Post 1 – January 11, 2011

I have a Golden Retriever, Billie (its a girl, a bit of a wimp well a lot of a wimp) who woke me about 1am on Tuesday by her grumbling on the back deck.  This usually means a possum or something else furry or feathered intruding on her space and a quick sharp response from me usually shuts her up.  This time however, it was something different.  My house backs onto a really nice park that runs along the Brisbane river, a pretty sizeable body of water that slowly winds its way to Morton Bay.  When I looked to see what Billie was barking at I could see a shimmering of light in the park that was coming off a body of water which is unusual to say the least.  It had been raining pretty heavily on and off for about three weeks and we were all getting pretty fed up with continuous grey days, wet streets and silly inadequate umbrella’s in a Brisbane summer that had not really started.  The mower had not been able to get onto the park for at least a month and the grass was knee high.  Some of the lower parts of the park were waterlogged but this was not unusual following traditional heavy thunderstorms.  Anyway after a brief exchange of pleasantries between Bille and my self (luckily she does not speak human) I went back to bed.

It slowly sank in ……

Up at 6.00am as per usual and glanced out the back and then I knew something a little different was happening.  Not only had the sheet of water extended significantly in the park but where two storm water drains were located, muddy brown water was now ominously bubbling into the rapidly expanding lake and it was still raining heavily.

6.24am Tuesday the 11th January 2011 - Musgrave park

Now I am a bit of a photo freak and I drive some people to distraction pointing my cyclops eye at anything visually interesting so I grabbed the first shot at 6.24am of what turned out to be a photographic record I will both treasure and hate.  I took hundreds of photos but will only show a selected few in this record and post the “good” ones on another site.  The rest are for my eyes only!  There will not be many of me since thats the type of person I am. There will however be a few key images that reflect how I felt at crucial moments.  These are for me and for all those whose experienced the same feelings especially the volunteers.


This is not just a human story it involves Billie my dog, my friend.  We get along just fine.  With a tongue like a dinner plate and eyes you cannot but give in to she belongs to the house like a carpet to a floor.  Given the amount of fur she sheds I probably did not need a rug.  One trick I did discover was to open the front door and the back bifolds and purge the house of fur from front to back with a garden blower vac – works a treat if a little eccentric.

Billie - aged 5, a golden retriever with lets say a sleep attitude

Ever since she was a pup Billie did not like water which is a little odd for a “goldie” who are bred to retrieve downed waterfowl.  They are also useless as a guard dog since they will befriend anybody.  Definitely not a “one man dog”. Billies intense dislike of water probably stems from when I took her to the ocean when she was a pup, an event that obviously scarred her for life.  She’s a timid little thing jumping at any strange noise including her own farts which is hilarious to watch.  By the time I took the first picture Billie was certainly worried and followed me around like a nervous shadow.

One of the things I really liked about my back deck was sitting on the wicker sofa with a newspaper and a good cup of tea with the occasional glance over the greenery of the garden and park beyond.  That morning I had water views, limited mind you but non the less water views that in time became a little less inviting.

One of my favourite spots for relaxation - Tuesday 6.29am

The last thing on my mind at that stage was the chance of water rising from the park.  After all I felt pretty smug sitting on a deck three meters above ground and when you have not had a prior experience and are pretty naive about the nature of rising water, its a bit of an adventure.

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2 Responses to Post 1 – January 11, 2011

  1. Interested Parties says:

    Dear Ali,

    Thank you for ” The Red Shoe”, a compelling story, a heartfelt gift of yourself and your journey.We have all been changed by the ‘flood’. Your story as it unfolds will draw us all
    into a place we have inhabited these past few weeks. Up close or from afar, toiling along side or sharing in your powerlessness with our own .The story will bring healing and
    possibilities yet undreamed of! Go Ali!! The photo of the shoe is “On the money “!!!!!!!!
    Love you, Jen xxx ………………. For Billie xxx 000

  2. Geoff Cody says:

    The image that will bring you back for a rebuild is The last photo!

    One of my favourite spots for relaxation

    Thoughts with you


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