After our visit to Kinglake yesterday I can tell you that winter is on the way! The sun was out which was a lovely surprise as it usually rains when we're there, but by 4pm it was very, very chilly. I was happy to get back into the warm car for our trip home.
Of course we had a lovely time chatting with new friends there and enjoying a cuppa in their caravan. They had built their own home 10 years ago and now they face the huge task of rebuilding. They have only taken a day off since the fires on Feb 7th and must be exhausted. They are spending every waking hour to set up a liveable area for them on their fire ravaged land. They have worked non-stop and have yet to start on their new home. They were connecting a toilet to a septic tank while we were there and it must be a wonderful luxury to have a functioning toilet instead of retreating to the bush when nature calls! It must have been a very unpleasant experience when it rains as well. They are just one of many many families who face the task of rebuilding their lives. They spoke openly about their experience and told that even those who had homes in well-cleared areas, or had fire bunkers did not all survive. The fire plans that had served them in the past were insufficient as the conditions were unlike any experienced before.
Where they are living there was no smoke but just flames reaching 300 metres in the air. The sight was so terrifying many can't recall it now but have blocked it from their minds. Like many others they haven't been able to take part in the feel good days that have been held with massages etc. They have been trying to get bearable living conditions established before winter really sets in. They say that it gets so cold at night that their heads ache. Common sights are people standing around open fires trying to warm themselves before they go to bed in their caravans or shipping containers.
They are very grateful for the quilts not just for the warmth of body but they also warm their heart with their tangible message of support from around Australia and the world. I came home and started knitting a warm hat and ask for anyone else who is enjoying their warm home, to do the same. I suggest hats in football colours for men and boys as well as hats in softer colours, and scarves for women and girls. I am happy to pass them on when I give out more quilts and I know they will be appreciated by those who receive them. I gave out 86 quilts yesterday as well as some household goods, sewing kits and knitted hats. I hope to see more warm people when next we visit. The hat I'm working on is red and blue which are Melbourne Football colours.
Hugs and thanks, Jan Mac