A bit of a mixed bag!!

Mom , dad and the WaWa – reunited
Benji and the WaWa at the beach

On Friday 8th April 2016, Sooah brought her dog, Kongsoon, around to us. It had been agreed that we would look after the dog for the three months they were back in South Korea, whilst the immigration authorities sorted things out.  Kim, Sooah’s husband,  had an employer and a sponsor, sadly the employer and the sponsor were the same company – which collapsed with the Arrium problems. With no sponsor and no employer, Sooah and Kim had to go back to South Korea while things were sorted out. It was expected that this would take about three months but things did not go as planned ( not that we knew any of this) and they did not return, nor did they send any word. After about ten months we began to think of the dog as our dog. A year passed and still nothing, then in July of this year,  whilst I had Annabell at the doctor, I got a message to say that she was going to visit us and collect the dog. I told her where I was and said I would let her know when we were back home We didn’t know that they were in Australia, let alone Whyalla.  I called her ; she arrived and we made arrangements for the dog to be returned. Seems they were offered employment in Sydney, so they accepted. They came to town to collect their things left with other people, then to us to collect the dog. The following morning, Thursday 20th. July, at 6am they came; we loaded all the dog things into the covered trailer and, after tearful farewells, Sooah took the dog and they left to head to Sydney. The oddest thing is that I knew she at least was well because I would post a photograph of the two dogs at the lighthouse or the beach and she would post a “like”then nothing. I tried to message her, as did others, but no reply. Anyway, it is all over now – they are both lovely people and Annabell and I wished them well. I

Tanks for the Memory.

really do hope everything is well and they have settled into their new home in a new state. Sooah gave Annabell a lovely card which contained a Woolworth Credit Card, which we didn’t know about until after they left. The WaWa  did cause concern and perhaps we were guilty of that in the initial stages since we didn’t correct any behaviour problems, believing that she was with us for only a short time. But in the end she became my BFF and in essence I could do anything with her – except get her to be friends with Benji when they were in the house. Outside – no problems, but she considered the house was hers and he had no right to be there.

The Army have been doing exercises around the town for most of the week. I was stopped and sent back from my usual walk, road blocks were set up and cars examined and the occupants checked, there were also holding areas for suspicious people. All done in good spirit and people were willing to participate. This was  Cadet Officers from the Military College at Duntroon. Next year we will have the Army back again for another Joint exercise with  other countries. Last time there was about 15,000 troops with heavy equipment, tanks and armoured carriers. Should be interesting.

The last two days have been  celebrated by lightening, thunder and heavy rain. Been a lovely two days really  :o)  Unlike others, Benji is not phased by the thunder, which is probably just as well since there is a lot of it.  It is now 4:45 on Friday morning ( Thursday Thanksgiving in the USA) and the rain has finally stopped. It really has been heavy – bounce of the sidewalk rain – and I expect to hear about and see some flooding here, but if Adelaide has had anything like this, there will probably be serious flooding.

When we picked up the Simulator last time

The RFDS Simulator  is always in demand and getting it is difficult. We have managed to do just that but it’s a year away. We wanted the simulator for the Christmas Pageant but knew that the chances of getting it for this year were zilch –  however – we have got it for next year. Last time we had it for three days and we made the most of that, setting it up at Woolworth Carpark, and with the Council down at the Foreshore. Don’t know how long we will get it for this time – hopefully, the weekend, which will allow us to benefit from it being here.

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Arrium, winter and Sooah returns.

Sooah and the WaWa in May 2016

One of the things I dislike about this time of year is that it’s cold. Well, of course it’s cold. That’s why it’s called winter, you idiot.  Well, yes, I suppose so, but by the time it’s warm enough to actually go work outside it’s practically lunch and given another hour and the temperature starts to drop again.  Add to this is the fact that Annabell does not sleep very well, so,  the other reason for not going outside early is that I would have to put on lights and I would probably make noise, so I could waken her – and I’d rather not.  As I said, she doesn’t sleep too well so she needs her sleep. I can do some tidy up but I can’t attend to the leaves on the turf because that would require the Blower/Vac and that makes a noise. ** Well, a Newsflash**   Just had a message ( two minutes ago)  from Incheon, South Korea .   Sooah and her husband will be leaving South Korea on the third week in July to arrive back in South Australia. This is excellent news because it will mean that not too long afterwards the WaWa will be going home. There is no doubt that we will miss her – I will miss her –  but Annabell is pleased for Benji’s sake and I  agree with her.   He has spent much of this last year being confined with me in this room. He only is safe when he is with me either here or when we are out. It will be good that the Benji will have HIS  house and home back again.

