Wetlands and Dogs

These last few days Benji has been very reluctant to go out for out early morning walk. I can understand this – it  has been very cold. I thought that I would leave the walk to later in the morning – say 8am instead of 6am. I also thought it might be a good idea that we go to the Wetland instead of a local walk. It was a cold but lovely morning this morning and the  ponds at the wetlands were like glass – no breeze at all – not a ripple.

Wetlands this morning

However I  decided it was not such a good idea. There were a good number of people about and all of them had a dog, or dogs/. Benji does not get on well with strange dogs so the walk really wasn’t much fun for him. I think we will just stick to the local area in the morning and go to the wetlands in the afternoon when it seems to be a lot quieter. The interesting thing was that all the people with dogs this morning were males.  If I want to go to the foreshore I have to remember to take bags with me as the council has not yet replaced the dog waste bags that it removed for the upgrade.

Benji is a rescue dog and we have not known what his true age was.  In October of this year it will be

Hello peeple..

four years since we adopted him. At the time I was told he was three years, so plus the four we have had  him, that would make seven. I always felt he was older and it turns out I was right – he was born in November 2010, which means he will be nine years, not seven, this year. All of this is academic because in the end I don’t care what age he is, he’s my boy and I love him dearly. However, it may go a ways to explaining why he is so reluctant to get out of bed and get out of the house at 6am on a winter morning – and – I shall have to take the pace at which I walk into consideration and slow down a tad. Of course the reluctance to get out of  bed and get out of the house on a cold winter morning could simply be a kind of human trait, since sometimes we are pretty reluctant to do similar ourselves. I had out longer than usual last night and he actually did slow down and he seemed to me to be a bit tired, so I lifted him up on my shoulder and carried him for a while. One of the neighbours asked  “who was taking who for the walk?” After a little while I put him back down and he seemed to have a lot more energy

This coming weekend is the weekend of the Whyalla  Show (Fair). The RFDS will be on display again this year but  I will not be attending this year as I will be in Adelaide for a Presbytery Meeting. We have Yogi here! Jim took what is believed to be a slight stroke and was taken to hospital. Fay is spending much of the day there so she asked if we would look after Yogi for a few hours. I said I would and went down and collected him at 8am this morning (Wednesday) I  said before that he has not been a well dog and he has certainly lost a fair bit of weight and he is crying a lot, but that could be because this was all so sudden and he is anxious  and does know what is happening. At the moment he is a sad little dog, but Benji and me will look after him for a bit.. Yogi was only here for a few hours and he “cried”much of that time. I held him up on my lap but I had to be careful and not put Benji offside.

As it turned out, Jim did not have a stroke – not even a minor one.  He underwent a brain scan an ECG and various other tests and when they proved negative he was allowed home. When I took Yogi back home Jim was

Benji at the Long Beach

sleeping.  He will check in with the hospital every few days for a little while to make certain everything is ok. However they really don’t know what caused the turn he had. Fay was chastised by the doctor because she drove him to the hospital instead of  calling an Ambulance. Her comment was that  the ambulance can take too long to arrive and is was  quicker to drive him to hospital.  That’s a worry…

 

Advertisements

Beach, Wetlands and Dougal is Back

Benji at the Beach

On Friday I set out to Port Augusta -80 klms away. Annabell had been sent a cheque from the UK and  it was in  Pounds Stg.  – no one here would even look at it because it was a foreign currency cheque. Added to the fact that it was a crossed cheque, meant that the trip to our branch in Port Augusta and back  was necessary.  We set off around 9:30 – oh “We” that’s me and Benji not me and Annabell – but I did the medication in her eyes before we left. Benji really likes road trips. He gets his car harness on, is clipped into the seat and he settles down. He watches me just to make sure I am concentrating on driving and not being distracted. We have this all worked out, I drive, he supervises – it’s a good arrangement.

The bank was a great help even if it did take up more than an hour of our time. The cheque had to be  confirmed by Adelaide which required  a confirmation email, paperwork to sign and wait. Left said bank,  got Benji out

The Feral Geese at the Wetlands.

of the car and took him for a short walk. Back to the car, seat belt on and I went back to the bank. The email had arrived from Adelaide  and I had to sign an agreement that meant I paid the fee of $15 for the clearing of the cheque and the depositing of same in Annabell’s account.   That done, I drove round to Big W and did some shopping, then went for some lunch. I had  fresh cooked chips (French Fries- sort of) and a bottle of water. The Benji had   cooked Chicken and share of my water. I have a collapsible silicone bowl that I keep in the car for just such times   We sat on a bench at the jetty and watched the world.  That done, another short walk then headed for home. I would liked to have stopped in at the Arid Lands Botanic Garden, but no dogs are allowed, so that was out.

