Fangorn, Road Trip and Benji

Conducting a funeral is never fun, conducting two in one week is even less fun, particularly when one (Today / Friday) is conducted in a 43c heat. The funeral on Monday saw the church packed to capacity but the funeral today was even bigger and we had to  erect a gazebo outside and have extra chairs in the shade. There was more than 170 there because that’s the number of Orders of Service ( O.O.S.) I  printed and the ladies distributing them at the door ran out and I couldn’t print others because the church photocopier can’t process A5 paper and that part of the O.O.S. I printed at home from the computer. Even with the two reverse cycle Daikin Air- Conditioners running at their coldest, it was still sticky in the church – so many people. Lunch in the hall was  relatively easy and the two big A/C units there did keep the temperature at reasonable levels, given the number of people  Anyway, that’s it and although  we told our friends in the Funeral Service that it was nice to see them, we really hope not to see them for a little while longer than four days.

Going out - Friday
Going out – Friday

When I came back from Mount Gambier I really didn’t have time to do much, subsequently I didn’t download the photographs from the camera. I

Coming Home - Saturday
Coming Home – Saturday

didn’t go to the blue lake or the sinkhole gardens this time but I have heard that the possums are back in residence again at the sinkhole gardens so I will get down there next time – which should be in May. As I said, the weather was odd so you will see that reflected in the photographs of the River Murray – both sets taken at the same spot  – one Friday – one Saturday – and there is quite a difference between the two. The Friday is a bit misleading since that was really the residue of the Thursday night storm and by the time I reached the Forest of Fangorn – well, Penola Forest – but it looks like Fangorn!-  the weather had, surprisingly,  cleared and it turned out a really nice day. Driving through the forest area is always interesting – just watch out for the big timber trucks. Although trucks are not all I watch out for – if I ever see a person in a long  robe, a pointed hat and a white beard, I’m outta there!  By the time I reached  Naracourte the weather was really nice and driving was  enjoyable.

Part of the Forest of Fangorn - well, Penola anyway
Part of the Forest of Fangorn – well, Penola anyway

The drive alongside the forests is always very quiet and considering the amount of traffic i.e. heavy  timber trucks,  the roads are in very good condition. I didn’t have time to go to the Winery this trip since I had to be in Mount Gambier for Friday afternoon and didn’t have a lot of time. I rather like the wines of the Limestone Coast. Most are small  wineries and not readily available in the larger regional shops – or, indeed, in many of the shops outside the region. I like  Browns of  Padthaway T. Trellis Shiraz, which is a small family estate, but I like most of the wines of this region more so than the Adelaide Hills or the Barossa. I also like the wines from the Margaret River in Western Australia. If  you go into any of the  bottle

Saturday - return
Saturday – return

shops most of the stock  available  is from the larger, well known wineries and little of other regions.

The weather, as seems to be usual at the moment, is very changeable. I took Benji out for a drive this afternoon and we went out to Point Lowly – about 25 miles from here. As Annabell often says, he doesn’t care where you go, he’s with his daddy and that’s all that really matters to him.  I assume he enjoyed the drive – he settled down on the front seat and lay there all the time. He never seems to want to sit up or stick his head out of the window, just  sits quiet and peaceful.    The weather  out at Lowly was a bit cooler and a bit more windy and some of the photographs I  scrapped because they were out of focus – or fuzzy. It’s like a lot of driving

Start of a short road trip
Start of a short road trip

around the area – not a lot to see.

