Archive for May, 2006

Quick trip to Karoonda

Keith woke me up early this morning when he rang at 7:30am. Actually – I was already awake and trying to convince myself that the morning was really quite nice and wasn’t at all frosty outside. He rang to tell me that he had a job for me. Keith is a close friend and runs a courier business here in Murray Bridge. He regularly calls on me to be his relief driver. This job was a little different. A parcel should have been delivered yesterday to a business in Karoonda, a small Murray Mallee farming community about 65 km east of here. Keith asked if I could deliver it as soon as possible. That got me going, in spite of the chill in the air.

My wife decided to join me for the drive and we also took her mother with for the drive. Mother doesn’t get out all that much these days. This delivery job was work, but very pleasant work I might say. Being a relief driver for Keith is sometimes hard work, because some days are very busy and some of the parcels are quite heavy.

This parcel was small and only weighed a few kilograms. I had delivered it to the business concerned soon after 9 o’clock. On the return journey we detoured via Tailem Bend. We had packed morning tea before leaving. We drove down to the picnic area on the bank of the River Murray. We sat there for nearly an hour having a cuppa and some biscuits. While there we were entertained by a large variety of birds, including a flock of about 300 Silver Gulls.

More protests in Nepal

Yesterday there were more protests in Kathmandu Nepal. The demonstrations were in protest against the delays by the newly reconvened parliament in curbing King Gyanendra’s powers. Many hundreds of demonstrators burned tyres, uprooted barriers and blocked roads.

Government leaders encouraged the people to remain calm and to be patient because the new parliament will curb the king’s rule within the next few days.

When I visited Nepal in January there was general unease and very limited protests. I saw nothing like the violent demonstrations that have occured over the last month or so.

To read about my adventures, including trekking in the Everest region, go to the Archives section of this blog.

Adelaide Parklands

Today we travelled to Adelaide on business. Not very exciting stuff, really, except for lunch time. We took some sandwiches with us as well as a thermos of hot water for a cuppa and some fresh fruit. It worked out that we could have lunch in Botanic Park next door to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. It was a perfect autumn day – we’ve had a few of these wonderful days recently. The bright sunshine, a gentle breeze, a temperature of about 18 degrees and a lovely spot for lunch ensured a peaceful lunch.

This park, with its expanse of brilliant green grass and towering exotic and native trees, is a favourite with the locals. In addition to the Botanic Gardens on one side there is the Adelaide Zoological Gardens on the other side. Near where we parked are the added attractions of the Adelaide International Rose Garden and the Bicentennial Conservatory. This is a huge tropical glasshouse featuring many Australian plants from the more tropical areas of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands. Many locals and visitors alike come here to have a relaxing picnic lunch before entering one or more of the venues I have mentioned.

Double amputee conquers Everest

New Zealand climber Mark Inglis has successfully become the first double amputee to reach the summit of Mt Everest in Nepal. Mark had both legs amputated below the knee in 1982. This was the result of frostbite while climbing Mt Cook in NZ. Mark used specially adapted carbon fibre legs in his climbing attempt. It was 53 years ago this month that his famous compatriot Sir Edmund Hillary was first successful in climbing Everest.

Mark’s efforts far out strip my own “attempt” on Everest back in January of this year. I joined a trekking group that walked from Lukla to Tengboche, barely half way to the summit. Read my blog of this trek by going to the Archives section on the right.

Driving in the Adelaide Hills

This morning we did a few jobs around our daughter’s house and garden before heading home to Murray Bridge. We left after lunch. A short distance out of Clare we stopped at a native plant nursery at the little town of Watervale. I like indulging my wife in this way as she always enjoys looking at what is for sale and searching out some little treasure that she needs to add to her collection.

Perfect Autumn Day
It was a perfect South Australian autumn day today. Bright sunshine, no clouds, gentle breeze and a temperature of about 19 degrees. And I didn’t have to go to work. Actually, the trip meant little writing time was available today, but the relaxation factor was of paramount importance. Along the way we enjoyed the beautiful scenery. The green pastures springing up along the way promise a good year for the farmers. The changing colours of the autumn leaves in the fruit orchards and vineyards of the Barossa Valley wine growing area add massive splashes of colour everywhere. The ever present towering River Red Gums throughout the journey complete the idyllic setting.

Different Route

One aspect of visiting our daughter in the Clare Valley is the choices one has about the route taken. On most occasions we travel one route on the way and a completely different one on the way home. We have a choice of four main routes, each with several little variations. When we have time to spare we choose to go a different route each way. Distance and time are not always the determining factors; we usually choose variety.

This time we came home via Greenock, Tanunda, Angaston and Springton, one of the most beautiful drives in the Adelaide Hills. At Mt. Pleasant we turned off to take the Walker Flat road. This is an interesting variation on the route home. The road meanders through sheep and cattle grazing land and follows the ridge-top of the hills in that area. About half way along the road quickly drops down to the plains that surround the Murray River valley. Here there is still sheep and cattle farming, but far more cereal grain production, especially wheat.