An interesting week and a Survivor.

Part of the Wetlands today (Monday)

After  our shopping trip this morning, (Monday) I helped Annabell get things sorted out them took Benji off to the Wetlands. It has been very cold here these last two days and this morning Benji  didn’t want to get out of bed and go for a walk in the cold at 6am. With the temperature at -2,  I can’t say I blame him, so we didn’t go and stayed in the room with the heater on. By the time I took him to the Wetlands

Benji at the Wetlands

it was a bit warmer and he was quite happy to  go out. We had a good walk  around the wetlands – bit of a breeze and cool, but not too bad. The Kiosk is closed down for alterations but it should be up and running again shortly. The rain the other week has helped to make the wetlands look a bit more visually pleasing – as you can see – but we do need a lot more rain. In our walks recently there have been a lot of Kangaroos wandering about looking for water again. They have even been seen in Nicolson Avenue, which is a fairly busy road. At the moment it is a fairly mild day in that the last few days have been mornings of  – degrees while today (Tuesday)  was 4c,  still a bit on the cold side but ok for a morning walk. Benji and I will be out and about most of this week as we endeavor to keep out of Annabell’s way. This weekend in the Ladies Brunch, so she will be busy baking in the kitchen. Apart from keeping out of the way,  Benji and I will be ‘gofers’ and drive to the various shops to get anything she needs, if and when she needs it.

Went for a walk to the Wetlands this afternoon and  had coffee in the Kiosk with Jennifer, Milan and Max.   The usual sniffs but at least  Benji didn’t snarl at Max and we had a peaceful time with coffee and scones. The day was warm and sunny and 21c but I can see that already the water  is starting to evaporate. There is supposed to be some rain on Saturday – in nice time for the cuttlefish and the Cake Stall – will not interfere with what Annabell and the ladies at the Ladies brunch but it could interfere with both the RFDS events.

Rejoice with me!  Today is Friday – the end of the week – an entire week without a single hospital visit nor a doctor visit. Is that something  to rejoice about or what! Next week is different, and will include an ECG for her,  but we’ll deal with that when it’s next week. In the meantime, it’s been a good week.  Saturday and it’s all happening. It’s 6:30am today is the Cuttlefish diving, the RFDS Catering out there, the RFDS Cake Stall at the Hardware store and the Ladies Brunch — and —- it’s chucking it down. Isn’t that fun. It will be ok for the Cuttlefish Divers, they are going to get wet anyway, the ladies Brunch will be indoors, but the Cake Stall and the Cuttlefish Catering are currently at risk. Right at the moment I am being hassled  but I am not taking him walking in the heavy rain, so he can just go

The last surviving Mandevilla.

back to his bed for a bit;.

The rain faded away by about 7:30 and it turned out a fine day – almost. Everything went well, the Cuttlefish Catering, The  Cake Stall and the Ladies Brunch. The cuttlefish catering we wont know until  the  end of today and we get the two days  and the cake stall calculated. The Ladies Brunch was good but not as good as it has been. We think there was just too much on this weekend – something the ladies are going to have consider if they decide to continue next year. I did say almost a fine day since the rain came back about 3pm but only in the form of a few quick showers. Not enough to cause much concern. The Cake Stall had sold everything by 11:30 and they had nearly three full tables of home baking – and it all went.

Taken at 10am as the heavy, wet mist was  slowly clearing.

Tomorrow (Monday 1st July) is the AGM of the RFDS here and my last  time as Secretary. There is some doubt as to whether or not  the  Secretary Elect will  go forward to election but either way, I will not. The Secretary elect was elected as Secretary but not without some controversial maneuvering. Members of the “In Group” wanted their man to be Secretary but the  Coordinator from Central Operations in Adelaide who was chairing the meeting, ruled this as Out Of Order, since the person concerned was not at the meeting and therefore unable to agree or not to his election.   Oh, yes, and we were told at the meeting that the RFDS Jet, which was to make a visit to each of the areas, will not be coming. Central Operations decided to  send the Jet to the properties of each of the major corporate sponsors instead and since it is now in operation, there is not time for any regional visits.

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John’s wheels, Benji and the WaWa

Took the dogs to the Wetlands this afternoon. The rain we have had over the last week has had  a reasonable effect but it still needs more to bring the ponds back to capacity. The boys were very good and walked well – like old pals, in fact. Pity they could not behave like that at home.  Still to be fair, it’s not the fault of Max – Benji is the culprit here and as I said, for some reason he does not like Max. On Sunday, Max went home.

