A hot and deadly summer

February 15, 2009 at 10:00 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Weather | Leave a comment
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While the bushfires in the northeast of Victoria have subsided, they are in no way yet contained. Firefighters are still working round-the clock to put out existing blazes and flare-ups. And now another fire has broke out in the Dandenong Ranges. The weather forecast for the week ahead doesn’t look promising at all. There is no rain in the horizon.

This summer started a bit late but when it did, boy was it hot. Melbourne experienced its hottest day ever on 7th February at a scorching 46.4 degrees Celsius breaking the 45.6 deg C 1939 record. This was the day the killer fires started.

Our place does not have airconditioning. Every summer we contemplate on getting air-con but then somehow we keep on putting it off and this year is no exception. We reasoned that if we ‘survived’ the previous hot summer days, we would with this one too. But of course we didn’t expect the mercury to rise that high.

On that fateful Feb 7 day, we monitored the temperature at Foxtel’s weather channel. In this side of the world, weather is an interesting subject. In the Philippines, weather forecast is almost always like the one below (taken from PAGASA website).

Ang Kalakhang Maynila ay makakaranas ng madalas na maulap na kalangitan na may pag-ulan. Mahina hanggang sa katamtamang hangin mula sa Silangan at Hilagang-silangan ang iiral at ang Look ng Maynila ay banayad hanggang sa katamtaman ang pag-alon. Ang tinatayang agwat ng temperatura ay mula 24 hanggang 32 antas ng Celsius (75°F hanggang 90°F).

Ang Luzon ay makakaranas ng madalas na maulap na kalangitan na may kalat-kalat na pag-ulan na magiging maulap na may kalat-kalat hanggang sa malawakan ang mga pag-ulan at pulu-pulong pagkulog-pagkidlat sa Kabikulan na maaring magdulot ng pagbaha at pagguho ng lupa. Ang natitirang bahagi ng bansa ay magiging bahagya hanggang sa kung minsan ay maulap ang papawirin na may pulu-pulong pag-ulan o pagkulog-pagkidlat.

Mahina hanggang sa katamtamang hangin mula sa Hilagang-silangan ang iiral sa Hilaga at Gitnang Luzon at mula naman sa Timog-silangan at Hilagang-silangan ang iiral sa natitirang bahagi ng bansa. Ang mga baybaying dagat sa buong kapuluan ay banayad hanggang sa katamtaman ang magiging pag-alon.

It is consistent. And boring. It doesn’t make a good icebreaker. 🙂

It probably didn’t help (psychologically) that we were able to see the temperature increase slowly but steadily. At noontime, I couldn’t bear the heat any longer so I took off to The Good Guys shop in DFO to get a portable evaporative cooler. To my disappointment, the unit we were looking at a brochure from the junkmail was sold out earlier in the morning. The other units left was selling for a price I wasn’t willing to pay. Tight-277 me.

We did ‘survive’ the sweltering heat as the cool change came early in the night. It felt like God turned on the skies’ air-conditioning systems.

I’ve just had enough of summer heat. We had our day in the beach and we regretted it. It was not so smart to spend hours sunbathing when it was 43 degrees. While hubby tried to protect himself with sunscreen, I didn’t. I get tan lines after 15 minutes of exposure to the sun but I don’t care. I hate the sticky after feel of the sunscreen lotions. Still, we missed some spots on hubby’s body and completely forgotten about his feet. His sides turned lobster red and so was his feet which got only worse when we came back home. In a few hours, his feet swell he couldn’t walk properly. That was dumb of us. What were we thinking? For days, we felt the stinging in our bodies and until now we are still peeling all over.

Ahhh, the price you pay for getting some Melbourne sun.

Back to the bushfires, the death toll now stands at 181 but more is expected as the ruins are being thoroughly checked.

A  P  P  E  A  L

Should you wish to donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal, please follow this link to the Australian Red Cross.

Spring has sprung

August 30, 2007 at 4:41 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Events, Melbourne, Weather | 1 Comment

spring has sprung

and that means

goodbye coats, hello spaghetti straps

goodbye soups, hello fresh salads

goodbye boots, hello thongs

goodbye skivies, hello tank tops

But I say spring calls not only for change of fashion and food choices. It also is an opportunity to come out of inactivity brought about by winter. It is a time to rise and shine. Being a pre-cursor to summer, it is the best time to start losing pounds and be ready to show fab abs and not flabs.

With noticeably longer and warmer days, it would be much easier to stay outdoors.Makybe Diva - the first thoroughbred to win the Melbourne Cup three times - in 2003, 2004 & 2005. Time to take out the barbie and gather all friends and rellies.

And oh, spring is also the season of big events around Melbourne. There’s the Royal Melbourne Show, the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the Melbourne Fringe Festival, and best of all, the Aussie Rules Footy Finals and Spring Racing Carnival which includes the Melbourne Cup – the celebration that stops the nation.

But with the equine flu outbreak, I hope the spring racing wouldn’t be affected as much.

For more Melbourne spring events, check out this sites : Visit Melbourne & That’s Melbourne.

Or better yet, just come visit this beautiful cosmopolitan city.

See you here?

*Makybe Diva photo stolen from NSWROA.

