Towards the final curtain D

Whilst the good people of the Northern Hemisphere wax lyrical about Autumn – or Fall, here in this little corner of the Southern Hemisphere, Spring has  Sprung and Dear Mother Nature has

Rawnsley Bluff – Flinders Ranges

given us a reminder of who is really in charge. The temperatures this week have steadily climbed to 41c, with a  high North Wind. In this corner of the planet a North Wind is a hot wind coming off the desert. It was not the most pleasant of days to be running a fundraising Barbecue for the RFDS , but never the less, we did it anyway. Given that it was the middle of a long weekend and  many people were away, if we  made more than $150, I will be very surprised.  Why did we do it- we were asked to – that simple. And, of course it was for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  However,  we have a policy  that if a trader asks for the RFDS to do a fundraising venture, I will do my upmost to get a team together and accept on the  belief that if we refuse, they may ask someone else next time. LOL, I have even organised a fundraising event from one thousand kilometers away when I was in Mount Gambier – and yes, I have had my head examined –  several times!!  Most of the time it’s good fun – we work and chat with customers and when it comes to the RFDS, people are very generous, and they were this weekend too – even although there were not all that many –  and I  expressed the belief that there was more money put into the donations tin than there was to the cashbox. Anyway, it’s funds that we didn’t have at the start of the day and that’s what matters.  Having been through an early 41c on Saturday,  the temperature crashed overnight to be 24c on Sunday – Monday wasn’t too bad and today (Tuesday) I was feeling very cold when I took Benji out for a walk at 6am. I guess I was too pig-headed to go back for a heavier jacket, so I just continued with the walk, but it was a cold morning.

One of the drawbacks of living  “in the sticks” is the fact that I miss city shopping. I don’t mean that the shops here are not good, they are, but there are things  not available in the country that are commonplace in the

Fires NSW & Queensland

city. For example, I want shoe polish, not the common  New Zealand (Kiwi) Shoe polish but a polish that is produced here in Australia and is not petroleum based. Decent size Australian Company but products not available here. We really only have one shoe shop here and that’s  “Spendless” with   small shoe departments  in Harris Scarfe and Target. The shoe shops we did have have all gone. How can you survive in a place where 60% of the population wears flip-flops or no shoes, 35% wear sandals or sneakers and only 5% of us wear  actual shoes.

Over many (Too many) years I have  gone from paper organisers, to electronic organisers ( Palm Pilot ) and finally back to paper, Filofax, Van der Spek, Mulberry and  my current Kikki.k. I have gone from Personal, to A6, back to personal and finally to A5 and Kikki.k. It was all so very easy once. I was in Adelaide fairly often so was able to buy what I needed in either David Jones or Borders, and in a few of the stationers.  Not so now. David Jones no longer stock much  in the way of Planners/Organisers and I think has only one Filofax in stock and Borders closed down. Now I have to order on line from China, Hong Kong,  or,  if it is from the UK or the USA,  I  practically have to donate an

Benji on the Hill; We were just up there again this afternoon.

arm or a leg to defray the postage costs. For other things I  have a supplier in Perth, Western Australia, and she’s very good.  For my inserts these days, I download  a system that I like in the size I want, copy it to a USB and take it to the local printer who will print everything for me in an A5 size — I supply the paper, which is great because it means I get the paper quality that I  really want.. And yet, it would appear that  paper-based planners and still quite popular, but in South Australia it certainly doesn’t feel like that.

 

More wind – still annoying

Native Bush from the Arid Lands B.G.

Not counting today, only four days left until Spring is here. Not going to miss winter one little bit.  The days have been mild but the mornings and evenings have been very cold. This morning it was foggy and very cold – so cold that I really entertained thoughts of giving up the morning walk, turning round and heading for home and a heater. I didn’t!! However, as soon as I got in I went directly to my room and turned my heater on full. Benji has had his breakfast and is curled up in his bed. However, we can’t really complain too much since the weather this last week has been  mild and it has been  enjoyable walking around the Wetlands  with Benji during the day. It has also allowed my to get back out in the garden and start the process of cleaning up the 40 billion leaves.  Ok so I exaggerate  – there’s only 20 Billion. I also have an area out front that I have tried to grow things in without success. I had a think about this and finally decided this last week to dig it all out and remove all the soil and replace it with new material ( 3 x 70 ltrs of material) and finally, on Saturday, I bought new plants from the Garden Centre and planted them – we’ll see what happens. Oh and I also put down fertilizer. My stick was just that – a stick, so that’s gone.  With the lack of rain the Kangaroos have been wandering well into the  area looking for water and food. In another area, close to bushland, they have Emus wandering around. I see the Roos in the new area beyond me, but I haven’t seen any down near me—-yet.