 

 

Adelaide CBD and Home

Adelaide Christmas Tree in Victoria Square
Adelaide Christmas Tree in Victoria Square

Got me baffled!!  Monday, 39C Hot / Tuesday 40c Hot ( cool change expected in late afternoon) Wednesday ( Today) it’s chucking it down expected maximum 23c – wet and cool. No dogs out today.  No it was not a mistake, I did say dogs.  Every year our friends go off to Perth to be with their family for Christmas and New Year, and every year we have looked after Yogi, their dog. Like Benji, he’s a fairly placid dog so no problem. Last year Fay was ill and they stayed home.  This year, of course, we have the WaWa, so with THREE dogs the next month is going to be interesting.  No word from Sooah so we have no idea what is happening there, how things are going and when – or if – they will be back. They did give me an email address and I have used it, but it keeps bouncing back. I looked through my  Organizer and the last time

Part of Victoria Square
Part of Victoria Square

we had Yogi was in early April of this year when Jim went into hospital – before we got the WaWa. We expected that by this time the WaWa would be gone and we would only have Benji and Yogi – Best laid plans and all that! However, as I said, Benji and Yogi get on well together, walk together and play together.

Friday I went down to Adelaide to do the last of the Bunnings things. Since I have a RFDS Fundraising event today ( Saturday 17th)  I went down and back by coach – a bad mistake as it turns out. I have had some problems with this leg and it has been playing up. Sitting in the one position for five hours, then trying to walk was not great. However it eased up a bit but by the end of the day I was tired and quite painful. I got the things I wanted at Bunnings although I have to admit that although it was the closest to the CBD it is also the smallest store in South Australia. In fact, this Bunnings is so small that it doesn’t even have a Cafeteria.  Once I had completed what I wanted to do there, I  got back into town and spent time at a number of shops, picking up a few things. I  decided not to walk and instead took the tram from Rundle Mall to the Law Courts, and then over to the Central; Market. From there it’s a short walk to the Bus Station. I like wandering through the Central Market. I always find it an exciting place and so full of life and it seems to be different each I go there. Next to the Central Market is Chinatown, which has its own atmosphere with Chinese shops, Supermarkets and Restaurants. The coach was due to leave at 4:30 but didn’t leave until almost 5pm, which, of course, made us

Taken from the Coach. Not too bad for a mobile (cell) phone.
Taken from the Coach. Not too bad for a mobile (cell) phone.

late arriving home.   Sitting in the same position on the way back – although I did get off at Port Wakefield for a walk, well,  I was not the best when my son picked me up and I finally got home. However, this morning I did take both dogs out for a morning walk although I did change our route and

Children's amusements in Rundle Mall
Children’s amusements in Rundle Mall

was a little bit short. I managed through the RFDS Funding event, took Annabell shopping, then sorted out all the fund raising equipment – now I is sitting down and intend to stay that way for the rest of the day. I did say to Annabell, that I will try very hard not to have to travel down to Adelaide by coach again. I can quite happily drive all day if needs be,  but sitting for five hours is painful. Oh it is a large and comfortable coach but it’s still a coach and it’s still a five hour trip. Last night, we had our Carol Service and a collection we took up was a donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Anyway, here I am and here I intend to stay. I don’t want to move again until such time as I have to – probably Saturday night. (dog walks allowed)

 

A welcome break but hard work.

I know, hard to believe, but it’s raining again. By this time I expect your thoughts are along the lines of “I wish he would just shut up about that rain” Well, I just wish it would stop raining for a while – I’m getting waterlogged.   To add insult to injury it’s  cold – freezing really. This is not surprising because the  fiction writers that forecast the weather have said cold, wet with the possibility of snow in the Adelaide hills this weekend. In Scotland it rains from time to time and one of my most loved definitions of Scottish  weather comes from a Ken McClure book

Summer in Scotland
Summer in Scotland

“Fenton’s Winter” where the two main characters are in Edinburgh sheltering from the rain in a doorway. One says to his mate “All this rain – do you think maybe God has something against Scotland?” His friend’s reply “No – I think it’s a character development agreement  He has with John Knox. I mean, lets face it, if we were enjoying ourselves we’d feel guilty!”

