Well what a start to the New Year it has been.  In my part of the world (Brisbane, Australia) we have been absolutely inundated with water, culminating in the floods that hit world headlines last week.  Luckily, we live in a part of town that was not affected.  To be living so close to such massive destruction and devastation, and yet your life goes on (semi-) normally is a very surreal and strange feeling.

On Saturday, we could finally get over to the kids Nanna and Poppa’s place.  They live in a part of town that was not so lucky.  While their house was OK, the street next to them went under water and as a result the whole area was out of power and in full clean up mode when we arrived.

For the kids, seeing an area they were familiar with that had been so badly affected by the flooding gave them a sense of the enormity of what had happened.  This garden was typical of the area – covered in mud and pretty smelly…

There was an army of willing helpers in attendance and in fact, there were so many that some had little to do.  We helped where we could – taking photos for insurance, moving rubbish onto the footpath, handing out sandwiches, cleaning footpaths.  My eldest son got involved too and he really enjoyed being able to contribute in some small way.  Here he is getting ready to hand out sandwiches…

Nanna’s biggest dilemna was all the food she had frozen that was slowly defrosting in the wake of no power.  Now we’re talking about a lady who freezes everything, and I mean everything.  I learnt a lot about what you can freeze on the weekend, things I wouldn’t have dreamed of.

For example, Nanna freezes heaps of cooked meats e.g. corned beef, roast beef, lamb cutlets.  This is something I never think of doing.  I’ll freeze things like casseroles, curries and soups all pretty standard fare.  But she actually will buy 2 sides of corned beef if they are on special, cook one for now and cook the other to freeze for later.  What a great idea.  And I can tell you that the sandwiches we made for the workers from this corned beef were the most popular.  One person commented “Oh my God, when was the last time you had homemade corned beef!”.

Among the many other things Nanna had frozen were cooked fritters, homemade apple pies and chicken fingers – all of which we had to take home or they would go to waste.  For a while it was just like eating at Nanna’s everyday and the kids are delighted.

While life is slowly going back to normal for many people, there is a long way to go before everything will be truly normal in Brisbane again.  There will also be ripple effects in our economy in the coming months.  Already we are seeing a shortage in some simple commodity items.  Pool salt is an example – it is being bought in from Perth and charged at a premium.  All supplies used to come from Rockhampton which was one of the first parts of Queensland to be affected.

For Nanna, yesterday the power went back on, so she can now get on with the job of restocking her freezers.  Right now however, she needs to rest as she and Poppa have expended a lot of energy helping others over the last week, and it doesn’t get any easier when your nearing 80 years old.  Hopefully they won’t have to endure another flood in their lifetime – 2 is enough for anyone.

If you would like to donate to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal to help us get Queensland back on it’s feet, click here.  Any donation, from anywhere in the world is greatly appreciated.

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