I have just returned from a trip to Adelaide. My son’s car has “given up the ghost”so he needs a new car. He asked me to take him to Adelaide since there was nothing here that he liked.  There is only one car dealer here and private buys are a bit “dodgy”  I took him to a decent dealer, “Adelaide Auto Sales”at Mawson Lakes. We spent some time there looking at various SUV models and he finally settled on a Ford Territory. Personally I preferred the

John’s new Wheels

Sliver-Blue one, but he settled on the Black.  The reason for the SUV is the high clearance which on the back roads could get him out of any trouble a lot easier.  I had booked two hotel rooms but having got his vehicle, he decided he wanted to go home, so I led him back to the Port Wakefield Road and after a stop at Bolivar when I asked him to call me from Wakefield,  any other stop and to call me when he gets home. I went back into town and did some shopping before heading off to the hotel for the night. John called me from Wakefield, Tin Man and when he got home. I had intended to head out to Bunnings this morning but decided I would follow John and head for home. I started out at 6am expecting to be in Wakefield by  sunrise and continue the rest of the way in the daylight.  I did, of course, but it was not without its interesting moments. There is a lot of reconstruction and road works  at the bridge where the Northern Express branches off. It was dark, I was unaware of  the situation so I followed what I thought was the right traffic cone-lined lane and ended up on the Northern Expressway. My GPS, which I had programmed for home led me off the Express to the Penfield Road, exit then to Virginia and back to Highway A1 – The Port Wakefield Road,  and all of this was done in the dark and I don’t like driving at night. Still the Port Wakefield Road if a fairly large, well divided  four lane highway from Gepps Cross in Adelaide all the way to Port Wakefield and I generally  drive this in the dark to be in Wakefield for the sunrise  so that I can  continue by daylight. Wildlife on the Port Wakefield Road is unusual.

After my unscheduled  detour I drove directly to Port Wakefield and stayed there for  breakfast before heading off to the Tin Man.  I decided, since I had sufficient fuel,  not to stop and drove

Benji and Bowtie

directly to Port Augusta, did some shopping there and headed for home.  Crazy Benji went gaga and I eventually had to sit on the floor with him for a bit until he settled down. You would think I had been away for weeks instead of just a day and a half,.  After I emptied the car and sorted out my case, I took Benji out for a walk. That made him happy, just him and me together.  I actually do miss him when I am away. However, all being well, I wont be away again until August and then only for a day and a half.

I have been looking through some old photographs and I came across photographs of Kongsoon ( the WaWa) and oddly enough, I do miss her and wonder how she is. We never hear from them

The WaWa

so we’ll probably never know. Sad, but there you are.

Thank Goodness Its Friday

Once Dougal went home, the times walking were a little more comfortable and less frustrating. Dougal is a barker  and tends to go gaga if he hears another bark or, indeed, any noise. It does not make for a really enjoyable  walk with him dragging and pulling. Benji, on the other hand is sort of like a  modern teenager – some other dog barks  –  ” meh whatever!”. Although we never had any concerns, because our fences are secure, I am told by other people that Dougal tends to be something of an escape artist and Sam has had to go searching for him more than once.

The empty bird area at the back pond

I took Benji to the Wetlands this afternoon and it really is starting to look quite sad. The birds have deserted the back pond where they generally hang out.

I am told they are Wild Geese.

The four wild Geese have taken to wandering around the area of the main pond, the ducks and swans have gone and the back pond – what’s left of it – has become the haunt of seagulls. Thursday week – 9th May – I set off to Narracourte for the quarterly conference.  There will be one overnight stay in Adelaide and a second overnight stay at Padthaway. The meeting does not begin until 12:30 so it is likely to last for most of the afternoon since each of the churches has to bring their  Books for inspection, stamping and cleared  by Presbytery. That wont take five minutes so it is unlikely that I will get much farther than back to Padthaway since I will not drive on the Riddoch  Highway and the Dukes Highway  at night. There has been several accidents recently on that stretch of the road recently. Apart from which,  I like staying in Padthaway since it is one of the few places that are dog friendly.

The flood waters from Queensland continue to pour down the Diamantina River  into  South  Australia and then drain into Lake Eyre. Having said that I have also to

say that it has been raining for a good part of the late evening and into the night. It was not the soft, silent rain that really doesn’t do much but a decent rainfall for several hours.  I must try and get down to the Wetlands and see what difference – if any – it might have made. Wednesday:  Never got out to the Wetlands, had a bit of a wetlands in the back garden. It’s chucking it down here again and I I was surprised to learn that despite the widespread rainstorms, some parts of the State missed out – bummer. Looks as if we wont be going out for our walk tonight again.  Well, as it happens, the rain went off and we did get out for our walk. I went directly to the water catchment area at the end of the street and although there was a good amount of water in there, I  did believe that there was less than I thought there would be.

