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Happy 2014 to everyone! We had a great start to the year watching the amazing Sydney fireworks from my besties place at Lavender Bay! The skies were lit up by the creative genius of Reg Mombassa, some of the best fireworks Sydney has ever seen. Following the theme of fire we set off on our annual trip to Stradbroke Island. While some people were fleeing the island we headed straight into an inferno. The fires had started by lightening from and electrical storm. Our friends assured us all was safe at their Amity Point beach house. There may not have been power but there was plenty of fresh fish and prawns, delicious wine and some not so cold beers waiting for us. How could not say no? The ferry across to the island was full to the brim, not of the usual holidaymakers but of fire trucks and firemen. Most of these men were volunteers. Brave men and worthy of more praise than they are given. On reaching the island there were men returning to the mainland looking exhausted from long hours fighting fires, back burning and keeping people safe. Over the three days we were there the fires worsened and there was one night I admit to being scared. The winds were constantly changing and were unpredictable, rain was what was needed but it didn’t come.It was not until we were at Brisbane airport that the rain came, closing the airport for several hours. Violent electrical storms, torrential rain and lightning. Nature can be harsh.

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Smoke from Stradbroke Island copyright claire lloyd

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Stradbroke Island on fire copyright claire lloyd

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Fire trucks head for Stradbroke Island copyright claire lloyd

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Billowing smoke from Stradbroke copyright claire lloyd

by Claire Lloyd

The ferry to Stradbroke filled with fire trucks copyright claire lloyd

by Claire Lloyd

A rural fire fighter copyright claire lloyd

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Ready to go copyright claire lloyd

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Our brave men copyright claire lloyd

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Bark of a gum tree copyright claire lloyd

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Tree stump copyright claire lloyd

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Smoke changes the colour of the sky, unnerving copyright claire lloyd

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Shadows copyright claire lloyd

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A view through the gum trees copyright claire lloyd

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Silhouette copyright claire lloyd

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Fun playing Tarzan copyright claire lloyd

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Thwarted by storms at Brisbane airport copyright claire lloyd

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One of the best things I have experienced on the Greek Island of Lesvos is community living. Living in London was great and although I was connected with my really special friends I hadn’t felt the strong connection that comes with living in a close knit community. There is a special feeling you get, a safe feeling, a feeling of belonging. On Sunday December 15 I will be appearing at 8.40 on channel 7’s Weekend Sunrise and will be sharing my experiences of living in a community with Monique Wright and Andrew O’Keefe. Take a look.

MY GREEK ISLAND HOME A

Greeted by a village friend and home made cheese by our neighbour Ralitza from my book MY GREEK ISLAND HOME by CLAIRE LLOYD published by PENGUIN LANTERN

MY GREEK ISLAND HOME COMMUNITY B

Wandering around the village from my book MY GREEK ISLAND HOME by CLAIRE LLOYD published by PENGUIN LANTERN

MY GREEK ISLAND HOME D

There is always something to chat about in the platia from my book MY GREEK ISLAND HOME by CLAIRE LLOYD published by PENGUIN LANTERN

MY GREEK ISLAND HOME F

Cafe society from my book published by MY GREEK ISLAND HOME by published by PENGUIN LANTERN

MY GREEK ISLAND HOME E

Stratos always has a friendly smile and an interesting tale to tell from my book MY GREEK ISLAND HOME by CLAIRE LLOYD published by PENGUIN LANTERN

MY GREEK ISLAND HOME COMMUNITY C

The beautiful faces from my book MY GREEK ISLAND HOME by CLAIRE LLOYD published by PENGUIN LANTERN