Thursday, 20 January 2011

Mobile Hut panel set to go West (epoxy) when thunderstorms pass

After 5 years in mothballs, the Mobile Hut has been unwrapped from it tarpaulin, and a complete renovation has started.

  1. Two panels to be belted back and sheathed with 6oz glass cloth and West epoxy. One is in this pic.
  2. The rear door to be replaced with a heavier one, and also glass-sheathed.
  3. The trailer repainted.
  4. Inside
    1. stripped, and repainted
    2. remodelled, with a clear runway all the way up the centre, so a bicycle will fit inside.

I had intended to live in it next week at the Linux Conference in Brisbane. However we are still getting thunderstorms here in the afternoons, and the West System epoxy needs less humidity to set properly. The delay means that the hut will not be sufficiently refinished, so it will stay home, and I guess I get to just sleep in the car instead. Mirages are definitely less than ideal for this.

Posted via email from davidtangye's posterous

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Helidon - The Flood

Received via a small email list this morning.

Helidon 14 January 2010

We are feeling rather useless as there were more than enough volunteers at the Evac.Centre , I wasn't sure what we could do to help. All of the people living there (100+) want to keep busy, so volunteers are starting to get in the way a bit. You can see the people developing their own community and trying to do as much as they can for themselves rather than sit around and let others do it for them.

The town has electricity, intermittent phone and internet and mobile phones. Texting seems to work all of the time.

We have no water. The army has delivered palets of bottled water and we have tank water but its not connected to the house. So at the moment its dip baths only for us and the poor people at the Evac Centre cant even have that.

Access situation:..road is open to Gatton along the bypass so we can get some supplies from there (life is normal in Gatton). Heading west to Toowoomba - The Bridge on the Highway at Helidon has been deemed not structurally sound, so they are only allowing one car at a time over it and due to the massive landslide on the Toowoomba Range, they are allowing ten cars at a time up the range under escort only. The travel time yesterday was approximately 4 hours Helidon-Toowoomba (usually 15-20 minutes).

Grantham was a town with a population of around 400 people, 8kms from where I live. Our town is celebrating 170 years of settlement this year and Grantham would be around the same. Most people have been there 3 or 4 generations. Grantham has been totally flattened. There are only a few houses at the top of the hill, but most houses have been knocked down, carried away or are half standing and are not structurally sound. No-one is allowed into Grantham yet, even the people who live there. Yesterday,
anyone who still had their car keys on them where escorted by police to their cars at Grantham, were allowed to check that their cars were OK and if so, allowed to bring them to Helidon. If people didn't have their car keys but knew where they were then they had to write instructions on a piece of paper and the police went and tried to find their keys and their cars and bring them back to them. Many people don't know if their pets are alive or dead or dieing.

I think that the people are much better off psychologically if they are staying in the Evac Centre with their friends and family rather than being billotted out to other people and becoming a bit isolated from the information and support.

The situation here in the valley was so different to Rocky, Ipswich, Brisbane. We had no warning at all for the first wave of water. People were at work and at home doing their normal daily things and a wall of water like a tsunami came rushing at them and knocked them off their feet. The only warning was the sound of water like a train coming at you and by then it was too late. People saw their friends, family, pets and livestock drowned before their very eyes. The force was so great that many people had their clothes ripped from them.

Toowoomba got a huge storm unparalleled in their history. Toowoomba is 700m above sea level. Helidon is 150metres above sea level. The water rushed down the range, through Withcott, Murphys Creek, Helidon, Grantham and further down the valley. It was almost a sheer drop of 550metres. Imagine the force of Niagara Falls and it is only a drop of 60 metres. This was even worse than a tsunami because it was carrying trees, rocks, houses, cars, machinery, people - you name it.

We have set up a bit of an internet cafe in our garage. The people over at the Evacuation Centre have no internet access (Wireless doesn't work in Helidon) so we have had a steady stream of people coming to use it to do financial transactions, check emails, contact insurance companies, put messages on Facebook and the like. We are hearing horror story after horror story but we have also been talking about lots of other things - everyone has thanked us for having somewhere to go to use the internet but also to
talk about things other than the flood. It's the first time my endless meaningless chatter has actually been put to good use. I've had people helping me plan the trip to Ireland, help Graeme fix the bore, do stuff just to keep them occupied, and its us who are trying to help them??? Our dogs have never been hugged and loved so much. Levi is loving it. I have never been hugged so much, and I'm kind of liking it too J

EVERYTHING: the word everything has been bandied about and I never realised before that there were different degrees of EVERYTHING. There are people in places like Brisbane who still have houses, but they are covered in mud and their possessions are gone or destroyed and they say they have lost everything. There are people whose homes have been swept away as well as their cars and all of their possessions and we say they've lost everything. The next extreme are those who have lost all of those things as well as their workplace and livelihood, their local pub, the local shop, school and all of their lifestyle. Then there are the ones who have also lost their beloved pets and livestock. There are people who have lost all of the things above and loved ones. And there are those who still have homes and
cars and possession but have lost that one person who was their reason for living. Who out of all of these has lost EVERYTHING. I just shake my head.

We met a great guy yesterday who has lost his house and his possessions but still has his kids. He recorded his first song last month ironically called "The Flood" . I am urging people to buy his single off Itunes - its called The Flood by the Beau Rivers Band. You can listen to the song at by clicking on the PLAY ALL tab about half way down the screen. He was moving from the Gold Coast to Grantham to be close to his kids. In the middle of moving, he and everything he owns got swept away. He rescued his kids and his ex-wife (what a man) and they found high ground. The rescue team came through about midnight (the flood hit at around 4-ish in the afternoon) and he got their attention by waving his torch around. They said they'd come back for him but didn't. At about 2am he and his family walked 8kms down the trainlines through mud and deepwater in places to get to Helidon. All they have is the donated clothing they are standing in. They will be at the Helidon Evacuation Centre for some time, I think. He also has a Facebook page Beau
Rivers Band if you'd like to put some words of encouragement on there.

Well, we'll be opening our doors again soon, so I'd better have a 'wash' and put some clothes on.

Best wishes to everyone and please send my love to anyone who has lost anything or everything.

[I want to thank Jacqui for writing this to me she is quite exceptional and it is very hard to read without feeling it. Thankyou so much for sharing with us, Jacqui. Big Al]

[NB: ex Big Al - Perhaps we can bring the song and his story to all our local radio station's attention, ask them to play it and tell his story and where to get it. Seems very fitting somehow. Especially you pls Annie, John R, Barb, Joanne and Sandy as who knows what a difference it might make if it got picked up over there!]