Friday, January 27, 2006

Hot! Hot! Hot!

OK - now I'm starting to get a bit grumpy about the heat. Thousands of hectares of bushland are burning across the state, hundreds of thousands of animals have been killed, some firefighters and fleeing residents have died, and 24 homes had burnt down by the last time I watched the news (yesterday morning).

The Age Online has an interactive map on which you can check the progress of the fires and their victims. It's all very sad and I'm feeling grumpy ....

This is what remains of the Halls gap area at the beautiful Grampians National Park - so sad to think that all these lovely National Parks and bushland areas have suffered the same fate as Wilsons Promontory, much of which was destroyed by fire last year.

It was 41 degrees again yesterday on the Australia Day holiday. Our house was a cool refuge at the start of Summer but now it seems more like a little pressure cooker. In another effort to escape the hot northerly winds yesterday we went to the cinema again and queued for tickets to 'Narnia' (three hours in a cool room - we figured we'd get more for our buck with a bit of an epic). The movie was rather ho-hum and a little silly at times; probably best enjoyed by youngsters under ten.

It didn't cool down much overnight.

Today has been incredibly muggy, with a few drops of rain, thunder rolling around but no cool change to cheer everyone up. Please let it rain tonight!

The photos on today's post were taken by readers of The Age, Ken Dyer, Simon O'Dwyer and Kester Crellin.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sweet Relief!

Sheesh - it's been so hot this week! Many people were particularly grumpy yesterday, not only because it was Monday, but mainly because it's been so hard to sleep after several days of high temperatures.

We enjoyed the hot summery days of the last couple of weeks, going to see some live jazz in the beautiful Fiztory Gardens as the sun set and the music drifted across picnic sets to the possums scurrying between elm groves. We had BBQs for dinner and drinks on the patio amongst the summer array of cottage flowers and busy buzzing bees. Then came this last weekend, with Friday bringing ever more heat, Saturday warming up still more, and Sunday being hot enough to wilt even the most committed fans of Summer.

Without an air conditioner in the house, we've been making do with an old electric fan, and we splashed out on another small fan for the bedroom recently. It still didn't help us much as the temperature climbed to 44 degrees on Sunday. Not having the energy to do anything active like walking around a museum or art gallery, we decided to go to the cinema ........ an upon arrival realised that several hundered other people had exactly the same plan at the same time. The queues went all the way through the building and out into the back street, so desperate were people to find a comfortable place to spend a few hours away from the searing heat and infernal north wind.

We did end up buying tickets for a later screening of 'The Constant Gardener', were quite amused by the reaction of the crowd to the four icy-cold-beer advertisements that screened before the movie,("oooooohhhhhh!!!"), and managed to open up the house a little as the cool breezes finally came through in the evening.

No rain though, and it seems that more hot weather is on the way, with another 40-degree day predicted for this Thursday. When will I have a chance to plant my vegetables out???

There are terrible bushfires all over southern Australia at the moment, with a couple of hundred burning in Victoria alone. The sky is hazy and casting that weird bushfire glow, a heavy orange syrup pushing through the grey.

This photo was taken by Andrew de la Rue and was published in the Age online today. Devastating stuff.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Twenty - o - six

We survived the Christmas break

and find ourselves back at work already, wondering what happened to the ten days of relaxation and home renovations that we had so diligently planned .....

We hosted various family members and sweltered through the end of the hottest December on record - after a week of temperatures in the high thirties, the mercury climbed to 43 degrees on December 31st, and the heat continued well into the early hours of 2006. We celebrated the year's end at a new apartment on the 41st floor of the Eureka Tower, from where we had perfect views of the fireworks over Docklands, Federation Square and Albert Park Lake (as well as all the little illegal explosions in the suburbs!). Happy New Year to all!

One of the best new discoveries made last week was the Darebin Parklands, an expanse of native bushland with mulberry and plum trees, a creek and waterholes (which Gus just adores). He swims his little heart out each time we go there, and although he hasn't yet noticed the huge carp swimming just below the surface, he seems to be perfecting his duckdiving technique.

My friend Kyoko married her partner Shinji on January 1st. Congratulations to the happy couple, who will soon be starting a new life in Dusseldorf, Germany (and what a great excuse for us to visit Deutschland some time!).

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