Visitor, Hospital and Cold, Wet Days.

Yogi and Benji on the Garden Swing

Well I survived the week and all the questions and on Monday I had the stitches removed. Next week we should have the report back from  Pathology and I will be a lot happier once that’s in. Overall, however, it has been a fairly busy week – apart from being cold, miserable and wet.  One of our friends has  suspected cancer in his liver and he and his wife are currently down in Adelaide for a biopsy. Annabell and I are looking after Yogi, their dog. They left on Monday and should be back tomorrow (Wednesday) Generally I am  happy to take Yogi and this time has been no exception, however I have not had a lot of sleep since Yogi is getting older, misses his people more and cries most of the night. He’s alright during the day, nights are not so good. He and Benji get on well except when Yogi forgets his place in the scheme of things and tries to take over the spot in the bed (next to me) that Benji occupies. Usually I have to intervene only once.   Anyway, this is the husband of the lady who picks up Annabell for the coffee evenings and morning. She, herself, has been unwell so I have been filling in for her and doing the taxi thing. Annabell herself is well, so that’s always good.

We still have Yogi – I think he is going home today (Friday) sometime, so instead of two days  ( Monday night & Tuesday night) we have had him for five. The reason for the extra days was simply that  the results at Adelaide were not so good and it has taken them a few days to come to terms with what has to happen now. Jim has Cancer of the Liver, which is not so great. I suggested to Annabell that we offer to keep Yogi over the weekend but, it would probably better for Jim if he has his dog with him. I know I would. But, Yogi has actually settled down these last couple of nights and slept through the night. Jim is now just waiting on the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Surgeon being free and then he will be down to Adelaide again. We will most probably look after Yogi while they are down in Adelaide and I expect for a little while once they come back – as Jim recovers. That’s not a problem – well not for us humans but it is a little bit of a problem for Yogi. He was a rescue dog and as far as we know he was shunted about the place, so he has a thing about getting put in a car. I discovered this when I took them both to the Wetlands last time he was here and he whimpered the whole time he was in the car.

Benji and The WaWa

It has been a year today since Sooah and her husband came back and collected Kongsoon (The WaWa) She has been back once for a brief visit and the WaWa was looking  well. Yes she she was a handful at times, but overall she was a lovable little character.  I think of her often and I miss her – don’t think Benji does though.

We had some high winds and rain over the State – well, Adelaide and the lower Peninsula.  The storms passed beneath us and although it was a tad breezy and did rain  a fair bit, it was nothing like the storm damage in Adelaide and surrounding areas.  Mostly the storms and the like miss us. They come across the Great Australian Bight and cross the Eyre Peninsula beneath us.  So really it’s not too bad. Yes it’s cold but we don’t get the storms that Adelaide gets. The other side of that is that it gets a whole lot hotter here in summer than it does in Adelaide.

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.

So far – so good!

2013-01-05 19.57.00The interesting thing about Australia, in general, is the many contrasts and the way things can change so quickly – from normal to catastrophic in the blink of an eye. Only a  month or so ago, we were having heavy rain and thunderstorms – now we are in heatwave conditions with homes and property being destroyed. So how are we today – Friday 11th January – well, parts of South Australia and the Northern Territory are in heatwave conditions, large parts of the Eastern States, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW),  are struggling with serious bush fires and over in Western Australia they are bracing themselves for the onset of a Category 4 (and increasing) Hurricane  ( Cyclone in this part of the world) and in some parts of the Highlands, snow has fallen. It’s a strange country, that due to its geographical position, can change so quickly. In Scotland , where I came from, we have pretty miserable weather most of the time, but we never had any conditions where the temperature can drop 23 degrees overnight – i.e. today 47.9 , tomorrow 24.9. In some parts of Scotland if the temperature fell 23 degrees overnight, you would freeze to death. As I said the other day, we went from a record 47.9c down to 26c the following day.

Tourist: ” What’s that special Scottish name for when the weather is cold, grey, wet and miserable?”

Resident:  “Summer”

NSW are bracing for record temperatures again tomorrow as the exhausted firefighters battle some 130 fires burning across the state. To add to this volatile situation three fires were deliberately started and the arsonists have been arrested. All three are teenagers who thought is was a bit of a lark and their stupid parents agree even attacking the  media as they reported the  story. I continue to take comfort from the words of Charles de Gaulle ” The more people I meet, the more I like my dogs”.

Saturday 12th.: Was wakened up by a very strange noise at 4am this morning. I thought someone was coming in through the roof . Got out of bed and put the light on and realised what the strange noise was –  it was raining!. Went to check on the  dogs and they were still asleep. I went back to bed. When I  finally got up at 6:30 the rain had gone and all was quiet. A short while later I took the dogs out for their walk and it was positively cool. I checked the thermometer and found  the temperature was a mere 19c. The little man started off as usual, full of energy,  and the interesting thing is that he maintained most of that energy for the whole time we were out and most of the time he was running ahead to the full extent of the retractable lead. The temperature today is supposed to be 28c. and it looks as if the change in weather pattern is pushing the  Cyclone back out to sea, away from Western Australia although it is still close enough to bring wind and some heavy rain. So far, it’s good that we have managed to escape any bushfires this time round. —– Photograph is a part of my back yard.

