Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Apocalypse Now

The recent and ongoing bushfires raging across Australia give one a feeling of living in an end of days scenario.  Here in Melbourne today there is a haze of smoke, but otherwise I feel lucky to be in the city and not out in the bush. So far this summer in Melbourne has been fairly mild and tolerable. I suppose that might change as we move towards February which normally is the hottest month.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like in Mallacoota or Kangaroo Island and the other hot spots in the country. Bravo to the voluntary fire fighters.

With the bushfires dominating the news, my mind can’t help but think back to my childhood in the North East Victorian town of Woods Point, which was wiped out in the Black Friday fires of 13 January 1939.

The memory of those fires still lingered in the late 1950s when we lived in the town.  I used to worry every summer and fret about how I could save our animals from the flames.

We did bushfire evacuation drills at the school, marching from the school to the Morning Star mine to a shelter in one of the shafts.

Woods Point Hospital where we lived in the 1950s

Woods Point hospital #3 circa 1905
The old Woods Point Hospital in 1905 before it was destroyed in the 1939 bushfire

The above black and white photo is one of several sent to me by former childhood friend Shirley who lived next door to the hospital.

Woods Point 1950s
Photo of me and my brothers with Shirley and her dog 1950s

Back in these modern times,  support for Windows 7 expires today. Rather than update this present five year old computer to Windows 10, I’ve opted to buy a brand new desktop, and have ordered a custom made machine from my favourite computer shop Cnet Technology in Preston.

It should be ready to pick up this week and I’m looking forward to firing it up despite it operating on Windows 10. It has all the bells and whistles – a fast CPU, lots of RAM, a sizeable (500 GB) Solid State Drive plus a second  1TB hard drive for data, a whizbang 4 GB Graphic Card, etc etc.

Thinking back over the 25 or so years since my first computer, Windows 10 will mark the seventh operating system I will have to master. Of course you can also count my iPad (OS 10) and mobile phone (new as well) with Android Version 9.

No doubt it will take me at least a day to attach the peripherals and load software. Cross fingers my old verions of MS Office and Dreamweaver MX will still work.

I’m pleasurably anticipating returning to the races in a little under a fortnight for the build up to the Autumn racing season, with the Blue Diamond Previews at Caulfield on 25 January.

There was a fine taster on the Gold Coast last Saturday with the Magic Millions race day. I even had a few bets on a couple of races and was delighted that Chris Waller trained mare Invincibella won the Fillies & Mares Magic Millions for the third consecutive time, paying $5.00 for the win.  I also invested a small sum on Conceited in the Two Year Old Classic. Though not winning, he payed $3.00 for running third.

Alligator Blood, if ever there was a future star of the turf, won the Three Year Old Guineas in fine style after much drama getting to the course. I would have placed money on him, but his odds were so short it wasn’t worth it. Hopefully we’ll get to see him in Melbourne over the Autumn Carnival.

We may be living in a dystopian world, but there are still enjoyable things to do amid the doom and gloom.

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