Saturday, 19 May 2018
Last Thursday night Jon and I were just turning off the heater and lights and preparing to go to bed when Jon stuck his head out the front door to take a look at the rain which was pelting down noisily on the roof and windows.
The Bureau had forecast thunderstorms for the evening, and I'd been down at Clare's earlier where massive sheets of lightening were illuminating the night. The BOM had also told us to expect a lot of rain and by 11:45pm it sounded like the weather bureau was again true to its word.
‘I need you out here!’ he yelled! By this stage the water was surging both down the drive and down over the grass. Jon was attempting to sweep it away from the sliding doors and around the side of the house with a cricket bat, but he was fighting a losing battle and it was quickly building up and up against the glass doors. I quickly pulled on my gum-boots and grabbed a couple of buckets which were also by the door (we’d been using them for a running drill a few weeks earlier) and rushed out. For the next 20 minutes or so we ushered litres and litres of water from the overflowing drain around to the side of the house. When it started to look like we were winning the battle I gathered some pine sleepers and we built a makeshift flood bank on the drive so that we could divert some of the water before it reached the bottom of the drive. With that, and the rain easing off, we were soon able to take a break and go inside and get dry. By this point a lot of houses had lost their power but we were pretty lucky to not lose it (or internet) at all.
With the rain easing and the drain able to keep up with the flow we decided to go to bed. Our break was shortlived though and 15 minutes later we heard the rain get heavier again so we had to get up. This time we had a chance to put on rain trousers and rain coats before going outside to check the situation. Our pine sleepers were doing their diversion job and the drain was coping much better but there was still a lot of water around. We didn't need to bail so I decided to check how things were going under the house.
As I walked around to the back garden I could hear what sounded like a raging torrent from the lower corner of the garden. This turned out to be the big concrete stormwater drain that straddles ours and our neighbours fences. The concrete top was being pushed upwards from the force of the water and the water was gushing out down into our back neighbours houses. There wasn’t much I could do about that (except feel sorry for the neighbours) so I headed under the house. Unfortunately it wasn’t great under there - water had found it’s way through the hill of dirt and we had 2 muddy springs with flowing brown muddy water right at the back of the Oslo room. There was also another large puddle forming near the door to the Oslo room where water was somehow flowing into the room through vents into the external brick wall. Jon and I spent the next hour carrying out buckets full of muddy water and also moving as much stuff as we could out of the way or off the floor. Luckily we had tarps and plastic sheets we could put down to protect the floor from both the muddy water, and our mud caked feet as we tramped across it with our buckets.
The next day - the drain is the black strip across the front of the sliding doors, and that's our makeshift pine-sleeper flood diversion system!
Once we’d all had a bit of a sleep-in we got stuck into cleaning up the mess and moving everything out of the Oslo Room. Zali worked for a few hours filling in the deep erosion trenches with the gravel that had been washed down the lawn, while Jett helped us move every last thing from the storage and Oslo Room area up to the games room so that it didn’t go mouldy while the mud dries out.
All that was just over a week ago, and although I’ve driven by some damaged areas on my way to work, today was the first time I had a good look at the damage around the Whitewater Creek area (which was my cycling route to work). It was a mess. Since we moved here 10 years ago the council has been steadily improving the creek and surrounds with plantings and landscaping and general track improvements. All of that is gone. As are people’s fences and landscaping and in one case a garden shed had even found its way downstream. The bike path is completely destroyed in some areas and I can’t see things being back to normal for a long long while.
Amongst the trees are tents, BBQs fences, wheelie bins..
The house that owned this section of fence is 50 metres up the track. I wonder if they can just replant their fence?
The bikepath now has some obstructions..
and where it isn't obstructed, it's a foot deep in mud..
I also noticed that the house that would have been getting our run-off had all their carpet out on their lawn, so as we expected they got hit pretty bad! I think nearly everyone who lives on a hillside in kingston had some water damage, particularly to their under house areas. The creek area is littered with things that have come out of garages and basements, including this trophy which had come at least 300m down the creek from the nearest house.
