Ambulance, Cell Phones and a Birthday.

Costly things

A few weeks ago – as you know – Annabell had a fall and was taken to the hospital in an Ambulance. On Monday we received a bill from the Ambulance people ( St. John’s)  for  a thousand dollars – well actually $997 to be exact. Fortunately my Medical Insurance covers this so they will pay it. This is the first time – ever – we have used an ambulance and the cost kind of shook me a little. True they were very kind and really did look after her  so I have no complaints regarding the service, but I did think  nearly a thousand dollars was a tad heavy. I could have flown to Glasgow,  London, or Paris for less.  She is much better now and  almost back to herself with a few additional pains for her trouble.

Sometimes I think life likes to play practical jokes on people. For instance, the other night I was very tired and did not set the alarm before I went to bed. I figured  I

I have an iPhone. Going back to Samsung after this contract

would take Benji  to the Wetlands to make up for not walking in the morning. I was in bed by 11:00 and woke up looking up at the skylight expecting to see daylight. I did not. So I got up and checked the time – 05:41 and had I set the alarm it would have gone off at 05:45. I got dressed got Benji ready and we went out on our morning walk. Sometimes you just can’t win. You are probably wondering why I didn’t see the time on the clock – I don’t have a clock. I use my  Mobile (Cell) Phone as my alarm, and I do not keep it near me.

It is starting to get really cold in the mornings so I think it’s time I laid aside the Baseball Cap and started with the Beanie. The long range weather forecast is for very little rain but for colder  than usual mornings and evenings, so the Beanie and gloves. But things change and one can never be sure who to believe as another report says that there will be no rain but the forecast will be for warmer than usual mornings and nights. Anyway, for the moment it’s the Beanie.

One of the sites I go to put some photographs of sunset over her area and it reminded me of the photographs I took here. Mind you my camera is probably not as good as hers but  I think they came out not too badly. I’ll put one in the next post and you can decide. Although having said that some friends recently visited Washing DC and sent photographs. I asked her what  camera she was using and she floored me by telling me she was using  her cell phone. The clarity and quality was amazing. She was using a Samsung. This iPhone is the first Apple phone I have ever had. I have always been with Samsung and it was a sudden rush of blood to the head that made me pick Apple, so I am stuck with the decision for two years. However, as soon as the contract has expired I will be going back to Samsung.

Connor, our one and only grandson, is a year old today. Nothing much happening since it’s Saturday  and there are games to be played – netball for the girls – Hockey for Andrew. However, tomorrow Andrew is having a  Barbecue at Wilson Park, which only a short walk from his house.

That’s the man!

After church on Sunday, I took Annabell home and let her get changed – I changed into slacks and a heavy pullover and we drove up to Wilson Park. It was very well attended and I found it  good fun. Sadly Annabell was not at her best, but we looked after her and she was not left out of anything. I think she did enjoy herself despite not being able to walk around. Andrew very kindly walked back to the house to get a seat for her. It was, as I said, fun, but very much a chocolate overload  :o)  We stayed until the sun started sinking and moving away from where we were. By then Annabell was cold and I got a blanket from the car for her and about 2:45 we left  and came home.  Today (Monday) Benji and me went out for our morning walk – it was cold and very misty with visibility  down to about 20 or so feet – less at the top end of our walk. I think winter cometh.

Flame Trees and Andrew’s Girl.

A Foxy Lady
My Foxy Lady

When people come to the house, my two associates bark. But with mine there is little or no aggression there it’s more of a “hello, why are you not over here talking to us. We are important and you should be paying attention to us”.  Once the visitor acknowledges the canine masters in the appropriate manner, stroking or scratching, then peace is restored. We have had Chienne since she was seven weeks old and it is believed that she is my dog. Not a bit of it – she is “Andrew’s Girl” and always has been.  When we came back from Adelaide on Monday and came into the house, she made directly for Andrew. It was  “Andrew’s here! – Andrew’s  here!, Andrew!! Andrew!! – Oh Hello Daddy” at least herself was glad to see me and made us coffee.  From the minute  we arrived until he went home, Chienne never left his side. Neither John (the oldest son) or I are ever the subject of such adulation. When he did go home, she remembered I was here and came over to me. Of course, I made a fuss of her but at the same time realising that I only come second in my own dog’s affections. In all of this, the little man slept – he’s very good at that. Although, in all fairness, he did lift his head up once or twice.  I remember reading somewhere that   ” Some of our greatest treasurers we place in museums and art galleries, others we take for walks”

Bit of a shock to the system really. I mean winter wandered off and spring came rushing in with warm sunny weather- great!! Then old man winter decided he was not quite finished with us yet,  pushed spring aside and belted us with rain, thunder and blasts of cold wind this last week. Not very friendly.

