Wandering, new lenses and vanishing comments

The Almond Blossom

As suspected the Zoom Conference was a series of drop-outs ( NO not that kind of drop-out)  and I  dropped out 8 times and missed much of the discussions.  Mind you, having said that, the last quarter has seen everything closed down, so, really, there was not a lot to discuss and anything I did miss, I’ll pick when the minutes arrive.. The last two days have been reasonable with regard to the weather. I even managed to take Benji out to Point Lowly and the lighthouse. For Benji it was an afternoon out in the car and a wander around old, familiar ground. For me it was an exercise in frustration. I bought a new lens for the camera – a 15mm wide angle lens and I just couldn’t get the setting right. All the  photographs I took were just blank shots – nothing but white. To make matters worse, somehow a feature had gotten activated that was really frustrating me and no matter what I tried I just could not get it off. Eventually I gave up – put the camera in the car,  took Benji for a last walk to the lighthouse and then drove home. Once home I took out the camera went into the back yard and  stayed there until I removed this annoying feature – which I eventually did – and if you even think to ask me what I did – don’t – because I have no idea ! That’s about it for the moment since the next few days are forecast to be cold, wet and miserable again.

Before he went back up north to Olympic Dam ( Roxby Downs) Andrew and I spent a day in Port Lincoln. He drove as far as Franklin Harbour  (107klm) and I drove to  just after the Tumby

The Pride of Port Lincoln

Bay (140 klm) turn-off and he drove from there into Port Lincoln. I wanted to go to Bunnings so we went there first, mainly because it was the furthest away and we would work back from there. Andrew wanted some things for Connor so we spent some time in Children’s Clothing. I wandered off to the pet section and  had a look around finally buying a new toy for Benji. I did, however, get the photograph of the Champion Racehorse that I didn’t get last time we were in Lincoln. Same as last time, we went for lunch at  Del Giorno’s Restaurant, which is always excellent. I found Andrew’s car new difficult to drive. What I mean is that it drives very well, responsive and smooth, but difficult for me. I am a midget a mere 5ft. 5 inches and this car was not designed for someone as small as me.   The driving seat only went so far forward, which was not close enough for me. By the time I had

The other side of the Gulf – 152 klm. by road

driven to the 140 klm, I was  quite painful and had to  pull over and change drivers. Yes I know but everything in this car is electric including the seat adjustment and Andrew has it set up for him and was  unable to make too much in the way of changes to accommodate me.   I was uncomfortable mainly because I felt I really didn’t have full control of the vehicle. Still, it was a good day out and I got the bench cushions that I wanted and a new toy for Benji. Andrew did get some things but not as much as he wanted and we did have a nice lunch. The following morning Andrew went back up to Olympic Dam.

Benji and I spend the yesterday afternoon (Friday 15th) at Stony Point and the lighthouse. I have been playing with a new lens and during the afternoon I took lots of photographs – dumped lots of  photographs. This new lens will take a bit of getting used to and setting up. It’s interesting – frustrating – but interesting.  It is supposed to be a nice day today so more than likely I’ll drive out to the Point again and play some more with the new lens,  and Benji doesn’t care where I go to in the car just as long as I go with him. I might even get to keep some photographs this time :o)  I have ordered a battery for the camera. I have the feeling I might need  an extra battery. And again my comments have vanished from a post – both by the same person. Perhaps their server does not like me, they don’t like me or my server is playing silly beggars, I know not, but something is not right

 

Brave New World?

Day 1 of the new arrangements:  The alarm clocks did not go off this morning. The reason is simple, I  changed the times. Over these last few days Annabell has been concerned about me wandering around the district in the

Benji observing Social Distancing

early morning darkness – even with two dogs.  This is a quiet and I believe, generally safe area, but I decided to delay our walks from 6am to 7am when it is starting to get light. I changed the time from 05:30 to 06:30. Did it work? Well for me it did – sort of.. I was awakened by noises at the side of my bed and before I could investigate there was this heavy thump on my chest and a little brown face looking at me and demanding to know why I was not getting up and dressed. At 5:50 I was up but we did not go out. Why?   Well it was raining and still is. However, nothing daunted, I  opened the back door and told them to do as they pleased. They ran out only to turn around and run back in. We are not in lockdown, so I will probably take them to the wetlands (depending on the rain) later in the morning.  Still no word from Adelaide so we  still have no idea how much longer Dougal will be here.

