School starts tomorrow (4 Feb 2011). There are no students, it is a pupil free day. We actually are starting a week after everyone else. We get what is called “heat week”. Heat week is an extra week of holidays to compensate for the extreme temperatures this time of year. And, the temperatures are extreme. Each day since we have been here has topped out above 37 degrees Celsius. A couple of days were 44 and 42 degrees Celsius respectively.
So, it is pretty easy to see where heat week gets its name from. With electricity prices as high as they are, and talk of further increases, it is a scary proposition to be contemplating using the air conditioner. Unfortunately, the house is centrally cooled. So, turning on the aircon is not as simple as going to the one or two rooms with air conditioners. Although, I must confess, I do get a “climate allowance” as part of the conditions of employment at this particular school.
What we are thinking we might miss is the luxury of clean water. The water is pumped out of the local river. Because of the recent flooding in Queensland, and the movement of that water down through the river system to here, there is a lot of debris in the water and this gives it a nice brown tinge. We have tank water now. It required us to get a new pump as the previous one had gone missing. Unfortunately, the tank water only comes through one tap in the kitchen. So, we have invested in a water cooler / dispenser and buy drinking water. It seems a safer, albeit expensive, option considering Will.
The house that we are living in is pretty good. There are a few minor things that need fixing up but, considering we pay negligible rent as it is ‘teacher housing’, there are no complaints. Although, the front and backyards are a mess. There is next to no grass but there are plenty of bindies and weeds that look like they have monstered any grass that once existed right out of the place. I am not sure how long the process is going to be in order to get on top of the bindi problem, but let the battle begin!
Funnily enough, (or is it not funny at all?) one of the best way to get rid of the bindies is to water and the grass begins to re-establish itself and the bindies get bundled out of the way. However, Collarenebri is still under water restrictions. The “funny”, if it can be so, is t that one of the reasons we came so early was that the roads into Collarenebri are supposed to be cut by flood waters. However, this has not happened yet. So, the funny is that there is a lot of water in the rivers surrounding the town and there are water restrictions in effect. Yet, as I have been walking with Will as he peddles his trike around the block of an evening it is hard not to notice that some people have got some excellent lawns happening and they always seem to have the sprinklers running.
However, having spoken to the general assistant at school the other day, the only way to seemingly get good grass is to flood the area you want the grass to grow. It is so hot and dry out here that even if you flood the area you want the grass to grow, the area will be bone dry to touch on the surface with in a dozen hours. Nevertheless, there are plenty of good cotton and sorghum crops around...mental note on needing to plant hardy flowers, fruits, veges, and grass varieties.
Anyways, back off to reading a book...Jessica Watson’s “True Spirit”. The little solo sailor has gone on to become Young Australian of the Year. It is not a book that I would have seen myself picking up off the bookshelf in a bookstore and parting with my hard-earned cash for. But, I am enjoying it. It is an inspiring tale and well worth the read. It is a good thing that I am going to be teaching it. Because if it had not been thrust upon me this way I would not have read it. And, I can comfortable say I would have missed out on something special.