June 2ndSo this is a rather long diary- as many of you would know by now Kalorama was ground-zero for a brutal weather assault and it's taken nearly 4 weeks for us to get power & the internet back on. We are safe, the house is 99% ok, the Archives all ok, Banshee fine and our yard looks like a war zone. 39 huge trees down, and of course just after we got the yard looking really good! A lot has happened over the 4 weeks, so some of it below...more will follow in the next F/16 update.
June 3rdSuzi Quatro-71 today! She still rocks hard, well sometimes!
Covid Lockdown extended by a week for Melbourne. Whatever keeps us safe. Lockdowns no longer rattle us, we just deal with them.
June 4thThe new Crowded House album is out today. I still can't get into it, i'll give it a few more goes. I just wanted it to be this amazing album and hit the #1 spot. I'm so proud of the Crowded House history and the incredible music , I just find this new release so lifeless. is it me? Probably. I guess the true test will be how it goes on the charts. Usually week #4 you can tell if an album is loved by the masses, it tends to be top 10 and not at number 70! We shall see I guess. I guess with Crowded House there is so much exceptional history that the bar is rather high as far as gold standard goes. End of day it's Neils band and good on him for doing whatever HE wants!
A cold wet, grey day but hundreds of yellow Winter daisys are out at Ailsa Craig.
June 5thMiss K calls up, from glorious Pittsburgh-so good to hear from her. We both needed a fun chat today.
June 6thA late night for us, the big fire burning away in the pool room. Some serious and not so serious pool playing. Some late night lentil soup too.
The Delta version of Covid is now in Oz. I worry a bit that the vaccine isn't very effective against it.
We are hanging out for a new season of The Expanse.
June 7thThe Deli at Olinda was packed today, every man and his dog wanting a coffee. Lots of dogs actually, the locals love taking their gorgeous mutts out for a walk.
A friend gives me a copy of the Cold Chisel double Best Of cd. I'm not a massive Chisel fan but I do love some of their songs. We would see them in the very early days, playing small venues around Sydney and putting on some passionate live shows. So I'm allowing myself to love this release, the special one with the 2nd bonus album. Onya Jimmy!!! Sometimes a good dose of Chisel gets the blood pumping.
June 8thI'm tagging people with what they do as part of my secret squirrel moment (Example- "Barbara Book Woman") . It's one way I remember their names. I met a young bloke today, trying to be a good example around him, at the same time not being a boring old fart. As a youngster I hated old people who lectured.
June 9thI'm in the office and at 9.35 an Email arrives on my screen, reminding me that our House & Contents Insurance is due in 2 weeks. Suddenly the wind picks up outside and rain pounds the Office window. Time to head to the house.
It's weird outside, the wind is spinning about and so much tree drop in the air. Is this a big storm arriving? We've had no major warnings but this one feels different.
By the time i get to the house I'm soaked, and bits of branches are hitting the kitchen window. The chimney in the kitchen is leaking, just slightly-always a bad sign as it never leaks. Last time was when a monster storm hit the Dandenongs.