Nice Day – Empty Beach

This afternoon- Sunday – we took a walk down to the beach. I didn’t stay there long because I only had a single waste bag with me and the Council have not seen fit to replace the bag dispensers. The area was almost empty. There was a few children in the new  play area with parents  close beside on benches, but otherwise, not busy at all. As you can see from the photograph that the beach is all but deserted I used the bag I had and decided to drive back to the wetlands. The wetlands has become very popular and the Kiosk was  crowded again. I managed to get a place in the car park, got some bags from the dispenser and set off.  Like Friday, it was another warm and sunny day – bit cool at times but generally a good day for walking. We did find the  birds. I have asked some people who know these things and I am informed that the birds are “Feral Geese, Domestic, Non-Native” No one seems very sure where they came from, but they are there and settled in by the looks of things. Apart from the geese there are Muscovy Ducks and  an interesting little bird – black and white with long pink legs – which I discovered are called Black Neck Stilts – apparently native to much of the USA but we do have them here in Australia..

Annabell is improving, just in nice time for the grocery shopping tomorrow. She goes to the supermarket, I do all the other jobs, post office; newsagent,: chemist then meet up with her

Dougal at the beach

to help her  finish off and then checkout.  After that – generally a coffee before we head home.  Ina has has to be taken to Adelaide for  check-up and more tests. She is not a well lady. Sam is taking her down tomorrow (Wednesday) and later on this afternoon he will bring Dougla round here. Annabell and I will look after him until they get home – they hope Friday but probably Saturday. I don’t mind, Dougal is no trouble and he and Benji get on well together.

Dougal came to visit not long after I brought Annabell back from her Coffee Morning, and after a little while I got  both Benji and Dougal  ready and took them down to the Wetlands. We had a good wander around the wetlands and although it had been my intention to stop off at the Kiosk, the fact that there were people with dogs there already deterred me from doing that. However, we did go down to the foreshore and had a wander and a play on the beach.  I understand that Yogi is not a well dog at the moment. I hope he gets better soon. Still, he has a good Vet. – not the same Vet as Benji, but a good Vet.

Benji, sunny days and passing lanes

Despite the blood red moon today, it’s cold. Strange though, it was quite mild when Benji and I were out early (05:00 – early) because I wanted to see the blood moon – freaky.. So  we decided to go for our walk since we were out anyway. As I said it was really quite mild but as the morning progressed it got colder. I was forced at 8:30 to put the heater on.

Benji catching some rays from the winter sun.

Although today was slightly unusual  as generally  it has been cold all night and through into the morning. The days have been  mild, so much so that Benji took up residence on one of the outdoor chairs and sat facing the sun and lifting his head so the  warmth could get to his chest. It looked strange, but he sat that was for quite a bit. We had a morning out at the lighthouse and then on Wednesday we drove through to the Port and spent the morning there. No Arid Lands Botanic Garden (ALBG) because dogs are not allowed in the area,  well, in the carpark is the limit,  and since the carpark is a  fair bit away from the shop and the nursery, I wont leave him in the car for that length of time. If it is my intention to go to the ALBG then I will not take Benji with me.

I  think I did mention that my niece has come back to town. Anyway I picked her up yesterday and took her to the airport to catch a flight to Adelaide. She asked me to look after and feed her cat, a black and white cat called Felix. I agreed to do this. It’s  been great fun – and I have the blood on my ankles to prove it.  The thing attacks me from under the table and I am so glad I was wearing a track suit and not just trousers, otherwise there might have been more blood. It’s like walking into a room with a snake there – it hisses.  Generally I have no problems with cats, but this is one oddball animal.

You may remember that I talked some time ago about the Passing Lanes for the Whyalla-Port Augusta Road. Well the Feds gave most of the money for construction, the State Labor government procrastinated and delayed the project for three years.  then, just a few months before the State Election, the project was started. The intention was to boost the Government’s chances of re-election. It didn’t happen and we had a new government to pick up the mess left by the last spendthrift government. Work continued on the  bypass lanes and they were finally finished a few months ago. Almost immediately there were complaints about the quality of the new roads, great indentations where the road met the bypass lane – making it dangerous particularly for anyone on a motorbike – and after a mere three months potholes had developed. There are concerns about the quality of the road surface. The bypass lanes are partly closed, or  are very reduced speeds, until urgent repairs are carried out. I did say, when I got home, that I was not very impressed with the bypass lanes, period. I thought the surface was poor and underwhelming. Talk about cheap and cheerful. Anyway the arguing has already started regarding who pays for the  repairs – the government or the contractor. The contractor are doing what many contractors do –

Benji on the Hill

blame someone else. In the meantime the roads are partly closed.

