Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Some numbers to blow your mind...

At least 2029 homes have already been destroyed in 78 towns this bushfire season, with more than 6000 insurance claims lodged, totalling $775 million.

And it's not over yet.

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Today is a day of mourning in Australia for those who died in the Victorian bushfires, so I've been thinking particularly of home today. We also received some bad news today. Our friend's sister lost her fiance and his mother in the fires. We are grieving for Hyatt and her family, and her fiance's family too. We are thinking too of Mark and Janet, as Janet has the awful task of cancelling her sister's wedding. I can't imagine how dreadful that must be. Janet is also 7 months preganant, so I hope she keeps well and looks after herself. More than ever we miss our friends and family at this time.

The fires are still burning, of course. Just today, more warnings have been put out, including areas less than 30 minutes drive from my in-laws' house. That's too close for comfort. The trouble with being so far away is that your imagination just runs a bit wild, and you end up imagining the worst. My in-laws are mad, but I love them and I love their house. I also love the photos I've got stored at their house and I'm hoping they will all be okay.

Anyway, I promised myself I wouldn't stay up late tonight - got work in the morning. I get caught up watching and reading the coverage online, that's my trouble. Perhaps I'll just have a quick read of the weather before I go to bed. Those of you so inclined, a bit of prayer for the people of Victoria would be very much appreciated right about now....

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Think positive...

I confess I have withdrawn myself a bit from everyone lately. Not my immediate family, but from my friends, church... I seem to be having a Thursday every day lately. I'm not sure what it is. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I've been thinking a lot about home, brought on by the bushfires in Victoria. One person commented about grieving.. it's funny but I feel as though I am grieving, yet I've lost nothing, no-once I know has died or lost anything (as far as I'm aware) so why on earth would I be? It's quite ridiculous, really. I am having a lot of pain with my back at the moment too, so I'm back on the painkillers and an occasional drink to help me sleep. That's not good either but anyway...

Think positive.

We are planning a holiday or two this year. We can't really afford it, but as long as we go on the cheap it should be okay. We've got a fabulous car, perfect for long trips, so we're thinking of a driving holiday to Germany in April and perhaps Split in Croatia in the summer. The Euro is very strong at the moment, so Germany is likely to be expensive, but Eastern European currencies have collapsed pretty much, so a holiday there would be quite cheap. So is Iceland, come to think of it! I would love to see the aurora, maybe this year (obviously not in summer) is the time to do it.

Having something to look forward to will, I think, make this year more bearable. I think we are in for a difficult time, not just 'we' personally I mean the world. I think there will be times when we will have to make a real effort to be positive, even in the annoying Pollyanna way, and remember that things will get better and that things could be a lot worse. We need to remember that the important things aren't things it's people. The people in our lives are the 'things' that give us genuine, lasting joy. It's sharing a joke with a friend, overcoming a challenge with a partner, playing a game with a child, passing the time of day with a neighbour. It isn't the flash car and the big house. Let's fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:18)

Perhaps that's why the fires have played on my mind so much. I have a nice car and live in a nice house. If things get really bad for us we'll have to move to a smaller house and possibly change cars to something cheaper to run, but at least I have a home and I'm not going to lose it all in one insane catastrophe. Unless a aeroplane falls out of the sky on its way to Heathrow...

Think Positive!!!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Not sure why but....

For reasons I don't quite understand, I have found myself almost constantly thinking of the people who have suffered in the bushfires. I haven't slept well this past week, I've just wanted to read everything I can get my hands on about it all. I cry when I read about what people have lost, I cry when I read about the miracles and the generousity. I also find myself thinking, for example when I'm making dinner, how much I take for granted. I can just decide to make dinner and reach for my favourite frying pan (yes, I have one, shut up) and my knife and get on with it. The ordinary things that the bushfire survivours can no longer do. Tonight, just before going to bed I filled in a couple of entries in Naomi's baby book and as I put the book away into the bookcase I thought to myself, now I'd definitely grab the baby books and that photo...

