Monday, 28 January 2013

Day 54: When common sense should prevail

Day 54 (28 Jan) Ex-TC Oswald continued to dominate the day and indeed, most of the evening. It was a long night, staying awake punctuated by the occasional sleep, rather than the other way around. The wind gusts were quite incredible, trundling towards us like a low-flying cargo plane only to hit with a roar and rush through the trees. 

The verandah, at 6.12am
By the time 6.12am came around, just like yesterday, I'd already been up for a while surveying the aftermath. The low pressure system was supposed to have made its way down the coast overnight but its present was still felt. I was coming in from outside at the appointed time...the verandah was still as wet as yesterday and it just felt like it was never going to end. There were branches and leaves blown all around the yard, no real damage fortunately and still with power. Many had lost power overnight and by day's end were waiting for it to be switched on again. 

I opted to spend the day indoors again notwithstanding that the weather was supposed to clear during the day. 

At different times, there were brief moments of sunlight and we thought it was over and out. It has come back again, and as I write, the weather remains doubtful outside. I had an opportunity to clear some of the debris around the yard but its never a pleasant task. 

Listening to the radio then, and working on the Meiji project were the orders of the day. The radio stories today have focussed on the impending flooding throughout Southeast Queensland with Bundaberg set to cop the brunt. Ipswich, Goodna, Rocklea, the shops and restaurants on the banks of the river through the city...the vision and reports all day have been strong, visually and emotionally. Later in the day, it was the Lockyer Valley in the news again, and that is still far too raw. As I noted yesterday, it is still too close to two years earlier. 

Politically, the 'flying' visit to Brisbane by the Federal opposition leader Tony Abbott has been met with scepticism...he filled a couple of sandbags, wished people well and was away. The Premier spoke to the public again several times but the growing frustration of lack of facilities and utilities simmered below. 

Reading material, at 6.12pm
The good and the stupid in people stood out again today. The wonderful spirit of people shone as they baked, helped sandbag properties, helped people move to higher ground. But too many times the radio announcers were imploring people to not go out and sightsee unnecessarily, to not drive unless necessary, to not take risks. People do though. There have been several incidents of people being swept away by swollen rivers, hit by falling trees. I am as curious as anybody (I couldn't research in my field otherwise) but at times like this our common sense tends to take a back seat. I wondered what subconscious strategy was at play when I found myself reading one of my books, A Political History of Common Sense at 6.12pm, listening to the updates and thinking about dinner. Timely it seems. 

So with a long weekend so dominated by a weather event and so many schools closed tomorrow for the first day of the new school year, it is hard to know what tomorrow will bring. It is quiet outside right now, my twitter feed tells me the storm has headed to Sydney. Some common sense is needed.  

For now, it is back to work, the Japanese prime minster has made his keynote speech to the Japanese parliament today so there is much to analyse. There remains so much to compare between our political leadership, for better or worse. 

Kudos again today to those in the various services keeping us informed and safe, to the extent our common sense permits. 

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