The temperature has dropped but we have a roaring fire going in the lounge room. We are using a lot of wood so i make the decision to go to the garage and get more. I put on my "On the road" waterproof jacket and head out into it. Boy it certainly is windy. As I approach the garage two of our massive trees come crashing down across the back metal gate flattening it like a pancake. I see more trees from a neighbours place take out the corner power pole and sparks are firing everywhere. This isn't good, I turn tail and run back to the house. As I near the backdoor I hear another loud crash and a huge tree limb takes out the satellite dish. All around the valley you can hear the crash of trees falling, and more sparking on the other road near us. The mobile system fails and the NBN is dead. I tell Mark I'm going to attempt to get to the payphone on the Tourist Rd, and call the SES in the hope they'll turn up for the live power lines. I wear my thick green Police jacket with hood -some protection and into the night I go. It takes me awhile to get out of the property, two trees down across one of the roads in front of our main gates. I see another fall in the distance- trees are dropping like domino's. I do feel uneasy being out in this and decide to cut through Kalorama Oval -believing the centre of the oval is the safest place from collapsing tall timber. The wind is picking up again and so loud. I look to the south end of the oval and what the fuck-hundreds of bats flying towards me. Thankfully i cover my face , it's not bats but hundreds of pine cones flying like shrapnel in this insane wind. They hit me, cuts and bruises and I'm on the ground trying to cover myself up-thank god I wore the hood. I crawl, run, crash across the oval. Near the east edge there are now ten cars. I'll never forget those faces. families peering out , white ghost faces from tiny torches-looking terrified. They have obviously fled their houses & found refuge at the oval. Suddenly a MASSIVE tree collapses behind the cars -one of the old giants that surround the oval. It hits the earth like a body blow- and I'm thrown around. I bolt towards the Tourist Rd and get to the pay phone but Yes, it's dead as a dodo. I have the urge to get home as soon as possible. Garbage bins are flying in the air now the wind speeds are increasing (past 200 km they clocked them!). My street is a war zone, trees are collapsing at every house, our friend Carol at #1 loses the back of her entire house. I spend an hour climbing over a beaver dam of fallen trees, it would normally take me 5 minutes to get home. I can't get in the front gate so try for the back entrance way near our garage.
The back street was even worse, there was no way I could climb over this much destruction. I spot the clay gutter and slide into the wood pile of debris -and the gutter works. I climb out near our garage. Power lines are now down across the gates and seem to disappear , crushed into the ground. I hoist myself up onto the garage roof-two spears of wood poking out of it, but overall the garage is ok-well so far. I have to crawl across the roof as the wind is so strong I'd be blown off. I go to lower myself down onto the fairly new garage steps but alas they are gone, smashed to pieces , some parts in the trees , the rest simply gone. I guess I'm somewhat shellshocked , otherwise I'd cry at the level of destruction. Thankfully Ailsa Craig looks ok-no trees down on the house, but limbs and tree drop all over the roof. I just hope Mark & Banshee are safe inside.
Mark looks at the mess that I'm in and we are all a bit freaked. Our emergency escape option is down into the wine cellar for extra protection. All our emergency torches, candles, first aid kit are out & close by. We huddle close together, defying the elements to fuck with our amazing house. It is like Ailsa Craig is protected, we hear hundreds of trees crash down during the next 10 hours. The house is nearly 100 years old and she is a tough ol' girl- 10 hours of vibrating like an endless earthquake-but somehow at sunrise the house is mostly intact.
June 10thIt's a weird feeling, when you walk out the door of your house and realise you now live in a disaster zone. We couldn't just walk out the door, took a lot of pushing as some much debris behind it. It's a bit like you've just crawled out of your Nuclear bunker and in awe of the new landscape. You feel sad that after many months of yard work it's pretty much all gone, you feel relieved that your amazing house is still in one piece and that you are alive. We are also in shock, the streets are no longer to be seen , and there is a strange man wandering around in our yard. He's one of many that were forced to find shelter in their cars on the road above us while power lines, poles and trees collapsed around them. I get him a warm drink and sit him down while Marks is surveying the property. We count 39 trees down and some are ancient giants. The holes they left I could stand in and you couldn't see the top of my head. We climb over them and make it to one of our side roads and every property around us is in the same shape. The new neighbours across the road we go and check on, it takes 30 minutes to make it to their door. Thankfully they are ok but the yard like ours is littered with trees. We spend the next hour checking on the others on our street as best we can. This is going to take forever to repair, none of the streets have power lines, most no longer haver power poles. I worry about Mark as he has put so much into the yard and it's now a tangle of vegetation.