Well that changed quickly and it has been  suggested- officially –  that while we are not on lockdown, movement is restricted and it is probably best that we don’t go wandering in the wetlands or on the beach for the time being. Unless necessary/essential movements outside the house have to be limited. This should be fun. No walks today because of the rain and to say the dogs were bored is an understatement. What are they going to be like after a few days with no outside trips? Anyway, I dare say we’ll manage – somehow.

3 Trips.

Made three trips to the shopping centre in the last two days. Trip 1. Go to SA Pathology for blood tests requested by my doctor. Sit in Socially Distanced Waiting Room. My turn. Question- “Have you fasted?” Reply “No – I was not instructed to and there is no fasting marked on the form”.  “Sorry but the test your doctor has asked for requires fasting”  “OK I will go home and come back tomorrow”.  Trip 2. SA Pathology, sit in socially distanced waiting room. “Oh, good morning John. Nice to see you, how is Annabell?  “Annabell is fairly well.” “Errrrr, I think I have forgotten to bring the form” “Never mind we’ll take blood anyway and you go home get the form and we will see what we need and for what”   Enough blood to float a battleship later I went home and collected form which was on the fridge..  Trip 3 SA Pathology. Place empty. Signed form and nurse sorted out the necessary blood samples. Went home and made bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast. Went to room. One dog on either side of me looking up. No way, not getting share of my bacon and egg sandwich. I showed them who was boss as I finished my egg sandwich on my own…..

Andrew came back from Roxby yesterday. He’s not sure how long he will be home for. He has Connor but they will not be coming over here nor will we be going up. Andrew is going to set up Skype or

Dougal also practicing Social Distancing.

facetime so we can chat to each other.  Well I re-set the alarm clock again. The dogs have to go out and the back garden is not enough. In the interests of Social Distance, I took the dogs back out at 6:15 am – not a single person – not even a kangaroo – around. A few cars passed but that was about it. We completed our walk in isolation and returned home for coffee and treats- coffee for me treats for them——–or was it the other way round??   not sure, everything is just so confused at the moment. Apart from the trips to SA Pathology I have not seen much of the shopping center, but reading the on-line news I see a number of national companies have closed down their outlets, the latest being Strandbags.  Of the three stationery shops in Adelaide, two have closed – Smiggles and Kikki.k : Typo, I think, is still open. Kikki.k is a Swedish company that has gone into liquidation, so they wont re-open. I don’t know about a Brave New World, but it is certainly a Sad Old World at the moment.

Winter rain cometh!

In happier times
In happier times

It would appear that the “Parcel”thing may well have been some sort of scam. What the purpose of it is or was, we have no idea but it

The WaWa
The WaWa

would seem several people across the town received such an email. Anyway, it has been deleted but it seems such a strange thing without any definable purpose.  After we dropped Andrew back at his place yesterday, he apparently continued to work on the cleanup after we left. Andrew’s house is an older house – actually it is two houses joined together – professionally done – and he has rooms everywhere inside and sheds and garages out the back, a cubby house and  what used to be a home office – similar to mine. There are trees and bushes planted out front and they have been allowed to become overgrown. To the right of the house (left of the main garage) there is a water outlet, which feeds water into a “river” that runs along the front of the house, under a bridge and ends in a pond at the left side of the house. Over the years the  bushes have become overgrown, the  river is clogged up and the pond is full of leaves and branches. We discovered solar lights and gnomes fishing there. Andrew has not really done much since it’s only in the last seven months or so that he stopped running back and forth to Roxby Downs – the  big South Australia Mining Area – ( he’s a Systems Engineer) and settled in to home. So he has this project of cleaning everything up and  getting it all back together again. He says he has reservations about  getting the water flowing again, but he does want the  “riverbed” cleaned up.  Me?  I would go all out to get the water flowing again, but that’s just me. I had a waterfall here and it grieved me when we discovered that it had  deteriorated too much to be put back  into use. But I did work on it and turned it into a sort of rock-raised flower bed.  But these things are not uncommon here –  many people built water features in the days when water was water and plentiful. Most of them would have been turned off forever when water ceased to be water and became a major source of State Government Revenue –  and South Australia has the highest water costs in Australia. We also have the highest gas prices, the highest power prices and the highest State Government charges. We are in the process of building the third most costly building in the world- the Money Pit known as the New Royal Adelaide Hospital. But we have a spendthrift government – and I believe Arrium is merely an example of a system, which might not quite be broken, but has bits falling off it. It’s a borrow and spend culture.

