Coronavirus – what do we know

Coronavirus threat

The first death from ‘the’ coronavirus has just been recorded in Western Australia First Australian death

The man was in the same hospital I was in last week. Am I panicking? No. In fact there is a great deal of somewhat confusing information about it, depending upon which source you read, listen to, or watch on TV.

About coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

There is a lot more information at that site if you want to find out more.

How dangerous is this ‘new’ strain of coronavirus?

Simple answer…

Authorities say “we do not know enough yet and will not know until more data becomes available.”

Quarantine

One thing that seems clear is that over the years we have lost the knowledge, or motivation, to quarantine ourselves, or a disease. Once upon a time parents ‘quarantined’ a child with an infectious disease. In the past people refrained from attending church services if they suffered a severe cold or flu. Nowadays we are urged to take a pill and ‘soldier on.’ Most people have no choice due to economic constraints.

(I have written about quarantine before… https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/)

Coronavirus and face masks

The general consensus of opinion is that most of the facemasks available to the public to buy are ineffective. They are ‘surgical’ masks and designed to protect a patient from a nurse/medical worker’s mouth borne germs.

Coronavirus and facemasks

What CAN we do?

  • Be sensible.
  • Be considerate.
  • If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, stay home.
  • Be careful with your hand hygiene.
  • Avoid crowds

If you have a chronic health problem you are more ‘at risk’ so take the precautions seriously but don’t panic.

Plodding on,

Susan

About last week’s missing ‘post’ – I was in hospital. By the time I came home the five days of violent summer storms had started, and the computer was more ‘off’ than ‘on.’ In the last few days the NBN has been ‘down’ so I have a limited service, and no phone.

Discrimination Is Taking Over Unnoticed by Many

discrimination against human rights

Discrimination is rampant, but unless you are a victim you probably have not noticed. Why on earth would I say that? Because I have noticed. And yes, that means I have experienced discrimination. However, none so obvious as happened a few days ago. It was almost laughable as it was so obvious. First, a look at the meaning of discrimination…  

Option 2 at the link. “Treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.”

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/discrimination?s=t

Discrimination by a company

It was almost laughable, it was so obvious.

I needed my air-conditioning serviced, so I did what most people do nowadays, I did an Internet search. The company I found was happy to do the work, but it would be a few days before it could be done. Since I had not expected someone to come immediately this was fine, so I opened my diary at the day he mentioned to make sure I had no appointments. It was clear.

discrimination over maintenance

Before asking for a timeframe, I said, “There is something I need to tell you. I am on oxygen full time, plus I have a strong allergy to fragrances, something whoever comes needs to be aware of.”

The reply, “Actually, I don’t think we can help you. We don’t carry parts for your brand of air-conditioner. However, I can give you the name of an engineering company who supply parts for your model air conditioner, they will be able to help you.”

Alarm bells were ringing. I didn’t need parts, I wanted maintenance. I remember thinking, “I am getting the ‘bum’s rush.’

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bum%27s%20rush

The Engineering Company

The woman I spoke to was kind, helpful and agreed with me. The other company had ;given me the bum’s rush.’ Her company supplied parts to companies who did maintenance, but they didn’t do maintenance themselves. However, she did give me the names and phone numbers of a couple of companies they dealt with. She was extremely helpful.

So, what made me think ‘discrimination?’

(By the first company I spoke to.)

The person I spoke to had given me a day and date for the service, until I mentioned…

  1. I am on oxygen full-time
    • That can cause problems if anyone needs to use equipment that would make sparks. However, it has never been a problem with other work I needed done.
  2. I have a strong fragrance allergy.
    • “In the US Federal courts have ruled that an allergy to scents can be considered a disability under ADAAA (the most recent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act). Under this law, when an employee has a severe reaction to exposure to an odor or scent their employer must act on their behalf to remedy the situation.”
      https://www.fragrancex.com/blog/fragrance-sensitivity/

I rather think the latter.

Why?

Remember the incidents mentioned in that blog post? (Sorry, of course you don’t.) I do though.

The perfumed Bank…

They say… “Individually we can be great but together we are greater. At … Bank, we call this ‘the power of &’. And is at the heart of everything we do.”