First thing to do is to get as much water in containers, a good chance the Silvan Dam might be contaminated. Next we check our food stock and our emergency Covid pile. Not a lot of food, and strangely enough today our 3 weeks Woolworths delivery was meant to happen. Unless Woolies are now air dropping supplies we certainly won't see the Woolworths van up here for weeks. "We'll try and get to Olinda", I suggest to Mark. The roads will be covered and even our mountain bikes will be useless, so looks like we will try and hike. We leave almost straight away as I'm worried about any food on the mountain will be gone. People panic during such disasters. I decide to make a sign, in case someone can access the road and might stop. I change clothes, from my muddy jeans to my golden chunky cords. I grab some cardboard from the office & make a sign to hold up for any motorists to stop & help us. We access the Tourist Rd via the road that runs past our back gate and shake our heads in horror at the number of trees down. If we thought our road was bad , the Tourist Rd is one hundreds times worse. So bad that a road we know every inch of it by heart, we don't recognise anymore. None of it. About a thousand trees lay on top of each other over the edge and I realise what we thought was the white line on the edge of the road was indeed the MIDDLE of the road. Yes one entire side of the road gone, covered in soil and an endless number of trees. Some are monsters, on their side & pushing out across the road. One lone cutting machine has managed to remove some pieces so in theory a small car might get through.
Nowhere to walk so we are on the road, or what is left of the road. No cars , no more machinery, and the world is incredibly quiet. No bird life either, which is strange, hopefully they all got out of Dodge before the storm hit. Suddenly a tiny Putt Putt noise breaks the silence, a car! Marks says "I bet they won't stop" but he is wrong-THEY DO. Inside 2 lovely hippys-well Kalorama style Hippys which are far cooler. The girl winds down the window and says "I can never resist a man in golden cords" -we all laugh. God we all so needed to laugh! They are both wonderful but like us shell shocked. All 4 of us stare in silence except for the odd "Holy Fuck" - destruction everywhere. The car park at William Ricketts sanctuary looks like an overflowing goldfish bowl of wooden splinters-I try not to think has happened to the beautiful statues in the sanctuary. I no longer know where we are on the road, the landscape is so different. So many houses are crushed, yards gone and monster trees circle the road, all down. We finally arrive at Olinda and the township is empty. Except for 1 person. I spot our mate Caroline from Kellys on the Hill slip into Montage. The closed sign is up, no lights on, no power? Maybe she kept a key when she worked there as cook? We thank our Kalorama car pooling mates & run across the road-burst into Montage.
It's pitch black inside and Caroline is sitting with the owners-all look surprised by our grand entrance. All 3 look very tired. "We need to buy food" I blurt out. No hello's just straight to the desperate point. Sadly Montage has no power etc , but they do look after us as mates always do up here. We graciously accept their offerings. We walk around the corner and a bit shopped-the Organic Fanatic is opening it's doors. We use our Covid emergency stash and buy organic produce and other stuff. Time to head home so I turn our sign over and write a new one. We are standing by the road and Channel 9 arrives and is filming us in all our desperate glory. We chat to them for awhile, give them some tips on where to film & our address. They say if we don't get picked up they will drive us. They film again and the one and only car goes by and ignores us and the sign. "Bastards" mutters Mark ...I wonder if he is mouthing "Bastards" on the Channel 9 news that night. HA! Anyway , the car stops and reverses back- the driver says he thought our sign said Sassafras. So they take us back to Kalorama - the same shock on all our faces-now shocked at the view of destruction on the other side. We see Channel 9 again at Ailsa Craig and they film some of it. Mark and myself head off to explore just how bad things are. We head down the dirt end of our main road and totally blocked - we can only just climb to the top for a look. Houses everywhere with trees down the middle of them, cars squashed like bugs. We were probably in shock but failed to recognise it. It takes ages to get home. We arrive to find food on our doorstep. Thai curries, cheese, bread 6 litres of milk etc. We suspect that somehow Montage has managed to get to our doorstep and kindly leave us this wonderful bounty.