In my entire time living in Hobart I've never experienced rain like that - it's interesting that kids have had a day off school for snow just a few years ago, and now they've had one for flooding as well. We used to think that Sydney got all the exciting weather - I wonder what's next?
Anyway - we appreciate that we have had minimal losses from this major event. There is some damage to the Oslo room floor but not even enough to make an insurance claim - it would have been a completely different case if we'd slept through it as lots of people did. Although the fact that we evaded serious damage doesn't really make up for the fact that the local environment is all but destroyed - I'd have happily given up the Oslo room for Whitewater Creek! Hopefully time (and cash from the local council) will heal.
Monday, 30 April 2018
The above photos looks like they could have been taken on a touristy rainforest walk but in fact I took them it at the Queensland Sprint Orienteering Championships we attended on Saturday.
By fortunate happenstance the event was being held in a suburb of Brisbane on the exact same day that we had a few hours to kill before flying home from Brisbane Airport in the late afternoon. The map was brand new, the courses were excellent and the area looked fun. The only thing which would have made it better would have been if I hadn't been too sick to actually run it.
I'm not sure how I got sick, but I woke up early on Saturday morning with the intention of going for a final walk along our local beach. However after a few minutes of being awake I felt so nauseous I could only lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling for the next few hours. I returned to bed when Jon got up, leaving him to pack up everything and load it into the car. Luckily I'd packed up my stuff the night before so I was able to stay in bed until the last moment before we left, when I dragged myself downstairs to the car park (only to drag myself straight back upstairs again to use the facilities).
The journey down to Brisbane was thankfully uneventful, but rather tedious as there was a lot of traffic heading into the city. As we still had an extra hour to kill before the event started so we visited the Brisbane Lookout at Mt Coot-tha. This is the view from where I sat.
By the time we arrived at the event I was feeling slightly better, and for a few moments I even thought I would compete. but after taping my ankle and going for a short walk I realised I couldn't possibly run anywhere - apart from not eaten any food or drunk any fluid for almost a day, it was also pretty hot in the sun. By this time Jon was starting to feel decidedly dodgy himself, so although he managed to run, he did so feeling pretty ill.
The kids seemed to miss out on the virus completely and both enjoyed good runs - coming 2nd in their classes. I went for a short walk to the creek crossing and took some photos.
By the time we left the event for the airport I felt ok enough to drive which was good as Jon was now in posession of my emergency empty icecream container and was threatening to use it. Luckily it didn't come to that and our journey home was pretty uneventful. We were also fortunate that mum was able to pick us up in Hobart so we all got home to bed as quickly as possible.
So it wasn't the ideal way to end our Queensland holiday, but it doesn't take away from the fact that we had a great time. The weather was pretty perfect the whole time, the water was warm and the fun was plentiful.
Friday, 27 April 2018
My last full day in Noosa began like all the others - with a run. I wanted to do some of the tracks in the National Park that I hadn’t been on yet this trip, but I also had tired legs, so I allowed myself to walk up the hills and take lots of photos!
When I finally made it home (I got a bit lost near the end), I found that Jett and Jon were already up which was a good sign. In fact we managed to get everyone out the door for a quick trip to our local beach at 10am!
Unfortunately despite the fact it was so early :) the wind was already up, so we only had a brief swim in the unstable conditions. Have I mentioned that the water is incredibly warm here ?
At home we had some early lunch then Jon and the kids dropped me off at the surf-ski rental place where I had a 2 hour self-guided paddle booked. Despite it being a bit windy in patches it was great! I did a loop around the Noosa canal area to begin with, where I could admire the 4 million dollar houses with infinity pools and private jetties. Then I went further up the river to circumnavigate Goat Island reserve.
Up the river wasn't quite as posh as the canals, and I came across all manner of houseboats - from the very normal, to the amazing..the one on the right was by far the cutest..
