Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Plumber Please

This is sister in law's father.

Ken is 73. He lost everything in the flood, as you can see, including his car. I hugged him lots yesterday. His townhouse is in Rocklea, one of the worst affected areas of Brisbane. As you can see the flood is gone but the devastation continues... silently. There another 27 000 homes just like this.

I am so desperate to help Ken. I had to hold back the tears listening to his positivity yesterday. I offered him the world, the contents of my storage shed, unused furniture, bedding, you name it.... even my superior cleaning skills. He is a proud man and would not take anything but my phone number and the gift I mention later in this post.

He did ask if I could find him a plumber though. He has a mate who is doing a kitchen for him at no cost. When the kitchen goes in, if there is a plumber out there in bloggy blog land who can find his way to Rocklea to offer his services and parts for free, please email me at:

I don't know the time line. Ken was a bit sketchy... you know how mates work... Ken needs to action some walls first.

You can see the water line on the second floor - nothing was spared. 
The water made it up to the top of the kitchen splashback upstairs.
You can see the water marks on Ken's car too. It's a total goner.

Ken's living room, stairwell and bedroom. 
Even though the sodden walls, ceiling and floors have been ripped out, there is still mud everywhere you look.

Ken still does not have power or hot water. 

Salvaged treasures :(

Carpet removed from stairs - still mud.

A little treasure high and dry.

While we were '5 star flood evacuees', in our city hotel, biting our nails over losing the lizards, we met some lovely ladies, Eleanor and Kerrie, also staying at the hotel. Rather than give their flood donation to the Premier's Flood Appeal (which looks like it will be going to hardly anyone now that the Premier has announced the ridiculously low income cut off that no-one was aware of when she started the fund - don't get me started), they generously gave it to me. As our home was not decimated, I asked Eleanor and Kerrie if I could pass their generous donation on to someone who had lost everything.

Ken has gratefully received Eleanor and Kerrie's donation.

So I drove away and Ken went back to his mattress on the floor, in his house with no walls. My heart ached for him. If I still lived in 'The House', I would have set up a little self contained section for him on the lowest floor. I dreamt about it last night. I had it all worked out in my dreams.

A plumber? A plumber please. That's all Ken asked from me.
PS I have received many emails, since I posted this post early this morning, requesting a donate button for Ken. Your donation will be referenced 'Ken' so I know who to give it to. Here it is:

UPDATE : 2/2/11


  1. Boy, Ken is such a trouper! I hope you can track down a plumber for him and his house can be all fixed up. I didn't know about the Premier's Flood Appeal restrictions!!!! GOSH! :(

  2. I wish I could but being that I live in Pennsylvania in the US I am not sure my plumber would work. Please though if he would take a donation I would love to give to him. Please let me know how to send you money and then I would love for you to hand it to him and tell him I absolutely refuse to take no for an answer!!! xo, MB

  3. I just went to your paypal account for James and was wondering if you could put up one for Ken so I could donate. I have no idea how hard this is to add a name but I want Ken to have this as soon as possible. Thanks, MB

  4. A-M ... your post brought tears to my eyes ... I live in Tasmania and feel like a world away from the devastation in Queensland ... I sincerely hope Ken is able to rebuild, stay so wonderfully positive and to find a good plumber. Thank you A-M for this touching, beautiful post x

  5. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. My heart just sinks deeper and deeper when I see all this devastation. I am so glad that Ken accepted the donation and I pray that he will have his house back up soon. I hope a plummer steps forward for you and Ken.

  6. Hi A-M

    I know if anyone can source a plumber, it'll be you.

    Just when will all this flood devastationn settle??

    Poor Ken. And there's a million stories like his.

    Meanwhile money never sleeps and neither do I. Good practise for being permanently awake for the rest of my life I think.


