Monthly Archives: January 2013

Flood Fun!

drought-relief-‘I love a sunburnt country, …of drought and flooding rains.’  Ol’ Dorrie MacKellar was a champion scribbler who certainly knew one thing about Australia, chiefly, how this great country is trying to kill us.

Last week, those parts of our State not battling massive bushfires, were being swamped by a 1 in 100 year flood.  Just like the last 1 in 100 year flood we had two years ago.

Here in Gladstone, our long, hot, ground cracking drought was broken by rain of Biblical proportions; which explains the large number of folk wandering around shaking their heads and muttering, “Good God!”  Except for us atheists of course.

Thundery Thursday was followed by Flooded Friday then Saturated Saturday.  Rivers rose rapidly, and carloads of motorists, ignoring Police advice to stay at home, were out and about gawping at the rising waters.  Every flamin’ place I went there were crowds of folk taking snapshots of the floods; and I’ve got photos to prove it!

Sunny Sunday arrived, and Premier Newman, suddenly recalling that there were people living in towns outside of Brisbane, sent a couple of lackeys up by jet to visit us.  Sadly they forgot to pack the plane with some essentials, like bread, milk, toilet paper and ice-cream.

Then came Mobile Free Monday, when we woke up and discovered that we had no internet, Wi-Fi, or telephone services.  “Where’s Facebook gone?!” cried Long Suffering Wife shaking her i-Thingy.  On tele, houses were going downstream, and I was surrounded by frantic, twitchy eyed family members pawing at their useless mobile devices.

Grabbing an old Eye-Book 1.0 (a battery free device made of paper and cardboard), I wandered off into the soggy scrub until things returned to normal.  Tactfully avoiding a damp brown snake, I found a seat on an old stump, and brushing off a half-drowned spider, sat down to read Mrs. Mac’s poem, ‘My Country’.  That’s when then a huge tree branch crashed to the ground right beside me.

I had to smile; good old Australia, where even the trees will try to kill you.

‘Her beauty and her terror, the wide brown land for me!’

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Driving Offense

Drive and EatWhen I heard that Queensland motorists can be fined for eating a chocolate bar while driving, I immediately thought, ‘Yep, looks like we’re in for another bumper crop of Stupid from our political minders.’  Except, they may actually have a point.

Now I don’t know how dangerous chewing a chocolate bar can be while driving, but I have experienced the eye popping agony of having the contents of a steaming hot meat pie drop into my lap while motoring along the highway. That I survived this crotch scalding event, and was able to father children later, was a miracle.

Then there was the time I innocently opened a bottle of soft drink after a long and bumpy drive over the old track to Agnes Waters. The resulting soft drink eruption drenched my cars’ interior, and the shock of having a fizzy drink explode in my face nearly caused me to drive into an oncoming 4WD; which would also have been very bad for my cars’ interior.

Personally, I think car manufacturers are to blame. While they continue to build cars with more drink holders than sparkplugs, then we drivers are going to feel obliged to use them. My car has several ‘Beverage Receptacles’, and currently they contain a variety of water bottles, mugs of coffee and cans of soft drink. Most of which are empty.

Also, around the driver’s area, I’ve found numerous places to stuff lollies, chips, breath mints, chewing gum, and packets of sultanas. This little stash comes in very handy during long waits at road works, traffic lights, or while Long Suffering Wife is filling the petrol tank.

Funnily enough the one thing I don’t have in my car, but desperately need, is some sort of toilet attachment. And, no, I am not going to use any of my empty drink bottles in the event of a bladder emergency. Especially not since ‘The Great Drink Bottle Mix Up’ incident of ‘98.

All I have to say about that is some accidents are far worse than others, but how do you legislate against ‘Stupid’?

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Feelin’ Hot Hot HOT!

This is one of the reasons I don't mow in a bikini!

This is one of the reasons I don’t mow in a bikini!

Right now, in ice-bound Siberia, frozen Russians are trapped inside their homes enviously watching footage of Australia’s soaring temperatures and rampaging bushfires, and I’ll bet they’re drooling icicles, aka: droolcicles.

Meanwhile, here in Gladstone, the Summer sun blazes down while the humid northerly winds are pushing more hot air over our city than a politician’s picnic. It’s been so hot lately that the chooks have started laying hard boiled eggs.

And the weather report might as well be a recorded message: “Fine and hot, with a chance of showers.” Now, for those of you new to our city, the chance of us actually getting those showers at the moment are slightly less than your chances of winning Lotto, having a meteorite smack into your house, or finding a missing sock in the laundry basket; it’s not impossible, but it’s highly unlikely.

So this summer I’ve spent quite a lot of time hammering water into my gardens in an attempt to keep at least a few plants alive. As a result, my front lawn looks like an oasis amid the brown footpaths of my neighbours, which also means I’m the only idiot in my street still having to mow.

And last weekend, while Long Suffering Wife hung out our washing, I fired up my trusty mower, and as I waited for it to stop coughing thick, oily clouds of 2-stroke smoke all over our freshly washed clothes and surrounding neighbourhood, I wandered over to the fence to tip the coal dust out of my rain gauge. Through a gap in the palings I saw a parched ‘roo standing in the nearby bush waving a ‘Please Shoot Me!’ sign.

That did it.

Shutting off the mower, I wheeled it back into the shed, made my way into the house and cranked up the air-con settings to ‘Arctic’. As I passed Long Suffering Wife, who was now angrily unpegging her oil spattered washing, I muttered, “I’ll mow later, when it cools down a bit.”

Possibly sometime in May.

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Gladstone Carmageddon

This is what I'm going to start driving to work.

This is what I’m going to start driving to work.

I don’t think I really knew how to swear until I started driving. Yet during the past year, the antics of some of the idiots puttering around our fair city have actually left me speechless.

But for the last two weeks, I’ve had very little to complain about. The drastically reduced amount of traffic on our streets over the Xmas break has made driving to work and back an almost pleasant experience.

My fellow motorists are cheerfully giving way, using their indicators, not cutting me off at roundabouts, and even holding up all their fingers when they wave at me!

Things are so good, that I actually saw an old lady push a loaded shopping trolley onto the four lanes of horror known as Philip Street, and make it to the other side! Of course, watching her didn’t do my heart any good.

Plus there’s also been a delightful reduction in the number of trucks on our streets. Normally when I back out of my driveway, a sensor fitted to my letterbox alerts the ever vigilant folk at Big Truck Control that I am leaving home. A series of commands are quickly issued, so by the time I reach the end of my street at least two heavily laden trucks are lying in wait for me. And for some reason they’re generally piloted by folk with patience issues, and a complete lack of consideration for other road users.

But best of all, it seems that all the tailgaters appear to be on holidays! After months of being passed by wild eyed, abusive, rubbish tossing maniacs, I decided to get my cars’ speedo checked just to make sure it’s working correctly; let the record show, my Speedometer is Accurate. So obviously it’s my refusal to drive at least 20 kph over the posted speed limit that has been causing all my problems.

And while it’s been quite nice having a break from driving in ‘The Gladstone Thunderdome’ during the last fortnight, I suspect things will return to ‘normal’ on our roads next week.

In fact, I’ll swear on it.

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