The one on the left below was clad in bamboo.. and the one on the right had a sofa on the deck which I thought was hilarious..
I finished my paddle and relaxed by the river with my book while I waited for the family to pick me up again. While I was paddling, they had been having their own trail riding adventure down at Weyba Lake..
It looked like they had heaps of fun.
Back together again we relaxed at the apartment until it was time to back to Noosa Main beach to get our only takeaway dinner of the entire trip (we've been taking packed lunches everywhere and cooking at home until now). We ate burgers on the beach watching the waves dump on the shore and the fire twirlers doing their thing further down the beach. A very nice last holiday evening.
Thursday, 26 April 2018
Anyway- with the kids finally loaded into the car we drove around to the National Park main entrance and took the kids for a hike on essentially the same loop we had just run - just a slightly shorter version. It was pretty hot and my legs were really tired by this stage, but it was nice to walk at a leisurely pace and really take in all the views.
Afterwards we hit the beach for an hour to cool off which was great, then headed home for a very late lunch.
After a bit of a rest, Zali and I drove down to Maroochydore to go to the large shopping centre with aim of buying some things to replace some of the more weathered and outdated nick-necks at Paul’s apartment. We had good success at the shops (more on this later) but the real excitement was on the way home, when we got a flat tyre. I was able to find a side street so we could change it safely - and I was also able to teach Zali how to do it which was actually really cool - whilst a flat tyre is never convenient I’m really glad I got this opportunity to show Zali how to deal with it.
The funny thing was that just 20 minutes earlier I had impulse bought some wet-wipes from Target, so not only were we able to change the tyres like pros (ok, more like competent amateurs), but we were able to get our hands nice and clean afterwards!
Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Jon still has some injury problems so I went out by myself at abut 7am for a run in Noosa National Park.
Although I know the route pretty well from my previous visit I’d completely forgotten how lovely the forest and views are.
The only bit I don’t love is the bit near main beach, where even at 7.30 *maybe especially at 7.30am*, there are hundreds of people and surfers with surfboards and prams walking the trail. The rest of the run is pretty quiet though.
Back at the apartment it took until 11am to get everyone out the door and off to the beach. We fluked a parking spot near Main Beach (it’s soooo busy there) then spent a couple of hours body boarding.
After that we did some window shopping on Hastings Street (while the kids waited for their ice-cream order) then went home for a late lunch.
Unfortunately it's been a bit hard to pry the children away from the comfy apartment - it seems like a bit of a waste for them to be here! Hopefully tomorrow we can get them out of the house for a bit longer.
Tuesday, 24 April 2018
This morning Jon and I got up especially early (but not earlier than the majority of Gold Coast joggers I have noticed), and drove about 10 minutes to Seaworld. Not because I wanted to break in and free all the seals but because I wanted to investigate the 7.5km Federation Walk which starts opposite the park (and even has its own website). It was a nice change from running on the bike-paths and it was good to get more of an insight into the geography of the place. It’s just amazing that more people live on the Gold Coast than in the whole of Tasmania.
Back at home we packed up and headed north to Ikea for breakfast The kids had their traditional breakfast jelly and Jon and I enjoyed the breakfast refillable soft drink (good thing we went for that run!).
After that we continued north past Brisbane to the Glass House Mountains where we forced the by now quite grumbly kids to do a 6k circuit loop walk.
Jon and I really enjoyed it (not the grumbly kids, but the hike). We came across a metre long procession of caterpillars which was cool, and we also got great views of these crazy Glasshouse mountains.
Monday, 23 April 2018
Today started much like day 1, except this time I got up and ran/walked (mostly walked actually) without Jon as he has a niggling injury. I headed north from our apartment for a few kilometres - the views weren't that much different to yesterday, but still pleasant!
