Friday, April 3, 2009

Rain, rain, go away...

You may have seen on the news or indeed read on my other blog, Double Elephant, that the Coffs Coast Region has been declared an emergency zone by the New South Wales state government owing to the enormous quantities of water that poured out of the sky on Tuesday/Wednesday of this week. Well, it hasn't stopped raining yet and apparently we're due for more deluges of monsoon-type rains this weekend and particularly heavy rain next Monday. Hoorah! I hadn't appreciated quite why the city centre flooded as badly as it did (I seem to have driven through the area about 15 minutes ahead of the flood waters!), but the backing-up of the storm drains and creeks around the area coincided with a high King tide (King tides are equinox tides), so that water flowing out to sea was met by extra high tides flowing in towards the city and the outlying regions, hence the floods.

Gurdial standing on the plank across the crater

Anyway, so far so good, until Jake (the headmaster who recently built a house near to our block) sent us some photos yesterday. King tides aren't to blame, instead the valley is a huge water catchment area and as it came down off the hillsides it slammed straight into an inadequate culvert under the main access route up to our blocks... and washed the road away, leaving a crater impassible by vehicle and only just navigable over a single plank on foot. Jake's family couldn't get back to their house after work and school and have had to decamp to his mother-in-law's house (with five kids!) for the duration. Adam, who built his house right next to our boundary was lucky that he was at work while his wife was at home, so they were able to park their cars on either side of the gulf and have been ferrying children/food/adults back and forth between work, school and the shops via the rickety plank! Gurdial, whose blueberry farm is two blocks away from ours, on the other side of Adam's house, hasn't been able to get up there. We finally got all our boxed up goods into our new shed last Thursday and haven't been up there since so we have no idea if the rain water was able to drain away from the concrete foundations or whether our carefully stacked boxes (which were on pallets, luckily) have escaped the flood waters or not...

Gurdial's brothers standing on the plank. You can see the 3 large concrete culverts from which the road surface was washed away

Thanks to Jake sending us the photos we were able to go up to the crater this evening for a meeting to discuss what happens next, although they were all still arguing when we had to leave to collect our daughter from after school care, so I don't know the outcome. But the options are to spend $2,500 - $3,000 on a more-or-less well done 'bodge job' which would see large rocks placed down the sides of the re-positioned drains and topped off with water-repellent clay soils covered in gravel, or to invest more like $10,000 on doing the job properly which will include digging out a drain in order to divert the water flow while proper concrete pads are put in for the culvert and retaining walls built before a contoured slipway is incorporated into the road profile above... Clearly the latter idea is sensible, but apart from the time it might take to do and the fact that no work would be able to start on either option until the water flow has considerably reduced, there is of course the question of cost. It's likely that the bulk of the costs would be shared between Gurdial, Jake and us, and I have to say that we hadn't planned to spend a big lump of money on the road right now.

It's quite a large gap!

I do think that all the Buddhist reading I've been doing recently has had some effects. I am making a conscious effort to examine how I'm feeling, to recognise the signs of becoming stressed and to calm down, to relax more, to forgive myself more, to be more realistic, to encourage myself to exercise and to quell the nagging, critical inner voice. It's not that I'm embracing Buddhism so much as that I'm acknowledging the sense in what I'm reading and trying to apply it to my situation in a practical way.

1 comment:

  1. At the risk of being predictably boring and safe - spend the money to get it done right now, however much it hurts. You will inevitably spend more in the long run by choosing the string and sellotape approach. It's not as if you don't intend staying there for a good long time.


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