As I write, we've just finished putting our most precious possessions into a pile in the lounge-room, ready to take to my mother's house tomorrow. The weather forecast says we're in for 43 degrees C and a fire-danger rating of Catastrophic, and the memory of the disastrous bushfires in Victoria a year ago is still fresh in everybody's mind. Our plan, which appears to be the prevailing wisdom after the Victorian experience, is to get out of the danger area before the danger comes. So my wife will be spending tomorrow - heavily pregnant and with two three year old boys - in a very tiny flat which is, at least, air-conditioned, while I will be at work keeping a wary eye on the news.
It's a very interesting experience to condense your most precious possessions to a pile big enough to put into a car. Photos are always included, though nowadays most of them are on a portable hard-drive rather than in paper form. Toys for the boys are an obvious feature - as many as we can possibly take, as are portable and important items like cameras, old (and sentimental) books, drawings and stories from my childhood, documents, and a few changes of clothes. In the end, it comes down to what we will absolutely need, and what we will absolutely never be able to replace, should the worst happen.
I don't really think we'll have much to worry about. Apparently, our region is not in the high-danger list. But we can't lose anything by getting out anyway, just in case.
And now, I think I'll go and look at tomorrow's weather forecast for London. That's sure to cool me off.