I thought that I would be able to go to the Wetlands tomorrow (Thursday) after the 10 am  Hospital appointment with Annabell, but as of this afternoon,(Wednesday) we have a further appointment on Thursday at 2:30pm. However, at this stage, Friday is looking good  :o) Talk about ‘Things Fall Apart” – I take Annabell and another lady to the  Tuesday coffee evening and she and the other lady get picked up on a Wednesday. This same lady picks up Annabell for visits and other meetings. Well, this lady now has a new car and guess what?????   Annabell cannot get into this new car, so I have more driving around to do. Oh well, I do believe it’s part of the job description.

Dougal and Benji together.

I think it comes under the heading of “Sickness and Health ” :o) And, since the Universe is not altogether finished with me for the moment, Dougal came back this afternoon – right after we came back from the dentist.   Sam is heading off to Adelaide to be with Ina for a little while – then when he comes back he is going into hospital himself, so I have no idea how long we might have Dougal this time. He’s not a really concern, just the fact that he has never learned to ignore  barking and other sounds without going gaga, I’ll have to put on the harness again if I take him out walking but  we have had a fair belt of rain here the last few days, so we’ll see how things go. I didn’t expect to have Dougal back quite so quickly but at least Sam knows that he can go  visit his wife in Adelaide safe in the knowledge that his dog is being looked after and taken care of.  It’s Friday – no doctors, no hospital visits – FREE…  Woo Hoo

Wetlands, Lighthouse and Dust Storms

Dougal and Benji at Wetlands

Dougal came for a stay last Thursday.  Being flat out for much of last week we didn’t get out much but I did manage to get  them both to the Wetlands for a walk. Still no rain to speak of so there is no change in the water levels. It might not seem like that from the photograph, but then looks can be deceiving , however, the main pond still has water in it. Still it was a good time together and if he is still here, I  will take them both for a drive  out to the Lighthouse at the weekend.  At the end of this month we may be looking after a new dog for two weeks. One of the ladies at the church asked me if I would be willing to look after her dog for two weeks . Annabell was there at the time  and she said we would love to. I totally agree since the lady in question is one of the coffee ladies group and she has a Pug called Max – that should be fun.

During this week we experienced one of the  consequences of the drought.  The weather up until last Thursday was  fair – bit warm but fair- Friday was a different thing

This was at Port Wakefield , I believe.

altogether. Friday we had high winds – as high as 95 klms per hour in places. The traffic ground to a halt in Port Wakefield area as visibility was  zero, due to thick dust storms. We had high winds here and some experiences of the dust storms but nothing like the other areas of the  peninsula. Port Lincoln faced winds of over 100 kms. per hour and it was so bad that the power company shut off the power to Port Lincoln and the surrounding area – some 15,000 people without power. The reason was to protect Port Lincoln.  The power company was concerned that the high winds would bring down trees and branches onto power lines sparking a fire, which, in the high wind conditions, could take hold and spread very quickly. Adelaide also took a bit of a

Wont look at the Camera.

battering. As I said, we were not too bad – things happen above us or below us,

In the far north of the State, things are different  and the desert is blooming again. The flood waters from Queensland have made their way down and are currently pouring into Lake Eyre – normally  dry. As the waters have made their way down from Queensland and filled the dry river beds, the desert is now watered , everything along the way is blooming and there is an abundance of wildlife, swans, ducks, wild geese and pelicans. The  water will create islands in the lake where the birds can breed and raise chicks without foxes and dingos being able to get to them. Lake Eyre is 9,500 square klms however the Lake Eyre Basin and catchment area is 1.14 million square klms. It’s a big, big basin and lake Eyre itself is some 15 meters – about 50 feet – below sea level.  Last time it flooded my  son, John,  took the  flight up there and flew over Lake Eyre and the surrounding area. I did see the photographs and it was quite a spectacular sight to see the water flooding into the lake.

I took the dogs to the lighthouse and we had a good wander around the place and a good long walk  around the point. The weather was nice – bit on the warm side (34c) but quite nice. Benji did his usual and refused to look at the camera.  The drive to and from the lighthouse is 76 klms. or 46.25 miles, so it’s not something I do  too often but there’s no where else we can go – everything else around us is either a conservation area, or a  reserve area and  the whole of the Flinders Ranges are National Parks.

One of the things I enjoy doing is taking photographs. I agree I’m not all that good at it but I like doing it. I did go to a photography club some years ago , but  wasn’t too impressed with it. I am thinking I might give it another go. It seems to have a  different attitude to it these days so perhaps I might not find it quite as I did last time. One can but try. But then I have also changed since then and and I do believe I have quite mastered the Box Brownie now.

