Saturday, December 23, 2006

red sun at noon

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"Remember to water the lawn before midnight," I thought to myself. Total Fire Ban Day meant that the sprinkler became illegal once we got past Wednesday night; any spare water was reserved for fire-fighting activities.

Even though the bushfires this week were nowhere near the city, it didn't stop the sky from turning that creepy colour. The sun was orange,almost red, and the smoke haze spreading across the state meant we could hardly see Mount Wellington (which normally dominates Hobart from any angle you may be looking from).

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It was all distinctly unsettling. The mercury hit 31 degrees midweek (that's about 88 in the old Fahrenheit scale) and it's always a shock when that first hot weather of the summer hits you, no matter how aware you are intellectually that it's going to get hot.

It was really late when I got to bed last night but it was still 15 degrees outside with 68% humidity. Not very pleasant.

One of the announcers on the local ABC radio station said the next day that when he left the air-conditioned studio it felt like the end of the world outside in the street.

But by Saturday morning the following news was posted on the ABC website:

Most of the firefighters working on Tasmania's east coast will be able spend Christmas with their families after both of the state's large bushfires have been controlled.

The cool, wet weather has hampered backburning operations, but the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) says the Kellevie fire is contained, and the St Marys fire has control lines around most of it.

Incident controller Gavin Freeman says the control lines on the western edge of the St Marys fire still need strengthening, but that work will have to wait until after Christmas.

"The fire has halted and we've got to a point where the tracks are chopped up because of the rain and fuels, lighter fuels, have got wet enough that they won't burn," he said.

On a happier note, my sister Julie is pleased by the Christmas gift she received from the Tasmanian police.

Well, sort of. Let me explain.

Last week she was unhappy to receive an $80 speeding ticket in the mail. It said that she'd been clocked at 52 kph in a 40kph zone in Giblin Street between Augusta Road and Pedder Street. Once she finished fuming, we re-read the letter and frowned.

Where is there a 40kph zone before Pedder Street? There's a school zone after Pedder Street, but that's a different block. We decided to query it when we got a chance.

Before we got round to this, she received a second letter. It said that due to a "procedural error" they would not be proceeding with the matter and to disregard the first letter.

I presume that "procedural error" is a euphemism for mistake. They have probably had a string of indignant letters and phone calls from people who received the same letter.

So that's her present from the police force this year.

Those of us with a warped sense of humour may enjoy the following list:

Modern Christmas Carols for...
* The Schizophrenic: Do You Hear What I Hear, the Voices, the Voices?
* Amnesiac: I Don't Remember If I'll be Home for Christmas
* Narcissistic: Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me
* Manic: Deck The Halls and walls and house and lawn and streets and stores and office and...
* Multiple Personality Disorder: We Three Kings Disoriented Are
* Paranoid: Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Us
* Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, (Did I Jingle Bells??), Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells (Or Santa Won't Come!!)
* Agoraphobia: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn't Leave My House
* Conduct Disorder: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus So I Burned Down the House
* Social Anxiety Disorder: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas While I Sit Here and Hyperventilate
* Attention Deficit Disorder: We Wish You...Hey Look!! It's Snowing...Is That a Reindeer?>

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