A lot can happen in a week.  Even more can happen in an hour.

Last Sunday, I had an internet meeting, which was short and brief and to the point, and was over by 9:30am.  My husband then wanted his hair cut, which I didn’t have a problem doing.  We had received a phone call from his sister advising that the fords on their property had flooded and they were looking forward to having the day off on Monday (because there is no way they can get out of their property when the fords are flooded.

The river was up, and my beloved told her to keep in touch every hour, and if the phone went down (which it generally did when there was a storm) then to send him texts, and he would go up the river every hour on the hour to get them.

Five minutes into the haircut, we get a phone call.  A phone call I never want to get again.  My sister in law was beside herself.  A mudslide had taken out the shed, her car, her chickens, there were logs and debris everywhere.  What the F*&K!!!

Gotta go, she said.  My beloved was frantic, so was I.  The river was in flood, was their house OK?

He rang her back.  Yes, she was still on the face of the planet, so was her daughter, her daughters friend and her husband.  The dog was inside with them, but the cat turned up covered in mud.  The shed wasn’t gone, but her chicken coup – there is nothing left.  There is no dry wood, the generator (because they have no power to their house) was still going under water and her car (aka The Bubble – its a Rav4) was sideways in the shed and there was no way they were going to get it out.  It was carnage.  We kept our promise to call every hour on the hour, desperately trying to think of ways to get them out.

At 12pm we heard that they were airlifting people out, and sure enough, within an hour, I had my sister in law in my arms, hugging and crying, just thankful that she was alive.  She was distressed though, because her husband stayed behind.  Check out the TVNZ site for the video

5 years ago, a windstorm blew down logs on the hills behind their place.  These logs, which forestry didn’t remove, had been washed down into the gullys and caused logjams, which had finally let go with the amount of water that had been behind them. Those logs now lie over part of their farm.  The area where we go camping, escaped damage, except the native gully, which had glow worms, that has been scoured out and there is a log jam there, ready to blow out that small section of native that is left there.

So we had visitors staying for a couple of days, we finally packed her and supplies in on Tuesday, because their driveway was not driveable.  That was finally cleared on Thursday, in time for her husband to drive out and get his digger home.

Yesterday, with a group of friends in tow, we went back up and helped to tidy up.  The logs are still there, but we dug out fences, found what firewood we could and generally found bits that would be useful again.

This morning, we get a notice advising of more crappy weather on the way.  Up we go, to batton down the hatches, make sure they have plenty of fuel for the replacement generator, water in the water tank, dry firewood to last them a week, because if the slips happen again, they will be shut in again for another week.

Needless to say, I have managed about 500 words this week.  Which isn’t too bad considering.  I am planning on trying a new strategy tomorrow, and will try conflict, because I am feeling it right now, and think that this is an excellent opportunity to use some of that energy in writing.

The Week that Wasn’t

6 thoughts on “The Week that Wasn’t

  • May 23, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Hope you can get some words out this week and that writing conflict helps. I hope the weather doesn’t impact on them again so severely this time around, I know how worried you were and it looked terrible on the news! Hang in there.

    • May 24, 2010 at 8:45 am

      Weather is turning nasty in North West Nelson today, so not looking forward to that. Very nasty.

      We went up yesterday and filled up their water tanks, my sister in law got fuel for the replacement generator and picked up food from her mother and mother in law, my brother in law cleared out the last of the culverts on their property and they put a stop bank in to try and stop it from flooding the house should the same thing happen again. It is the winds this afternoon which could make things messy.

      But at least this time, they are prepared!

  • May 24, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Absolutely frightening, and far too close to the house for comfort. I’m glad everyone is ok!

    • May 24, 2010 at 8:45 am

      We are too, unfortunately my sister in law struggles with this, and the destruction at her place gets her down when she is left alone. She is heading to work today, so hopefully having her normal routine back is going to help things.

  • May 24, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Wow. It’s great that everyone is physically okay, at least. And man, this will be great fodder. If not now, at least in the future.

    I remember a few years ago, my husband and I were driving through a nasty snow storm. I loathe driving in the snow, freaks me out every time. My husband said to me: “Remember what this feels like. Really concentrate on it. You can use it in the future.” And he was right. I haven’t written a scene that has people driving through snow, but that nervous energy feeling, that scared and tired feeling–I own those.

    Everything we face is fodder for our ravening creative hordes.

    • May 24, 2010 at 10:07 am

      Yes Eliza, you are right.

      The complete and utter hopelessness we felt at not being able to do anything, knowing that we could not get to them.

      The anger at the lack of care by one party to another, the callousness with which my brother and sister in law have been treated.

      The joy and adulation of the people who have worked their butts off to clear the roads and the thankfulness to all those who have helped in one way or another. There were lots of experiences to chose from.


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