I’m at work on Wednesday a week ago, just settling in after my lunch break. For some background, I work remote to my bosses. They mostly work in Canberra and in Brisbane. I represent my organisation inside another group as the liaison between us both.
So the phone rings, “Are you busy the next few days? Can you be in Canberra tonight and stay for a few days?” Ha boss, that’s a leading question. Lucky I knew Mrs Mab was on leave and its still school holidays. “Boss, I would really like to be back by Monday as Mrs and I have plans for her birthday.” He tells me he will call me back. I call Mrs Mab.
About twenty minutes later he’s back “Canberra, report to work at 8am, we need some extra people due to bushfires support and with a big staff changeover as well.”
“I’m already out the door boss.”
And just like that I find myself (after rushing to the bike shop where the bike is having it’s 18,000 service and then home to pack a little) on the road to Canberra again.
It wasn’t too hot, but it was there was enough smoke lingering in the air to make it look like a computer game, you know when there wasn’t the computing power to have long viewing distances in open environments and it goes all grey and fuzzy in the distance. And it got worse towards Canberra.
I spent about 4 days down there, working long days organising support to the bushfire activities around NSW, Victora and SA. It felt really good actually being more directly involved. I did keep an eye out on Friday/Saturday as these were bad days for the fires. The Highland Way was already closed, and there was a fire approaching the Hume between Marulan and Sutton Forrest, as well as another on my route from Marulan to Tarago. Kept an eye on these in case I would need to leave. At the time, the coast road had been shut for days, the Gt Western Hwy through the mountains was also under threat. It appeared that if things would go really bad I would have to drive Canberra – Dubbo – Newcastle – Sydney. Many more hours (say 10 instead of 3!).
It didn’t eventuate. On Friday, the boss was “Right we now need you in Sydney, starting Tuesday. You can have a rest day Monday, then be in Sydney over towards Randwick Racecourse (I normally work near Penrith) until we tell you otherwise”.
So Sunday I head back. It had rained a little over my stay but it was dry, though cool, on Sunday. That was good as I hadn’t brought ANY wet weather (or even cool weather) gear with me. I had meant to, but left it behind by accident.
Then this past week, and until told otherwise, I find myself commuting through the city. This is also a bit different and there is a lot of traffic. Filtering is a little harder on this larger, wider bike than previous bikes, but it is still achievable. The worst part is the tolls that add up pretty quick.
But again, being able to help out more directly with these terrible bushfires is kind of satisfying.