Three weeks on……an update……

Written by AHQ

3 July 2016

My motto for getting back on track after the fire……

How do you eat an Elephant……..


….. Three weeks on and life is slowly starting to assume a new normal.  We are fairly well settled in our rental house.   It is smaller than our own home but that is good because we don’t want to buy a lot of furniture til we move into our own home again.   We have the basics to be comfortable having had another mega excursion to Ikea today.   We now have desks for my sons and I, and some storage pieces for AHQ as well as more of the myriad of bits and pieces that you take for granted. 

My husband went back to work in Canberra this week which was rather important as he is a consultant at the moment and no work means no pay. 

One son has been diagnosed with Glandular Fever but thankfully he has rested a lot and has escaped having a seriously disruptive dose of it.   Phew!  

The other son has continued on life as normal with Uni and work at a new job, adapting to the bus/train routine from our new location fairly well.

Our dogs are back with us and happy as can be, with a great yard to explore and a neighbouring dog to bark at…. bliss for them.

Aussie Heroes is taking a little longer to re-establish than I would like but then I am a little impatient and am having to force myself to take my time and do it properly, and also have to fit it in around all that is required to deal with the fire.   We are still receiving things that have been salvaged from the house. We are so grateful that we had a good insurance policy and all our salvaged items are being properly cleaned and handled by a salvage company….. house and contents insurance…. best money we ever spent. 

We had a last walk through the house today, making sure that the salvage team had not missed anything. They have done a pretty good job, though we did find a couple of things that had been missed, with so many cupboards and drawers it is not surprising a couple were overlooked.  

The big bonus is that we found 6 quilts, two in soggy boxes and four folded on top. They were very damp and had started growing a garden of mould but we have brought them home and put them through the washing machine and dryer. I have not had a chance to see what state they are in but here’s hoping they come up ok.  I am not sure what I will do with them. I will only send them off in they are in top condition.  I think they only needed a wash…. how would you feel if you received a quilt that survived the fire that destroyed the rest of my home?  I kind of think they are a bit of a lucky find. Do you agree?

I am back on deck with a laptop but it is still not possible for me to keep up with the emails. My time is not my own whilst I have to shop for furniture, sort the family’s clothes as they come back from the dry-cleaners, and sort through other items as they are brought to us.   It is only when something like this happens that you realise how much junk you have. Sadly for us, plenty of our “junk” survived in our garage, whilst many of my treasures perished in the house. 

Huge, huge thanks to the guys that came and helped us to assemble the last lot of Ikea furniture. One more lot to go and we should be done.  Also thanks to Jeff and co, who collected some second hand furniture for us and delivered it to the new house.

Also a massive thanks to the ladies who helped me to unpack and stow away all my kitchenware and dinner – ware…. yep, I like to bake and entertain and let’s just say, I have a healthy collection of bits and pieces which thankfully survived in the cupboards where they were stored.  Funnily enough we lost every beer, wine, champagne and port glass we owned as the cupboard they were in seemed to have fallen over somehow and they were all broken.

I had a lucky break when we started to sort out the request list. Lisa K, who helped me to to change the Request List from a Word Doc to an Excel Spreadsheet actually did some work on the spreadshet back in mid May and emailed it back to me….. thank goodness Jess T was able to find that email and so I have a copy of the request list to work from that is only a month old, rather than having to start from scratch. You will be pleased to know that I am now backing up to a cloud OUTSIDE my home.  We had had plans to do that but had not quite got to it….. Murhpy’s Law.

So, plan of attack…..

I am working on adding new requests to the list at the same time as trying to prepare the request list for HMAS Perth’s requests to go out. I still need to know if you have volunteered to make a quilt for someone on u Perth so if you have please let me know.   

A number of people have asked how they would know if their recipient is on HMAS Perth…. simple, this will be the address…

HMAS Perth 
Operation Manitou
Sydney  NSW  2890

In the next couple of days, Lisa K, who has been an invaluable assistant with the resurrection of the AHQ Records, will be emailing you to ask if you to forward to her the details of any quilts or laundry bags you have made/sent off/ or volunteered for since 10 May.   She will collate them all and then I will update the request list. Please wait til Lisa emails you and please do not send them to me, I can’t cope with that volume at the moment.

Eventually we will start asking people to send in copies of photos – recipients will be asked to send in copies of photos of themselves with their quilts/laundry bags and quilters and laundry bags makers will be asked to send in copies of photos of things they have made.   Again please wait til you are asked and send them to the nominated email address.

Slowly but surely we will build the AHQ records back up as much as we can.

I will be spending tomorrow at Government House for the last day of the two week exhibition there. I am so looking forward to actually seeing the venue myself.  What a beautiful venue to spend the day.

On Monday I am heading down to Menai to speak to the Menai Probus Group……  life is getting back to a new normal.

On Thursday we are having working day at my home. We have a visitor coming to see the Chapel Quilts so if you had anything to do with those and live in Sydney you are welcome to come along and join in. Just email me for details. 

I can’t end this post without saying a huge huge thanks to all of you for your support. Regardless of whether you have donated to the Go Fund Me, deposited direct into the AHQ account, sent messages, emails, small gifts, texts or even, as in the case of the contingent in South Sudan, a beautiful gift basket that surprised me on Friday…. 

Your support has meant the world to me.  You have enabled me to keep a positive outlook and to find the silver lining in this whole experience.  I will be forever grateful.  

Thank you is just not enough. 

Till next time……………keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  I hope to be stitching with you all again really soon.


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  1. Janine C

    Six quilts is an amazing find – very lucky quilts indeed.

  2. kiwikid

    Wonderful to hear things are slowly coming together for you and your family JM.

  3. Unknown

    So pleased to read your update. Life really goes on.keep on smiling.

  4. MsMidge

    Excellent update! And I think the washed quilts will be just fine 🙂

  5. Maria

    love reading your great post…hope the quilts are okay …

  6. Sandra Askill

    Those quilts will be special and you are truly inspirational.
    Thank you for sharing your stories of recovery with us.
    Sandy A.


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