Here's me thinking that things might have improved a bit because there was a bit of rain last night. I don't think it rained where it was needed, unfortunately. It never does, it seems. From abc.net.au:
Friday, December 15, 2006. 6:13am (AEDT)
Horrible night ... a man has died and at least 12 houses have been destroyed. (ABC TV)
Vic suffers worst night of fires Victoria has suffered its worst night of bushfires since the blazes began a fortnight ago, with at least a dozen homes burnt down and a man killed in the east of the state.
A number of blazes have also merged to form one giant fire front stretching from Dargo to Mount Terrible, near Jamieson.
Five houses were confirmed lost at Gaffneys Creek, another four burnt down at A1 Mine Settlement, two at Toongabbie and another at Seaton.
About 450,000 hectares of land has been destroyed by fires in Gippsland and the north-east.
A number of communities are under direct threat again this morning, with Kevington, Woods Point, Jamieson, A1 Mine and Gaffneys Creek experiencing ember attacks.
I have to give my computer back. It belongs to the Education Dep't and they've finally twigged that I'm no longer an employee. Bugger. I was kinda hoping it'd slip by them. So, the shop is going to lease a new one which I'll get tomorrow. Well, I should if the boss remembers to go get it! So, I'll have to spend the weekend transfering all that data from one machine to the other. Oh joy.
Just finished Chasing The Dime by Michael Connelly. He's a regular seller here so I thought I'd give him a try, see what all the fuss is about. Pfft! Can't say I was all that impressed. It's certainly an easy read. The basic premise is about a research chemist, involved in cutting edge medical nanotechnology, who is wrongly accused of murder. It's all a set up, of course. A big pharmaceutical giant wants his technology so frames him for the murder in order to get it. Believable? No. But, the way it's written almost sucked me in for a while there. The ending is terrible. A shoot-out. The goodies are wounded, the baddies are killed. Crass. Why is it that Americans (fictional ones in this case) think that the gun is an acceptable way to settle issues?
PS. The smoke haze is back with a vengeance today.
The sky is back today. I much prefer blue up there to that murky grey-brown that we've had lately. However, as the ABC reports:
No Victorian communities are under direct threat from bushfires this morning, despite the fact two big blazes in the north-east have joined.
The fire front is estimated to be around 250 kilometres long and the total area burnt now is around 280,000 hectares.
Blazes close to Mount Beauty, Jamieson and Whitfield in the state's north-east are still of concern to authorities.
Two of the bushfires in Gippsland have also merged to form a 60,000 hectare blaze near Dargo.
Authorities are urging residents in fire regions to stay alert despite milder weather forecast for today and tomorrow.
Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) spokesman Craig Ferguson says a wind change and higher temperatures predicted for later in the week are a concern.
"We've got cooler conditions now to about Wednesday and then the winds are going to shift back to the north," he said.
"Thursday at this stage is predicted to heat up again in terms of temperatures, so towards the end of the week we will be back in to having higher fire danger indexes and potentially extreme fire conditions."
Shirl has tapped me to reveal 5 things about me. I don't know what "tapped" means but I'm guessing that I have to follow suit. So here goes....
1. Until recently I was a History teacher but quit after a long battle with the principal. After 28 years in the job I'd become totally disillusioned with the whole system and decided that they didn't deserve me. I now run a secondhand bookshop and am much happier.
2. I was born in Liverpool, England and migrated to Melbourne, Australia when I was 12. Been here ever since, although I'm still a British citizen. My Royalist sympathies clash pretty severely with my Socialist politics. Oh well.
3. I used to ride a Triumph motorcycle. Now, at 51, I'm quite content with my (brand new) Toyota Corolla.
4. Long-term relationship ended about 10 years ago and I've been single ever since. Sometimes I'm happy with that, sometimes I'm not.
5. My parents are still alive and kicking and still married to each other. I have one brother and two sisters, all younger than me. I have 3 nieces and 2 nephews, ranging from 24 to 4 in age. We all get together regularly for birthdays, Easter, Christmas, etc.
40 degrees yesterday, 20 today. Phew. The wind has changed direction too. Hopefully it will blow the fires back on themselves and stop them spreading further. The worrying thing is that this is only the start of summer and because of the drought everything is tinder dry. It's going to be a horrible season I think.
Still hazy today but it doesn't seem as bad as yesterday, although the sky is still just this murky grey-brown blanket. Very hot still, but there is a cool change on the way (so they say.)
Later this same day.... It's hit 40 degrees out there. That's about 104 in Fahrenheit. Did I mention that this shop does not have air-conditioning? Got a little pedestal fan pointed at me and that's it. 3 more hours, then I can go home.
Here are the house animals. The cat doesn't get around much, pretty much stuck in his ways. Bunny turned up about 8 years ago apparently and decided to stay. It spends most of its time chatting to the chooks.
This is the view from outside the shop, looking west towards the city. It's daytime. Smoke has drifted all across town from the fires a couple of hundred miles away. It's awful out there. I can't imagine what it must be like for the people in the actual fire areas.
There's a real smoke haze in the sky today. Tomorrow is going to be horrible. Predicted temperature in the high 30s - the state is on full alert because of the fires already burning. The hope is that they don't join up, particularly the ones in the east and north-east - that would be worse than disastrous.
Fires in Victoria are approaching a number of communities.
Residents in eastern Victoria have been told to prepare for one of the worst bushfire weekends in the state's history.
Community meetings are under way as the situation worsens.
Residents in affected regions are currently deciding whether to stay or leave as fires approach a number of communities.
The Country Fire Authority (CFA) is warning that some of the fires could join to form one massive 600,000-hectare blaze by the weekend.
Premier Steve Bracks says everything will be done to save properties.
"We have the maximum resources possible in the state to bear on this, but we can't say that we are not going to have problems this weekend," he said.
The main threat to private property is currently both north-east and south-east of Mansfield in the state's north-east, but authorities are warning that towns as far south as Bairnsdale and Rosedale in Gippsland could be under threat by the weekend.
Went to the pictures last night and saw The Guardian. Kevin, of course. It's a fairly formulaic film - old buck and young gun, but it works, I think, because the subject matter (Coast Guard) is a bit different and because the performances are pretty good. Costner's not afraid to play his age - he's 51, like all the best people. Ashton Kutcher was a surprise - he's very good in this. The ending is a bit twee but the rest of it is worth watching. Good action scenes that make you wonder why anyone would want to take on a job like that.
The ABC did an online poll of favourite albums and the results were released last night. I voted for Disintegration by The Cure which came in at #51. This is the top ten. I don't have numbers 2, 3 and 9 (Meatloaf, UGH!) but I have the others. I have #2 on the computer - a pirated copy so that doesn't really count. Don't listen to the Chili Peppers anymore but the others still get played.
Pink Floyd — Dark Side Of The Moon Jeff Buckley — Grace Radiohead — Ok Computer The Beatles — Abbey Road The Beatles — Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Nirvana — Nevermind Led Zeppelin — Led Zeppelin 4 Red Hot Chili Peppers — Blood Sugar Sex Magik Meat Loaf — Bat Out Of Hell U2 — The Joshua Tree