Unless you’ve been asleep for the past week, you’ll know that things got a little, well, tricky up here in the Blue Mountains.
Winmalee got a shock… high winds took down a power cable and wiped out a couple of hundred houses in about 45 minutes. My mother in law’s house was one of those gone and almost every day for the last week, I’ve been seeing her and her burned out house popping up in my news feed in all its devastated form. But she’s ok. She said it’s a ‘fresh start’.
The way the media portrayed last week’s fires was insane. There was talk of a MEGA FIRE which would happen if the Mt Victoria fire and Lithgow fire joined up. And if the MEGA FIRE happened, then a massive wall of flame would sweep through the entire mountains, along with a pyroclastic cloud, (the kind that wiped out the Pompeians.) The end result of course, was that we would all be found in hideous poses of angst amongst the ashes of our homes some time later.
And then, someone made a complete mockery of the media by deciding that it would be a ‘good thing’ to join the fires up anyway, creating one Mega Fire, concentrating resources and stopping the fire from rampaging (as the media assured you all it would) up the Grose Valley and into our villages. We called it the MEGADEATHFIRE, just to be more… you know… dramatic.
Many people left the mountains on Wednesday. Even us. We packed our gear and headed to a friend overnight and then spent the next day in a tense situation waiting for the inevitable showdown…which never came. The Fire Commissioner himself told us to get out of the mountains if we didn’t have to be there. We took his advice – he sounded kind of serious. The fact that nothing really happened was and continues to be down to a monumental effort by the RFS, who are, undoubtedly heroes. If they hadn’t been here, we probably wouldn’t be either. They have worked their hearts out. And we are indebted to them. Can we even say ‘Thank you’ enough?
The thing is, it’s ok. And we’re ok. And the Blue Mountains is open and wants to see you. The weather has cooled, the fires are down to ‘notice’ status and businesses are open as normal. Of course they’re still burning, because as we know, Australia doesn’t do anything by halves, but that’s ok. The RFS guys and girls have got it.
Of course, people have suffered terrible loss here, no-one can belittle that. Those that have lost are not ok, but they are alive and the amazing Blue Mountains community has been donating, feeding, giving, and loving in their unique and beautiful way.. and in the end, it will be ok. We will make sure of that. It pays to remember that there’s nearly 100,000 people living up here. It’s big. When you have a little bit of perspective, it doesn’t seem so bad, but it’s still bad enough.
Yesterday, I started a little campaign to get all our lovely locals to go out into their local towns and get buying… even just a coffee. The slightly tongue in cheek ‘easy parking’ and ‘no queuing’ ‘Take Back The Town’ campaign meant lots of folks joined in to get out and just socialise, shop, eat and drink. We were out this morning in Leura and it was gorgeous. A balmy 23 degrees, sunny, warm, perfection.
What is totally shocking is the complete lack of tourists up here! Where are you all? I didn’t have to fight for a parking space this morning! There was no queue at the coffee shop. Last night’s shopping in Coles was a breeze!
We get it that the media made out that the entire Blue Mountains was on fire… but it’s not. Most villages are open and functioning. Even Barry says you should jump on the train and come up and visit. And you should do it before everyone else cottons on to the fact that it’s quiet. Imagine, you too can enjoy easy parking and an uncluttered Leura Mall… Be quick though. It’s not going to last.
I took a few snaps this morning after breakfast… Enjoy!
Dave at Caffe Off Piste… AMAZING coffee here. A-MA-ZING. You could have seen this smiling face today and drunk this incredible coffee. But you didn’t. But don’t worry because I drank your share. 😉
See, everything’s open? Have you been in The French Shoppe? OMG, the soaps… the gorgeous things…. And Ruby Fruit… gluten free heaven.
See, look… actual people! Walking up the Mall, with their little dogs….
Here’s the Awesome coffee dude at The Red Door Cafe this morning. The place was packed with locals… see how we sneakily take advantage of the fact that you’re not here?
The food action at Lily’s Pad Cafe was looking hot this morning.
Chatting with locals AND making coffee at the same time. Multi tasking at its best.
See you soon!