Wednesday 18 November 2009

Swings and roundabouts

They're promising us some hot weather soon. That'll be nice - it's about time. It's a present from Oz, some of the sweltering temperatures they've been suffering with over the last few weeks. Southern Australia has been having a one-in-100-years heat wave - for the third time this year, up in the high 30s for day after day after day, and night time too, which is almost worse.

The Lucky Country is also a very harsh place, and even in the cities life can get uncomfortable, with heat, dust storms and the smoke from bush fires that occasionally get worryingly close. And the people who live out in the bush really have it hard - the Victoria fires this year just the latest horrific example.

When I went out for a Wilderness Wander from Port Lincoln with Phil and Amanda, they let me cuddle Steve, above, a 7-month grey kangaroo orphaned joey, the sixth they've raised, mostly as a result of car accidents with the mothers. I keep writing about Steve because he was so wonderfully cute, and it was such a novelty to be nuzzled by a baby roo - but today's link is that Amanda told me that in the '05 fires in the Eyre Peninsula, they got caught by a sudden leap-frog of the flames from miles away, and found themselves having to grab their children, who were wearing only their swimmers, and running for their lives. There was no time to snatch up anything else, so they lost absolutely everything - including the kangaroo that they had raised, like Steve, from a tiny baby.

They were so sad about it, but they weren't able to mention it to anybody and grieve properly. Because in their small community the fires also killed nine people.

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