Thank Goodness Its Friday

Once Dougal went home, the times walking were a little more comfortable and less frustrating. Dougal is a barker  and tends to go gaga if he hears another bark or, indeed, any noise. It does not make for a really enjoyable  walk with him dragging and pulling. Benji, on the other hand is sort of like a  modern teenager – some other dog barks  –  ” meh whatever!”. Although we never had any concerns, because our fences are secure, I am told by other people that Dougal tends to be something of an escape artist and Sam has had to go searching for him more than once.

The empty bird area at the back pond

I took Benji to the Wetlands this afternoon and it really is starting to look quite sad. The birds have deserted the back pond where they generally hang out.

I am told they are Wild Geese.

The four wild Geese have taken to wandering around the area of the main pond, the ducks and swans have gone and the back pond – what’s left of it – has become the haunt of seagulls. Thursday week – 9th May – I set off to Narracourte for the quarterly conference.  There will be one overnight stay in Adelaide and a second overnight stay at Padthaway. The meeting does not begin until 12:30 so it is likely to last for most of the afternoon since each of the churches has to bring their  Books for inspection, stamping and cleared  by Presbytery. That wont take five minutes so it is unlikely that I will get much farther than back to Padthaway since I will not drive on the Riddoch  Highway and the Dukes Highway  at night. There has been several accidents recently on that stretch of the road recently. Apart from which,  I like staying in Padthaway since it is one of the few places that are dog friendly.

The flood waters from Queensland continue to pour down the Diamantina River  into  South  Australia and then drain into Lake Eyre. Having said that I have also to

say that it has been raining for a good part of the late evening and into the night. It was not the soft, silent rain that really doesn’t do much but a decent rainfall for several hours.  I must try and get down to the Wetlands and see what difference – if any – it might have made. Wednesday:  Never got out to the Wetlands, had a bit of a wetlands in the back garden. It’s chucking it down here again and I I was surprised to learn that despite the widespread rainstorms, some parts of the State missed out – bummer. Looks as if we wont be going out for our walk tonight again.  Well, as it happens, the rain went off and we did get out for our walk. I went directly to the water catchment area at the end of the street and although there was a good amount of water in there, I  did believe that there was less than I thought there would be.

I thought that I would be able to go to the Wetlands tomorrow (Thursday) after the 10 am  Hospital appointment with Annabell, but as of this afternoon,(Wednesday) we have a further appointment on Thursday at 2:30pm. However, at this stage, Friday is looking good  :o) Talk about ‘Things Fall Apart” – I take Annabell and another lady to the  Tuesday coffee evening and she and the other lady get picked up on a Wednesday. This same lady picks up Annabell for visits and other meetings. Well, this lady now has a new car and guess what?????   Annabell cannot get into this new car, so I have more driving around to do. Oh well, I do believe it’s part of the job description.

Dougal and Benji together.

I think it comes under the heading of “Sickness and Health ” :o) And, since the Universe is not altogether finished with me for the moment, Dougal came back this afternoon – right after we came back from the dentist.   Sam is heading off to Adelaide to be with Ina for a little while – then when he comes back he is going into hospital himself, so I have no idea how long we might have Dougal this time. He’s not a really concern, just the fact that he has never learned to ignore  barking and other sounds without going gaga, I’ll have to put on the harness again if I take him out walking but  we have had a fair belt of rain here the last few days, so we’ll see how things go. I didn’t expect to have Dougal back quite so quickly but at least Sam knows that he can go  visit his wife in Adelaide safe in the knowledge that his dog is being looked after and taken care of.  It’s Friday – no doctors, no hospital visits – FREE…  Woo Hoo

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Home; a place for coming from!

Coonalpyn in the Mist

The last post I wrote was on the 28th April, almost three weeks ago. I took off to  Mount Gambier and was there for a two day conference – two days to get there, conference, two days to get back, change clothes and off again for two days in Adelaide. Poor Benji – this is not helping his seperation anxiety one little bit. The WaWa is not too bad since she has Annabell but Benji is my dog and he does not like me being away from him. Anyway, I did bring him back two new toys and a new collapsable, silicone water bowl for when we are out walking in warm weather.