But if it rains so much how can we tell the difference between winter and summer ?  Oh that’s easy – in Summer the rain is actually quite warm – wet, but warm,  whereas in winter the rain is very cold, and we have a special name for it – Snow.. I know, Scottish people joke about the weather all the time, but what else can we do ?

The seriousness of the weather is such that the Adelaide central bus station has said that it will stay open all night during the  extreme weather. It will provide a place of warmth and shelter for the elderly and the homeless. There will also be food and hot drinks provided. I have to say that the Bus Station has gone up in my estimation of it.  There is flooding in most areas in Adelaide, expected flooding in the Adelaide Hills and still looks like snow in the wee small hours. But we have been told to  brace for wild weather over the next few days. Like the weather we have had thus far has not been wild enough?

Tomorrow (Friday) we have been asked – at very short notice I might add – to organise catering for  part of the army group that has taken over parts of the town.  Presently there are about 4000 Military Personnel, soldiers and admin. here in town. No we are not catering for  all that lot – but we are catering for about 200+ who have organised a “Show and Tell” day at Civic Park . The bulk of the Army Group are stationed at Cultana – which is the military playpen of about 2090 square km. and that’s only part of it. Anyway it’s part of the main training area for the 1st. Brigade, 7th Battalion  Royal Australian Regiment (7 RAR) as well as units of the Australian Light Horse – so a lot of soldiers wandering around the town. Annabell has medical appointments tomorrow so I can’t help out until later in the day. On the Sunday, we have organised a Cake Stall so that should be interesting. I wont be at that! This is being held in the Stratco (hardware company) carpark.  Oh Annabell is making

Attack Helicopter
Attack Helicopter
Mr. Spananberg considers adding a new tool to Student Behaviour Management
Mr. Spanenberg considers  a new addition to Student Behaviour Management

cakes and biscuits (cookies) for

Some of the group ) my photograph)
Some of the group  ( my photograph)

this,  but I wont be there other than first thing in the morning to take her things down to the RFDS stall.

Next weekend ( 1st. 2nd. 3rd. July) we are catering for a big diving course being held out at Point Lowly – about 30 km from here. I am there on the Saturday and I have to pick up a couple of people and take them out there. We are three groups, one Friday, one Saturday and one Sunday. I have the Saturday group. Our contribution to Central Operations will be $45,000 this year – which is  pretty good for a small band of people.  It’s been a lot of work at times but we have the highest number of  RFDS landings in Australia – 573 this year. It’s not that we have a lot of sick people here but if there is an accident or an emergency in a community hospital  further north, the RFDS will pick up the patient and bring them to the nearest major hospital – us. It may well be that all we can do is stabilize , call back the RFDS and get the patient off to  the Flinders Medical Center or the Royal Adelaide Hospital for specalised treatment that we cannot provide. So a lot of that accounts for the large number of landings.

Dogs, Gardens, R & R

With all this Biblical stuff going on, fire, floods, pestilence, snow, the garden has been very much neglected.    Ok, ok, I lied about the snow!!!                    The adverse weather conditions, being surrounded by trees  that drop branches and leaves at the slightest cough, and  my being inconveniently ill,  the garden has the appearance of a building site ( actually bomb site would be a better description)  I would love to get out there and get on with things and I will – with some things –  but I am discovering that there are limits to what I can and cannot do at the moment.  I made that mistake in Adelaide last week.  I am sort of trapped between a rock and a hard place – I want to get out there and get on with things, but I know that I am limited in what I can do until such times as we discover just what exactly is happening. Will know more after Tuesday when I undertake some tests.

In the 60’s, people took drugs to make the world weird.

Now the world is weird, and people take antidepressants to make it normal.

