Batlow’s Harald Teitze is known for his positive outlook, and even the inferno that fell on Batlow, to which he lost many possessions, and nearly everything, couldn’t change that.
“I am a happyologist by trade,” he said.
“I’m 100 per cent a lucky fella.”
While there’s plenty to be glum about, ‘lucky fella’ is a fair description.
Before evacuating around nightfall on Friday, Harald got sprinklers going on his roof, and this turned out to be a wise move.
The fire came right up to the house, burning plants right in front of it, and even warping some of the cladding on the house. Otherwise, the house and everything in it was left intact.
“It was as close as close gets,” he said.
It was the contents of the house that Harald is most happy about.
“It was the sentimental value of the books,” he said.
“There are 2000 of them, in 30 different languages, and 30 that I have written.”
The apple used for a Ciderfest promotion was moved to a safer spot and saved as a result.
Harald’s main shed, housing tools and associated items, also escaped destruction, but plenty didn’t.
“My greenhouse has gone, and so have all my medicinal plants.”
His guest caravan was perhaps the biggest loss.
“Visitors have had wonderful experiences here,” he said as he stood amongst its ruins.
However, he has no trouble putting things in perspective.
“This is nothing compared to what other people have lost,” he said.
“Batlow took a very big hit.”
Harald made the decision to go after friend Rosemary McLean, who lives on Tumbarumba Road and evacuated a day earlier, rang and told him he should.
He took motorhome to Gundagai, and did his best to keep up with what was happening at home.
“The TV was a dogs breakfast so I got most of my information from Sounds of the Mountains,” he said.
He also had a nearby neighbour who remained home and had a view of his place.
“He told me he thought my house and shed were okay,” he said.
Harald said has a data base of about 8000, and people were contacting him from all over the world while he was in Gundagai, when he was able to charge his phone with the solar panels on his motorhome.
Friend Phil Barton let Harald know when Batlow resident were given the all clear to return home and he did so on Wednesday.