Dogs, Heaven and the RFDS Jet

Glen Coe

… then I’ll hike it through Glen Falloch where the mountain breezes blow

And I’ll draw up in the evening  in the Valley of Glen Coe.

Of course, in my idea of heaven the road wouldn’t be there and all the dogs I have had throughout my life would be with me.  There  would be cloud and mist but  it would never be  cold. There would be sunshine sometimes, but not too much and if food was needed, then it would just be there as required.  I think there would be no people – I have never really been much of a people person – at least I don’t think so because really, I prefer solitude. I loved the isolation of being in the mountains, away from noise, people and civilisation  and yet, many of the things I do or am involved in,  are serving or helping people.I used to think that  this was God’s idea of a practical joke – He knows I am not really a people person, so  He sees to it that all the things I do I am involved with people. But then,  God is  just and to balance  this out He also gave me a love of dogs, and over the years all the dogs that I have had, each one has been the joy of my life, all in their own different ways. In a blog I read recently I wrote about this and mentioned that for some time after Benji was adopted I was calling him Chienne, but he was very forgiving.  You know, you read it all the time but  it never really becomes trite “A dog is the only creature on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

We definitely cannot have Max back again. I know I keep saying this but twice already today there have been several  ‘spats’ between the two and when Annabell and I have to go out, we do not leave them together – something we have never had to do with any other visitor – not even the WaWa. There has been rain and high wind over much of the State. We have had some rain and some wind but nothing like the lower areas. About twenty miles further out in the bush there was some flooding and the road to where my son works was flooded. He decided to come in the back way, which, as it turns out, was not a great decision. He ran into a pothole and  damaged the converter and tore the exhaust system. We got it back and into the garage and his  ‘detour’ will set him back about $600.  I will be leaving the post as Secretary of the  RFDS Branch at the AGM in July. Don’t know what happens after that – we’ll see. I  decided to leave because at one point I was concerned for Annabell after the car crash  and the fact that we never seemed to be away from the hospital or the Doctor Surgery. Things have calmed down, everything seems to have cleared but we have a  young lady who is very keen to be secretary and she has sort of taken over, and come the AGM, we will elect her as the Secretary and I will bow out. Well, not really, there are some things I said I would continue to do

People said it couldn’t be done. They said no one could do it. So we tackled this thing that couldn’t be done and we did it – a world first.  The  Royal Flying Doctor Service was under a bit of a cloud with the new  Intensive Care

The New RFDS I C U Jet.

Unit (The new Jet).  People were concerned that it wouldn’t work in South Australia because it wouldn’t be able to land on a dirt strip in the far northern outback of the State. So the RFDS organised an outback Sheep station get the airstrip ready because the jet was coming. The sheep station is 370klms north of Port Augusta, a 7 hour drive from Adelaide. The jet covered the distance in just under 40 minutes and made a perfect landing on the  dirt runway.  It made just as  perfect take-off. There is a you tube of the landing, which I have saved,  and I hope it works. In areas further north than the Flinders it would take the  normal RFDS Aircraft about 1 hour and forty-five minutes to cover the distance back to Adelaide. The Jet will do it in just under an hour, which makes a big difference in a life emergency.

We have not seen the jet up here and it is unlikely that we ever will – well not for a medical emergency anyway – perhaps for a goodwill visit.  —- I have deleted the You Tube Video as I have been told that it is a channel 7 video and thus copyright.

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.

 

 

Christmas

A dog and his toys

For those who have been watching, I finally managed to get a couple of hours sleep in the recliner, some of that sleep with a dog on my chest. By the time Annabell woke me it was almost 10am so I had about three hours sleep. Still, as they say in Australia – Better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. After the trauma of the night ( or should that be terror of the night) looked outside and saw a clear blue sky – barely a cloud and what was there was white and fluffy. Took Annabell shopping and paid the car  registration. We were going to start to lay food for Christmas Dinner but it is being held at the Son’s place. Annabell will bring salads, a Pavlova and a coleslaw- and yes it will be about 40c.  Just about finished all the presents and my oldest son thinks I’ve lost the plot. I’m so sorry, but I thought everyone has Christmas Presents under the tree from Santa to the dog. Annabell is already using her Christmas Gift. She wanted a new  computer chair so we went out and I bought her a new  chair. That’s what she picked, so that’s what she got – not that exact chair, of course, but pretty close – no point in just me picking it, I wont be using it.

