I am not sure if anyone has missed me in this blogging space… but much has happened in the surrounds of my little house on the hill over the last 3 weeks. This is what I had planned to blog about in the weeks gone by… that I am now a standup comedian (if only performing once: made it so). That I have turned 41. And that my laptop has died beyond repair and the little musings it held within its silver casing are gone never to be found again.
But instead I was not free to write because of a weather event that none of us could avoid.
Lismore the town that I grew up in, Lismore the town that my husband and I moved back to, to raise our three sons has` flooded. Flooding is not a novelty for those residing in 2480 and its surrounds. This flood however was powered by the leftovers of tropical cyclone Debbie… what she did to the north coast well let’s just say- that she is a selfish cow.
We might have stood a chance against the deluge of 576 mls overnight if not for the fact that we almost flooded two weeks before, the Wilson River was still elevated, the ground was still saturated it just seemed it was always going to happen.
After the flood in 1989- the flood that so rudely interrupted my 13th birthday. I think that even floods should know not to mess with significant milestones of teenage girls. Especially if their mother is a last-minute-shopper and not a shop-and-stash a present in the house kind of woman. It was days until the shops re-opened. I didn’t even get a cake. A shameful example of egocentric teenage behaviour (sorry off on a tangent again).
After the 1989 flood the grownups had more discussions about building a flood levee to try and protect the CBD from floods. We all know that Lismore has form for flooding 1954, and 1974. The blue and white 1974 flood signs nailed to telegraph poles are a constant reminder of how good we do floods.
My children asked me why did they build the shops next to the river? It is a great question- why indeed? The river as we all know was, back in the day the main highway for trade and travel for the earlier settlers.
I was a little shocked when it flooded in Brisbane in January 2011. That a river should break its banks after constant and heavy rain should not shock a girl from Lismore but it did. I have never known Brisbane to flood, so without that experience or local knowledge I think I had become complacent to the true potential of the Brisbane River.
Perhaps too were the people of Lismore about the Wilson River. The flood levee may have given people a false sense of security but really the amount of water that poured down on us Thursday night and early Friday morning I think that we were always in trouble.
The flood levee did its best to keep the water out from our streets and over the years it has done just that but Mother Nature had the conditions primed this time for a natural disaster and she sadly delivered. The flood water didn’t just spill down the main streets it surged out from its banks like a school of kids on the last day of term.
Now Lismore rebuilds. Businesses are opening. Some are not. The cost of starting again is just too much for some small business owners. Heartbreaking loss. Favourite places around town empty, vacated, done.
The Book Warehouse was almost that shop that didn’t reopen. When I heard that the main book shop in Lismore was closing, a heaviness came over me. If you are a reader the local book shop is your go to place. The place you go to when you need an escape, or you need a hit of new ideas, inspiration or if you find yourself lagging.
It was an emotional visit yesterday as I entered the Book Warehouse the first time in twenty-two days (which is an enforced personal record). I was grateful as I made my purchases that I was still able to surround myself with millions of words each carefully chosen and setout on the pages divided into chapters to create all of these individual stories all just waiting for me to read.
It is a big undertaking to take on a new business in such circumstances. Thanks Sarah.