The highest temperature recorded in the town’s history, was how the temperature of Port Augusta was described. The “Official Temperature”was recorded as 48.9c but the temperature monitor in the center of the town recorded 52.6c. Here, my monitor recorded a temperature of 43c as did the monitor of a friend in another part of town, yet the “Official Temperature” only recorded 37c.
Part of the local legend and conspiracy theory is that in the early days of the town, the temperature of the area was “adjusted” so as not to discourage people from coming here. It was advertised as having a “Mediterranean Climate” although off-hand I can’t think of many places in that area that experience temperatures of 40+C. Anyway, the higher temperatures meant lower and sometimes, no wind. I thought this was great and suitably attired, I managed to get almost all of the leaves swept up. Didn’t bode well for my plants despite the daily watering and monitoring. It’s also been a busy week in that I have had three medical appointment that were unplanned. What I mean by that is that doctor called and said he wanted certain tests for Annabell and I took her for these. And a call that he wanted to see her – that’s later on this morning.
Last night it was suddenly quite mild and Benji and me visited the Wetlands and had a good walk around the place. The thing I found surprising is that despite the coolness of the evening, there were not very many people about. I was, however, disappointed to discover that the Wetlands Kiosk was closed. I would have thought it would have remained open late, which would attract more people to the area in the mild evenings. There was not a breath of wind in the air. The water of the ponds were still and calm – sort of like me, really – still and calm — Yeah in my dreams!
Today – Friday – the wind came back, the temperature fell to the low 20s and we had a few spots of rain – so few spots I think it was scared to show its face after being away for so long. The heat, is some parts of the state and the country, only served to exacerbate the drought, pushing our farmers further into depression. Many of my plants did not survive and I did have concerns with my young Mulberry Tree, but it seems to come through ok – as far as I can tell.
I was hoping to go through to the Port this week and then on to Quorn Hospital but all these doctor dates with Annabell kind of knocked that on the head. She is ok otherwise. She coped reasonably well with the high temperatures this last week and we are going to look at replacing the Air Conditioner in her room with a reverse cycle Air Conditioner. It will give her more control to regulate the temperature to what is comfortable for her. I took Benji out for a walk this morning and it was – as they say -“Fresh”. In fact it was so fresh that I was sorry I had put on only a light jacket – and yes, that’s how far the temperatures have fallen. Sort of giving us a breather before the heatwave forecast for next week. Today, and tomorrow I have fundraising days for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This will take up much of the day. Fortunately it’s not a hot day – I think about 24c. We should be ok today and the team out tomorrow should have about the same,
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.
Emails are the strangest things. If you send a nasty message to an address you will have a reply with in the hour. If, however, you send an email that requires a 10 second “yes ” or “no ” response to the same address, the chances of a reply are fairly remote. Strange that!! I was waiting for an email that never came and I fear is unlikely to come now. Oh well, things happen – or in this case, don’t! Disappointment aside, it has been a busy week visiting people in hospital and one in Palliative Care. Accident in town and elderly lady killed in a car collision. Actually as a passenger she survived the collision but died in hospital. Car accidents and rushed to hospital are not great for an 85 year old. Don’t know if anything happened yesterday but the Royal Flying Doctor Service flew in late at night. There is still an air of – depression is too strong a word – but more a feeling of unease about the future. Many people, despite the assurances in the press, don’t really trust what they are being told and although there seems to be more orders, four and a half billion dollars, is a lot to try and pay back. Also the company is up for sale and the fact that the good Arrium is be sold off first leaving the steelworks and the South Australian Mining Operations – which are the loss makers in the business – to bring up the rear and whoever thinks about buying the steelworks and the mining operations will have to consider the massive debt that goes with it. The administrator believes that the company will be on the market in July and that the steelmaker could have a new owner by Christmas. There are interested parties – so we are told – but six months before we know anything.