Flinders Drive and the entrance to the Medical Center

Towards the end of this week we will have Yogi again. No idea at this stage how long for but it might be a while until they return from Adelaide and Jim recovers from the operation at

Flinders Medical Centre. He is very casual about it, which I suppose is a good thing, but it seems to me that having a cancerous liver removed is not casual thing – but then, perhaps that’s just me. I don’t mean that you should  make yourself ill by worrying but I just think it requires a little more “respect”.

I have lost several posts. I contacted the people concerned and they tell me that I am still with them and they are still sending to me, but I am not getting anything. Of all the UK posts I only have one remaining. My computer guru ( No. 1 Son) has gone thought my Outlook Express account and can find no changes, so I don’t know what’s happening.

The Bank and The Port

The Flinders Hotel/ Pt. Augusta

Today (Wednesday) after the ladies had gone, I drove Annabell  to Port Augusta. Since we were both going to be away for quite a few hours, I decided that we should take Benji with us. I felt he would enjoy the trip. Difficult to tell, really, since he curls up and goes to sleep. The

Not the greatest photograph, but best I could do.

reason for the journey was that Annabell needed to go to the bank and sort some things out.  Unfortunately, the nearest branch to us is 80 klms away in the Port. Whilst she attended to what she needed to do in the bank, I took Benji for a walk around the main street. Yes it was a bit warm but not too bad and he did his bit for the environment by watering a few trees. Annabell wanted to transfer money to Scotland but she had been having difficulty on line, so we came here to sort it out. Back at the car Benji and I had a drink of cold water and then shared a Hot Dog – not my first choice but easy to get fairly quickly.  Annabell came back and we headed off to Better Homes and the garden center. I was able to get some plants to replace the plants burned.  I actually wanted to go to the Arid Lands B.G. but with Benji that was not possible. The drive home was quiet and we did take note  that the long promised passing lanes on the Eyre Highway are finally under construction.

Well there you are, I survived another week of the ladies being here. Only six weeks to go!! It’s not too bad and I get out in the evening with Benji and in the morning- if I remember to get the car out of the driveway in time – we go to the wetlands. If not, we just go for a district walk.

Our Grandson at 8 months

At the weekend we had the State Election. Australia has compulsory voting, so, if you do not exercise your democratic right to vote, you get fined. Of course, once your name is marked off on the roll, how you vote, or spoil the paper, is your business. I do know some people who have put  1 in every box, effectively, spoiling the paper – which is legal. Some time after the election the Electoral Commission will  announce the final voting figures including the number of spoiled papers. Anyway, that’s all over and we have a change of government. The Socialist Government had been defeated   and left behind $8 Billion in state assets, which it has sold off and spent as well as a $14 Billion State debt – and that’s interesting for a State that is bigger than most countries in Europe but  has a population of less than 2 million.. The new government is a majority government and will govern in its own right. The last term of the Socialists only happened because they bought off several of the independents- offering them a ministerial portfolio to support them and the independents sold out and sided with the socialists – keeping them in power for the last four years. To be honest the state is not a basket case case – far from it – but it does have a lot of problems and concerns, which the new government will have to address fairly quickly – particularly the loss of young people.

Our New RFDS Pens

Young people are leaving the state because they feel that there is a lack of opportunity here. That’s a worry.

A new fundraising venture by the Royal Flying Doctor service is that we have organized for pens to be created with the RFDS Logo and the quality is fairly good. I have bought a number and I intend to send them out to people. Not for sale but as a gift ( they are already paid for)

Tomorrow I will go through to the Port again for a similar reason we went through last week – it’s the nearest branch of our bank – 100 miles round trip for a bank visit. I have decided not to take Benji this time, which means that I can go to the Arid Lands B.G. I will just be going on my own this time – no Annabell. Some shopping and get back to help Annabell get things ready for the ladies tomorrow evening. Wednesday and Yogi goes home so Benji will be back on his own again.

Out and about

This is so true.
The Spencer Gulf (Beach)

It’s now into Autumn (Fall) and the days are still warm to very warm ( 28 – 37C) but it’s not too bad and we can still get out and about – just have to make sure the ground is not too hot. Message last week  suggested that I should be in Adelaide this weekend and I did try and comply – honestly. However, I did send a message and tendered an apology. I will not be going to Adelaide this weekend for several reasons 1) the Adelaide Fringe Festival – 2) Womadelaide – 3) the Adelaide Cup – 4) It’s a long weekend and 5) I really  am not going to pay the  inflated Adelaide accommodation prices this weekend. However, I am not alone in this in that the people from the South East ( Keith to Mount Gambier) will have a similar problem. Anyway, I can think of lots to do here rather than drive back and forth to Adelaide this long weekend.