I have started to do some work on the back garden.  Shared my ideas with No. 1 son and he was not too impressed. He thought my ideas were good but some parts were too big for the available

And the RFDS were there
And the RFDS were there

space. Anyway, I’m working on it. I have emptied and moved the first of the two sheds and I hope to have the second one moved to its new location sometime today.  (didn’t happen)

Thursday 16th: That was yesterday and today the rain is pounding down outside and the lightening is lighting up the sky. Rain was definitely on the weather forecast for today. At the moment I can only hear – it is still too dark to see anything yet. And yes, you may assume that we did not go out for our morning walk. Call me a wimp if you will, but walking dogs in the middle of a rain storm, with the accompanying thunder and lightening,  does not fit into my definition of a good morning’s exercise   :o)  However, I will go and check up on the WaWa – Benji is curled up asleep. – as is the WaWa.

To add to the gloom of the place, our Mayor – Mr. Jim Pollock – died and his funeral is this coming Monday.

 

Heart and Heartbreak

Chi, just a few days ago
Chi, just a few days ago

I have been asked to come and talk to the Vet about the results of the blood tests – which came back very quickly.  The immediate blood test  ruled out Diabetes but the blood that was sent to the lab was not so good. It would appear that Chienne has a tumor and it cannot be operated on. It will grow very slowly so we may well have her for at least 9 – 12 months but she will need constant blood tests to monitor her condition and the tumor progress. I have not told the boys yet. Andrew is in Roxby Downs again  and it’s not something I want to do over the phone. John was here last night so I sat down with him and told him. At the moment Chienne is fine and behaving fairly normally.  I took her out last night and she walks quite happily, so in that regard she is still well. If she were lagging behind I would be concerned but she is not and generally walks ahead of me or at my side, stopping only to investigate an interesting smell.

A Man and his  Teddy Bear
A Man and his Teddy Bear

Chienne is, of course, the most important issue,  but as a secondary issue, I have been cleared by the Cardiologist. The Cardioversion was a great success and I am very pleased. The heart has gone back to a normal rhythm – the arterial fibrillation  having been corrected –  so the energy levels should start to go back to normal. However, no more running around the State like a crazy thing. I have a week away during the last week in May and then  nothing for another three months. I should have been in Adelaide for the rescheduled West Terrace Trust meeting, but no word on that and we are now into the third week in April so I don’t see it happening this month. Probably just as well. I’m not the best of company right at the moment and these last ten days have been pretty rotten. The heart problem aside, to lose one dog and then to be told that I may only have a limited time with the other one makes it  two weeks I would rather not have happened. I keep thinking that I had really neglected Chienne somehow. The Man was ill, blind and require a lot of attention and he got all that attention, even when it meant getting up at 2 and 3 am to attend to him. Chienne looked fine, she seemed fine and behaved as she always does, calm and placid. It was only afterwards that I began to notice that she was drinking a lot of water – and I mean a lot of water, that I suspected something might not be quite right.  I thought perhaps diabetes and, really, I was prepared for that – but a tumor, that  was never in my  thoughts at any time.

As if to add insult to injury the weather has not been the best  over the last couple of weeks. Summer is well and truly behind us and we head towards winter. It has been cold walking at night and I think it might be time to get Chienne’s coat out of storage. We have had only a limited amount of rain  unlike New South Wales, parts of which are flooded and being battered by storms.  I am never sure if backward South Australia is lucky or just plain boring. We are in the middle of Australia – sort of – and we are protected from the extremes of weather  from the  Indian Ocean by the bulk of Western Australia and from the Pacific by the bulk of New South Wales. We do get some weather coming in off the Great Australian Bight, but nothing remotely like the storms of NSW or Western Australia. Flooding here is a few very large puddles – nothing to be concerned about.I wouldn’t wish flood, fire or famine on anyone, but nothing ever really happens here, and I miss The Man.

Nearly back to “Normal” (??)

PeekaBoo - I see you.
PeekaBoo – I see you.

