Thursday, 13 January 2011

Weather Report …. Water Water Everywhere

Christmas was amazing - New Year was great  (fireworks on Brisbane River at mirdnight) …. but it’s all been a bit surreal in that while we were able to sit outside on the veranda for our meals at Geoff and Janelle’s and continued with our morning swims in the outdoor pool, the weather’s been less than we expected and has dominated the news both here and back at home in the UK.  Thousands of people have lost their homes due to the floods, Christmas has been a total wash out (excuse the pun) for so many people, farmers have lost whole crops, families evacuated from their homes, some have died and several are still missing, people who were due to go on holiday for the summer months have not been able to get to their destination,  and those who did (bearing in mind that camping is the normal holiday here) have not had the expected sunshine to enjoy.  

South Bank, Brisbane - area now completely under water
Brisbane this week has seen the river flood, homes ruined, cars (and boats) floating away, complete areas under water and hundreds of roads closed.  The road closures across Australia are now having a massive effect on everyone in that lorries are stranded and some food is not now getting through to the local shops, people start to panic buy and illnesses are now predicted following the floods.  The news is dominated by stories of hardship as the now stressful period of clean up begins, insurance claims (or not in many cases), appeals for financial and practical help in getting lives back to normal for so many people.   And still the rain continues.  
The last blog was called “it’s just not normal” and all we can do is reiterate that …. this should be the time of year when the sun shines and temperatures are at an average of 30 deg.  Saying that - we’ve never been cold!  I did put socks on one evening but that’s as far as it got!  The “wet season”, cyclone period hasn’t even begun!

And through it all ….. the Aussie determination, comradeship and humour continues:  people willing to loan their caravans to complete strangers who have lost their homes; a scheme whereby you can adopt a family and support them to replace things they have lost, particularly school equipment as families prepare for children to return to school next week after the 6 week holidays; people who have been flooded out previously saying they still love their community and will rebuild in the same area; the usual financial and practical support; and comments about animals walking around in pairs looking for Noah!  


It’s all been a sobering experience for us in many ways.  We’ve not really been affected by the floods.  Yes we had to stay at Claremont before Christmas for a few extra days due to road closures and we didn’t make it to Blackall to see my cousin Dave and his wife Lynn (if we had chanced that journey we would have been stranded there until after Christmas as more rains fell and rivers and creeks flooded), we had to back-track and travel a couple of hundred extra kilometres to get to Brisbane due to road closures, and Brisbane area is now suffering - but so far, not Rochedale where Geoff and Janelle live. So all we can say is that we’ve been very very fortunate, we feel for those who have suffered in so many ways, and we are waiting to see if there’s anything we can do to help. 

Camp Site at Brunswick Heads

We actually left Brisbane just before the floods began there and headed down the coast.  We’re now in New South Wales at Brunswick Heads just north of Byron Bay. The weather here is sunny and hot - tho not a lot of sun when this pic was taken!  Geoff’s been able to go fishing.  I’m waiting for the red flags to be taken down so I can go in the sea with my body board!  Again all a strange experience knowing that areas not too far away are flooding.  We’re booked on the site here until Sunday morning - where to from there we’re not yet sure - it all really depends on the weather!

Brunswick Heads

Byron Bay

Wildlife just outside our caravan!