in Wakefield for the sunrise  so that I can  continue by daylight. Wildlife on the Port Wakefield Road is unusual.

After my unscheduled  detour I drove directly to Port Wakefield and stayed there for  breakfast before heading off to the Tin Man.  I decided, since I had sufficient fuel,  not to stop and drove

Benji and Bowtie

directly to Port Augusta, did some shopping there and headed for home.  Crazy Benji went gaga and I eventually had to sit on the floor with him for a bit until he settled down. You would think I had been away for weeks instead of just a day and a half,.  After I emptied the car and sorted out my case, I took Benji out for a walk. That made him happy, just him and me together.  I actually do miss him when I am away. However, all being well, I wont be away again until August and then only for a day and a half.

I have been looking through some old photographs and I came across photographs of Kongsoon ( the WaWa) and oddly enough, I do miss her and wonder how she is. We never hear from them

The WaWa

so we’ll probably never know. Sad, but there you are.

Going Nowhere

Traveling , just Traveling

Left home Friday morning – a bit later than usual – and headed off to Adelaide. I made sure that everything was set up for Annabell before I left. The drive down was uneventful until just outside Port Wakefield where a serious  crash had blocked part of the highway. My lane was clear – but slow and the other lane was backed up  from the intersection to Port Wakefield itself. This is where the Copper Coast Highway joins the Interstate Highway 1. It’s a bad  junction and has been the site of many accidents over the years.  Governments have  thrown money at the place in at attempt to  contain the flow of traffic but it’s still a problem and on holiday weekend is the site of a major bottleneck. The present government has proposed a solution and is willing to  fork out $90million to sort the problem. Most people believe that this also will not work until governments  do what needs to be done – build a new road that bypasses Port Wakefield altogether. But they wont do that. Despite being a  bottleneck, Port Wakefield heavily relies on the traffic for its survival. Because everything has to go through  PW,  there are more food outlets and service stations, bakery, repair shops than anywhere else and all the coaches coming from and going to the North, stop at PW ( BP Service Station)  for refreshments and a break. Therefore, despite all its problems, PW is a major supply and service center and a  bypass road that takes the traffic away would cause irreparable damage to the local economy and, to a lesser extent, the State Economy.

The remainder of the drive to Adelaide was quiet until Adelaide and city traffic. I managed to get most of the things Annabell wanted and did

The entrance to the hospital

some shopping for myself – mainly things from Officeworks for my diary – which – by the way is getting harder and harder to find. I think I said before that ordering things from the UK and the USA is getting too expensive because of the postage charges. Some time ago there were two outlets in Adelaide, but they have closed down.

The hot weather is coming back again for a bit but I don’t mind, it’s already done all the damage it can do and my plants are all dead. I did have a hope for a little while that it was only the outside leaves that had been burned by the sun and the plant and roots were still alive. I kept watering all the plants – even if they looked dead. Well, I now realize they are dead and no amount of water will  change that. So, the hot weather  kills the plants and the wind assaults us with 87,000 leaves.

RFDS Patient Transfer Whyalla

This has been a slightly frantic week with three fundraisers to organise, two unplanned medical appointments and a funeral to get ready for. Well, the hopes that my last two months as Secretary of the  Whyalla RFDS would be quite and trouble free, were always wishful thinking. The specialist in Adelaide has been unable to recommend any suitable medication for Annabell. There is another drug that she could take which would fit the bill, but the problem is that that has to be taken with a partner drug and the second drug is toxic for her. So, we both may have to go to Adelaide to visit a specialist who will teach us both how to administer insulin injections unless there is one visiting here. No idea when that will be. I may be an apology for the next church conference because Annabell  has an appointment to see the eye specialist and that’s when his next visit is.

Why “Going Nowhere”as the title?  Simply because Neil Sedaka’s song has been running through my head these last few weeks and that’s how I have been feeling sometimes – sort of running around in circles going nowhere. Well, I suppose it’s preferable to standing still and stagnating :o)

On the news this afternoon there was a major accident at the Highway 1 and the Copper Coast intersection this morning. Sadly two people were killed and a third one flown  by ambulance helicopter to Adelaide. Honestly this intersection really needs sorted out – soon..

 

RFDS, Travels and New Friend

The RFDS Cake

In the wee small hours of Thursday (3rd) the rain came pounding down. By 9:30 there was still rain and heavy cloud cover  and I was just a tad concerned that this function would go ahead, but by 9:55 the RFDS aircraft touched down. Everything went well and the food provided was extraordinary  brilliant catering.  Our two major sponsors were represented – CEO of Elders and CEO of SA Power Networks, the Central Operations Chair and CEO,  the  RFDS Coordinator, one Flight Nurse and the Pilot. The event was well attended and there were Long Service Awards (10 years ) for a number of our members. There were, of course, speeches,  but short. The  newspaper people were there and after the speeches and the traditional Cutting of the Cake,  everyone was free to

Some of the service Awards People.

wander around, chat and mingle. I – of course – had the camera. I am not the world’s greatest photographer, but if I have the camera and wander around taking photographs, I don’t appear in any. Clever -yes?? Since there were no other aircraft due in, we were free to wander on the apron and inspect the RFDS aircraft, talk to the flight nurse and the pilot. By 11:30 it was time to go and head off to Jamestown, the last stop on the three day tour. We said our farewells,  snuck in a few more photographs and by 12:00 the aircraft was on its way.

Going back to the weather. It rained for hours on Wednesday and Adelaide, for example, had more rain in one day that it has had all this year. Ours was pretty heavy too, and I have yet to go and see if the rain has made any impression on the wetlands. : Quick response – it didn’t. However, it did clear up just before the RFDS arrived at the airport as I said earlier.

I just returned from Naracoorte last night after having been away since last Thursday morning.. The drive to Adelaide was cold and wet and with a sudden rush of blood to the head, I let the GPS take me to Elizabeth via  the Gawler bypass instead of going the way I generally go via the Salisbury Highway. Wont ever do that again!! By the time I got through all her – turn left at the next / turn right at the next/ and on and on, I could have piloted the space shuttle to the moon and back. By the time I finally got to where I was going I was starting to feel like a modern Allan Quatermain. I  stayed in North Adelaide overnight and headed off to Naracoote in the morning. It was cold and damp

Just Because
New friend I made in Padthaway.

and other than fuel, I didn’t really stop much. I stayed overnight in Padthaway and drove to Conference on the Saturday morning. It was understood- or at least that was the expectation- that we would be finished by about 2pm  and I was quite pleased about that since it would give me ample time to get to Tailem Bend before it got dark. Yes, well, by 4.45 pm I was on my way and got as far as Keith and stayed there overnight. Another thing I wont do again! Suffice to say I had a troubled night and was not quite at my best when I left as soon as the dawn hit the sky – 6:20am I believe. I drove through to Port Wakefield  and  had a coffee. From there to the Port Augusta – more coffee and fuel – and then home, where I sat on the floor for a good twenty minutes  until Benji settled down and for much of the night I could hardly move without him. Annabell said that he did his usual – sulked in my room, came running through when the doorbell rang and when Annabell opened the door and he saw it wasn’t me, he went back to my room again. I discovered on this journey that I have a very odd wife. This is the first time I have been away on Mother’s Day, so I telephoned her from Adelaide and asked if she wanted anything for Mother’s Day. She said “Yes” so I asked her what she wanted and her answer was   “you home safe and well”  Jings, I would have thought after all these years she would be glad of the peace and quiet. Anyway, apart from Padthaway this was not quite my best journey. For some odd and strange reason it was filled with concerns and frustrations . Still that’s me home until August.