Poems and Promises

I was doing something for Annabell the other day and I came across this short poem by the great Author “Unknown” Most, I suspect, will pass it over but it speaks to me:

I explained it to St. Peter,
I’d rather stay here
Outside the pearly gate.
I won’t be a nuisance,
I won’t even bark, I’ll be very patient and wait,
I’ll be here, chewing on a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be.
I’d miss you so much, if I went in alone.
It wouldn’t be heaven for me.

I  think when it is time and I make the journey I will arrive in a field with many dogs and somehow, I don’t know how, but somehow, I will recognise the barks and voices of my dogs and they will all come to greet me. I will sit myself  down on the celestial field and  be overwhelmed by the love and affection  between me and my dogs – long parted friends back together again.  I will walk with the dogs towards a great gate at the far end of the field and as I approach it, it will open. I will ask the Gatekeeper, “am I really allowed in here?”and he will answer, “Yes, of course – your dogs have vouched for you”.

Me to me – “Do you think this means something?”

Me back to me “Yes – it means you’re cracking up!”

I think it must be something to do with the excitement of Yogi going home today. I am not unhappy about that but at the same time, not greatly overjoyed.  This last month we have hardly

Eyre Highway west of town.
Eyre Highway west of town.

noticed he has been there – if you forget for a moment his bouncing on me at 4am and the chaos trying to feed all three dogs at the same time – he has been no bother. I have to say though, he is petrified of the WaWa and he only leaves my room when we go out, or he goes out and at dinner time. I think he will be glad to go home and be on his own again with his own peeps. And now that he has gone home, it will be quiet for a little while – well at least until the WaWa starts up again at some shadow.

Benji and I went for a walk around the Wetlands then went out for a drive. Like  most dogs, they really don’t care where we drive to as long as they are in the car with mama or dad they are quite happy. Well we drove west,  about 10  miles out of town and I took a few photographs just to show

Another view - west.
Another view – west.

what our surrounding landscape is like and why we have to drive forever to get so someplace that isn’t flat. Victoria has the Grampians – which I have driven through several times when I visited Drysdale  and I suppose I have been through the Blue Mountains – albeit by train. The family were here this evening. I think I did mention that Andrew’s partner was pregnant. Anyway, she had  the 20 week scan and the child is a boy. I was overjoyed at this but I would have been just as overjoyed had the child been a girl. Anyway, it’s summer. How can you tell if it’s really summer? When you have a shower in the morning and it doesn’t matter what tap

The other side is just as empty
The other side is just as empty

(sorry -faucet)  you turn on, they are both hot!

On Sunday afternoon, I decided to do what I had promised after Yogi went home, take the boy down to the beach, have a walk then sit under an umbrella with ice cream. Well it never really happened – although we were at the beach. During our walk along the sand, a white Pit bull  came out of nowhere and attacked us. I was able to get Benji up on my shoulder, but the thing was after him. Fortunately we were close to the  roadway and two teenagers came running out of their car to assist. They used a perfect medium to chase the dog away – they threw sand in its face. They didn’t hit the dog or harm the dog in any way, but it definitely didn’t like handfulls of sand being thrown at it so it took off – no collar, harness – nothing. The boys wanted to make sure that Benji was ok and he was but they stood out on the road until I reached my car and got him and me inside.  There was no real harm done but it was a bit scary – and here’s the thing – there are big notices all along the entire foreshore area that all dogs must be kept under control at all times. There is a fine of $2000.. I don’t know – perhaps some people seem to think the rules don’t apply to them.

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!!

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.


Benji aka BJ


As promised my concerns about Benji.  Benji, as you may know, is a rescue dog.  The sudden death of my  girl, Chienne, really floored me. I loved her so much and  I wandered around not really bothering about things. Annabell decided that I needed another dog. She said that she could not bear to see me so unhappy –  so I started looking. I did look locally but they all seemed to be big dogs and I didn’t want a big dog. I looked on line, confining my search to South Australia. I finally found one that I liked the look of so I asked for more information from the rescue group. I was given information regarding  the current location of the dog and a little bit about him,  temperament, size and age, desexed and micro chipped. Also clearance from the local Vet. The thing was his location was some 950 klm away. If I wanted this dog it would mean a thousand miles round trip. Well, I liked the look of the dog, his size and temperament, so a road trip it was. He was currently in foster care so I had to wait with the rescue people until the dog arrived. On October 10th 2015 I took the dog into the car and started the drive home. On that return journey I did something I promised myself I would never do – drive the steep descent  from Crafers at the top of the Adelaide hills, down to Adelaide — In The Dark!  This is the scene of so many accidents that I find it uneasy during the day even – but at night! Well here I am writing this so I  guess you can take it I survived the journey. We got home and Benji soon became part of the family. We even had to look after another dog – Yogi – and he and Benji got on famously together – a little bit of early settling out  borders – but they get on really well. It was fun taking both dogs out walking. We had a lot of trouble getting his microchip registration changed but we worked through that and this was finalised  in late April this year. Of course he was registered with the Council and introduced to the Vet, who gave him a clean bill of health. Since then he has put on a little weight and filled out.

