Monday, January 24, 2011

Rain and rain and too much rain

How lax I've been with both mini-ing and my blog.

After 6 weeks of seriously regretting that I hadn't caught up on my childhood immunisations (anyone in Australia born before 1964 may like to see if they need an update, especially if they have grandchildren) and not achieving much  I 'bit the bullet' and decided that I would finish the inside and outside of my house. First step was to plaster over the wallpaper in my loungeroom. The wallpaper was something I have always been unsure about and while it was sad to see it disappear under the plaster, it was a better decision...or was until I painted the newly plastered walls, not once but 3 times in the hope that I would get the effect I wanted by adding more paint. The more paint that went on, the more plasticky it looked, so next step was to sand all the paint off again. A process made complicated in a room which is 15 inches deep, 7 1/2 inches tall and 9 1/2 inces wide, covered in beams and with a built in chimney breast.  Aaaarrrgghh!

Much sanding took place in the unusually wet weather we had been having and I was pleased to take a break one Monday when after an early lunch Miss 19, Master 14 and I decided to visit the library in the centre of town. Remembering an earlier plan to go the movies the next day (again in the centre of town) we headed off to the uni library instead, Miss 19 on her 'L' plates driving ("Mum, you know I have to get experience driving in rain!) The trip over was uneventful, we were soaked running through the carpark, but rain was still such a novelty in our drought stricken town that it was a laughing matter rather than an irritation. 

Driving home the rain became heavier and the roads deeper in water. Conversation in the car was terse, 'You have to brake a lot earlier in wet weather, Elizabeth...' 'My foot is right down, Mum!'  
Cars around were sliding slightly despite travelling slowly and there was nowhere safe to stop. At one dip in the road the water level was well  past the bottom of the car doors and moving rapidly. A truck screamed past with it's horn blaring at a very major intersection, unable to stop for the cars already in the intersection, also fighting the slippery roads. Miss 19 kept her head, perhaps better than I would have, and continued driving slowly and steadily, marvelling at flowing waters until we were finally safely home . We dried off, laughing with relief and amazement. 

After the water had subsided in our street

Later still but still a steady stream, an hour later our street was dry
Soon after, the Toowoomba flash flooding must have hit the news in other states because we began to get emails and phone calls from worried friends and relatives. Not knowing why it would be so newsworthy (scary yes, but nothing like the flood stricken areas we had been feeling sympathy for) we turned the news on to see what had become of the centre of town and to begin hearing the stories of people who had not been as lucky as us.

Margaret, Dent and Victoria Streets - Library on right *

The 'what ifs' haunt me. 'What if' we had gone down to the library. 'What if' we had separated as we often do, each with our own business to get on with before meeting back. Neo Tokyo, Master 14s favourite store was deep in water. 'What if' we had been in the carpark when it hit- the timing was right, 'what if', 'what if' 'what if'....

For too many people the 'what if's' are a reality. Ordinary people doing normal everyday things and never expecting that life would suddenly end in a flood beginning in a drought stricken town on the top of a mountain with no river.

I know that I have new followers and while it is my custom to introduce you, I will beg your forgiveness and do so in my next, more cheerful, entry.

*Photo from Kris at Tagalongteddies