Sunday, 8 February 2009

Now it's our Worst Weekend

This morning when I wrote my post we knew a lot of land had gone up in flames, but as our day unfolded the reports became more and more horrific by the hour. The death toll from bushfires in the state of Victoria grew from 35 to 40 to 50 to 60 and as I prepare for my own comfortable bed, the death toll is 84. They predict this figure will now go over 100. Among the dead was a well-known newsreader - a familiar face we saw on our television every night. As a small way of making a public statement of the sadness I feel for my fellow Victorians, I have made a cross of black ribbon, which I will wear for the coming week in memory of the dead. I know Aussies will help the victims, but I hope my blog reaches people in other countries so that they may know our grief and offer a helping hand.

Victoria's Worst day

Firstly I would like to acknowledge all the unfortunate people in Victoria who yesterday suffered in the worst day in this state's history. With temperatures exceeding 46 degrees Celsius, bushfires ravaged the state. The news this morning has told of 25 confirmed deaths, but this figure will likely reach over 40. My heartfelt compassion is sent to those who have lost loved ones, lost their homes, their livelihoods, their pets and livestock, and maybe even their motivation for life. Australians are well-known and loved for their ability to bounce back in times of trial, and to extend a helping hand to mates in need. We will do this again, and our fellow Victorians will come through this.

For me, yesterday was actually a good day. Most importantly (on a very personal level) my family is safe and well, our pets are well and my home is standing so I have nothing to complain about. Normally I would have stayed at home out of the heat, but I had a very important event to attend - I was guest speaker at the Patchwork and Quilters Guild of Victoria's meeting in Hawthorn. Their President had asked me to come and tell the members about my book, The Maria Challenge Quilt, and how it had come about. Nerves settled in during the morning as I sat and wrote out some cue cards and went over my talk. On arrival the women were extremely pleasant and welcoming, looking after me with a cold drink and introducing me to several members. My talk went very well indeed, for someone who prefers to write than to do a talk. It felt as though the room was interested, and the response was positive.

It was spooky to feel like I was acting out part of the plot of my very own book. Just as in the novel, I was a speaker at the first meeting for the guild for the year, held on the first Saturday of the month. When I wrote the book I did not intentionally copy the details of any particular existing guild. It was completely coincidental.

A big thank you to everyone at Ps and Qs for making me feel warmly welcome (pardon the pun).

I also thought you might like to see a photo of my Black Dahlia quilt, which I made over the Christmas/New Year period. The pattern is a design by Michelle Yeo and templates for it are available from her website at and she calls it 'Giant Dahlia'. I've made a blue one and now this black one, and will be making a red one later this year.