Today I was spared from the tower due to rain covering huge areas of the south west. (Awesome!) Awesome because I've just injured my back in a freak bull ant incident.
I came down with a head cold a few days ago and I'm sure the office staff were wondering what was going on with my new dulcet, throaty tones on the UHF radios, calling in smokes with the gravelly firetower version of a certain community radio announcer. I did myself a few rapid tests just in case, all clear (how does anyone even catch a head cold right now?) but I felt like shit and it was a hard climb up the mountain on Friday.
Yesterday was my first day off in ages. As every year, and now ramping up due to climate change, the fire season is extending - and my other job at the uni is seriously overlapping the fire season work, where it was once a comfortable transition. I've been working an insane amount of day/weeks straight this year and last.
So ... had a day off.Some neighbours came by to drop off their boat and we stood chatting as they unshackled the trailer. We talked about the Donnelly fires that are reddening my every sunset and then I felt the bull ant bite just above my belly button.
'Hang on,' I said, trying to brush the critter away. I felt another bite on my upper arm. This fucker must have jumped up onto me! Another one on my forearm ... I looked around desperately for baby bracken furls to cure the pain radiating from my skin ... nothing. Fuck.
'Okay guys, sorry the clothes are coming off,' I said to my appalled visitors. They stood by the boat, not knowing what to do as I ripped off all my clothes in the driveway, trying to find the bull ant.
In my hectic Maenad dance to rid myself of my clothes, I felt the lower left lumbar area of my spine ping. Like, a muscle in my lower back just literally went PING!
My neighbours drove away, probably shaking their heads, and I've spent the weekend on voltaren, Netflix and other anti imflammatories, trying to fix my back and the numerous bull ant bites that are spreading over my flesh like lava.