Of course, all this is working on the assumption that she will want the dog back, but we will cross that bridge if we come to it. We have tried to make it

Seems

ok, but really, poor Benji has had a lot to put up with this last year. He is a loving, affectionate animal and he deserves better.  The WaWa has become my BFF and Sooah will have to deal with that just as I had to deal with the attacks, the blood and bandages for the first six or more months . But then, as Sooah is her long lost momma, it shouldn’t really be much of a problem.

The weather continues to be cold and today we have had our first rain  for  months. Not a great deal but enough and it is supposed to be raining again tomorrow. The Stan cartoon is from the local newspaper so the Copyright is the Whyalla News. I think I said already that the British Consortium have put in a counter bid, which is believed to be substantially higher than the Korean bid, but the administrators are continuing to negotiate with the preferred bidder – the Korean Consortium – who were the highest bidder when the bids closed.

My only excuse – if excuse it be – is that I experienced a sudden rush of blood to the head and instead of buying a new Samsung, as I normally would, I  took a brainstorm and bought an iPhone. I only hate it when I am feeling calm, generally the thought of bouncing it off a wall somewhere gets me through the day. On the 8th June we were changed over from ADSL to the NBN ( National Broadband Network) and since that date, we have not had a landline telephone. Thus I really need my mobile phone  ( That’s cell phone to you)  it’s the only communication I have and Annabell has to use it too, so all calls regardless of who they are for, has to come through this iphone. At the moment that keeps it from being bounced off the wall. People tell me that I will get used to the iphone system, and Apple and once I do I will wonder how I ever managed without it.Yes, well, I don’t see that anywhere on the horizon. Actually, with this heavy mist again, I don’t see much of anything really.

 

Arrium, Brunch and Misty Days

For much of last week and for what remains of this week, I have been playing gofer.

“Would you go to the supermarket and get me more flour”

“Why do you need so much flower? We’re supposed to feed ém not fatten ém!”

“Well if I don’t have flour I can’t make scones”

“Will that be one bag or two?”

Anyway,  think part of the reason this weekend went so quickly is that we had a function and I spent much of the week helping  and running back and forward to the supermarket for supplies. Then we had the function, and the  relaxation after that before reality crept in and we remembered we have a big function this coming weekend  (Sat. 17th) – This is the  Brunch Weekend! More running around.  Probably just as well, the mornings and evenings are cold -1 / -3 c  cold. This morning, for example, it was -1c but there was also a heavy mist – we don’t get fog – and visibility down to about 35 yards. We did go out for a walk this morning- despite the cold and the mist – and Benji seems to be turning into a ten feet dog – he is currently  incapable of walking for more than ten feet  and he stops, has a sniff and a pee. I keep telling him he’s wasting valuable coffee time, but it just doesn’t seem to make an impression. It was interesting walking in the mist – everything was so quiet. Haven’t done that in a long while.

Hello peeple..

The WaWa is not getting any better . Yes, I seem to have become her BFF but at the expense of Benji. Her Jealousy is such that she will go for Benji if he come near me when she is around. Benji has turned on her a few times and I once had to physically remove him as he had her pinned down. I would really like to say that it made a difference but almost as soon  I got him off her she went straight at him again. From time to time I muzzle her when it gets too much and that does make a difference, but it’s not ideal and I don’t enjoy doing it. And before you ask, yes it was from the Vet and it is fitted to her,  but the WaWa believes that this is her house and Benji is an intruder. I still have an insanely optimistic  view that it will settle down and they will become friends. Armed neutrality would be an improvement.

The preferred offer for the purchase of Arrium is the bid from South Korea but there are still some things to work through yet. They have said that they will spend the necessary funds to upgrade the operations and that could be good for employment in the town. They have a very different method of operation, which is also very successful and they may introduce this system here in a planned upgrade.  It could also assist in getting Sooah back if there are additional employment opportunities.

Relaxing in the car

I have come to the conclusion that although the WaWa is my new BFF, this last year has not been fair on Benji. The only times he is safe from her is when he’s out with me or when he’s here in the room with me. If it is a nice day Bernji and me will go outside with the  disc player and we will sit together on the garden swing and listen to Sinatra.  So, if Sooah did return  and wanted the dog back, I would hand her over, but I rather suspect she would have a difficult time with her, because she is certainly not the WaWa she left with us fourteen months ago.

