Heartfelt Good Wishes

What remains of Sara and Derek’s garden, Ulladulla NSW

Two decades of the 21st century have already passed.

After all the jollity and happiness for lucky souls over Christmas, as we take down the tree, the cards and the decorations I think we must all be entering 2020 possibly with some excitement and rather more anxiety about what lies ahead for us all, both politically and generally, and in Australia.

The news is so gloomy it’s a relief to be distracted momentarily by cricket matches, Christine Keeler and above all by good wishes and New Year messages from friends and relations, flooding in from all over, but especially – since our recent trip – from our friends in India.

We are also receiving anxious messages enquiring about Sara, Derek and Tom, who flew back to Australia at the end of the month, arriving home on New Year’s Eve, just as the worst of the fires were doing their worst.

Jet-lagged and weary after the long flight all they probably wanted to do was go to sleep in their own beds, but it must have been obvious to them that the fires were very close and they couldn’t afford to relax. Young Tom climbed onto the roof and hosed it down for two hours but they soon realised they needed to get out as quickly as possible. Which they did, escaping with their lives but not sure about their house.

Sara and Derek’s house escaped this time

Derek has since gone back to find that, miraculously, this time at least as you can see from the photo Sara sent on WhatsApp, the house was untouched, although the fire had been very close, demolishing their shed and taking with it all Derek’s paintings and their motor mower.

Charred remains of Sara and Derek's garden shed
Derek’s shed, with the charred remains of their motor mower

Several of their near neighbours were not so lucky and we gather there have been hundreds of local houses in Ulladulla and Lake Conjola burnt to the ground, and some lives lost.

Sara, Derek and Tom are staying in the beach house of some kind friends. Power and ‘connectivity’ is sporadic, so it is not easy to communicate but Sara is keeping us updated when she can. She manages to sound calm and almost relaxed but how much this is to reassure her anxious family we are not sure?

I will update this post if we have any more news to relay.

Published by

Marion Fuller-Sessions

Retired and downsized, and sadly now widowed, but keeping in touch with family and friends and friends far and wide via my blog

8 thoughts on “Heartfelt Good Wishes”

  1. Devastating photos, poor Sara and Derek, and his paintings!! Thanks Marion for the news. Love Tim

  2. Gill and I add our heartfelt good wishes to Derek and Sara – what a nightmare and with no end in sight.
    We have so enjoyed your recent blogs Marion, particularly your sojourn in India which brought back so many memories of our many visits to India.
    I have not been swimming since we returned from Greece and have not had the opportunity to call on you. Next time you visit Parwich, we hope you will have the time and feel welcome to call on us for a coffee and chat.
    Best wishes to you both, Mike and Gill

  3. My god Marion, what a ghastly thing to happen to them. We hope this wretched situation improves. Xx

    1. Clare, it is just too ghastly, isn’t it? Sara has let us know that they survived their (extremely hot) Saturday, with Derek managing to put out several spot fires on their property. Apparently rain is forecast For next week which would seem to be the miracle they need, if it actually happens.Let’s hope it does.
      By the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY for tomorrow!

  4. Marion,

    Your daughter is a dear friend of mine here in Ulladulla. I spoke with her yesterday (Sunday our time). She is remarkably resilient and truly thankful for the miracle that seemingly has saved their house.

    Understandably, as I drove past there today and you would not expect it to still be there.

    Know that she and the family have lots of people who love and care about them and they will be well supported through this devastating time we’re all experiencing, some more than others.

    And it has been raining – just a few millimetres. Not the hundreds we need to put the fires out, but enough to lift people’s spirits here on the South Coast.


    1. Elaine, how very lovely of you to write. Thank you most sincerely.Sara has her immediate family, and lots of cousins and many friends, who all worry about the situation in Australia and what Sara, Derek and Tom and indeed everyone else is going through. It sounds quite horrific. She has been keeping us posted as best she can, and – as an anxious mother – I couldn’t help hoping that she wasn’t putting a brave face on things to protect us. It is so encouraging to hear from a friend on the spot. Thank you again.

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