Mount Gambier was cold, but it generally is this time of the year. Annabell told me that it was raining at home. I had no rain to speak of other than a few


Still a touch of blue there

showers in Adelaide and some early morning mist in Coonalpyn and Tintinara. It was cold and I didn’t really didn’t do a lot but I did get out to the Blue Lake, which it was still marginally Blue but starting to fade and not the vivid blue of my visit last November. I had intended to get to Bunnings but ran out of time and had to get back to the hotel ready for the first meeting that  afternoon. It was almost 9pm before I got “home” and called Annabell to let her know I was still around. The second meeting started on Saturday afternoon and was supposed to finish at 2:30. At it happened it finished at 4:40 and I was only able to get as far as Naracoorte (115klm) before it got dark and I  called a halt for the night. I had intended to get to Tailem Bend and Naracoorte was about 230 klm short. This meant that I had to make 800+ kilms if I wanted to get home on Sunday afternoon.  Starting to get a bit tired I called a halt every hour or so and used my facecloth, soaked in cold water, to wash my face, not to mention the coffee at Port Wakefield, the Tin Man and Port Augusta. As it was it was getting dark before I pulled into the driveway. Annabell was not at home.  Knowing that I was away the boys had opted to look after her during Mother’s Day and dinner was at Andrew and Trishs’ place. I could have gone up and joined them, but I decided not to and to let the boys look after her.   The dogs, however, were happy to see me and the WaWa is now my new BFF.

Is photography going to the dogs?

Monday I spent  sorting things out and repacking and Tuesday I took off to Adelaide. I miss Annabell – of course – but I also miss the dogs and I have come to think of both of them as  My Dogs. They will always be Benji and the WaWa but I feel that the WaWa is now my dog  as three months has now turned in to 14 Months and no contact nor any indication if Sooa will return.

The meeting in Adelaide was interesting and I have organised with the CEO to have a meeting with himself and  one of the advisors and discuss how we will

Thw WaWa with her collar – not the best because she wouldn’t stay still. Benji looks on bemused

procede with the restoration of two of the  graves in the West Terrace Cemetary. Both of these graves are of two of the three founders of the Church in South Australia ( 1860) and both have been neglected to the extent that both are on the endangered list. After the meeting in early July and the CEO has an opportunity to inspect the graves, we  should be able to come up with a plan and hope that Mount Gambier – and Queensland – will also get inhvolved and these graves can be protected. For me it has been a frustrating sort of time in that I really didn’t get time to do the things I wanted to do. I wanted an archway for the garden and had fully intended to get out to Bunnings but didn’t , either trip. Also I want to get the WaWa to the vet as she has a bad cut. My vet has gone to see his sick mother again and the clinic is closed – the other vet was too busy to even have a look, so, tomorrow I will phone the clinic. If there is no reply I will make a second call and take the WaWa to the vet in Port Augusta – about 50 miles away.  The Vet was

In Adelaide

open so I took Kongsoon (The WaWa) over to see him. The wound is not as bad as it looks so, with a slight washing and application of some cream it should start to heal up without causing her too much concern. – Mea Culpa…..

Getting out and Walking.

This is our "Back Yard"
This is our “Back Yard”

Benji has had a good day. He had not one, but two good walks today.   We went down to the Wetlands and had a good walk  around the main pond. We even used the new bridge. I brought him back and had some supper and then went out for a walk around the block – not as good as our  original walk, but  a decent start. All in about 5.5 klms. At the start of next week I hope to feel good enough to be able to go back to our morning walk – probably not the full walk yet but we will build back up to the 10 klms per day we were doing before the knee problems.

The weather has been clearing up and the temperature tomorrow will be a nice 34c. Couple of days like that and the  rainstorms will be forgotten. Sadly it wont last at the moment but it will start to do so as the season wears on. I should be able to get some work done in the garden for a  change.  This last week has been a sad and horrific week for news. First there was the  disaster that killed four people at Dreamworld in a horrific accident.  Also in Queensland, a man waiting at a bus stop, got on, threw some inflammable liquid on the driver and set him alight, then sat down on the seat at the bus stop and watched. Others helped to get passengers off the bus. When the police and fire truck arrived the man was still sitting on the seat and still watching. It has been reported that he has a criminal record and has mental health issues. The driver died.   Here in

It's been a hard days night :o)
It’s been a hard days night :o)

