Summertime Memories

While the temperature has been near record levels in my little corner of the world (in South Australia), recently, it’s made me, and probably everyone else in the state seriously appreciate our air conditioners. I have no idea how ancestors coped with 40C+ days without air conditioners? Serious kudos to them. They did it tough and they survived, and it reminds me of one of my all-time favourite genealogy quotes … But also I’ve been thinking about Summertime and what we did when I was young. How many of these can you relate to? ————— Firstly sprinklers were used to not only water the lawn, but were also a great way to keep kids occupied and cool, as they played in the water. But along with that there was plenty of clover and bees – which of course also resulted in beestings. There was the slip’n’slide, do you remember that? That was cool, at least until too much dirt grit got on it, then grazed you as you slid down. There was the little kiddy pool. That was well used, and when my bother and I got older my family got a bigger above ground pool. Summertime as a kid was pretty much spent in the pool! And who remembers the black innertube rubber tyres? They were the best in the pool. There was none of the fancy plastic blow-up ones that are available these days. Cordial or juice icy poles. You know the ones that were frozen in the tupperware iceblock moulds. If you’ve forgotten when they looked like, you can check them out here. The days were filled with outdoor life. Bike riding to friends houses, playing in nearby creeks, or getting dropped at a friend or...

South Australia’s Record Breaking Heatwave...

At present Adelaide is the middle of another heatwave, we’re melting on our third day of over 40°C. It is one of those “burn-the-moment-you-step-outside” type of heatwaves. The “burn-yourself-on-the seatbelt” type heatwaves. On the plus-side this weather is absolutely fabulous getting your washing dry, though you will get sunburnt while you’re hanging it out. While South Australia usually gets one or two heatwaves a summer, they usually hit later in summer. So to say that is has hit us all rather unawares, is an understatement! For those who come from the colder parts of the world (ie. everywhere else), I just wanted to claify what a “heatwave” is defined as. The Bureau of Meteorology define it as “three or more days of unusually high maximum and minimum temperatures in any area”. Which is similar to my understanding of it, which is that it was a run of three consecutive days with the temperature 35°C or higher. But hot weather in Adelaide is nothing new. A quick look on Trove comes up with numerous articles which mention the “record breaking” weather. And while it hit 45°C the other day, it has been higher than that back in 1939! A quick check on the fahrenheit to celsius converter tells me that 116.9°F is 47°C. So yes, that’s most certainly M-E-L-T-I-N-G weather!! And just think … back in 1939 they wouldn’t have had all the comfort that we do with air conditioners in our house, car, workplace, shopping centres etc. So think what it would have been like back...

EVACUATE!!

What would you take with you if you had to evacuate? It’s a tough question. And we can speculate all we like, but no-one can really answer that until they’ve been through it. Not to mention that each scenario is different anyway. Every year you hear of Mother Nature hitting various parts of the globe with floods, fires, earthquakes, cyclones, typhoons, hurricanes, volcanoes, tsunamis, even avalanches and landslides. Each having the potential for devastating consequences. And all of them life threatening and life changing. Australia cops its share of natural disasters, usually of the fire, flood and cyclone type. During the past week South Australia has been hit with the worst fires since the Ash Wednesday fire, which was our BIIIIG one back in 1983. In fact some people are saying this one was worse. Named the “Sampson Flat Fire” after the tiny town in the Adelaide Hills where it started it began on a 44C day and swirly winds – never a good mix. Starting at about 12.30pm on Friday afternoon, 2 January 2015, I can assure you that I never expected to have to evacuate my house less than 12 hours later. But that’s exactly what I did. Mr Lonetester is in the local fire brigade, and he was part of the crew that took over from the first responders, and did the night shift (initially from 9.30pm till 9.30am, then continued into the next shift). While he was out, I stayed up listening to the radio hearing that it was getting closer and closer. I also started to pack a few things … “just in case”. At 11.30pm Frinday night the local fire siren to evacuate sounded. So I loaded up my car, grabbed one of...

A Reality Check

Have you ever been in a situation that makes you really, and I mean REALLY, REALLY, REALLY think about things? Well this happened to me last week, and made me realise a lot of things. Firstly let me explain a few things. I live in the Adelaide Hills. I have for most of my life (I say ‘most’ as there was a short stint of metro living at one stage), and living in the hills brings with it the danger of bushfires. I was in primary school when when one of Australia’s worst bushfires ‘Ash Wednesday‘ hit, and I still have very vivid memories of that. Anyone who has been through a disaster (fire, flood, earthquake etc) will agree, that it is something you NEVER forget. Anyway last week was a week to go down in history. Adelaide’s history anyway. And hopefully one that won’t be repeated anytime soon (or hopefully ever). Adelaide almost broke their all-time maximum temperature of 46.1C. We didn’t quite, only making it to 45.1C. However apart from that, we did have 5 consecutive days of over 40C temperatures, which together with the hot nights making a decent sleep impossible, has been simply exhausting. By Thursday and Friday with the ground completely dried out from whatever little moisture might have been in it, together with high winds, the fire danger rating was sky-high (“catastrophic” is the technical term). And for the first time since Ash Wednesday I actually packed up some things and moved them out of my house. I decided to do that rather than face the regret of losing precious items later. Sure I had a “surely it won’t happen to me” feeling, but I also know that it only takes one spark,...