Monday and another very  heavy mist morning with visibility reduced to about 20+ feet. These days I cut the walk short and do not go to the end because I dislike not being able to see the bush ( land) on either side of me once I have cleared the houses. However I make up for the lost area by doing a circle of the block before I start the morning walk, so he’s not getting short changed :o)

The Brunch on Saturday went very well and we catered for about 70 people. We ran out of sandwiches and I did offer to go to the shop and get bread, butter and things for sandwiches but we had plenty of cakes, scones and biscuits. Have no idea the final figure of what we raised but I expect I  will find out soon enough.

Road Trips, Vets and WaWa Walks

I still miss that little face
I still miss that little face

It is two years  since The Man died and I still miss him. Oh,  I love my Benji; he and I go  off on our own as often as we can and I wouldn’t part with him for the world. Still,  I miss The Man and he is never very far from my thoughts. And before it is suggested, Benji is not a substitute, he is his own, with his own quirks and his own character. They are two very different dogs.

I drove out to Iron Baron yesterday with the Benji.   The road out to the Baron is in much better condition than the Iron Knob road. Of course, much of the road  is along the Lincoln Highway before the Kimba / Iron Baron  turn-off, But then Kimba is an important  farming town so the road is kept in good condition. As I said the other day, there is nothing left of the Baron – almost no trace that it ever existed. I did some presentations and training sessions at the Community Hall many years ago and I couldn’t even find where the Hall used to be.

Today was the day (Tuesday) that we had to take the WaWa to the vet. Ok – First catch WaWa / second, clean up blood and bandage fingers. —  Well, actually no :o)  I was given medication by the

Benji and the WaWa Walk around the block
Benji and the WaWa
Walk around the block

Vet last week and half a tablet calmed her down and  we were able to get her into the carrier and up to the Vet. Her nails were clipped and she had her booster injections. She was really very good. We came back home and I decided to chance my luck and got a leash on her. It was a struggle and even although medicated, she resisted, but I got Benji and between us we got her out the door. A lesser struggle and out to the driveway and from there it was slow, but then she was walking quite the thing alongside Benji.  It was a short walk but fun and at times she took the lead.  I was overjoyed and I hope we can do this again. I would like the three of us to be able to go out on a road trip. Annabell, like me, likes the WaWa, and we would not be too unhappy if the owner does not return and the  dog becomes ours.  BUT she would have to be socialised  and we would have to stop her  attacking Benji. At the moment we have been reluctant to do anything because she is not our dog, but that could change.  The ideal thing would be for her real owner to return but considering the  problems with unemployment, large companies moving out of South Australia and the uncertainty  with Arrium, I really do not see this happening for some time – if at all.   On the other hand, there is a South Korean tender in to buy Arrium, so that might have a bit of a bearing.  Got a leash on the WaWa again tonight and took her for a longer walk  this time. She again was very good, so perhaps this is what she has been needing and I may have to cut down on the distance I take Benji to accommodate the WaWa. The Vet  has a partner and his name now appears on the outside Wall Shingle. He’s very good and it was this new Vet that saw to the WaWa – he was really good with her. I held her  while he cut her nails and gave her injections. He is a younger man, much younger than Mustafa and it may well be that this is what the practice needs to recover from being closed down for the best part of three months. I think most of them went to the lady Vet, as I did for two consults and I can confirm that she is very nice and was really good with Benji. But our own Vet is back and that’s where we need to be.

Benji and Walking and WaWa Panic

Part of Ada Ryan Gardens on Monday Afternoon
Part of Ada Ryan Gardens on Monday Afternoon

Tuesday am:  Got up, dressed and out with the Benji at 6am this morning. We have not gone back to the old route and are in the process of planning  a new one. The reason I didn’t do this before was simply that with the old route I had become a slave to the fitbit and was more concerned with steps than enjoying a walk with  my dog. I am not going to let that happen again – so a new start and a new route and an acceptance that the 10 klms a day was forced and sometimes I was  taking the dog out at 10:30 at night because I needed to make up  distance and I knew where to go and what part of the route to take that would allow me the steps needed to achieve the goal. A thoughtful gift from my younger son had a sting in the tail. But the thing is that there are not so many different places to go walking here and generally  if I am not going to the beach, wetlands or the gardens I go walking in the dark around the area. The dark because it’s quiet and because there are no flies. I hate flies  and living in outback South Australia is not much of a help in that regard  :o)  With all this rain and flooding I think it’s going to be a bad season. The only recent change was the drive out to the Wild Dog Hill Conservation Park. Not something I want to do on a regular basis because the  track is so appallingly  bad in places.

