Saturday, January 29, 2011

In Swan Hill it's a waiting game

from w
Although my home town is about four and a half hour's drive away, I am thinking of that place this week as the inland sea of the floods move slowly north. The weather is beautiful - sunny and calm, not stormy at all. Here's an update from the ABC today.
Victorians play flood peak waiting game
Updated Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:01am AEDT

A huge mass of water is making its way towards Swan Hill. (User submitted: Donna )

Emergency services say the unprecedented volume of water flowing into Victoria's north-west is making it hard to predict when floodwaters will peak. The floods are now about 95 kilometres long and 50 kilometres wide, with the front now entering Swan Hill and the southern end near Kerang.

The peak is now slowly moving through the Benjeroop area and smaller communities have been swamped. Several communities including Pental Island and Fish Point have been on high alert for days while they wait for the waters to rise.

SES spokesman Lachlan Quick says it is a frustrating wait for some of the communities. "We are dealing with an unprecedented flood surge and that's what we're seeing," he said. "We don't have concrete data on how much and how quickly and what time it will affect these places, so that's actually what we're dealing with. It's a pretty dynamic situation up there. Looking across the weekend we know that the water will start to increase going through Swan Hill and in the townships either side we can expect to see the high levels. The bulk of the floodwaters will probably move through over the next week to 10 days."

The Murray River is expected to remain below the height of the Swan Hill levee, but water levels are expected to remain high for at least another week.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Skippy wins on Australia Day

from w.
And they're racing at Hanging Rock! Twice a year there are picnic races at a picturesque place near Woodend, famous for the setting of a book and film about the mysterious disappearance of schoolgirls. Anyway usually there are about 6000 people enjoying the sunshine and horses at the race meeting, but today, Skippy and a band of kangaroos changed all of that by hopping about the track and even running down the strait. Organizers tried their best but the races had to be abandoned as the sweet grass was too enticing for the kangas. Hoorah, I don't like horse-racing anyway.

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Short Story Winners

from w
This afternoon the winners of the Geelong Writers/Advertiser Short Story competition were announced at a function at the Woodbin Theatre. There seemed to be about a hundred people there as some of us had to stand until an opportunity arose when someone moved out. The winning story was by Dulcie Stone and told from the point of view of a Greek man. We only had a taste of the top stories as the writers only could read for less than five minutes so it was a guessing game where each story would go from there. One story written by a 24 year old young woman was read by a friend because the writer had recently died so that was very touching. Here are some photos from the gig. Smiles for the camera do not tell the whole story. As I chatted with friends and strangers I came to realize how some lives have been changed suddenly by illness or chance. I used to be active in the Geelong Writers organisation as Secretary but passed on the baton to others. Then my writing of short stories and poems fizzled out - losing words - and I went back to drawing and photos. Peceli suggests I gather some of my photos/drawings and place them with some of the shorter poems, or extracts and get a book designed page by page. Perhaps.

The winning story has been published in the Geelong Advertiser today- Monday January 24th with a photo of Dulcie Stone. It's a great read. The other two winning stories will be published on Wednesday and Friday.

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What do you think of 'gated' villages?

Little boxes on the flat land.
from w
Wouldn’t it be loverly to live in a neat strong house half-way up a hillside with a magnificent view of the city lights at night, and parkland and a winding river by day – such as Highton or Queen’s Park area. Instead of the rough and tumble of all kinds of neighbours in an ordinary suburb on the flat land.

But when I read in tomorrow’s Geelong Independent, Kim Waters’ article, I couldn’t help thinking what have we come to when they are building a ‘gated’ community development in the little town of Lara just out of Geelong. It’s not exactly a retirement village for oldies over 70 but intended for baby-boomers – maybe empty-nesters – over 45. The hype is that there is excellent security. ‘The $75 million Lara estate would provide a ‘secure environment’. Gates would be locked between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Homeowners would screen visitors during lockdown to determine who could enter. Lara had great potential says Mr Hollett as it is near the Great Ocean Road and shops. Hey, get a map will you! It’s far from the Great Ocean Road and twenty minutes out of Geelong CBD.

I cannot imagine myself ever wanting to live in such a place. I’m not interested in bowls for a start. Where is the Op shop, the art studios, the church, the musos jamming? What’s happened to the old ‘hippy’ spirit of these baby-boomers that they would be satisfied with such a sanitized environment.