For a number of reasons the back garden is not a place to wander in the dark. It is so overgrown now that I fear for my safety. I think there might be lions in there hiding in the undergrowth. Between a whole host of things I have let it become very neglected. I would show you photographs but I wont because it is so bad I am ashamed to let anyone see it. Even when I brought in the
workman to give me a quote to clear it and I explained to him what I wanted done. Anyway he did give me a quote which I found quite reasonable, so, he is coming with his equipment to clear the place and take everything back down to the bare earth. Once that’s done I will then decide what I want done with the area. I have plans – well ideas more than plans – but it will mean a trip to Adelaide (Bunnings) to get the things I want. Why not shop locally, after all we have three big hardware stores here? Very simply they don’t have what I want, whereas I know Bunnings do. Ho yes they can order it but it takes ages and costs more and then they slap on a delivery charge. Much better to empty the trailer and go to Bunnings – yes, it’s a 370 mile round trip, but worth it.
I have another funeral to prepare for but at least I have enough time to get things set up, printed and collated. It will all have to be done on my printer again and I will have to charge for the ink – it’s too much otherwise. With any reasonable luck we should have the church photocopier repaired and returned by the end of this week. But once again almost an entire ream – 400 – printed sheets and there was some wastage this time – I printed some sheets in the wrong sequence – oops. Busy few days with the workmen coming on the Tuesday and the funeral on the Wednesday. The photograph is the Whyalla shore taken from the Lookout on the Hill. I think it was taken only a few days ago when we had some sun between the rain. I took some photographs down at the wetlands of the birds and the ducks. Haven’t sorted them out yet. Benji is having a hard time at the moment. We have not been out for a walk this morning. I will detail this in another post.
Been a quiet week. Not a lot has happened.Our weather has much to do with that, I suppose. It is dark by 5pm and it is cold. The other night it was down to 9c – which might not seem cold in your corner of the world, but it is cold here. We took the dogs out last night and they enjoy their walks in the dark. The one thing I find good about winter is that the cold means that there are no – or very few – flies around, and it’s possible to walk and work outside without being pestered by constant flies. That’s one thing you wont see on the tourist brochures. I think if you are born into the society and are brought up dealing with it it takes on less significance, I wasn’t and they bother me. When I take the dogs out out during the warm months I am covered in personal fly spray – I hate them buzzing around my face and because this is a new area at the very edge of things and surrounded by bushland, we tend to get a lot of them.
Our weather had been fairly mild and it’s been good walking weather.On Monday evening is the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Flying Doctors Support Group and I have been trying to drum up someone to accept nomination as Secretary – unlikely but you can’t blame a fellow for trying. It’s a big job and no one is really interested in assuming the role so I guess I will be it for a fifth year. How did I become Secretary in the first place, you ask?? Well, five years ago I was just a member and I attended the AGM. I was shocked by the lack of response to requests for nominations for the various posts and I also have to say, in view of the Adelaide Central Operations Guests, somewhat embarrassed. I refused at first because I felt someone more qualified than I would surely take the position, but no one did. When I was nominated a second time – at my request – I accepted. I have been Secretary ever since. Despite a high membership, participation is low, but people have constraints of work, so that’s understandable. In the last four years this handful of people that I have the pleasure of working with, have raised and donated $135,000 to the RFDS. In the last
twelve months the RFDS have made 556 landings at our local airport.
The area at the very back of the photograph has still to be done. I will do that sometime over the next week or so. Not sure, probably edging and granite chips with the native plants being left alone at the top right corner (out of frame) Since that photograph was taken the gum tree that you see to the right has shed bark and leaves like you wouldn’t believe and that area is just dirty brown and covered in litter.