Not the last time I had to go to a branch to deposit a cheque. The staff member I dealt with was definitely ‘cool.’ The difference was noticeable; I had been served by her before – but that was before I complained about the fragrance diffuser they had installed. Someone in ‘head office’ emailed me and suggested I change to Internet banking. That doesn’t work with depositing foreign cheques.

The angry ‘home help’

The lady who refused to leave my home because she could not believe I could ‘dislike’ her strong, expensive perfume. By the way, I was on my care plan not to use any fragrance products when with me.

And after someone comes into my home wearing a strong fragrance, even after the person leaves the fragrance does not. At least not for a long time.

It’s an invisible disability

Isolated by discrimination

If you are near me, you can see I use oxygen. That is isolating in itself and limits so much of my life. There are so many places that cannot be accessed, and I cannot be around smokers, or a BBQ.

Oxygen and flames, or sparks are not a good mix.

But the fragrance allergy/sensitivity is a source of great stress. It limits where I can go even more. It also isolates me, and people like me, in a way that is often ‘attacked’ by those who don’t want to understand.

So what happens when I cannot get away from a fragrance?

I might have a coughing ‘fit.’ However, it is more than a simple coughing fit, it could lead to incontinence, or it could lead to angina.

Perhaps it would cause rhinitis. https://www.medicinenet.com/chronic_rhinitis/article.htm

With me, it is a runny nose. When my nose is running, I cannot breathe the oxygen. (I need the oxygen.)

Discrimination or understanding

Tradesmen have come to my home to do work in the past, and when I have explained the difficulty most have been considerate. This is why these have been ‘stand-outs’ for a negative reason.

  • I write this in the hope it will help others with this ‘problem.’
  • We are human, we have rights
  • We did not ask for this isolating condition.

This kind of discrimination is unnoticed by many, because few are aware of it. Of those who are there are some who either don’t want to know, or do not believe it is a ‘real’ condition.

Susan

What is Passover

Passover, blowing shofar

Passover is NOT the Exodus from Egypt as many are told.

According to the Bible – where the original instructions are – it is to be kept in remembrance of God ‘passing over’ the Hebrew slaves in Egypt.

“It will come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households’.”
Exodus 12: 25, 26. (NKJV)

Following the Passover

The Exodus from Egypt was the following evening, after the people had gathered in Rameses and assembled themselves for the journey out of the land of their captivity.

These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread.”
Leviticus 23: 4 – 6 (NKJV)

These are two distinct days. The fourteenth at twilight – Passover. The fifteenth at twilight – the Exodus. Those are GOD’S instructions. Yes, things have been changed over the centuries, but in trying to work things out – is it not better to go to the word of God, rather than man’s calculations, no matter how intelligent, or qualified they are.

Just a word of warning about that… by Jesus’ day the religious authorities had changed the original meaning. Therefore it is wise to go to the original instructions.

Original instructions

  • Sacrificed at home
  • Killed at twilight as the 14th day was beginning

In Jesus’ day…

  • Mainly a temple sacrifice, although some kept to the original instruction
  • Killed by priests on the 14th day at the time of the evening sacrifice – which was around 3 pm. (Although those who kept the original instructions, as Jesus did, had already eaten the Passover.)

A complication for us

In the 21st century we count time differently.

On a first read of the scripture, with my Western time frame – Passover is at evening time on the fourteenth.

Wrong! As a Scot and Australian I view time through the eyes of a person living under the Gregorian calendar.

The Hebrew slaves were Israelites and their time was as God had created it.

“God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So, the evening and the morning were the first day.”
Genesis 1: 5 (NKJV)

(See Biblical day for more information on the Biblical days.)

modern time, not as in the original Passover

We are used to the Roman clock where the day officially begins in the darkness of night time. Why they chose to have the day change as soon as it passed midnight is a mystery but the Roman calendar was not in use then. (The various Roman calendars are an interesting read. You will find all of them listed on Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_calendar)

So, to answer the question posed in the title –

What is Passover?

