Closing shops in a rural community

I am at a sale today, living in a rural community is tough but made even tougher by drought over the last 12 months. It is never more obvious how tough economic times are when businesses close in rural communities. Over the last couple of years I have opened and closed a business, attempted to run an online business as well as help manage the farm, but some things have to give.

I have made some lovely friends in my rural town and have supported their businesses when I could. One of them that is closing today is the kids store. Chaos kids, this is terrible for a country town, Lana the owner has worked hard to get stock, carry various ranges including shoes and employed local staff. So with the closing of her shop people lose incomes. Whilst the dollar has to go further now people will have to pay to travel further to purchase kids clothing and shoes, she is keeping items for her online business but today is sad for her as she will be closing the door to her shop front for the last time. Get to her online business www.chaoskids.com.au

Having older children, nieces and nephews I will miss the store as I could rush in, buy for said nieces or nephews and walk to the post office and send it, getting gifts to various states in Australia when I needed to. There will be families in our area who will really miss this shop and others who have come in and said “I haven’t been here before, why are you closing” should be ashamed.

I am trying to sell the last of my handbags, fascinators, scarfs & stuff from 3 years ago, at ridiculous prices and hope they don’t come home with me again.

We have united to try to clear out, we have joined with another girl who had a very successful party plan business on-line, it was spammed and she lost customers. She has beautiful cake stands, and party wear – check Leini’s gear out at, she is now concentrating on her commercial business, where she can cook and deliver to your shop. contact her at www.sweetdesiresparties.com.au  

Here is a group of entrepreneurial ladies making the most of living in the country, managing family and farms earning a living to support their families and now looking to close down. It is a shame, there is no competition in town, many people will have to drive over 100 kms to get clothes & shoes for their children. If there is a business in your country town and they are struggling go in and purchase something, even to keep in the present cupboard, it may be the difference to keeping things open or closed.

To Lana I am sorry you are in this position, people don’t appreciate things till they have gone.

 

 

Good byes

Well here it is then, it’s time and sadly after 16 years & 6 months our beloved Pete (the Golden retriever) passed away yesterday. What a sad day for us, not for him he was at peace when he passed, in fact we got a last wag of his tail. What does one say when they have lost a large part of their lives, nothing as my daughter said we can celebrate the fact he was the “best dog ever” and he was. He always greeted us with a smile, a wag, got up and licked hands, when younger he use to run around in circles in excitement when he met people he loved, as he grew old and lost hearing and some sight he would go and sniff then lick.

I am grateful for the time we had him, he was loyal, faithful and loving. When younger he use to sleep on my feet, he would come and lean against people’s legs that he liked when he was in his middle years and in his older years he would lay on the floor where ever I was and sleep, his presence was comforting and I never felt alone.

He loved the beach, the dam, the shower, the rain as do all goldies in summer the first time the farmer shaved him he ran to the dam and washed the years of thick fur off him and then we noticed he started to get freckles from being in the sun. I use to smear him with sunburn cream as his skin was so white.

I remember when I lived in the city before meeting and marrying the farmer I walked him everyday on Brighton beach, he swam everyday, winter and summer. Once on a winters day when the whites of the waves were crashing into the sand he ran out into the water and body surfed it back in, he was surrounded by white tops and small young boy with his dad yelled out “look Daddy it’s a polar bear”. Out Pete came and shook all that water all over that little boy, licked his face and ran back in. Luckily his father laughed and said it was a golden retriever. I remember when he swam out to the dolphin that comes into Brighton in summer and people yelling at me to get him out as he would eat the dolphin, all I was worried about was the fact that he would follow it and I would not be able to get him back, much like the two goldens that swam after one and they had to get the rescue boat out to get them off Marino beach, they were nearly 2 kms off shore when they pulled them in. Seeing those two dogs on really long ropes after that was funny. Pete never hurt the dolphin, in-fact they swam together (before mobiles had cameras)

Pete moved to the farm with renewed vigor, he had dogs for company, cattle to bark at and sheep to stare at him and the dam. He was leader of the posse. We secure all dogs on backs of Utes and he would be in the middle, in winter the other dogs would huddle close for warmth and in summer lay in his shadow for shade. He loved it, even when he broke his paw and had to be relocated back to the city for 12 weeks following putting 3 pins in his paw he was thrilled to come back to the farm. (it was the cost of a small car to fix that paw)

He ran and ran until he stopped, well actually we think he went under a gate to get to the dam and tore his cruciate ligament, so he was again limping. We took him to a knee vet who said then, we could do surgery but he’s an old dog and it would heal on it own (he was 10) and he probably wouldn’t live that much longer. Ha, he proved that vet wrong, he went on for more years to come.

He has had arthritis over the last few years and found it hard to sit quickly, stand quickly and get out of his own way (hence the pooping without notice – can I say I won’t miss that). He has not coped well with 40 degree days and a few times over the last couple of years we have watched with worry. From the hot weekend past where we were without power for over 14 hours we all suffered and he woke on Monday not well. As sad as it was to say goodbye, we did.

I wanted to put a picture of him taken the day before but looked at it and saw how unwell he was, so I got one from Jan 2nd and have shared that. I shall miss everything about him, he came into my life rescued by a dear friend and became all I needed, Amy & I loved him unconditionally and he loved us back. I will miss driving up and watching him lift his head as he knew the sound of my car, I will miss going to the door and letting him in and out up to 6 times per night despite being asked by the farmer “does he really have to come in?” “um yes he does” I will miss trying to walk around him whilst preparing a meal as he waited for a lucky drop (which he ALWAYS got).

Even the last year when we have watched him age, my husband said “pat him as much as you can as after they go, they are gone” I did that frequently, every time I walked past him I would touch him either with my hand or my foot. I would sit on the floor with him sometimes and pat him like I did yesterday for about 3 hours. I would bend over and kiss his head and he would lift his face to me. I am glad I was there for him and I am sorry he has gone.

Good bye, farewell my friend, my pet , my companion, I already miss not bending down to pat you and feel your soft fur under my touch.

2 - 1 -2015

2 – 1 -2015

Allergies

I think that is how I need to describe it, I have an allergy personality, I am allergic to many antibiotics, penicillin, erythromycin, cephalosporins, latex, banana and avocado and now I am going to add Shiraz to this list. I feel like I have been hit in the head with the bottle not consumed 1 glass of it. Truly it was only one glass, every time I drink it I get the biggest headache like I feel I have been hit with the bottle.

Today is one of those days, up at 430am to clean up after Pete (the dog) who had an adventure of his own last night. Drink large glass of water and go back to sleep, wake up at 530am with the biggest headache, throw down some paracetamol more water and complain loudly to farmer of my headache. Then back to sleep till after 8am, Pete is still asleep on his mattress on the floor.

I’ve had to take phone calls and pay bills, so much so early. I have ventured to having a cup of coffee, something I don’t really drink a lot of these days, when I stopped smoking years ago, (approx. 20)  I gave up coffee as well. I hate the bad breath coffee gives you and the after taste is fairly ordinary as well, but I fell I need something to try to shift this stupid Shiraz induced headache.

Whilst I do enjoy it when I drink it, it was interrupted when we realized that Pete was gone an awfully long time, considering this week he has lost sight in one eye and hasn’t walked further than 5 metres from the house in years. As he is very old and frail (and blind) these days, and our house yard is dangerous in the dark, an empty clay pit / dam, tractors, machinery and farming stuff he could trip on fall over and well get lost in. We decided I should go and look for him in the car, so I drove around for approx. 5 minutes and decided I needed to head out on to the road and here in the car lights I see 5 sets of eyes.

I found him, he was having a late night stroll, all of the cats were around him bumping his face to turn him around and walking under his belly and chin getting him to move back towards the gate. He didn’t stop when he saw the lights but I pulled up next to him, got out and picked him up and put him on the back seat. Matilda the cat jumped in next to him and meowed loudly on the way home. (in fright) The other cats came running behind. The animal kingdoms is amazing how they look after their own.

I’m off now to take more Panadol and drink more water the coffee hasn’t helped. Crap

 

Changes

Life moves fast doesn’t it? taking the saying from Ferris Bueller’s day off and things change around us rapidly. Besides having to survive over 40 degree celsius heat with no electricity over the weekend. I have had lots of things change and some are permanent and others aren’t either way they have made me reflect and think about making changes to compensate.

I have had 3 friends battle significant health issues since December and sadly one of those friends we had to say good-bye to, the other two thankfully are still fighting on and inspiring many to change how they think and feel about their own health issues. I have had a male friend start to identify his weight as a problem and he is bravely and weekly putting this out on Facebook and from my recollection he is now approx. 25kg’s lighter and looking to lose another 20 or so more. He is inspiring others and I have told him he should blog about it as a male he would not be alone, but as a male they commonly don’t share this type of struggle never alone post the weighing scales weekly – what an amazing bloke, he makes me stop at the fridge door and ask myself why am I eating? Weight is something we all have a battle with mostly don’t we?

I have another friend who has had an episode of gout and referred back to the battle of one of our other friends saying it’s nothing compare to what she is going through. I did agree but it all becomes relative doesn’t it? But it was lovely to read and see that people wish to share, these are men and women from my high school days and it makes me feel part of their lives following our 1st reunion over 12 years ago. Facebook is great for this type of thing.

I look around me and see our farm and see how hard we are working in this drought and I know others are doing it tough, the business I opened in December is now virtually non-existent, it is 4 days per month, I had such big plans but living in a rural community where people spend money on food for stock rather than themselves I now need to wait it out till we get a break, it is distressing.

I also woke this week following horrific heat wave over 3 days to see that the beautiful Pete, my nearly 17-year-old Golden Retriever’s smoky eye has whitened up and he is having problems seeing. I have started eye drop treatment and hopefully it will help him either get better or retain the sight in his good eye. I don’t want him to suffer any pain, so I am lucky to be able to get medical advice over the phone and by text. I know that he will not live forever and I will be sad when he goes, but as I said to dear daughter, he can still find his water and food bowls. He needs a little bit more intensive care than previously.

This year has started with challenges and I hope doesn’t end with them, I love winter and am looking forward to cooler weather, happier news and great times with friends.

 

 

Changes

We all have sacrifices and we all have issues and goals we want to achieve and sometimes we work through them and other times we know no matter how hard we push, sometimes we know we aren’t going to get there.

People always amaze me and perhaps I need to take stock or inspiration from some of them. How they push through and I know it looks un-seemingly but the majority of life’s hurdles are difficult to rise over. We as people do rise over most things, we look to others for support, advice and guidance, whether we take any of what people say on board or not. Sometimes when we talk with people we want to make it about ourselves and other times we are happy to listen, how does one find that balance?

I have three friends (that I know of) who are facing major health challenges at the moment and all I can do is sit on the side lines and be part of the audience. It’s difficult as some are interstate and others in my own state and now wanting family and close friends around them. The best I can offer is to send emails, quick text messages and offer to do what I can if they need anything. Crazy you say with you living so far away from the epicenter of their hospitalization, but I can keep others informed of their recovery and struggle so as to stop many people jumping on face book or contacting the family when they are under stress.

When you read about what they are going through you have to take inspiration from them. you don’t have to look far in your friend network to see heroes, be inspired and to offer support. This week a dear old school friend asked for help, he is struggling with weight issues, mental health issues and stuck his hand up and asked. The comments that have come back are wonderful, we all want to know and assure him, he’s going to be ok, we will do what we can and what we have been asked and I can’t think of a braver person to put it out there, “I need help”. I also admire from him the fact he has recognized this is the point in his life where he has invited change, to embrace it and to seek out solutions  from those that love him, amazing stuff. We all have our secrets, our wishes whether they to be thinner, richer, married, single, and all matter of many things, even as simple as no drought. (my wish)

One of my lovely cousins Mandy gave me good words of advice once and stood herself up and circled in front of herself and said, “this is my bucket of shit and I don’t want you to have my bucket of shit as you have your own, we all have buckets that every now and then we want share some of it, but I don’t want yours and I don’t want you to have mine as it’s mine and different from yours.” I agree, we need to own our stuff and we also need to share it and we need to put our hands up when it gets too hard and ask for help.

Everyone has challenges and wants change it is the brave that go seek it out and invite others to share the pain. To those I love having struggles, I’m sorry and I can only help if asked and help I will.