Friday, January 27, 2006

Inside-out Palm Trees! A Hoot!

Yesterday, on Australia Day, it was funny. Hayden joined me for my morning walk along The Stand, even though it was raining and the wind was whipping the palm trees inside out. Just imagine any footage you have ever seen of when cyclonic conditions hit a holiday town: the streets all grey and empty, the sun umbrellas folded away and the palm trees getting battered to shreds by the wind. Poor palm trees. Originally, Townsville’s waterfront was populated by mangroves and mudflats, which withstood the extremes of the weather here in a much more dignified way. Oh, except for during that big cyclone of 1996 (or was it 97?), which ripped into all the mangroves and tore up the parkland there as well. After that, they town planners decided to rebuild the beachfront in a much more upmarket style. If you want to see the effect they were going for, you should have a look at SBS’s Remote Area Nurse, on Thursday nights. It’s true that the acting in that show is pretty flimsy at times, but the location is real and very beautiful. (And note, on that show, when they refer to the ‘big city down south’ they don’t mean Sydney or Melbourne, they mean Townsville – that’s a clue right there). The beachfront in Townsville is a not-very-good copy of what you will see on RAN. It serves its purpose though, and yesterday, despite the inclement weather, we saw many people walking and jogging along the Strand. We also saw one family stubbornly preparing for their Australia Day barbie: the husband was having a fine time drinking his beer and poking the sausages, but his wife was having a bit of trouble keeping the kids happy while trying to stop the paper plates from flying away.

While we walked home and got on with the business of having a lazy indoor Thursday holiday, the rain continued to fall. It was quite impressive. Through the windows I admired the new green shoots on many of the plants. The rain got heavier, but it was still funny, even as the pool started to overflow, look:

And a new creek formed down our driveway:

And it was all very funny because we were all snug and dry and safe in the knowledge that this time we hadn’t left any windows open. Not like that other time.

It rained all through the night last night and I slept so well, and this morning it was so pleasant to wake up in 27º rather than 29º. But when I sat down at my desk this morning, my feet were the first to know that the water has started to come inside again. The rain is coming into our house up through the ground. It’s different when it’s not my fault. It’s infuriating because the real estate has offered no help at all. It’s not all that funny any more.

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