The way things are at the moment gives the impression that we ( as a town) have turned the corner and that prosperity has arrived with the new Arrium owner. Part of the reason for this is that the shopping centre is festive, bright and cheerful and fulfilling its role as the largest shopping centre outside of Adelaide. However although we accept things as they are today, it is somewhat deceptive in that the empty shops are not new business that has taken up residence in town, but rather  what is called “pop-up shops” These are shops that open up, filling the empty places for a limited period. After Christmas and New Year are over they will close and leave and we will go back to being the largest shopping centre outside of Adelaide with 30% of the shops empty. The organization that owns the  shopping centre ( one of several) is PPI Management Funds based in Adelaide. I wonder how much is actually being done to attract business to the area. One of the places that features on their website as part of this  centre, is the large Radio Rentals showrooms. This was closed down and has been empty for the best part of three years and Dick Smith Electronics, went bankrupt and closed down about five years ago. Spotlight, another large area, is also closed and the original Cheap as Chips Variety Store, moved to another area several years ago and their old shop  (also a large area) is closed down and empty.  However having said that I do believe that we are about to turn the corner and  and engineer I know tells me that if only half of what GFG Alliance has said it will do is actually done, there will still be enough work for at least 10 – 12 years. Mr. Gupta, the new owner,  said in an interview recently that he has allocated over $1 Billion to develop and upgrade the mill and the surrounding region. We are still having shops close down and we hope the

I’m baack…..

exodus will reverse soon and people will start to return. However, three new shops have opened in the last month, with corresponding extra employment,  so it’s not all doom and gloom, but the problem is that the areas that are empty are big and very visible.

Benji’s Nightmare returns…

For the last few weeks I had been telling Benji that he had to behave because if he didn’t behave,  the WaWa would come and chastise him again. Well, he didn’t behave well enough for Santa – even although Santa left him new toys –  so today, the WaWa came – and not just any old WaWa but THE WaWa, Kongsoon herself – with her Staff, namely Sooah and her husband.  What a wonderful surprise that was to have them both here for a while. Most unexpected. Benji went straight to the room got one of his toys and sqeeked at her :o) then took off like a scalded cat – very much discretion  being the better part of valour. Soon as he came in, she went for him, so I put him in the room untill they left. It was the safest thing to do.

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.

Traveling again / warm to cold weather

The drive to Adelaide was uneventful – a good drive in warm to hot weather. The car played up a little bit but then it seemed to sort itself out and was ok for much of the weekend. I did get to the new Pet Supply Shop that I had seen on my last visit and I did manage to get a collapsible silicone water bowl for Benji. This can stay in my bag for when we go out and the weather is warm and he needs a drink. I hope we get use of  it because considering the cost, we need to get lots of water in it. Generally, when I am heading to Mount Gambier, I stay in

Grain Silos at Coonalpyn

Adelaide at South Terrace, but due to a change it times I decided to push through to Murray Bridge and stayed there for the night.  The meeting didn’t start until 12 noon so in essence I had  four hours to get from Murray Bridge to Mount Gambier – too easy  ( HA!!)   The problem is that the GPS told me one thing – like the distance and the time needed to get there, what it does not tell me is road conditions, small towns all along the way that require speed reductions, fuel stop, and I got there in time to grab a drink before the meeting began.  This is the first time I have tried going via Murray Bridge  and I found it stressful to worry about time whilst driving. I should spend time thinking about the meeting- not the time it’s taking me to drive there. You are probably thinking that I am going senile in that I have driven to Mount Gambier often enough in the last few years, I should know all these little places.   Yes – that’s very true, but then I was driving to  Mount Gambier  and it  wasn’t an issue – this time I was driving to a timetable and that was an issue because these places were causing me to slow down and that was taking up time. Anyway, that’s it for M.G until May of 2018. The next meeting will be in Adelaide in February.

