If you were reading my recent post you would read that the KI Council, the State Government and the RSPCA put out a call for 120 volunteers to help find the injured wildlife and organise rescue – and to take food where they could out to other animals. 120 Volunteers were asked for – what they got were 35,000 applications!!! Some from as far away as Russia. Wow, just wow!!!
Growing up in Scotland there were – and probably still are – a number of popular brands of paints. One of the most popular was Dulux. This, as far as we children were concerned, was a British Company using a very recognisable Old English Sheepdog as its company mascot. As children we stopped thinking of the dog as an Old English Sheepdog and it became – and I expect in the UK at any rate, still is – known as the Dulux Dog. I liked
Dulux, not really as much for the dog but more for the fact that this was the paint my dad used. That’s all there was to it, the Corporate Identity, the fact that the company traded in India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada – and other countries, was unknown to us and as children – what did we care anyway. For us it was just Paint. It has been almost 40 years since we left Scotland so we brought with us the memories of all these early days. I have no idea what has changed or how much has changed. For example, I can say this – I worked for a Government Department and the place where I was stationed, the Distillery and all the Bonded Warehouses, have been demolished; everything has been flattened. I mean some of these warehouses were built by Prisoners of War — From Napoleon’s Army ! So if I annoyed anyone by saying “It’s a British thing” then I apologise but that’s what I knew and understood and when I wrote it I was thinking of my childhood, nothing else.
The Australia Day celebration ( at least here) ended up being cold and very windy. In the afternoon it was a nice breeze, not too cold at all, but as the sun went down, the wind
increased and the South Wind off the Spencer Gulf was strong and cold. So much so that the Bouncy Castles were taken down and two of the major kite units broke their moorings and came down. The RFDS Site was fully exposed to the wind and the ladies were just about frozen, so they closed fairly early as did a number of other sites. The fireworks still went ahead. In previous years we have been at Ada Ryan Gardens for Australia Day but this time the City Council was making a great play about Australia Day returning to the Foreshore. I don’t think it was the success they had been counting on. The coolness of the day would have been fine, but the wind put a bit of as dampener on things. Personally I would liked to have had Benji with me – it was cool enough to have him, but the thought of fireworks close up was the decider to leave him at home – to look after mummy!
Next weekend is the first meeting of the year so I will be heading off to Adelaide for a few days. Mount Gambier wont happen until the May meeting. I have plants in pots and they are dying. Those that are not dying are severely wilted. They may come back but based on past results it is unlikely. Yes I pick heat tolerant plants but 46c is pushing it just a tad. At 06;40 this morning they were all watered and those that could be moved were moved into the shade, but the extreme heat was just too much and even the shaded ones suffered. Even now in the early evening it is still too humid to take Benji out for a walk. The present temperature at 7:45 pm is 32c and not expected to fall below 28 overnight with heavy rainstorms and possibly flooding
forecast for tomorrow and Saturday- what joy! From the sublime to the ridiculous.
Sometimes, you just can’t take a trick. Yesterday we’re burning, today we’re flooded. It was said that heavy rain could cause flooding in the fire areas due to the soil being compromised and that seems to be what’s been
happening. This morning (Monday) when I took Benji out for his walk, the temperature was 9c and I was cold. If I hadn’t been so lazy I would have gone back for a heavier jacket. During the night it bucketed down but by morning it was so dry that there was almost no trace of the heavy rain in the wee small hours. I took a slight detour and went to the water pit and was surprised by how little water there was in there. I thought there would have been more given that the downpour lasted for the best part of an hour. Some areas in NSW had over 300 mm of rain in a day—- Two years worth of rain in a single day! Canberra was hit by hailstones that damaged cars and property. Wednesday 22nd. It rained here this morning. I had just come back from our walk ( 06:35) when I heard the noise on the carport. Went outside and it had gone – that was it – almost a whole 45 seconds! Didn’t even wet the ground.
