Margot isn’t pregnant. It’s a huge disappointment but nevermind if it’s not meant to be then it’s not meant to be. Margot looked so sad when our vet searched in vain around Margot’s tummy with the scan machine and couldn’t find anything. We will persevere and hopefully with some medical intervention we will have better luck next time.
The Kiwi has been working so hard he forgot to use up his holiday entitlement so we took off in the caravan for a long weekend on the Great Ocean Road. We have seen it before but the road never ceases to take our breath away and on this visit the weather was kinder to us than on previous occasions.
The Twelve Apostles was absolutely packed with people from all over the world and we noticed with some amusement a group of Chinese tourists bending down onto the ground excitedly taking photos of one of our dreaded Darth Vader crickets. Evidently they’ed never seen one before and I thought to myself, Gosh they want to come to our place, I’ve just hoovered up 62 of the blighters!
Having not yet met his two new twin grandchildren the Kiwi took off on a solo trip to New Zealand to meet them.
I was left home alone with the dogs, pet sheep and chickens. Our newest addition to our burgeoning flock is Cheeky-Chops, so named because not only does she have lipstick-like birth marks but also like her partner in crime, Phil, fences do not feature in her world, we don’t use barbed-wire on the farm so she cheekily pushes her way through and goes just where she likes.
You can see from Cheeky-Chops photo how little green grass there is at the moment. We’ve had very little rain since Christmas and the countryside is tinder-box dry, we have total fire ban’s in place but unfortunately fires do still occur. During the first Saturday the Kiwi was away the weather turned and a fierce, hot wind blew in. I was out in Hamilton enjoying a trip to the cinema and during the meal afterwards the lights went out but the chef did a sterling job of producing an excellent meal despite having to cook in the pitch dark. We were all a bit jittery about the wind so didn’t hang around for long.
The drive home wasn’t funny. The wind was gusting at 100kmph and there were branches and trees crashing to the ground all around me. When I got clear of the trees I happened to look to my right and could see in the distance the sky was red with flame, a bush fire the biggest I’d ever seen was raging out of control. I had stupidly forgotten to take my phone with me and I arrived home feeling a little nervous not helped by the fact that I didn’t have a torch either.
In the complete blackness I fumbled around putting the key in the lock and eventually managed to feel my way to where I knew there was a torch (rechargeable battery almost flat). It stayed on just long enough for me to find my phone and my app from the fire department which warns of bush fires had been pinging frantically with messages about the fire I could still see from my back door step. Thankfully the wind was blowing away from me and my immediate area was not in danger, but I was acutely aware that the situation could rapidly deteriorate if the wind changed.
I spent a restless night constantly checking my phone for updates.
In the morning kind friends called to check up on me which was reassuring but soon even my phone signal died. Here I was miles from the nearest civilisation, no power (meaning no water either), no phone and because of no phone I had no way of knowing what the fire situation was. (Must get batteries for the radio…) The wind was still howling but luckily still in the right direction. The only water I had was in a 5 litre plastic jerry can which I knew wouldn’t last long – what to do? Our caravan is equipped with a small but very heavy generator which we haven’t used at all and I couldn’t find the instructions (this is all so deeply unimpressive). But not to be defeated I set it down next to the water pump, filled it with petrol, pressed a few obvious looking buttons and started to pull the starter cord. I couldn’t believe it! It started on the second pull! I plugged in the water pump and guess what? I had water!! I can’t tell you what a relief it was!
I was thankful we had the caravan which has solar panels and from them I managed to charge up the torch and my phone. I cooked myself a meal on the gas cooker and then drove into Dunkeld to use their wifi. I thought I should let the Kiwi know I was ok as I knew he would be worried. I called him via FaceTime and he was relieved to see me even though I was looking a bit disheveled. By the time I got home the power was back on so all was well.
A few weeks have passed since the fire and I had to travel through the area of the fire today. It was a very sobering drive, I saw burned down houses, paddocks reduced to scorched earth and a plantation of trees blackened and dead. All this just 30kms from our home. Every year Australians face the fire season with amazing resilience and I so admire them for their bravery and their community spirit. There has been huge support for the affected farmers, one such organisation, the Lions has come up with the “Need for Feed” bringing hay to farmers who have lost feed supplies. Here’s a clip of the convoy of trucks transporting hay to the needy.
To end on a lighter note the sun shone down onto the Dunkeld Racecourse on Easter Saturday which played host to a thrilling afternoon of Polo. Local photographer, Georgie Mann took some brilliant shots of the afternoons chukkas – here’s a link to her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Georgie-Mann-Photography-901662569869494/?ref=br_rs
Much fun was had by all.