Laying in bed in the quiet of the night, listening to the noises in my head, I realised the thing I miss most in life now that I am an "octogenarian", is simply the sound of silence.
I have a chorus of high-pitched whines like the wind in the overhead wires, whistles, the sound your radio makes between stations, chirping of cicadas and crickets and the twitter of little birds. All in stereo.
And I can't really remember when I didn't have sounds in my head, I've had them for so long.
I think it first started when I was a child and my parents took me to an 'open day' at Forest Hill. They started up a jet engine just on the other side of the barricade, and I remember that even with my hands over my ears, it still hurt.
Then, growing up I think rock bands had a competition to see who was the loudest!
Working in the trade there were jackhammers, saws and other loud noises my ears were subject to without any protection.
Earmuffs? What are they? A dust mask was your handkerchief tied over your nose.
Now, when I see young people with the music in the car so loud the car vibrates, I think, you poor fools, you'll regret it some day and it will be too late, 'cause you can't fix it.
Surely the 20 deaths in NSW and Queensland floodwaters should indicate to the Roads and Transport Authorities in each state the need for legislation to help stop these deaths.
Driving into floodwaters, unless okayed by police or SES, should carry a heavy fine and be classified as a traffic offence.
This issue is more serious than not having water in windscreen washers or faulty wiper blades which each carry a fine of $114.
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I write to let readers who were impacted, or who know of people who were hit, by the devastating recent Queensland and New South Wales floods that cash grants from Australian Red Cross flood appeal are now open.
An amazing one-off event, Australian Unites Telethon, saw everyone dig deep and pledge more than $25 million for Australian Red Cross to help people hit by the floods .
This is a gift from the Australian public and 100 per cent of those funds will be made available to an estimated 50,000 households that have been impacted by the floods and need some help.
From Friday, March 18, people whose homes have been damaged can apply for cash grants of $500 per household through Australian Red Cross. We hope it will go some way to help in what will be a long journey to recovery. Those who are bereaved can apply for a $20,000 bereavement grant.
To apply, visit redcross.org.au/grants, or call 1800 733 276.
Red Cross is doing its small part in what is a much larger recovery effort, but I want to say a big thanks to everyone who donated to allow this to happen.
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