I have removed myself from several on-line groups that I belonged to. I really had not a lot in common with them to begin with – indeed the only thing we really had in common was our collective use of ringed planners i.e. Filofax. I was also finding that the vast majority of the members were female and at times the posts tended to stray very much away from planners to babies, illness, relationships, anti-men rants and I sort of lost interest. It was like being an Android user in an iPhone community.   I found myself thinking more and more of Charles de Gaulle – “The more people I meet , the more I love my dogs,”

So that’s the end of that. I am sorry because I have been a member for some time and it was interesting and enjoyable for a while – before it became more of a social gathering. I am still with one and  I hope that will remain on task. We’ll see. This afternoon I am taking Chienne to see the Vet. She has been drinking  a lot of water and peeing everywhere. She has even wet her bed in her sleep. We think she is diabetic but that’s really for the Vet. to determine. Chi. will be 14 this year but apart from the waterworks, she is seems healthy enough, still runs around

Chienne and her Thundershirt
Chienne and her Thundershirt

like a mad thing, is out walking with me most nights, so no problems about activity, eats well – so I really don’t foresee much in the way of problems with her in the immediate future. I miss the Man and I think Chi. does too.

I have been back working out in the garden – mainly cleaning up the neglect  that has taken place over the last few months. We also  had a little bit of rain – not a lot – which was enough to send the weeds into overdrive. I pour on weed killer – they laugh at me and  grow even faster and more prolific. But then again, I hit them with weed killer – Chienne pees on them  :o)  Helpful…

Although we have only had a miniscule amount of rain – we have had wind – lots of wind. Indeed many people have commented on the number of really windy days this year. What this has done is lay down dust everywhere – everything outside is covered in fine dust. Having  constructions going on, ( new houses) the land is cleared and the bare earth throws up considerable dust in the wind. A couple of times I have turned back from walking Chienne that direction.  Now that I am (almost) back to full activity again I can start to do a cleaning up, although, short of a flame thrower, I don’t know what to do about these persistent weeds.

The visit to the Vet yesterday was not as good as I hoped it would be. The blood sugar level was around 4.3, which sort of rules out diabetes, but it also brings other things into play that I don’t want to think about – liver and kidney problems I really should stop making any kind of prediction. I said the same about me on my first visit to the cardiologist and look how that turned out. Now about Chienne. However, Mustapha has taken blood samples and sent them off to the lab so we should know sometime next week. Her and me both – she waits on Lab results, I wait on Cardiologist final results, post cardioversion.   I am feeling good and spending the day out in the garden. In about an hour or so I have to go and collect John and we take a trailer load of rubbish to the dump. This evening, now that Andrew is back from Roxby, we are all getting together for a family dinner at Andrew’s place.

Next Stop – All change! Move right along please!!

I guess it will take me some time to get used to the fact that The Man is no longer here. I still wake up in the early hours of the morning expecting to hear him, but I have no doubt that will slowly fade in time. He was such a big part of my life, more so this past year and I miss him. I keep thinking about little things – sometimes I smile, sometimes I don’t. I am fine and taking things fairly easy I will continue on the heart medication for a few weeks after the Cardioversion and then slowly come off this and be pretty much back to normal. I expect to be down in Adelaide during this month but I will not be traveling nearly as much as I have done this last year or so. I think the chaos of the last 18 months is over and things will settle down. After the Easter Function I intend to cut back on a lot of things with the RFDS on the theory that I wish to assist, I do not intend to be a reluctant passenger on one of  the aircraft making use of the services.

Hotel Room 1
Hotel Room 1

In mid-April I have to be in Adelaide for the West Terrace Trust meeting and  then relax until the end of May. I will most probably drive down and stay overnight in my regular hotel.  It is comfortable and I have ample room for my laptop and in the morning it is quiet enough

Hotel Room 2
Hotel Room 2

to allow me to get away and on the road home fairly early before there is much traffic through the city.

Sometimes parents just have to accept second place. No. 1 son came over early this evening. They have a big project on and he has been working all sorts of odd hour, so we have not seen much of him. Anyway, he came in, said hello to his mum, said hello to me then asked the question that indicated his “real” reason for the visit – “Where’s the Man”?  I told him and he went outside. He stayed for a little while then came back inside. John Jnr was very fond of the Man and he misses him. Andrew is still up North and wont be back until sometime on Sunday. He was supposed to be back yesterday but he has had to stay on to supervise the commission of a new plant and he wont finish that until Saturday – all being well he should be home Sunday afternoon. I think his partner and the girls will be glad to see him. However, from what I can gather this will be his pattern until late June – a few days home then back up to Roxby Downs again.

20130723_114229
Guard Duty is hard work.