I hope I'm not morbidly obsessed or anything. I hope it's just an empathy thing, perfectly normal. Are other people doing the same thing? It all makes me wish I was back home, where I could talk to other people who would understand what I'm feeling. I've been so homesick this past week. All the Aussie families (all two of them) I knew have already moved back to Oz, it's just us here and at times like these I really miss having someone around who talks just like me...

Only in Australia

Let's face it, there are times when the Poms taking the piss out of Australia and the Yanks not knowing any better gets really boring, but there are times when you see a headline and the first thing you think is - only in Australia would that happen. Here's one such headline I just found:

Crocodile run over in Mount Isa's CBD

By Chrissy Arthur

A small crocodile has been found dead in a river crossing in the centre of Mount Isa in north-west Queensland.

Queensland police say a taxi driver accidentally ran over a metre-long crocodile while driving over the Leichhardt River crossing on 23rd Avenue in the early hours of this morning.

Inspector Ray Pringle says while there are freshwater crocodiles in Lake Moondarra north of the city, it is very rare to have a crocodile reported in the city's CBD.

"Police thought he may have been a bit strange or under the influence of liquor or something but it was all above board," he said.

"Sure enough when they went down there was this freshwater croc.

"It was quite severely injured and they looked at opportunities to save its life but the injuries were so bad it passed away.

"They're making arrangements now to dispose of the body."

You can just hear the conversation. Oi, maaaate, ya won't bloody believe it, I've just run over a bloody croc in my ute. Don't be daft, ya mug, there's no bloody crocs in bloody Mt Isa!

Is there even a CBD in Mt Isa??

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

There ought to be a manual here somewhere....

I wonder how you can tell if you're a good parent. I suppose if your kids are basically nice people that's a pretty good indication. People are always complimenting me on how well-behaved my children are, they play nicely with others, they don't have (too many) tantrums and we can take them out and be confident they will do the right thing. That doesn't seem quite enough though. Perhaps confident, carefree children is a sign of a good parent. If that's the measure, I'm not so sure I make the grade.

Catherine is so much like I think I was when I was her age. Actually, I think I was even more stressed than she is, which makes me think I must have been a bit of a worry for my mum! I remember not wanting to go to school aged 10, because I was picked on all the time, by one or two girls in particular (who shall remain nameless, because would you believe Facebook has brought us in touch again). Catherine, I think, mostly likes school, although she is so self-conscious to the point of fearing swimming lessons because she's worried she'll be teased. On the whole, Catherine seems quite worried about almost everything, at least it seems that way to me. She often assumes the worst about a given situation, which drives me totally mad because I try to see the best in things. Consequently I'm not as sympathetic to her as I should be.

I also worry I'm failing to show her that she is loved and loveable for the wonderful person she is. This is a big thing, and I wish I could do it better. I tell her every day, more than once, how much I love her and how proud of her I am. I give her lots of hugs and kisses, maybe not enough. Maybe it's not those things that matter, it's the stuff I do or don't do inbetween. I want her to take pride in her appearance, to care about how she looks, but at the same time I don't want her to obsess and worry. She already worries, who am I kidding... I try to compliment her whenever I feel she has dressed well or done something clever with her hair, but she hates clothes shopping because she doesn't like having to take her clothes off. I know just how she feels...

I don't know what the answer is. I know I was a pretty insecure person growing up, in fact it wasn't until quite recently (well, let's say the last 6 or 7 years or so) that I've become more self-confident and pretty much happy with the person I am. I hope Catherine will survive her mother and grow up to become a confident young woman a lot sooner than I did.

Picture of the day...

Isn't life just amazingly, mind-bogglingly beautiful. I stand in awe...

High-energy X-ray diffraction was used to pinpoint some 5 million atoms in the protective protein coat used by hundreds of viruses. Credit: J. Pan & Y.J. Tao/Rice University

From PhysOrg.com.

Monday, 16 February 2009


Here are some moving articles I wanted to share with you:

Jim Schembri of the Melbourne Age newspaper has written a thought-provoking piece about being an ordinary Melbournian on Saturday the 7th of February...

An amazing story of survival from Kinglake...