When I first started feeding the Geese at the Wetlands, they were altogether. Now they seem to have broken up into little groups. I fed the Geese at the usual place but there were only four of them. I walked on and came across another group – four really big birds and two smaller ones. I started to feed them but I noticed that the bigger birds were deliberately keeping the two smaller birds away. I threw some seed to where the smaller birds were and two of the larger birds moved over to where the seeds were and, using their much larger beaks, chased the smaller birds away. So, bullies, even in the bird world :o)
Benji, as some may know, is my dog, or at least we thought he was until very recently. Generally he is around me, but not lately. These last four or five weeks he has been going into Annabell’s room and lays down on the floor beside her bed. During the day he goes into her room and lays down behind her chair. With all this attention Annabell was getting worried — “does he know something we don”? Am I on my way out and this is a long farewell?” I can tell you right now he is not here with me.. I have a different theory about this new Annabell attention. When I have to go out and it’s too hot to take him with me I tell him he “has to stay and look after mummy” Even if I am just going to the shops for Annabell, or heading off to Mount Gambier, I still tell him “to stay and look after mummy.” There are a few other instances where the word “mummy”is used so my theory is simply this – ” Dogs understand more than we give them credit for, thus Benji is going into her room to be near her and doing what he has been asked to do – “Looking after Mummy!” Ok, perhaps it is crazy but I would like to hear a better solution.
The Kangaroo Island Fire has largely been brought under control, but we now have a new problem. The fire has destroyed the food sources of the wildlife so the State government and the KI Council together with the RSPCA are asking for 120 volunteers – all expenses, travel to KI, food and accommodation paid for – to assist in the rescue of starving and injured animals. The volunteers will assist in the distribution of food and fresh water where required and the rescue of any injured animals – particularly Koala Bears. It wont be an easy job but it is one that needs to be done.
Beside the news that more firefighters from the United States have come to assist our worn out firefighters here, there is the tragic news that one of the large fire bombers has crashed killing all crew. We don’t know what happened and we wont know until after an investigation. However, the bodies of the three crew members have been recovered.
After the high of 46c the temperature has dropped back to reasonable levels and we have had some rain. Not a lot and not very heavy but very dark overhead clouds that promised much – delivered little. Still it was rain; it was cold and it was damp and wet and it did have an effect on the fire areas and for that we are thankful. I put Benji’s jacket on and donned my rain jacket and we went out. Benji goes slightly weird when it comes to puddles. After living in a cage I don’t think he quite knows what puddles are, so he eventually jumped over the flowing spoon drain. I actually thought for a moment he was going to just stand there looking at it and I was going to have to lift him over :o) We don’t generally go walking when it’s wet so this was new to him. I mean, he’s walked over it before – every day in fact – but this time it had water in it and he’s not used to that. I did take Chienne out in the rain sometimes and with lady-like aplomb she walked right through any puddles that were in her way.
Tomorrow the temperature is due to reach 33c then back town to the mid 20’s. Apart from the Kangaroos, and Koala Bears, Australia is known for its Eucalyptus Trees. There are many
different types but the type that seems to be move prevalent is the type that sheds its bark, leaves and branches. An example – albeit a small example – is the one just down from my house, the one that I dislike. The area was cleaned up by council recently so there is not as much litter as there usually is. But you get the idea – the bark falls off the tree and collects around the bottom. and there’s your fuel all around the forest floor, that goes then the trees go. So imagine a good number of these in a forest setting !! These trees contain oil and they explode shooting the burning embers and sparks across containment lines, spreading the fire. A post or so ago I suggested that it might be time to think about how we do things in
Australia and the absolute stupidity in taking major holidays in the middle of the fire season. These last week have really brought that home and we have seen firefighters, emergency service and police organising massive evacuations rather than fighting fires. – Over 4000 people evacuated to a beach- and a good number of them were holiday people – because there was nowhere else for them to go as their town burned. We have all been praying and wanting rain to help with the fire fighting efforts but now headlines tell us that serious rain storms in the fire areas could lead to flooding and landslides because the stability of the soil may have been compromised. We just can’t take a trick it seems! Up here, well, nothing much changes. It’s been cold(ish) these last few days and this morning (Thursday) the temperature when I took Benji out was 11c. The RFDS have been arriving and departing several times a day and there was an arrival at 4am the other morning. There was an interesting short article from the Bureau of Meteorology which suggests that we are reading the forecasts wrong. I though, I would read this and gain some clarity and I did. It became clear to me that they have as much understanding of what’s going on as the rest of us. I discovered that I was more confused after reading the article than I was before I read it.
