Thursday, February 3, 2011

What A Week

Port Hinchinbrook... and other amazing images from HERE

As much as I am craving normality and routine, like many others who have experienced upheavals with our crazy weather of late, I still can't bring myself to post 'pretties' just quite yet. With so much devastation around, not just from the big flood, but now also from the cyclone, everything else has seemed so ... not important.

But life does have to get back to normal.....whatever normal is. Even for dear old Ken.

Ken, giving Mal some building advice

Ken Report:

We had great success the day before the cyclone. We got Ken a new hot water system and had it installed, thanks to 'Luke' and his team of volunteer tradesmen, all the way from the central coast of NSW.

Thank you to Adam and Matt, the plumbers who succeeded in installing a 'Queensland' hot water system (they make them differently over the border). After a trip to a plumbing supplies store, following dodgy satellite navigation directions, Adam and Matt, not only succeeded in installing the plumbing, but came back again late in the day, after a desperate call from Ken following the explosion of pipes, that were damaged in the flood, up in 'what was the kitchen'. They also helped 'Mal' (Ken's mate) get some gyprock up over the top balcony so that he could start installing some walls for Ken.

Your generous donations (of over $3000 - thank you, thank you, thank you) have been put to such good use already.... gyprock for Ken's walls, hot water system, plumbing parts and a very affordable electrician, who literally dropped everything for me when I put out the call. Thank you Martin, from Desired Electrical, for not only connecting the hot water system but for 'actioning' (FF, 2010) some 'safe' electrical solutions for Ken, once you caught sight of Ken's rather frightening 'DIY home electrical setups'. Ken followed everyone around giving all the tradies advice.... on plumbing, wiring and building in general. I distracted him for a bit, showing him some cyclone radar pictures on my computer. He's such a character. I think they really enjoyed helping Ken out.

Jane from Life At Number 8 donated a blue rug for Ken. He unravelled it and proudly announced that he will have no need for carpet now. He is going to paint the bare concrete floors blue and put the rug in the middle of the room! Good lord!

It was a pleasure to help you dear Ken and the thought of you finally getting a hot shower that night put a smile on my face when I climbed into bed at the end of the day! We 'did good' folks! Thank you all.

So life goes on. Here at our place, we are still on limited power and will be until the end of February. Someone put a padlock on my airconditioning unit outside! I guess that means we are not allowed to suck power to cool ourselves! I am grateful just to be able to have a hot shower again and not eat dinner (and play 'blackout blackjack') via miners lamps! A new switchboard/box thingy is being installed, out on the street, ABOVE the flood line so that we will fare better next time.

Camp Report:

Big son returned from camp, immediately stripped naked in our courtyard and ran to the shower. He had not bathed for 4 days. He said only he and one other boy cleaned their teeth, morning and night (so proud... the nagging is paying off). He had not been dry for 4 days either and his feet were prunes. Most of his old camp clothes were ceremoniously dumped in the bin. I used tongs and almost gagged at the smell.

He reported that they had never seen so many snakes in their lives. One boy accidentally stepped on a Red Belly Black snake and missed an almost fatal bite. There were carpet pythons everywhere... and brown snakes. Why put them in such danger I ask you, why? One boy ended up in hospital with a cracked head. Another suffered a severe wolf spider bite complete with shaking and vomiting. Big son's food rations diminished significantly when a goanna managed to open the zip of his tent, eat all his cornflakes and then sleep off his feast in my son's sleeping bag.

He said the whole week was just hard work and not much fun... the 'making of men' hey! He is so, so grateful to be home and said that he sent loving thoughts to me every night at around 9pm.
I got them son, I got them.

Happy tomorrow.... see you Saturday.
P.S. Something pretty next post - I think. Feels right.


  1. love the camp chat, I don't know if i could bear to let my kids off to camp (without me to protect them!!!), spose I will... glad to hear Ken is getting some help, it will lift his spirits too!

