Jan. 26th, 2013

gillpolack: (Default)
There are new fires today, for today is a bit hotter and a bit drier than forecast. It's ironic that the fire at Oolong is on Chain of Ponds Rd, though. I keep thinking of giant quantities of tea, which isn't at all fair on the people of Oolong.

The fire on Chain of Ponds Rd is only one hectare and is under control, otherwise I wouldn't be making bad jokes about it. Still, it gives the Oolongites (is that the right term?) a really lousy Australia Day, and so I'm thinking of them.

I'm also thinking of names nearby. We have some of the bestest names. Oolong, Howlong, Binalong, Galong, Cupacumbalong*.

A lot of Canberra is quite differently named to its NSW neighbours, for early white settlers (Campbell, Ainslie) gave us some names and famous bods gave us some others and places elsewhere gave us even more. But the minute you get outside Canberra, the shape of the pre-European landscape shows a little more.

Cupacumbalong suffered badly from the fires ten years ago, and, for ages after that was cut off from the rest of the ACT for the bridge leading to it was burned. It had the best artisan crafts before then, and an amazing cafe and garden and a crumbling cemetery wall that just cries for storytelling. I need to go back there and see how it's going. It's not far, but it's just beyond the reach of public transport, so I'm relying on friends.

Galong** owes a lot of its recent history to its limestone and to its founding father, Ned Ryan, a rather rebellious Irishman.

Oolong and Howlong ought to have the same name, for the names come from the same origin. These days the word is pronounced 'brolga habitat,' I believe, which ruins all the wonderful opportunities to pun. Anyhow, they're different places. Howlong is closer to the NSW border. It once had a 100 mile horse race.

Binalong is where one of Australia's most vile bushrangers is buried. He was Canadian (born in Hamilton, Ontario - sorry Canadian friends!). He murdered several dozen people before he was shot dead at 23.

The land I live on now is Ngunnawal country, but it's the borderland of that country. Border country is always fascinating, even when Gillian cheats wildly by giving historical snippets. Next time I'm through that way, I'll get photos for you.



*I always get the spelling wrong for Cuppa, for I want to write "Bringacuppatialong" ever since some then-teenage friends and I renamed it

**Galong rhymes with "The fish that got away was yay long" not with "galoot"
gillpolack: (Default)
The difference in breathing and non-breathing is just amazing. We've only had a couple of hours of wet and I can have my windows open until the rain goes (or until the fires come back, really) and my brain is clearing and my energy levels are returning and the underlying pain is diminishing. I begin to understand why the 2003 fires made me seriously ill.

Right now, the flat is open and everything is so fresh and sweet.

I'm not back to normal yet, but I'm progressing by leaps and bounds. I'm sorry for Donna's tree, which has suffered storm damage, but I'm very, very happy to be able to do things I want to do this evening and tomorrow and, if the fires are out (the maps say not, at this stage) the rest of the week.

This is the life! One breath in and out and repeat, for as long as possible.

For anyone who missed the earlier explanation, I am sensitive allergywise to bushfire smoke. And we have had a significant amount of the stuff, recently. Initially even stepping outside the door to look for mail gave me asthma attacks and, over a couple of weeks, I was spiralling down - but isn't it wonderful that I can improve so very quickly! I admit, though, I shall miss dreams of angry seagods drowning landscapes to the tune of "I was Drunk Last Night Dear Mother."

May 2013

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