Tag Archives: bushfires

Weekend Coffee Share – 11th November, 2019.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

I’m not so sure you’ll be wanting to come round to my place this week. Not only is the house a disaster zone, but the air is redolant with the aroma of choking bushfire smoke and while I was  picking our daughter up from school today, a warning siren sounded on the radio from the Rural Fire Service warning that the fire status is catastrophic for Greater Sydney tomorrow. People have been warned to get out and not to expect assistance from fire services. They could well be overwhelmed with not enough resources to go round. Many schools will be closed and there really is that sense of Armageddon in the air. Meanwhile, I’m trying to “Keep Calm & Carry On”. We’ve had dire warnings like this before about others pending catastrophes (Y2K for example) and nothing’s come of it. Just because the conditions are condusive doesn’t necessarily mean disaster. That said, there have been over 70 bushfires raging over the weekend. However, aside from the smoke, they haven’t impacted on us here.

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This photo was taken later in the afternoon just as we were leaving. The Jacaranda tree has a very special place and was in full bloom and absolutely stunning. 

The highlight of the last week was heading down to Sydney on Saturday to attend The PLC Garden Party. That’s what my old school calls their annual fete, which pretty much gives away that I went to a high faluting school. I met up with a group of friends for traditional lunch of champagne and chicken sandwiches at the ex-students stall (usually known as the “old girls”). I skipped the champagne and bought myself a $6.00 chocolate cupcake with a mountainous swirl of butter cream on top. It was interesting trying to eat that elegantly in front of my friends as I face-planted into the icing, resembling a grubby two year old. Of course, I should’ve known better but clearly my sweet tooth overrode all sensibility.

The cake stall wasn’t my only point of weakness.

There was also the book stall. No doubt many of you have also succombed to this weakness and like any other form of addict, really should go cold turkey and implement a firm policy of total avoidance. 100% abstinance. However, when it’s the end of the day and you can fill a box for $10.00, practicality sets in although many would see this as a guised form of FOMO (fear of missing out).

The other aburdity of bringing home even just this relatively small box load of books, is that I’ve put the house on a diet and I’m actively putting this bookcumulation process into reverse and clearing the shelves, piles, columns away so we can aquire that very rare commody…breathing space.

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Before I move on from the school Garden Party, I wanted to share one of our important annual rituals. Every year the Knox Pipe Band plays at the Garden Party. They’re our brother school and that also btw was where actor Hugh Jackman went to school and I’m not sure if he was the only lure for some of my school mates to audition for the Knox Musical, but he was the lead male back in the day and not a bad incentive. Thoought you’d appreciate a few photos. BTW I should also point out that my school used to be the Presbyterian Ladies’ College and both Knox and PLChave Scottish heritage hence the pipe band.

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It was actually quite a social weekend. It started on Friday night when we attended a birthday party at the “The Treehouse”. That’s what my friend calls his pole home up among the gum trees and it appears that the local wildlife have also made themselves at home, which includes at least one possum, rainbow lorrikeets and cheeky sulfur-crested cockatoos which my friend refuses to feed because they’ll chew up your house. I made an ambitious Caramel Nut Tart. It’s taken me two years to muster up the courage to make it. We have it at the Macadamia Castle up near Byron Bay and the recipe was published in a local cookbook. Yum. So proud of myself for doing this and I’m planing to make it for Christmas Day.

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Out for dinner at a Japanese restaurant with a friend.

I stayed with my parents on Saturday night and spent the day in Sydney. I went back to the Church I grew up in on Sunday morning nad chilled out for the rest of the day with my parents and brother and even tinkered away on the piano. I’m rather deluded when it comes to these piano efforts. I expect to be able to pick up the music I used to play back in the day and play it like no water’s passed under the bridge and I’ve been keeping up my practice. Yes, very deluded. However, I’m adding ambitious to that description because I’ve photocopied the music for Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Phantom of the Opera’s Music of the Night. By the way, I probably should mention that my mother is a piano teacher and accompanist and has loads of music at my fingertips. Indeed, her loungeroom with the grand piano and all the music is a musical bonanza. I often take my violin down but didn’t this time as it would’ve spent the day in a hot car, which it doesn’t like. 

