The incoherent blathering and deranged rantings of the self-styled Guru Bob...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Surreal Times

It is hard to believe that this sort of thing is happening about 40 minutes drive from where I live. We have been watching and reading the stories about what has happened to people who may even include people I have met for all I know. At work a lot of people knew or had something to do with whole families who may now be gone, it is at times like this that it becomes very apparent that the whole six degrees of separation thing is very very true...

The scary thing is that I actually had a pretty good weekend. Which is why it all seems so surreal. Admittedly most of Saturday was a complete write-off because of the heat - it was just so incredibly intense - according to the news the highest recorded temperature in Melbourne's history at 46.8 degrees (centigrade) - but according to me when I ventured outside it was like poking your face into a blast furnace. I am not at all surprised that it was like a perfect storm of ingredients for massive bushfires - but was not at all prepared for the actual news.

In Queensland when it is hot the accepted wisdom is to open up your doors and windows and try and get some breeze into your place. Here in Melbourne the opposite is true, you close your doors and windows, put the blinds down and sit in the dark with the fan or aircon on full blast. We were blocking the bottoms of doors to stop any wind coming in because it was so incredibly hot it would have turned the house into a little oven.

We just watched cable television and I finished off my copy of the Berlin Noir trilogy by Philip Kerr which has just been the most awesome read, even the second time around. So sitting at home drinking lots of water, eating fresh fruit and reading - while not the most productive way to spend the day was certainly relaxing and enjoyable. The evening news didn't seem to have many surprises - the bush fires looked bad - but no worse then the annual bushfire news.

The next day we didn't really watch the telvision until really late in the evening on Sunday and by then the news had completely changed for the worse - whole towns destroyed, hundreds of people dead.

It seemed totally surreal - because on Sunday we had gone with a bunch of friends to celebrate my birthday at a Greek restaurant - ate heaps of wonderful food, dranks lots of red wine, and had an excellent time, so good in fact that we kept on going - up the road to Mr Wilkinson for drinks and later to some other place for bite to eat. Getting home very late, happy and inebriated... The next day was a continuation of the birthday theme because I had organised the day off to have with breakfast with Sweet Thang and then off to see Gran Torino which has Clint once again on top of his form as the crankiest grandad you ever did see.

So while I was celebrating turning $#%*, people elsewhere were already in mourning for their friends, family, homes and communities. It is terrible thing and we will all do whatever we can to help them now. I have friends in Blackwood (Heather and Tim) and Kyneton (Sam and Paulie) who all should be ok according to the news reports I have seen, but you never know and I haven't heard back from any of them.

The Premier has annouced an enquiry into it - but having felt the hot wind on my face on Saturday I know that there are no individuals we can blame for this - experienced bushfire survivors are all saying that even the most effective of plans was completely useless against these fires - driven by hot winds, drought affected countryside and lack of water.

As for those people who still deny climate change - for me sitting in a place where one end of the country is underwater and the other is suffering from the worst drought in recorded history - I can't help but think that there is a connection between these extreme weather events and the man-made climate change...


  1. Very tragic times - a MLA up here said today that the Parliament was literally between Hell & Highwater - that seems to sum it up.

    And I agree with you on the blame issue (with the exception of the arsehole arsonists). It is bestto get to the bottom of this ASAP and hopefully prevent a tragedy on this scale from being repeated.

    Best wishes for your friends

  2. Hang tough, Bob. I guess that's about all you can do when this type of massive event happens. You just dig in and get through it.

    Wishing you and yours all the best, my friend. God bless.


  3. Stay safe, Guru.

    You wait-when it starts raining there it'll probably go for a month. That seems to be the way it works.

  4. Glad to here your birthday went well.

  5. I never felt at any risk in the cenre of Melbourne. When theer were the bushfires a couple of years ago the whole city stank of smoke for weeks and weeks.

    I also doubt we will have the same combination of element combining together again for a while. I saw someone on the 7.30 Report last night who said that fie danger is usualy rated on a scale of 1 to 100 - bringing together factors like heat, wind, dryness etc, but Saturday's rating was 300 - so far off the scale that they couldn't have predicted it.

    Someone in today's paper said that if they had of had 200 more firemen on one particular fire they would have had 200 more dead people to deal with. There was so little that anyone coud actually do.

    Today it is freezing down here - I hope that is a good sign?

  6. Yeah, you can't fight those ones on the day, it just comes down to luck and preparation.

    Australia's a funny old country, 'aint it.

  7. Glad you're weekend went well, and hope you're friends are ok.

    Yep the pollies are calling for all sorts of talking shops, commissions etc so they can feather the beds of various lawyers, specialists etc. etc. but in the end they'll not come up with anything ground breaking and just waste tax payers money.

    It's time to decide how to rebuild and get to it.

  8. Happy Birthday GB, I hope your friends are safe.

  9. Yeah I know what you mean. I had an awesome weekend too and feel a wee bit guilty about how much I was enjoying myself as those people died.

    So true about that wind. It was like walking into a giant hairdyer if you went outside. No way you can fight a fire in those conditions.

  10. GBOB, glad ya enjoyed the Birfday..Old Bugger.

    Yeah, lets hope they get it right,

  11. Whoa. Hell of a birthday candle there, Bob!