Saturday, June 09, 2007


This tree used to be in the neighbours' front yard. At about 2am on Saturday morning, we had woken up because of the noise from the storm, and all of a sudden we heard the sound of splintering wood. We leaped out of bed and onto the floor: we also have a massive gum tree about three metres from our bed, in the front yard. Luckily the wind was blowing from the north at that stage or we would have been a goner. When we looked outside, the trunk of our tree was swaying alarmingly- the tree trunk is probably 40-50 cm in diameter, and it was moving about 10cm each time the wind blew- at head height (ie not the top of the tree, the whole trunk). We moved our mattress into a room not directly in the path of the tree, and prayed.

Saturday day time, as it cleared slightly, we heard that the winds were about to pick up again, this time coming south to south easterly. Knowing that our tree looked like it might go over, we decided to evacuate whilst we could: we thought- if the tree doesn't come down, we've lost nothing. If it does and we're in the house, it would be much harder to get out with power lines down and in the middle of the storm. So we headed off to the disaster victims' shelter, where we were given a nice 'counter tea' and the lovely people found us a hotel room to spend the night.

This morning, we called home to find it intact, the power still on and a very relieved brown cat. Literally. She had relieved herself on the floor (too wet to go outside).

Currently there is still quite a large tree bough (about 20cm diameter) that has it's proximal (tree end) part caught in a 'v' of the tree and the distal end suspended by the power cable to our house. If the power cable comes down we will lose power and the bough will maybe take out the front verandah. We have logged the problem with the electricity company, but considering that last night there were some 200 000 people (yes, that's two hundred thousand) without electricity, it will be a low priority.

Realistically, we have got off very lightly. Our suburb was one of the most affected by floodwaters on Friday night as it is low-lying and fairly flat. However, our part of the street is probably the highest- not by much, half a metre to a metre perhaps, but enough that we were spared many peoples' fate of flooding: not a hundred metres away, cars were floating down the street; 3 or 4 blocks away there was someone using a jetski to rescue people from their cars. A jetski. In the street.

Consider also that we have many trees on our property: two jacarandas, two Robinias, the large gum tree, a silky oak (the top 3 metres blew off and landed in our neighbours'yard), several orange-scented whatsies and two other nameless but quite large trees. Oh and a magnolia. And two lime trees (the previous owners must have loved their mojitos), so the fact that we still have power is quite awesome. None of our windows were hit by debris, and we can't see any damage to the house.

Of course, Patrick is blissfully unaware of the whole drama. He slept right through the tree coming down and the storm itself. The Red Cross ladies at the shelter all pinched his cheeks and cooed (one came marching up to me as we entered and said "I better give mum a break" and took him off around the room where he was adored by all the pensioners and other refugees). Right now, I can see some blue sky out the window. The worst is over for us. T is meant to be working in Maitland tomorrow, but, considering half of Maitland has been evacuated because of rising floodwaters, I somehow doubt he will get there, although being a health worker he may be a priority. I don't want him to go anyway, so I'll do my level best to talk him out of it!
the water lapping our front steps Friday night.


Anonymous minnie said...

scary!! glad you're all okay tho.

man, i remember all the flooding that used to happen when i was growin up and how fun it was afterwards to cruise around the flooded neighborhood.

10/6/07 19:04  
Anonymous J-Le said...

crikey! stay safe, all of you.

11/6/07 00:12  
Blogger Mermaidgrrrl said...

OMG! I have come home to your scary news - you poor things! Have you recovered from it all? The whole thing looked soooo scary on the news.

13/6/07 22:56  

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