We both head down to the oval next on our way to the payphone to try & call home. Our mobiles still dead. We meet these rather cool women and help them erect a marquee. They have hot water on but very little milk. "We have 6 litres" , and bolt home to get some for them. Soon I'm stirring a curry, taking photos and it is the start of something that will change our lives forever. The amazing women who lit the fuse around all of this (in no particular order). Deb, Paige, Nia, Jill, Sam , Jo, Cadi-Lee and I bet I've forgotten some. All very different personalities, all bringing such great things to make this Community Hub such a success. I guess they adopted me, put up with me (way too many bad jokes) and possibly by the end even "got me". They have the infamous "fire pit" burning away, keeping us warm. It lives at the Hub for the entire time. After 2 hours we head home, we promise to return and will spread the word. I also make a little list of some groceries that can be given out free and a secondary list of contacts. I dare say all the girls were doing the exact same thing- great minds do think alike in times of crisis.
Our next challenge is to start clearing the storm damage-a massive task. We work on the top gate and part of the street. The beauty of this community shone today, everyone headed out to the road with shovels, chainsaws, axes and started clearing it. A massive effort but it got done to the point where 1 car could drive up it at a time. While we were attacking the giant pile, a small van pulled up from Emerald Hill Mission. They offered us coffee, doughnuts and sandwiches. At first we proudly said "No" and we could smell that coffee brewing and changed our minds. These people were wonderful and just what we needed. We sat down on a chainsawed log and remembered to breathe. Maybe that was my first tear, only one-no time for tears. I gave Mark a much needed cuddle.
Our day was long, the mess seems endless, and we keep finding more destruction. Fence lines covered and crushed, metal gates pounded to a pulp, it looks like an impossible task to clean up. Mark has areal sadness to his face. I hug him and tell him we will get through this. He is at ypical Leo and expects to have it all done right now. I know it will take at least 6 months. I go for the "bit at a time'" option. Dinner tonight is what is perishable and thank god we have a lot of candles and firewood.
June 11thA bit of sleep last night, probably exhaustion-I heard another half dozen trees come down. Even tiny noises make me jump. I head back out on the back street this morning as I wanted to check on a few other neighbours & take them a tiny amount of supplies. A new Channel 9 crew is filming in front of our house. I jokingly tell them the spot is reserved for ALL Channel 9 crews. I see Mark walking up the trail and i decline an interview but say 'that guy over there will do one". Mark walks out the gate and the pretty news woman says "So you'll do the interview". "Well that's NOT going to happen" laughs Mark. The crew laugh, I am so mean to media. But good on Channel 9 for telling Australia what a terrible situation this is. They also tell us that it is now an official Disaster Zone and Police are blocking all roads in and out.
We walk around the yard and each time find more and more trees down. We count 39! Do we win a prize if we hit 40? Daunting. We are lucky none have fallen on the house. I climb up on the slippery roof and clear some of the mess- the solar panels appear to be ok but lots of branches and who knows what the multiple power surges have done to the various electrics. The view from the roof of Ailsa Craig is scary, all the properties around us, trees down, snapped like pretzel sticks. In the distance just thousands of snapped tree trunks with no leaves.
We need to mentally escape the condition of the yard so go for a walk, well a climb. We try the end of our road and every few metres massive trees block the way , tree after tree and sometimes 3 stories tall. All sleeping sideways. We decide to venture back to the oval and see if any people are hanging about. I remember to grab 2 more litres of the Montage milk as I'm sure milk is now scarce & people will need it for tea and coffee. The next few hours I'm stirring a curry and boiling water on the primus for tea. Everyone asks "where did you get milk"? I chat to the girls and lots of ideas are thrown about, some already happening. We have some shelving from the incredible generous Bunnings store on Bayswater rd at Kilsyth. Spend a bit of time adding a tiny amount of 'stock". I joke "welcome to the Kalorama Free Supermarket" (KFS to our friends). Contacts are made, favours are called in and the shelves fill. Everyone is playing a part, and we all seem to have some natural sort of role. Our first "customers" come in, I say "shoplifters welcome" which gets a chuckle, a much needed laugh...I over-use the joke way too many times during the next month. Word arrives that some more stock is on the way tomorrow. We already have requests for fuel, generators, some people need showers- we offer free showers at our place as we still have gas hot water and a working oven. Just no electricity. This will grow, you can feel it in your bones, even the basic opening of the main road will take weeks. People need supplies now. I can't speak for the girls but from the start I always looked at the KFS as abit of a handbag- a fake thing to entice the community to the oval-to sit talk, cry, seek help , make new friends, and stand united. Bloody hell it really worked.
