Sunday: Annabell is much better today. The antibiotic kicked in and she is a lot better than she was last night. She has to take the second antibiotic this evening and we will go see the doctor tomorrow. I am feeling much more relaxed than I was yesterday. When we returned from the hospital I called the boys and asked them not to come over on Sunday as normal. They were concerned but agreed. Sadly this means that we didn’t get to see the Grandson this week Annabell has been having a difficult time of late but hopefully this infection has been the underlying cause and, with a treatment of antibiotics, we should be able to get on top of that fairly quickly – or so I am told.
Thursday: I headed off to Naracoorte to the quarterly conference. The boys kept an eye on Annabell whilst I was away. I was very late in leaving mainly because I had appointment with my cardiologist at 10am and I could not afford to miss that. This was a long appointment in that it lasted a whole 15 minutes when it normally lasts 10 minutes. I am well and everything is as it should be so really it was just an ECG and then a quick chat about how things were and the fact that he continues to be pleased. I don’t see him again for a year. By the time I reached Adelaide it was late in the afternoon and it took me some time to get clear of bank business before I got into town. I did get some shopping done for Annabell but by and large I booked into my hotel and stayed there. It was a cold, wet and miserable trip down – rained most of the way, and it was Thursday – no late night shopping in the city. I slept well enough and after booking out set off to the South-Eastern Freeway towards Murray Bridge and then Tailem Bend. Cold, and miserable and the weather was not great either!! I bought the car in the summer and was more concerned with the A/C – never thought much about the heating — well, you don’t when the outside temperature is 41c. I practically froze on the drive from Adelaide to Tailem Bend. I did have some hot food there before continuing on to my next overnight stay. Here I really had problems in that I was not, for reasons unknown, booked in. Every cabin was taken and I was offered the bunkhouse which consisted of a
room with two bunk beds, one on top of the other) a fridge and a small tv (that didn’t work) It was a broom cupboard with bunks. The kitchen was about 200 yards in one direction and the facilities 150 in another direction. I discovered what a great thrill it was to walk two hundred yards, rugged up against the cold and the rain, plus the same distance back, to make a mug of coffee. The discussion of the facilities is not for gentlefolk, so we just wont go there I did not have a shower in the morning. I did have a rubdown with a cold, damp facecloth and when I drove the last distance to the conference I stopped off in town, bought myself a pair of gloves and deodorant. I have to be truthful and say that yes it was a broom cupboard, but the bunkbed was comfortably and I slept well. Both meetings were poorly attended and only half of the commissioners were present. Still more than enough to hold the meetings. I got my books attested and signed fairly early on and I did the books of two other places. I had hoped to be clear by 3:30 but if not I would simply stay there in town and head for Adelaide in the morning. As it happened, the lack of numbers meant that we concluded business by 2:45 and I hit the road. I wanted to reach Tailem Bend before dark, and I did. I pulled into the River Edge Caravan Park and I was allocated a lovely cabin overlooking the River Murray. On a really nice day it would be very pleasant to sit outside in one of the chairs and watch the river and the birds – all very relaxing.
I left home on Friday morning, it was quiet, no rain, no wind and the sun was showing its good side. For most of the day the weather was good for a winter day and I had a fairly enjoyable trip down until I reached the city, that is. I had programmed the GPS to take me out to Adelaide Airport and the RFDS Base. Never having been to that end of town before I had to rely on the GPS – bad mistake. It took me the best part of an hour and a half to get to the Airport as the GPS led me into just about every street in the entire side of the city. “Take the second turning on the left” or words of a similar nature are words that I came to hate. Speaking to friends later I was told that I was in roads that I should have been no where near. However, I did arrive at Adelaide Airport only to discover that the RFDS Base is not there any more. It has moved to a new area. After being told where the new Base is I set off again, with similar results. I finally gave up and pulled into Harbour Town. I telephoned the Base from the car-park and was told that I was only minutes away and that the base was in the Airport grounds behind Harbour Town. Three minutes later, and after instructions from Lindy & Mary (RFDS Staff) I was at the Base. I wasn’t lost, you understand – I do not get lost, although from time to time I do become “Geographically Misplaced” I collected all things that I needed to collect and made my way back out. Tapley’s Hill Road, took me to Sir Donald Bradman Drive, which I knew would take me directly to town and less than 20 minutes later I was in town and heading out to North Adelaide. Not my best day and by now it was raining. After a coffee in my hotel, I decided to go into town. By this time the rain was pretty heavy so I gave that a miss. I never got half the things I wanted to do. By the time the Conference finished on Saturday, It was chucking it down , so I decided to go home rather than go shopping. Driving out of town was an illustration of what I have been saying to you – the further north I drove the less rain. By Snowtown (150 klm North) the sky was blue and the clouds were white rather than gray. A few spots at the Port and that was about it.
In the last two years I have lost a number of people that I did not expect to lose. I felt all was well, but they just stopped writing – well at least to this page, I still see them on other pages. In the last two months a further two have left and I can’t help wondering who will be next. So, I am considering what I do from here.
Not a lot happens up here. At the moment we are like a potato – everything that is really good is underground – waiting. I would not go so far to say that our glory days are over and that we
just go quietly into the night, but there are promises and we live on promises – many of which remain unfulfilled. The buying of Arrium; the company brought from the brink of death by Mr. Gupta and the GFG Alliance. Lots of promises, lots of plans, but not really a lot on the ground. Impatience?? Perhaps but it has been a year this month since Arrium was bought and whilst there is some returning confidence, it’s not as much as was expected. Some things will have to change, no doubt about that and at the moment we have no real idea of what these changes might be. We look outward and see that one of the largest construction companies, involved in multi-million government projects, has collapsed and closed its doors, and many people came to work on Monday morning and by Monday lunchtime, had put their personal belongings into boxes and were out the door for good. It was that fast. That could have happened to us, but it didn’t. Theirs was a sudden shock, ours was a long, slow, painful decline and we are still to raise ourselves up from that. There is supposed to be a “Big Announcement” today by Mr. Gupta and GFG Alliance, with Mr. Gupta here in town. So we will see what that brings.