It is a remembrance of God ‘passing over’ and sparing the households of the children of Israel, the Hebrew slaves, in Egypt.

(There is a great deal of information online about the New Covenant Passover celebration.)

Search page for New Covenant Passover

Some ‘food for thought’ –

Susan

Passover, food for thought

The Biblical Day Ended at Sunset

Start of the Biblical Day

The Biblical day ended at sunset and a new one started. This was the most difficult fact to ‘get my head around’ when writing the first few books in the Apostle John Series. After that, I became almost accustomed to it.

Almost… because I live in a world where the day begins at 00.00 or 00.01 hours. I think that’s one second after midnight. If you think about it… that’s odd. However, if you have known nothing else it is probably not something you even think about. But it is something that needs to be understood when writing Biblical fiction, or even in understanding the Bible.

Evidence for the start of the Biblical day

“Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.”
Genesis 1: 3 – 5 NKJV

There is a footnote to verse 4 “Lit. And evening was, and morning was, a day, one.”

Sabbath keepers observe the Sabbath from sunset Friday until sunset Saturday.

Some other references…

Genesis 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Genesis 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

Genesis 1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

Genesis 1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Leviticus 23:32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Well, that is clearly God’s view and if you believe in the Bible, then God’s view is the correct view.

How did the start of the Biblical day change?

I found two theories.

  1. The reason a new day starts at 12:00 goes back to ancient Egypt when the day was measured using sundials. … Since the highest point of the day was noon, the opposite has to be midnight that was when the 12 started over again, so that’s why the day starts at midnight.
    https://www.vpr.org/post/why-do-days-start-12-oclock#stream/0
  2. The Babylonians developed midnight to midnight. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. 2, p. 702) This page lists several religions and their views of the start of the day.
    The Babylonians are also ‘credited with the ‘invention’ of the zodiac. They associated and created their beliefs around planets based on the nature of the god associated with it. … This gives reference to which gods the Babylonian astrologers associated to regions of the sky or space, and is an example of how the gods were associated with the stars and planets.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_astrology
start of Biblical day changed by Babylonians who also created the zodiac

Both are possibilities

Egypt

The Israelites (all 12 sons of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel) lived in Egypt for several generations before they were made slaves. Much of their Hebrew heritage could have been lost as the new generations succeeded one another.
(Remember the ‘golden calf’ incident.)

Babyon

In 722 B.C.E., the northern half of Hebrew lands known as Israel was invaded and mostly destroyed by the Assyrians. The southern half, known as Judea, survived until around 597 B.C.E., when the Babylonians defeated the Judeans and carried most of them back as captives to Babylon.
More information here… https://www.britannica.com/event/Babylonian-Captivity

To understand the Bible

Whether for a better understanding of what you are reading, or to research it for a book or an article, find the time.

questions

Ask questions!

Why were the Hebrews (Israelites) slaves in Egypt? They did not go there as captives.

Why did the Israelites become two nations? And a related one… when did they become two nations?

When did the tribe of Judah go into captivity in Babylon? Why?

Synagogue worship and Judaism were ‘born’ during the Babylonian captivity, does this change your understanding of the Bible?

New Testament

All these background pieces of information, and many others, are some of the background of the 1st century believers.

As I have said before, it is like a treasure hunt.

But lots of fun

Susan

Hints to writing better Biblical Fiction

Biblical fiction research starts in the Bible

Biblical fiction is the genre I write in (mostly… I do have a book about living on oxygen 24/7 but that’s non-fiction.)

As well as writing Biblical Fiction, I like reading it, and I do have some favorite authors who write great stories. There are some others, and I mentioned in a blog a long time ago that some seem to take their research from the block-buster movies. Movies makers aim to have a successful movie, not stay accurately to facts, therefore is not a reliable research activity.

Here is a link to a blog I had permission from Angela Hunt to re-blog. She makes a good explanation for why we should be trustworthy in our storytelling.

https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/biblical-novelists/

Biblical fiction readers deserve the best

The best what?

Stories? Perhaps… but stories based on the best facts we can find.

A story, or a character in the Bible inspires you to write about them. Well, that’s the beginning of a treasure hunt.

