Night flood

30/07/2011

A combination of things – an East Coast Low, a big wash-down and a high tide – almost made the creek break its banks. There was talk at the dog park of inundation in Islington and catastrophe in Carrington. In the end it peaked at bank-top and just looked very beautiful rather than terrifying, and so the nation’s insurance assessors slept easy in their beds that June night.

This is the view from Chinchen Street bridge, looking towards the TAFE.

Night at the TAFE


Helmet

30/07/2011

Somewhere, some Motorhead-loving skateboarder is looking for his helmet. Or her helmet. That is, a female Motorhead-loving skateboarder is looking for her helmet. Jeez.

HelmetAs the Warty One himself might have said:

You know I’m born to lose

And gambling’s for fools

But that’s the way I like it, baby

I don’t want to live for ever.

Go Jambo.

Helmet


The force

30/07/2011

Sometimes it rains softly and steadily (“English rain”) and the creek fills up gradually. Sometimes the rain comes down like stair-rods (“Australian rain”) and the creek becomes a torrent.

Flood at Chatham Road bridge

Where there’s a high tide it backs up, as it did here at Chinchen Street.

Flood at Chinchen Street

The force is terrifying. Just standing near the banking, watching it, your mind races through the things that could happen to you if you were in it.

And after? The force brings all kinds of gifts. These two lumps of concrete couldn’t be lifted by three men. Well, three editors.

Forced concrete


Australian ball

30/07/2011

This one’s nice and patriotic. Oi oi oi.

Australian ball


Wodda lodda bottle

30/07/2011

Creek runs and floods rip everything away, not just the trollies and bikes, the sheets of corrugated iron, the branches, the dead animals and birds, but also the litter. If it’s been a while between runs the litter builds up till the creekbed is carpeted with crap. About 90% (best scientific guesstimate) is drink bottles. It doesn’t sound much from this description, and the pictures don’t do it justice, but some mornings the sheer quantity stops me in my tracks.

Drink bottles

They wash up and down with the tide, for weeks at a time in summer (when there are fewer runs and floods), gathering around the litter boom by the TAFE then pushing upstream before settling into a plastic tideline.

I hate it.

Bottles


Brick

30/07/2011

This brick, with the word “FOSTER” stamped into it, I came across in the long grass next to the old gasworks site. The gasworks is interesting for its demolished and derelict buildings and there are lots of older-style bricks that’ve been re-used as pavers or ballast.

Brick

I’m not sure if it’s the same mob, but the History page of the Wallbank Australia website has this to say:

“A further development [in the history of Wallbank Australia] was the acquisition of the plant and equipment used by G. Foster & Sons in the manufacture of brick making equipment in 1978. This followed the cessation of business by that company which had previously competed in the manufacture of brick making equipment.”

Bricks, eh?


Bikes

30/07/2011

Shopping trollies are far and away the most common Big Things that turn up in the creek, but I never fail to be surprised at the number of bikes that find their way down there.

Lost bike


Stolen car

30/07/2011

Sound like a song title? Course it does: Bruce Springsteen, The Police and the Black Eyed Peas without even Googling*, but my favourite’s Beth Orton. Down on Boreas Road we often hear the distant roar of a V8 engine being taken to places on its rev counter that would its owner weep, but this little Mazda’s probably more typical of Newcastle’s quotidian car theft.

Stolen car

I’d heard the sirens the night before but, in my sleep daze, I hadn’t been able to work out where it was happening. Turns out it was right over the road, down the old night-soil lane. Jambo was fascinated by the foam that the fire brigade used to dowse the petrol blaze.

Stolen car

I’m not sure how much he ate but he’s still alive.

Stolen car

It was burnt out in a curious way; well, curious to me, a person who’s never actually burnt a car out. (In my youth I did help a mate try to right off a motorbike. It’s harder than it looks and, after several attempts and some mild injuries, we gave up and went to the pub.) The engine was untouched but the interior was cactus. How did they do that? Thank goodness for the Internet! This is how they do it in France, mes amis.

Stolen car

It might look a mess but it’s nowhere near as bad as Nathan Tinkler’s Ferrari. What do Italians make their cars out of: barbecue briquettes?

* Lie: of course I Googled.


Soccer ball

30/07/2011

This is one I kicked around for a while, till Jambo lost interest. He’s not much of a ball chaser if it’s me that’s doing the kicking or throwing. Take him down the dog park at Tighes Hill and it’s a different story; he transforms into the world’s most competitive ball-stealing mutt in the southern hemisphere. If that’s possible.

Jambo with ball


Magpie

30/07/2011

Given that there are so many of them it’s surprising that I don’t see more dead magpies. The folk at the Birds In Backyards web site have a fact sheet on Gymnorhina tibicen, and a short recording of magpie song. There’s nothing quite like cycling around Newcastle during dive-bombing season and having your ear nipped, but I’d have to lose an eye or something before I ever stooped to putting wire aerials on my helmet.

Dead magpie