Lighthouse, Wetlands and Spencer Gulf

Benji at the lighthouse.

Friday 22nd. Just after lunch I  put a blanket over the front seat in the car, strapped Benji in and off we went to the Lighthouse. It was a lovely day, warm but not hot, so it was a comfortable ride for the 24 miles. Of course, with the air conditioner on it would have been a comfortable ride anyway, but he did what he usually does, curl up facing me and  have a nap. We spent some time wandering about and it was good for us to be out and about again after all the hot weather we have had recently.

We came back home by way of the town center and I  went into the lolly shop and bought 250gms of sugared almonds, because I knew she had them in for the first time in a long time. I know, but it’s my indulgence and they remind me of my childhood in Scotland – every lovely crunch of them. In the evening, after the news, I took Benji down to the wetlands. It’s been a while since we were there. To say I was shocked is an understatement. The amount of water loss is incredible. With the continued drought and the fact that there is no

The loss of water at the wetlands

water going into the system, this, plus the water going out to water the trees, lawns and plants has really taken its toll. Having said that, it did rain for a bit last night and although it rained for several hours, it was fairly light rain and didn’t make a lot of difference to anything.

Today both Annabell and I are  exhausted.  The family at the back of us were having an 18th Birthday Party. The father came around and told his neighbours  what was going to happen and said he would try and keep the music to a reasonable level. Well, that was a lie right there! He did  indicate that they were going to play music, but they didn’t. I don’t know what the heck it was they played but music it was not – it was just a thump, thump, thump. My son follows Iron Maiden, and some other sort of heavy metal and though I  don’t like to admit it, it is music – of a sort – but this last night, until 2am was just a continual thump, thump, thump. I almost took a serious dislike when the alarm went off at 6am. I did not have

The Spencer Gulf at the Lighthouse.

a good night, but Benji and I went out for our walk in the calm,  early, cloud covered morning. Today was the Congregation Annual General Meeting, so  church was well over two hours long. I think Annabell is resting – good for her. We go back to the doctor this week and we expect he will increase the  amount of her insulin again. At the moment she is not too bad, but  the readings are still higher than he would like.  ( He did increase the  level to 17ml.)

The drought continues to bite in the north of South Australia and over in Victoria. There has also been high and strong winds that have  turned the bare paddocks into dust bowls and animals are starting to perish for lack of food and water and the dust that gets everywhere – into the animal eyes and mouth. There’s not a lot of help being handed out. Must have looked away for a moment and when I looked back, March is just about finished and we are rushing towards April. Today – Thursday 28th –  Dougal is coming to stay for a little while. I have no idea how long this time as Ina is still in a Respite Center outside of Adelaide.

Under our system, you can qualify for traveling assistance if you have to travel for treatment.  The hospital at the Port does not have Nuclear Medicine facilities – our hospital does. So  this lady had to travel from Port Augusta to Whyalla for treatment –  a distance of 80 klms. ( 160kms round trip) She does not quality for assistance because the cut off point is 100 klms.  This lady is traveling 160 klms twice a week for treatment but does not  receive assistance. This was highlighted with the  Minister for Health and he  agrees that many of the  rules were made to  apply to Adelaide not the country areas. He has promised to have a look and overhaul where necessary.

Heatwaves and temperature crashes.

The highest temperature recorded in the town’s history, was how the temperature of Port Augusta was described. The  “Official Temperature”was recorded as 48.9c but the temperature monitor in the center of the town recorded 52.6c. Here, my monitor recorded a temperature of 43c as did the monitor of a friend in another part of town, yet the “Official Temperature” only recorded 37c.

Well, Hi There, yáll.

Part of the local legend and conspiracy theory is that  in the early days of the town, the temperature of the area was “adjusted”  so as not to discourage people from coming here. It was advertised as having a “Mediterranean Climate” although off-hand I can’t think of many places in that area that experience temperatures of 40+C. Anyway, the higher temperatures meant  lower and sometimes, no wind. I  thought this was great and suitably attired,  I managed to get almost all of the leaves swept up. Didn’t bode well for my plants despite the  daily watering and monitoring. It’s also been a busy week in that I have had three medical appointment that were  unplanned. What I mean by that is that doctor called and said he wanted certain tests for Annabell and I  took her for these. And a call that he wanted to see her – that’s later on this morning.