I was up early and got the brushes, shovels and rake all ready, as well as the suction/blower. I spent yesterday cleaning up, sweeping up and filling the mean, green recycle bin. I put the dog houses back into place. I had moved them so I could clean up. It was such a lovely day that I broke out the hammock and put up the big double brolly. Had lunch, quick couple of hits with the personal fly spray and into the hammock for a rest and a read, then back to work. For a while, all of yesterday, the place started to look neat and tidy again.
The Severe Wind Warning was slightly downgraded but we still had winds of up to 95kph and the big gum tree on the corner came down. The Council, SES (State Emergency Service) and the Police had the road blocked off because only part of it came down and the other part was none too safe. My son asked me to take some photographs but no one
was allowed near it. All my work in cleaning and sweeping was to no avail and I had two branches from the other tree (small branches) snap off. Anyway, it will have to stay untidy until I get back from Adelaide. The car is with the Electrical people and they believe it should be ready today. If not, then I have the use of my son’s car. However, the mechanic said it should not be too difficult and he would get to it this afternoon (Thursday)
I have just returned from two days in Adelaide and I have come to the conclusion that I am getting too old for this nonsense. I sat in my Hotel Room, shivering – not because of cold -just shivering. Herself says it was probably an adrenaline rush because of the over tiredness. At the moment I still feel washed out.after leaving Adelaide at 2pm and driving 400k back home. My Associates were happy to see me as I was to see them. I do wish I could take one of my dogs to the meetings, that would be nice :o)
My life has undergone a bit of a change. On 31st. December we locked up the church and the hall, made our farewell to the Session Clerk and set off home. We had only just finished lunch when we had a telephone call to tell us that the Session Clerk, Mrs. Mashford, had had an accident and was waiting transportation by the Air Ambulance to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, some 450 klms away, where she would undergo emergency surgery. It seems she had fallen at the back of her house and had broken both legs and injured her back. At least that was what they thought – one was definitely broken but the other one was too badly swollen to tell and x-ray. The Royal Flying Doctor (RFDS) Air Ambulance arrived at 5:20 that evening and she was transported to Adelaide. She was made comfortable and they did the operation the following morning. She has fragmented one ankle and that required the parts to be brought back together, plates inserted and screwed into place. Her back is just badly bruised so no problem there. The other leg is very badly swollen and they still cannot tell but they suspect that it also broken. So why does that mean changes for me? Simply we are a small church without a minister and the day to day running of the church and the services are undertaken , in turn, by the three elders – Mrs. Mashford, myself and my wife. My wife is unable to travel so she does not go outside of town. Helen is the Commissioner for the General Assembly and I am the Commissioner for the Presbytery. With Helen out of action, the rotation becomes one service every other week instead of every third week. At a bedside meeting, I was elected as the Commissioner for both Assembly and Presbytery – as allowed for by the Code of Practice. Between that and having to take a service every other week, really adds “interest” to things.
The dogs are still inside but with the installation of the magnetic flyscreen across the door, we are able to leave the door open and let them wander in and out as they wish without attracting a horde of flies. The little man had no problems and simply head-butted his way through once he saw me walk through it. Chienna was very reluctant to try it so I had to work with her a few times and let her watch the little man do his thing before she was comfortable enough to push her way through on her own. The magnets ensure that the screen closes – like a door – behind them.
I am finding that more often than not these days, I have to carry the little one for part of our morning walk. He is 12/13 and although he starts off well, full of energy and enthusiasm, he begins to fade after a while. Like the song says – He’s not heavy, he’s my brother. He is one of my associates and if he needs a bit of a rest, well that’s ok, he’s not heavy.
I was only away for four days but it might just as well have been a month. The dogs set up a racket when I drove into the driveway and even before I emptied the car, I was on the floor playing with them. At times I think I sort of felt like General Custer because they did their little dog thing – run around t you in circles. It was so funny – I’m sitting on the floor they are running around me jumping in and out of my legs and every so often they would stop shower me with licks and kisses then circle me again. She who must be obeyed just sat and watched in amazement. It t was ages before they settled down and I was able to empty the car and get my case in. I love my dogs and I enjoy their company – they are my associates really. The good thing is that when I was away this time, my flowers and plants were watered. Normally she forgets to do this and I come home to dead plants, but this time she remembered.
The front of the house is starting to look nice now. During the course of this week I will start to look at the picnic area and see what I can do with that. I have looked an a number of options and it was intended that this would be made into a clothes area so she wouldn’t have to move too far outside to hang the clothes up on a line. And no, we do not have a cloths drier because she does not like them and prefers to hang cloths on a line to dry. We did consider using the area as is, but the crazy paving is just that – crazy – and was really not done all that well. Because she is partially disabled the ground is too uneven for her and I wouldn’t be comfortable having her even try to walk on it. I will replace and make alterations to the borders then decide what I want to do with it. I have bought her two laundry trolleys – one from the door to the dog gate and one from the dog gate to the Hills Hoist clothes
Anyway, that’s me until next year. The next meeting of the Presbytery is not due until 2nd February, so all being well I should not have to be away for a while. This is good – for me – for the dogs – for the plants. The meeting lasted two just over two hours – that’s 900 klms round trip for two and a quarter hours. We have six meetings per year – five in the metropolitan district (I go there) one in the country (they come here). There is only one place that I will not travel too, but five out of six is not a bad record.