The bad weather started on Monday. It was late July before the first proper winter storm hit. It continued into Tuesday.
I had taken the day off. Kirsten had to go to the Supreme Court. Krysta had a dance exam.
In the morning Kirsten headed out in the car and, getting one of the last car parking spots at Belgrave Station, headed onto town. Luckily there were no dramas with the trains on the way in.
I took the girls to school and crèche.
The first sign of things going awry was when Kirsten called. The crèche had called her and said we needed to pick up Teresa as she had hair lice. I finished my lunch. And headed out to get Teresa and some hair lice treatment.
Kirsten was also on her way back from court. At the last minute, Andrew had shown up, unrepresented. We had been unsure if he was still in India or in Queensland, though later he told the court he was living in Packenham. The court case had been to get permission to serve him the notice by email. But the papers were served to him in the court and an adjournment was granted to allow him to seek legal representation. So we will have to go back in August.
My day was getting more complicated. I left the bag of Dance items at home for Kirsten to pick up. But as I was getting to the chemist, she called to say that she was stuck at Bayswater. The train power lines were down at upper fern tree gully. Though later we learned that a tree had fallen across the railway lines.
As I got to the Chemist, I saw that it also had no power. A lady was just opening the door to tell me that they were closed when the power came back on. She let me in and I bought the treatment, Though we had to wait, first for the cash register to boot up and then for the credit card device to book up.
I went back home to get the dance bag and then drove to Croydon to get Teresa. By this time Kirsten had caught the Bayswater to Chirnside Park bus and got off at Dorset Road and was walking to the kinda. Using the find friends app I located her and drove a few blocks to pick her up.
We then headed back to school. I wanted to stop in Montrose for something to eat as Teresa had no lunch. But Kirsten, thinking of the storms decided we should make a bee line for the school and then eat afterwards.
Kirsten who gets road alerts said that ridge road was closed because of fallen trees. We headed up the tourist road. But just past William Rickets, a police car in front of us stopped and indicated we had to go back. The tourist road was closed.
There are very few routes along the top of the mountain and going down and around takes ages. So we headed back and up a cross street to ridge road to try our luck there. We went along ridge road. A good sign was that there were buses coming the other way. There were a few spots where trees had fallen and in one spot been partly cleared. We had to weave our way through them and drove over fallen branches. I worried. About getting a flat tyre. Kirsten was worried about being able to get to school at all.
Driving past the mount Dandenong village shops there was a garbage truck reversing down the tourist road. This and the fact that in front of us was a CFA fire truck I took as a bad sign. I wanted to drive up the church road, but was convinced to stay on the tourist road. After a few hundred meters the CFA truck stopped where power lines and a tree were across the road. It turned on its flashing lights. We used a driveway to do a u-turn and then headed up the church road.
The church road is quite narrow. There were still garbage bins on it and lots of oncoming traffic as a police car at the Olinda end was now directing people down the road. We got through and had no more dramas getting to Sassafras, though we saw that a big tree was down at the top of Perrin”s Creek Road.
We got to school. I went in to pick up Krysta. The school had no power. At the office I signed Krysta out ant let them know about all the closed roads. In the classroom it was quite cold. The children were playing hide and seek. I found Krysta and we headed back.
When I got back I found I had left the keys in the ignition. The van would not start. We walked from the school into sassafras. It is only a 10 minute walk. On the way I called the RACV. When we got to sassafras, unsurprisingly we found no power there either. The RACV sent a text message saying they were on their way. I headed back to the van.
As I got back to the school the RACV van showed up. We popped the bonnet. Embarrassingly the van started first time. The man said that it looked ok with his multimeter and said that happens sometime. The battery recovers when there is no load.
Looking at the emergency feed for the mountain I could see that many roads were closed in Olinda. But not in Ferny Creek. There were tweets every minute or less with a new road closure. The exasperated on said it all really: @IncidentAlertDR: Dandenong Ranges: 2pm A large number of trees are down all over the place incl Hacketts Rd, Upper Cooonara Rd & Perrins Ck rd/MDTR in Olinda.
I drove down to Sassafras. The dance exam had been cancelled, primarily because they had no battery powered music source.
We then headed back to Belgrave. Kirsten took the kids to the Hyundai and I drove back home.
When I was at home work called. I explained that I could help but would have to use my mobile phone email as the power was out and we had no internet. But 10 minutes later the power came back on and I was able to send my emails with the proper attachments. Even though I did this on my day of leave one of the people in Hong Kong was rude enough to say I shouldn’t live in hicksville and should go and live somewhere without trees.
Meanwhile the girls had been setting up for a night without power. They got out the torches and candles and were disappointed when the power came back on.
Tuesdays are our takeaway night, normally because of gym. We did not end up going to gym. I drove into Monbulk. But most of the places were shut. The power had only just come back on there too. A truck with containerised a generator arrived at the Safeway. Only the fish and chips and pizza places were open. We opted for pizza.
At home the girls insisted they we turn off all the lights and have dinner by candle lights.
The next morning there was still no power in Sassafras. Krysta’s dance exam was postponed again. Though later in the day the power came back and Krysta was able to do her exam.