South Australia there is concern regarding the number of home detentions that judges are handing out –  car driver kills three people, judge rules it was not careless driving but simply a moment of inattention  that caused the head on collision, so he gets home detention –  a whole five months.  It’s even more of a joke because there are not enough people to run the system and monitor home detainees  so you might as well tell them to just go and sin no more and try  to be a good citizen – “and what’s that – you need your license because your brother-in-law is an alcoholic and needs you to run him to the bottle shop, well that’s very community minded and I believe we can grant that for you.” Also in SA the Building Company Collapse that has left over 200 houses in limbo, has debts of quite a few millions. And on the subject of millions there is now an investigation to determine whether the Arrium board were trading whilst the company was insolvent. But buyers are now lining up so we might have a sale before Christmas and  a hope that this will bring some stability to the town.

Saturday: After yesterday I decided that I had put this off long enough so rather than to wait and see how I feel next week, I got up, got dressed and took Benji out for his morning walk at 6:30 am. It was not a long walk but it was a start and each day I will go a little further until I get back to our full route again. He lay there watching me and as soon as I lifted the track suit, he was up and at my side all ready to go. We did part of the old route and he got to check the mail, so he was quite happy. It was warm as predicted but the wind kept the temperature down and it was still a coolish wind.  We did much the same as we did yesterday about 5.7 klms , so we are about halfway there. I am quite happy with my  reduced route for the time being.

 

Hospitals, Traveling and Adelaide

IMG_0353
The Hill from the Foreshore

I really should not make promises that I find difficult to keep. I did promise me and a few other people that I would curtail the running back and forth to Adelaide so often, yet here we are – just back – going off again on Tuesday to Memorial Hospital – spend two weeks at home before taking off again for two church conferences – one on Friday, one on Saturday. Probably all day Friday and then back again on Saturday. The one on the Fridays may well be the last of its kind for many years and it is likely that we will dissolve the State Assembly and be controlled from Brisbane and there is no way I am going to travel to Brisbane for a meeting. Traveling to Naracourte was one thing, Brisbane is a very different proposition. This will mean that there will be no one to represent this area. Well, not a lot I can do so little point in worrying about it.  Apart from anything else the expense involved not to mention the time away from home as well as the traveling itself just too time consuming – and as a point on interest I just looked it up – 4360 klm there and back (2180 each way) but this is really speculation and it may well be that the meeting will not vote to dissolve itself and vote to stay independent  and in time (short) go quietly and gently into the night. Now I don’t have much time between trips since John James has to go for knee surgery next week, so back down again. Yes, I know, but who else is going to take him and bring him back home if not me? Isn’t that  what dad’s are for? Part of the job description?

The foreshore from the Hill
The foreshore from the Hill
IMG_0348
Great mounds of this seaweed along the Foreshore

I was out wandering today and took the camera with me. It was a nice day – cool, windy but dry. I had a wander down the Foreshore and took a few pictures. Even in summer our beach is not as well frequented as it could or should be. The little children don’t like the idea of having to go through the thick rings of seaweed – you never know what can hide there – broken glass for instance. Sadly, yes, it has happened – we have alcoholic idiots like other places – we are not immune from  clowns and vandals. But we have a high youth unemployment problem and it’s not getting any better with South Australia now having the highest overall unemployment in Australia.

John Jnr had his knee operation and everything went well. There are no hotels anywhere in the vicinity of the Flinders Hospital, but there was a house  available for a short term rent, so I took that and stayed there for the three days. Picked John up on Friday morning and drove us home. It was a long drive ( no sharing this time), finally getting in at 4pm, having made two detours for Herself.  Chienne was glad to see me and I had to spend some time with her before I could do anything. Next week we do it all again. However, to be fair, next week was really not in the plans, and it is an “Urgent” meeting and this time I will be in town – not stuck 28 klms away in Bedford Park ( Flinders Hospital area) The house was  comfortable but I was not very impressed with Bedford Park – very difficult to get in and out of with a major highway on one side and Flinders  Hospital and Medical Center on the other and to get out  I have to cross all the

Flinders Drive and the entrance to the Medical Center
Flinders Drive and the entrance to the Medical Center

lanes of the major highway – what fun!! – Please don’t ask – it’s South Australia, we have weird ways of organizing things. Did that at 5:30 am on Friday morning and drove round to the parking area at the hospital. Why 5:30? – it was quiet and only light traffic. Any other suggestions??