  2. Good for Ken he sounds a real trooper so glad you found a plumer :) I am so pleased he is sounding so posative.

    Keep us posted! x

  3. This is a very good thing that you have done :) I guess big son won't be pursuing a career in the military; not in the Army anyway!

  4. So happy Ken is doing well, and that your design prowess has rubbed off on we'll see his place in the new Home Beautiful, complete with painted blue floors :) And as for snakes, I've seen more here at home this year than i have for the past 5 put together. Including a 10 foot + carpet python, and a lovely brown snake who took up residence on my back verandah! Glad your big boy is home safe and sound. K xx

  5. Oh man. Such pictures. :-(

    Ken is a sweetie! :-)

  6. Goodness! The camp sounds like some sort of extreme survivalist reality show. Glad everyone survived! I'm all for roughing it (for other people who want to!), but a location away from snakes and spiders is key!

    I've been so worried about poor Australia with the cyclone on top of everything. Have a real fondness for your country as my mom was Australian and I spent every summer there.

  7. These images remind me too much of hurricane Katrina. Weather at its most devastating. Australia has had too much, now, with this and the floods. May God spare you anything more. The Aussie body and spirit have been tried enough.
    And, camping among poisonous snakes and spiders? To what end? Can you opt out? Can't self-sufficiency skills be taught without physical danger?

  8. Such kind hearted souls, you are. In this time of horrible stories in the news, it's refreshing to read your tales of triumph and people coming together to help each other.

    Now i have to google what a goanna is ...

  9. The camping story terrified me. Snakes are my biggest phobia. Brave boys but yes, why send them there?!?

  10. That's wonderful for Ken, he looks like a real sweetheart. It must have been really uplifting for you to be able to help him..and James.

    And who would ever want to go on a school camp? Ours were in Kakadu which was spectacular but also quite revolting hygienically! Love that he sent you loving thoughts, lovely boy. Rachaelxx

  11. What the Hell is going on with the weather? And with the snakes???

    I am so over being bombarded by evil serpents.

    That camp sounds like Lord of the Flies without the shells.

    I hope to God the poor boarders were ok. They should have been exempted from such shenanigans having already Suffered Enough what with the food and dormitories and living away from home.

    If someone padlocked my airconditioner I would rip it apart with my bare hands and find that person and stab them. No Heavily Pregnant Tax Paying Australian woman in 2011 should have to live this way.


  12. FF, I did contemplate removing the aircon. padlock in a semi destructive way. When I saw it there, I felt like a naughty school girl who was being punished. They could have just spoken to me!

    And to make things worse, I get a note from the developers saying that they are selling my place and that their sales people would like access to my home, anytime, at the drop of a hat, between the hours of 10am and 4pm for potential buyers/walk ins off the street! ...for an indefinite period, until they sell it! Hmm, this, peace and routine in my life, that I am craving, is proving a challenge. I politely informed them that I would accept a 24 hour notice form under my door. Looks like I might be moving. Again! Just as well we're compact now.. and have no 'clutter'! A-M xx

  13. Life certainly is eventful, momentous and elemental right now! I understand that it isn't the time for pretties, but a good time for looking back I think. I have been feeling so nostalgic, remembering outings with my parents - reminiscing with my sister how much vegetables have improved since our childhood of woody carrots and stringy celery. I don't want to buy things, I don't want to improve myself, I just want to be grateful for everything I have ever had.

  14. I so hear you Tricia Rose! A-M xx

  15. Oh no A M thats just terrible I am renting at the moment while building a house & the owners have decided to sell I hate it when they keep coming round with people to look, I will be glad when I can move I hope it dosnt course to much trouble for yourself!! :(

  16. My Grandfather was one those blokes that HAD to tell the tradesmen what to do. Unfortunately for him they were not so obliging in hanging around.

    Ken sounds like a fantastic character and it's amazing what everyone has done for him. I'm sure his place will feel like home in much faster time now.

    The camp tale sounds like a crazy one too. Goodness me.

