One of THOSE days

I struggle living in the country, but I didn’t grow up here, I married to be living here. Most of the days are great but with drought brings a whole new load of challenges, ones that only those who live it can relate to and survive it.

It brings with it challenges one has never thought about, when we see dust storms in Adelaide or capital cities one never thinks about where the dust comes from do we? When we see them in places like Birdsville, the United Arab Emirates we know they come from the deserts. When we see one in Adelaide where does it come from? sadly it likely to be the top soil of a or many farmers paddocks. This is caused by lack of rain, soil erosion and lack of growth on the ground, so when the wind blows so too does the top layer.

When I drive around the country at the moment this is happening in most paddocks where there is no pivot or naturally occurring grasses that have grown over summer, contrary to the climate change people, it is not new it has been happening for as long as time itself. The ground is dry, brown and in need of a decent rainfall.

Why do they call it a dust storm when it really is a dirt storm? I have no idea but on the days when the dirt blows it unsettles the animals, farmer and the environment in which one lives. It can turn a rational outdoorsy farmer into a brooding inside man in an instant. Luckily these days are few and far between.

When it comes to achieving anything on one of these days it is next to impossible. We have satellite TV which can flicker in and out as the wind blows and rocks the dish. We also have satellite broadband which is slow and almost useless when the wind blows or if we have gone over our allowance, we will be shaped – which means slowed to a stop until the next billing cycle.

On the days when it’s like that farmers still have to go out and check stock, waters and find jobs. Mine is good at indoor things, identifying jobs, doing them and then pointing out he has done it.

We have been without an oven door for three or more weeks, one of the hinges broke, he went to fix it and I called the supplier and they offered to send a new door with new hinges attached. This was generous of them as I discovered my old oven door was in multiple pieces. It came the other day by post so the farmer went about putting it back on, he asked how I clean the metal wire components inside. I told him I do them in the laundry sink, saves on mess and I can leave them soak. The next thing I hear is the sound of an angle grinder going.

Unable to find steel wool to clean it, he went to the shed put the wire brush on the angle grinder and came in and did the oven wires racks. I walked past him in the laundry and didn’t say a word, I couldn’t. He also has ruined a toe nail from years ago when he dropped an engine on his toe (lucky it missed most of it or it would have amputated the toe) But it killed the nail bed so it grows up instead of out and when it’s too sore for his boots he grinds it down, I know,  there has been the occasion where he has taken skin off but I figure at 50 he’s a grown man and if he doesn’t want to see a podiatrist I can’t make him. If he amputates the toe, then he really only has himself to blame. They can think outside the square these farmers and have solutions one wouldn’t dream of.

Holiday in Bali? no thanks

I have recently read that 1 Australian a week dies in Bali, that is an astounding figure so of those that get reported say 1 in 10 there are 10 more that go unrecognized by the media but not by their families. We read and hear about methanol being put in drinks, this is not a one-off but a CONSTANT story we are hearing, yet people flock there and drink the cocktails that will kill them. I cannot understand why the authorities are not doing anything about this long-established practice, I really can’t.

The other thing that amazes me is also the amount of people who travel there without INSURANCE, what is that? an extra $150 to save your family from having to sell their house, cash in their superannuation or worse still get money of all of their friends in the guise of fundraising? This amount is about $150,000, surely if you are travelling overseas insurance should be compulsory, I don’t whether people take the risk if they travel to America, it is well reported the medical costs are enormous, even repatriating a body back can cost more than people’s houses.

It is well reported that tourism is the life blood of Bali, yet there seems to be countless horror stories about ‘holidays’ and there never seems to be a solution. I have also read countless stories of raw sewerage in rooms, dirty sheets (others have slept in) and poor conditions in total, yet people flock there. It is ‘cheap’, ‘fun’ you can drink lots, have your hair braided and buy countless counterfeit goods, DVD’s and jewellery. Wow, doesn’t that sound enticing.

