Tag Archives: fire-fighting-pumps

Retail therapy at last!

Yes! I went shopping today. For the first time in over eight months. And yes, it was exhilarating. 😀

My little shopping expedition was also hot and sweaty because I decided to be daring and go for a walk first. Bad move. I parked at Bunnings and walked to Autobarn, a short hop…by car. What I’d forgotten was that most of the way to Autobarn was uphill, and guess who’s a wee bit out of shape?

By the time I’d walked back to Bunnings [wearing my surgical mask and one glove], I was literally dripping with sweat, and the inside of the mask felt like a wet towel. That said, the outside of the mask was quite dry, proving that it really does catch all those potentially toxic exhalations.

Anyway…one of the first things I saw inside Bunnings was a customer with his mask down under his chin, mooching around with a takeaway cup of coffee in his hand. After all the fear and stress of the last eight months, I totally lost it and told him off. He came back with ‘oh but you’re allowed to not wear a mask if your eating or drinking’. I politely suggested that he ‘eat or drink’ outside.

I know the restrictions have been eased, but this prick was deliberately abusing the privileges we’ve been given. I am so sick of selfish morons trying to find loop holes in rules designed to protect everyone. We’re virus free for the moment, but as South Australia discovered, all it takes is ONE idiot. Ahem…

Smarmy piece of shit aside, the whole setup at Bunnings was brilliant. One door to go in, a different door to go out, physical distancing lines painted on the floor leading to the checkouts. Staff all wearing masks and directing ‘traffic’. I felt quite safe, which is saying something. And I loved being able to select things for myself again. Online shopping is okay, but unless and until they make online shopping a virtual experience, it’s just not the same as being there.

Oh, and in case you’re all wondering what I actually bought? Well…I bought a trickle charger for the batteries that drive my fire-fighting pumps, a new 30 metre garden hose, a timer-tap so I can’t forget to turn off the tap, and a small sprinkler head to water the new veggie box.

Nothing exciting, I know, but I feel great anyway, and in a day or two I’m going to go out again to buy…bread. A beautiful Vienna with a crisp crust and a fluffy white interior:

The vienna has to be unsliced, of course, so we can pop it into a hot oven for a minute [to decontaminate] before slicing and smothering with fresh, cold butter….

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make us happy. 🙂

cheers
Meeks


A [small] flood with big consequences

warrandyte mist at dawnWarrandyte is a very hilly area, and my house is near the crest of a hill so even heavy downpours simply flow away from us. See exhibit A to the left.

Thanks to my poor photography, the land in the photo looks flat, but it’s actually very steep. If you click on the photo you will see a much larger version in which you can just see the roof of the house down the bottom of my block. That should give you some idea of the actual lay of the land.

Unfortunately, even a well-placed block cannot compensate for owner stupidity [mine]. Explaining what I did wrong will require a few more pictures :

warrandyte pump housing

This first photo is of the area leading to my firefighting pumps. To protect them, I had a pump-house built. Nothing wrong with that. To further protect them I had a wall built in front of the pump-house with an earth berm on the other side [the idea is that fire will rush up the hill and be deflected over the pump-house]. Also not a bad idea, especially as I had an ‘agi’ pipe laid to carry away any water that might flow into the pump-house area.

So what went wrong?

Well, late last year I had this idea of laying flat paving type stones in front of the the pump-house. My reasoning was sound; every north wind deposited heaps of eucalyptus leaves and branches in front of the pump-house. This debris was not only a potential hazard during a fire but also a real pain to clear. [I’d originally covered the ground in a layer of big pebbles, and you can’t sweep pebbles].

Long story short, I thought the drainage in the area would not be affected if I simply placed paving stones on a thin bed of sand…

I was right, and I was wrong. Light showers drained away without any dramas, but as I discovered to my horror, two days of solid, pouring rain just collected in the pump-house area as if it were a very big bucket.

I don’t have any pictures as it was 2am and I was too busy bailing water with a bucket to remember my camera. To give you some idea though, I was wearing gumbies [knee high rubber boots] and the water reached above my ankles.

When bailing was not having an appreciable effect, I tried pulling up the paving stones in the pitch black… Needless to say I eventually gave up and went to bed.

Since that awful night I’ve pulled up the pavers and dug up most of the agi pipe to check if it was working. It was. See exhibit C below:

warrandyte earth berm end

[Note: agi pipe is agricultural pipe that has holes or slots cut into it. The idea is that water seeps in through the holes and then flows away through the pipe]

So what went wrong? The sand, that’s what. I’d used very fine sand and it basically just clogged up. Water did seep through but very slowly, and so when the flood happened, the water could not drain away fast enough.

Digging all this out has been a back-breaking job, and I still have not been game to test the pumps, but I think they’ll be okay. -fingers crossed behind back- Once I finish, I’m going to hire in someone to install a grate the full length of the agi pipe [in front of the pumps]. Then I’m going to get the rest of the area properly concreted. I shudder to think how much it will cost, but DIY got me into this fix in the first place so I’m not game to learn concreting as a hobby.

Anyone else with DIY horror stories? Please tell so I don’t feel quite so alone [and stupid]. 😦

Meeks

 


Bushfires 2014 – Are you ready Warrandyte?

If anyone has been listening to the news lately, the similarities between the Perth Hills and Warrandyte would have been chilling – city fringe, hilly terrain, heavily wooded. That’s us people, to a T.

Have you left home yet? Trust me, you do NOT want to wait until a fire starts somewhere nearby. If you do, you will be stuck in an almighty traffic jam, and that will make you a sitting duck if the fire sweeps over the road. 

I understand the reluctance to leave the comfort of an air-conditioned home for a day spent wandering around a shopping centre. Those are exactly the sentiments of my daughter. That’s why she’s still here, at home, with me. But…

1. I have dedicated firefighting pumps in a concrete pump housing protected by an earth berm,

2. I have a big underground concrete water tank used ONLY for firefighting,

3. I have galvanised roof sprinklers [that won’t melt!] covering the ridge line and all around the eaves,

4. I have fire-resistant shutters around all doors, windows and my front verandah,

5. I have landscaped the area around the house not to burn. That includes no flammable vegetation AND pebbles as mulch,

6. Finally, as a line of absolute last resort, I have my wine cellar. It’s dug into the hillside, just a few metres from the emergency exit from my house.

So, there are no guarantees in this life, especially when we’re talking about bushfires, but this property is as safe as human effort can make it. That’s why I’m letting my daughter stay.

Can you say the same? 

Do you really want to place your life, and the lives of your children at the mercy of luck? Because if you stay, that is exactly what you’re doing – you’re gambling on wishful thinking.

Fire will sweep through Warrandyte again, and this week could be it. Think about it, please.

Good luck to us all.

Meeks

 

 


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