The Remembrance Service at the Memorial was quite different this year in that it was attended by over 200 Officer Cadets from the Defense Force Academy who are here to  complete live exercises as the final set of exercises before they return to Canberra for their final exams. I was not at the service, but I was told all about it when I arrived back home.

A number of farming towns have organised an artist to paint their grain silos. Coonalpyn was the first in South Australia and depicts the youth of the town. Other areas are taking this idea up but as far as I am aware it is not a cheap option and there’s not a lot of change from $85,000.

Relaxing on the swing.

Yogi has settled in back at home. I spoke to  Jim and he tells me that Yogi was just a bit stressed. Odd because he’s been here a few times and he has always been fine. But he is getting older and that could be a factor, but he and Benji get on well together.  Last time he was here, the WaWa was still with us, so perhaps he missed the WaWa. On the subject of the WaWa – never heard a  word from Sooah after she and her husband left with the dog.

Since I came back from Mount Gambier the weather has been cold, wet and windy – wind not so much, but definitely  cold and wet. We had a good week of really nice warm weather but that’s well and truly gone for the time being.   I know you can have an “Indian Summer” but can you have an “Indian Winter”?   The Cadets are out and about and yesterday evening I  was blocked from going on my walk with Benji and had to come back and go a different way – they were undertaking an exercise. I understand there was a “car explosion”and the  “Army”was deployed to secure the area – not that we got to see much because the area was blocked off.

This afternoon I have an appointment with my Cardiologist , so that should take a good part of the afternoon – drive to the hospital, have ECG, wait , wait, go, ten minutes with  himself, leave, take Annabell to library.  Quiet afternoon, really. Not that I could do much outside – too  cold. Still summer and warm weather can’t be too far away.

Arid Lands, Dog Friendly and Hospitals

Been a long day. Need rest!

The house these last few days has been very quiet. I have gotten so used to the WaWa , barking and running to greet me that I miss her. Benji is there but he is not the demonstrative  dog the WaWa was so his greeting – whilst no less loving – is a quiet affair.  Since the departure of the WaWa last  Thursday Benji and I have been out and about again – the Beach several times and the Wetlands several times. I would like to go to the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens for some new plants,  but dogs are banned from the area, so I could not take him with me – which is a pity. South Australia is largely behind everyone else and we have – to my knowledge – very few places that are dog friendly. Some places that are supposed to be “Dog Friendly”have so many restrictions  that it’s hardly worth while – unless you are towing a caravan or a driving a  motorhome. There are some places that are catching up, but it’s a slow process. However, I am heading off to Adelaide in ten days so if I get away from Conference at a reasonable time and make  thee Gardens before they close.

A lady – Samantha Grant – writes about her travels in Scotland with her husband,  her Westie and sometimes her daughter. In reading her posts I have been amazed at the number of places she has gone to that are “Dog Friendly” many of which I associate with my growing up in Scotland.  I think it’s great but I have to confess that such a concept  as dog friendly would never have been considered when I was growing up in Scotland. You were more likely to be shouted at “Get that +#$$%y animal out oImage result for no dogs allowed clipartf here ”  It’s certainly changed days – and changed for the better in some instances.

Still on the subject of dogs, Benji is much, much happier, and it shows, but he still stops and looks before he comes into the living room and jumps up on to my lap. I did put his extra bed back where it used to be but he hasn’t used it yet. Even today, when Annabell come in to my room, he grabbed one of his toys and started squeaking it at the open door – It may take him a while but he will get used to the WaWa not being here. Oh, and we will not be looking after Yogi after all, so Benji has the house to himself (apart from us humans)  for the foreseeable future.