I make it home a few hours later and Mark is worn out trying to reclaim the yard. He looks so fucking sad and I can do little to stop that. I'm already worrying about him. I make a really nice dinner- romantically candle lit -because all we have is cande light. Banshee climbs onto the couch with us and we all cuddle. We will get through this I mutter with huge tears in my eyes. Tears that still appear when I type this.
June 12thMark spoils me by making these amazing omelettes for breakfast- they taste fantastic. Nice to be spoiled. We try to look after each other.
I walk around and take photos for Insurance - mostly outside. We hear on our grapevine that we might not have power for 3 weeks. Some are saying one week, we find that to be impossible, they still can't get some of the larger pieces of equipment up here.
The main chainsaw dies so we use the small one with the super battery. Thankfully we might have some power at the Hub-Free Supermarket today. So I pack the battery and recharger and head on down. I somehow stay for many hours. Today is the first day where I deal with over 20 people crying, a few almost collapsing and many in shock , half of them blokes. I'm basically the one guy in the shop, so they head to me, which is ok. By #3 I'm tougher in some ways and try to work my magic. Many have lost their houses, many are freezing- no dry fire wood (add that to the list) some need to charge phones to try and get a line out. (Mobile is down). Still frustrating that there is no sign of a Counsellor from the local Yarra Ranges, so many of these people have trauma. We do our best though.
I head home with some lunch for Mark and to continue the endless clean up. Some of the fallen trees are giants , we will need professionals in to move them. A nice surprise as the other Peter & Mark arrive. I talk to them about my idea to deliver wood, water, food etc to some of the older people that live alone up here. Today I got a tiny list of 3 people who need such assistance. They kindly offer their chunky though gorgeous red Holden Rodeo-which is perfect. So kind of them. So off to their place to pick it up. They also give us some extra food and IGA are giving away bags of ice for free so we score some of them. No fridge so ice is a must. Driving back from Olinda and the destruction continues to blow my mind. Giant trees still poke out & some areas only 1 car can get by-and only just. I drive past Ricketts Sanctaury and the car park just full of trees-I try not to think of what it will be like inside the Sanctuary itself.
We take a chance and head down one of the old fire trails & eventually emerge at Montrose. The power is out down here too & a few trees down. We get to the supermarket and stock up. Also I find a payphone that is working, so call my Mum, Sister etc, Mark makes a few calls. They all sound so relieved.I scrape up more coins as I think our lives will be payphones for awhile, till the mobile towers are repaired. We call into Bunnings and sit on their couch and use the Internet for a few minutes. I pop up a post on Facebook, so people know we are ok. The Police stop us heading home and we show our ID and get the all clear to go back into the disaster zone.
I have bought a few extra things for the "Free Supermarket" , just a few items people were looking for and couldn't find. I spend another 5 hours at the hub. A few new faces, and volunteers are wandering about. They ask me what I want them to do. So yeah i bluff it, I whisper in Paige's ear "what can we get them to do". Between us we set them into motion. Everyone is cheerful, doing something just takes us all away from the disaster. I find some teenage boys crying under a tree, so we talk and I ask them if THEY can help us. Giving them something to do just takes them away from this too, and pressure at home. We are told that a large tent will be set up in a few days so Kaloramians can have dinner at the oval. The wheels are turning.
June 13thRed Symons of Skyhooks turned 72 today. Weird, we are in this "disaster bubble" but I still remember it's Mr Symons birthday!
I walk around the yard and take more photos for Insurance. The more I walk the more I see that needs fixing or replacing.