Illawarra Flame Trees
Illawarra Flame Trees

The Council are going ahead with their beautifying of the approaches and the town centre. They have decided not to plant Eucalyptus  Trees but Flame Trees and other “exotic” trees. Exotic means not native to this particular area – but you knew that :0)  The Flame Trees are still native Australian trees, just not South Australian. Because of the idiotic insistence  of planting eucalyptus trees everywhere, the place  was really looking dull and drab – not inviting at all. I’ve nothing against gum trees in context – out in the bush – but I object to them in an urban setting. The Flame trees will add colour and brightness to the place and at least things will be able to grow around them. I look forward to seeing the end results of this new development.

Garden Chips, RFDS and summer flies

Looks dirty, untidy and cheap.
Looks dirty, untidy and cheap. This is what it looked like when we took over the place nearly two years ago.

Been a quiet week. Not a lot has happened.Our weather has much to do with that, I suppose. It is dark by 5pm and it is cold. The other night it was down to 9c – which might not seem cold in your corner of the world, but it is cold here. We took the dogs out last night and they enjoy their walks in the dark.  The one thing I find good about winter is that the cold means that there are no – or very few – flies around, and it’s possible  to walk and work outside  without being pestered by constant flies. That’s one thing you wont see on the tourist brochures. I think if you are born into the society and are brought up dealing with it it takes on less significance, I wasn’t and they bother me. When I take the dogs out out during the warm months I am covered in personal fly spray – I hate them buzzing around my face  and because this is a new area at the very edge of things and  surrounded by bushland, we tend to get a lot of them.

Our weather had been fairly mild and it’s been good walking weather.On Monday evening is the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Flying Doctors Support Group and I have been trying to drum up someone to accept nomination as Secretary – unlikely but you can’t blame a fellow for trying. It’s a big job and no one is really interested in assuming the role so I guess I will be  it for a fifth year. How did I  become Secretary in the first place, you ask?? Well, five years ago I was just a member and I attended the AGM. I was shocked by the lack of response to requests for nominations for the various posts and I also have to say, in view of the  Adelaide Central Operations Guests, somewhat embarrassed. I refused at first because I felt someone more qualified than I would surely  take the position, but no one did. When I was nominated a second time – at my request –  I accepted. I have been Secretary ever since.  Despite a high membership, participation is low, but people have constraints of work, so that’s understandable.  In the last four years this handful  of people  that I have the pleasure of working with, have raised and donated $135,000 to the RFDS. In the last

This is what I did to it.
This is what I did to it.

twelve months the RFDS have made 556 landings at our local airport.

The area at the very back of the photograph has still to be done. I will do that sometime over the next week or so.  Not sure, probably edging and granite chips with the native plants  being left alone at the top right corner (out of frame) Since that photograph was taken the gum tree that you see to the right has shed bark and leaves like you wouldn’t believe and that area is just dirty brown and covered in litter.

And they call the wind — Annoying!!

The temperature has started to rise and today was a nice 26c. However, not a lot of work was done outside because although the temp. is fair, it’s blowing a gale. Dry with high winds – this, if it keeps up, will mean dust storms over the next few days. As it is, trying to keep the place clear of dust is a full time job at the moment.  I have cemented the washing line holder into place  and although it is a tab too high for herself, I will take it back out over the week end and cut some off the bottom so that it will be easier for her to work with. However, until such time as I can get the area  completed I will probably hang out and take in her washing because the ground is too uneven for her to walk on. But this is South Australia – either wet, dry with high winds, or stinking hot (45c) with a hot wind coming off the desert.  Gets a bit tiring at times, but I prefer that to the cold and the wet – as do most Australians.