I had to smile!! A lady from Chattanooga – on another site- was complaining  about a high electricity bill. It was $300. There are people here in South Australia who dream of a $300 electricity bill – almost salivate really!  The highest electricity costs in Australia and among the highest in the developed world. Some of the largest companies in the State considered closing down for a while to try and combat the soaring electricity costs in South Australia. Only last week one of the Electricity Providers wanted to  increase costs and the application was turned down by the regulator. The provider is now appealing against the regulator’s decision.

There are, as far as we are aware, three  interests in Arrium – one from Japan, one from Korea and and a British company and as far as we can make out, the British company is the front runner. The Administrator  is hoping that the company will have a new owner by Christmas. My one concern – and the concern of many – is that the unions don’t screw  things up by doing

Arrium Steelworks ( not my photograph)
Arrium Steelworks ( not my photograph)

something silly. For this to succeed we need everyone working together. I don’t know if it’s just me ( probably is) but I get the impression that we are being sidelined. In the past when the media wanted a quote from a Mayor in the region it was to Mayor Jim Pollock they came for a comment. These days  they look to the Mayor of Port Augusta for a comment. I stated in a post some time ago that I didn’t want the current Mayor to be elected. I felt we needed a strong, independent voice, not a party hack who will fall into line with whatever North Terrace decrees. Jim Pollock looked like a Mayor and inspired confidence  – this one does neither.  The sideline is subtle, but I think it’s there.

Amazing how quickly things change. In the news last night the British Steel Company was the “Front Runner”  for buying Arrium, now, today less than 24 hours later the South Korean Steel Company is being “courted” and an Arrium Delegation is in South Korea.

The WaWa
The WaWa

Had a serious panic this morning. I was working on the front door installing a new security  door and left to go fetch another tool. And yes, I did leave the door open. A short while later I happened to notice that there was no WaWa. I searched the house for her and could not find her. I searched all around the grounds – nope.  Locked up and went wandering around the area looking for the lost WaWa. Came back to get the car and go further. Decided to search the house again – nothing in my room – nothing in the other rooms – went into Annabell’s room – nothing…….wait, was that a movement?? Lifted the cover and there halfway under the bed was the WaWa. You have no idea how relieved I was to see her. I complain about her but I never want any harm to come to her. I was just so glad she was safe and well – little pipsqueak bully that she is!!

Our woes continue

Do not believe anyone who tells you that small dogs – such as a small  Chihuahua (short coat) are a push over. Having had this little one for 36 hours I can tell you that her teeth are like needles. I am just praying that  a) she settles down soon and b) that we don’t run out of bandaids for my poor fingers. I understand – it is scary for her, her momma has gone, she is with strangers and they have a great BIG dog ( well to her he’s big) and this is a scary big place. I  did feed her this morning and although I got a ‘back off’ kind of a growl, I did managed to scratch an ear without having my fingers covered in blood again. No they are not big bites, her teeth might be as sharp as needles but fortunately they are not big and besides I bleed a lot.

Sunday and she is starting to settle down and perhaps tomorrow I might remove the bandaids. If nothing else it will help in not having to type  words twice due to the mistakes I am making because of the bandaids on the tops of my fingers- and stop laughing, this is serious!! Anyway, from one to three dogs in one fell swoop. Benji, Kongsoon and now Yogi, Benji is, of course, our boy, Kongsoon is the little one that we have taken in and Yogi is a friend’s dog we are looking after for a week or so. I hope I survive. It’s just unfortunate timing. We had arranged to take Yogi months ago, but the collapse of Link Engineering and the problems with Arrium meant that people lost jobs and  we took in Kongsoon because her family has to go back to South Korea and re-apply. Link Engineering was their sponsor and their employer.  They could have re-applied here but the danger with that is that if it was refused they would have to leave the country and be unable to reapply for three years. By going back to South Korea on their own and re-applying there, if it is refused, they can apply again in six months.  Immigration rules I do not understand..