  7. Marybeth, just donate through the James button and leave a note in the notes section, saying it is for Ken. I will look out for it as I receive individual email notifications for each donation, to which I reply to the donor to say thanks. I will pass your gift on to Ken next week. I did not wish to be so bold as to put up another donate button. Ken doesn't know this, but when he has walls and floor coverings, he is going to be the proud owner of some furniture that was last seen in 'The House'... just sitting in my storage shed and I have no room for it here in my shoebox! A-M xx

  8. That is very sad. I'm glad he has someone to build him a kitchen though. I have to admit, I have wondered about The House, whether it got through ok. You must long for it sometimes, I guess it feels like a dream now. Thinking of you and all the lovely Brisbane people.. Oh, and don't get me started on the flood decisions politicians have been making lately.. Rachaelxx

  9. We have been hearing so much about all the "assistance" the flood victims have received - surely there must be some avenue of support for people like Ken who have lost everything? However (as you say A-M) Ken looks to be someone from that generation of Australians who don't want to ask for hand-outs - who are so fiercely independent that they just want to battle through themselves. Hopefully a plumber will find his/her way to Ken and I'm sure if anyone can make it happen - you will! ;)Sharyne

  10. You have to really admire Ken's attitude and the many others out there like him. I fear you are right about the flood relief and meanwhile people that don;t need it are recieving money simply for losing power for a few days or being stuck on holidays...seems ridiculous. It is so important that we keep quietly doing as much as we can, xx Katherine

  11. You are such a lovely person to help another devastated by the floods. I hope Ken's house will be rebuilt very soon.

  12. A-M thankyou for sharing this story of Ken. It really shows what I imagine is happening to hundreds of people across the state. I think we have to keep showing & telling these stories so these people are not forgotten over time. They need our help. How I wish I was a plumber , a electrician or a builder right now !
    Karyn x

  13. Due to popular demand, I have set up a donate button for Ken now. I have already received $550 for him, in the space of minutes. Thank you. A-M xx

  14. A-M you really are such a beautiful soul.

  15. What?? I have not heard about this income cut off!!!!Not happy 13 year old son donated the remainder of his xmas money along with our donation and I am not at all happy that this will be administered with strings attached.!!!

  16. The premiers appeal was always going to go that way.. because it is being distributed by the red cross.. who do some fabulous work.. dont get me wrong but they will never receive a cent from me because of their cut offs and formulas.. It isnt a fair distribution.. I have contributed directly to people and I know many others who are doing the same.. I will pass Ken's details along to a friend in Canada looking for someone to donate to :)

  17. A-M, you're such a kind and generous soul. Money is tight in our house at the moment, but I've made a small donation for Ken. We have a comfortable home and beds to sleep in; how can we not help others who are less fortunate?

    I'm also going to link to this post via my blogs and Facebook today, and urge my friends and blogging buddies to give generously.

    It sounds like Ken is surrounded by love... I hope he's also surrounded by a few creature comforts very soon.


  18. Thankyou for giving me the opportunity to give directly to people who desperately need it. I did not donate to the premiers fund as I was sceptical of how it would be distributed. In Victoria there is still $100 million dollars sitting in an account that was donated to the Bushfire appeal not passed on to those who still need it. They will not even loan it to local businesses so they can rebuild, it’s so sad and so wrong. Mary

  19. Hello darling I'm back, talk about a quick trip down south.
    Seriously your photos A-Me are so good and never cease to choke me up. Poor Ken! Will donate later when I can use my childs paypal..I know, I'm such a dinosaur.
    I pray your electricity does not evaporate!

  20. I have sent a link to your blog to a friend of mine who's hubby is a plumber, so hopefully they can help out.
    You are doing some lovely things for other people right now. Good on you.

  21. Oh AM my heart breaks a man in his life time does not have to be sleeping on the floor I hope Ken gets a plumber & his house put back together soon I did not realise the Premier relief fund had restrictions? That makes me mad!! Your are truly doing great to let every one know whats happening so no one forgets its going to be a long time before homes are rebuilt :( x

  22. MOTH wants to load a heap of plasterboard on his truck, drive up & fix walls in for Ken NOW! Maybe that's something he can do in the future, but in the meantime it's been our privilege to scoot over to PayPal. You are a woman on a mission A-M - let nothing get in your way!
    Millie x

  23. Oh dear MOTH, if you were down the road, I know you would be at Kens today, actioning some walls. Thank you Millie. Thank you everyone. A-M xx

    PS I am ironing... loving it... but feeling guilty that I have power and others don't :(

  24. Oh my heart goes out to dear Ken, and you are doing a marvelous job btw.

    I'm not happy to hear about the threshhold for our donations to the Premiers Flood Appeal...why is this always the way with officals :(

  25. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to donate to someone on a personal level. My heart goes out to Ken. I wish him well. Sharyn

  26. Joanne, got your email. Tried to reply but it bounced back to me. Have you another email address? A-M xx

  27. You are such a wonderful person, A-M, to do this for Ken. Have just made a donation, I hope Ken is able to re build a little quicker with your help :)

    Hope the boys are well.