I myself prefer to travel within Australia, you don’t need insurance, good health care is the rule not the exception, and you can have fun, drink and see some even more beautiful scenery than overseas. Darwin has mindil beach markets, it’s free, multi cultural and you can sit and watch a fabulous sunset. Sydney has the Bridge & Opera house where you can walk across it, walk around it all the while watching the boats and life in the Harbor, these activities are also free. Melbourne has Federation square, MCG and many more icons in close proximity, no one charges you here either. WA has the swan river, Margaret River region and they are all beautiful, Tasmania has Salamanca markets in Hobart and much more, Adelaide has the City River precinct or Glenelg Beach and a world renown wine region that are easily accessible and free to sit and enjoy the scenery. Queensland also offers many an exciting area to go and enjoy

Each state has its own nightlife and fun is what you make, when you are anywhere, people make fun, not places. Bali is not on my bucket list and I love travel in all states and territories in Australia. Keep our dollars here, we too have the impoverished, homeless and industries that need supporting. Shop home first, you may pay a little bit more to get there and every place has it’s cultural and food precincts that need to be tested and enjoyed. Holiday at home, not as prestigious as saying I was overseas but value for money never the less.

Opportunities are of your own making

I have spent the morning assisting my mother. For those of you that do not know my mother and the choir she is president of and performs in have been invited to sign in Carnegie Hall in New York City in January 2013. What an absolute honor and thrill for these hard-working people. I am in the lucky position of being able to help write to companies for sponsorship opportunities for them. As you can imagine a ‘bunch of pensioners” finding the dollars to travel overseas at the moment is difficult, so I am only pleased to assist.

They came to the attention of Carnegie Hall and have been invited on to the Distinguished Concerts International New York Series as contemporary Welsh Composer Karl Jenkins is in residence and the Adelaide Philharmonia Choir and as an Australian Premiere performed his “Stella Natalis” last year and it was a resounding success. This is what has brought them to the attention of Carnegie Hall, it is all very exciting and very costly.

This Choir is the combination of 2 Adelaide Choirs that disbanded and united due to falling memberships and since then have been going from strength to strength in performances and recognition. In Adelaide they sing at Victoria Square unveiling of the Christmas tree each year and I remember vividly watching my mother perform with ‘Ice House’s Ida Davies’ one year at Carols by candlelight. They have created this opportunity as they have put in the work, turned up for practices and then performed. An opportunity of their own making, I am hoping to travel to New york with them next year so i can proudly say I have seen my mother sing in Carnegie Hall. To all my followers, if you know of anybody that can help with sponsorship – let me know.

Does it all get too hard?…

I heard Amanda Blair finished up on radio today, she has been thinking over the last six months about picking her children up from school, working in the canteen and just generally being Mum. What a gift for her to be able to have the choice, she resigned and left what we would consider quickly. Then Wendy Harmer wrote an article on her about how Amanda was the only female radio host with her own show on commercial radio. how sad is that on International Women’s Day she finishes up..

I have enjoyed Amanda’s radio stints over the years and though have not agreed with all of her opinions, comments, guests and segments it has made for interesting radio. Isn’t that what thinking, working women want, a woman’s woman where we can secretly agree and disagree, where one woman – Amanda can put it out there and say “there I said it’. She would stand by her words and deeds and therefore should have been encouraged to stay (in my opinion). But she is correct you can never get the time back and they only children for a while, it passes in the blink of any eye. She is one of South Australia’s major charity fund-raisers and will continue doing this, a very admirable trait, if only some of her male counterparts were so generous with their time and ‘personality’

Does it get too hard this working mother bit? I think it does, there were times when I wanted to have 5 minutes peace and couldn’t find it except in sleep, even now I find it hard. I love seeing my daughter and I happily travel to Adelaide to spend time with her, I wish I could do it more, but between work at the hospital, my work in the shop and my volunteer hours as well as help out on the farm I sometimes feel I am wearing myself too thin. I get forgetful, get absorbed in my life away from Adelaide and I miss out. This be my fault you say and I agree.

I wish Amanda nothing but the best on her career decision – I believe being a full-time mother to 4 children is a career and may we hear her back on our airways soon. Now 5AA if you want another opinionated loud mouth, you know where to find me