Since my medical and health concerns – which seem to be sorted out – I have given a lot of thought to where I go from here, and what I do with this site. I have enjoyed all of this up to a point but it has concerned me that of all the people who purport to be followers only one commented  on line on the The Man and one in a private email ( Thank you) – so two, out of how many?  I also found that there are others – blogs by the page load from them –  but not even so much as a “like” for me, which was somewhat disconcerting. I don’t intend to be a “stat” making up one of a nice set of numbers. The  the departure of The Man has been a sort of catalyst:   that and my “involvement” with local and Adelaide  hospitals and the curtailing of much of my traveling, will  mean that things change – they have to.

How do you think things should change?  I would be interested in your comments.

 

Boom, Bust and feet on the Desk.

Nine Months ago this was all empty land.
Nine Months ago this was all empty land.

Since I came out of hospital and after a few days rest, I started to take Chienne for walks again. They were not long walks but that was more for my benefit than it was for hers. What’s also been interesting is that The Man, who has been increasing in strength, also comes with us sometimes. He refuses to use his Stroller, refuses to be carried and insists on walking. Yes, he does trip up from time to time and I have watch him because he wanders,  but all that apart, he seems to enjoy his walks. Can’t see where he is, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with his sense of smell. As I said before, he tries to stay as close as he can to Chienne. The walking is slow and easy and that’s fine. We also find that he sleeps very close to Chienne – right up against her in fact. One of Andrew’s girls suggested that I should put Chi and the Man in the stroller together and perhaps that would settle him down. Tried that!  She settled down quite happily he screamed and screamed and went nuts. I un-clipped him and he sprang out of my hand onto the concrete where he promptly fell and rolled over – he was that desperate to get out. Lucky he didn’t hurt himself.  So we’re back to square one. I don’t understand!

More houses.
This used to be the end of the road – more houses.

Christmas was held at my younger son’s place this year. We spent a family Christmas with  John, Andrew & Patricia and the girls, also Patricia’s mum. Herself wasn’t doing the cooking for the first time ever. Actually Andrew did much of the cooking, which is a credit to Herself.  He left for Roby Downs and should be away for about 12 days. New Year was a quiet time and although I did stay up and see in the New Year, I brought it in with Lemonade ( oh the shame of it all!!) with the 26 year old Single Malt staying where it is for the time being. Very sad, really! Reminds me of Zathras from Babylon 5 “Have very sad life –  will probably have very sad death, but at least there is symmetry”

Have been doing a lot of reading of late and once I sat back in the chair here, opened my Kindle and put my feet up on the desk. I think there must be some kind of special desks in the movies or on TV because I found the feet on the desk thing very

See I am relaxing  :o)
See I am relaxing :o)

uncomfortable. However, that apart, it has been a relaxing  few days.

At this moment there are over 1108 houses under construction. These are not government houses, these are fairly large private development houses. The mining boom is happening to the North of-us and we have become the fly-in / fly-out destination. When we bought this place, we were the very last house. Not any more!!   However, I have this fear that we could go right back to square one when the mining boom peters out and that there will be a glut of houses for sale and no buyers.  The developers could make a few dollars on houses like  mine which is the older style and size South Australian house, sitting on a quarter acre. You could get two modern houses on that. The widow of one of our former RFDS  members did just that – sold the house they had together in town – this was demolished to make way for two new town houses. Sure, there are no gardens, no lawns, no flower beds and barely enough room for  a washing line, but moderns are not interested in flowers and gardens today so they don’t care. Kids grow up in the house and in their rooms – we grew up in fields and woods, in playing with our friends during the long summer days that lasted until 10:30 pm. We very rarely saw home until it was time to come home for food. However, on the plus side, there are people prepared to pay extra  for more land so they can have a garden and flowers and a place for the children to play and when you consider the amount of land that is actually available it’s pretty much a money grab. However, having said all that the main drawback to development in outback South Australia is the same as it has always been and always will be – WATER. There was an  up-surge of tourism into the Flinders Ranges and the people there wanted to extend the Hotel and the facilities, but doing so would have put so much pressure on the little water that was available the plans were  shelved.

Well it was a very quiet Christmas and New Year. I sent in letters of resignation to one of the State Committees and I am giving serious consideration to

Seems about right!!
Seems about right!!

resigning as Secretary to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Support Group. The trailer will no longer to kept here because it was dropped in my driveway and I had the job of getting it behind the gate – and it was no lightweight. I also had the problem of getting it out ready for collection. Herself put the foot down on that. However, the trailer yes but the other – I will wait until I see the cardiologist in a couple of weeks.