We made it to the gates of Dreamworld at the crack of 10:30 - which despite only being half an hour after opening caused us to have one of the longest (and hottest) waits of the day as we queued up for tickets. Once we got to the front I was pretty happy to discover that they had a special which meant if we purchased a season pass for 1 child, one adult got in for free, consequently we saved around 80 bucks compared to yesterday which was eye-wateringly expensive as Zali is too old (14!) to pass as a child.
Anyway - once in we had a good day. It wasn't a super busy day for Dreamworld, so we didn't have to wait much more than 20 minutes for any ride, and once we'd exhausted our interest in the dry rides we went into the water park section of it and had a lot of fun on the waterslides there. We left as the park closed at 5.
So it's been fun but I'm glad we're not going to any more worlds this trip - there's only so much queuing (ad spending!) I can cope with! Dreamworld was fun because it was big and had the waterpark, and Movie World was fun because the 'thrill' rides were awesome. It wasn't the most cost effective pair of worlds to visit but I'm glad we did.
The first full day of our Queensland holiday started with a nice run along the waterfront from our somewhat..um.. well-worn apartment on Marina Esplanade. We ran right past a whole lot of Commonwealth Games infrastructure including the swimming arena - it seems like there is still a lot of packing up to do.
After breakfast we headed off to Movie World, one of the two worlds we've planned to visit here on the Gold Coast. It was lots of fun - Jon and I did most of the big rides, while the kids had lots of fun on the less 'thrill' rides.
Being Movie World there were also heaps of shows, including a stunt car driving which was pretty impressive..it certainly looked dangerous!! (not represented in this photo though)
There were also plenty of performances on the 'main street' - such as Catwoman beating up two baddies, and Batman coming along later to do the same. Marilyn Monroe also performed on the main street -she bore a striking resemblance to whoever the lead actress in The Great Gatsby is who came out to sing later. The crowds weren't too bad - as expected the queues for rides were much shorter at the start of the day, and reached their peak around 12. We had a few waits of about 20 minutes to half an hour but it wasn't too bad.
We left Movie World and headed to Surfers Paradise for a look at the beach, It was pretty wind swept and also shaded by the apartment buildings at 4pm. Maybe that's a welcome relief in the height of summer. Our apartment is about a 5 minute drive north of Surfers Paradise and we look across the water to Sea World and the back of Main Beach.
Saturday, 21 April 2018
On Thursday Zali decided to make a Milo cake. Complete with the bogus 4.5 health star rating and Zali's suggested serving size of 5 heaped teaspoons. I was also pleased to see it had the normal amount of milo mess that I often see on the bench when I get home from work!
While she did that, Jett amused himself with the icing scraps..
The other day Jon and I went to Taroona High School for the parent teacher interview thingies. Sitting outside my old maths classroom on the top floor of A-block was pretty weird! Most of the classrooms look the same but I noticed that the old lino has been replaced by carpet -that's funny as I remember that the switch from carpeted floors everywhere to noisy & cold lino flooring was one of the things I really noticed I when I moved over from Fahan in grade eight. I'm glad Taroona has carpet now!
It's also funny that I don't remember a single parent teacher night while I was a student there, although perhaps they existed but I certainly don't remember mum and dad attending any! Nowadays they are so well patronised by parents that there are strict time limits and procedures so the teachers aren't booked up until midnight.
I think I've mentioned it before, but there's a hotel in Launceston which gives its customers a complimentary glass bottle of water each time they stay. We have a friend who stays at this hotel for work quite often, so I asked him if he could save a few of them for me. So armed with three of these bottles my original intention was to turn them into drinking glasses but once I cut them down I realised they were too large to be practical even for the biggest drinker.
So instead, Zali and I made some cool succulent pots for the windowsill. Getting the plants and rocks into the glass was quite tricky - it took a few attempts and a fair bit of mess before we worked out a suitable technique..
The plants look so perfect they look plastic - but they are real! (Unless Bunnings pulled a swiftie on me!)
Monday, 9 April 2018
A year ago we were in NZ. Those were the days..
