To all our friends who have enquired about the bush fires - I think we are entering uncharted territory and the consequences of both climate change and head in the sand "leaders" is scary. When you superimpose the map of Europe on the recently burned bits of Australia or try to get your head around "8.4 million hectares burnt" it is truly scary.
The flip side of that is the heartwarming way neighbours and friends and strangers pull together. There are as many reports of kindnesses or generosity as there are reports of houses lost or deaths or towns destroyed. Taking first place of the Australia day parade today were the fireies - they led the parade and were greeted as heroes the whole way. Places burnt one month ago are open for business and people are starting to go there, visit, help rebuild , or at least keep the local economy ticking over. The smoke pall comes and goes - not as badly as the week before last, and the air quality issue masks have been overtaken by the coronavirus avoiding masks which most of the Asian people in Melbourne are wearing, students, locals and visitors alike.
Some of our friends live in the affected areas, friend's family have farms which are burnt out, Orbost where we worked locums so many times seems safe but the surrounding forest for 100;s of kilometers is all bunrt. The highway is still not open. The bushfires still dominate the news.
But there is more to it than fires - billions of dollars damage from very widespread golf ball sized hail, floods, huge dust storms which left Melbourne streets dusty red and the same in Castlemaine, 110 km away, The heat started ni October, maximum temperatures are in uncharted territory - eg 47 degrees celcius in Mebourne, in November! and while we are not drought declared like much of the east coast, we had 1-3 mm of rain on one day in October, one day in November and almost got to the end of December before we had a real rain. It was very patchy though as storms dumped big totals in one spot and it was dry 10 km away.
America can impeach their president . What can we do with our Prime Minister?
My brother's theory is that he is a climate change denier because his brand of Christianity makes him one of the saved: (the rest of us are all going to hell I assume), and the heat is just Hell getting closer. As is all God's will, he need do nothing.
Enough whinging. It is currently evening on a beautiful, still summer evening after a perfect day. The sort of summer day that holidays are made of. The crickets are singing, the frogs are bonking (our local frog is called a pobblebonk because bonk is the noise they make). Last week I spent 5 minutes being inspected by an echidna, literally, having my feet and sandals ' nosed" by this amazing creature as he explored the locality looking for ants. Castlemaine is now the home of the platypus conservacy, a group dedicated to maintianing and identifying platypus habitat around the state and the efforts of the local land care group, Friends of Campbells Creek have been loudly praised - They have revegetated and restored barren post gold rush devastation back to a healthy, native vegetation and we now have a healthy community of 7 platypus in our stretch of creek! The grass has responded to last weeks rain by turning green (at least in patches) and it really lovely just to be up here.
Melbourne of course has the attraction of Jack, now 10 weeks old and getting even better as he learns new tricks like sleeping better and smiling responsively. I now appreciate the difference between theorising about being a grandparent and really being one. Our girls are good, work is fine and we are very lucky people.
And violins? Simon has developed a bad habit of "idly" looking at violins on eBay.Trying to improve his playing without having to do any more practice. And after his last purchase there (the blue violin), just before Christmas he found an electric violin; a stunning-looking instrument with very good reviews. So now there's another violin. Along with the amplifier which he needed to buy as well, to plug it into.