The "Young"Man
The “Young”Man
Guard Duty is exhausting
Guard Duty is exhausting

Chienne is much the same and the Man is still with us. He’s slowing down and I  still have to rescue him, but he’s fine. I hand feed him in the morning and I have started to hand feed -sort of – in the evening. What I do is bring him and his dinner over to my chair. I sit on the floor with legs out. I put him over my left thigh – back legs one side front legs the other – with the food bowl on my right thigh and he eats away quite happily without falling or in any pain. I know it might sound a bit awkward but he’s comfortable enough and eats away until his food’s finished, and, more importantly, without any stress. Yes, I was born for this – to be a food trolley to a Maltese Dog.  :o) Oh, and why the left thigh? He does not like  the right thigh – different aspect perhaps. However, something odd has cropped up in recent months. I thought at first it was a “one off” when I watched it, but I see it happen a lot these days and Herself says Chienne has been doing this for a while. She is grooming  The Man. He just sits there and she licks his face and his ears. I  am puzzled – I thought only cats did this.

I did some work out in the garden today. Nothing too much, just some sweeping up leaves and using the leaf blower/vacuum. I did throw some rubbish into the trailer but nothing heavy.  I was also thinking that if the weather remains fine, I might just break out the hammock and stand. We’ll see how things go.  I should be heading off to Adelaide next Friday morning but I will have to wait and see. It’s  only been two months since the last meeting and I guess it’s a bit much to expect the minutes of that meeting to be available this early. – The meeting, it would appear, has been put off until the 14th Feb. so, in essence I have been two and a half months at home without really doing anything much other than catching up with some reading;  a little bit of work outside and going for walks with Chienne and sometimes with The Man. When he is with us we don’t go very

This used to be the end of the road.
This used to be the end of the road.

far and even the little distance we do do, takes ages since he is slow and tends to wander. It makes for an interesting walk. If Chienne wasn’t so freaked out about going in the car, I would take them  to the beach. I could take him on his own but if I strap him into the seat he screams and cries all the way. He wants to come and sit on my lap and whilst I used to do this, it is now illegal  to have an animal on your lap when driving and it carries with it a hefty fine and demerit points. In fact to have an animal in the car not strapped in is illegal.

 

Cricket, Trekies and Roses

How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished.

Five wickets fallen for a total of 22 runs. That is abysmal in any language. England is down and Australia is slowly kicking the life out of it. Not good, not good at all – bad for England and bad for cricket in general. But the question has to be asked why England has performed so badly and my view is that they are burned out. They have come to Australia at the end of a fairly hectic tour in India and Sri Lanka whilst Australia haven’t been anywhere yet and are fresh and on fire. Just listening to the comments and no one seems able to believe how bad England are. They are coming up with all sorts of excuses and I feel they are just wandering around the problem – there is far too much cricket and too much is being asked of the players. India and Australia have a lot to answer for in this regard –

The strange people you meet in Adelaide  :o)
The strange people you meet in Adelaide :o)

Australia with the Big Bash League and India with its India Premier League = lots of money involved. And yes many of the  Test Cricketers in England don’t play for the IPL but they are still involved in International Tours and England has just finished a tour of India and Sri Lanka, so my feeling is they are burned out – too much cricket. There is no such thing as an “Off-Season” anymore and it’s less of a sport and more of a business venture with the potential for corruption with the serious on-line betting and betting on individual players and ball by ball results. This is already under investigation and corruption has already been  an ugly feature of the Indian Games. But that aside. England really has some serious soul searching to do. They didn’t lose the Ashes, they gave them away as a Christmas Gift. Oh and if anyone is thinking ‘Just Sour Grapes” please remember I am Scottish, not English – winning or loosing is not the issue, the game is and this was not a game, it was Play School on a Cricket Oval.

The weather has been odd lately and when I have taken the dogs walking in the mornings I have been wearing a track suit. Same at night, it is decidedly chilly. At the moment it’s a case of half walk half carry with the Man. However, he’s still had full mobility wandering around the grounds and the house and I really don’t mind having to carry him sometimes. But it is getting to the point when I need to give serious thought to a set of wheels for him.  On Friday I

 Sturt Desert Rose
Sturt Desert Rose

head off to Adelaide, returning Saturday. I said I would go down and spend some time with Alan and this might be the last opportunity I get for a while, since the weather is starting to heat up again and should be in the mid to high 40s next week. It means navigation the vagaries of the South Road but it is starting to come together now so it’s perhaps not quite as bad as it used to be.

