Oh, marvellous…

That is an example of gratuitous sarcasm.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 3.25.44 pmWe have been waiting for good rain for months. Now that we have a road trip planned, a 4,000km round trip…. now, we are getting rain. Lots and lots of it. Just what we needed to make things really interesting…

Substantial sections of our route south are already subject to flood warnings. Water storage dams along the way have already had to do controlled releases into the surrounding waterways for fear of damage, leading to further flooding.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 2.52.43 pm Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 2.52.26 pmThis is the view from the front and side of the house. That looks like an uneventful trip, doesn’t it? (That was more gratuitous sarcasm, by the way).

Oh, and in case you were thinking it looked a bit chilly and miserable, think again. It’s hot and miserable. 32°C/90°F, and the humidity is due to reach 88% in the next hour as that wet front crosses the coast. Think hot bathroom filled with steam and you have an inkling of what it feels like to step outside.

We’re not taking any stupid chances. Roads are closed and cars have been swept away already. If it gets too bad, we’ll have defer, even if it means rearranging everything on the trip. Boo. 😦

Welcome to the tropics, baby.


Marcia comes for a visit

Tropical Cyclone Marcia, that is.

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7pm, 18th February

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10pm, 18th February

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1am, 19th February

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4am, 19th February

She’s currently making herself felt as a Category 1 about 250km (150 miles) off the coast of Mackay. She’ll be heading southwest, working herself up as she goes, and is forecast to be a Category 2 by the time she hits the coast.

The track is now slightly further north than the last forecast, which means we’re at the northern-most edge of the blow. It’ll be loud, wet and windy. We may lose power. There will certainly be flooding in Mackay, as all this activity is combined with a king tide and flood water won’t be able to get away easily. Near the epicentre, winds will be gusting up to 150kmph (90mph), at a conservative guess.

Next forecast is 8.00am. I’ve been watching since about 4.00am – the Husband is out there driving a double tanker with 51,000 litres of diesel, and I worry – but the track hasn’t changed significantly apart from moving a fraction north. Anything can happen. She can blow herself out, switch direction suddenly or get worse. Over the next few hours, unsurprisingly, I’ll be glued to the BoM website; the action is slow but the news is fascinating!

This time tomorrow, we’ll be entertaining Miss Marcia. Should certainly be an interesting visit…

Here we go again

The one on the right’s the one we’re interested in.

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It’ll be a few days before we find out whether that little beauty out in the Coral Sea will make landfall or fizzle out like a damp squib. If it does come in, we could be in the zone. So I’ll be keeping the BoM website up for regular checks of its track. The forecast suggests that as of Wednesday it will start to move in a southwesterly direction. Towards us, then…

So far, it’s just a Tropical Low, with only moderate likelihood of developing into a cyclone, but even a Tropical Low brings with it strong winds and lashing rain. I’ll be moving the potted trees back into the lee of the house to protect them from being knocked over, and generally moving loose things under cover. The other preparations are still in place, our kit is ready from last year.

The other one is already engaged with the Top End, and because it’s already a Category 1, has been named: Tropical Cyclone Lam. The Gulf of Carpentaria is seeing some dirty weather right around now, and as it has the potential to go up to a Category 4, they’re battening down the hatches up there.

It’s late in the season, but not unheard of for cyclones to make landfall at this time of year. I’ll keep you posted, but I’m forecasting ≈ /// ≈ (That’s wind, rain and more wind…)


Who knows?

And they call women changeable…

Here’s where we were yesterday morning:

T.C. Gillian, heading our way. She's tending more and more southerly, so we may be in for it.

On the edge of the danger zone, predicted to be Category 1

And at 7 this morning:

Whoops, think I've changed my mind.

Whoops, think I’ve changed my mind.

And at 10 this morning:

Yup, definitely changed my mind. Maybe...

Yup, definitely changed my mind. Maybe…

And here’s what’s actually happening.

That's Mackay, right under the edge of all that blue stuff.

That’s Mackay, right under the edge of all that blue stuff.

So tell me, which way do you think I should jump? Bearing in mind it’s almost unheard of for a cyclone to turn around and go back the way it came… I’m hunkering down. We have plenty of food. Everything’s secured, it’s just very, very windy, and very, very wet. There’s a sister- and brother-in-law flying home from the Gold Coast this afternoon. I don’t envy them the flight in and landing in this wind – averaging 40kmph! That involves gusts of up to 50 and lulls of a mere 30kmph. Not quite cyclone strength, but pretty nasty to land a plane in, side on.

