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!!

 

Stormy Weather Continues.

Friday 30th September

Yesterday was an odd day in that I was able to post things and get most of the mail through. Today it is a different story. Today there is no mail, no internet and no telephone. I think the clean-up has started today in some areas. We still have 22 major electricity pylons down so that being so I  suppose that we should be considered fortunate that we have power for lighting and heating. The Broadband network and the mobile (Cell) phone network are both down. At the moment I am using MS Word and will transfer this to WordPress when the system becomes available again.

The storm may have eased in this area but it still continues in Adelaide and the South East . We  have TV and I just saw on the news that a man believed that warnings didn’t apply to him and he tried to drive through flood waters – and yes, he had to be rescued .   I think the amazing thing about all of this is the fact there has been no serious injuries or loss of life.

Port Pirie was saved in that the wind eased and the town was saved from flooding although just down the road in Port Broughton, they were not so fortunate and there was a lot of flooding in that little township. I also hear that the Barossa and the Clare areas are flooded. There is serious flooding in many parts of Adelaide – houses and properties inundated.

Optus went down on Wednesday and has still not come back on again. Telstra is on and off and on again, then off. I just wish they would make up their minds. At the moment, it’s off again so no internet and no telephone calls, either mobile (cell) or landline.

wakefield-river-3-hours-ago
wakefield-river-3-hours-ago

All afternoon the clouds have been dark and it has gotten progressively colder as the afternoon wore on. It’s just coming up to 5pm and it has now been raining for the best part of half an hour. It just refuses to give up. Even as little 20-25 mm will be enough, given all that has gone before, to send many small rivers and creeks into flood. There is concern about the flooding of the Port Wakefield river. Normally this is a creek that has very little water in it, but given this volume of rain it can quickly become fairly aggressive as it gathers water from the surrounding catchment areas. If this happens it can flood quite quickly and cut off the main highway at one end of the town.  (It’s happened!!)

In Port Augusta there was a fair amount of structural and environmental damage and the Joy Baluch Bridge – the main bridge across the Gulf was closed because of its height and the danger of the  high winds. There is another crossing further up the gulf but it is a serious detour to Yorkeys Crossing and round the top of the gulf and back to the main highway.

At the bottom of the Eyre Peninsula, the city of Port Lincoln is still without electricity – or any power. Most of the food has gone and there are now concerns about potable water and there is also concern regarding the sewage systems. A modern Australian city and food relief packages are being flown in – like a third world country in crisis – bread, some package food, baby formula, milk, water etc.

The Smelter at Port Pirie took a hit and will be out of action for repairs for about two weeks. Arrium also took a hit and was forced to close down, at a cost of about six million a day. Andrew, my son, was called out to the mines at Middleback and he and a team were working frantically to avert a mining “catastrophe” (his words) – although what that was I have no idea – he did not

pylons-down
pylons-down

elaborate.

The clean-up and restoration will take weeks, if not months and there will be the usual “Blame Game” My own view is I don’t care about the politicians and their point scoring off each other, but I believe there should be an investigation into why these pylons came down as they did. Trees in the area were unaffected yet these steel pylons,  22 of them,  were bent in half as if they were child’s toys and not major carriers of high voltage electrical power lines.  I would also like to know, whether it’s good or bad, who supplied the steel for these things. But I think that might be something that we never get to know, but a state-wide failure that put 1.7 million people in darkness is something we should get to know.

Latest: As of 7am this morning the main highway north at Port Wakefield has been closed due to the flooding of the Wakefield River. There are major diversions in place through Two Wells and Virginia for cars, buses and light trucks. Heavy trucks are stuck.

Here, There and Home

MustafaAdelaide;

The Lower Flinders from, Port Wakefield Road
The Lower Flinders from, Port Wakefield Road

The drive down from home was uneventful and quite pleasant until I reached the Tin Man. I still had the best part of half a tank of fuel but I wanted coffee as well as fuel. Fortunately I went into the service station before I did anything or I would have really been in strife. Their  computer system was down

Going Home.
Going Home.

and they could only take cash for fuel and food and I didn’t have  more than $10 on me. It is over 150k to  Port Wakefield but I felt I had enough fuel to get there.  Besides there were a couple of fuel stations between  the Tin Man and Pt. Wakefield if I should feel it was not going too well. As it  happened, I had more than enough to make the distance so I was able to fill up with food and fuel.