Little boxes, not on the hillside, but sometimes on a very flat flood plain. They say the Armstrong Creek development on the other side of Geelong might have to have a rethink about the potential for getting rather damp.

Meanwhile, my old hometown, where I got my values about ‘home,’ living in a Californian bungalow 1930s house in a household of seven plus dog, in a street named Boys Street where we knew all the neighbours, climbed most of the trees and played all day long, now has a serious flood threat. Not the town itself but the Tyntynder flats north of the town and also a new subdivision near the Little Murray where there are lovely new homes. The water is expected to rise in about three days time. In a phone call to my brother, he said they will have to build large banks to try and stop the water flooding homes. The Murray apparently is about twenty miles wide upstream because the land is so flat.

The photo is of revisiting our family home in Swan Hill. Different owners but they allowed us to have a look through. Nostalgia of course.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Picnic on the grass but not Manet

from W
Yesterday our gang went to the Botanical Gardens and took a picnic lunch and I had ten minutes to take photos shadowed by a thirteen-year-old before the rest took off to swim at Eastern Beach and I went home to mess around with photos and drawings. Today I did some more drawing etc. until we had a delightful visit from relatives for a barbecue lunch in our back yard. It's still holidays for all of us!

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lean on me

from w
Lean on me. No I don't think so. The lady collects flowers and Mr Bunce who designed the Geelong Botanical Gardens, though strictly wooden, may not approve. We had a fine walk around the gardens this afternoon for exercise after three days of barbecue and lovo food. The Gardens are beautiful at present, green and lush and we even discovered pawpaw trees with budding fruit. Then my batteries conked out - blame it on the cheeky photo.

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A different backyard today

from w
The backyard dried out quickly and it was sunny this afternoon and excellent for our barbecue for about twenty people. Earlier we had a Fijian church service up at East Geelong with visitors from the Altona Meadows/ Laverton congregation. It has been a lovely day but we are a bit tired after three days of full-on activities including the funeral of our friend Jieke in Melbourne. Here are some photos from today's barbecue. While it is sunny here, the people in Queensland are mopping up, and many towns in our State of Victoria are experiencing floods as the small rivers break their banks in the towns of Rochester, St Arnaud, Charlton, Donald and others. It's really extreme weather this summer.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Too much water in Geelong also

from w
Now we hear stories of hundreds of roads closed, landslides near Lorne and rivers rising in many parts of Victoria. It has rained heavily here in Geelong and the water in our back yard is almost into the garage and some rooms. The guys here try to move the water as in the photos.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When it's raining

from w
It's been humid and raining for days and days here (though summer should be hot and dry) so we mainly stay at home and obsessively watch the awful TV news about the Queensland floods which affect thousands of people. We complain about being a little drenched here - ankle-deep in water in our backyard - in Geelong - but that's nothing compared with Brisbane, Toowoomba and other places in Queensland. One thing though, is that the infrastructure and emergency services in Australia are good and people are being rescued and redirected. There's always some foolishness though as I saw someone staggering along a street lugging a fridge. Furniture surely is secondary to the lives of people.

Meanwhile, apart from visits to doctors and to buy milk etc. I'm staying next to the computer and here are a few pictures using a program I recently discovered on the second computer's programs.


Friday, January 07, 2011

I'll have a kilo of crocodiles bones thanks

from w
Yesterday after an important errand in the CBD of Melbourne which was almost deserted - and it was 37 degrees in Geelong yesterday - we drove to Footscray market for a bit of a look, shop, and lunch - Chinese combination soup. As we browsed Peceli noticed that crocodile bones were on sale and was tempted to buy but... others in the family said, no way! Anyway we did buy fish and vegetables and I took some photos to play with. This market is great because everything seems so fresh and cheaper than the shops. Last night it was so hot that Peceli and I drove to Eastern Beach and sat for an hour feeling the offshore breeze. Now some tourists in Fiji pay thousands of dollars a night (e.g. Ophrah at Laucala Island) to sit by the sea, but here in Geelong it is free. Many young families were out strolling along the shoreline until late last night so it wasn't like Laucala Island where you pay for privacy. The seaside is to be shared and Geelong is a good place to live.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

How does your garden grow

from w
Yesterday we had a lovely visit to Ema and David's home for a barbecue and I took a couple of photos of plants in their very pretty glass-walled sun-room (there is a name for it I've forgotten now - or is it called a 'conservatory'?). And a pic of Peceli in relaxed mode and Andrew eyeballing goldfish.

Labels: ,