Sunday 26 May 2013

Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal 2013

We have our landline phone number registered with the "Do not call register" to avoid the dozens of calls we were getting from pesky telemarketers (sorry, if you are one, I know you are doing a job, but I'm not a fan). However the register allows calls from Charities and Polls.

So, I still get a lot of calls asking for donations, etc, and of course I do give to some, but I just can't support all the callers.
Recently I was contacted to participate in a neighbourhood door to door collection for the Salvation Army - "The Red Shield Neighbourhood Appeal", to be held from 19th May to the 1st June.

At first I tried to get out of it, with the excuse I was going to Adelaide for 1 week during these dates (which was true), but the lady convinced me that it was a good cause, and I only had to give 1 hour or so of my time, by going door to door in one particular street in 
my neighbourhood, in fact the street parallel to mine.

So this Sunday, 26th May, I set off with my name tag, "sorry I missed you" envelopes, and receipt book. It was a bit daunting knocking on stranger's doors, but I had to tell myself it was for a good cause.
This year the Salvation Army is hoping to raise over 10,2 million dlrs. with this collection that will help out 1 million underprivileged Australians.

Well, I'm a bit disappointed with my collection - out of 25 houses in the street, only 5 people donated (total of $18,20), 3 others declined to donate, 2 said they had donated at the Salvation army booth at Shopping centre on Saturday, one had a "Do not enter -dog", 4 houses had walled and gated front gardens, and the others weren't home, so I left a "Sorry I missed you envelope" so they are able to send a direct donation if they wish.

But anyway, you have to remember that all the donations put together will eventually amount to that $10,2 million they expect...
The Salvation Army or "Salvos" in Australia also have "thrift stores/op-shops", where anyone can buy second hand clothing, bric a brac, books, furniture, etc. and at the same time help those in need.

Image result for salvos boutiques
Some of the Op shops can appear like normal boutiques (taken from net - Brisbane Salvos)
And still on the donations theme, on Saturday 25th, at a friend's invitation, I went to a Garden Tea Party/Fashion Parade to raise funds for World Vision. The gathering was at the huge grounds of a beautiful house in the Hills suburb of Kelmscott, and the donation fee was $10.

We had to take a chair, but there were plenty of tables draped in pink tablecloths. We sat down, then helped ourselves to beautiful finger food in a well laden and beautifully decorated table, and filled our cups with either tea or coffee.
The well decorated table and lovely finger food
A very different "bunch of flowers" made with paper serviettes

Maureen and another fund raiser

Then Maureen, the lady that is going to volunteer in Peru with World Vision, gave us a talk about the projects our contribution would be funding.
After the talk, we were treated to a Fashion parade, with 4 "normal models" wearing a vast array of pretty clothes. After the parade you were free to mingle and get to know the other participants, look and touch the fashion parade clothes and buy them if you wished.
We came home happy in the knowledge that we had done a good deed and had a wonderful afternoon in beautiful surroundings.

One of the models of the fashion parade
The models take a last bow
Hope you had a lovely weekend and if you live in Australia, hope you also managed to contribute to the Salvos Red shield appeal. Be generous!!

Some information about the work of the Salvation Army:
In a typical week, The Salvation Army provides approximately:
  100,000 meals and 8,000 food vouchers for the hungry
  2,000 beds for the homeless
  1,000 people with assistance in finding employment
  Refuge for 500 victims of abuse
  Assistance to 500 people with drug, alcohol and gambling problems
  Offering assistance to thousands of people with counselling
  3,000 people with aged care services                                                                                                  Family tracing services to aid in locating missing family members

Tuesday 21 May 2013

A - Z of Australia - R is for Rubbish Removal

In some of the countries I have lived in, rubbish collection was done either weekly (in Braunschweig, Germany) or daily (in Johannesburg, South Africa), the latter involving a lot of council workers picking up bags from the pavement and throwing them into a truck driving ahead of them.

In Australia rubbish collection is a one-man show! Or one man and his truck, more precisely.

Every suburb has a designated collection day, but in my suburb, I put out my bin on the verge on Monday, and early Tuesday morning the truck comes, stops next to the bin, grabs it with some "claws" and drops the rubbish into the container, then puts the bin back on the verge. After collection you just bring the bins into your property.

In our council and in most of the cities I know, there are two bins -in Perth, one is a bin with a green lid for normal household rubbish, lawn clippings and small prunings and a yellow lidded bin for stuff that is recyclable - paper, glass, tins and cans, plastic (even plastic bags), although these recyclables should not be put in plastic bags. 
The yellow and green lidded bins awaiting collection

The truck picking up the bins

The green bin (normal rubbish) is collected once a week and the yellow bin (recycle) is collected fortnightly, on the same day as the green bin, with two different trucks doing the job.

Construction or building materials, soil or hazardous materials are not allowed in the bins and must be discarded at the  local Recycling facility (information about their location available from your Council or their website).

The council has a list of items that can be recycled and how to dispose of items that they do not collect, like construction material, etc.

Picking a recycling bin with the "claws"

Twice a year (in my council), we have a Green verge collection and a Hard Waste verge collection.
I find this service, which is of course provided through the property rates you pay your council, is to me one of the best services the council provides.

The hard waste comprises old furniture, white goods, televisions (these were out en masse lately due to a change from analogue to digital tv in recent months), general household junk.
Again, no construction material, motor vehicle parts or flammable liquids are allowed.

