Sand-bagging for Seniors facing Climate Change

Snr Oosterman sand-bagging

Snr Oosterman sand-bagging

The rain came as predicted. It is amazing how the prophesy of weather has become so accurate. The art by holding up the index finger to guess future weather patterns has vanished, and has been replaced by satellite and bearded scientists peering at screens while sipping coffee out of a take away carton. We hear about El Nina and El Nino which I always get mixed up. In any case, climate change has thrown a spanner in weather forecasting.

We thought living about six hundred metres above sea-level would be safe. But this low pressure system was as predicted ‘a monster storm’. Warnings were flashed on our TVs to stay indoors and bunker down. The timing of this low moving south were precise to the hour. We stayed up and watched the sky turn an ashen grey. It started a bit light with the wind picking up. The northern part of Australia copped it first and footage was shown of palms and people bending in the wind. Umbrellas were turned-inside out, always a favourite by weather journalists who keep inside-out umbrellas in their cupboards together with sad looking teddy bears as props for future use.

We, by the time the monster storm reached our region, were dressed in our pyjamas and felt safe. We had some previous minor flooding in the garage but addressed it by building a concrete levy between a property higher up from us. It worked perfectly by diverting water to the road instead of our garden and garage. The Dutch always had a thing about staying above water, no matter what. The rain intensified and was lashing our area as never experienced before. The wind was howling, and was clearly out for revenge.

However, reports now came in of fatalities and angry rescue teams that people were still foolishly driving through rising water levies. It was now getting light and without having slept and still in pyjamas noticed the garage had flooded again. The water entered from the street which had become a raging river. Helvi took a measuring tape from her sewing basket and measured the depth of water in the garage. It was three centimetres. Our living quarters next to the garage is about fifteen centimetres above the garage floor.

Gerard was seen, heroically stepping to the fore, carrying sandbags in an effort to divert the flood to the stormwater drain in the middle of the road about six metres from our front door. He was in his pyjamas and it was so cold. Never mind, you do anything to prevent water entering your living-room and wet the Turkish carpet. Milo was nervous as well but cunningly stayed indoors. He, in the meantime noticed the storm water drain had had enough and could take no more. Helvi again went to the garage and measured the depth of the flooding. It was now six centimetres. She shouted out to him; ‘it is now six centimetres.’

He was still (heroically) battling the storm-water drain. He surrendered. It was beyond reason no matter how he cursed and swore. The rain was now a solid waterfall. ‘It is eight centimetres,’ she shouted anxiously. He went inside, worse for wear, as the cliché demanded, very wet, cold, and his partials-teeth rattling. He, in a mighty last effort carried sodden bags to the front door. The water was three centimetres from entering our living quarters.

We were amazed seeing footage of properties tumbling into the sea. One property even lost an entire swimming pool. We wondered why, when living so close to the water, a swimming pool was put in. Did they not know the sea-water was just metres away?

Bowral Ducks

Bowral Ducks

We were so close to getting water inside. One man here in Bowral drowned inside his car being swept away by rising water in the creek that flow behind our property. The same shallow murmuring creek that we almost daily take Milo to.

The ducks were none the worse for wear.

My book is for sale; ‘Almost There,’ by Gerard Oosterman. ( Amazon, Lulu and other outlets.)

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23 Responses to “Sand-bagging for Seniors facing Climate Change”

  1. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    The weather forecast must be more acurate in Australia, they can’t get it right here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 8 Degrees of Latitude Says:

    A very enjoyable read, Gerard. I’ve put it on my Facebook group page Girt By Sea where it is receiving critical acclaim. Cheers! Richard L

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thanks, Richard. Try as I might but could not find the ‘girt by sea’ Facebook entry. That is not surprising. There is much that I can’t find. But, there is still time. Perhaps you could point me to it?
    Cheers,
    Gerard.

    Like

    • Yvonne Says:

      I wonder if this is a closed group, Gerard? Richard will have to invite you to join in!

      Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I think you might be right. The Facebook era has completely by-passed me. I went to my face book and found Gerard Oosterman but how do I invite friends? How do I communicate? I know that my pieces appear on Face book but that is without my understanding on how that happens.
        I am really rowing up shit-creek without a paddle.
        I hope Richard will invite me as a friend. How will that happen. Do I send flowers?
        I think you are my friend too, but I can’t see you on my face book or on twitter.

