The great flood of 2011

Tuesday morning off to work as usual for Roy and I.  I had the early shift, the first one I had ever done for Black Star.  As I am being trained up for when the bosses are away on holidays.  The morning was busy, with people telling us about the rain and the possibilities of flash flooding.  The shop it self was  starting to get a bit havoc, with the bosses looking at the flood lines, and getting ready to sandbag.  I was a little worried, as I live right down near the river off Montague road.  Is it really going to flood?

The next thing i know one of the regular customers told me that Montague road had been blocked off, WHAT!  ok, the stress levels went up.  To make a phone call that morning was few and far between, the boys i lived with were not answering.  I couldn’t get through to my sister and Montague road was shut off.  It had seemed that all hell had broken loose, just hearing more and more stories of what was about to happen.  I left my shift a half hour early as i was slightly worried, not knowing really what was going on.  All I knew from the night before was the Lockyer Valley had been damaged by a flash flood which started in Toowoomba, not that Brisbane was in the firing line.

When i got home i turned on the TV with every news channel covering the story of what could be the biggest floods in years and possibly bigger than 1974.  Which meant for me to find the flood zone for our house.  With the council internet down, government websites are maxed out with people like me stressing out.  Next best thing was to take a look around.  So going for a walk down to Montague road near Orleigh park to check where the water actually was today.  Yep, the park had been taken over, but the street was still accessible, however at the other end of the street near the sailing club towards the markets the water was over the road all ready.  Right, my lovely man was on the other side of this raging torrent of water.  It was pouring rain and what if we too were going to get a wall of water through Brisbane?

After begging Roy to come home, he ended up walking as traffic was at a standstill on coronation drive.  Me worried waiting for him, then realizing that I was looking after a shop too.  Blue Sorrento catering is the next block over from me and my boss was on holidays.  I rode over to check on the place and realizing that so far so good.  However so many tourists around (people who are just having a sticky beak)  Once Roy came home the weight of the world came off my shoulders.  Safe again.  As we thought of people who might be affected we tried to get in contact with them.  My sister who lived in Ipswich, she was on the last running train.  Safe.  Our friends Nick and Pheobe live just near Blue Sorrento (also know from now on as “The Shop”)  Their house was in the dip.  We rang and couldn’t get through.  We went off to go and see if one they were ok and to possibly lend a hand if need be.  Close call for them, the water had started coming up through a drain in there back yard, with water already up just under a foot from there floorboards.  Scary!

Returning back to our home the news was that we were to loose power the next day.  SHIT!  the SHOP!!!  It ended up happening in the night, waking up to silence, no buzzing, no train noises from across the river.  Silence.  it was an eery feeling in the city.  I like quiet, but that was too quiet.  I was first up in the house at 6am, to go and see if one, our street had water in it.  Yes, plus with a car in stuck in the water, Forbes street is now under.  To know that our street was under and that Nick and Phoebe’s house would have water all ready in it.  I went over to check on the shop and see if there house was poking out and all you could see was the top of the fence line.  With no power I had to reassess the situation at the shop with frozen and refrigerated food.  Compress it all into one to keep cool and not to spoil.  That Wednesday we just sat and watched the water continue to rise, to see if over night the high tide was to affect our house or the shop.

The one thing that really took me by surprise is that i have met so many of my neighbours, community spirit in West End is at an all time high.  People just having a yarn, out on the street.  Our street was closed off to cars and tourists which was nice.  Since there was only one way in and out of our street the roads became clogged and even to go and get supplies was hard.  The little shop on Hoogley street went under, which meant the next best thing was on the top of Dornoch tce.  We seemed to miss out on ice every day.  With prices of food things going up as they were in demand.  The Coles in west end was no longer running.  Roy and I had only been once in the new year and now a flood.  We survived though. The Thursday we noted that the water came up by another foot and a half and then was receding.  Hooray,  maybe we will have power again soon.  Hmmm maybe not, Roy the electrical engineer saw our electric box thing go under water.  Bummer.  I liked living in the dark, candles by night, we still had gas for hot showers that was nice.  Cooking one pot meals.  Intimate dinners.

Thursday was fun, Roy and I had to go and pick up our friend Paul …  Cargil, from the airport. He had been in China for the last year.  It even was on the news over there.  It was the  first time we had left West End since Tuesday, it seemed like a year ago.  It was like we were stuck somewhere,  it only took us 2 hours to get out there with so many roads blocked off from the flood waters.  The strange thing was the closer we got to the airport, the more it was like nothing was happening, they had power, people were working.  Just a few suburbs over and it was flooding.

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Friday was the start of the clean – up, all of us with gum boots on and brooms in hand, off we went.  The other great thing on Friday i had got a genny for the shop.  To keep the freezers working.  A bit of stock was lost, but it fed the volunteers, which was good. The genny was patrolled every time i used it, as people were stealing them!  So every day I sat at the shop for about 5- 6 hours keeping the freezers cold.  There was thousands of people in the area from the shop to the park down to our street.  Really it was out of control, also the tourists in cars were slowly doing laps of our streets gorking at what had happened.  GET TO WORK i say.  pushing mud around, is not the easiest thing to do, not only does it stink you will never know what you might find, is that a possum?  We helped many people in the neighbourhood, after helping them move out of there houses the days before then again to help clean and move back in.

The flood really brought community spirit out, i saw so many people smiling, in that week.  Even if they lost stuff, still smiles on there faces.  We are a tough ass state, I will never forget how many people were sweeping the street near Orleigh Park on the Friday!  It was incredible, I wish I had more words for those people who came down and helped restore so many peoples houses and streets.

Our power ended coming back on the Monday, I did not know what to do with it.  I put some washing on, I had forgotten about TV, internet, batteries in my phone and lights.  Back to the real world with me now going off to work again.

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