We came to a decision that we will not move the washing area after all. The difficulty in  rebuilding the area I had in mind for her was just too great so we decided to buy a new rotary hoist and redo the present area. We  also decided to buy a second clothes trolley so that she can use one  from the back door to the dog gate, then lift the wash basket onto the second trolley at the other side of the gate and take that to her washing line – repeat process with dry washing on way back.  Now that the better weather is starting – despite the winds and the frustration of  debris from trees, it is starting to get quite nice outside, so I will be able to get out and get on with some work.  One of the wettest winters on record, a few weeks into spring and the farmers are complainig about the lack of rain. You can’t win with some people since it is only a short time ago that they were complaining that the ground was too wet to plant.

Sneaky, very sneaky!

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

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

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

“Aye, aye the year’s awaking, the fire’s among the ling”

Winter is slowly loosing its grip and we are starting to have a few warm days in the north of the state. I did, however, spend a few days in the city for a funeral. The funeral was of a dear friend of ours  who helped our church look to the future when everything around us looked pretty bleak and people in Adelaide gave us three months (if we were lucky) before we would have to close the doors. That was twelve years ago and here we are, through God.s grace, still flourishing. Adelaide is a strange place and unlike the other major states, South Australia is a one city state – 77%  (1.3 Million) of the population of 1.5 million, live in and around the City of Adelaide, so Adelaide people were not really not too concerned about a small, relatively unimportant, country church. They still are not – something that was brought home to me at the funeral judging  by the remarks that were made.

Brian was one of the very few that were willing to travel the 400 klms from Adelaide to help us out. The current hierarchy are still not interested in travelling north and believe that having to come up here  once a year for a meeting is an imposition that they can do without. We have people who, regrettably,  tell you what hey think you want to hear which may not necessiraly be when you need to know. We will miss Brian and there are not many of the few left now and those of “The Old Guard” that are left are piling up the years. Brian was in his mid 80s.

With the warmer weather starting to come in I should be able to get back out and get some work done. The trial has been the back garden and the trees, which, because of the constant wind, has been a nightmare to keep tidy. I must also get the front finish off and the driveway water blasted clean. So, as the weather improves I have a lot of work ahead and  “she who must be obeyed” has decided that the inside of the house could do with a lick of paint.  I really don’t know how I ever found time to go to work.

Joy! Spring is here – summer is on its way!!

Last week of winter. Next week is the official beginning of Spring. Ok, so the split system  A/C was installed at the very end of winter but it will be ok and well run in by the time we start to experience some hot weather – always provided we get some. It would be nice to think that after this wet weather we will get some heat and warmth, then I can have the fun of complaining that it’s too hot.   I have to say that I have not had to say that for a while. Years ago the average temperature was around 42c in mid-summer and climbing up to a hottish 45c, but we have not had weather like that for a while now. We have bursts but not the long hot heat-waves that we used to have when the temperature went above 37c  and forgot to come back down. Global warming – cooler temperatures –  cold with lots of rain -doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

I head off to Adelaide in the morning for a funeral. Adelaide is some 475 Klms from here so it’s about 800 klm round trip for a funeral – but that’s South Australia. However it is not a wasted trip and in the morning I pick up two little Maltese girls and take them to their new homes in Adelaide. I do this for the South Australia Dog Rescue. I think of the poor dogs that are dumped, like these two little girls were and I feel  very sad because it’s quite common in this place. It’s a sad thing when people just dump their dogs at the nearest Vet. Most of them end up in the pound and the not to lucky ones have to be put  to sleep. Sometimes dogs are picked up off the street and although  the pounds advertises for the owners – mostly they never come forward because they just wont pay the $50 fine to get the animal back. They are kept for about ten days then put to sleep, unless the Dog Rescue steps in and takes them out, but for that we need more foster carers and we don’t have them. If we had a) more responsible owners or b) more carers (whilst the SADR finds new homes) we would be a lot better able to cope with the problems.

I have also spent a good part of the week organising a group to participate in a fundraising event for the Local Royal Flying Doctors Support Group.  Only to find that the event is not now going to take place. Nice to know these things.  Oh well – these things happen I suppose.

Support Group