The fact that we have a shortage of water is illustrated in the level of water at the Wetlands. There is still a fair volume of water in the pools but the drop in water

The new Kiosk at the Wetlands.

level is fairly obvious. The black Swans returned – briefly – but I hope that this is a sign of things to come and the swans and  big ducks will return.  The Kiosk is just about completed  and I believe it’s due to open sometime next week.  If the day is very warm to hot – and it will be in summer – I really think that if the opening hours are good,  the kiosk will do well. I do a full lap and a half when I am there, but if, after a full lap, I could have a drink and  relax, I could end up doing two full laps. A full lap is 3.5 Klms – so Benji and I, when we go to the Wetlands, do 5.35 klms. The front – across the bridge from the car park, is the barbecue areas, the exercise area, the flying fox, the grassed area for family play, and the children’s play area. There is also a barbecue area  just down from the carpark and just beyond that is where the kiosk is situated.

The Wawa (Kongsoon) back with her mun again.

All winter I have escaped colds and flu. There are two days of winter left and I have come down with a very heavy cold.  Seen out winter the cold, fog and wind and now this.  What happened to all this Vitamin C and all those Oranges and Mandarins that I have consumed by the bucket load?? I sort of feel cheated.  To add insult to injury the high winds have returned. So much for my leaves cleaning.       Don’t really know, some blame climate change whereas others ( and a growing number) blame stuffing around  with clock changes and daylight saving. We have always had strange weather up here but I really do not remember the continual and sustained wind that we are having presently causing concern to both country and city. Today (Wednesday) it’s warm, it’s overcast,  the temperature is 26c ,  yet we have high winds 42 – 65 km/h – battering the place again. It is now after 9pm and the wind is still going and no sign of letting up. Reports of dust storms across the mid north and pollen  is being blown arond as a result of the mild conditions.  And still not much rain. The little rain we did have was, according to the farmers, too little, too late.

I had been thinking of the WaWa recently and surprisingly, I actually miss her. In the last three or four months she became my friend and wanted to be lifted up to sit with me on the chair, with Benji. Then she left, but these last months made up for everything.

PS All night. The wind died at 10:30 Thursday – for a whole two hours before starting up again.

 

 

Flies, Distance and Diggin’ Dogs

Because of the mild to warm weather (apart from last week) the flies are out in their billions and they are ferocious. I just wont take the dogs out walking during the day unless I am covered from heat to toe in personal fly spray. Now in case  the word “woos”  is entering your head let me say that when I am talking here I am not talking about the odd annoying fly, but  clouds of them that follow you as you walk about during the day. This is something that people are never told in the Tourist Brochures, but in the summer months outback Australia has a serious fly problem. Unfortunately we have started early this year. We have a friend who is a nurse  in the far north of the State and she tells us of the problems they are having up there and the  high incidence of eye infections due to the large number of flies this year. We are bad enough, but it gets worse the further north you travel. Not quite so bad – in fact hardly at all – in the city due to the lack of breeding ground. At the moment, even going out to work in the garden is a constant irritation. If you want to know more about this and see what I’m on  about, look on the internet for ” Aussie Salute”

I contacted some friends in Canberra recently and asked them about a particular issue that I-in South Australia – knew nothing about. Surprisingly, neither did they. However they did make enquiries for me, even calling a large Veterinary Practice,  as well as the RSPCA,  and a Dog Rescue group, and although no one they spoke to had ever heard of the issue, they did manage to trace a  Narelle Jensz to the  purchase of a 77 hectare property designated “Wildlife Sanctuary” called Kinabo in a place called Gundaroo, a small village outside of Canberra.

Australia – The reason why!

So, why did I go to all this effort?  Well, because I was a little concerned about a suggestion I should know something – and I didn’t.  Apart from being one of the most urbanised countries in the world, Australia is incredibly parochial. South Australia is the fourth largest State in the Commonwealth and still bigger than  both Alaska and Texas. Asking most people from SA if they know what is happening in Canberra is like asking someone from Phoenix or Queens (NY) if they know what’s happening in  Portland (Oregon), or in London what’s happening in Inverness – and Canberra is a thousand miles from here.

