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

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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.

Salt Lakes and Camels

The Foreshore Cafe and the Umbrella
The Foreshore Cafe and the Umbrella

After the week out and about with Benji it rained most of the day Sunday and almost all day Monday. Today (Tuesday) wasn’t too bad and we were able to get out to the beach this afternoon. I love  this since it’s a school day and the  beach is  empty – not a soul – well a few teenagers in cars but no one walking along the beach and I discovered that the Benji doesn’t like the sand – He Loves It ! He loves running on it and he loves exploring the seaweed. Once we got away to the very far end of the area where there are never any people, because it’s too far away from children play areas, I took him off lead (leash) and let him romp around on his own for a little while. Playtime over we made our way back to the main area again and went to the

Not the best because he was pulling
Not the best because he was pulling

Foreshore Cafe for  some Ice -Cream.  After the cafe we drove to the Wetlands and had a short wander mainly to get to the cold water fountains – the Boy had a drink and I had a drink from the peeps fountain. By then I felt that it was  starting to get a bit warm so we cut over the bridge and back to the car and home. I did notice on the bridge that some people have started this French thing about  locking padlocks on the  bridge  sides. I wonder how long that will be allowed before the Council get out the Bolt Cutters. I also took some photographs of the Black Swans and what I thought was a baby swan. However, when I looked at the photograph later you can clearly see the markings that it is a small black duck who just happened to be close to the black swans.

Little black duck
Little black duck

The next week is not going to be a great week and I don’t think the Boy and I will be doing a lot of wandering and I think the picnic is out for the moment:

Wednesday  43   / Thursday  44  / Friday / 43 / Saturday 41 / Sunday 39 (Subject to change)- that being so I don’t think we will be out much. In the morning I will bring all the pot plants under the  extended carport and at least give them some shade and make sure that have water as soon as we get back from our 5:40am walk.

I did just that, gave the plants some water and carried them  to a spot under the  pergola. At least I have tried to keep them from  being burned by direct sunlight. Friday and I have to drive to Adelaide. Tomorrow (Thursday) I will check oil and water and make sure I have extra water with me for the car – and for me. At the moment the Benji is unhappy because we had to go out and we left him at home. I had to go to the optician for my new glasses and  to leave Benji in the car in this heat (42c) would have been a death sentence – but of course, he doesn’t understand that – he just knows that I am going out without him.

Well, Hi there Stranger!!
Well, Hi there Stranger!!

The drive to Adelaide was interesting in that I took a couple of photographs of some unlikely visitors to this part of the world. Yes, they are common  the further north  you go but not so much in this corner of the planet. It was interesting that so many people – me included – pulled up and got out of the car to take photographs. There was quite a herd of them scattered across the paddock. But that wasn’t the only interesting things this weekend. The highway passes through the small town of Lochiel then continues on to Port Wakefield. The industry of Lochiel is the salt lake. Normally these are covered in water but this time, perhaps because of the extreme heat, as I passed through there were people walking out on what was lake but now was dry land. The remainder of the lake was a bright pink – which does not show up too well. Some of the

Bumbunga Salt Lake
Bumbunga Salt Lake

photographs are not so good because a cool change was starting  to push through and the wind was fairly high. I tried to steady myself against a tree so some of them were not too bad. The lake, incidentally,is called Bumbunga and was part of the Micronation  “Province of Bumbunga” – which is a long story of recent South Australian History.

When the meetings are over I am always happy to get back in the car and head from home. After this meeting I couldn’t wait to get back in the car and get the A/C on full – the A/C in the church wasn’t working and it was pretty hot and sticky. By the time I reached Lochiel and Lake Bumbunga, the cold change was sweeping in and there was a fair wind.  The temperature crashed from 40 – 21 and it will stay down for most of this week.

Adelaide CBD and Home

Adelaide Christmas Tree in Victoria Square
Adelaide Christmas Tree in Victoria Square

Got me baffled!!  Monday, 39C Hot / Tuesday 40c Hot ( cool change expected in late afternoon) Wednesday ( Today) it’s chucking it down expected maximum 23c – wet and cool. No dogs out today.  No it was not a mistake, I did say dogs.  Every year our friends go off to Perth to be with their family for Christmas and New Year, and every year we have looked after Yogi, their dog. Like Benji, he’s a fairly placid dog so no problem. Last year Fay was ill and they stayed home.  This year, of course, we have the WaWa, so with THREE dogs the next month is going to be interesting.  No word from Sooah so we have no idea what is happening there, how things are going and when – or if – they will be back. They did give me an email address and I have used it, but it keeps bouncing back. I looked through my  Organizer and the last time

Part of Victoria Square
Part of Victoria Square

we had Yogi was in early April of this year when Jim went into hospital – before we got the WaWa. We expected that by this time the WaWa would be gone and we would only have Benji and Yogi – Best laid plans and all that! However, as I said, Benji and Yogi get on well together, walk together and play together.

Friday I went down to Adelaide to do the last of the Bunnings things. Since I have a RFDS Fundraising event today ( Saturday 17th)  I went down and back by coach – a bad mistake as it turns out. I have had some problems with this leg and it has been playing up. Sitting in the one position for five hours, then trying to walk was not great. However it eased up a bit but by the end of the day I was tired and quite painful. I got the things I wanted at Bunnings although I have to admit that although it was the closest to the CBD it is also the smallest store in South Australia. In fact, this Bunnings is so small that it doesn’t even have a Cafeteria.  Once I had completed what I wanted to do there, I  got back into town and spent time at a number of shops, picking up a few things. I  decided not to walk and instead took the tram from Rundle Mall to the Law Courts, and then over to the Central; Market. From there it’s a short walk to the Bus Station. I like wandering through the Central Market. I always find it an exciting place and so full of life and it seems to be different each I go there. Next to the Central Market is Chinatown, which has its own atmosphere with Chinese shops, Supermarkets and Restaurants. The coach was due to leave at 4:30 but didn’t leave until almost 5pm, which, of course, made us

Taken from the Coach. Not too bad for a mobile (cell) phone.
Taken from the Coach. Not too bad for a mobile (cell) phone.

late arriving home.   Sitting in the same position on the way back – although I did get off at Port Wakefield for a walk, well,  I was not the best when my son picked me up and I finally got home. However, this morning I did take both dogs out for a morning walk although I did change our route and

Children's amusements in Rundle Mall
Children’s amusements in Rundle Mall

was a little bit short. I managed through the RFDS Funding event, took Annabell shopping, then sorted out all the fund raising equipment – now I is sitting down and intend to stay that way for the rest of the day. I did say to Annabell, that I will try very hard not to have to travel down to Adelaide by coach again. I can quite happily drive all day if needs be,  but sitting for five hours is painful. Oh it is a large and comfortable coach but it’s still a coach and it’s still a five hour trip. Last night, we had our Carol Service and a collection we took up was a donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Anyway, here I am and here I intend to stay. I don’t want to move again until such time as I have to – probably Saturday night. (dog walks allowed)

 

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!!