Why?

Because not all the information is in one or two verses.

Take the book of Genesis for example. When I attended a Bible Training Centre one of the lecturers explained how there were thousands of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

Other teachers and pastors have reinforced that since. And there is the first clue… use more than one source. It’s a weak building with only one or two bricks.

Here’s how I have seen it explained.

Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens…”

The heavens first, then the angels. Now how do the teachers come to that? Their research, the Hebrew, and other parts of the Bible.

One of those other parts, believe it if you like, is the book of Job when God answers Job.

“Now gird up your loins like a man; for I will demand of you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare it if you have understanding! Who has determined its measurements if you know? Or who has stretched the line upon it? On what are the foundations fastened to? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38: 3-7
(Morning stars and sons of God are a type of angels, as explained in other parts of the Bible.)

Biblical Fiction authors do a lot of research

I can attest to that… and it becomes addictive.

Check out the sources of your research. Some are ‘weighted’ to a particular belief system so can be a little skewed. Another reason to check several sources.

Found an interesting book that reinforces what you think? Well, pray and ask God to lead you by His Spirit, and on a practical level, check the author Bio. What does it say? What are the credentials? Now, a love of the truth is more important than how many university degrees, because some who write commentaries are not even Christian, they are scholars.

More hints…

Download the free one-page PDF of other hints.

So here are some of the hints for your Biblical Fiction Research

Hope these help you make the reader of Biblical Fiction a happy reader.

Blessings

Susan

PS My pet hate in a Biblical Fiction book is modern Americanisms such as ‘scooted across.” I didn’t even know what it meant until I asked an American friend to explain.

According to dictionary.com the word was first used in 1750–60 AD not BC – and it’s the late Middle Ages at that.

After the Funeral

After the funeral, condolence cards

After the funeral is over do any of these statements fit? I no longer knew who I was. My ‘role’ was no longer required, a Carer was no longer needed. I had time but the routine was gone.

  • The time I spent caring, accompanying him/her to hospital or doctor appointments, sitting by the bedside is no longer needed
  • I lost sleep when the ambulance took him/her to hospital and worried if he/she would be alive the next day when I visited.
  • Our lives revolved around each other.
  • My life revolved around caring for his/her needs.

As another friend and I shared experiences recently… when you are a Carer, even shopping trips need to be timed and worked out to fit with the needs of the person you are caring for. How much time is there? Standing in a queue at a supermarket, or even attending your own doctor appointment can be too long.

After the funeral is over

You/I forget to care for your/myself.

So when there is the time, what do we do with it?

I ‘muddled through’ but I see now there are many sites where you can find others sharing.
https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2017/10/coping-grief

Would we not rather have less time and have the person we cared for back… rhetorical ‘cos it just does not happen.

Some of us make new roles, but for the most part they are secondary to the ones that are lost.

Then when something special happens – the one you most want to share it with is no longer there.

Keep the Flame Medalist seal

The role of the redundant Carer can be lonely…

However, new roles CAN be developed. What is gone is not something that can be found, but some of those functions can be channelled in other areas. It will take however long you need it to take. Reflect back on your life as a carer.
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/the-lonely-life-of-a-carer/

Ever wondered why the best people who understand what you are going through help? Probably because they have tread the road before you.

Take hope, that person survived. So can you.

No one has ever suffered your loss, walked in your shoes. They walked their own, and know how difficult it is.

Tread softly

Susan

after the funeral, kangaroos in the memorial park

My husband sleeps in a Memorial Park in a bushland setting.

Freedom of Speech. Really?

Freedom of speech. Really?

Freedom of speech is defined by dictionary.com as “noun: the power or right to express one’s opinions without censorship, restraint, or legal penalty.” 
https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=freedom+of+speech

That is the ideal, but sadly it is not happening.

Freedom of speech only counts if it is politically correct

This past week on the news it was announced that Margaret Court would not be presenting the women’s singles trophy at this year’s Australian Open.

Don’t know who Margaret Court is?

