Things had never been easy. However, bushfires, covid, and now the floods had all but wiped out Jim and Sally’s small-time pineapple farm. While the tourists were back, they drove straight past heading for the Big Pineapple. Now, down to their last gold coins, hope was almost gone. Yet, despite being rabid atheists, they fell to their knees in prayer.
Miraculously, Bill responded, proposing they could sell his dope crop via their roadside stall.
Finally, they’d seen the light!
It was only meant to be temporary, and apparently the cops were turning a blind eye.
Thought I’d better share a photo of Queensland’s iconic Big Pineapple with you. It is 16 metres (52 ft) high and was originally opened on 15 August 1971. It is situated on a 165-hectare (410-acre) site.
I wonder how many Australian families have had their photos taken in front of the iconic Big Pineapple. I know Geoff went with his family and here’s a photo with my family including my grandmother. I think my grandfather took the photo, and clearly we didn’t have a great camera.
What you can’t see in that photo, is that I was probably wearing my Mickey Mouse thongs. So, I decided to include this photo and thought you might appreciate the photo of my brother and I patting the kangaroo. I was very proud of my Mickey Mouse thongs, and would still be wearing them now if I had my way.
Anyway, this has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by our intrepid leader, Rochelle Wishoff-Fields at https://rochellewisoff.com/
Alleluia! I couldn’t believe it was actually sunny today, after what seemed like an eternity of rain. Indeed, I’m sure Noah had it easy!
Desperate for a bit of sunshine, I headed down to the beach for a walk after dropping Miss at the dance studio this afternoon. Not only that. I wanted to check out our beach after all this rain and heavy flooding. It’s like an ephemeral, living, breathing canvas constantly painted and washed away by the waves and forces of nature. Geoff had told me the water was brown, and that it was almost like you could plant spuds out there, and a friend had seen a dead horse on the beach on her morning work.
Our home beach looks out onto Broken Bay just North of Sydney, and this is where the mighty Hawkesbury-Nepean River system meets the sea. The Hawkesbury-Nepean is the longest coastal catchment in NSW. The Hawkesbury river flows 470 kilometres (from south of Goulburn near Lake Bathurst to Broken Bay), draining 21,400 square kilometres, or 2.14 million hectares, of land. This river catchment is very prone to flooding, and much of that detritus gets washed on our local beaches.
The beach was closed today on two counts – rough surf and poor water quality. Yet, there was still a dog out there running through the surf and enjoying a vigorous swim. It’s humans didn’t seem too concern about the dog being out there, but perhaps they are of that school that you could get hit by a bus and taken out at anytime, so why not take a few risks and carpe diem seize the day?
One of the first things which stood out to me, was the huge amount of foam down on the beach. In parts it was like clouds of whipped cream. However, as you can see, there was also filthy, brown foam which brought back the harsh realities of flooding. I didn’t want to touch the stuff, although I did video it drifting in and out, and seemingly breathing with the waves. It was rather mesmerising.
To be honest, I was a bit shocked by the amount of stuff on the beach. There was a massive mountain of wood, which looked like it might’ve been the work of a bulldozer, although it might’ve been the sea. There were a few spare tyres, including a complete wheel for a Volkswagen that seemed to be in good nick. I was pleased to spot a friend of mine who is the local Lifeguard. There’s not much he misses down on the beach by day and is a better source of goings on than the local rag. It turned out that the dead horse had been moved off the beach after some discussion of a not too serious nature to cremate it. He also told me that a cow had been washed up on the beach a few days ago. It’s sad that so many animals have been lost in the floods, the financial impact on multiple communities is staggering.
Meanwhile, there’s been a bit of salvaging going on. He’d seen a couple of blokes roll away a keg of beer which had washed up, and while I was there a bloke salvaged a reasonable coffee table from the rubble and was strutting down the each with it over his head. He even stopped to chat for a bit, and I marvelled at his strength. He was chatting away with the coffee table held up over his head like Atlas. Meanwhile his partner/wife wasn’t wanting the coffee table to come home. Here was yet another project, and something else taking up space. In case you didn’t know having a cluttered house is almost a capital crime. When I arrived home, and filled Geoff in on all the goings on at our beach, he reminded me of a story he’s heard at the sailing club. Some blokes had been out in a tinny (small motor-powered dingy) when they saw a small bar fridge floating down the river. They managed to capture that and bring it on board and it was full of booze much to their delight. It sounds like the locals have been busy.
I wasn’t looking for anything to salvage, and was more interested in taking photos, along with getting my walk and a bit of sun. However, I also called my parents from the beach and had a bit of a chat with Dad. It’s a shame he couldn’t see the beach and enjoy it with me, but we had a good chat anyway, and I’ll forward them my photos. I also videoed the foam almost breathing as it drifted back and forth between sea and sand.