The council provides a map, (online as well) with zone maps and date schedule for each suburb within the council. You are allowed to put out the waste two weeks before collection begins.

They claim to remove up to 1 standard trailer load of hard waste from each property, but I have seen some houses with so much rubbish, they must have certainly thrown out the whole house!!

* When people start putting their stuff out on the verge, you can see a few people driving by with their small trucks, and they stop to examine the piles of stuff and sometimes pick a few things to take with them. I once saw an orange lounge suite being taken away, and then a couple of days later I went to the "flea market" and there it was for sale. "Money for nothing"!
Some things are actually quite good, and can just be renovated with a lick of paint or varnish.
A few years ago I saw 2 pretty round cane chairs a couple of houses from mine. They had nothing wrong with them apart from lack of varnish. So at night I went to get them, one by one, and after sanding and varnishing them, bought foam to make the pillows and they are still in use in my backyard!

Household rubbish, furniture awaiting collection
With the Green Waste verge collection, only tree prunings no longer than 1.5 metres, leaves, etc, but nothing inside bags. In this instance, two trailer loads will be removed from each property. 
These prunings are used to make mulch, which the council then sells back to us to put on our gardens in summer.
Green verge collection - a tractor picks tree trunks to put into the rubbish truck

Of course the cost of these services are built in the house and land taxes you pay your local Council, but I think we are being provided a very good and efficient service, and the cities are left clean and tidy.
How is the Rubbish collection done in your country?

Sunday 5 May 2013

Port Lincoln

On another one of my visits to Adelaide, we took advantage of the long weekend to visit 
Port Lincoln on the southern extremity of the the Eyre Peninsula, a beautiful city overlooking Boston Bay.

This harbour town, discovered by captain Matthew Flinders in 1802, was named after the town he came from, Lincoln in the UK. 

In a straight line, it is located 280km from Adelaide, but by road, you have to either drive 310km north to Port Augusta, then travel south another 340km to Port Lincoln, or travel from Adelaide to Wallaroo, also about 300km north, take the ferry to Lucky Bay across the Spencer Gulf, a trip lasting just over 2 hours, and then travel south 175km to Port Lincoln.

We took the ferry option as it would also be a time to relax instead of being behind the wheel. Book ahead as there are only 2 trips a day and the ferry can get booked out, as it only carries 80 cars or equivalent . It's quite comfortable with tables and chairs, lounge chairs where you can watch tv, a movie corner, play area for kids and a coffee shop.

                                                           Leaving Wallaroo by ferry

Enjoying the fresh air on the deck
Port Lincoln, known as the "seafood capital of Australia", is also home to Australia's largest fishing fleet.
There is a huge aquaculture industry of bluefin tuna for the Japanese market, as well as oysters, mussels, kingfish, yellowfish and lobsters.
I had tasted oysters many years ago and found them to be quite rubbery, but here I tasted Kilpatrick oysters (with bacon and tomato), and I became a fan. I also ate a lovely tuna steak, something that I had last eaten on my trip to the Azores.

Port Lincoln missed becoming the state capital of South Australia due to the lack of fresh water supply, which is now supplied via a pipeline from the Murray River.
It has a population of over 14,000 people, and has the highest number of millionaires per 
capita. Fishing pays well it seems!!

A fishing boat goes out to sea

A small crane on a boat loads frozen sardines from a truck to feed the Tuna at the aqualculture

Hundreds of fishing boats at the marina
If you are a keen fisherman this is the place for you. There are organized shark cage diving tours, swimming with Tuna tours, or high sea fishing tours.

Apart from the huge fish processing industry, and tuna farming for the Japanese market,
there are grain handling facilities all over the Eyre Peninsula (we saw loads of huge tanks 
all along the highway near all the little towns).

Grain tanks at Arno Bay
We stayed at the Marina Hotel apartments - a very nice 1 bedroomed apartment with a small lounge and kitchenette with a microwave and fridge, but no stove.

The Marina apartments where we stayed
The weather wasn't the best, with a bit of rain and some sunny moments in between, as you can see from the next two photos, taken at the Marina canals.

 Makybe Diva, the famous horse that won the Melbourne cup 3 times (2003, 2004 and 2005) and the highest money owner in Australian history (over 14 million dlrs) has a life size bronze statue on the foreshore near the jetty. His owner, who own a fishing business hails from Port Lincoln.

We drove to Coffin Bay, named after Isaac Coffin, a naval officer friends with Matthew Flinders, another fisherman's paradise, and known as the Oyster farming capital of Australia.
This small town is about 45km west of Port Lincoln, only has about 600 residents which swell to a about 2000 people during holiday season. It has a huge national park (entry fee applies), which we didn't visit for lack of time and rainy weather.

View of Coffin Bay taken from a lookout a lookout
Coffin Bay jetty and kids park
Pelicans catching rain with their open beaks 
 Back in Port Lincoln, we stopped at a supermarket to buy some fruit and I noticed this interesting building across the road - a former church turned into a shopping centre.

A church turned into a shopping centre
A memorial to Fishermen that died at sea, at the Marina
A rainbow in the dark sky, at the Marina
A red sunset with the grain facilities at Port Lincoln

On the return trip to Adelaide we again stopped at various little port towns along the way just for a quick rest, a warming up coffee or to take a beautiful photo. This next photo was taken just before arriving in Lucky Bay, a tree full of shoes! I wonder how this got started?

Shoe tree near Lucky Bay

At Lucky Bay with the ferry docking
 A wonderful short break indeed and another beautiful area of South Australia.