Because it has been much cooler I have been taking Benji to the Wetlands and we have been feeding the Geese and Ducks. When we arrive at the area they are nowhere in sight – I take off the backpack and next thing I see them all waddling towards us. Benji stays back as I feed the birds. Here the other birds were still making their way up. There is a little black duck that is a sort of favourite but it’s not in this photograph. The black spots on the ground are the feed -I am using sunflower seeds and they seem to like it a lot. I saw that some had moved back to the old area, so I will have to ensure that I have enough for both areas in future. I still find it interesting that the usually pushy seagulls hang back and don’t come too close to the geese and ducks.
To give some scale to what has happened here so far, The 2018 California fires burnt 2 million acres; the 2019 Amazon fires 2.2 million acres; and the 2019 Siberian fires 6.7 million acres. So far, up until this morning, Australia’s 2019/20 fires have burnt 15 million acres. To further put that into scale, 60,702 square kilometers or bigger than Denmark ( with Wales on the side) – Think West Virginia Here, we are, to a large extent,
protected in that any fire that started here would be out fairly quickly since – although we have some trees – we don’t anything like the density of woodland and forests like NSW and Victoria and, of course, other parts of SA. Yes, we have had a couple of fires here but mainly grass fires that were put out fairly quickly and a few of them were started by morons who thought it was fun. The court did too because it gave them a slap on the wrist and sent them home. The only serious fire near here is in Middleback Road and that’s about 50+ kilometers away. We did have rain here on Sunday and it started raining when I took Benji out at 6am. The rain, although not heavy, continued throughout the day. It was of some help but not as much as had been hoped for. At the moment the main (only) sealed highway between Western Australia and South Australia remains cut off and trucks are still backed up at the border or at several service stations. Life here continues much as normal and there are no restrictions. However, there is talk about how the bushfires may effect how we view holidays and if it really is in the best interest of Australia for people to be taking holidays and travelling during the fire season. Perhaps we should look at holidays in the cooler periods, Spring or Autumn. Most schools are fully air-conditioned so perhaps we should be looking at keeping the schools open during the hot weather, changing the semester dates. so that the long six week school break does not fall in summer during the fire season. But this is Australia, reluctant to change even when the reasons are slapped in your face – a very much “She’ll be right mate”attitude. What’s happened is alarming in that when fire has gone through an area,
generally it will come back again – in about 50 / 60 years. But here it’s only been 15 years since fires went through some areas and that is unusual. However, at the end of it all, nothing much will happen. The fires will eventually go out, people will discuss how we are going to tackle them in the future, and they will still be talking when the next fire season comes around. We do not seem to have either the social nor the political will to put a stop to the seemingly endless cycle – Fire – destruction – rebuild – repeat. We build houses with a Star Trek Philosophy _ “Boldly go where no one has gone before”. Oh look, a lovely, pristine landscape – we could fit 10,000 houses, roads, supermarkets etc. in this area and call it Ocean View Housing Estate.
Australia, like some other countries, has a serious problem. That problem is Queensland and the reliance of Queensland on Coal. The political party that attacks Queensland’s love affair with coal is in serious trouble when it comes to elections and votes. True the coal powered power stations are being closed down here, but there are many others across the world and a number of them rely on Queensland coal – the mining and exporting of coal from Queensland. Between the coal industry and the mining industry in Queensland we are talking about 47,000 jobs. Australia exports a staggering 370.1 Million Tons of coal a year. The loss of jobs and the destruction of the Queensland Economy and the flow-on effect that will have, does not bear thinking about.