Bedford Park is blocked off by a wall and a fence from Flinders Drive so the only way in and out is off the Main Highway. We didn’t know this when we booked the house, but I have to say – as you can see – that it is handy for the hospital, which is at the back of the Medical Center. There are three hospitals here, the Public Hospital / The Neurosurgical Hospital / Flinders Private Hospital .

Cyclones, Microchips and Black Thumb

Romp in the long grass - "sigh"
Romp in the long grass – “sigh”

As I am writing a Severe Category 5 Cyclone is about to batter into North Queensland. Here in our little corner of the Commonwealth, the rain has finally stopped. I have been out doing some stuff for the RFDS and on the drive back to the house, I could actually see the stars – which means, no rain clouds. This weekend will be a very busy weekend between RFDS and the Church I probably wont sit down much before 4pm Sunday after we put the Moderator on the aircraft to return to Adelaide. I have a trailer load of stuff waiting to get taken down to the dump and it’s been waiting for the best part of a week now. I hope to be able to get it attended to on Monday morning.  Herself is still loosing blood, still tired but she keeps going on. Nothing else for it, really. We are still waiting to see the  specialist and I have a feeling I may have to take her to Adelaide for that.

In May I have to be in Adelaide for most of a week to attend the State Assembly, then I’m fairly free  until early June. I should be there twice in June, but I have the  suspicion that I could develop a bit of a cold for one of them.  I had thought of going to the Andrea Bocelli concert in September and then I had a look at the ticket prices and by the time I pay transport and hotel bills I would not have a lot of change out of $1100 and I really cannot justify that.  I’m not being a cheapskate but $1100 for a two and a half hour concert is really not justifiable. Yes I could get very cheap tickets and I suppose people will, but it seems pointless to me to go to a concert and be so far away from the stage that you need a telescope to see it.

It’s Australia! The Category 5 cyclone was downgraded to 4 -3-2-1 -severe tropical storm, which caused some damage, but, thankfully, not as much as was expected. There was damage to power lines, trees and some structural damage, but mostly heavy rain and flooding. Thankfully, also, the weekend is over and I can sit down. It was a hectic three days starting with an RFDS function on Friday, then all day Saturday – 10am – 8pm  and from 9:30 Sunday until 3pm.  And to round it all off, we had the entire clan for dinner on Sunday evening. This morning I did, finally, manage to get the trailer emptied, so it’s all ready for use again.

I telephoned my Vet this morning asked about the Microchip of my dogs and how long does it last – it remains active for as long as the dog is alive. The only time any changes

This is what rain looks like...
Sneaky things, clouds..

are made is if the dog changes ownership and the registration has to be changed. Other than that – it’s for life.

Next month I have to spend a week in Adelaide and have been looking for a hotel. Normally I stay in the same place, but on this particular occasion, it has been decided to divide the Assembly- two days at one venue, two days at another – stupid idea if you ask me!! So I was looking – on line – for a place somewhere between the two. Was asleep and just after midnight (00:22) I had a telephone call from a Holiday Inn who wanted to talk rates with me. I was not impressed and it took me a while before I settled down and got back to sleep. Guess where I wont be staying?? But after all that I would seem that the best course of action is to do nothing and go where I generally go and put up with the extra traveling for the two days. Still think it’s a silly idea and something we have never done before. I do hope it’s not setting a precedent.

RFDS Aircraft
RFDS Aircraft

I have two RFDS functions this week – one tomorrow (Wednesday ) and one on Saturday. Tomorrow should be a fine day but not so sure about the weekend. Thursday and Friday I hope to get some work done in the garden. I have not, as yet, ripped out the dead plants, but I will tomorrow. After that I think I really need to decide if it is worth continuing this struggle. – I think the “Black Thumb” has come back again. Sometimes all I have to do is look at a plant and it goes into self-destruct.  I think it’s a talent !!

