Wetlands and Dogs

These last few days Benji has been very reluctant to go out for out early morning walk. I can understand this – it  has been very cold. I thought that I would leave the walk to later in the morning – say 8am instead of 6am. I also thought it might be a good idea that we go to the Wetland instead of a local walk. It was a cold but lovely morning this morning and the  ponds at the wetlands were like glass – no breeze at all – not a ripple.

Wetlands this morning

However I  decided it was not such a good idea. There were a good number of people about and all of them had a dog, or dogs/. Benji does not get on well with strange dogs so the walk really wasn’t much fun for him. I think we will just stick to the local area in the morning and go to the wetlands in the afternoon when it seems to be a lot quieter. The interesting thing was that all the people with dogs this morning were males.  If I want to go to the foreshore I have to remember to take bags with me as the council has not yet replaced the dog waste bags that it removed for the upgrade.

Benji is a rescue dog and we have not known what his true age was.  In October of this year it will be

Hello peeple..

four years since we adopted him. At the time I was told he was three years, so plus the four we have had  him, that would make seven. I always felt he was older and it turns out I was right – he was born in November 2010, which means he will be nine years, not seven, this year. All of this is academic because in the end I don’t care what age he is, he’s my boy and I love him dearly. However, it may go a ways to explaining why he is so reluctant to get out of bed and get out of the house at 6am on a winter morning – and – I shall have to take the pace at which I walk into consideration and slow down a tad. Of course the reluctance to get out of  bed and get out of the house on a cold winter morning could simply be a kind of human trait, since sometimes we are pretty reluctant to do similar ourselves. I had out longer than usual last night and he actually did slow down and he seemed to me to be a bit tired, so I lifted him up on my shoulder and carried him for a while. One of the neighbours asked  “who was taking who for the walk?” After a little while I put him back down and he seemed to have a lot more energy

This coming weekend is the weekend of the Whyalla  Show (Fair). The RFDS will be on display again this year but  I will not be attending this year as I will be in Adelaide for a Presbytery Meeting. We have Yogi here! Jim took what is believed to be a slight stroke and was taken to hospital. Fay is spending much of the day there so she asked if we would look after Yogi for a few hours. I said I would and went down and collected him at 8am this morning (Wednesday) I  said before that he has not been a well dog and he has certainly lost a fair bit of weight and he is crying a lot, but that could be because this was all so sudden and he is anxious  and does know what is happening. At the moment he is a sad little dog, but Benji and me will look after him for a bit.. Yogi was only here for a few hours and he “cried”much of that time. I held him up on my lap but I had to be careful and not put Benji offside.

As it turned out, Jim did not have a stroke – not even a minor one.  He underwent a brain scan an ECG and various other tests and when they proved negative he was allowed home. When I took Yogi back home Jim was

Benji at the Long Beach

sleeping.  He will check in with the hospital every few days for a little while to make certain everything is ok. However they really don’t know what caused the turn he had. Fay was chastised by the doctor because she drove him to the hospital instead of  calling an Ambulance. Her comment was that  the ambulance can take too long to arrive and is was  quicker to drive him to hospital.  That’s a worry…

 

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The Sands of Time and a Crazy (Confused) Dog

Our Local Hospital

Tomorrow (Saturday)  my son and I along with another person will be running an RFDS fundraising event at a local hardware store:      We did this and I tell you it was the coldest I have ever been all winter – thus far. It was freezing cold down there with practically no shelter from a cold, biting  wind. I did have a jacket on but it was a light jacket and not a lot of help. Still we got through the day. Otherwise it has been a pretty quiet week.  Last week one of the coffee days was cancelled because of the lack of numbers and the evening group has also dropped in numbers – not quite as bad as the Wednesday morning group, but still down from when I set up this place for them coming here. I set out the room for seventeen ladies now there are only about 11 of them. This week  Annabell will be part of the missing number as she drops out for the two meetings. On Monday (tomorrow) I have to take her to hospital for 7am and she will undergo an eye operation.  It’s day surgery and she should be out in about three hours and I’ll take her

It’s all go around here today

home and watch over her for the rest of the day.  I was told  for at least 24 hours after the  surgery. I am also responsible for getting the drops into her eye three times a day. I was given instructions about washing hands before administrating the eye drops, use A bottle first – wait ten minutes, wash hands (in case I may have touched something)  and use the B bottle. I have to administer the first bottle for a week only and the second until finished. So, for the next week or so I am Chief Cook – and bottle washer, as well as being chauffeur, although  my driving duties are somewhat curtailed until such time as she can go out without dark glasses.