  17. Oh that camp sounds a bit scary and I am now a bit worried as my son is headed off to camp soon as well. Down to NSW so I hope they don't encounter snakes and spiders - spiders freak him out a bit (and me!) Good news for Ken, you have done a wonderful thing - such a good heart. ;-)

  18. Dear A-M,
    What a gorgeous shot of Ken. He just touches my heart. So glad things are going better for him.
    ..and you.
    At least you (and Ken) are able to have a hot shower now. "Little" things like this really are the big ones. A hot shower can make everything a bit better and easier to cope with.
    I read your comment about the selling of your property.
    You poor thing. ENOUGH!
    Hopefully - the easiest (for you) case-scenario will happen. A quick sale and the new owners happy to keep the property tennanted to you. Fingers and toes (quote FF!)
    But - BE STRONG about the requested (sounds more like demanded) accessibility from the Agents. (I am speaking from experience here) I think (at least) 24hrs notice is more than reasonable - and even more notice for times outside of the 10-4 (but perhaps don't mention this, or before you know it, they will be requesting all the times outside of 10-4). The Agents just need to pass on to potential buyers that a mother and her two young boys live there, so they can not just have access at any time. I think any reasonable person would apppreciate this (and most people are reasonable). It is just how the Agents put it to them.

    Now - (I think I have said it before) - I am not a great fan of these "Survivor' type camps for young people. Don't get me wrong - I love my children to play outdoors, build go-karts, make things, experience nature, get away from the TV/computer, etc - but, do they need to be exposed to danger and away from home at a young age to do this? I personally don't think so. I still have the horrible scars on my leg from tripping over and getting caught in barbed-wire on a 'night walk' on a Year 7 camp - so maybe I am particularly (and literally) 'scarred' by past experience. My husband, on the other hand, never went on a School Camp (migrant parents who were very protective). He is the most balanced, industrious, adventurous yet sensitive person I know. So, his parents "No Camp" policy didn't hurt him. (His mother just told him she loved him too much to risk something happening to him! I know it sounds very cosseted, but it didn't harm him!)
    Anyway, so glad your lovely boy is safe and sound back home. Maybe the one big lesson they learn is to appreciate home more!
    Take care A-M,
    Looking forward to some more of those "pretties" soon...

  19. I do hope the boats arent too damaged. It all made me feel quite sick at the cruelty Queensland has had to endure. I really hope there is no more! Fiona

  20. Re the camp...MADNESS, ABSOLUTE MADNESS!!! My daughter (13) is due home today. I will be ready.on the drive.with the wheelie bin.

  21. Re the camp...MADNESS, ABSOLUTE MADNESS!!! My daughter (13) is due home today. I will be ready.on the drive.with the wheelie bin.

  22. HI A-M,
    Yes please to something pretty.
    I'm with Ken on leaving the floor concrete.
    Next cyclone- we can just hose it out.
    Actually, now I think of it, a sloping floor with a big drain in the centre of it, so flood, cyclonic rain, overflowing bathtubs - just drain right away.
    In every room.
    i'm onto something here - going to blog about it later today.
    tee hee

    glad Ken's getting so much done.


  23. Poor kids, how terrifying.. bet they're glad to be home. How gorgeous is your son sending you loving thoughts every night..Bless him

    Looking forward to the pretty stuff

    Happy Friday to all
    Athena x

  24. So much good surrounds you - the funds you raised to help two men in need, your wonderful sons (my melting heart at his sweet thoughts coming to you at 9 each night).

    I did have to look up "goanna" though. Yikes! Not something I want in my tent thank you, but lizard boy must have loved it.

  25. Oh A-M, reading about your sons camp has reminded me of the same camps I had to go on when I was at Churchie. Horrible. Just. So. Horrible. I've tried to erase all memory of them. Glad to see you and your boys are well.

    Lloyd x

  26. Fantastic news about Ken! And yes you have rights as a tenant A-M, do not let those pesky 'Developers' run riot.
    Millie x


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