We are quite safe from the current bushfires. Our home is not in one of the areas affected by the big fires which have made worldwide news. The nearest fire to us was 30 or 40 km away and that fire has now been contained.
Naturally we, like all Australians, are shocked and saddened by the events of the last few days. With all the death and destruction, I haven’t been in the mood to write, so sorry to all of you who took this silence as a sign that we might have been affected.
I’m gratified that so many people in such distant places thought of us. If you are able and inclined, you can make a donation to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.
Image: Nothing but rubble … more than 500 homes were lost at Kinglake. (ABC/AAP: Andrew Brownbill)
I think I’m starting to get the hang of this living-in-a-bushfire-prone-area thing. In the last week we’ve put the fire plan into action three times – that means preparing to defend the house against a fire reported in the area. The latest of these is currently burning 2 kilometres away, and as I write this the house is locked up, the hoses are at the ready, the gutters are blocked up and full of water, and I’m watching the planes and helicopters buzzing back and forth as the CFA deals with the fire.
All of this is happening in utterly dreadful weather – it’s 45ºC outside, there’s a vile wind blowing, and the air smells of smoke.
While all of that is hard, I think the hardest part is the constant apprehension of impending disaster. Even when there’s no fire reported in the area, on days like this you find yourself sniffing the air for smoke, watching the skies, listening to the radio, and always expecting that something bad is about to happen.
Today is the 29th of January, and so far this year we have had not one drop of rain, and there is no prospect of rain in the next week, probably more. I do not remember ever in my life going through a whole month – any month of the year – without any rain at all. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the last time there was no rain in January in this part of the world was 1930. We depend on rainfall in this house because the only water we have – for drinking, cooking, showering and gardening – comes from rainfall harvesting. We’re doing OK for water at the moment but it won’t last forever without some rain.
Honestly I wonder where this all will end.
This image provided by GeoEye Satellite Image shows Washington D.C.’s National Mall and the United States Capitol, far right, Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 taken at 11:19AM EDT during the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The image, taken through high, whispy white clouds, shows the masses of people between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. (AP Photo/GeoEye Satellite Image)
America’s new president is a non-gay man, just like all those before him. What a nation of homophobes!
Seriously, the new Pres has a pretty good set of objectives for the GLBT people who voted for him — check em out.
Above: A White House staffer carries a framed photograph of US President George W. Bush outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 13, 2009, one week before Barack Obama is sworn in as president. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
The long nightmare is almost over. Hope is the prevailing mood in America and around the world. Change is coming. Four, or eight, years from now, will we recognise the world as it was in 2008? I hope not.
Eight years ago…
Four years ago…
Above: Palestinian men bury the body of 4-year-old Lama Hamdan at Beit Hanoun cemetery in the northern Gaza Strip December 30, 2008. Lama and her sister were reportedly riding a donkey cart Tuesday near a rocket-launching site that was targeted by Israel. (MOHAMMED SALEM/Reuters)