Still and Calm

Last night it was suddenly quite mild and Benji and me visited the Wetlands  and had a good walk around the place. The thing I found surprising is that despite the coolness of the evening, there were not very many people about. I was, however, disappointed to discover that the Wetlands Kiosk was closed. I would have thought it would have remained open late, which would attract more people to the area in the mild evenings. There was not a breath of  wind in the air. The water of the ponds were still and calm – sort of like me, really – still and calm — Yeah in my dreams!

Today – Friday – the wind came back, the temperature fell to the low 20s and we had a few spots of rain – so few spots I think it was scared to show its face after being away for so long.  The heat, is some parts of the state and the country, only served to exacerbate the drought, pushing our farmers further into depression. Many of my plants did not survive and I did have concerns with my young Mulberry Tree, but it seems to come through ok – as far as I can tell.

Walk at 6:10am.

I was hoping to go through to the Port this week and then on to Quorn Hospital but all these doctor dates with Annabell kind of knocked that on the head. She is ok otherwise. She coped reasonably well with the high temperatures this last week and we are going to look at replacing the Air Conditioner in her room with a reverse cycle Air Conditioner. It will give her more control to regulate the temperature to what is comfortable for her. I took Benji out for a walk this morning and it was – as they say -“Fresh”. In fact it was so fresh that I was sorry I had put on only a light jacket – and yes, that’s how far the temperatures have fallen. Sort of giving us a breather before the heatwave forecast for next week. Today, and tomorrow  I have  fundraising days for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This will take up much of the day. Fortunately it’s not a hot day – I think about 24c. We should be ok today and the team out tomorrow should have about the same,

December – Good Grief!!

The RFDS Simulator last time we used it.

I took the dogs out for their walk this morning, I was at home starting to get ready for the three events today.  I would be involved in two of them.   About 7:30, down it came – heavy rain, no wind but heavy, straight down rain. It didn’t  let up  but my fundraising was under cover  ( not the best of cover, but still cover) and we were mostly protected. The other one was not and they bravely  took the rain in their stride. By 11am the thunder started and then some lightening. There was some concern regarding the  Children’s  Christmas Pageant due to start at 5pm today. There was no let-up in the rain and the thunder so it was decided at 3pm to cancel the  Pageant and the After Pageant Fair. It will now take place on the 9th December. Sadly the RFDS Simulator started back to Adelaide and it is unlikely that we will be able to get the simulator back up from Adelaide again. This is a great pity because it’s a great draw-card and it is very popular, giving people`the opportunity to see how the inside of a RFDS aircraft is set up and all the equipment it contains. This also presents problems for the organisers of the After Pageant Fair in that some of the traders who would have been at the Fair will not be able to come back on the 9th December because of other commitments. We will just have to see how things  work out, but the decision not to go ahead with the Pageant was the right decision given the weather at the time. Actually it has been raining again today (Monday) I have to get my terminology right and it’s not the After Pageant Fair anymore – it’s the After Pageant Market

Referring back to the last post, I did resign as Secretary four years ago. The person that took over lasted for less than a year, then left and I was asked to  take it over again until the AGM and new elections. LOL, I’m still here…

Benji and Dougal at the Wetlands

Dougal is still with us and will be here at least until  the weekend, perhaps even beyond that, depending what happens in Adelaide. The were home during the week and I spoke to them and it was my suggestion ( and the right one) that Dougal should just stay here until they  finish all the medical appointments Adelaide and be back home. I thought that was preferable to him

being moved back and forward – Benji and Dougal get on well so it’s not a problem. — Wife phoned and Sam is not too great and still in hospital. Not very sure about when he would be allowed out and home. She was concerned about the imposition on us. I assured her Dougal was fine and I was happy for him to be here. It was not an imposition in any way and we were happy to help — better here than in some Kennels ( however good they might be)

Since I started writing this we have had an RFDS Workshop which was run by Central Operations during which we were told that it would be unlikely that we would get the simulator back but they would see what they could.  Well, they did very well and the Simulator will arrive here on the morning of the 9th and be set up.  The tentative date for the Pageant was Saturday 8th Dec. but it turned out that the Ada Ryan Gardens had been booked out for that day with a big wedding and  that date could not be moved, so it became Sunday  the 9th. I am not sure if I will be able to  assist – actually it is unlikely that I will be able to assist. The same will apply the following week – Carols in the Park –  which clashes with our own Carol Service at church.

Just Because.

During this coming week we are in for a few days of hot weather somewhere between 28c on Tuesday up to 37c on Thursday and a cooler 30c on Friday. I think the weather should be ok for the children’s Pageant and the Market afterwards.  Annabell has not been at her best this last week, so we will have to keep a close eye on her and make sure she does not overdo things. Only two more coffee nights and them they break up until next February.