“Court is one of only three players to have achieved a career “boxed set” of Grand Slam titles, winning every possible Grand Slam title – singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles – at all four Grand Slam events. The others are Doris Hart and Martina Navratilova. Court, however, is the only person to have won all 12 Grand Slam events at least twice. She also is unique in having completed a boxed set before the start of the open era in 1968 and a separate boxed set after the start of the open era.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Court

Her rejection by Tennis Australia is caused by her stand on the Biblical view of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage in Australia. In 2012, she opposed proposed same-sex marriage reforms.

What happened to ‘agree to differ?’

Freedom of speech, agree to differ

When I was a young person, and then a not-so-young-person, people were not penalized for holding contrary views. Well, in most situations. There were some exceptions. For example it would not have gone down well to be drawing wages from your employer, then going out and demonstrating against him.

I have lived long enough to see many things I disagreed with, however just because I disagree doesn’t mean everyone else has to do the same.

You have a right to your opinion, I have mine

I will not impose my beliefs on you, so please don’t try to impose your beliefs on me.

It can be a prickly subject

It is a sad day…

When what a person believes trumps what he or she has achieved.

The Aussie tennis legend, who holds the grand slam record with 24 major titles, is marking the 50th anniversary of the year she won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in a calendar year at Melbourne Park starting next week.

Just a note: I am not a member of the church run by Margaret Court, nor do I intend to become a member. My beliefs are quite different from her faith. I can agree to differ with what she believes and still recognize the awesome career she has had.

To be honest, I am disappointed by the state of the times that has led to this decision.

Susan

 

The Effect of the Bushfires

The effect of the bushfire

The effect of the bushfires on animals is a subject much posted about on Facebook. However, the sad truth is that if all the native animals survived the fires, they would still die. Their habitat is burning or burnt.

Kangaroos are herbivores… After these catastrophic fires there is not much grass, nor leaves and mosses left.

Koalas (are not bears by the way, they are marsupials) eat gum leaves. And not just any gum leaves… “Koalas are very fussy eaters and have strong preferences for different types of gum leaves. In Australia there are over 600 types of eucalypts, but Koalas will not eat a large proportion of these.”
https://www.savethekoala.com/about-koalas/koalas-diet-digestion

The effect of the bushfires

This can be seen from space…
https://nasaspxa.com/2020/01/04/satellite-images-show-australias-devastating-wildfires-from-space/?fbclid=IwAR39_Jv3iKrAubYI-MmTcZSVRmTNHMEHoDG6jtQ8FvaVvRsEulfiKIIeNq8

So people on two continents are suffering from the smoke, which makes life more difficult for people who suffer from asthma, lung or heart disease.

Power is ‘out’ for vast numbers of people, as is phone coverage.

Reports from people who successfully fled from the fires – “It was like Armageddon,” was a ‘common’ comment. Considering the sky, which had been orange then turned black at 9 am, the comments make sense.

Pray for the firefighters

The effect of the bushfire, show support
Shared on Facebiook

Some of the fires started in September 2019 and firefighters and voluntary firefighters have battled the blazes ever since. Now, however, the fires are raging in many of our States at once.

North American firefighters have been arriving in Australia since early December to assist in the country’s bushfire crisis with more to be deployed on Monday.

For the first time since 2010, the US is sending firefighters while Canada is sending fire experts to Australia for the first time.
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/technology/us-canadian-firefighters-will-help-local-efforts-in-bushfire-crisis/news-story/b3682d095caacf22de608e1fb123a9d9
Western Australia has sent firefighters to help. But is it enough? Who knows, but we have to try.

Consider also…

The effect of the bushfires on the farmers who were already ‘doing it tough.’ Many have ‘walked off the land,’ while others have committed suicide. The ones who remain desperately need help. Then there are caravan park owners, holiday homes… and people. People who have lost everything they possess and desperately need hope, encouragement… life. Pray for them also, please.

Since so much of the country has already burned, recovery is going to be difficult.

I read in the press that our major Telcos are waving mobile phone fees for the volunteer firemen.
https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/optus-slashes-fireys-bills-to-zero-231102844.html

Plus,banks are offering not only immediate assistance to people but also the suspension of mortgage and personal loan payments.
https://www.theadviser.com.au/breaking-news/39526-banks-offer-relief-for-bushfire-victims

You can help...