        Like

      • 8 Degrees of Latitude Says:

        I will find you. (I think that’s what Liam Neeson said in that frightful action flick Taken … but I don’t mean it with menace.🙂 )

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yvonne Says:

        I’ll go to Facebook and invite you to be my friend. You’ll be notified, and if you know what is good for you, you’ll accept. 😆

        Like

    • 8 Degrees of Latitude Says:

      Cannot locate a suitable Oosterman on Facebook. If you’re on Facebook private message me (RichardSLaidlaw) or send a friend request and we’ll take it from there.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Well, Richard. I miraculously found myself just now on; https://www.facebook.com/goosterman

        I would like to invite you as my friend but am not good at it. Could easily get lost in this hybrid jungle and the possibilities of pushing a wrong button and end up getting endless invitations to buy dodgy pills.
        I do hope I will get to see the Girt by Sea messages.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. lifecameos Says:

    We watched the news of your floods on our TV news here and it looked horrific. it is good to hear your home did not get flooded – this time. We have some huge floods here from time to time, though so far i have been fortunate enough not to have my home flooded.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Over 300 millimetres of rain within a short period. It was frightening and exciting at the same time. We got close to getting water in. We got rid of carpets some years back and have a tiled floor. I looked and was thinking of the next plan of action in case of flooding. But the furniture has legs and books are also some twenty centimetres of the floor. I don’t know if waters got up one metre or so. I suppose call for a dingy and get rescued. It is scary but over the last few days I built a barrier around, and near the garage and hopefully we will be better prepared next time.

      Like

  5. shoreacres Says:

    Interesting that, on different sides of the world, we’re experiencing the same sort of weather. There’s been plenty of sandbagging going on here, too — the literal sort, not the metaphorical sandbagging that generally involves politicians who’ve been asked to provide information. There’s a rhythm to the literal sandbagging, though. The river comes up, the sandbags go down. The river goes down, the sandbags get picked up. Balance.

    Every now and then, I congratulate myself on the wisdom of my decision to forego social media. Reading through the conversation here is one of those times. There’s nothing wrong with social media, mind you. I just haven’t yet been convinced that I’m missing the best of life by not participating.

    Like

  6. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Dry as a bone here, now Gerard, and hot. I did my time this winter, however, trying to persuade the new streams across out property that they didn’t want to eat out roads. The most rain Peggy and I saw this year, however, was down in Linda’s (Shoreacres) Texas. That state understands two words: Drought and floods. Enjoyed your story and your sense of humor, as always. But I also understand that there is little humor while water is edging up to your doorstep. Laugh later. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, but floods in Taxes and Shoreacres. (Texas). Australia; a country of flooding plains. It has been dry and things have dried up. I remember a downpour once, so severe, that all of a sudden water was coming up through our bathroom floor vent. I could not understand it at the time. Totally flabbergasted. Apparently the stormwater drain was backing up and found outlets higher up.
      So, water can and sometimes does flow up-hill!
      Dry as a Bone is a trademark fashion item here. made of (boiled) linseed oil impregnated cloth. Terrific in the rain and storm and often worn by Bush-men in Australia on horseback.

      Like

      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        Like our western deserts, Gerard. When it rains, the skies can open up with instant floods. Here, the water is absorbed by the ground until it becomes saturated, even then it runs off fairly well. The advantage of living on a hill. Dry as a bone has been around for as long as I can remember for meaning really, really dry. –Curt

        Like

  7. Julia Lund Says:

    Floods are devastating. My home city of Carlisle and county of Cumbria had terrible floods in December, ten years after the last time it happened. Thousands of homes and businesses were affected. Many hundreds of homes are still empty – whole streets of empty houses with skips outside. It took over two years to get the city physically restored last time. The emotional impact never goes. And for those flooded for the second time …

    I’ve seen reports of Australia’s recent storm damage – awful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. rodhart (@roderick_hart) Says:

    What a narrow escape you have had, all thanks to the pajamas!
    I bey your politicians will deny that climate changes at all.

    Like

  9. Patti Küche Says:

    Thank goodness the drama subsided in time for you, but what a mess elsewhere . ..

    Like

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