Meanwhile, what has been washed up onto our beach is not even a fragment of the bigger picture, especially the decimation of Lismore in Northern NSW. Lismore frequently floods and has had some bad floods in the past. However, this flood is by far the worst, and just to give you an insight into the damage, all the books at Lismore Library have been lost. While it was hardly the State Library or the historic library at Alexandria, as a book lover that particularly disturbed me. I have so many books and each of them is precious and for an entire library to be lost…It’s just impossible to fathom, and yet there are so many people who’ve lost the lot. Ordinary people just like you and I.
Sending my love just isn’t enough!
If you been affected by the flooding, my heart goes out to you.
Naturally, my heart goes out to the people of the Ukraine. I pray that they are able to resist and withstand invading Russian forces and this doesn’t escalate further. Call me a dreamer if you like. However, the alternatives are too awful to contemplate.
Meanwhile, the East Coast of Australia has been inundated with ridiculously heavy rain, which in parts of Queensland has been described as a “rain bomb”. I saw a video today of someone doing laps up and down their backyard on a standard suburban block. That was freaky.
How has your week been?
So, I am feeling grateful. I have a roof over my head, food, water, my family with me and our three dogs.
Actually, speaking of dogs we’re p0articularly grateful to have Lady back with us after she squeezed out the back gate yesterday when we were out and strangers brought her home and secured the gate. So kind of them!!
Despite the rain, I’ve managed to get out for a few short walks this week.
There was the Mt Penang Parklands at Kariong. Our daughter gets eyelash extensions up there every fortnight and I walk in the park while I’m waiting. However, the park itself closes at 4.30pm so I walk down to the pond and through the slushy grass (yes, it is a wetland area) and photographed the reflection of the muted sun through the reeds. It was quite stunning.
Saturday, we had our power switched off for the day for repairs, and so we went out for lunch, and then drove over to Patonga on the Hawkesbury River as it enters Broken Bay. We couldn’t walk far with our shoes on and the sodden beach wasn’t very inviting either. Thought you might appreciate the photo.
Yesterday, we drove over to Terrigal for doughnuts and a walk, which we just managed to squeeze in between heavy downpours and the naughty Lady dog getting out and necessitating a speedy trip home.
Meanwhile, my Google Earth travels through Ireland continue as I continue to research how the Irish Famine impact various branches of our family. Two of the books I’ve ordered arrived: Ciaran O Murchadha: The Great Famine: Ireland’s Agony 1845-1852 and John Quealy’s book of short stories set around Loop Head in County Clare. I don’t know whether he is related to my Quealys from the region, but he provides an insight into being a local and I’m turning to Google Earth while I’m reading along to see the places he’s talking about, which really helps bring these places to life. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get over there.
Now, I need to get moving because our daughter is sitting for her Learner’s Permit and I need to find the paperwork.
The police found Mandi McDonald’s Commodore Stationwagon 500 metres downstream. She and the two children aged eight and six were deceased. The storm had hit Toowoomba with such fury. Mandi had been driving the kids home from school, and the car was swept away in the surging currents. Her husband was distraught. Lost all his family in an instant. No one knew how he was going to get through it. Or, even if he could. They all came to the funeral, and didn’t mean to stay away. They just couldn’t find the words and didn’t know what to say.
The latest news is that 60 animals including dogs have been airlifted in a crocodile cage to safety. I saw footage on TV and believe me, I’d be terrified and I’m not even scared of heights. You can click on the film footage in the story above.
So, if you had to conduct a Dog Poll, I don’t know whether our canine companions would rate flying in a helicopter better or worse than getting their paws wet. However, with dog-eating crocodiles cruising the floodwaters, there would be no debate. All paws would vote for evacuation.
For the rescued animals, the helicopter ride took just 10 minutes and they were taken to temporary kennels at Five Mile. Half a tonne of dog food was also airlifted in to ensure all remaining animals have enough feed while the town is evacuated.
I’ve never really considered what happens to pets during a State of Emergency. However, it’s comforting to hear that pets are being cared for so compassionately. Knowing that their pets are safe must be such a comfort when locals could well have lost all but the shirt on their back.
Personally, I suspect these outback dogs are made of tougher stuff than ours. I don’t know how our dogs would cope with such contingencies.
Finally some assistance. Miss puts Bilbo out of his misery!
While Lady is a bit more daring, Bilbo’s even refused to dip his precious paws in the water to rescue his much loved tennis ball as it drifted downstream. There was no doubt he was in anguish, questioning would he or wouldn’t he…However, he ultimately succumbed to his fear and was mighty lucky to fetch his ball later at low tide.
Obviously, you’ll find no hero there!
A rather pampered Lady!
Lady is marginally more audacious but generally prefers a pampered existence…sleeping on her quilt and even on the sofa as long as she doesn’t get sprung. Even though she comes from a farm and is actually registered as a Working Dog, she wouldn’t know work if she tripped over it. After all, she’s a lady! She might not be quite royalty but don’t tell her that! She tells the world she has blue blood!
