Sunday, October 20, 2013


According to ABC News, Tony Abbott is currently assisting back-burning operations in Bilpin in The Blue Mountains, where conditions are hideous and firefighters are thinking a megafire may soon be formed. I'm no fan of Tony, as I've made clear, but today, I respect him. I wonder how many other PMs from our past would have had Tony's fortitude? LJ, 21 October 2013.


What is the definition of idiocy? A young bloke, probably in his early 20s, flicking a lit cigarette from a car window when there are fires throughout NSW.

That's what I saw Friday evening when driving in the Southern Highlands. I pulled alongside this bloke and his fellow passengers and yelled at them all. I usually don't lose my temper when on the roads, but in this case, I felt I had to. Everywhere you looked, there was smoke. Fires up the Hume Highway were still burning out of control. What sort of bloke does that? How bloody unAustralian.

After making my point to the trio (who were dumbstruck), I got on the blower to 702 and vented to the producer and Dom Knight, the presenter of Evenings. Dom advertised the number for 'dob in a tosser' - 131 555 - which is an initiative of the EPA. 

LJ, October 20 2013. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Yesterday, major bush fires in the Southern Highlands, centred on an area from Bargo to Yanderra, forced the closure of the Hume Highway in both directions. Consequently, I couldn't get home to Bundanoon.

Like Charley Boorman and Ewen McGregor, I took the long way around (involving a route through Campbelltown, Appin, Bulli Tops, Wollongong, Albion Park, Jamberoo and Robertson). The journey home usually takes an hour. Yesterday, it was a two and a quarter hour extravaganza. This is not a whinge. Many people were evacuated from their homes. Some lost their homes.

I'd never before seen so much smoke. When driving from Appin to Bulli Tops, I passed underneath a colossal belt of deep purple-grey smoke. It was as if a volcano had erupted. It was unnerving. I put my foot on the accelerator a bit more than usual. Funny how mortals don't cope too well in the presence of a restless god!

Driving up the Hume Highway this morning, I cut through blackened voids where trees had been reduced to skeletal, pathetic things. Roadside signs were illegible. Smoke from several still-grumbling fires had turned the sun into a surreal neon mandarin. A lifeless, burnt swamp wallaby by the carriageway struck me. As did the comforting home-and-content-on-a-winter-Highlands-night smell of smoke. Everything was sepia-infused Gothicism. Or the point where Gothicism meets horror. It was startling how close flames came to houses near the Bargo turn off.

Congrats to all the RFS, police and emergency teams who tackled things with fearlessness and tenacity yesterday. And won. No one died.

LJ, October 18 2013.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Just back from my first ever boxing class courtesy of Sharp Fitness in Bundanoon. Knackered, shaky, upbeat and very proud of myself. LJ, October 10 2013.