Swans, Beach and a Day Trip

There are now four pairs of Black Swans at the Wetlands

Up until fairly recently there were areas that were a sort of sanctuary – Benji went there and the WaWa stayed clear. One of these areas was my bed. Benji  curled himself up at the back of my legs and slept there. However, over the last week or so the WaWa has become my BFF and she now— gasp— sleeps with me. Thus my bed is no longer a Benji Sanctuary  and if he goes up on the bed she stands and barks at him.  Oddly enough, she is quite calm sleeping close to him at night –  although she is closer to me. She still walks quietly beside him when we go out walking in the morning and at night. I know it’s old hat but still no word about if or when Sooah is coming back and this Friday it will be a year since she left Kongsoon  (WaWa) with us.  It  could be months or it could be another year, or never, we just don’t know. However the WaWa is settling down and we can do a lot with her and the coffee ladies have sort of adopted her and when I

Just a little paddle in the water.

kept her in my room, they asked for her, so I let her out and they were happy with her running around them and letting them pet her . Everyone has noticed the difference in her this last while back.

For a while there was only one pair of black swans at the wetlands. Now there are four pair and we really do hope that we will get to see some little black swans in the not to distant future. Today at the beach much of the seagrass is back but there was more than enough clear sand to be able to  play in and we even got to go into the water for a bit, although Benji is not keen and I had to coax him. Next time we go down with the intention of going into the water, I’ll take some treats with me and see what we can do. Other than that it was a great afternoon and the dogs enjoyed playing and chasing in the sand.

The view toward Port Augusta
At Woolshed Flats off the Road.

Due to lack of  aged accommodation here one of the ladies from our church has been moved to Quorn – about 80 miles ( 130 klms)  away. One of her friends  wanted to go and see her before she went home to Adelaide tomorrow, so I decided to take her. Lovely day, good drive and a fun-filled conversation.It’s not something I can do every  few days or even every week, but I will encourage people to visit her as often as we can so that she does not get depressed by feeling isolated, particularly as she has no family here in Australia.  The drive from Stirling North to Quorn is not the easiest of drives for us “Townies” with the long winding country road through the Pichi Richi Pass, and the lower Flinders Ranges,  but it’s not too bad – bit tight in places, but not too bad. The lady we went to see was bright and cheerful and seems to have settled in fairly well. She has a room at the Quorn Country Hospital and she says she is well looked after and the staff are friendly and very nice. It is a typical, single level, country hospital. It was a good visit and the only  tears were when it was time for us to leave and make our way back home. When a bed is available here she will be moved back – but she understands that this could take a while. We did a bit of shopping in Port Augusta before heading back home.

Casablanca, Benji and a Road Trip.

The temperature over the last few days has started to climb a little and today (Wednesday) was 38c However it is not expected to get too hot for the next few days and  over the weekend. That being so, we might actually be able to get out.  Wherever we go out of town it is a long drive. I had thought of going to Quorn in the Flinders Ranges, which is about 120klm from here. In the other direction there is a drive to Cowell  which is about 110 klm and a direct road. The disadvantage  of Cowell is that there is really nothing to see on the drive down there, whereas the drive to Quorn means going through the Pichi Richi Pass and Woolshed Flats which are both interesting. However, we will not be going anywhere until this weather calms down.

The Royal Palace at Casablanca
The Royal Palace at Casablanca

My top three movies are: – 3. A man for All Seasons.  2. The Man who would be King. 1. Casablanca. As John was growing up he would sit on the couch with me and we would watch Casablanca together. Of course, as he got older he understood that Rick’s Cafe was  simply a studio set in Hollywood. However, in Casablanca, Morocco there is a Rick’s Cafe – opened in 2004 and based on the movie fame – and he was quite excited when the tour of Morocco included lunch at Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca. However, when they got there it was Ramadan, so no Rick’s. However the King of Morocco had decreed that during Ramadan all Muslim owned businesses must close but non-Muslim owned businesses may remain open with limited hours – so his tour group had lunch – at McDonalds. Fourteen thousand miles to have a Big Mac!!  He was not impressed, but we (Annabell
and I) unkindly thought it was hilarious.  They didn’t even go to Rick’s so there are no photographs. To say he was disappointed is an understatement but, he got over it and really enjoyed the tour of Morocco and the Tea Ceremony they went to. He also sent me a photograph which I showed to

Oh! is that Gibraltar?
Oh! is that Gibraltar?

Annabell. She said it was a good photograph of John. A few minutes later I showed her the photograph and she said it was a good photograph of John. A few minutes later I showed her the photograph and she was slightly irritated and said that she had said twice already that it was a good photograph of John. So I very gently asked “I wonder what that is over his right shoulder?”  “Oh – is that Gibraltar? ” “Yes dear, that’s Gibraltar”

We didn’t go for a picnic but we did go for a drive around the  area. We were away a couple of hours and I thought what’s not to like – Lovely (tad warm) day,  the car, me, my dog and Sinatra.

The weather forecast for next week looks interesting so we should be able to get out somewhere. This morning ( Saturday) I took the dog out for his morning walk and just about froze — gollleee – it was cold and the summer jacket I had on was a waste of time as the wind cut right through it –  one and three-quarter mile and  every foot of had me thinking  “I should have gone back to bed this morning”  I mean,  I get up and get dressed and out we go at 5:40am and the only time we don’t go out is if it’s raining. I look forward to coffee when I get back from our walk – he gets his treat I gets me coffee!

Iron Knob Mine
Iron Knob Mine

Being a nice afternoon I  decided to take Benji out for a bit of a drive. We drove out to Iron Knob a mining area about 55klm, north-west of here.  Once upon a time it was a thriving community of 3000 people  but those days are  gone and it has a population of less than 200.  The town – what’s left of it – is very run down. Most of the shops are closed, the school is closed, the pub is gone and the only Petrol (Gas) Station  is closed and overgrown with weeds. Its sister town – not too far away – Iron Baron – again a once thriving mining community has completely gone; there’s nothing left of that. Beyond Iron Knob there were several pastoral  areas, but our government seized them in compulsory purchase and made them  part of the extended army play-pen. When we set out I foolishly  thought that there would at least be one shop still open. The Inter-state Highway – National Highway 1 – passes across the top of the Eyre Peninsula and it passes the far end of Iron Knob and right on the corner, where the Iron Knob Road joins the National Highway, is a  Petrol (Gas) Station. It is a  service station,with  food and drinks and I always  thought was ideally placed to pick up trade from tourists, locals and trucks traveling the Inter-State.  I thought that at least would survive, but I was wrong and it’s an overgrown junk heap. I thought this was quite sad.