You gotta love the timing –  as I am in the process of re-decorating  and painting. I did stop painting for a few days whilst she recovered but I am back into it again and hope to have everything finished by this evening. True,  I get almost as much paint on me as I do on the walls, but  still, I find it enjoyable and therapeutic  with the added joy of pulling one end of the

At the Wetlands a few days ago

blue masking tape and watch it all fall off.    I know, I know – small things and all that  :o)  I did finish the painting this evening. cleared up and tidied up put things back together for the moment until everything has to be moved for the new floor covering to be laid.  Presently I am sitting in front of the computer with a coffee which I will sip quietly whilst contemplating Annabell”s  words to me – “You know the bathroom is looking a little jaded. Could do with a lick of paint”.

Nice Day.

I had come to the end but something happened this morning that I want to mention. Because of the painting I had taken Benji’s bed into my room and that’s where he slept these last few nights. Generally he  sleeps at my back so I felt a little bit abandoned. Anyway, I got up this morning and made ready to take him out. He didn’t want to go. Fair enough, it was a tad cold. Sat at the computer and after a few minutes he started pawing at me. I asked him if he wanted to go out – the ears came up and the tail wagged, so I took that as a yes and off we went. We walk some 1.75 miles in the early morning, come home and he has his after walk treat, then he heads to bed. He wandered over to the area where his bed generally is – no bed.. So I  took him through to my room  and he went into his bed. I left the room, he followed and went back to sniffing the area where his bed should be. I think there might have been some message in this so I went to the room (he followed) picked up his bed, brought it back to where  is should have been.  He had a sniff, jumped into his bed and promptly went to sleep. Perhaps it’s me! Perhaps I’m just a slow learner and should have realised that the bed should have been available right after he had taken his human for a walk.  It’s a worry.

An interesting week and a Survivor.

Part of the Wetlands today (Monday)

After  our shopping trip this morning, (Monday) I helped Annabell get things sorted out them took Benji off to the Wetlands. It has been very cold here these last two days and this morning Benji  didn’t want to get out of bed and go for a walk in the cold at 6am. With the temperature at -2,  I can’t say I blame him, so we didn’t go and stayed in the room with the heater on. By the time I took him to the Wetlands

Benji at the Wetlands

it was a bit warmer and he was quite happy to  go out. We had a good walk  around the wetlands – bit of a breeze and cool, but not too bad. The Kiosk is closed down for alterations but it should be up and running again shortly. The rain the other week has helped to make the wetlands look a bit more visually pleasing – as you can see – but we do need a lot more rain. In our walks recently there have been a lot of Kangaroos wandering about looking for water again. They have even been seen in Nicolson Avenue, which is a fairly busy road. At the moment it is a fairly mild day in that the last few days have been mornings of  – degrees while today (Tuesday)  was 4c,  still a bit on the cold side but ok for a morning walk. Benji and I will be out and about most of this week as we endeavor to keep out of Annabell’s way. This weekend in the Ladies Brunch, so she will be busy baking in the kitchen. Apart from keeping out of the way,  Benji and I will be ‘gofers’ and drive to the various shops to get anything she needs, if and when she needs it.

Went for a walk to the Wetlands this afternoon and  had coffee in the Kiosk with Jennifer, Milan and Max.   The usual sniffs but at least  Benji didn’t snarl at Max and we had a peaceful time with coffee and scones. The day was warm and sunny and 21c but I can see that already the water  is starting to evaporate. There is supposed to be some rain on Saturday – in nice time for the cuttlefish and the Cake Stall – will not interfere with what Annabell and the ladies at the Ladies brunch but it could interfere with both the RFDS events.

