Week Five

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OK, it's time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We've had a bad time, it was an experience that we shall never forget and was one we would rather not have been through.

We will be recovering from the events for quite some time, but - hey, life goes on. We have our home, each other and a chance to rebuild the garden the way we want it to be.

Family, friends, newly discovered neighbours and complete strangers have all been really good to us, something we will be eternally grateful for.

Last Tuesday we went to a meeting of the Chapman Residents Action Group. The mood was solemn but positive. Residents' reactions have been diverse and varied. People who had lost everything were concerned about how and when they were going to be able to rebuild. Information has been in short supply and Don McFeat, who organised the group, did a wonderful job keeping the presentations and question and answer sessions moving smoothly.

It's amazing the range of problems still needing to be sorted out. From health hazards of dead wildlife, asbestos and broken sewerage pipes to insurance concerns of public liability coverage when policies have been paid out, the list seemed to be endless.

Those who, like us, have lost gardens and are living among the wreakage were acknowledged, but the emphasis was on re-building houses - as it should be.

Friday morning it started to rain. It carried on raining all day and into the weekend when we had clearing showers. The effect on the garden and our spirits has been rejuvenating.

Saturday morning we started to tidy up the back garden ready for Sunday's Open Garden event. We discovered some regrowth in a few of the plants that seem to have survived the fire and clean-ups. We also discovered, in a neighbour's garden a kangaroo. He was a large, old male who has been searching for feed in back gardens.

We were nervous about the in-ground pool in the property adjoining ours. It had accumulated some rainwater and does not yet have a safety fence around it. To try and avoid any public liability issue we re-arranged the Fire Brigade tape that had been put around the property and it looked somewhat festive.

We had no idea who might turn up for our Open Garden day, after all there wasn't much of a garden to look at. As it turned out, quite a few neighbours came to visit along with some friends from Lyndsey's work and my swimming club.

This is Jill and David Mortlock from the Vikings Masters Swimming Club contemplating the view over the Fire Brigade tape.

They brought us a present of a wonderful ceramic garden frog. Just right to cheer us up now and all ready for the water feature we want to build. I'll add a photo when I manage to take one.

The Open Garden Day for us was a great experience. We only moved in last August and it was the first time we had had so many people round. Quite a few of the neighbours we had not met before and so we got to say hello and welcome.

Here are some pictures from later on in the afternoon.

Now we are making plans for the garden. We need a theme and a design. Anyone know a qualified landscape designer with the patience of Job?

Bernard and Lyndsey Robertson-Dunn's Canberra bushfire website
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