Wednesday saw me in Adelaide. I did my least favourite thing and that is travel to and from Adelaide by coach. Had I driven down it would have meant an overnight stay and I didn’t want that, so the price for not doing that was 11 hours on a coach. Oh Joy!! I use Ryobi tools and the only supplier of Ryobi, tools, batteries and accessories in South Australia is Bunnings. Apart from which there were a few other things I wanted I also wanted a couple of large things from Bunnings but they can wait until I go down in February with the car. Fires are still burning out of control in Victoria and Kangaroo Island here in South Australia. It’s not improving at the moment. The temp today (Thursday) was 45c. Tomorrow (Friday) 27c
Thursday: January 2nd 2020. Things are going from bad to worse to catastrophic. Nearly 4000 people trapped on a beach as fire destroys their town. Royal Australia Navy ship will rescue close to 1000 people each trip using their boats and any other boats available to ferry people from the beach to the ship. This is the only way out. New South Wales has declared a State Of Emergency and close to 10,000 people are moving out of the area ahead of the monster fire. Currently 17 people are missing and there are grave fears for their safety There are serious concerns for the remnants of the Cudlee Creek fire here in South Australia that was only just contained and there is concern that it may breach the containment lines. The Middleback Road, about 30 klms from here has been closed due to fires and the two sealed roads between South Australia and Western Australia have been cut off due to fires. Nothing is moving and trucks are backed up. The Service stations and two small towns have run out of supplies, including most of the basic needs, bread, milk, water and toilet paper. I did mention that we had a thunderstorm, but as I also said, bashing, crashing, flashing but no splashing and this has been a problem since the dry storm lightening strikes started other fires. It has been cool here the last few days but it is set to reach about 44c from tomorrow. Even just writing this, it is hard not to get emotional.
I picked up young John at just after 1pm and we drove to Port Augusta. I wanted to visit better Home Supplies to get a replacement canopy for the garden swing. This,
sadly, got caught in the wind and was badly torn. I also wanted some special bouncing balls for Connor that I couldn’t get here. Visit the Arid Lands Botanic Garden for some tea and scones. Well, I failed at the canopy – there was nothing there. I tried several places for the balls without success. Then as we were leaving and heading to the Arid Lands B.G. I came to a halt at the Reject Shop and decided to try for the balls in there. Well, they did not have what I wanted but they did have something that would fit the bill – the important thing was that the balls did what I wanted – light up as they bounced. I bought one at a stall at the Carols in the Park, and Connor was fascinated by it and everyone got involved in playing with him. I only got the one, but I really wished I had bought more. Didn’t make that mistake this time and bought three. Office National was closed until next week so failed there. On the way to the Arid Lands BG, John had a look at the time and decided that perhaps it was best to head for home, so that’s what I did. But overall a good afternoon, pleasant drive, not too warm but sadly too warm to bring Benji.
Friday 3rd January:
State of Emergency in effect in NSW and Victoria. There are now 8 confirmed deaths with 28 people unaccounted for. One reporter spoke to the firefighters who said that they did not want to be looked on as “Heroes” because calling them “Heroes”overstates their ability to control the fires and downplays the long term psychological effect of fighting these fires. The road between Western Australia and South Australia remains cut off and is likely to be so for some time. In one service station some 250 trucks are stranded all loaded with produce. The Supermarkets have already warned that this could lead to severe shortages in some areas over the next few days. Emergency supplies have been dropped in to several of the roadhouses. In Victoria over 100,000 people
have been urged to leave making this the largest evacuation in Australia’s history. It is 16:00 and my thermometer is reading 48c Goodness knows what it’s like in the fire areas. I did not post any photographs of the fires. I think there is more than enough of these in the main media and on television, including the BBC. Haven’t been to the wetlands for a few days since it’s been too hot, but if it calms down tomorrow I’ll take a run out with Benji and I have bird seed for the ducks and geese. LOL notice how the seagulls stay back. —– I have been told that the Middleback Road Fire is still burning and the road is still closed..
I read a post recently and I was totally lost for words. It was about a modern day city that merely bears the same name as a city I knew and worked in over 40 years ago. But the city this lady write about is a very different city from the one I knew over 40 years ago. This is a fun place, a vibrant, exciting place and my problem is that since this is not the place I once knew, I really don’t know how to respond. I’m stumped. Perhaps some time in the not too distant future, if the fires don’t burn us all, I might try and organist a visit and see this City for myself.