Rejoice with me!  Today is Friday – the end of the week – an entire week without a single hospital visit nor a doctor visit. Is that something  to rejoice about or what! Next week is different, and will include an ECG for her,  but we’ll deal with that when it’s next week. In the meantime, it’s been a good week.  Saturday and it’s all happening. It’s 6:30am today is the Cuttlefish diving, the RFDS Catering out there, the RFDS Cake Stall at the Hardware store and the Ladies Brunch — and —- it’s chucking it down. Isn’t that fun. It will be ok for the Cuttlefish Divers, they are going to get wet anyway, the ladies Brunch will be indoors, but the Cake Stall and the Cuttlefish Catering are currently at risk. Right at the moment I am being hassled  but I am not taking him walking in the heavy rain, so he can just go

The last surviving Mandevilla.

back to his bed for a bit;.

The rain faded away by about 7:30 and it turned out a fine day – almost. Everything went well, the Cuttlefish Catering, The  Cake Stall and the Ladies Brunch. The cuttlefish catering we wont know until  the  end of today and we get the two days  and the cake stall calculated. The Ladies Brunch was good but not as good as it has been. We think there was just too much on this weekend – something the ladies are going to have consider if they decide to continue next year. I did say almost a fine day since the rain came back about 3pm but only in the form of a few quick showers. Not enough to cause much concern. The Cake Stall had sold everything by 11:30 and they had nearly three full tables of home baking – and it all went.

Taken at 10am as the heavy, wet mist was  slowly clearing.

Tomorrow (Monday 1st July) is the AGM of the RFDS here and my last  time as Secretary. There is some doubt as to whether or not  the  Secretary Elect will  go forward to election but either way, I will not. The Secretary elect was elected as Secretary but not without some controversial maneuvering. Members of the “In Group” wanted their man to be Secretary but the  Coordinator from Central Operations in Adelaide who was chairing the meeting, ruled this as Out Of Order, since the person concerned was not at the meeting and therefore unable to agree or not to his election.   Oh, yes, and we were told at the meeting that the RFDS Jet, which was to make a visit to each of the areas, will not be coming. Central Operations decided to  send the Jet to the properties of each of the major corporate sponsors instead and since it is now in operation, there is not time for any regional visits.

Dogs, Heaven and the RFDS Jet

Glen Coe

… then I’ll hike it through Glen Falloch where the mountain breezes blow

And I’ll draw up in the evening  in the Valley of Glen Coe.

Of course, in my idea of heaven the road wouldn’t be there and all the dogs I have had throughout my life would be with me.  There  would be cloud and mist but  it would never be  cold. There would be sunshine sometimes, but not too much and if food was needed, then it would just be there as required.  I think there would be no people – I have never really been much of a people person – at least I don’t think so because really, I prefer solitude. I loved the isolation of being in the mountains, away from noise, people and civilisation  and yet, many of the things I do or am involved in,  are serving or helping people.I used to think that  this was God’s idea of a practical joke – He knows I am not really a people person, so  He sees to it that all the things I do I am involved with people. But then,  God is  just and to balance  this out He also gave me a love of dogs, and over the years all the dogs that I have had, each one has been the joy of my life, all in their own different ways. In a blog I read recently I wrote about this and mentioned that for some time after Benji was adopted I was calling him Chienne, but he was very forgiving.  You know, you read it all the time but  it never really becomes trite “A dog is the only creature on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

We definitely cannot have Max back again. I know I keep saying this but twice already today there have been several  ‘spats’ between the two and when Annabell and I have to go out, we do not leave them together – something we have never had to do with any other visitor – not even the WaWa. There has been rain and high wind over much of the State. We have had some rain and some wind but nothing like the lower areas. About twenty miles further out in the bush there was some flooding and the road to where my son works was flooded. He decided to come in the back way, which, as it turns out, was not a great decision. He ran into a pothole and  damaged the converter and tore the exhaust system. We got it back and into the garage and his  ‘detour’ will set him back about $600.  I will be leaving the post as Secretary of the  RFDS Branch at the AGM in July. Don’t know what happens after that – we’ll see. I  decided to leave because at one point I was concerned for Annabell after the car crash  and the fact that we never seemed to be away from the hospital or the Doctor Surgery. Things have calmed down, everything seems to have cleared but we have a  young lady who is very keen to be secretary and she has sort of taken over, and come the AGM, we will elect her as the Secretary and I will bow out. Well, not really, there are some things I said I would continue to do

People said it couldn’t be done. They said no one could do it. So we tackled this thing that couldn’t be done and we did it – a world first.  The  Royal Flying Doctor Service was under a bit of a cloud with the new  Intensive Care

The New RFDS I C U Jet.

