Saturday, 17 September 2011

Oh...and did I mention the weather?

I've said it before - I'll say it again, 'Everything in Australia tries to kill you.'

Earlier this year my wife and I were sitting in our office at home, outside it was a gloriously beautiful day, the temperature was up in the 90's. We heard a tapping sound on the roof - we looked at one another and my wife said 'Rain or Possums'.
I wasn't so sure, Possums don't ordinarily run over our roof during daylight and as for rain it looked all clear through the window. The tapping got louder, 'Hmm...' my wife thought out loud 'Hailstones?'. But again all was clear through the window.
Our two Dogs in the garden started barking and the tapping became a roar, yet I could still see nothing through the window. It reached the level of a deafening roar and I raced toward the back to find out what the Dogs were agitated about. I hadn't even reached the back door when I could tell what was going on from the trees I could see through the large glass panels - Twister.

With very little warning huge branches were being thrown across the garden, trees were falling, and as I opened the door, mercifully the Dogs came racing in. It was bad. It was as though night-time had descended in the middle of the day. My wife and I locked ourselves in the Office with the Dogs - not even standing next to a plane engine at full throttle could have matched the roar reverberating all around us. It was truly terrifying. The power went out.  And then, within a few minutes it was all over. The sun shone once more and all was quiet save for neighbours yelling. I went out back to check the damage - the garden was destroyed and the perimeter fence had 'gone'. Trees lay across the yard and had tumbled into the nearest neighbours garden too. Mercifully the house had been spared. Even so it would take months to sort all this out.

Later in the day I grabbed my camera and took a stroll around the neighbourhood. There were cars thrown around like toys, the rain which had fallen in just a few minutes had caused flooding. Our driveway had washed away for the fourth time in five years (still to be repaired even now). The images below are from the kids playpark at the bottom of our street.




Our little part of suburbia had been torn apart. My most abiding memory from that day though was of sitting out on the porch surveying the damage and thinking overall how 'lucky' we were. I stood up and headed inside and just as I did so a Fruit Bat flew overhead and shit on my head. I think it was a warning not to get too complacent...



  1. Wow. We've come close. We saw the swirling clouds go overhead once and the twister hit the south end of the city. You WERE so lucky to be spared house damage. Maybe the fruit bat pooping on your head is a symbol of good luck. That's what folks say here when they get hit with bird poop. (That it's good luck, that is)

  2. If the fruit bat was called Kevin, then you were definitely lucky. Timing, eh.

  3. Guana- it's good for you. ;)
    That was a helluva twister, there. I've only been thru one and never wanna go thru another. I'd say you got lucky.

  4. My husband and I, each holding a cat, headed for the basement during hurricane Irene, when they announced a possible twister coming through our area. I can't remember being so frightened - until the next week when they made the same announcement. Nothing happened either time, but it upped my blood pressure quite a bit. Tornadoes are not common to Pennsylvania, but a few years ago one came through our town and besides causing much damage, it killed a whole family.

    So glad you and your animals are Ok.

    The weather has been violent all over this year.

  5. That makes my life in France seem rather dull. But dull I prefer.

  6. I just got back from Oban and Ardlui (stayed in the Drovers :-))and experienced one of the worst late summer storms ever!(had intended to go to Eigg but the ferry was cancelled) But I reckon a twister is in a class of it's own... glad you're fine and as they say in Scotland, 'Shite luck's guid luck!'

  7. You sure were hit hard. What a storm. I grew up in the plains of Illinois. Hated each summer storm.

    I just read a comment you wrote on thefeatherednest. My prayers are with you and your family. That monster took away something precious, and I hope God reaps due vengeance.

  8. Wow, I am glad you are all ok!!
    I have to say the weather is just crazy this past year!!
    and darn those fruit bats!!

  9. I'm glad you missed it Lawless - It was a truly terrifying experience.

    Carrie! It was called Kevin! And a few other choice names besides lol.

    Laura - I did get lucky, we all did.

    Starting over - I've never known so much severe weather in such short succession - and not just locally, all across the globe it's happening.

    Cro Magnon - France is one place I would seriously consider retiring to - It's just so beautiful.

    Annie! There's a camp site just on the edge of Oban where I would pitch a tent every summer. I didn't have to be psychic to predict it would rain EVERY SINGLE DAY when I was there.

    Susan - Thank you. I'm just grateful she's still around and has a wonderful family of her own now.

    Callie - On any given night there are hundreds of Fruit Bats hanging from the trees in my driveway. They scare me half to death. They are gigantic!