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


  1. WOW!ou were lucky indeed. That must e awful to hit by that much rain in such short a time. Prayers said for all involved.

  2. i think you could say that you had an angel on your shoulder that day.. i am so glad that you and yours, escaped what turned out to be so devastating for so many!!! so much for living on a a lottery ticket :)

  3. I did wonder about you as the pictures are filling our news slots. Glad you're OK.

  4. Christine, I am SO glad you are all safe! You had angels leading you for sure! I hope you dry out soon, and no more floods!
    For painting your walls, maybe you need to use a "flat" paint that has a more chalky surface and no shine to it?

  5. I didn't realise you were at Toowoomba, you must be quite close to Deni. So glad you came through safely!

  6. Christine, What a frightful story about your ride home! So glad to hear that you arrived safely and weren't caught in the flash flooding in your area!!!! I would have had the "What if's" hit me too!

  7. Es increible la fuerza y los destrozos que provoca el agua!!!. Espero que estes bien y a salvo. La casita tiene muy buen comienzo, asi que te seguire de cerca porque ya me he hecho seguidora. Saludos. Olga.

  8. So glad you are OK. The floods really have been scary - we have Australian friend through our dog blog and somehow you are even more aware of it!
    Life is full of 'what if's'......!
    Driving with an adult child is something I have never quite got used to either but sounds like Miss 19 did very well indeed.
    Your room looks great although I share your frustration at working inside such a small space....!

  9. Sorry, I was signed is as the dogs.................!

  10. Thank you for your concern everyone. It was just so hard to believe it happened, here of all places.
    Welcome Olga, and you made me laugh, Basset Human Slave, when your dogs answered for you! That picture was between plastering and painting so it looks much worse now, but I haven't had a chance to get back to it - because so many roads are dangerous or impassible around here, I have been covering more shifts for stranded staff than I would normally work. :~)

  11. What an experience for a new driver! Glad you are all OK, I couldn't believe the floods in Toowoomba, I kept saying, but isn't it in the hills behind the Gold Coast. Drove through a number of years ago.
    Must have been a freak combination of events that caused it, or maybe just 'global warming'. Makes me think we may be vulnerable almost anywhere, I live on the Central Coast, fairly low-lying areas although we are on slightly higher ground. Where we lived previous to this, in the same suburb, the backyard would flood after any big downpour.

  12. No one here can believe it either! We are 2300 feet above sea level at the top of the Great Dividing Range! Mountains just don't flood, so I have to wonder as well if anyone is safe.

  13. Hi Christine
    Great to hear that you are all ok. As you say, life is full of 'what ifs'. I myself had such an occassion when I was on the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' in 1987. Someone was looking out for me and my family that day too. It is sad to see such events as these.
    Take care and God bless to you all.

  14. I had to google Herald of Free Enterprise, although once I saw it I could remember it being on the news ou here. That was unimaginable as well and so quick! "The final death toll was 193. The disaster had unfolded in just 90 seconds, in calm conditions and shallow water, only 100 yards (91m) from the shore. " Thank goodness they now have clear safety guidelines.

  15. Hi Christine

    Not sure where the 100 yards from shore came from that you write about??? it was actually about half a mile out to sea, 90 seconds beyond the inner harbour. It was pure coincidance she turned whilst capsizing, causing her to lie on a sandbank and not in deeper water where she would have been fully submerged, and all would probably have died.

    She was doing about 18 knots (21 Mph)at the time she went down. And it happened in less than 90 seconds too....I would say 40 seconds, as I had the pleasure of being there and getting wet that night, along with my son, then aged 4 and my wife.
    Many having survived the initial capsize died trapped inside due to the water only being just above 1 degree.


  16. That came from one of the articles I googled.

    It must have been horrific and that level of cold is beyond my imagination. You were indeed lucky it wasn't further out. Too much loss.

  17. The papers recently have been full of the Rice family tragically torn apart by the flood. A mother in her 40s out driving with two of her children, lost her life when the waters overwhelmed her car, her 13 year old son, told the rescuers to save his 10 year old brother first, then was swept away and also perished. 000 transcripts reveal that she was asked why did she drive through the water. A reasonable question in normal circumstances - who could know how quickly the waters rose except those in them at the time. A tragedy all around, made worse recently when the 10 year old survivor was set upon by 6 youths up to the age of 22, breaking his collarbone, because he 'was getting too much attention'. What a world we live in. Some things are heartbreaking.