I Get the News I Need from the Weather Report

Katanning
Temperature 33.4°C
Dew Point 5.0°C
Relative Humidity 19%
Wind Speed 3.7km/h (2.0kt)
Wind Gusts 13.0km/h (7.0kt)
Wind Direction E
Pressure 1013.1hPa
Rain Since 9AM 0.0mm

Scorching weather this week. Today the hottest so far. It got well over 37, and was still 33.4 at 5pm.  Nary a cloud in the sky, and the breeze does not cool, just helps to dehydrate.  Another ride after work, in my tee shirt, just to blow some air around me.

I did the swimming pool sampling today to send samples off for analysis for bacteria and amoebae.  It was so hot I just wanted to fall into the pool fully clothed.  Except the water is in my view just a tad too warm.  27 C.  Like a tepid bath and in my opinion, hardly refreshing.  I think down around 22 would be much nicer.  But here is the twist!  One would have thought Australians to be a hardy people, but no!  The pool is closed if it gets that cold!  Even today I heard some mothers say they would not be going in themselves until the water warmed up!!!!

Mein Gott, in my day if we got our pool above 17 we were happy.  14 was acceptable if the day was warm enough.

Tell that to young people these days – they’d never believe you.

Another thing Australians are odd about, is sampling.  I am not sure why I am sampling the water to send to a lab.  The proposition is simple:  If the Chlorine levels are correct, there will be no pathogens.  Tests over the years have proven this beyond any doubt.  It is the very foundation of our faith in pool treatment technology.  If the chlorine levels are NOT correct, I want to close the pool until they are.

Even sillier is the amoeba sample.  Amoebae, and other protozoans like Cryptosporidium, are not evenly distributed through the water like bacteria. They are more like fish or crayfish and will be found in certain areas and probably congregating.  So if I wave a sample bottle through the water , test it and find no amoebae, it is a bit like swashing a butterfly net through the sea at the beach, and concluding there are no sharks or crayfish in the sea.

To strangle a simile.

To have a reasonable chance of finding amoebae (and I would not even try if the water is chlorinated and the pool tiles clean) one would need to vacuum the sides and bottom, sending thousands of litres through a filter.  So why am I wasting time on these samples?  Because I am paid to.  I don’t get to decide.  The Dept of Health wants it done.  I have noticed they are a bit behind here, compared to where we were at the Ministry.  I am not complaining, anyway.  It gets me out of the office and it is not as if it is onerous.  Mildly more entertaining than the great tyre accumulation survey I am conducting.  I have to locate, and then get people to clean up and dispose of, old tyres when it is going to cost them 5 to 12 dollars each tyre.  Not easy, but important.

Stacks of old tyres around the place are a real worry.  Apart from being unsightly they are a major breeding place for mosquitoes.  Worst of all, and something I had never even considered until I came here, they are a fire risk.  A small brush fire that comes up against a pile of tyres will become a major conflagration that may not be easy to extinguish, as well as a being a potential ecological and toxicological disaster.

The grass here is so dry now that it crackles and falls to dust underfoot.  I am not speaking metaphorically for effect here.  On New Year’s day in my travels I came upon a small brush fire in grass that had been rained on for a couple of days.  If just a spark fell on some of the grass I have been walking over in the last few days, it would be an acre of fire in minutes.  The lesson hammered into us at bushfire fighter training was the story about the farmer who started a million hectare fire by using an angle-grinder on his tractor in a grassy field.  People died in that fire.  The grass here gets so dry that fire races through it faster than a man can run.  If the wind is behind it, faster still.

There is a total fire ban here at present, which includes prohibition on using things like welding gear and angle grinders outside.  Yet last night we had to stop people who were cooking on a fire in their front yard. Couldn’t see the problem and refused to cooperate until we threatened to come back with the police and a fire truck and cover the property with foam. And then send them the bill.

It is not so surprising the number of bushfires that happen.  In fact what IS surprising is that the whole Great Southern has not gone up in flames.

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About Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
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