Some internal politics at the Community Hub area today. So glad I'm not part of that side of things- I just want to help my community. People are talking in hushed whispers about it. I walk a fine line that is commonly called "sitting on the fence". I do meet this really nice bloke called Dean. A bit of a legend around the Black Saturday bushfires. My brain ignites with this amazing familiarity around him. It's so weird, like Marky , i feel I have known him for a thousand years. I avoid telling him this in case he thinks I am an absolute freak-hell I feel like I am an absolute freak even thinking such odd thoughts. That quote from Paulo Coelho rushes through my head " Important encounters are planned by the souls, long before the bodies see each other". That's if I even believe in such things. My thoughts of walking this planet at a different time in a differnet skin, are broken by the call for "Peter, where is Peter". I shrug at Dean, "I'm needed". Off goes Peter and by the time i return 2 hours later Dean has departed.
June 14thA nice day the sounds of chainsaws rattle in the air of Kalorama. Which is kind of fitting owing to my quote in The Age "The Hills are alive with the sound of chainsaws"! The media are now rolling in on a regular basis- making up for their slow coverage of this disaster that was on their very doorsteps. Maybe it's because some believed it was just a little storm, or maybe because no one died- it's only when people see the images of the destruction that they freak out. Bianca from The Age is great and I agree to have a chat if they mention we need HELP up here. Hell I even pose for a photo or two. Whatever it takes.
In the morning I deliver food, water and fire wood to 12 homes. One to an older lady called Sally up on the Ridge Rd. Her car looks like a metal pancake, her walkway ripped up into pyramid shapes and a tree just missed her house. Her son finally manages to get up here, and is so grateful we turned up. So far everyone has been relieved that they have some supplies. After delivery #12 I'm mentally fried at the mess. It's the worst day so far , with regards to people upset- and you can't blame them. They all look exhausted. We offer comfort, food , a list of help, and whatever else they need. I meet a really cool Chaplain at the oval. I ask her if I should refer to her group as a Flock- she says as long as I don't get it mixed up with the other word. This makes me laugh-I like her. The Goddess is on our side.
I arrive home to find some survival bags from various charities, one being the Salvo's. This makes me smile.
June 15thOn one of my home deliveries this morning an unstable woodpile comes down on my hand. As a mate says "No good deed is left unpunished"! (: Thankfully back at Kally oval Shane from the CFA who is a medic patches it up. They take a quick snap that I didn't realise was for their website. Rolls eyes! But he's a good guy so whatever they want. God bless the CFA. A shout out to the Bayswater CFA too- they turned up and chaissawed a big part of the fallen trees on one of our driveways. Really lovely blokes & yes it is true, a few rather studly (they'll love this). Thanks fellas.
I did find out the ARIA chart for Crowded House in Australia. It took a guy up in a tree connecting wires, a phone on a piece of string & finally getting a signal and the net. #2 he shouts. A bit odd as I expected this to easily go to #1 in Oz. It takes so few sales to hit the top spot here, and they've had so many months of vinyl sales. 4 weeks later and it is out of the top 100. I find it a really difficult album to enjoy. I've tied many times but have given up on it. Which is a bit sad. It simply doesn't feel or sound like Crowded House to me. But hey it's just my thoughts. I'm sure many love it.
June 16thI was woken by Mark at 4AM this morning. "Someone is trying to drill through the security doors at the office he says". We are both in our pajamas and now armed with rather large baseball bats. We are both furious-what sort of scumbags try to loot during such things. Our alarm systems are in a semi state due to the amount of debris covering areas in parts of the property. Some are now triggered and lights go on and alarm. We arrive at the office and they are gone. One door is open but not the secondary security. The security system worked even in it's low disaster state. Our neighbour Martin tells us that he saw a suspicious guy running down around that time. He or She is so lucky that we didn't catch them, especially Mark in his current mind set he may well of played baseball with their head. Disaster like this certainly bring out the best and the worst in humans.
