13 January 2011
Thursday

Cousin Margaret is a 71 year-old widow who lives alone. Her children’s lives and careers have taken them a fair bit away from home so spouse and I try to keep an eye on her. Under normal circumstances, this is an easy task. Her health isn’t the best, but she’s pretty independent.

Her proximity to Bremer River this week has, however, put a rather large dent in her independent armour. Margaret has out-lived the neighbours with whom she’s always interacted. The new neighbours are all younger and not that interested in befriending their neighbours. Gone are the days of women in a neighbourhood gathering for morning tea while husbands are off at work – gone are the gab sessions held over the fence while hanging out the family laundry. Today’s younger people only need the internet for news and gossip, and it’s becoming more and more common to realize we don’t have a clue who lives in the houses around us.

Margaret is left to only know two of her neighbours, and they have (understandably) been focused this week on how the floods have affected their own properties and rellies. Margaret’s best friend attempted to get supplies to her, but without success. All roads leading to her little corner of the world have been under water.

Yesterday, as soon as we got word that the bridge was accessible spouse and I made a thermos of hot coffee, packed up milk, bread and lunch meat and headed for North Ipswich. Margaret had already been without power for 36+ hours.

A routine trip to Margaret’s house would normally take around an hour and a half: 15-20 minutes to get there, 30-45 minutes to have a cuppa and visit, and 15-20 minutes to get back home.

Today, with all the road closures and detours, we left the house at 10:30am and wouldn’t get back until after 3:30pm. Most of that time was spent in traffic.

When we did get to Margaret’s this is what we saw (click each to enlarge):

  

The power came on while we were there. We helped get rid of spoiled food from the fridge and freezer, made a fresh pot of coffee and settled her in with a sandwich and television. She had almost three days of catching up to do on news photos and reports.

Coming back across the David Trumpy bridge was bumper to bumper traffic so I had time to leisurely take photos of the river. You can gauge the normal width of the river by looking at the gum trees. Gum trees don’t usually grow under water…

  

On the downtown side of the bridge you can see the first row of buildings that went under water, along with a street that’s still hidden…

        

The flow of traffic picked up once we left the bridge and I literally just pointed the camera and clicked as we drove past the intersections. These are the streets we’d tried to photograph the day before but weren’t allowed close enough. Also, downtown Ipswich is a maze of one-way streets so coming and going find you on different streets altogether.    

Here are the few fly-by photos clear enough to print… 

    

  

Tomorrow we hit the grocery store… the one that isn’t under water.

By the way – I found President Obama’s speech in Tucson to be incredibly moving. How anyone can listen to him and make the claim that he isn’t a Christian and hates America is pure insanity.

I also heard Sarah Palin’s 8 minutes of dribble. How anyone can listen to her and make the claim that she is a Christian and loves America is pure insanity. I’ve a lot to say on the matter but right now the floods here prevail.

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