Archive | January, 2011

Spick n Span

18 Jan


Our friends in Dudley Street West End have now cleaned, moved and then disinfected their unit and said goodbye to life so close to the river. I wonder if they would ever choose to go back now that they have felt the effects of the flood?

I’m going to WA tomorrow morning. Leaving behind this mud and stench for a while. It makes me kind of sad in a way. I want to be around to help more with the clean-up effort. It is a beloved city for me now. It feels like home. I would like to be here to see it be restored. I walked along the  streets of West End on Sunday with my bags of quiches for the helpers. It was really wonderful to see so many people enthusiastically working, and wanting to help. People were being turned away as most houses had been cleaned and cleared out. Not so further West where my brother was helping late Sunday afternoon. They are going to need more hands out that way in the next few weeks.

Side point? What things would you save in an emergency as you rushed out of your home? A friend said her jewellery collection would be top of that list. I had never thought of that in the past but yes. I would also scoop up my important documents like passports, birth certificates. Photo albums. My laptop. My diaries. Some of my cherished books.

What about you?

Anyway, doesn’t mean I’m not ridiculously excited about my trip. I’m looking forward to seeing WA number-plates, reading familiar street signs, visiting the beach daily and of course my family and friends. Yay. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep you updated with a few of the goings on over the next couple of weeks. Byeeeeeeeee…

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The Mighty Clean-Up

15 Jan

Now for the hard work. We have been watching for days on the TV as the water engulfs the city of Brisbane, and travelling to local places to guage the levels. But now – the clean-up begins. I’ve never been in a natural disaster before. This is crazy for me. I had no idea of what would be left when the water drained. We started at a friends place in Orleigh Street West End. K’s garage had remnants of the flood water which had gone seven bricks high. We started on the footpaths around the garages to stop the slippery slick. Then we moved into the garage, taking out water affected boxes, and other items. Luckily for K we had been there on Wednesday morning to take the important items upstairs which was unaffected. Lots more people came, jumping over fences seemingly from nowhere. Armed with buckets, brooms, gloves. Still smiling and with lots of stories to tell. One garage was home to a load of garage sale items that were left over. How heart-breaking is it to see so many books ending up on big garbage heaps on the edge of properties.

Later over at Dudley Street, another friends unit and more mud to be hosed and swept into the drains. It was so much easier to keep on with the work as there was so many people around you doing the same thing. I couldn’t believe how the mud just kept on coming. Sustenance arrived – random people wandering up and down the road carrying boxes of rolls, a sausage sizzle on the opposite side of the road. A few members of the army arrived carrying out the clean-up with the help of gurneys. The firies turned up with their hoses, some struggling to hold the stream of water.
Next came helping out L and lots of others underneath a carpark up the road a little. The mud was mid-calf level in places. I found big pieces of glass in places under the mud from a broken door. The pressure from the riding river was obviously far too great.

We got a visit from the ex-PM who was dishing out advice for all the helpers – wear gloves, use dettol, and stay safe. We even got a handshake and a photo!

Last night after the work was done, and a much needed shower and a good dousing with dettol it was time for a few beers and a steak. Food has never tasted so good.

I’m constantly amazed by all the helpers I was surrounded by yesterday. Still smiling. Upbeat. And even at the pub last night, disaster brought people together. Because of it we have to ability to approach people, ask them how they are, how they were affected. Hear their stories. Its a cliche but I think we are all a little bit closer because of our shared stories and how this flood has touched us all.

On a lighter night are you all sick of the over-use of the word “surreal” to describe our situation? This call goes out to you S!

Deeper Water

12 Jan

Day II of the craziness in Brisbane.

The waters have risen alot. This morning at 1.30am three of our friends had to evacuate their home so they came to roll out their sleeping bags and bunk at our place. As two of our friends went to track down food at Macdonalds a few of us went to check on the streets of West End. We got a few hours sleep this morning and were up again at 7am. Today we made numerous trips around the area again to watch the waters rise. Our friends decided to enter their property again and retrieve some more belongings including their kayaks. Later the cops borrowed a residents kayak to search in properties and see if anyone was staying in when they probably
should be gone. We saw people emptying inflatable pools and dragging them to their water-ridden homes to collect their precious things. Sand-bags lined businesses along Boundary Road. One of the only businesses still open was the Boundary Road Hotel – selling their last supplies of alcohol. I guess people figure its the only thing left to do!

We still have power. We’re pretty lucky. With all the wandering around today I am so sunburnt!

Apparently the peak water levels will happen at 4am tomorrow morning. Eeeeeeeee!

Raindrops are falling on my head…

11 Jan


How’s all this rain working out for you?

I went home early today from work so I wouldn’t get cut off from my home. S and L and I went straight down to the end of Boundary Rd in West End to assess the damage so far. There was heaps of debris that we saw floating past. There was an assortment of people there on high alert. Lots of muddy feet, several umbrellas and a lot of cameras.

Orleigh Street was even more impressive – the road now closed and water lapping up to the residents front lawns. Cops were on-hand to make sure frolicking in the water didn’t turn dangerous.

There is talk of things worsening in this area over the next couple of days. I guess its all a waiting game at the moment.

How are you all doing?

Roweeeeeena!!

9 Jan

I present a very fine British comedy – one of my favourite episodes too!

I’m in love!

6 Jan

Brain Shuffle

6 Jan

A new technician has started at my work place this week and the first thing that came to mind was – ‘doesn’t he look like Jeremy Clarkson?’

It’s made me realize a couple of things about my brain. I categorise people in an interesting way. A lot of the time a new person I meet will remind me of a famous person. Exhibit A above.
Sometimes I’ll feel convinced that I have seen the person before. Or else I’ll think that strangers are people I know. That always got to my mum. She was sick of hearing me say, “I know him!”

One year my family took a road trip from the West coast to the East coast of Australia and whilst driving the Nullabor plain I saw a guy driving along that I could have sworn was someone I went to TAFE with. Turns out he wasn’t. No surprises there.

If only the new guy at work looked more like Jeremy’s counter-part, James May. *sigh*