It is now  eight years since Annabell was cleared of the Golden Staph Infection that put her in three hospitals for months.In the last hospital there was some concern that the amount of drugs she was being fed was starting to compromise her liver and kidney functions. So here we are, eight years on and I now have to take her to hospital for x-rays because her recent  blood test shows that there may be some problem with her kidney function.  She was about an hour or so in the clinic where she underwent an ultra-sound on both kidneys. We should get the results once the doctor gets the report – which will be posted directly to him. The following evening I had to take her to Physiotherapy, so both nights were take-away dinners – and my diet went out the window  :o) Anyway, at  least we have the weekend to wind down and relax and the  report

Hospital

should be with the doctor on Monday. However, she said herself that she feel fine so we are not expecting anything too drastic.

Home: For dreams of going to

She was overweight and I was bringing her weight down.

On 29th April I wrote about the WaWa escaping from her harness and how she thought my chasing her around Fairclough/ Busch  Streets at 6am was a great game. I also mentioned that when I got them both home I adjusted her harness. Well,  I caused the hurt and the cut that needed to be seen by the vet.  I adjusted the harness and  inserting my fingers at the  top I thought it was just right – not too tight. I was so wrong. For over ten days the harness was over tight and cutting into her skin underneath her right leg. Of course, I happened to be away for much of that time and Annabell never noticed as the WaWa never complained nor gave any indication that she was hurting. It was only on Friday, after I had been home for a few days that I noticed how very subdued she was and went down on the floor to look at her. That’s when I discovered what had happened. You have no idea how shocked I was when I looked at the damage. I wrapped her in a towel and with Annabell holding her, I drove to the vet only to discover that he was closed. I then went to the other vet and she said she was  busy and wouldn’t even look at her. I brought her home and Annabell and I looked after the WaWa until I was able to get to our own vet ( who was back)  first thing this morning. Advised to gently wash the area, dry it and administer some cream. Keep the harness off ( of course) and keep her inside for a few days. Felt really bad knowing that it was my fault but she is very forgiving and I still get licks and snuggles. Wearing the collar means that she can’t get into her food too well, so I sit on the floor and hand feed her. Last night, after I fed her she came over and sat on my lap, so I was on the floor for a bit. But I think that means I am forgiven  and that makes me feel better – not less stupid – just better.

The “Lady Nelson”at Mount Gambier

A little while ago there was several peals of thunder and now the wet stuff is coming down like it’s in a hurry to get to ground. This is good and it will save me watering the plants later on today. It will also be good for the farmers and allow them to get the seeds into the ground. A few more extended showers and that will set everything off to a good start.

Still no indication  about the fate of Arrium, so there is still a great deal of uncertainty in town. There are many houses for sale – seven within the area I walk the dogs and about 40% of the shops in the Mall are closed up and empty. I understand there a few businesses interested but not willing to commit until the decision regarding Arrium is made. This is just dragging on and on. A decision was promised for April and here we are – almost June already and still no decision, which is not helping the town move forward.

At David Jones, Adelaide

But it seems to me that we have this  head in the sand, good news week kind of mentality. What I mean is “Bonga Bonga Manufacturing Something Co. is closing down with the loss of 150 jobs.  Arrium employs 10 new  people ”  What the paper leads with is , “Whyalla turns the corner as Arrium starts hiring again.” Somewhere on page 4 is the report on  Bonga Bonga. – Good news week.    Don’t tell them what they need to know – Tell them what they want to hear.

The  first of the Bronzes I saw a year or more ago was the Rabbit and the Dog having tea. Then there was another one ( which I seem to have lost) of a photographer standing, then the recent one of the Dog as photographer. I find now  that I go wandering and looking for more when I visit Adelaide and I must find the missing Bronze when I am next in the city