Friday, September 4, 2009

A Few Thoughts

Deb and I stayed closer to home last weekend. We went out to Warburton a mere hour away.

I took a few photos down the main street.

Now these are not great photos, it was rotten weather, I was not thinking about composition and I quite simply snapped away.


They are nothing like the sort of picture Uncle Harry would want to show on one of his infamous slide nights.

“Wadda ya mean infamous?”

Oh go back to sleep!


The photos are nothing special

But then I had a closer look.

Warburton is in the upper Yarra Valley, with high mountains all around.

The mountain in the background is called Mount Little Joe, and it is as close to the town as it looks. Mount Donna Buang lies just to the north.

In short Warburton is surrounded by bush.

If you look closely at the second photo - I’ve enlarged a section for you here.Warburton ridgeYou can see protruding from the forest canopy, up on the ridge line, the skeletons of many dead trees.

These are the remains of Mountain Ash trees that were killed by the heat of bushfires in the “Ash Wednesday Fires” in 1983 as the flames raced up Mount Little Joe.

By good fortune and a favourable wind Warburton was spared.

This past summer the fires of “Black Saturday” came to within five miles before the wind eased. Over the next few weeks fires approached Warburton from three sides to within a few miles.

Fortunately the weather conditions of “Black Saturday” did not return and fire crews were able to contain the fires using fire breaks and by conducting back-burning until they burnt out.

img12043This sunset photo was taken during this period near Warburton.

What appears to be cloud is actually smoke from burning bushland.

Tuesday was the first day of spring and Victoria has been experiencing drought conditions for eleven years. In spite of a little rain during winter, the bush is tinder dry.

I look at charming little places like Warburton, and remember Marysville and Kinglake where dozens died last summer, and quite frankly I am anxious about what the warmer weather will bring.

“Stop whinging you useless bastard. We’re Aussies we’ll deal with it. Now I’m going to shoot through, probably head down the pub. You comin’?”

That’s my Uncle Harry, a bit rough, but not a bad old bugger.

And now, as Monty Python were so fond of saying, for something completely different.


Above are both sides of a promotional card I picked up while in Warburton on the weekend.

Apparently Tuesday was also “Equal Pay Day” designed to highlight pay disparity between men and women.

Oz is a great place, but it seems even after decades of supposed equality, there are very basic things we still just can’t get right.

“Fair crack of the whip, there you go again. Wadda ya want, that they make you an honorary feminist or something? You’re probably just pissed that your missus earns more than you do. ”

Uncle Harry? I thought you’d gone to the pub.

“Nah, heading down there now.”

(Just a little note on Australian English. Terms like Bastard and Bugger may be either terms of endearment or abusive. What is important is the context of their use and more critically the tone with which they are delivered. So you might call someone a "bit of a bastard" and have them either hug you or hit you depending on delivery.)


heidenkind said...

What is a slide night?

Al said...

Hmm, how to describe a slide night...
Back in the old days before the advent of the internet or digital cameras, (say the 1970s or before) when Uncle harry was somewhat younger than he is now, a popular way to share holiday photos was to project photographic slides onto a screen.
In Oz back in these dim distant times, older relatives became notorious for boring younger family members with a "slide night" when they showed all the slides they had taken on their summer holidays.
Endless slides of Aunt Edna in front of the Big Banana, or Aunt Edna beside the Big Pineapple or Cousin Fred at Surfer's Paradise were sure to bore a young sprog (like Al was then) to sleep, or tears or both

Lisa said...

Ouch--that makes me feel old when someone doesn't know what a slide night is!

We have the same "equal pay" issue in the U.S. Well, not according to my husband but we really do.

Al said...

Hi Lisa,
I agree, ouch!
My other half earns much more than I do, but she is a very rare exception.
For most women it is a case of less money for equivalent or even identical work. It's even illegal here but it still happens (even in government departments).

ParaJunkee said...

The boyz never believe the equal pay thing either. Does it make me old that I know about slide nitght??? Stop by, I have an award for you. Parajunkee