And an article on explaining the whole thing to young children, that concludes with the thought that some things are more important than having the latest fashion item, the biggest house, the flashest car. Imagine that...

Follow Me!

Since I'm starting to feel like I'm the only person reading this drivel, this post is a little ad. Pretty please show me I'm not talking to myself and become a follower of my blog! All you need to do is click on the Follow this blog link.

PS. My Facebook friends might be wondering why I'm so prolific with note creation... I'm not, I've just set notes to import from my blog. So if you'd rather see my entries with a pretty background that changes from time to time, please stop by for a visit: Brain Babblings. It does what it says on the tin *lol*

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Of course, its the Islamists fault...

Wouldn't you believe it, some people are already blaming Muslims. Didn't take them long, did it. I'm not even going to post the link I found, it's just full of crap. There's no doubt there are some crazy Muslim extremists, but you can't tell me there aren't as many crazy Christian ones. Granted, they don't go 'round crashing planes into buildings and chopping people's heads off, but they have done something equally appalling in times past. Would you believe there's a bunch of Christian housewives in the US who where aprons with a bible-sized pocket on one side and a gun-sized pocket on the other. That's insane, don't you think? Just as these bible-carrying, gun-toting Christians are in the minority and you can't draw conclusions about all Christians based on them, you can't conclude that all Muslims are terrorists. The vast majority do what their religion demands - surrender.

I live in a town in Surrey with the oldest mosque in Britain (any guesses where that might be?) and we have a high Muslim population. I lived next to the mosque and in the summer they have an open day when anyone can come and visit the mosque. At Eid there's usually some sort of celebration in the town, banners etc. I even got used to the call to prayer at dawn... eventually! As a Christian, I would like to see all Muslims, and everyone else of course, come to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, but I am glad of their culture and contribution to the town I live in. I've read about some of they terrible things that happen in other countries, but terrible things happen in *this* country too, so it's my prayer that peace will reign, and soon.

On a related topic, have a look at this footage and interview with a survivor of the bushfire at St. Andrews. the fire came up so fast, it's no wonder so many died. It was awesome and terrifying. I never want to see anything like it. Rest in peace, all of you, and may those who are left behind be healed quickly.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Vanessa needs

So I entered the text 'Vanessa needs' into my favourite search engine, and these are the results. My comments are in brackets...

Vanessa needs to get a LIFE. (Amen to THAT!)

Vanessa needs hugs. (Can never have too many of those.)

Vanessa needs Our Help. (This exercise is becoming a bit spooky...)

Vanessa Needs Australia. (No kidding, there is a person listed on Facebook whose name is Vanessa Needs. Who would have thought! I bet her attempt at this bit of time-wasting would be interesting...)

Vanessa needs To Step Up. (Step out, step over, step in....)

Vanessa needs our prayers. (But would it actually help, that's the big question...)

Vanessa needs to be smacked. (Oooh, yes please!)

Vanessa needs mah bed now. (Hm, best idea I've heard all day.)

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Where do I start...

I haven't written much on the fires because I just don't know where to start.

I don't know anyone who's lost a home or a loved one, although I know people who've had to leave their home. My in-laws live only 30 minutes from Kinglake and I can only imagine what it was like for them. I've followed everything on the ABC news website, and I just find myself crying so much. I cry for the people who've lost everything, especially for people who've lost spouses, children, siblings, friends. I cry when I read the miraculous tales of survival, stories of people helping each other and rescuing wildlife. I'm overwhelmed at the generousity and kindness of strangers who have offered their homes, caravans, cars, time, skills, produce, whatever's needed to help people get back on their feet. I feel such deep sadness for the people still searching, waiting, seeking news of a loved one.

I have to admit, my biggest fear would be being caught in a fire. When I see pictures of those who have died, in my minds eye I see their faces twisted in pain and fear. Burning to death is the most painful thing I can imagine and I find it so scary.

So I'm still crying for those people who have died, those who have been injured, those who have lost so much. Please, if you're reading this blog, consider donating to the Australian Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal. Even a small amount will help those in such desperate need rebuild their lives.