Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And so it rained

A downside to living near the beach is that it rains and it rains and it rains and it rains. Of course, this could be said of all of Sydney and its surrounds at the moment. It reminds me that we can do a lot of things but controlling the weather is beyond us.

The one 'good' thing is that I'm not affected by flooding in the same way that I was when I was a kid.

I grew up in the lower Blue Mountains of New South Wales, about six kilometres from the Hawkesbury River. On the way to visit my mother on Sunday, I crossed a very high river at North Richmond and it brought back lots of memories.

When the river floods at North Richmond, the road bridge is submerged and the flood covers many kilometres of farmland, the polo ground and road access to Richmond.

Having no access to Richmond was a big deal. People would have to stock up at the local store in Kurrajong or once BiLo arrived, head to the supermarket for supplies. In hindsight this was all really funny because usually the flood was done and dusted in a matter of days.

A flood was like a rite of passage. Everyone would go down to the river and 'have a look'. Then everyone would say that 'it wasn't as big as the '78 flood' and then other people would compare it to the floods of the 1960s. The pub would do a roaring trade and you'd catch up with people you hadn't seen in years.

There'd also be some of the local Northo boys trying to surf into the water or float on tyre inner tubes. Kids would ride their pushies into the water for no particular reason. It was like a family day out.

During the 1980s, the river being flooded meant I didn't have to go to high school as there wasn't enough buses on our 'side'.

The last flood was in 1992, I remember it clearly because it was enrolment day at University and in those dark days before the internet you had to be on campus. My parents drove me all the way around to Penrith, probably a 2 hour journey one way, then they waited for me in the car and drove me back. That's what you do for your kids when the river is in flood.

Most families have a flood story to tell. Apparently in the 1930s my grandmother had to go to hospital so she was put in a ROWING BOAT and was rowed the entire 2kms across the water from North Richmond to Richmond.

Do you have a flood story to share?

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