Unit (The new Jet).  People were concerned that it wouldn’t work in South Australia because it wouldn’t be able to land on a dirt strip in the far northern outback of the State. So the RFDS organised an outback Sheep station get the airstrip ready because the jet was coming. The sheep station is 370klms north of Port Augusta, a 7 hour drive from Adelaide. The jet covered the distance in just under 40 minutes and made a perfect landing on the  dirt runway.  It made just as  perfect take-off. There is a you tube of the landing, which I have saved,  and I hope it works. In areas further north than the Flinders it would take the  normal RFDS Aircraft about 1 hour and forty-five minutes to cover the distance back to Adelaide. The Jet will do it in just under an hour, which makes a big difference in a life emergency.

We have not seen the jet up here and it is unlikely that we ever will – well not for a medical emergency anyway – perhaps for a goodwill visit.  —- I have deleted the You Tube Video as I have been told that it is a channel 7 video and thus copyright.

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..

 

Moving, Benji, and Water for Wildlife

The Road Trains going through.

Thankfully, the weather has calmed down from its hissy-fit last week. A warm week this week but temperatures will be no more than mid 30s. The Hay Convoy of 50 B Double Trucks went through on Friday and I did get a lot of photographs and a video that had been sent to me. It really was something to behold and I am sorry that I missed it but watching the video was incredible. Perhaps next time they go through I will be able to see for myself. They always go through that way but this is the first time we have ever had notification  of the time they were going through. Actually,  they have to go through where they did – there is no other way. – Well, there is, but it would add about 1100 klms on to the journey and not really achieve anything. Saturday was Australia Day, which started out fine – a bit cool, but fine.  By 6:30, the temperature had fallen and the rain came down. It wasn’t really all that heavy but it was constant and the latter part of the Australia Day Celebrations were canceled – although the fireworks did go ahead.  John Jnr and I spent Saturday at my niece’s place moving furniture. She was only here for seven months and she is now heading back to Adelaide. Some things she didn’t want to take back with her, so they went onto my trailer and  into the garage and  the church may dispose of them.

Back to the doctor with Annabell this morning. This was a planned visit, but not a good one.  Generally her blood sugar level has been controlled by diet, but that is no longer working.  Doctor wants to put her on diabetes medication but can’t. He has to contact a specialist in Adelaide, explain the situation to them and they will decide what medication is suitable for her,  given her health concerns and her current medications. So we just have to wait.

I had a telephone call this afternoon from one of the major Hardware firms and they wanted to give us (RFDS) the space to run a fundraising event at the store. I said I would see what I could do and try and get a team together. I will call them first thing in the morning and accept since I have a team available for them. Ten days and I head off to Adelaide for conference. We plan these  days away and both of the boys either telephone her or just come over and see she is ok,  The Weather people lived down to their reputation yet again. Fine weather, they said – temperature in the mid to high 30s, they said. What they didn’t say was 43c today. It be a wee bit warm. Ah, look on the bright side – We survived 48.9, we can survive 43c. The danger period will come in about two hours when people start getting home from work and cranking on air-conditioners, which  could overload the system. Might even blow a fuse again.

As it happened a cool change swept in and brought temperatures down  quite a bit. Temps came down, wind came up and we had  dust problems which I could see in the distance when I was walking with Benji.  Come the weekend and we are looking at high 30s again, but that’s fine. I think one of the things that has made people grumpy is that many Australians have been unable to do what they would normally do in summer. Generally, in the backyard with friends and family – barbecue and a few beers, a glass of wine –  backyard cricket with the children, and so on – in the park or down the beach. Not so much since  it’s been blowing  every day for weeks, then the heatwaves came along and all of this has disrupted the Australian lifestyle. I don’t do any of this but I like to go walking with the dog or dogs and I can take them out despite the wind, but the heat causes problems  for dog paws, so it’s after 9pm when the sun has gone down and it’s starting to get dark. From time to time Benji will dig his front paws into the ground, lock them and refuse to move. I have no idea why he does this but after a  minute or so he will start walking again as normal.  I think he does this because he wants to see if my arm can actually come away from my shoulder since he does this without any warning.  The heat is not only causing problems for us uprights and our companions, it is also causing problems for our wildlife.  This is mainly exacerbated by the drought and just the general lack of moisture in the bush. It is really pleasing to see that more people are filling buckets of water the leaving them in their gardens. .