I have not done the concrete work yet. I have blocked the area off and it is only the one area where the properties abut. The problem is that the fence was raised from the ground level up, whereas it should have been buried two or three inches into the ground. However, I will attend to this shortly. Tomorrow (Thursday) I do have to attend at auction at the Tregalana Homestead. The family have owned this property for the best part of a century, but when the Feds want something they have the power of a Compulsory Purchase Order to see that they get it. Quite a few properties have been lost this way and by the time it’s all over the area under control of the military in this region will increase from 500 square kilometres to 2300 Square Kilometres. This is over and above the 127,000 square kilometres of the Woomera Testing and Exercise Range further north – which is the largest testing base in the world. Tergalana will close this week and all the house property and farm equipment will be up for auction tomorrow. The Royal Flying Doctor had been asked to do the catering for those attending the auction. It’s quite disconcerting to realise that as you drive along the road everything , as far as you can see on either side, belongs to the Military. At first we thought that moving the armoured brigades down here would be a boost to the local economy, but in the last year they have just taken control of more and more land and council concerns have been ignored. And yes, we have a Constitution – you can have it if you want it – we don’t use it.
Bummer about the Munchies!!!
We had a local pet supply and groomer who made her own dog munches and sold them for funds for the Dog Rescue. However, although the dogs liked them they didn’t keep and within a few days they were going hard – like build a wall hard. But it was too far to drive every other day just to pick up a handful of munchies. We do give them a treat every morning and they are happy with that. Sometimes the little man is not the best so I will sit down with him and break the treat into small pieces and hand feed him. She who must be obeyed said that ‘ he has me well trained”. Hey, considering he has no teeth, he does pretty well. Took them out last night and had to carry him for a bit – time to get his second wind. As far as I am concerned this is all part of the job description.
PS. I thought some photographs of the spring flowers of the Flinders would have a calming effect.
I went looking for some polystyrene this afternoon and discovered that the pet shop has a sale on this Thursday and one of the items is a collapsable ramp that I can put outside so the man can walk up rather than jump up the stairs. I know I am probably going slightly overboard but he’s my man and it’s part of my job description to look after him. Anyway, depending on how the unit looks and works, I might end up buying two.
My car goes in for repairs ( excuse me, didn’t you do that last week?) and hopefully the fuel gauge should be fixed. First time was to determine the problem (took about an hour) Parts were ordered and I took the car back at the end of the week ( Last Friday) but he couldn’t do the job because my son, who borrowed the car for a while, very kindly filled the fuel tank – and you can’t replace things in the fuel tank when it’s full of fuel. I have had to drive around for a few days and today is the day it goes back in to finish the repairs. I don’t think it should take all that long to do and I should have it back by lunch. – Car back and repaired…
Went down to the sale and had a look at the dog ramp, which wasn’t too bad. Didn’t get one though because they decided that this – and a few other things – were not part of the sale. Anyway, came up with a new idea. Went to the garden shop and bought kneeling pads and wrapped them in carpet and they fit just neatly and let him get on and off his bed without trauma. Good. However, herself decided that they were not good enough so she got out her sewing machine and, using some spare material she had left over from something, made two “pillowcases” One to put the pads into and one to change. This is the person who just “tolerates” the dogs, but maintains she is not a “dog person”. This is the same person who went to the craft store and bought a heap of material and made a dog coat for the little man when we first rescued him – he had to have all his own coat cut off because it was so matted and she didn’t want him to be cold. But, she doesn’t really like dogs all that much :o)
This weekend we have a fundraising venture for the Royal Flying Doctor Service at the “Collage of Technical and Further Education” – TAFE. It’s the first day back for the new semester so the collage will put on a barbecue lunch for the students and staff. We will cook and serve it and TAFE will give us a donation. I think it is going to be a very busy month. And the Saga of the Native vs Exotic Trees still continues. If you look at the mess and look over the road not only is there a mess, but nothing else grows near it. I don’t like native trees planted along pathways and medium strips.
I 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.