There are many honest fundraisers around, as well as some dishonest ones. If you choose to donate, check out the details.

Here is a link to one which was sent to me… Check it out
https://www.facebook.com/donate/1010958179269977/

And remember the ‘face’ of a young volunteer firefighter who shared with me photos she took at the start and end of her ‘shift’ fighting fires here in WA.
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/volunteer-firefighters-and-their-value/

You can also donate your prayers. I see some people are praying for rain… but it’s not a sprinkle we need, it is monsoon rain, lots of it.

Thank you

Susan

 

The runaway train came down the track…

runaway train, oxygen blog

It was not actually a runaway train, it was a runaway wheelie-walker.

It was carrying my oxygen cylinder, and the nasal prongs were in my nose when the wheelie-walker decided to ignore the brakes were on and take off down the travellator slope.

The runaway train?

travellator

Well, as I said, it was not a train, it was my wheelie-walker that decided to run away.

The brakes were on, and I had used this particular travellator many times before without incident. My back was sore and with one hand I was holding onto the rail. I must have lifted the other briefly from the handle of the walker and it took off down the slope.

wheelie-walker with oxygen cylinder Paula screamed, but could do nothing because she was behind me. A one and a half metre nasal tube connected me to the cylinder on the front of the walker, and I know from experience how much it hurts when the nasal prongs are ‘yanked.’ Fortunately there was no one in front to be hit by the oxygen cylinder, but there was danger. (Other than to my nose.)

Worse than a runaway train

In any accident an unrestrained oxygen cylinder can become a ‘penetrating missile.’ As the technician who set all my equipment warned, “In an accident it will go off like a torpedo.”

torpedo

It was restrained on the wheelie-walker, but the wheelie-walker decided to make like a runaway train, dragging me by the nose. Painful.

Saved

I grabbed the nasal tube and pulled. Fortunately, the tube stayed connected to the nipple on the regulator. This stopped the walker’s flight and I was able to catch up with it, and safely exit the travellator.

A new complication in life at the end of an oxygen tube.

Lesson learned… don’t trust the brakes on the 4 wheel-walkers.

Please understand...

If you have a friend or relative who is oxygen-dependent, or chronically ill in a different life-limiting way, please don’t think they are making excuses when they say they cannot do something.

Several times I have been invited to coffee with the group in a shopping centre café and had to try to explain why I cannot join them. The shopping centre is built on a rather steep slope. Although I am assured the café is on a flat part, reaching it would mean walking, or trying to, walk up a hill at some point.

In my case I also have to ‘factor in’ how long I will be out of home so that I can work out the oxygen required, or number of batteries that will be needed for the portable oxygen concentrator.

A couple of resources

To help you understand the challenges and planning required by someone on oxygen 24/7

https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/living-at-the-end-of-an-oxygen-tube

About that runaway train… it was a song frequently played on Children’s’ Favourites radio programme.Listen here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFJ3KayeUTc

The words… https://www.flashlyrics.com/lyrics/vernon-dalhart/the-runaway-train-11

Another ‘adventure’ in life at the end of an oxygen tube.

Susan

Volunteer firefighters and their value

volunteer firefighters at a bushfire

Volunteer firefighters are a necessary part of the community here in Australia.

Why?

Because bushfires in Australia are a part of life in the summer. They can be caused by

  • a lightning strike,
  • by peoples’ carelessness,
  • or by that most despicable of creatures… the firebug.

Lightning and firebugs

The first is unpredictable, and the second – I would prefer not to say anything other than what I called those people before… the most despicable of creatures.

There is a ‘profile ‘a serial firebug here… https://www.theage.com.au/national/profile-inside-the-mind-of-a-firebug-20080113-ge6lnh.html

Our part: If we see something suspicious, call the police

approach of bushfite
(c) Christy-Lee Williams, 2019; Used by permission

Carelessness

Are you a smoker? Have you ever thrown away a cigarette and stood on it to put it out? They don’t always go out.

On a city street, chances are they will only be litter.

