Wednesday, 12 November 2014


A few years ago the FNQ town of Rockhampton was inundated by flood - a fairly regular thing up there and something that the locals take in their stride and are quite blase about - then my own town was inundated with floods in 2011 and again in 2013 so water was very much on my mind when I wrote this.


Maureen Clifford © The Scribbly Bark Poet

G’day Mum,

New Years Eve came and went, taking hopes and dreams with it but without the usual celebrations of night fire, fireworks and sparklers. Everything is too bloody wet up here at the moment. Sydney put on a good show though – saw that on the telly before the power went off. We’ll be right, the generator is keeping the fridges going and we’re not out of beer – yet.

rain dampens spirits
firework display fizzles out –
but there’s always beer

The corner shop has run out of almost everything now and the water is up over the counter and cash register now anyway. We tie the tinny up to the verandah post and then wade inside to salvage what little is left. The owner is a good bloke – he put a sign on the door saying ‘take what you need – slightly water damaged stock’. The man’s a comedian, but the water came up so quick he couldn’t get it out so he moved it to the top shelves to try and save what might be useful. Most folks will settle up with him when the waters go down. The river hasn’t peaked yet, she is still rising and they expect her to go over the 9.4 metre mark.

shore to door service
the joys of waterfront living -
boat vendors

Everything now is starting to stink – the sewage plant has been inundated. Maybe they could get the air force to drop a few of those new dri wave baby nappies upstream from the town or some of those ‘Depend’ undergarments, although I don’t suppose even they can handle a leak this big.

caught short by nature
saturation point exceeded -
reached and breached

The mossies are out for blood, and here we are wading in waters where no doubt crocs are on the move. They could pop up anywhere now, no longer restricted to the river and river banks – their playground has expanded by thousands of miles; and the snakes – you see them swimming through the muddy waters, clinging to fence posts, and no doubt when able getting into houses, onto veranda’s. Survival of the fittest here Mate. (Have to make a mental note – don’t go out on the verandah to check flood levels without first making sure first that crocs and snakes aren’t there.) There are just so many extra perils to think of at the moment. They are not the type of croc’s one wants on the front verandah.

garden ornaments
take on a new perspective –
they’ve gone live

But spirits are still high. Bowed but not beaten. Everyone is pitching in and doing what they can. Good intentions all round. Lots of new friendships are now being forged through adversity. The ANZAC spirit seems to be coming out. Mind you there are always the low lives. We have got looters – can you imagine? Not to mention the bloody tourists roaring through in their tinnies - rubbernecking. They are going so fast that they are pushing up a bow wave that surges and slaps the water into the houses – as if we haven’t got enough problems. Police are putting a stop to that though. God those blokes and girls have been wonderful – real morale boosters they are and the SES brigade, and the Salvo’s all trying to do something to help, and they are just as wet as the rest of us.

riding the waves
generated by idiots -
street surfing

The local showground looks like Noahs Ark. It is full of horses and cattle and goats and dogs – those that could be saved, and heaps of chooks and ducks in makeshift enclosures. They put them on the racecourse at first but then it went under, so now the showground is packed – but they are desperate now for stock feed. It will have to be trucked in from interstate and then airdropped. The amazing thing is that all of these animals seem to be getting on so well together. No doubt they realize the gravity of the situation they are in and everyone seems to be on their best behaviour.

local showground
Noah’s Ark re-enactment –
room at the inn

Stock losses on properties though will be huge, farmers were cutting fences and opening gates to give their stock the best chance of survival but doubt many would have made it. With no high ground even the strongest of horses and cattle can’t swim indefinitely, and standing neck high in water for days on end with no tucker isn’t the greatest deal either. The little calves and foals would stand no chance. 

from waters birthed
now washed away in death -
a watery demise

It seems silly with so much water around us but the first thing I am going to do when this starts to ease is have a shower in clean water. The newest fashion shade up here at the moment is ‘River Brown’ – described as a sepia shade reminiscent of soft sludge silt – I think the whole countryside around here has gone for it in a big way. Even the residents seem to have embraced it wholeheartedly. I wonder if those city slickers will latch onto it – it would make a nice change from the latte shades that have been popular for so long. Although come to think of it, it isn’t that different – kind of a strong cappuccino colour.

masquerading as 
the brew that fortifies - 
flood waters seep and rise

One thing about it is that it is a great leveller – Joe Blo’s lawn now looks equally as good as Miss Hoity Toity’s lawn – they both bask resplendent in the Queensland sunshine with tastefully arranged artefacts such as rubber thongs, kiddies wading pools and the occasional blue or red esky reposing amongst the shrubbery. Front fences and hedges are decorated with fringes of tattered shrubbery and long grasses and there are tantalizing glimpses of white and pale blue plastic bags artfully woven through the River Brown layers.

shabby chic
seen everywhere in town –
exterior decorating

Oh and by the way Mum, Jimmy says thank you for the great Christmas present you sent him. He wanted to know how you could possibly have known that flippers and goggles were just what he was going to need. We just told him you were psychic and had the gift of second sight so he said ‘Good oh – she’ll know what to get for my Birthday then.’ But just in case you don’t he’s hoping you’ll take him to Sea World when he gets down to Brisbane. You’d have thought he’d be over the water thing after going through this.

fills children with excitement –
wet and wild water park 

Anyway Mum – gotta go – they are filling sandbags at the showground so we are going to give a hand there. Don’t worry we’ll be right. When we are alone I will show you the piccys we took. You will be amazed – God knows we are amazed. Never thought I would be able to afford a property with such extensive water views. Do you reckon the value will have increased much?

waters rise - price drops
extensive water views here
don’t equate to cash

Love from your slightly soggy and almost submerged son
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