We pray for all those affected by flood, bush fires and tornadoes around the world. While the plight of animals being flown to safety makes for an interesting story, I don’t for a moment forget the heartache and devastation experienced by people and animals. I hope you’re okay.
Thinking about rescuing pets, I’ve had to save Bilbo a couple of times when he’s fallen in the swimming pool and couldn’t get out. He also tried to climb on board Mister’s kayak and up-ended the lot and they both ended up in the water. The dog became quite distressed and tried pulling him under. I ended up picking Bilbo up in my kayak. Fortunately. it was shallow water.
Lady was also rescued from the main road after hunting rabbits and nearly being hit by a bus. I received a phone call from the local vet to come and pick her up. That was quite a relief because she just vanished on our walk and being such a black dog, she blends in with the road, which obvious dangers.
We have spent the last three days being battered by cyclonic winds and extremely heavy rain. While we didn’t lose power, we’ve had a tree fall on the clothes line. The roofing in the back room started a quest for freedom and Geoff was up on the roof battening down the hatches. A glass panel also broke in the louver windows out the front and he had to stick up a sheet of plastic to keep the rain out. We also went through a staggering cast of towels, which soaked up water flowing in underneath the front door. For awhile there, my computer was even being protected by a beach towel draped over the top like a tent.
Geoff was up the ladder at the height of the storm fixing the roof.
If you want to get a taste for it and walk in our shoes then:
1) Get a fire hose.Turn it onto full bore.
2) Add an industrial-strength turbo fan.
3) Throw in a bucket of beach sand.
4) Turn these all on at once and stand in front.
5) Have a blast!
Fallen tree branch down the street.
That describes the physical impact.
However, there’s also the psychological impact…the fear. that deep-seated, incredible fear. The wind is whirling and howling outside with such terrifying force and the house is rattling, shaking and flapping and rain’s getting in places it’s never been before. After all, we live in a house not a leaky sieve! The force of the wind was so strong that I had to push the front door shut to close it. I am still shaking inside, not wanting to venture out and just wanting to wrap myself up in a huge doona and hibernate in the house like a bear. Actually, digging a deep cave underneath the house (something like a tornado shelter) sounds even better!
Ocean Beach, Umina. The surf here is usually fairly calm so this churning mass is quite exceptional!
That said, we ventured out yesterday afternoon to take some photos around town in between blows. There were fallen trees all over the place and streets and footpaths had been turned into instant duck ponds. At a local park, the shade sail had been savagely torn and was flapping around like a lunatic.Rows of bins had been blown around and were lying beside the road like rows of fallen soldiers. Indeed, our garbage truck had turned up right at the height of the storm and Geoff was out there holding it up so the track’s huge metal arm could lift it up and empty the waste. My goodness. Even that was an ordeal!
I’d do anything for a photo- including venturing out into the rain but Geoff was the wind beneath my wings.
Just in case you think my penchant for hyperbole has gone into overdrive and my aversion to rain has clouded my judgement, the winds were gusting at up to 135 kph and in places 200 mm of rain fell in less than 24 hours. It was so bad that the kids’ school has been closed for two days. This has never happened before. Business in the area has virtually come to a stand still as well due to blackouts and fallen trees. It’s become something of a war zone.
Rubbish bins thrown around beside the road. The sand has been swept in from the beach across the road.
I’m still shaking. Tomorrow, the kids are due back at school and I just don’t know. It doesn’t feel safe. After going through all of this, it’s only natural to want to keep my chicks safe in the nest. Right now, even stepping out the front door still feels terrifying. Dangerous.
Joked to a friend on the eve of the storm that I’d never survive in a cold climate.That I’d be stuck in the house for 9 months of the year. I mean…I even struggle with heavy rain. It’s my kryptonite. However, this was no ordinary rain storm. Even the authorities ordered people to stay indoors and only undertake essential travel. That’s more than rain phobia. It’s a severe storm.
Shade sail torn to shreds at the local park.
After going through all of this and feeling rather ragged, avoidance is a luxury I don’t have. School’s open tomorrow and I need to get the show back on the road. Throw myself back out the door and put the rattles to rest.
Geoff out in the storm at Ocean Beach.
It’s all very well to know the importance of confronting your fears and how this actually causes them to shrivel up and die but you still need to take up the challenge. Those aren’t somebody else’s shoes that I need to step into but my own. I’ve conquered mountains but now I simply have to do is step out the door but won’t be easy. That said given the usual morning chaos, I’ll probably be too rushed to even think about fear. Switched to autopilot, I’ll simply do it.
After all, a little bit of rain is hardly the end of the world!
Flags flapping in the storm.
This has been S for Sydney Storm for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.