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Private Jack Quealey

Lastly, I’m still deeply embroiled in my research. The twists and turns keep changing. However, I’m fundamentally researching my Great Grandmother’s family, the Quealys of Lisheenfurror, Moyarta, County Clare. My Great Grandmother’s brother, Jack Quealey, served in WWI and I was researching his war service in more detail this week. Trying to nut out even a general idea of what he went through is very difficult , despite reading through his service records with a fine tooth comb. However, they mentioned he was wounded and that put a sort of stake in the ground. I was able to work out that he was was most likely wounded in the battle of Mouquet Farm near Pozieres. I then turned to the old newspapers which are online and found some gripping letters home which were published in local papers, which gave incredible insights into what our soldiers and my Great Great Uncle went through.It was incredibly humbling and I don’t know how anyone made it out alive. By the way, working on these war records atm has been great timing. Today, is Armistace Day. 

So, that sums up last week.

How was your week? I hope you’ve had a great one.

This has been another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by  Eclectic Ali. We’d love you to pop round and join us.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

 

 

Flaming Embers…Friday Fictioneers.

Boat was the only way home. A huge fire storm had engulfed Ku’ring-gai National Park, and jumped across the M1 Motorway, burning out the trains and blocking all traffic in and out of Sydney.

Dave was trapped, just like millions of  nameless commuters jammed into this hellish sardine tin of burning embers.  Yet, like a bat out of hell, he had to get home. She’d never leave the house. Would rather go up in flames, than face her fear.

Dad’s dingy would never make it across the Hawkesbury, but he had to try. Only love could find a way now.

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This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields. This week’s PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria. 

Bushfires are quite a normal, anticipated events, especially during a blazing Australian Summer. It is not uncommon for the M1 Motorway, the only main road North out of Sydney, to be closed due to bushfires and on such instances, the trains are likely to be down too leaving stranded commuters to crash out wherever they can for the night. My husband has been caught up in these closures, although our house is nowhere near the bush.

If you are wanting to read a first hand account of driving through such fires, Kimberley’s Bushfire Diary is worth checking out.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Surviving the Inferno…Sydney’s summer heatwave.

We have survived yesterday’s heatwave. There wasn’t any smoke or even a fire near us and yet the sky was a blazing inferno. We were down in Sydney and when I stepped foot outside beyond the air-conditioning, my eyeballs were burning. It was that hot! Geoff said it was like that rush of hot air when you open the oven door. At just under 43 degrees, it was obscenely hot even by Australian summer standards and we’re used to the heat!

As the day unfolded and the place began to heat up, the intensity mounted. Our local radio station was running a phone-in about whether you could actually fry an egg on your car bonnet. I found out today that a number of our local shops had closed. We live in a tourist area so when shops close during the holiday season, you know it’s serious!! One of my friends washed her sheets and they dried almost instantly but they were still hot when she was trying to get to sleep.

Ideally, we would have spent the day at home in the lounge room with the air-conditioner blasting away. However, as luck would have it, I was booked in for my regular blood transfusion and I also had the kids in tow. We had been planning to catch the train down to Sydney which would have had us walking from the station at midday (we have a saying about mad dogs and Englishmen out in the midday sun). So we changed plans and I took the kids to the air-conditioned shopping Mecca of Macquarie Centre before Mum could drive me down. While this was a great way to beat the heatwave, the kids were completely over-stimulated and wanted to buy the place out. I bought us some crayons to do some more crayon art and I did have to wonder whether the hairdryer would even be necessary. With this kind of heat, the crayons could melt onto the canvas all by themselves! 

My patience with the kids definitely melted but that’s another story…

In a past life, I used to live in Geraldton, in Western Australia. I have survived 46 degree heat over there and that was hot! Hot! Hot!!!! If I could survive Geraldton, I figured I could survive a relatively minor Sydney heatwave. I could survive this and I was somewhat right. The thing about the West Australian heat is that they have this phenomenon known locally as the Fremantle Doctor. It’s a very strong, cool wind that turns up like clockwork almost every afternoon and gets rid of the heat. That means you can usually get to sleep.

Not so with a Sydney heatwave. The heat sometimes just sits and waits, refusing to budge. At midnight last night, it was still 31 degrees and when I put the dog outside the heat was quite disturbing. We get quite a few bushfires around here and we’ve had some major fires under similar conditions. I was concerned and part of me was on alert. Not quite red alert because we don’t live in the bush but there’s a lot of National Park around here and fires are a community concern. I am also mindful of communities around Australia that are currently fighting real fires and there have been serious losses. In Tasmania, around 100 people are currently unaccounted for. My main concern was tossing and turning in bed feeling like a pig on a spit roast and I’ll survive.

Then somewhere in the middle of the darkness, I could hear something rattling and the sound of deep breathing. The cool change had finally arrived.

I could have sung the Alleluia Chorus!!!

Blue skies and sunny days can be rather over-rated.

There’s something to be said for grey skies…