Round 2 begins

This morning dawned fresh and clear and until about an hour ago it was still so.  About then I started to see that the sky was dulling down and dark clouds were slowly moving in and sure enough, here we are in the middle of another thunderstorm. This is passing strange – we don’t generally have three in a row like this. Two in one day was bad enough but three in two days is trying the patience just a tad.  There are about 5000 homes without power – 100year old trees were picked up thrown over, along the main streets power-lines are down due to falling trees all of which I said yesterday, but this new storm, if it develops like the last one, could cause more damage. However, having said that, I don’t think it will. It doesn’t have the  same’ feel’ as the ones did yesterday. According to the statistics there were 120,000 lightening strikes across the State.  Anyway, Chienna is in the laundry on her bed and the little man is curled up on my bed. The reason for this is that he must have sneaked in and no one saw him. He was too quiet and it was only a few minutes ago that I went into my room and saw him. I didn’t have the heart to move him so he’s still there.   Yesterday was the first time I have ever seen him concerned during  thunder. Normally he’s not too fussed but yesterday it was very loud and the lightening was very bright.

The “flooding” was a lot of water on the roads, in gardens and elsewhere – it was NOT gushing through people’s houses, it did not threaten lives, it was at best ankle deep and apart from a few smallish puddles, it cleared away very quickly as the storm water drains caught up. The damage we did experience was caused by very high winds that threw down trees and brought down power lines. No one was hurt or injured, but it is interesting that this is the third year in a row that we have had a thunderstorm of this nature right at the very start of summer.

The keys to life!

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”

― Milan Kundera

The weather over the last week has been odd, to say the least. It’s still cool in the evenings but the days are starting to warm up. But it has also been odd in that we had one day where the temperature shot up to  41c – crashed overnight and we had a gale and a thunderstorm.  In some parts of the State the Country Fire Service are still fighting fires that were started by the lightening strikes during that storm. I have been ill, herself has been ill and we ended up taking her to hospital because she had difficulty breathing. She was put on a ventolin machine for about an hour and that helped.  I have been unwell to the point where I have not been taking any calls and not moving out of the house much. However, I am well on the mend and have started getting out to the garden again. Even started taking the dogs out for a walk. And that’s the odd thing about the weather – it was a lovely day yesterday but quite cold when I took the dogs out in the late evening. I came back for a a jacket.  It’s been odd. During the week  I was involved in a Fundraiser Event for the Royal Flying Doctors Service and whilst it was warm and pleasant during the day, the minute the sun started to go down, the breeze got up and it became cold. Fortunately I had a jacket in the car that I could get. I suppose,really this is typical for this area and our closeness to the desert. In summer the hot wind comes off the desert and pushes the temperature up, but at  the moment it is cold.  Very odd indeed.

Most of the time I have been spending out has been cleaning up, since I am surrounded by trees – tree leaves and wind don’t go too well together. At least we are not in Queensland that is once again being battered by storms. We are too close to the desert and we really don’t do floods – the occasional  puddle with lots of water, but not floods. This cold and damp weather seems to have gone on forever, so it will be nice to  spend some time talking about the heat for a change  :o)

Sneaky, very sneaky!

about 1.5 feet to go - but I have it worried.The weather really warmed up very nicely and then, just as you were starting to welcome spring, it turned on you  and it’s raining again. Was cold yesterday and rained for a good part of the evening and into the nighttime.  The weather has stared to improve despite the drops in temperature and the rain, but at least it is no longer raining every other day. The sun has been out for the last two days and provided it stays good tomorrow I will make a start on the concrete work and start to get the area ready for her  clothes line. Once the line is up I will start work on having the area levelled out so that she can walk on it with relative safety. The badly uneven surface of the crazy paved area is too much for her.

I went across town to the Brick and Paving  supply place and had a look at bricks to  slightly change the shape of the area but the bricks hat I wanted are no longer available, so I will have to come up with another idea. I have completed the cement and he unit is now in the round. With any reasonable luck I should be able to place the clothes hoist in the  area and then it will be a simple  matter of  stringing it all together.  I have not yet decided how I will smooth the area out but I’m working on it.  am also doing the section outside my office, which I have never been happy with. So, as spring comes on and moves towards summer, there is a lot of work that I want to be done, some of which I would like finished before Christmas.

The dogs are well although the little man has started to slow down a little when I take him out for the evening walk.  carry him for a little while to give him a bit of a break. He is nearly 12 years of age now.

It’s not even halfway through winter and I’m over it.

The Christmas Plant.
One of my Plants – this one was given to me as a gift.

Australia, like Florida, is generally associated with  sun, sea and sand and fairly laid back lifestyle. Much of the time this is generally the case but these last few years have been a trial and our weather has been very strange. We had some hot weather for a couple of days last “summer” and the same the “summer” before that but we have not really had what Australia would call a “summer”.  It wasn’t so long ago that I was saying that I was not too fussed about the heat and looked forward to weekends and barbecues. My barbecue  has cobwebs on it at the moment. I only used to a few weeks ago when we had a gas failure and no gas for four days so I cooked everything on there barbecue. The long warm, sunny evenings sitting outside with the laptop and a glass of wine- seem like something from another time and place  We have unprecedented rain and flooding and only last week two mini-tornadoes struck Adelaide causing a fair bit of damage.  Cold, wild and wet and this is global warming??? I think we should re-write the Song ” I come from a land down under, the place of rain and snow and thunder”  Raining Monday and a good part of Tuesday. It’s Wednesday and thus far it’s dry.

I  have to head off down to Adelaide this week. Normally I would call the Dog Rescue and see if there is any dogs requiring transportation and take them down with me, but this time, it’s not my car so I won’t be able to. I might try and organise a trip to Adelaide the following week – at least an overnight trip. Tomorrow I will get the Standard Roses and  plant them as soon as I get back from Adelaide.