Uh oh, shut the gate

From a closeup photography competition.

Another lovely day, a bit cloudy but fine and 23deg. Nice.

Wow, this month has been our highest rainfall in November on record, 73mm last I’ve seen. It’s felt like it too, almost a return to winter. Great for the lawns and gardens. We’ve been allowed to turn our sprinklers on since the beginning of September but I haven’t felt the need so far. To be honest, I’m only showering every second day now as I don’t sweat or get dirty. Cold showers, too. Lovely.

And on the subject of saving money, the State Government has credited every household with $600 of electricity starting this month. Given my solar power and that my last power bill was only $29, it means I’ll probably be able to use the air conditioning for most of the summer without worrying about how much it costs to run. I’m happy about that.

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Another closeup. From a Nikon competition, not my shot.

The title refers to the way our state borders were reopened on Saturday, but on Sunday afternoon reports came through that a new outbreak of the COVID virus had started in a suburb of Adelaide. It’s up to 20 cases at the moment.

It’s not a huge outbreak, but it was enough for this state government to immediately start to enforce quarantine for visitors arriving at the border from South Australia and ban any new arrivals. People who arrived at the border, way out on the Nullarbor Plain, were stopped and told to go back to SA. They weren’t happy, and neither were the ones who had already crossed into WA since Saturday. The premier says he’ll reimpose the complete border shutdown if necessary.

The ones who had already come in were traced, I assume by mobile phones, and told they had to stop where they were and self isolate for two weeks. Most took it in good spirits, but many had arrived at Perth Airport on the first couple of flights from Adelaide and they were told they couldn’t meet their relatives or leave the airport, they had to go into hotel isolation for two weeks, with frequent tests. Wow, there were a few upset people there.

Never a dull moment with this virus. For a few days it looked like almost the whole of Australia was essentially virus free, until this new Adelaide breakout.

As usual, it originated from an overseas traveller in quarantine in an Adelaide hotel, but the private security guards didn’t follow procedure and took the virus home from the hotel and spread it to their family.

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I’ve just received my new driver’s licence card in the mail, which is well timed because my old one expired yesterday, the 15th. It’s for five years again and reuses my photo from last time. Gee, who is this young fellow?

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I mentioned a radio talk I heard last week by a British woman who, faced with the complete loss of their house and all their money, and the diagnosis of a degenerative brain disease in her husband, set off, both of them, on a walk from Minehead in Somerset, near their origin in Wales, along the coastal path to Lands End, then along the Cornwall coast to Dorset, around 670 miles.

Well, I’ve got the book, The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and it’s almost un-put-downable. They lost everything because Moth, the husband, made a substantial investment in a business venture run by a close friend of his. The business failed, of course, but what they didn’t realise was that their investment also included liability to share the debts incurred by the failure. They ended up owing hundreds of thousands, more than their small farm was worth, and were pursued through the courts for the debt. The close friend was nowhere to be seen and no help, so the bailiffs were sent in to repossess everything. All they had was enough to buy two rucksacks, a small tent, sleeping bags and the basic needs to hit the road.

They started out with about £85 between them, and a small government payment of £48 a week to live off. Britain is a high cost country and even a bag of chips costs £1 ($1.82). A panini costs £8 ($14.50). Their diet can only run to packet noodles, fudge bars, any wild fruit or mushrooms they can find, begged hot water for their tea bags and so on. What’s more, the great British weather varies from baking heat, up to 38degC to howling gales off the Atlantic. They can’t afford any accommodation, not even campgrounds, and have to illegally wild camp wherever they can find some level ground, sheltered if possible. Sometimes they awake to find themselves exposed to a road or house they didn’t know was there the previous night.

So far it’s taken them about three weeks to reach Tintagel on the north coast of Cornwall, supposedly the area of King Arthur and his castle. I’ve been there and there’s not much to see, mainly a big hotel built to look like a castle.

The next town, though, is very familiar if you’re a fan of Doc Martin on TV. It’s the real life town of Port Isaac which is renamed to Port Wenn in the show. Crammed with tourists in the summer, apparently, and to be avoided if you don’t like crowds. This was pre-COVID days, of course.

I used to have photos taken on my trip to the UK in 1974 and although I can see them in my mind’s eye, they were lost in a big disc crash in 2013. I’ve learnt my lesson and everything is backed up now.

Anyway, I’m thoroughly enjoying this book. One lesson to come from it is the benefits of exercise. I haven’t got there yet but the husband’s brain disease goes into remission, I believe. Recommended.

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I watched the first episode of the fourth series of The Crown last night. Very good, as usual. The Poms certainly know how to make TV, especially when it involves dress-ups and big sets. There’s a fair bit of criticism in the press concerning made up events, but I don’t care, it’s still riveting.

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I was poking around the WordPress menus a few days ago and found a place where comments that had been marked as spam were stored. Not marked by me, I hasten to add.

Only one was real spam and the other 16 were very nice compliments from various parts of the world, so I’ve marked them as Not Spam and I assume they have been restored to their respective places, but I don’t know where. In any case, I thank you very, very much for your kind words of praise and I certainly hope you continue to enjoy my writings. I’ll be more observant now and try to prevent this happening again.

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