If I get round to it, I’ll try and finish the back of Happiness. It means introducing a new colour to the scheme already there, but needs must. I don’t have enough of anything that coordinates, and what I’ve chosen works quite well. I find the layout and colours a bit blah, but that at least has the advantage of making it clear which side is the front! And I’ll definitely finish the last side of the blue border on the Car Quilt. After that, it’s time to start assembling the next big border – on the sewing machine, shock horror. But then at least I’ll be stitching the hexagon border to the machined border by hand, so I don’t feel I’m selling out totally.

Right, time to go and fiddle around in the kitchen and stare vacantly out of the window at the lashing rain…

Here we go again

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued the official cyclone watch bulletin for the lastest bit of excitement.

DIrty weather on the way

DIrty weather on the way

That low that’s been hanging around over the Solomon Islands has decided to take a stroll down the northeastern coast of Queensland. So far it’s just a Tropical Low, and unnamed, but it’s expected to turn into lots of wind and rain and probably a cyclone around Sunday. Once again, we’re at the bottom margin of the affected area if it follows the predicted track. Which it won’t. They never do. So either we won’t be affected much, or it’ll be very noisy indeed.

I’ve been playing with fabrics/layouts for the back of Happiness. Nothing to show, but it’s coming along. And tonight I’ll finish the third edge of blue on the Car Quilt.

Maybe I’ll have something pretty to show you tomorrow!

Things to do on a rainy day

The Wet is finally here, and with some emphasis!

Mackay gets a large bath. Image courtesy of Bureau of Meteorology.

Mackay gets a large bath.
Image courtesy of Bureau of Meteorology.

Looking out of the window with European eyes, you’d think it was mid afternoon in February, somewhere in northern Europe: England, the Netherlands, France. It’s grey, gloomy, overcast, and the rain is almost solid. The gutters are gurgling and overflowing, there’s a river running through my desert garden, the banana tree has more water than it knows what to do with, and if I were in London at this moment, I’d be on the sofa in flannelette pyjamas, with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate. However, here, in addition to being massively wet, it’s also bloody warm. About 28C, to be exact. Not a day to be doing anything outside…

Left, sashing for Happiness. Right, squares for the Car quilt borders

Left, sashing for Happiness. Right, squares for the Car quilt borders

So I turned my attention to things inside. I’ve been holding forth with my rotary cutter, and the vertical sashing for the Happiness quilt is cut, plus I’ve cut all the 3″ squares for the border on the Car quilt. My fabric supplies of that one are a bit limited, so rather than make a narrow striped border, which will eat up a lot of fabric in seam allowances, I’m doing 4 patches, in 3″ squares. And it’s very dark outside, so I haven’t attempted any further hand quilting on the ToL, as I simply can’t see what I’m doing well enough.

And now for even more pleasurable stuff. My camera has been slowly dying, and it has now reached the point where it’s refusing to talk to my computer so I can’t upload any images. The Husband’s camera will talk to my computer, but I don’t like the photos it takes; they’re all either rather dark or badly over exposed when I use the flash. The most excellent Husband has therefore bought me a Proper Camera, my first ever. Behold!


Not even out of the box yet.
I think I have a lot of reading to do…

Now, of course, I have to sit down and read the manual, and pray that I can retain all the information. I am over 50, after all, and as everyone knows, as soon as you start to get grey hair, your competence with any kind of technology just leaches away. Or so my younger acquaintances would have me believe… Personally, I don’t think I’m doing too badly on that front.

Excuse me while I go and play with my new toy…

…And wait some more

Meet Tropical Low (potentially Cyclone) Dylan.

(Photos courtesy of the Bureau of Meteorology)

Tropical Low over north eastern Queensland.

Tropical Low over north eastern Queensland.

The projected cyclone path at 7.30am today. Category 1 only, and it's turning a little more west.

The projected cyclone path at 7.30am today. Category 1 only, and it’s turning a little more west.

Dylan is getting himself organised up in the top right hand corner of Australia, but at this stage it looks increasingly unlikely we’ll be entertaining him in Mackay. Having said that, we’re expecting 120kmph winds and lashing rain, combined with full moon and a king tide, so a little light flash flooding is also on the menu.

Hunkering down for the duration is the order of the day. Catch up on the movie watching, do a bit of baking, and probably a lot of sewing – assuming the winds don’t bring down the power lines. And the phone tower. If they do, it’s back to handsewing by lamplight. How very Victorian! But it’ll pass the time.

Cyclone landfall is tomorrow morning early. After that, it’ll still be ugly for a while, but the worst is over, and the front heads inland where they badly need all that spare water.

Off to the sewing machine to do some more on the Tree of Life. Another post later on that.