Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Up on the roof!

Hi everyone,

After I prepared that last post, things did in fact get busy.  In short, it became my night for volunteering.

Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre
Image from here

First item on the agenda was to head in to the Community Legal Centre that I volunteer at.  If I haven't explained before, it's a service where lawyers make themselves available to see people without charge.  It's a good service and certainly lets you see areas of legal practice you'd otherwise never think about.  Litigation is mostly not an option: a great many times you can actually help someone best by directing them to a non-litigious solution.  For example, the person with a motor-vehicle-damage matter is unlikely to have an issue worth suing over (the first thing any litigator worth their salt learns to do is a cost-benefit analysis).  So instead, you explain how to draft a letter of demand (or draft it for them) and then explain how best to follow it up so to finesse some degree of compensation from the driver at fault.  As it turned out, the people I saw last night were a chap with a family law issue and a young fellow who had been charged with a driving offence.  The first of these only needed general advice; the second could only really be advised as to damage control.

I saw something after I'd finished there that I didn't really expect.  I stopped at the store to get a few odds and ends that I needed and decided to buy myself some tea for the office.  I was kind of startled to see honey-and-vanilla flavoured English Breakfast tea. 

Forgive me, but this just seems wrong: to take a full bodied, muscular flavour like that and tinker with it just has "New Coke" written all over it!

New  Coke
Image from here

I got home and had dinner and watched Foyle's War.  At a bit after 11pm was getting ready to have a shave and a shower and go to bed when my pager when off.  The wind had taken a full sheet of ridge-capping off of the roof of a lady in Shepparton and wrapped it around her chimney.  My SES unit was called out to go and secure the sheet and make temporary repairs to the roof.  When the five members who were available got there we established that the sheet was sufficiently intact that we could actually refit it and screw it back down - not a perfect job, but enough to make the roof more-or-less watertight until the householder can have a roofer attend and make a complete repair.  I got my rooftop-safety and storm-damage qualifications earlier this year but hadn't needed to deploy them in the field before now.  I was both stoked and nervous to be tasked with using them on this job!

Image from here - taking photos was the last thing on my mind!

I'm proud to say that I did fairly well in setting up the system, getting up on the roof and utilising it.  Anthony - perhaps the most experienced volunteer at our unit - needed to jog my memory every now and again where I went blank on the next correct step in the process.  Basically, I managed like someone who'd been taught well in training but needed to translate the process into real-world conditions.  A few missteps, but overall a fantastic experience.  The roof, I should add, was colour-bonded corrugated iron and pretty steep.  In the boots we're issued with, it was alarmingly slippery.  I can tell you that I was very pleased to have the safety line to rely on.

It was 2am when we wrapped the job up, and I went back to the farm.  It was about 3:30am when my head hit the pillow.

Today I was out of bed at the usual time and came in to work as usual.  The day itself has been dead quiet again (viz, all the substantive work I had was done by midday), and the boss has tasked me with taking his car and getting the wheels aligned later in the week, which should give you some idea how critical I actually am to the running of our section.  To be honest, the best bit of the day has been working through each of the boxes of tea I bought last night.

I may not be rich in dollars, but at least I'm rich in flavour!

Not much more to add.  All being well I'll write more later tonight.  I'm rolling a few ideas for a farm-oriented post around in my head - perhaps something written from the point of view of the labourer and farm-hand (a chunk of experience with which I am quite familiar).  We'll see.

More later.

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