Mark is working the yard way too hard. Trying too fast to get it back to it's previous state. Sending him a bit crazy, which I get as Kalorama is a giant christmas stocking stuffed with crazy at the moment. I tell him to slow down and he gets freaky and give the garage door a few kicks. Good to let it all out, I'm fine with that-just don't break the door and add it to the insurance list!! The yard will take time, we both have to accept that and work it slowly. Some of it is my fault as I'm now throwing myself into helping the community at the Hub & Free Supermarket. I do some stuff around the clean up , but nowhere near as much as Mark is trying to achieve. We finally manage to get some of the art room/garage steps out of the fallen trees and while doing so we spot Banshee exploring the new landscape. New smells, old smells, thankfully no dead wildlife so far. With 35,000 trees down you wonder about creatures habitats, not just our own.
June 17thI get the Rodeo off the mountain and call into Woolworths-speak to Joe who supplies me with Schnitzels, Organic Lamb sausages, some vegan food, several boxes of fruit and other items all for the Kalorama Free Supermarket. Thank you Woolies at Bayswater. I head to Bunnings and buy some old ladies af ew bathroom items , because theirs have been flattened, including anew toilet seat. I'll always shop at this Bunnings as they have been so supportive to the people up here.
Today the longest day at our Kalorama Relief Hub - but I manage to make it home by 7.00 and cook Enchilada's for dinner. Candle lit which is the case for what I believe are many more weeks. I bring home 2 UFO lights for mark. They are circular, with a suction on the base and really light up his white bathroom, really so he can have a shave. They also stick on the shower wall - a great invention. Mark clips on his miners light and reads a book, I fall asleep on the couch, rather exhausted.
June 18thI pick up some butchers paper from my butcher at Montrose (thank you guys) so i can wrap the schnitzels, sausages for people to take home. They all go in 2 minutes- people so thrilled to get these. A big ice freezer arrives, one of our requests, full of bags of ice- for the 95% of us who's fridges are now without power. My new friend Louise from SES says goodbye, I refer to her as my "Third Wife" and we greet each other like some oddball married couple. Anyway she is departing today, she has been really good, so have most of the SES. We will miss them.
June 19thAusNet services are now at the oval, going through some cash payouts because of the power contracts. Our NBN van is a blessing as it means the Ausnetters can access stuff on line and put in claims. I was their first guinea pig for the day. One went through ok, the other who knows. Stef from Ausnet is really nice and seems to know what she is doing. Grahame at the NBN van really looks after Mark-he has his own private table inside and can access the Net, most of the time. A canopy, tv screen and a roaring fire pit outside. It's a good area for Marky. He needs to get away from the yard and be social down here. I always hoped the KFS at the Hub would be exactly that for the community, it would be a big fail if I couldn't even get my better half to do this. Thankfully he has. Made extra better today when Lillie arrives with her incredible cooking volunteers. The food is amazing and that makes Mark extra happy.
Quite a few Kalorama musicians playing in the big white Alien Autopsy tent while dinner was on. There was a small change in the "vibe" , people are talking more and some healing has commenced. I stand with the girls tonight and we all smile , it's starting to feel right.
June 20thHappy Birthday to our neighbour Jason. Despite all this we remember and give him a decent bottle of champagne and a card.
I take my washing to the oval but the portable washing people are too flat out to do it. Thankfully Alex from the Salvo's takes my black jeans to wash and Peter & Mark (The Others) take the tiny pile of the rest-bless them.
This diary is very late, and has been rather difficult to pen. Emotions running high and still rather raw. Thanks for being patient. I'll work on another soon. Basically at the time of writing-we are safe, Ailsa Craig the house is 99% intact , we have been working tirelessly on the yard and 80% restored. mentally pretty good, the 3 weeks of no power , no Net etc have in many ways been very good for us. Toughened us up and a bit in awe that we handled it so well. There have been many many good things from this, some amazing new friends, our life restructured somewhat, great for our relationship. Still in awe that no one died during this disaster- someone certainly is watching over us and this marvellous community.
To be Continued ....
Love Peter & Mark