Some of the subcontractors and suppliers are back in the plant but others who have biggish projects  have had their contracts terminated by the Administrator because in the present climate he cannot justify the expenditure.  Logicamms is one of those.  Logicamms have  contracted for a new large project in Adelaide and Andrew will be doing work for that. At the moment  material and design specs will be sent up but that’s only short term – long term they want Andrew to consider re-locating to Adelaide. There has been what has been called a Bloodless Coup at Arrium.  The Company (Arrium) appointed its own Administrator  and he has been working with the  the government, the local community and the creditors to stabilize Arrium and see what can be done to  keep the company operating.  The banks and the AWU (Australian Workers Union)  were unhappy with this and, despite being warned by the government to stay out of it ( which they ignored) moved in, sacked the  Arrium appointed Administrator, appointed their own Administrator and, in essence, seized control of the company.  Robber Barons – generally known as Banks – and a Union working together – that’s scary.  The contractors are still in limbo and some are owed many thousands of dollars. Everything is an absolute mess but the new administrator is moving to reassure everyone that the intentions are good and they have the future of the company and the city as their foremost concern – but it’s still a mess and the creditors, mainly the banks,  are pushing for a forensic investigation of the Arrium Board’s  financial accounts.

**  Arrium’s wrathful lenders are working to convince the steelmaker’s latest administrator to bring forward a forensic investigation of the company’s accounts to assess whether or not there are grounds to pursue its past management or board of directors. The agreement between “incandescently furious” debt and bond holders and The Australian Workers’ Union that resulted in Monday’s change in administrators is said to include a concession that will bring forward a forensic assessment of the Arrium accounts.**  From the Financial Review.

 

Getting things done

Our Town
Our Town

Although most people are wearing the “Brave Face”  there is a depressed aura about the place.  There are empty shops in the major shopping mall and more to come – Dick Smith – Sazzi Shoes – Mensland – Spotlight- Thompson and Waddington ( Optician) –  Link Engineering – Martelco Plant Hire – and our major employer, Arrium Mining ( Former BHP Steel) is hemorrhaging cash  and trying to negotiate with State and Federal Governments for a major  financial bailout. They asked  the employees to take a 10%  pay cut but they voted against doing so because they had just been awarded a 3% pay rise, and that was to be scrapped so in essence what they were really asking was for the workers to take a 13% pay cut. It effects us all but we will lose two families from the church because they were sponsored by Link Engineering, which  is now no more. Both husbands were employed by Link and without employment  they have to go back to South Korea and they have been here for three years. I realize that these names mean nothing to you, but names are not really important because what they represent is people loosing jobs. Link Engineering and Martelco Plant Hire are not recent start-ups – they have been around for a good while  The upshot of part of this, however  is that I may be getting a second dog. One of our Korean couples has a small

Dick Smith in happier days
Dick Smith in happier days

dog and they cannot find a home for it so it’s either surrender it to the RSPCA – the Council Pound ( Kill Pound) or put it to sleep. Sooah was told by one of the older ladies that she should talk to me and ask if I would be willing to take her – yes it’s a girl –  I had a talk with  Herself and she  agreed that we would take the dog. We don’t know the dog’s name but if it’s a Korean name, we’ll have to change that  :o)

Robert Burns wrote in “To a Mouse” – ‘The best laid schemes of mice and men gang (go) aft agley (astray) and leave us naught but grief and pain for promised joy” and Easter was sort of like that. I had plans – Thursday, take trailer to dump and empty same – go to sand yard and fill trailer with 20mm stones, (1 ton)  come home, lay out weed matting and start to spread out stone, going back for further loads as necessary.   Good Friday – Church / R& R. Saturday, back to work/ Sunday, Church and Family / Monday finish off and tidy up.  One of our (older) ladies died and we  had to organise a funeral. I  designed and prepared the Order of Service after I was notified on  Tuesday Evening. Discovered that the church photocopier was gaga, so all the printing had to be done here on this computer and my printer. Funeral was on Thursday. Good Friday and everything closed.  Now move to Tuesday of this week – chucked it down most of the day – Wednesday Medical appointments for Annabell, so now here we are on Thursday and I am about to go outside and connect the trailer. Hey, it’s only a week late   :o)

Benji on the driveway
Who – little ole me??

Sand yard, one load of stone laid – back to sand yard, second ton, not laid, need more weed matting. Will carry on Friday after medical appointment. So yes, it will take a while but I will get it done and I hope it will look nice when it’s finished.  I will brighten up the area by having at least two  medium size raised flower beds and fill them with potting mix and then, of course, some  flowering plants from the Garden Center, then sit back and watch them die – which is about normal for me. Actually, a good start was to get the plants home in the car without Benji chewing them.