It’s starting to get quite cold in the mornings and soon I will have to change from a middle weight jacket to a heavier jacket. In the summer the hot  north wind comes off the desert and pushes the temperature up. In winter the wind blows in off the  Spencer Gulf bringing cool to cold air from the Indian Ocean and right at the moment the wind is from the Gulf in the early morning and the late evenings. At the end of this month, the clocks go forward ( I think!)  and that will make a change. We will still go out at the same time – that doesn’t change. I had intended to take a run through to the Arid Lands Gardens to get plants to replace the plants the sun kindly burned to death for me. Annabell does not go out into the garden – too many hazards there for her –  fine for  us but not for her, so when I am away, I try to make sure that the plants are watered before I leave – but 47C was just too much and I was away for four days. Anyway, it’s not a total loss and I still have one single Mandevilla  remaining. Still, look on the bright side in that we have managed through the heat of summer without  any major bushfire. Oh, we have had a few fires  that were attended to, but nothing too major.

At the moment Annabell is hosting the Ladies Coffee evening and morning.  She (we) were only to do it for this month but she suggested that she (we) do it for the next two months –

Benji and his Hi Vis. Vest

March and April. This would mean that she (we) would not have to host it again for the remainder of this year  (barring emergencies/Illness) Why the (we) well, she cannot  carry the things – extra chairs, sort out the tables and set out the chairs and put everything away on the Wednesday afternoon- so in essence, she gets the credit, but it’s a joint effort given that there things she cannot do. Actually, I’m not altogether sure that she knows where the garage is  :o)  Benji does well and  he gets well petted by everyone, but I generally have him in the room with me. Barring emergencies or Special Purpose Meetings, I  should not be leaving for Mount Gambier until mid May.

When the ladies were here this morning I took Benji for a wander round the wetlands. Still a bit on the sticky side, but not too bad. I think the temperature today was about 32C but the ground was cool,  so he was ok. It being a week day I was able to talk to the workmen down

Main Pond – Wetlands

at the Wetlands and I was correct in my assumption that they are preparing the foundations for a Kiosk/Cafe at the entry to the Wetlands. This will be a good move and will certainly attract more people to the area and that in turn will lead to the upgrade and development of the Wetlands. Sadly though, Benji is not good with other dogs – other than those he already knows, like Yogi and Dougal, so this means that once the kiosk is up and running and it attracts more people to the area, it could restrict our visits to the Wetlands. But for all that, it’s a good development.

Is it January yet??

I have often said that some years ago my house was the last house in town – after me was empty bushland. Since the resources and mining boom new houses were built – so I am not the last house any more. Apart from two new private

Mother and Child Reunion

housing estates,  land has been bought and houses have sprung up making the end of the town just under a kilometer away. As one gets away from the main area – about 20 houses, the ground is still largely empty and we still get Kangaroos wandering around as I have shown by the photographs. The photograph to the right you will have to enlarge to see it but it gives you an idea of how they blend into the grassland. This photograph was taken last week, which was the last day I had Benji out walking. There are a number of reasons for this –  heavy torrential rains and thunderstorms and for the first time in many years my Hay Fever exploded and I have been out of action. I have not been like this for years. Even when I had the flu  I didn’t feel as bad as this. Anyway, it’s starting to clear up

A swinging Benji

and I think it was a case of ‘Remember Me?. I  should be fine by the weekend – which is the weekend of the Church Christmas Lunch.

Jim and Fay are going over to Western Australia – Margaret River region – in mid January and we have been asked to look after Yogi for three weeks. This is good because Benji and Yogi get along well and taking both of them out walking is not a problem.   I would like to see Dougal back again for a little while but, in the meantime,  I think it’s time Yogi was introduced to the Lighthouse and then the Beach. I don’t believe Jim has ever taken him to the beach. I think it will be a good three weeks and I am looking forward to the three of us getting out and about. Although, this goes into February and I will be away for two days in February at Para Hills (Adelaide) Still, look on the bright side – it could have been Mount Gambier – four days  :o)

The coffee ladies have had their Christmas Dinner / The Congregation have had Christmas Lunch and on Wednesday the coffee ladies will have

their  end of year Christmas Lunch. These last two days will be fairly busy for them because over the 12 months they have raised over $4000. On the Wednesday break-up the recipients of the donations will be invited to send a representative to share lunch with them and be presented with a cheque. I had that honour last year as Secretary of the  local Support Group of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and was presented with a Cheque for $1000.

I sort of came face to face with my short-comings in that I had to admit that I have never watched “Outlander” – which, for those who know these things, is tantamount to admitting that I have never watched the Game of Thrones. People get unfriended for less. However, in my defence I am watching the Shannara Chronicles, but then I have read much of Terry Brooks.

Here we are and still have no idea what’s happening at Christmas. For the last few years Christmas  Dinner has been at Andrew & Trish’s place, but we don’t know if that is happening this

Christmas Shopping……

year. Annabell is getting in touch with them today to get a decision : this impacts on her shopping because Christmas Dinner could be here and we need to get ready for that.

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.