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As the Man About The House was leaving for four weeks in the UK the day after the show finished in Broken Hill, I decided to give it a shot at driving right through back to Melbourne in the faint hope I might get back to at least say goodbye!

I packed the car with most of the stuff I had been living with in the cottage, made sure everything was clean and tidy and had an early night in anticipation of being able to get away before dawn.

It was a great drive down from Broken Hill to Wentworth….dodging those b*/#$@y goats….damn it if those things aren’t THE most stupid creatures!!!!

As I got closer to Wentworth, strangely familiar silhouettes graced the tops of the rises.  This year celebrates the 75th anniversary of the release of the Citroen TA – famous for the introduction of front wheel drive in standard production cars. I have one of these fabulous cars tucked under the carport and have been a fan (and owner) since my teens.

Running repairs on Effie after she had crossed the Nullabor in '93

Running repairs on Effie after she had crossed the Nullabor in '93

It was a delightful to see 14 of them as they passed head north to their next overnight stop in Broken Hill.  Seeing these cars  has prompted me to go search out all those photos of mine and scan them so I can put together an online record of my Citroen adventures over the years.

I made it back to Melbourne in time to find the MATH not yet packed and fighting with the computer….oh dear!  Suffice to say, he made it the airport in one piece and I did get to say goodbye.

The full horror and the extent of losses in the fires is yet to be fully revealed.  As the death toll climbs (173 confirmed dead at last count) there are families and friends all over the world touched by this tragedy.

In my personal corner, my family is safe but each of them have friends affected.  Friends are reeling at the news of lost family members, neighbours and friends. The property losses count in the millions but are insignificant in the face of the human toll.

jac_and_her_dad

It was a bittersweet time I spent yesterday with my daughter at her father’s bedside.  His surgery has been successful and he faces a long road to recovery.  Despite this, he is keen to be back up and out there with his volunteer CFA brigade protecting his community from further loss.  It will be sometime before he is fit to do so, but his son is still out there fighting the fires still threatening life and property.

There are appeals being coordinated for donations for relief funds – via the Australian Red Cross and the Salvation Army as well as at all the major Australian Banks.  Many retailers are conducting appeals including supermarkets donating proceeds from shoppping done on Friday.  The RSPCA and the Wildlife Carers Group are also seeking financial aid to provide for the animals injured.  Your support is welcomed.

The Blood Bank is in need of blood and blood product donations but can only manage to deal with a certain number of donations at any one time so it is suggested you register online and you will be advised of when your donation can be made.

My thoughts are with all those who have suffered loss.

The past 24 hours have been harrowing for many, the loss of life and property has been on a scale never before experienced in Victoria.

Personally I have had a day I would rather forget as my exhusband was severely injured fighting the fire that flared in Ferntree Gully yesterday. Surgery to repair four spinal fractures has taken place today and it is reported he has feeling and movement in all limbs so there is great relief all round.

He has been a CFA volunteer fire fighter for the best part of the last 20 years and has attended many dangerous and devasting fires in that time.  It is hard to reconcile the feeling of helplessness you feel when events like this take place, especially knowing that people of his calibre are out there risking everything for the welfare of others.  The hospital staff are calling him a hero – he’s denying it.  Every one of those men and women out there risking themselves on our behalf are heroes.

This time it was someone I knew who has paid for his selflessness and commitment to his community.  We should all be thankful to them.

This horror is by no means over yet – friends are unaware if they have a home to go to; others are trapped in their homes in Kinglake unable to get away if the fire changes direction and the fires are nowhere near under control.

My thoughts are with those who have lost family and friends.majfireman_gallery__600x391This is one of many pictures taken of the volunteers who risk their lives – many more like this as well as video footage can be viewed on The Age website

Just when you thought it was safe to set foot back home, life goes and tosses you a curve ball!

Here I was all ready to settle down to some quiet work at my own pace, when I received a call from my sister.

Over the week whilst I had been away, my mother has been admitted to hospital and this morning underwent surgery for colon cancer.  This is the second time she has been under the knife for colon cancer – the first was almost 20 years ago now.

Across town in another hospital is her elder brother, also readmitted this week as scans had revealed his condition had worsened.  He is also a cancer survivor – however the tumours they have found this time are unrelated to the first occurrence.

We have genetic testing in place for breast cancer – I wonder is there a general profile testing procedure that would be of some help in tracking cancers of any kind in families?  Can the cases of my mother and uncle be attributed to exposure to some carcinogenic substance in their misspent youths?

Answers to these questions won’t help either of them in their fight for health, however it might offer some hope to the future generations.

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