I have started work on blocking off the fence joining the other property. Up until now I have kept the dogs out of the area by keeping the gate closed. The dogs on diggin'the other side of the fence are large dogs and “diggers” and I am well aware that they will never be able to dig a hole big enough for them to get through, they could dig a hole  big enough for my little ones to get through – and that’s a worry. I have spoken to my neighbour and he is aware of the problem but he says as soon as he blocks off one area they find another one. There is only about eight feet of fence that concern me so I will attend to it and see that it will not happen. Not many dogs can dig through bricks and cement.

Flame Trees and Andrew’s Girl.

A Foxy Lady
My Foxy Lady

When people come to the house, my two associates bark. But with mine there is little or no aggression there it’s more of a “hello, why are you not over here talking to us. We are important and you should be paying attention to us”.  Once the visitor acknowledges the canine masters in the appropriate manner, stroking or scratching, then peace is restored. We have had Chienne since she was seven weeks old and it is believed that she is my dog. Not a bit of it – she is “Andrew’s Girl” and always has been.  When we came back from Adelaide on Monday and came into the house, she made directly for Andrew. It was  “Andrew’s here! – Andrew’s  here!, Andrew!! Andrew!! – Oh Hello Daddy” at least herself was glad to see me and made us coffee.  From the minute  we arrived until he went home, Chienne never left his side. Neither John (the oldest son) or I are ever the subject of such adulation. When he did go home, she remembered I was here and came over to me. Of course, I made a fuss of her but at the same time realising that I only come second in my own dog’s affections. In all of this, the little man slept – he’s very good at that. Although, in all fairness, he did lift his head up once or twice.  I remember reading somewhere that   ” Some of our greatest treasurers we place in museums and art galleries, others we take for walks”

Bit of a shock to the system really. I mean winter wandered off and spring came rushing in with warm sunny weather- great!! Then old man winter decided he was not quite finished with us yet,  pushed spring aside and belted us with rain, thunder and blasts of cold wind this last week. Not very friendly.

Illawarra Flame Trees
Illawarra Flame Trees

The Council are going ahead with their beautifying of the approaches and the town centre. They have decided not to plant Eucalyptus  Trees but Flame Trees and other “exotic” trees. Exotic means not native to this particular area – but you knew that :0)  The Flame Trees are still native Australian trees, just not South Australian. Because of the idiotic insistence  of planting eucalyptus trees everywhere, the place  was really looking dull and drab – not inviting at all. I’ve nothing against gum trees in context – out in the bush – but I object to them in an urban setting. The Flame trees will add colour and brightness to the place and at least things will be able to grow around them. I look forward to seeing the end results of this new development.

Joy! Spring is here – summer is on its way!!

Last week of winter. Next week is the official beginning of Spring. Ok, so the split system  A/C was installed at the very end of winter but it will be ok and well run in by the time we start to experience some hot weather – always provided we get some. It would be nice to think that after this wet weather we will get some heat and warmth, then I can have the fun of complaining that it’s too hot.   I have to say that I have not had to say that for a while. Years ago the average temperature was around 42c in mid-summer and climbing up to a hottish 45c, but we have not had weather like that for a while now. We have bursts but not the long hot heat-waves that we used to have when the temperature went above 37c  and forgot to come back down. Global warming – cooler temperatures –  cold with lots of rain -doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

I head off to Adelaide in the morning for a funeral. Adelaide is some 475 Klms from here so it’s about 800 klm round trip for a funeral – but that’s South Australia. However it is not a wasted trip and in the morning I pick up two little Maltese girls and take them to their new homes in Adelaide. I do this for the South Australia Dog Rescue. I think of the poor dogs that are dumped, like these two little girls were and I feel  very sad because it’s quite common in this place. It’s a sad thing when people just dump their dogs at the nearest Vet. Most of them end up in the pound and the not to lucky ones have to be put  to sleep. Sometimes dogs are picked up off the street and although  the pounds advertises for the owners – mostly they never come forward because they just wont pay the $50 fine to get the animal back. They are kept for about ten days then put to sleep, unless the Dog Rescue steps in and takes them out, but for that we need more foster carers and we don’t have them. If we had a) more responsible owners or b) more carers (whilst the SADR finds new homes) we would be a lot better able to cope with the problems.

I have also spent a good part of the week organising a group to participate in a fundraising event for the Local Royal Flying Doctors Support Group.  Only to find that the event is not now going to take place. Nice to know these things.  Oh well – these things happen I suppose.

Support Group