I am enjoying a couple of days in Canberra with my older brother David and his family. My younger brother Stephen and his wife are here too so it has been a real treat.
Of course meeting my brand new, week old great nephew has been quite the highlight too!
While the intensely coloured sky is a dramatic and beautiful sight the reason for it still a cause for concern.
We made further preparations today as hot, dry and windy weather conditions are expected tomorrow.
I am staying with my parents in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney at present and the area is in the midst of a bush fire emergency. When I returned to Australia last week I was looking forward to experiencing many of the Australian sights, sounds, tastes and smells I have missed over the thirteen years I have been in Canada. I had no idea I would encounter anything like the current bush fire crisis.
Driving home last Thursday, October 17th, I took the following photos:
When we arrived home we talked to my parent’s neighbour about the closest fire. He assured us that it was not travelling in our direction nor would it when the wind changed later that day. The damage caused by that fire and the many others still burning is extensive. Hundreds of homes have been lost. There is a constant smell of smoke in the air and the sound of sirens and helicopters close by. The view from my parents home on Thursday is below. When I looked out today it was no longer so dramatic but the threat is still serious as the temperatures and wind speeds forecast for the next few days are very high. We have spent time clearing the yard and roof of dry leaves and preparing for a possible evacuation.
There are still over 60 fires burning in New South Wales so please pray for an end to this crisis and for the safety of all those involved.
I am in Australia for a few weeks visiting my family. To help me get over my jet lag I went for a short walk in the sunshine on my first day here. As it is spring many of the gardens are looking colourful. What I am enjoying most, though is seeing plants I haven’t seen in eight years, like the bottlebrush above. I was also amused by the sign below.
We are enjoying some sunny warm autumn days this week, perfect weather for a picnic in Gatineau Park. My parents are visiting from Australia so we enjoyed an afternoon in the park snapping photos and enjoying each other’s company. While eating our lunch we were treated to an impromptu concert at an adjacent picnic table. First the musician played a couple of pieces on the erhu then packed it away and pulled out a trombone!
Spring has definitely arrived so the skis and skates have been put away and other sporting paraphernalia is emerging from the closets and basement. Over the winter Andrew did a cross-country ski course and headed out skiing as often as he could. Occasionally I went with him and once B12 even gave it a go. B12 however was introduced to downhill skiing over the Christmas break and it became the highlight of his winter. He joined a group who skied every Tuesday and he watched the weather from one week to the next in the hope that nothing would Jeopardize the ski day. The season ended for him with a full day of skiing with Andrew who took the day off work and donned downhill gear for a change.
B12 also did a soccer winter skills program in preparation for joining a soccer league this spring. After several years of community soccer he is enjoying the challenge, coaching and more serious nature of his new team.
A16 has been training for track since October but has been plagued by illness and injury. Indoor training ended this week and next week she will compete in her first outdoor meet of the season. As she is now at school she is hoping to represent her school at the Ontario high school championships and her club at various meets over the summer.
After doing very little exercise over the winter I have taken on the challenge of doing a “couch to 5K” running program. It is a free podcast series lasting nine weeks and at the end I will be able to run 5K in 30 minutes. I came across it on Jean’s blog where she is blogging about each week of the program as she completes it. I have not run regularly since high school so it was quite a stretch at first. L18 has joined me and we are now in week 5, half way through. We run three times a week following the program which is a mix of running and walking. Each week the program changes slightly increasing the amount of running and decreasing the walking we have to do. On a couple of the days I don’t run, I swim. L18 has kept up swimming at the university pool through out the school year but I much prefer the convenience and warmer temperature of a more local pool.
I noticed the tennis nets have returned to some of the local courts so maybe Andrew and I will recommence our tennis matches soon. I hope to win one this summer. He has also played a few games of squash lately and had his bike out this week to ride to work as the temperatures have been very nice.
All in all we are getting outdoors and enjoying the warm weather and the snow free ground.