Relaxed Holiday

For just a brief moment last night I thought we might have seen the start of “flood rain” here in Lismore. “Flood rain” is the phrase used in my family to describe sustained, heavy rainfall that, as you might expect, eventually leads to flooding. You don’t necessarily identify it by the volume of rain that falls. No it’s more the sound of the rain that identifies it as flood rain.

Just like they have dozens of words for “snow” in Iceland – or is that just an urban myth? – we have lots of words and phrases for rain and flooding in my family. “Is it as big as 74? No it’s more like 87” and “It’s up to AGR’s corner” are the kinds of phrases we use.

That’s what happens when you grow up in a flood-prone area. While the capital city media is declaring the area “at risk of major flooding”, ask my sister and she’ll say, “the river’s up a bit”. Ask her if she wants help moving up some of the many things stored under the house, she’ll say “oh no, it’s alright, they’ll wash away and we’ll replace them”.

Anyway, we’ve had some periods of quite heavy rain – mostly at night over the last few days – and then tonight, there was a story on the local news tonight about how the area can higher than average rainfall over the next few months. We shall see, I guess.

The last time I was home there was the risk of flooding in Lismore, and for an afternoon I found myself on the radio giving out flood warnings. I “worked” a fair bit on that holiday. In contrast, this would have to be the most relaxed holiday I’ve had in quite a while.

When I think about my holidays last year – four weeks in Europe and two weeks in China – they were both fairly hectic. Even though they were “holidays” I was still pretty active with lots of activity from day to day.

Even when I was home at Christmas time, I still worked for a couple of days and was pretty much “on call”. It’s the same this time, but somehow it’s been more relaxing and the phone hasn’t run nearly so much. My sister noticed this on the day I arrived home, harking back to the day when I flew home at Christmas and the phone had rung half a dozen times on the drive between Ballina and Lismore. This time it’s been much, much more relaxed which is a blessing.

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon doing some “internet training” with some older family members – the sister and brother-in-law or my brother-in-law. They’re developing a bit of an interest in family history, and so I was in a good position to put them in the right direction. In particular, they’re trying to track down a family member who hasn’t been seen since the mid 1980s. Although they have a reasonably unusual name in Australia – it’s a German name – I still found it difficult to track him down, though I think I’ve given them a few hints in the right direction.

And then tonight, it’s been another evening for dinner and chatting around the television set.

The flood markers of South Lismore, not far from where my sisters both live. Even though I spent last night complaining about how there was already too much about the Royal Wedding, that didn’t stop me from watching two documentaries on the ABC (6.00pm and 8.30pm) and then hopping over to watch “The Queen” on Channel 7 (or Prime, as I should say up here on the North Coast).

The Queen is such a good movie, eh? Although much has been made of the outstanding role played by Dame Helen Mirren, I thought all of the actors played their roles well without resorting to caricature and cliche. Even the Duke of Edinburgh who is a bit of a cliche and caricature in the way he is portrayed in the media, came across as a highly believable character.

I’m back to work tomorrow – working from the office up here – and then back to Sydney and back to work proper on Thursday and Friday. Still, it’s been nice having a holiday with only a few phone calls to answer.

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