Misty moisty marvel
Well, this was the glorious sight when we got up this morning: the promised marine layer had rolled in and everything was drenched and soothed in its dense, white moisture. Such a change from Monday at the same time (a few posts below this).
Let's hope this really helps to slow things down on the fire front. And cools us all down.
:: The TV news broadcasts have started showing interviews with some of the hundreds of poor souls who have lost everything in the fires. They've talked about what they lost, but also about the things they'd managed to save, and on Wednesday there was an interesting short article in the LA Times discussing exactly that: when told to get out of harm's way, what do you grab to take with you? Of course, I can't find the article now I want to quote from it, but one woman said the first thing she packed was a $1000 pair of shoes she'd just bought, which she put in her Porsche with her dog. And a man had to be forcibly restrained when he tried to push his piano outside. The stress of the moment, and the overwhelming sense of urgency, do play their part in these decisions.
For us, things were greatly simplified by the knowledge that all our real, significant family treasures are safely in storage in Shenton Park (oooh - must pay that bill today!), in Australia. All our boxes of photos and kids' art and kids' first shoes and s-t-u-f-f we'll keep forever. So here, we could quickly think of the few bits and pieces we wanted to save. We had also taken the precaution, earlier on the Monday, of packing a small bag each, with clothes and toiletries for a couple of days. So when we had to get out quick, we just had to pick and pack the important stuff.
For me, that was my mum's pearls, which I wore on my wedding day and which she eventually gave to me; the goldminer's brooch that she gave to me, and other bits of jewellery from Mum and Dave. I briefly toyed with the idea of saving my reference books — Macquarie dictionary, Aust. Government style guide, Oxford book of quotations, etc — several hundred dollars' worth in half-a-dozen books. But they stayed, and instead I took all the paintings off the living room wall, wrapped them in sheets and stashed them in my car. Then I filled a grocery bag (photographed just before I unpacked it on Wednesday) ... ... with the big plastic wallet in which we keep our passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, Dave's Social Security card, my Australian citizenship certificate; two smaller Australian paintings; our cheque book; a Bach CD; the new registration sticker for Lily's car; four paid bills; some referral forms from my doctor for some routine hospital tests; and a bottle of perfume.
Meanwhile, Dave had rushed upstairs to grab ... ... Lily's battered and much-loved, coverless and almost spineless copy of The Lord of the Rings, and the teddy, also a bit battered, now, that he gave her the morning after she was born. These two precious items got hurled into the laundry basket with five framed photos of the kids, the dogs' leads, their bowls, and a bag of dog biscuits.
By this time, we had managed to get Will out of bed, and he came thumping down the stairs with one of our enormous long-haul suitcases, absolutely crammed with stuff and weighing a ton. Inside was all his camera gear, a few clothes and his X-box. He also filled his art portfolio with his drawings and threw in all his drawing gear. We packed the dogs' beds, our pillows, our assorted bags and the laundry basket and we were off.
:: Here's how our swimming pool looked on our first day back:
There's a layer of ash, leaves and twigs — and bougainvillaea petals, oddly enough — on the surface, and also on the bottom. I started scooping it out, and even though it's been wet a few days, it still stinks of burning. Very spooky.
:: The air quality is pretty bad, with fine ash everywhere that gets in your throat and even your eyes. Everyone has been warned to stay indoors and wear masks outside if they need to be outdoors for any length of time.