Kermie on the road to Koroit
IT'S almost 10 years to the day (as I write), that we endured Black Saturday.
I'll never forget the heat, the wind and watching the fires roaring over the Black Spur as I stood on the roof, hose in hand.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and as I think back on it - and later saw the full extent of the devastation - holding that hose with its pitiful stream of water was probably one of the most futile and stupidest actions I've ever undertaken. Memories such as these never fade.
Fast forward to Friday, January 25, 2019 and Rita and I are up early to head to the Koroit Truck Show.
It's 5.30 in the morning and already the thermometer is sitting at 32 degrees.
The northerly is picking up as well. Ten years ago seems like it was yesterday and we are both nervous.
"I don't know that we should be going away on a 46 degree day,” says Rita.
"She'll be right,” I respond with more confidence than I feel. "It's not like we live in the bush this time 'round.”
Ever the logical one, Rita points out to me that grass burns too, and reminds me of the time I lived in Sydney and Lindfield, one of the lower north shore suburbs, was decimated by fire.
The discussion is settled by the fact that we are well insured and agree to take our computers and important papers.
By 8.30am we are well down the Hume and pull into a Roadhouse for a bite to eat.
Getting out of the car we are hit with blistering heat and a wind that, I kid you not, we actually had to lean into.
To divert Rita's thoughts I point out how well the air-con in the car works and how impressed I am that the caravan tows so well in the gale force winds.
She responds by reminding me of my close friendship with that little Irish fella, Murphy.
We end up driving through to Terang, in the Western District before pulling up again.
Hopping out of the car we are delighted that it's a chilly 32, and that the wind had dropped.
After a healthy club sandwich at the local bakery (I was not allowed a pie and cream cake - sad face) we move on to Koroit where it's a delightful 22.6 and where the ABC informs us that Victoria has fared much better than it did 10 years previously. Moo Town is not mentioned so we know that the only thing suffering back home are our poor plants.
Setting up and joy oh joy, the TV works. I'd yanked the aerial connection a couple of years back and reception had been intermittent since.
I took the bull by the horns and pulled it apart. Ten cents of solder saved a couple of hundred bucks for a new tele.
You lot may not be impressed but my Rita was. Yes, she's easily pleased, bless her.
Of course with a truck show in town the odds were that we'd run across an old truckie. And so it was with our next door neighbour being one Chummy O'Meara.
Chummy drove for Tony Nivens and his cold storage outfit in the old days and knew many blokes that I have met. He regaled me with stories of that time. So much so that I suggested recording some of them.
Then he clammed up. The old bugger could have kept me in stories for the rest of the year I reckon.
After setting up I wandered across to the showgrounds to catch up with Rick Cornwill. Not being there I figured there was only one place to go - the local pub.
Now Koroit has a population of 2000 and a main street that is not much wider than our back patio. So it was with some surprise that, as I rounded the corner to the pub that I was greeted with a multi car pileup.
A female driver who had earlier been hooning around the showground in her unregistered 4WD had headed uptown and managed to clean up six vehicles in the main street.
It was great spectator sport for those not involved. I suspect she wasn't available to attend the truck show the next day.
As you'll read elsewhere in this issue, the truck show was a great success and as always, we had a ball there.
Having a "corner block” at the caravan park meant that everyone passed us by. Not quite correct. They all stopped to shoot the breeze.
Biggest group of yakky ducks we've ever met. Rita, who's not much into talking with strangers was glad to have this motor mouth by her side. A man of many talents, that's me.
If you can get there, you should go to Koroit next year. Come and stay at the van park. If you don't want to talk you can say hi to Rita. If you do, you can challenge me to a word fest. Betcha lose.
Take care of you.