May 1, 2015


Lyra and I were in Woolworths when it began.

The day grey outside as we sauntered in, Lyra coughing and spluttering with whatever the bug de jour happened to be that day, a necessary shopping trip in an otherwise sick sofa day that saw a lot of television watched and not much else done.

It's not like it wasn't widely expected; the forecasts on the radio had been touted a "weather event" - like something you might buy a ticket to go and see - for days. But they've been wrong, though those skies...

Lyra, ill, a peculiarly calm trolley-surfer as we did the necessary, helping unload the trolley at the checkout to widespread acclamation from our fellow queuers and the nice lady behind the checkout, not to mention the nerdy bloke at the next-door checkout too.

Wheeling the trolley outside, the sound of the hammering rain hit us like, well, a hammer, and what with the unfortunate fact that we had places to be and sisters to fetch from school we had no choice but to take our chances, and so I trotted with the trolley and Lyra in pole position surrounded by the baggage like a buggy boot camp Mum into the car park, aflood to the ankle with fast-moving water in a wide cataract across the pedestrian crossing, my feet instantly soaked, the trolley with four little bow-waves and Lyra looking at me with a "What the flip" expression.

Then to school and dancing by which time the rain subsided, and on to fetch Nicole who inexplicably didn't feel like riding her bike home through the torrent.

That evening, calm; a respite in the rain. But the forecast offered more and worse the next day, along with gale-force winds.

And so, Eloise off to school early for choir, the air still and dry. Nicole to work, no problem. Lyra still ill. Easy day.

Calm all morning, then in the afternoon, under a foreboding sky, the rain began again, raining for hours in a torrential deluge that fell without respite or mercy.

The drive to school, fraught: slow traffic, wipers on frenetic, some idiot determined they were going to get that space on the pickup rank as a tailback built inexorably behind, ten minutes late for a sodden Eloise who had had to wait undercover for "Health and Safety" reasons. Back home - dancing on Friday now too, but hoping for a cancellation. The dance school is down by a creek and prone to flooding.

No cancellation though; dancing still on. So we lump ourselves into the car; but the garage door has mysteriously opened itself and no amount of button pressing or remote-waggling will get it to close; the motor must have water in it. Something else to deal with later. For the moment, leave the garage open; the chickens won't be going anywhere if they know what's good for them.

Five o'clock on Kedron Brook Road and it's dark. Wipers on maximum and we still can't really see where we're going as we tentatively make our way down the hill. Then, at the bottom, the water rises as we plough into what is no longer a puddle or a the water-slick surface of the road but a genuine flood, who knows how deep. Ahead of us at the intersection cars are tentatively making their way through but for us, no dice. We turn around and try to find an alternative route.

On the phone to Nicole, we abandon dancing and decide to see if we can make it through to recover her from the hospital. Kelvin Grove Road on the other side not flooded, not busy; traffic reports on the radio, it's all chaos; the rain still hammering down.

Ironically an easy run to the hospital and back, notwithstanding the obvious, there's little traffic and we get back in fifteen minutes.

We divert to check out the brook; it's as high as I've ever seen it, a massive body of water moving with perilous speed. We can't even begin to imagine the volume of water the channel is carrying, fifty metres across at least and who knows how deep.

When we get home, we discover the dance school called a stop, and had to evacuate with the road a river and cars underwater to their wheels in fast-moving water. Next morning we find that the whole place was flooded and emergency cleanup is required. Nicole and Eloise volunteer to help while I am on Lyra duty.

We look outside; a lovely sunny day. The water is gone, leaving a muggy stillness in the air and a city slowly exhaling.

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