Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Billions of blue blistering barbequed barnacles

I loved reading Tintin when I was a kid. Captain Haddock, a real old seadog, used to swear tremendously without really using swearwords. He would utter awesome streams of words like “billions of blue blistering barbequed barnacles!”


I always found this really funny, although I had no idea what it meant.

Until Monday 22 March 2010, when I saw what billions of blue blistering barbequed barnacles looked like when they came down from the sky.

What a show! The sky turned pitch-black, and the wind started howling like an angry dog. Trees were bending sideways like they were made of paper.


Then came the hail. Raining down mercilessly, it pounded the earth and anything else that dared to stand in its way. The ground turned white, and for a moment it looked like it snowed.

I was up in the office sitting in my newly occupied window seat, watching all this happen. No one really thought it was too serious. Then we saw a massive lightning bolt strike down to the east of us, and the lights went out.

Ten thousand thundering typhoons!

I immediately realised that traffic was going to be a nightmare. When I finally scraped together enough courage to get going, I saw that the road just outside our building had turned into a little dam.

22032010 22032010(001) 22032010(002) 22032010(003)Getting onto the freeway took me more than 40 minutes – this trip usually takes me about 5 minutes, if that much. All the traffic lights in Leederville were down, and everybody seemed to have the right of way. (Except for me, of course…)


Crawling along the freeway wasn’t any better, and half an hour later I saw IKEA on my left. A snail balancing an egg on its back would go faster than we did.

There were two spots on the freeway where three traffic lanes were forced into one emergency lane due to the “small dam” that formed.

Finally getting onto Warwick road, it was obvious that things hadn’t really improved. Trees were scattered all over the place. The road had a greenish colour due to the leaves that were spread all over it. The smell of eucalyptus was heavy in the air.

OK, this was not on Warwick road but it gives a pretty good idea...

Most traffic lights were not working, and the normal driver correctly assumed that this meant that the intersection should be considered to be a 4-way stop. But not some of our younger hoons, who sped through intersections as if a dead light was considered to be a “go” signal.

A few words came to mind when I saw this:

"Troglodyte," "bashi-bazouk," "kleptomaniac," "ectoplasm," "sea-gherkin," "anacoluthon", "pockmark, "nincompoop", "abominable snowman", and "freshwater swab" were among the more decent ones – all thanks to Captain Haddock, of course.

Arriving home, I was glad to see the lights burning. More than 150000 other homes were not so lucky. Here is some of the damage that occurred:

perth stormm Northbridge tunnel

1 Cambridge St West Leederville 22nd March 2010 4.49pm 1 12420_1404013618229_1169016050_31222586_278858_n Train station 25138_376879553123_605393123_3867303_7025479_n UWA Library Hail image016  perrth What a way to break a dry spell!  We haven’t seen a drop of rain since November.  OK, maybe I’m lying: we did see a drop – it rained 0.2mm in February…

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