Up until then the drive was pleasant enough but after Wakefield the rain started, a few light to medium showers with a couple of heavy showers in between. Nothing too  difficult but it made for an interesting drive to Bolivar. I did some wandering around Adelaide and visited several camera shops looking for an item that I discovered in the very  first stop    ( Camera House ) is no longer made by Sony and thus no longer in stock. My old Sony camera will probably be put out to grass because the memory card is falling apart and I cannot find a replacement. Probably find something on line – ebay – but I feel when you have to do that and get something sent from China,  it’s time to move on.  Of course I have my Canon Canon but that’s too big to just shove into  my  laptop bag and wander  around with, so I need a camera to replace the Sony. I did have a look at a couple of Nikon models in Adelaide and I will have a think about

The Lochiel Lakes
The Lochiel Lakes

them. I could, of course, stay with Canon, but I want an alternative and Nikon will probably fill that bill. Adelaide in between showers was not my favourite place to be over the weekend and I was glad to get out to Para Hills,  attend the meeting, and then head home. I was home for two days and

An Old Lady at Lochiel
An Old Lady at Lochiel

then drove back down to Adelaide for another meeting – and these should be the last until November. This was the West Terrace Committee Meeting, which only occurs twice a year and unfortunately it occurred when it did.

Home: (Finally)

In the last ten days I have been away for five of them and to say My Man is not happy is something of an understatement. From the time I arrived home yesterday right up until this morning he has hardly ever left my side. At the moment he is not in his bed but underneath the desk at my feet.  Perhaps he thinks I am going to take off and leave him again. We did go out for a walk last night so that  kind of settled him down a bit. I think he might have some sort of separation anxiety but not knowing his background we can never really be sure.  He was five years old when I adopted him last year so what happened to him in these years is unknown. We still have no idea what will happen regards the WaWa in October, and we have heard nothing from Sooah. I feel in a bit of a bind because in all conscience we cannot just get rid of her. Apart from being wrong it would be unconscionably cruel just to dump her somewhere, either with someone or with the RSPCA for Adoption. When Mustafa, our vet returns from Turkey  (his mother has been ill) I’l have a good talk with him and see if we can come up with a solution. I haven’t really did anything because it was only until October, but I think that’s a bit of a dream now. The Arrium problems and the State Unemployment problems make it  unlikely that  they will be back in October – or, indeed,  any time soon.

Adelaide and a Dinosaur

Adelaide Arcade
Adelaide Arcade with the fountain in front.

Just after 1:30 pm Andrew picked me up and we headed off to Adelaide. We drove directly to Port Wakefield before we stopped for coffee and something to eat. From there we drove to Adelaide – Andrew to his hotel, me to mine. Fortunately both were in South Terrace – The Chifley and the Sage – Andrew in the Chifley. Why not in the same hotel, or even sharing a room? Well this was not a planned trip – Andrew was going down for a meeting so I  bummed a lift from him and I just booked to stay where I normally do in Adelaide, whereas Andrew’s room was booked by his  company. In the morning I made my way into town – had  scones (and butter) and coffee at the Coffee Club in David Jones. Refreshed I  went up the road to the Apple Shop to find out what was wrong with my laptop. Here I need to bore you further with an explanation. My Apple MacBook Pro is working fine – it’s great – no problems– however  (there’s always a “however”isn’t there?)   although it is working very well, it will not upgrade. I am running an operating  system that is at least three upgrades behind what I should be running and I am starting to find that some things I download will not operate because the OS is out of date. Why wont it update? Well, that’s what I was seeking an answer to. I didn’t get one – well I got one of sorts. After  going through it the tech admitted he had seem nothing like it. Everything is there but it will not upgrade and we don’t know why. They believe that the best solution is to  wipe it clean and start with a fresh install then upgrade that to the current OS.  That I could not do because I do not have a recent backup, so  we are back home again and I will do a backup before I go back down.

Andrew finished his meeting and I met up with him again. We went off to Bunnings and we both did some shopping there and I checked out some of the things I would like for the garden – which I need a trailer for. Leaving Bunnings we headed for home again stopping at Port Wakefield for fuel and food. We arrived home at about 9:40 – a long and tiring day.  I may do the backup this weekend and perhaps take a run down during the week and have the clean and install the new operating system. All I have to do then is put the backup back into the computer. Actually I might get

Sleeping with a Dinosaur
Sleeping with a Dinosaur

the Tech to do that for me – probably cost, but worth it. In Adelaide we came across   “The Pet Barn” a big pet accessories shop.  Well, yes, I did buy some new toys for BJ, one of which was a Dinosaur. Since I gave him the Dinosaur he has hardly let it go and he takes it up on my bed with him. I managed to  get it on its own for a bit and took a photograph. His duck was a bit grubby so I gave it a wash. Came out quite well and the squeaker still works.