    Katena xx

  28. Ken reminds me so much of my father who passed away 4 years ago aged 83. The small frame, the weather beaten-skin, the clothes and the fierce independence. Thank you for your photos which do so much to reveal the quiet suffering still endured by many now the media hoopla has died down. I have added a little something to your account for Ken.

  29. Oh, Honey. You make it the floods so *real* and relatable for us. Bless you for doing this. J x

  30. A-M, my husband Rob and I have just made a little donation to Ken. He is just the sort of person that needs all the help that can be mustered right now. Please give him a big hug for me when you see him next. Thank you so much for bringing Ken's plight to our attention. Lee :)

    P.S. So furious to hear about the restrictions on the Premier's Flood Appeal. Just going to surf the net to find out a little bit about it right now.

  31. Oops... I sent it to your capecod email address - sorry!

  32. Both email addresses work Amy! Total for Ken today = $1490. I am so, so grateful for your support everyone. Ken has no idea what we have done. He only asked me to help find him a plumber! Sleep well my friends :)
    A-M xx

  33. I can only imagine having to deal with this kind of devastation. Yes, it's the losing of all home comforts but above all else, it is losing that sense of cosy security that having around one's own prized possessions and sentimental treasures, collected over many years, can bring. It's completely heartbreaking to think about. It takes a rare person to remain upbeat in a situation like this and thank heavens for the love and kindness of others. I sincerely hope that you will find a friendly local plumber for Frank.

    The relief funds cut-off sounds like a disgrace. I heard the other day that taxes are to be temporarily increased over there to help cover the cost of this disaster. It does tend to make you wonder whether all of the extra will actually filter through to those in need in your State, or will it be just lost in the great Government Funds Pot and so spent on 'something else'.

    I think what you are doing for Frank and have done for James is wonderful and these random acts of kindness do have a way of blessing us in other ways.

  34. I have brought a small group of volunteers with me from NSW I have a Licensed Plumber with me ready to go right now. Please call Luke on 0410606381 asap as we are only here for a week and need to find work quickly.

  35. Oh dear, what have I done. I have sent the whole team of Mr DaSmitsta's around to Ken's complex (Ken wake up, answer your mobile.... it's probably out of charge...., they're comin')... they are all struggling. I so hope they can help out. Thanks so much Luke for taking my call and heading over there to see what you can do. A-M xx

  36. A-M you are such a positive and powerful force.

    I have been reading with amazement and admiration over the past months as you not only moved forward with grace and strength in your own times of trouble but have extended real help to those around you.

    Your name was amongst the first that came to mind today as I started to compose a list of women whom I'm referring to as Lustrous Pearls, women who have shone through in the difficult times that have beset many of us this year.

    I thought that you may want to read the post that I have just published here:

    Best wishes for all that is in front of you, you truly are an inspiration.

    Felicity x

  37. Hi AM, I have spread the word on my blog in search of donations for James and Ken. Also all my online shop proceeds this week are headed their way.

    Thankyou for sharing their stories and setting up the donations. I get very dubious about the big donation drives, but your heart felt dedication to get these two men back up on their feet truly is the most worthwhile cause I have found.

    Your are an inspiration.

  38. Oh thank you Alischa (Bespoke Letterpress) - your generosity has blown me away. How wonderful! Thank you! A-M xx

  39. Amazing stuff. Warms my heart indeed.

    Thankyou...well, for being you.


  40. A-M
    Has the plumber worked out? Am spreading the word here in Noosa, as lots of people here are from Bris originally. Let me know if you are still looking.
    Fleur x

  41. Have you found a plumber yet? My hubby is a licenced plumber / drainer / gas fitter and is willing to help! We have our own business ADrains Precision Plumbing, but he will fit Ken into his schedule call Paul on 0404 04 74 58.

  42. Paul, thank you, will call you as Ken will need a plumber when he eventually gets his kitchen. A mate is doing it so who knows when it will happen. We have a volunteer plumber installing a hot water system tomorrow.. but he heads back to NSW next week. So yes thank you I will call you. A-M xx


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx