You may recall, that I left the end of the last post, waiting for help to arrive so we could begin back burning. It was 9:30 PM before we reached the newly graded track, from which we would start back burning. The purpose of the back burn is this: the controlled, man made fire burns a break off the track we'd graded, and this should, in theory, stop the main part of the fire from getting away any further.
My role as Support Crew was to drive the ute with the fire fighting unit on the back, should the fire jump over our track, we would put it straight out. Thankfully, this was not required, and as a back burning exercise, it went perfectly.
Although I made myself Safety Officer and kept my eye on the two fearless lads (the fencers of that afternoon). We finished burning our main break around 1:30am (against the prevailing wind), and the First Officer In Charge (ie my husband) declared himself satisfied that the break was sound, and then we lit up the northern side...which had a nice northerly wind behind it. We knew this would be the result:
The rest of the group were allowed to go home. To bed. For the little time that remained of the night, or morning as it were. But, I was terribly dismayed to discover, I was NOT allowed that luxury, I was to remain as Offsider and bloody Support Crew. As we drove up and down the graded fire break a few times, keeping an eye on things, I may or may not have nodded off, huddled under the yellow RFB jacket I pinched off one of the boys (he was going to bed, so he didn't need it (although I did feel a bit bad that he went home coatless) and wearing the coat of the wounded neighbour I found at the house - it was FREEZING. At around 3:30am my husband declared it time for a little stationary shut eye and he generously let me have the front of the ute. Until around 4am when he told me to move over, it was too cold outside in the cabin of the grader!
Let me point this out: four wheeled drive utilities are not best made for the slumber of one person, let alone two. My husband graciously let me rest my head on his knee whilst I perform origami with my legs and body in my allocated space, while he draped his 6ft plus frame in the drivers seat corner.
At daylight, feeling SO refreshed, rested and chipper, we went and studied the lay of the land again. All was good, so Support Crew and Grader headed back to the homestead. I was allowed to go on ahead, whilst he came home with the blade down, to put in some more "insurance" tracks. Just in case, you know.
On the way home, I sat and watched these little fellows for at least five minutes. Feeling so refreshed as I was. Delightful to watch they were.
this little bloke, after having a lovely skip and jump around with his mates, realised that his mum was nowhere to be seen. A little reminiscent of a kid that had wandered away from mum in the shopping centre!
At this point in time I was starting to feel a little weary, but made it back to the homestead and made myself breakfast - but no coffee, as the gas stove at the neighbours place hates me. I had a nice vegemite sandwich and cold glass of milk instead. And then laid down under a nice blanket for a rest. And when the graded turned up, I was dismissed and allowed to go home.
The End. For Now.