Dogs, adoption and Adelaide

Adelaide;

Why do we transport dogs to Adelaide for adoption?  Why not adopt locally? Ok. Only this week a little Maltese Cross was tied up outside a local supermarket in a shopping area. It was a very warm day and it was only when the little thing started going into distress that people realised something was very wrong. Dog owners frequently take their dog with them when they go to the supermarket, tie the dog up outside, get their milk or whatever, leave,  pick up the dog and go home. It’s common practice – but this character (whoever he may be), tied the dog up and vanished. Because it is a common enough sight, no one really paid much attention for several hours. Once it was discovered that there was a problem and the owner was nowhere in sight, the RSPCA (ASPCA??) were called.  Not so very long ago two puppies were tied up to a tree 10 miles from town and left there. They were spotted by a passing motorist who called the RSPCA and the dogs were taken to the pound.  To paraphrase the words of the late President Reagan ” locally is not the solution to the problem – locally is the problem.”  Backyard breeders are a problem and dogs – and kittens – get dumped on the doorstep of the local vet. The staff have frequently come to open up in the morning and found a box on the doorstep with two, or more puppies in it.  The other problem is that this is a kill pound. Two weeks is all they can stay, then they are euthanised. I cannot foster because of my own dogs but I  do what I can and help out with my frequent trips to Adelaide, but we do have a good number of people who cae enough to TasFirefoster until a new home is found. Oh but we are not uncivilised and  the council no longer uses a gas chamber, but uses a lethal injection. The gas chamber was taken out of service in 2009.

Queensland and Northern New South Wales are recovering from major flooding whilst  parts of Victoria and Tasmania are again having serious fire problems. I have a friend in Tasmania who sent me some photographs  of the fire in the hills above her property. They look quite disturbing and orders are out for evacuations. I said before, in this little corner of the commonwealth we are relatively free from real extremes of weather, fires and floods.

I find it interesting how attitudes change over time – well mine has.  I once looked on my trips to town as a bonus,  because  the early start to the Saturday Conference meant I  had to travel down on the Friday. However as the participants have become, over the years, more and more  metro centric ( if it’s good for Adelaide it MUST be good for the whole of the State) and have this belief that nothing of any importance happens beyond the Adelaide boundaries, I have come to look on the  Conferences as the price I have to pay for my frequent trips to the city. Sad, really. Still,  the dogs that I help to rehome benefit and that can’t be a bad thing.

Tornadoes, Cyclones and Bushfires – it’s all go around here!

White PoinsettiaI suppose all countries are strange in their own way but Australia seems to be strange in every way. South Australia is scorching, Victoria is burning, parts of New South Wales are burning, Western Australia is wet and Queensland,  battered by cyclones and a couple of  tornadoes is flooding, battered and bruised. At the Australia Day celebrations yesterday we were running a fundraising barbecue for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and just after 6pm, my son went home and got a pullover. I’m not silly, I already had one in my car so I just went and got that, and by 6:30 people were donning jackets and pullovers as the wind became stronger and colder and by the time the fireworks were set off (9pm) it was very cold. Despite that, it was a good and very busy day which stared at 1:30pm and finished at 8:30pm and everything we had was sold. I think somewhere around $900 will be added to the funds. Our small group has contributed $100,000 over four years whilst places like Roxby Downs in the far north contributes $100,000+ every year. Mind you,  it is one of the largest mining areas in Australia and they have a much greater need of the service than we have..

My  brother-in-law is back in hospital again and not very well so I will be going back down to the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide to see him.  I would like to go down now but it will be chaos on the roads as this is a long weekend and school starts back on Tuesday so there will be families returning from holidays, students going back to University and  school and people returning home at the end of a long weekend.  Not a good time to be ravelling. Tuesday should be much quieter. On the way home I will most probably call into the big Garden Centre  at Two Wells and see what’s available. I know — self-inflicted punishment –  but I  have this weird theory that sooner or later, something will take and my efforts will be rewarded,  then I can sit back and relax and count the pigs as they fly past.

Things seem to be going from bad to worse in Queensland and the State Government have asked the Feds. to give Army assistance because the  state emergency services can no longer cope. It’s not quite of the scale of two years ago, but getting pretty close. We are lucky in South Australia – we get hot and the temperature goes up and down like a yoyo at times, but really, we don’t get the extreme weather conditions coming in from the Pacific and Indian Oceans.   ——–A White Poinsettia – never seen one before so I bought it.