 

 

Winds of Change

The daytime temperature has been nice but the mornings are cold – probably not in Adelaide – but up here, cold. The evenings have been much the same

Some of the larger birds at the wetlands. Swans have gone, though.

and I have taken to be rugged up if I take Benji for a walk around the wetlands in the evening as the sun  is on the wane. The other day my son sent me a message – “Wetlands in 30 mins.” so off  Benji and I trotted to the wetlands and caught up with him and the pram The day is great, warm and sunny, but the mornings and evenings are still cold. The month of November is a very busy month for the Royal Flying Doctor Group here. I said in the last post that I was asked to organise a fundraiser for this weekend – which I did – but this coming weekend is particularly busy with three events all going off on the one day. Next Saturday  I will be on the go from 8am to at least 9:30 pm. Still if it raises funds for the RFDS, it’s all worth it. I will be doing a fundraiser at the hardware store from 8;30 until 1:30 – a quick change and over to the Ada Ryan Gardens and the RFDS Simulator and  showing people through that until the close of the After Pageant Fair at 9pm and by the time we tidy up and get everything put away, it will probably be close to 10pm. Never mind – worse things happen at sea, or so they tell me.

The RFDS apart, it is going to be a busy time at church over the next month. The Lutheran Church are holding an Advent Service next week to which Annabell (my wife) and some other members of the congregation will be attending. With the other lady still on the sick list, I am still the Tuesday and Wednesday driver, and to add to that I have to take Annabell and pick up another lady for the Lutheran Advent Service on Wednesday afternoon. I thought after Mount Gambier things would start to calm down – oh sure, lead up to the Pageant,  Christmas, Carols in the Park and New Year and  you think things will calm down?

I had a bit of a “wake-up”call on Monday evening. On Sunday, the family come here for dinner. This Sunday Andrew did not come. We held off dinner, but still no Andrew. I tried to telephone him, but no reply. He was on call,  so we assumed he had been called out. Monday I tried several times to call him and again after dinner on Monday -still no reply. So I got into the car and drove to his place. He opened the door and he looked fit and well to me, but I asked how he was. He said he was fine. Talked to Trish and she was fine too. Trish quietly left the room leaving

My Grandson.

me with Andrew. I had just done what Andrew believed I would do when he did not turn up on Sunday and his phone remained unanswered – I would get in the car and drive over – and that is exactly what I did.  His reason for doing what he did is that he believed that this was the only way he could get me to come to his house. In the last year I have not been there to see my grandson, or play with him, because there has always been a reason to prevent me getting there –  organising some function or event for the RFDS – a church function or I am away for days at either Para Hills,  Naracoorte, or Mount Gambier on church business. And if i’m not doing that, I am up to my eyes in paperwork. He asked if I had to do the things I do – i.e. why me, why not someone else? I edit the church Magazine. This takes up time and effort but as much as I have tried to get people to even contribute – well,  everyone wants a magazine but no one is willing to help. The same with the State Newsletter – write on what’s happening here for the State Newsletter –  every other month I have asked for someone to do this- no one has ever responded. I have to go to the places I go to because that’s my role over and above running the service,  if you like. There are three of us who run the church, neither of the other two are fit to undertake the stress of  driving around the State – and by fit I mean medically – one is disabled and the other is recovering from  Cancer, which leaves me. Helen take care of everything locally and undertakes many of the visits, I look after things beyond local – that’s my role. I have to prepare reports for each of these meetings and be prepared to answer any questions that may arise. But Andrew is right, I am so tied up in other things that I am missing the growing up of my grandson – and to be very blunt and truthful – he is the only one I am likely to have.  Things will have to change and soon. I relayed all this to Annabell and she said she was not surprised  at Andrew’s method of getting me over there. “Your son knows and understands you more than you think he does”