Hearing about my wife's experiences one of my Australian friends said I should balance out sympathy by posting about my stay here. Let me say it's been great to be on campus so close to everything, and everyone here is so kind and thoughtful. I asked to stay in the "cottage" which is a couple of rooms attached to an older house.
As Oz goes into Winter the days have been bright but the nights cooler to cold. The first night I was woken by assorted noises in roof and walls. Apparently possums are living everywhere and are protected by the State. However, reaching for my bread on top of the fridge for morning breakfast I found internal visitors had gnawed through the plastic and enjoyed the loaf as well as some fruit Yes, mice! Bold mice. This has begun a great mouse hunt, every day laying bait and setting traps. While I have been working one comes out, winks at me and sets about devouring the poison which apparently merely builds muscles and zest. The saga has continued every day.
A stronger electric heater was introduced early on. As I put on the microwave to heat my evening meal the entire electricity fused. (You see parallels with Carol's story!) I looked for the fuse box in the darkness, and eventually found the neighbours who said it belongs on their circuit. Restoring power, it all fused again. Extracting unnecessary plugs from sockets I accidentally disconnected the fridge. 24 hours later I was surprised by a small lake in the kitchen area (and spoiled food)! While in no way do I expect to diminish the anguish of Carol's birthday blues....I offer this as a token of fellow sympathy.