Last week the weather was lovely and I was working outside again. It came as something of a shock to the system when the weather took a severe turn for the worse and brought it storms, rain, hail and cold. Definitely not friendly weather. In fact it was so cold it snowed in the Adelaide hills and the northern Flinders ranges. Further to the east communities were cut off by heavy snow falls. And just in case you are wondering, this is Australia and this is mid-spring. Thursday was really bad and then on Friday, the front cleared away, the sun came out and it was warm and sunny again. It’s been a very busy week – Monday I was working in the garden at the new clothes line area – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I have already mentioned, Friday I had to drive to Port Lincoln – about 165 miles east of here. We, my son and I, went down there to pick up his new mobile (cell) phone. The closest office of the company he is contracted with (as am I) is in Port Lincoln. Saturday I was at the Civic Park all day running a fundraising event for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. On the following Tuesday I was again fundraising at a Government Sponsored Jobs and Skills Expo. The Gov. wanted the food to be free so they asked us to put on a Barbecue and they would pay for everything, plus give us a fee for the day. It was a great event, well attended and we were very busy.
When I came home I was told by my wife that one of our dear friends had died in Adelaide. On Wednesday I organised things that I needed to do,packed the case and set off to – picking up a dog to take down to be taken to his new mummy and her “forever” home. The poor foster mummy was all tears as we settled her (the dog that is) into the car. Five hours later, with two walks and pit stops and a drink, we arrived at the area where we were to meet and I handed the dog over to her new mummy. The dog was happy and the new owner looked very happy, so I think they will get on well together. The dogs name was Violet and she was a real sweety.
The funeral was on Friday morning and after lunch I started heading back home. I was home just before 6pm. The following morning I was on the move again, this time 80 klms to Port Augusta for a meeting, which lasted until 1:30. I had the rest of the day to myself – wasn’t that nice? All being well I should not have to be moving again until early December and a meeting in Seacliff – about 450 klms away. I am starting to get just a tad worried about the ‘Terrorist”. My wife said that last time I left he went into his house and didn’t move out for two days and just refused to eat. When I came back I took his dinner and sat down on the floor with him until he had finished it. He worries me at times. Fierce – heck no in order to be fierce you have to have teeth and he has none. He is a rescue dog who we believe was abused and although the vet did what he could , we just could not save his teeth and they were removed. He generally eats pretty well but for some reason this last while back he seems to mope when I go out of town. He has our other dog and the family but it seems that’s not enough at times. The odd thing was that after his teeth were removed and he started to recover he took on a new lease of life. Probably the result of not being poisoned by rotting teeth.
I have had both of my dogs for over ten years now. Chienna we bought when she was seven weeks old, Mannie we rescued from the Pound and, according to the Vet. at the time, he was about 18 months to two years. Over the years they have been great associates and I miss them when I have to go away – even just for a couple of days. Thankfully that does not happen too often these days and the last two meetings have been cancelled. When I come home after being away for a couple of days I get out the car and into the house and the dogs are going nuts and even my wife tells me “Go out and see your associates before they go crazy” so I do. Once I have settled the dogs down again I can then talk about the trip and the meetings to my wife . Generally, when I am not working, I take the dogs out twice a day – first thing in the morning , sometimes when it’s still dark, and later in the evening after we have all been fed, wife, me and dogs. The little one – the Maltese – is, I think, starting to show his age. Either that or he is a very good little conman because I have to carry him for a little while until he gets his second wind. He starts off well, but halfway through the walk, he starts to slow down and I have to carry him for a little while. It’s ok – he’s not heavy – Ohhh a song title I believe.. If I am working, it’s only once – in the evening. In the summer when it’s hot I carry a pack with me which contains two bottles of water and a dish – one bottle for me. In the last 34 years I have had five dogs including the present two. The previous dogs were Misty, a West Highland Terrier Cross that we rescued, Buster an Australian Cattle Dog that attacked my son, and Scruffy, a bitsa that was given to me. She was a doll and everyone adored her. Unfortunately I do not have any photographs of Scruffy on line. I must attend to that sometime. I am also Secretary of the local branch of the Royal Flying Doctors Service, fundraising group but , hopefully, that’s about to end soon. I have decided not to stand for re-election but knowing how this group is with no one willing to take a position, I expect I will be secretary again, although I would like to think not.