Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

I cried this morning. Not from sheer joy over what I got for Valentines Day but from the sad sad story of what happened in Marysville last weekend. It was an absolute inferno and there were so many lives lost. So many people had no idea it was coming. No time to get out. Out of hundreds of homes in the town only 32 survived. How could this happen. It is just so inconceiveable. Got an email from Mick's aunt today with news from his uncle who lived in Kinglake West: Here is the whole email. Very long I am sorry but thought I would include the whole thing.

Dear All,

Had a call from Thomas this morning. They have been helping friends and will make daily visits to the Kinglake/Whittlesea area for another week. This is also to sort out insurance and what ever.

I am ever so grateful they were not home on Saturday afternnon - they'd be the first to go and help in case of trouble.

Debbie's sister Jan got the black and white cat and drove back to Horsham with her yesterday. So, only one more moggy to locate - she has been seen.

Miraculously, their whole area only suffered bushfire damage, none of the terrible firestorm like Flowerdale and Kinglake.. Remember they live on the corner of Whittlesea Kinglake Road and whatever the other road is called. Most of their immediate friends and neighbours live along that road which terminates at the end of an estate. This whole area (which is called Kinglake West too) suffered only some bushfire damage, including Tom's place. His house is untouched, however all the shedding is gone apart from the main shed. The 2 containers (timber lined) with all their contents (which means all the fireworks office stuff and items specifically made for special fireworks displays which was very valuable, and all the boxes with Mamma's crockery, knick knacks, manchester, etc. which we never got to sort out, and Mama's paintings, including 1 painting I had framed from a friend in France and the other from Jeffrie. Sorry jeffrie.
The 2 containers were booked to be transported to Horsham on Wednesday, that's why they were full. So there was quite a financial loss because the amount insured for the contents of the
containers was much less than was in them at that particular time. Funny enough, the huge pine trees which sheltered the containers did not burn.
Thomas and Debbie are disappointed but, as Thomas says, compared to what others have lost - it's nothing. Anyway, who knows, the insurances company may feel generous...?

Part of the front garden is burned, the garden at the back with the huge golden elm is untouched, including the playground with the big (plastic) slide.

Even though their neighbours air strip was burned, their house was OK and that neighbour could actually help others out with his generator.

They have been in touch with the couple who has bought the place (fearing the worst.. that they may renege after this). But no, they are determined to proceed with the purchase and are very relieved that the house remained unscathed.

Because it is such a close community, everyone has lost friends. Sam has lost 2 of his friends from Flowerdale and is very cut up about that. I suppose for the young it may be their first contact with death. When an 'old' relative (like Mama) dies, that is normal in their eyes, but one their own age..... it surely must affect them deeply and take a while to come to terms with.

Friends of Thomas and Debbie,with their 8 children, left according to their fire plan, but instead of turning west, which was part of their plan, they were told to turn right which saved their life. Otherwise they would have been another one of those burned out car shells on the road.
Thomas was saying that all those place names we hear mentioned, and which mean very little to us, - well, they knew them all too well. Because of their business, they visited clients everywhere, had cups of tea and bikkies in these small 'villages' and now many of them are
amongst the dead.

Anyone who has been to their place and came via Whittlesea, would have seen the General store/service station when they got to the Yea road - apparently this is also called Kinglake West and all houses in that area have disappeared. They are approx 3 km from there and 6 Km from
Kinglake itself, virtually in the middle, and they had a bushfire. The other two places had a fire storm.

The phone coverage of the area is still poor. At least the phone company will not charge for mobile calls, I think they charge only at local landline rate for 3 months.

As you can imagine, their hearts and minds are with their neighbours and friends right now. So far they have been staying with different friends. Also, dealing with insurance, etc. it's easier to be right there instead of Horsham.

I think Thomas would really love to hear from the family, to be reassured that he has family, unlike so many others who lost family members. If you try to ring him on his mobile and can't get through, don't give up. He'll be up in the hills. But they return to base
(where ever that is, tonight it is Eltham) and then can catch up.

My love to you all


So very sad to hear the bad news. Am so thankful that they are safe but it must be so disappointing for little Sam to know that a couple of his friends have died.

Happy Valentines Day everyone.

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