Although I’ve been in Adelaide the weather up here has been calm and warm – today is a mild 24c and whilst the warmer weather is welcome, it wont last and we’ll be back to cold and wind again soon. However, I did take advantage of the warmer weather to get some work done and this morning I  hope to hook up the trailer and get down for a load of Granite Chips and make a start on the back.

The WaWa continues to go for Benji and the spray bottle is no longer having any effect; Yesterday was not a good day. The WaWa never shut up the entire day. Spent much of the day outside or driving – always with Benji with me – even if I was going to the hardware store, I took him with me. Keeping him with me and  stopping the WaWa from nipping at his back legs has become a constant battle and although I do not wish away time, October can’t come soon enough. Sooah  insists she will be back then – I hope so, I really hope so. I have to have something in place before November when I head off back to Mount Gambier and be away for  four and a half days and I wouldn’t be at ease worrying about him.

Travels And Breakdowns

The Adelaide Hills
The Adelaide Hills

I was going to quote Robert Burns again about the best laid plans and such like, but decided not to. You probably know it anyway. My plan was to drive to Adelaide, stay two nights in Adelaide then drive to Mount Gambier, visit the sailing ship The Lady Nelson, then  out to the Umpherston Sink Hole Gardens, then the Englebrecht Caves. Busy day planned, but none of that happened.  Left home on Wednesday morning and drove to the Tin Man and the stop for fuel and food. From there I drove to Lochiel. The reason for Lochiel was simply that I had been up since 5:00 to take Benji for his walk before driving off at 7am, so by Lochiel I was a tad weary and wanted some air (rain) and some coffee . Got back to the car and it wouldn’t start. I had brought the charger with me so after a bit I was able to get the car started and continue on my way. A short while later, at Port Wakefield I had a similar problem. By this time I was getting a bit concerned and began to notice things, like the way the car surged when I put on the lights. I decided not to go shopping as I had planned but drive directly to the hotel. Driving through the city of Adelaide was a nightmare for me and I was scared that the car would suddenly stop at one of the many sets of traffic lights. Booked into the hotel then came back out to get my cases. I called Annabell to let her know what was happening and that the battery had really cut out and I could not get the car open – pressed button – boot would not open – pressed button – car door would not open, so I could not even get to the charger. Was talking about things when Annabell cut through my rant with the words “have you tried using the key?”  You can imagine how disappointed I was when the ground below my  feet did not open up and swallow me to hide my embarrassment  nor protect me from the hysterical laughter that could be clearly heard coming from my phone.  You can bet your very last penny that she wont let me forget this in a hurry.

In the mid afternoon I walked into town and did some shopping.  The evening was fairly quiet and I spent much of it watching a movie. Thursday I left the car and took the train and bus to Norwood – most of the storm damage had been cleared. I spent  a few hours there, had lunch and  made my way back to the city center. Friday and the car refused to start so I was forced to call out the RAA again.  The mechanic examined the battery and that was good and the alternator seemed to be good, but something was draining the battery and we had no idea what. I did have a battery charger with me and  decided that if the need arose I would use that, but driving through the center of Adelaide was again scary and I feared at every set of traffic lights. I was glad to reach Gepps Cross, which is the northern boundary of the city and leave the traffic lights behind. Fortunately I had enough fuel to get back to Port Wakefield where I knew there was a good garage if I needed it. I expect there are good garages in Adelaide but I have no idea where. All that surrounded me were FFOs – Fuel and Food Outlets.  I used the charger at Lochiel and Port Wakefield on the way down but I did something wrong in Adelaide and drained it, hence the RAA call. I telephoned Annabell to let her know that I was coming

Showers creeping over the Adelaide Hills
Showers creeping over the Adelaide Hills

home. She suggested that Benji would be pleased because he had been sulking and hiding for the last two and a half days – poor thing.  I was disappointed  because there were things I wanted to do on the way to Mount Gambier and in Mount Gambier itself but I felt if I was going to break down it was better to break down on the way home than to break down on the South Eastern Freeway. As it happened the car drove quite well and I was able to stop for a little while in Port Augusta.  Tomorrow I will take the car to the garage and book it in for a complete service and find out what the power draining problem is. – Hopefully it’s something simple.