December Heat

by John

The temperature outside my workshop is 43 degrees centigrade in the shade.  For readers in our antipodes, ie the northern hemisphere, that is 109.4 degrees fahrenheit.

I remember working on a farm when it was 45.5/114 degrees.  I was hoeing vegetables.  And coping quite well, with frequent and copious water intakes.   But I was age 17.  I could do a lot of things at age 17 that I would not consider now at age 65.  My workshop is not heated or cooled, so when the temp exceeds 35/95 I give it a miss.

We have had a very dry spring, so the grass and the undergrowth in the bush is tinder dry.  There is a hot gusty wind.  I can smell smoke in the air.  There are bushfires somewhere.   We  have had the warnings from the authorities about dehydration, and fire plans.  Those who live in fire risk areas were advised to activate their fire plans yesterday, and leave homes, farms, and go to safe areas.  No longer are residents advised to fight fires and protect their homes on days like this.  It is just too dangerous.

I live in a city (Geelong) about an hour drive from Melbourne, and today I am babysitting in Melbourne.  When we go home this evening, we drive on a 6 lane freeway to get to Geelong.  I remember some years ago,  a grass fire swept across that road, incinerating cars and motorists, with many deaths.   On the freeway!  

So add bushfires to that lovely list of Australian nasties.  Along with venomous snakes, spiders, great white sharks.  But hey, only the police and crooks carry guns here.  If your neighbour gets cross with you, it is very unlikely that he will be back with an automatic weapon to take out you and your family.

Hopefully it will be a bit cooler tomorrow, so I can do something interesting in the workshop to write about.