One fine weekend

August 20, 2007 at 5:14 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Environment, Life et al, Travel, Weather | 2 Comments

Dark clouds enveloped the skies to the west while the sun is bright and white clouds hugged the skies in the east. Melbourne was not its normal miserable winter morning but it was still awfully cold as we drove out of the city going to Euroa. It’s Saturday, the 17th of August.

Billy, mum’s big ball of fluff.The two-hour trip became more enjoyable with Billy, (a 5 month old Bichon Maltese dog) restless in the back seat with mum, trying to move to the front seat to co-pilot the car. Such a gorgeous, lovely ball of fluff.

Views of green and live trees and bushes abound. Although the state is still officially in drought, the surrounding mountains and bushes have somehow recovered. Winter temperature and rains have helped re-surrect the ailing flora.

It was a beautiful day in the country town. Skies are blue with just a few patches of white cotton-like clouds. The motel was going to be quiet for the whole weekend with only 3 reservations for the night. After an hour or so of rest, we took to the creek and stroll along the walking path. It is a bit of a relief for the townsfolk to see water flowing into the creek now. A few months back, the creek was as dry as an autumn leaf. The bank has cracks all over.

Billy enjoyed the walk the most. New surroundings. New smell. He was all over the place, running in all directions. So restless. So much energy for a puppy.

Dinner was a belated (second) celebration of my birthday. A three course meal starting with a heartwarming tomato soup. Main course was a medium grilled eye-fillet steak with black pepper in cream sauce in a bed of mashed potatoes served with steamed fresh pumpkin and green beans. Mouth watering. A generous slice of pavlova at the end was hard to resist.

The saying about Queensland “Beautiful one day, perfect the next” was an apt description for the weekend. Saturday was beautiful. Sunday was perfect. Temperature was in low twenties, no wind, no clouds, fresh country air, just one lovely day. Another opportunity to go out for a walk.

One highlight for the day was my first sighting of alpacas (some spell it alpackers) . At firstAlpacas in our midst! I called them sheep with long necks. shane called them giraffe – sheep owing to their long necks and sheep looking features. The wool of these domesticated animals are apparently expensive.

All in all the weekend was very relaxing. The sun aided to relieve some muscle aches from the cold weather and the fresh air recharged tired bodies of us city slickers.

Creepy crawly and phone voyeur

July 16, 2007 at 2:00 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Melbourne, news, Water, Weather | 2 Comments

I hate spiders. I’m scared of them. One night we almost walked into a BIG garden orb weaver in our driveway. I nearly fainted.

Australia is home to a lot of spider species, the most dangerous being the Redback and Sydney Funnel web. Daddy long legs are a common sight in our house. They seem to like the corners.

The news below gave me the creeps while reading it. I had goose bumps all over.

From The Age

Flood triggers spider explosion

It’s every arachnophobe’s worst nightmare: millions of spiders on the move, blanketing everything in cobwebs.

The Gippsland flooding has triggered a spider population explosion of up to 30 species, which have taken to the air in the search for new homes.

Spiders on the move set up camp beside the road near Sale. Photo by Joe Armao

Australia’s leading “spider man”, the senior curator of spiders at Queensland Museum, Robert Raven, said the phenomenon was triggered by recent heavy rain, after the drought had postponed hatchings.

Arachnids from up to five families, including money spiders, wolf spiders, water spiders, crab spiders and orb-weaving spiders are in a spin, producing silk, which catches the breeze and lifts them into the air.

“They are remarkable animals and they can get up into the stratosphere higher than planes,” Dr Raven said. But when the air gets heavy, the web drops and they fall to the ground, covering everything in sight.

“After floods you’ll also get things like scorpions and centipedes that will float on the water and then get into houses.”

One Licola resident returned home to find six snakes had taken up residence inside.

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This other news gave me the creeps too. I had a similar experience at work recently. Our office is next to a government linked employment agency where there are a lot of weird and strange looking jobless persons who come and go. The toilet is at the farthest left end of the T-shaped hallway. When I went inside, the middle cubicle (there are three) is being used. I went into cubicle farthest to the door. Not long after I was there, I saw a hand from the middle cubicle with a mobile phone slowly aiming the camera to my direction. The hand was huge so I was sure it was a man’s. I dunked a bit and was shocked to see a pair of men’s working boots. I suddenly forgot the reason for my trip to the loo. I hurriedly ran out and reported the incident to the office. It took a bit of threatening before the man got out of the toilet. I should have called the police then but I was too shocked and scared that I wasn’t thinking straight.

Phone voyeur charged over shower films
July 16, 2007 – 6:34AM

A 24-year-old man has been charged with secretly filming a woman showering in her apartment on Sydney’s northern beaches, police say.

The 25-year-old woman told police she noticed a mobile phone on her bathroom window sill with its video camera running as she took a shower in her Dee Why apartment yesterday afternoon.

Police allegedly found other video clips on the phone of the same woman dressing and showering.

The 24-year-old Forestville man, known to the woman, was arrested and charged with two counts of filming for indecent purposes and two counts of installing a device to film for indecent purposes.

Police have seized his computer and a digital camera for forensic analysis.

The man was granted conditional bail to appear in Manly Local Court on August 8.


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