The rain is coming down. Heavy, then moderately, lightly. But always there, like a tapping on the head from a playground bully. This morning we went out for food supplies to last us until next payday. Roads get cut off around these parts when the rain falls day and night. Especially after months of drought.
Three days ago we complained of soaring temperatures and brown grass which crackled under foot. The dam was so low our pump could no longer do its job and send water up to our top tank. The water in the tank that runs our toilet, the water that waters our veggies and flowers. And we were traveling north – a camping trip. The last hurrah before term starts. The toilet was in pieces as we packed up the camping stuff and the flowers were turning to dust.
Next morning a light rain was falling. The plants would be saved! We were traveling north to Bargara near Bundaberg. Cylcone Oswald was giving Cairns a bit of a going over, Gladstone too. 80mm of rain in Bundaberg was mentioned. It didn’t sound a lot.
The husband came in, covered in his waterproofs. Son No.1 and me (the reluctant campers) were in the kitchen. “You sure you two still want to go?” We laughed, ha-ha-ha – just like that Peter Sarstedt song. “Yes”, we said, beaming. “We like an adventure.”
It rained lightly all the way up there. Nothing very alarming. The sort of rain that curls my hair horribly. The sort of rain that you could slip on if you ran on the concrete at servos. But Bundaberg is flat, it’s where they grow a lot of sugar cane. For the famous rum. The sides of the roads were flowing with enormous puddles which lapped tantalisingly, metres from the road.
We cancelled our campsite booking and booked into a motel. We shuffled around the local area in acres of waterproofing, looking for somewhere to eat that night. A lovely restaurant on the front. The plastic awning was firmly held down. I devoured my oysters with smoked salmon and caviar watching the surging sea. The violent swaying of palm trees. It looked delightful this side of the plastic, drinking bubbles and dining on seafood.
I was woken at 2am by Son No.1 calling for the dog, who was safely tucked up in kennels several hundred kilometers south. For the rest of the night I lay listening to wild winds and hammering rains. I dozed off at 5am only to be woken by the husband. “If we don’t get out of here now we might get stuck.”
Stuck in a motel room, metres from a growling sea. Living on frightened fish and local rum. Mmmmmm.
We drove home in driving rain to more of the same.
Food and wine, some decent telly, a fab book about MI5. Trouble is the kids want me to join in the Chilver-Family-Wii Tournament. Not easy for a girl with no hand to ball coordination, well coordination at all and absolutely no competitive streak. You never know. I used to be pretty good at ‘Risk’.
Then the news. A tornado had ripped through that lovely little town of Bargara. Many injuries and houses badly damaged. We all watched in shock at the streets on the television where we had wandered cagooled-up only the the day before last. I thought of the young and friendly waitresses who had made our evening there so special. Our thoughts were with them, the locals and the holidaymakers who had decided to stay on.
Fast forward a day. I’ve been kept awake all night by wind lashing the hundreds of trees which surround our house and rain. Constant, heavy, on-a-mission rain. Our land takes the runoff from 300m metres of road. It cascades in three spots like waterfalls. Only now it’s not cascading. It’s pumping it out like it means it. Flood waters rush in several directions cutting off the washing line and looking dangerously near to my car.
My boys were surfing on the gulley only yesterday, when the water came up to their ankles. Now they would surely be washed away on a dangerous current, in water knee deep or worse, to one of our dams. The dam that was too low to fill our tank only days ago and is now overflowing.
Apparently our little town had the highest rainfall on the coast last night. I know, I listened to all 177mm of it.
Those surfie boys of mine are today frantically sweeping water away from our house. The husband is making himself useful by filming it. And me. Well I’m writing my blog.
SEE BELOW FOR THE HUSBAND’S FOOTAGE OF OUR WET WEEKEND