Sunday, 8 April 2018
It's rare that we get a day in St Helens when we aren't heading straight off to an orienteering event, but with nothing on today we were able to have a relaxed morning before we headed home. I woke up early (as usual in post-end-of-daylight-savings era), and went for a nice walk along the foreshore where the black swans were gliding silently around and the early morning fisherpeople were catching fish from the jetties.
When we left a few hours later we stopped at the little reserve just south of Scamander that we've been driving past for 10 years. It was great to finally get a chance to check it out!
It was really lovely and I'd like to come back and go for a run sometime. We limited ourselves to about 20 minutes walking as Zali was waiting for us in the car as she has a jack-jumper bite on her foot which she has had a bad reaction to.
Saturday, 7 April 2018
While everyone else was either packing up yesterday's event or resting after packing up yesterday's event Clare and I snuck out for a nice walk at Binalong Bay..
Amusingly, I had a ding-dong battle with Clare today out in the forest, although it wasn't really a battle, it was more of a scrub-survivors-support-group.. let me explain...
Clare and I both started early so that we could get back ahead of the regular finishers. Clare left first and I started just over 2 minutes behind her. The first leg on our course required us to crash through some horrible thick tea tree scrub which I really didn't enjoy. Clare had intended to take the same route but made a bit of an error, so I actually caught her up as she made a further error at the third control. The next few legs were short, so it was hard for either of us to get away, but then we both made a mistake on a fairly simple leg, and I followed that up with a 2 minute mistake near the next control. This meant Clare was out of sight ahead of me (which I was quite relieved about) so I went about the next 3 controls on my own. The next leg involved another thick scrubby gully crossing. There was supposed to be a taped route through it, but I couldn't find the tapes I just bashed through it, fighting and pushing through the bushes - it was nasty. When I got to the other side I swore rather loudly with annoyance and relief. I am not normally incited to swear while I am orienteering so it is evidence of how frustrated I was at not being able to find the marked crossing point, and instead having to bash through the cutting grass and scrub.
What I didn't realise was that Clare had attempted to cross the same gully just ahead of me. She had found, but then lost the crossing tapes, thus managing to get herself completely disoriented and stuck in the thick green scrub. When she heard me swear she yelled out 'where are you I've got no f**king idea where I am'!
'I'm here!!' I yelled. 'Come to my voice!' - I stopped and waited for Clare to battle her way out of the scrub. It was clear she was totally disoriented as she immediately wanted to head straight back into it - she had no idea that we'd actually crossed over, she thought she'd just emerged on the same side she went in! I set her straight on where we were and we headed off together to the next control, united in our dislike for that particular aspect of the course.
The rest of the race was relatively uneventful. Clare pulled away a bit as we took different route choices and I was a bit slower. Funnily enough we both ended up being amongst the fastest on the course for the day - I was 5th and Clare was 7th of the 65 competitors who ran course 4. It was a tough day out but ultimately satisfying and it was nice to stand on the podium with Clare at the end of the 3-day competition (Clare 1st, me 2nd).
The third major job I had for this carnival was the preparation of all the maps. Basically this meant liasing with each day's event organiser, then framing every course of every event within a nice template containing all the event logos and other bits and pieces like the north arrows, scale and safety information. It was both fun and tedious. And the funny thing is that when Jon originally asked if I wanted to do it, I said 'no way!' Then Clare was approached to do the job by her dad - she said yes but then had to assist her dad do a zillion other tasks as he was both official event controller, and building a fence. So after a quick Adobe Indesign tutorial from Clare I offered to take over.
And I'm glad I did. I liked the challenge of finding a consistent look for the event that used the colour schemes and fonts we were already using, and also finding the best fit for each of the 93 courses in the carnival - a3, a4, landscape or portrait. I learnt a lot doing this - after taking 6 hours to do the courses for the first day, I got the other days down to just a few hours each. It certainly helped that I was only working part time and was able to come home from work and spend the rest of the afternoon at my computer.