Benji settled in well with all the members of the family – everyone loves him and he is a quiet lovable, Staffy-Jack Russell Cross, quite settled and I believe, quite happy.  That was until recently. Yogi – as I said – was no problem, the problem is the WaWa. She is causing Benji untold strife, grief and stress. Yes I have shown photographs of them together and seeming friends, however, photographs can be deceiving  and the only reason I was able to take that photograph was simply that I had food they both wanted so they  were  “close” rather than “together”.  The WaWa attacks Benji and nips his back legs. He will not defend himself and at times he has leaped from the floor up into my arms to escape from her. He is more than twice her height. weight and probably three times her strength but he is scared of her.   It worried me and last night it scared me. I went outside and as usual Benji followed me. He was slow so I turned round and bent down to pick him up – he cringed and wet himself. To say that I was stunned is an understatement. I feel that all the work I have done with him since I brought him home is being undone.  I am at a loss and don’t know what to do. People have said that the solution is simple – get rid of the WaWa. I cannot do that! I made a promise and I have to keep it. I am also told that he will not defend himself nor will he attack the WaWa unless put under extreme pressure because  domestic male dogs wont attack a female. We did not go out for our walk this morning. I got up, got dressed and ready to go, but he would not come – he refused to move and after last night I had no intentions of trying to make him go out, so I just left him where he feels safe – on my bed.  I have no idea what his life was like before me – well before the foster care – but he was five when I adopted him last year and that’s a long time if he had a hard life. It’s a worry, a real worry.

Mount Gambier Part 1

I was reading up about the wawa recently in the  and the page on the History of the breed began with the words  “If you have ever had a Chihuahua then you know that they are not hard to love at

Almost like brothers
Almost like brothers

all ” and I couldn’t help thinking to myself – Not this one – this is the sister of the wawa from Hell who currently resides in Arizona and who had another go at me last night. Fortunately I got my fingers away in time.  I tell you, it’s going to be a long four/five months. On the other hand, Yogi goes home tomorrow and I will be sad to see him go – he has really been no bother at all to look after and as I said before after a few territorial adjustments Yogi and Benji have got on very well these last two and a bit weeks.

Talking to Andrew last night and some things have been sorted out at Arrium.  Andrew is back in there again to continue on with the original contract,( which has been restored)  but the  Administrator is really going to have to do something about the management culture at Arrium which uses all sorts of tactics to avoid paying bills for as long as possible. This, in part, accounts for the fact that suppliers are owed so much money and some of these supplies are vital to the continued operation of the plant. If the administrator does not sort this culture out then it leaves the door open for this whole drama to repeat at some future date. I also think some members of the management have to realize that SA stands for South Australia, not South Africa.    Today is ANZAC Day and  for the first time in many years I did not attend the Dawn Service. Yes, I set the alarm; yes I did get up and dressed, but two faces looked at me expectantly and were quite excited because this was the time I usually take them out. My logic was that the  Dawn Service will be crowded, no one will miss me and I really should not be going to MacDonalds for Breakfast afterwards, and I delivered the ANZAC Service at Church on Sunday;   so yes,  I put on my jacket, put on the leashes and the three of us went out together and I thought, “that’s as it should be!”

Tomorrow will be my last morning walk with Yogi and when I come home I will have to gather all his gear – bedding etc., and have everything ready when he gets collected. It has been interesting with the two dogs walking and tonight it will be just me and Benji again.

Urgent email arrived late last night to inform all members of the Commission that there is no accommodation  within 50K of Mount Gambier. This is due to the ANNUAL Jazz Festival which takes place on that weekend. I put the word annual in capitals to emphasise it since the Mount Gambier people who arrange all this should have known that the Jazz festival was on that weekend and

The Lady Nelson - Mount Gambier
The Lady Nelson – Mount Gambier

either changed the venue or  altered the date of the meeting. There is nothing in Penola and I am not going to Naracoorte (109K). I have tried a number of places and I still have two to answer this morning – Dartmoor and Nelson. both across the border in Victoria. Heck at this rate I could have just about driven to Melbourne and back. Nothing available at Nelson but I  seem to have managed to get accommodation at Dartmoor Vic., which is about 55k from Mount Gambier. That’s not too bad. I can still visit the  Sailing Ship The Lady Nelson and the Umpherston Sink-hole Gardens on the way through to Dartmoor although I am so glad it’s Dartmoor Victoria and not Dartmoor England. However, if I get there and I meet anyone called Baskerville I’m out of there !! As far as I can see for a small rural settlement it has a lot of interesting things to offer and I hope my camera is kept busy