Annoying but they probably do not cause damage. In the bush though the smallest bit of heat can smolder and start a fire.

Unchecked it could become an inferno.

See last week’s post on how far the embers travel in advance of a fire.
Australia Burns

What about camping in the bush?

Ever done that? If it is in the period of a total fire ban, do you obey it? Do you even know about total fire bans and what they mean?

Even if there is not a total fire ban in place, if you cook where you are camping do you make sure any fire, or BBQ is completely out before you move away?

There are many ways to be careless when walking in the bush, all of us need to be aware of our actions… and the possible consequences.

Our part: Learn the rules and keep them.

By the way, the bush can be a small patch of bushland between suburbs. I remember a few years ago when a college and the college residences were under threat from a bushfire. There was a patch of bushland one side of the road, burning. The fire jumped the road and came perilously close to some of the college residences. The cause? A homeless man had been camping in the patch of bush.

Another type of carelessness

The people who do not move out of the way of emergency vehicles. Do you know there are rules about giving way to emergency vehicles – and penalties for not keeping those rules?

https://roadrules.rsc.wa.gov.au/road-rules/emergency-vehicles

Then there is another kind… but is it carelessness or selfishness? The spectators who want to watch the drama unfold.

These people put themselves in the way of the firefighters, hampering them, and in many cases putting their own lives at risk. Watch it on TV. The media, who have permission to be there, know the rules and the conditions of the fire scene. They keep those rules, or if they don’t, will not be allowed at the next fire scene.

Our part: Keep out of the way, let the people do their jobs.

It is difficult enough for them without dealing with ignorance or selfishness.

One of the volunteer firefighters

Volunteer firefighter after her shift
(c) copyright. Christy-Lee Williams, 2019; Used by permission

What if this was your daughter?

Or son, boyfriend, father, mother, girlfriend, husband or wife. They risk their lives to save the properties of others. In some instances a firefighter has lost his/her own home while off saving the property of others. It has happened here in Western Australia… and, I guess, many other places.

From an article by the wife of a volunteer firefighter…

“I wonder if the Prime Minister has considered what would happen if the volunteers just decided not to go. Or what will happen when they are all exhausted, worn down, emotionally frayed and unable to go back. Of course they will have already gone back several times after they reach this point because there is nobody else to go.”
Used with permission. Full article here… https://smarterthancrows.wordpress.com/2019/12/10/no-scott-morrison-my-husband-does-not-want-to-be-fighting-fires-this-summer/?fbclid=IwAR2r_-Nj51JlLPXbfnqAzFmoCtinFVhDYDBDFHAVOXgnSfK_Cq9NKw9_qLs

She also mentions the reality all the family and friends of the firefighters face… the firefighter might not come home.

And that happened last week.

Two volunteer firefighters killed while fighting fires

This was in New South Wales, not here in Western Australia. However, most of us mourn over the cost they paid to be volunteers.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/two-firefighters-dead-bushfires-close-in-sydney-nsw-195445715.html?utm_source=Campaign_Monitor&utm_medium=Edm&utm_campaign=DailySnap_Newsletter&utm_term=DailySnap_Newsletter&ncid=dailysnapshotau_dailysnaps_yaptekbs7gs

They were men with young children.

And if it is true that the Prime Minister said that they could choose not to go…

All I want to say is there would be little of Australia left without volunteer firefighters. These people have a sense of responsibility and community that would put many of our politicians to shame.

Fire truck and approaching bush fire
(c) copyright Christy-Lee Williams 2019; Used by permission

When I asked Christy about the time of day the pictures were taken, here is her reply…

“i went out there the first day (2.30-11.30) and again the second day (8.30 am – 8.30pm) so its both night and day”

Christy is a nineteen year old girl, she’s been doing this for four years that I remember. Her brother is also a volunteer firefighter. They follow the path set by their parents.

These are the heroes we should respect. Allow them to do their jobs… it may be YOUR home they protect next.

Bushfires are again devastating several States, and firefighters are exhausted.

Our part: Pray for them, and their families.

Susan

Note: All images in this post are copyright photographs taken by Christy-Lee Williams 2019 and are used by permission.