Dogs, Flowers and Fire Bans.

20131102_192125
Dogs find something interesting to have a sniff at. I think it’s a blade of grass…

The weather has started to warm up a tad and the temperature today was 39c. but a cool change is on its way and it should cool down for  day or three before climbing back up again. The official Fire Season will being on 10th November and continue through until Mid-April. When I took the dogs out for their evening walk the wind had started back again. The Man was having some difficulty and after a little while I lifted him up and placed him in the dog sling for a bit – at least until he got his breath back.

Thre are still about 40 fires burning in NSW but the  State Firefighters can manage that and our Firepeople have come home.

This must be the worse state in the world for colds and flu and really, it’s not all that surprising. Not when you consider the serious flucuations in temperature. Yesterday it was 39c and hot – the temperature collapsed overnight and today it’s a very cool 24c and the wind started last night when the sun went down. Within the span of a 24 hour period the temperature climbed back to 38c  today and tomorrow will be 40c. A total fire ban has been declared in some areas.

DSC_0790
Northern Wild Flowers

One of the things that irritate me is the inability to edit something once posted. I don’t mean this post,  I mean comments made. I have gone through a comment to check that everything is ok – and it seems to be – but the very second you press the “post comment” button a glaring error jumps out at you. But then I suppose when you are commenting on a page that has 5500+ followers, one comment probably wont count for much – but still…..

A friend is travelling in the  Northern Flinders Ranges and sent some photographs of the wild flowers.

Tomorrow I take the Man back to the vet.

Dogs, ramps, vets and cyclones – no change!

Yogi2The Terrorist is not a well  little boy. At the moment he is not too bad but we have had to curtail our walking for the moment. I cannot take Chienna out because he would go  slightly spare and I would have to take him, but then after about ten minutes I would be carrying him. I don’t mind that at all, but it is not good for him. Anyway, I saw a dog ramp in a catalogue the other day so I will dig that out and have a serious thought about it. Actually, as an aside to that I have ordered one so it will let him get up onto his bed without any trauma. It should arrive within a week. He has slowed down quite a bit and he has difficulty jumping on to the raised bed. I will make an appointment with the vet and let  him have a look and see if we can  determine the cause of the problem – other than just getting old.

Summer is “officially ” over and we are now into Autumn.  Cannot say that I noticed all that much difference. It’s still sticky at night and I still have the overhead fans on and I still get up in the morning drained and slightly washed out. Herself suggested that I should have a bowl of water on the floor to  overcome the dryness of the fans but knowing me I’d probably get up during the night and step in it or kick it over. My room is the warmest and I have not been to bed in 90 days. – Let me qualify that – wearing shorts and a Tshirt, I lay down on the top of my bed and sleep, I don’t actually pull back the covers and get into bed – too warm for that,  and it’s only really a problem if we have a sudden change and the temperature drops more than a couple of degrees during the night.  The latest suggestion is that the Australian  weather has been on steroids this summer. Well that works because it now appears that a good number of our athletes have been. Certainly  Cyclone Rusty was a bit of a fizzier but now on the opposite side of the country a new cyclone is building up in the Coral Sea. Between fires, floods and cyclones it has been an “interesting” summer.  However, I believe summer is over when I can go back into bed again.

Still waiting to see the Vet about the little man. At the moment he seems ok and I have  made a temporary step for him.  During the course of today I will wander around some of the hardware shops( actually there is only three) and see if they have any polystyrene that I can  have  and make into a step for him. The photograph is the dog that I was looking after for a few days – an affectionate little thing – and I finally managed to sort out the orientation.