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The Floods

13 January 2011

I’m sure (and I hope) that the whole world knows by now that Queensland is a disaster area of epic proportions.  Large amounts of the State are now under water and even the capital, Brisbane, has been hit.  There are some extraordinary pictures on this page. For those of you not familiar with Australian geography, this is an area roughly equivalent in size to the UK, France and Germany combined.    

I’ve thought a lot about my father in the last few days because he used to tell us stories when we were children about the Lynton & Lynmouth flooding   (go to the link for The Flood) in the UK. Both villages disappeared under water in August 1952 and 34 people died when they had 10″ of rain in 24 hours, 5″ in the first hour. The villages were at the junction of two rivers.  

I was too small to remember it but he was in the army at the time and responsible for the feeding of all the villagers and emergency services.  He told me they set up kitchens in fields that were soaking wet and muddy.  And they provided everyone with three meals a day plus morning and afternoon tea. 

And what meals he provided!  He says he always remembers standing up to his ankles in mud, in the rain, making strawberry jam.  Everyone was served freshly-made scones and jam for tea that day!  He didn’t mention whether there was also cream.

Only in England!

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3 comments

  1. I’m old enough to remember when our father was away at the floods. There was no gas or electricity – everything was cooked on field ovens which were wood-burning. At that time, all soldiers were issued with riding coats, which have very full skirts designed to lie on the horses’ backs. He had a group of men holding these out like a canopy over the fires, to keep the rain off.

    There is still one person who died whose identity remains unknown. To the time of his own death, he was deeply distressed that there are people in this world who have not a soul to miss them and take the time to wonder why they haven’t been seen around for a while.


  2. Gosh amazing story and I too wonder about the cream ? 😉 cause I do like cream on a scone !

    The floods in QLD are awful, everyday I sit watch the news to see if things are turning around for the better, you just feel so helpless by all that devastation.


  3. I listened with interest to a mental health expert talking about the anticipated after effects of this trauma. I saw how different people coped and heard their comments:

    “Well, I’m better off than a lot of people…”
    “I can replace furniture, I can’t replace people’s lives….and we’re alive!”
    “We should all be thankful it’s not worse..”

    I was hearing the seeds of recovery, of people able to see the positive side of their situation, which helps reduce the negatives. The stories of people helping each other and watching out for the elderly and vulnerable. Altruism is a powerful producer of endorphins.



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