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This is a question The Apocalypse

Power cuts, internet outages, mild inconvenience to your daily lives - how did you cope? Tell us your tales of pointless panic buying and hiding under the stairs.

thanks, ringofyre

(, Thu 14 Jun 2012, 14:15)
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It’s long one....but worth telling.

My family lived in the bush, on a few cleared acres at the base of a mountain, surrounded by dense Eucalypt forest. A semi-rural, idyllic Australian life. I was one year old, still at home with my Mum, and on this particular day my elder siblings were all at school in the town and my Dad had gone to work in our only car.

Mum was at home with me, listening to the radio while cooking a saucepan of custard for my lunch.

The summer had been especially dry and hot. There were reports on the radio of fires all over the state, and as it turns out, a great number of them had been deliberately lit (some simpletons get a kick out of initiating mass destruction by fire).

The radio announcer had changed from giving updates on the bushfires, to telling everyone to evacuate to town...now!

Mum decided to get the hell out of our death-trap bushland house and into the safety of town...now!

Now what follows...

My Father’s version of events has always been this;
“The wife called me from home to come and get her. I rushed home, she took too long to get ready, mucking around the house, frigging around instead of leaving, cooking up some fucking custard. I grabbed her and baby Oath, jumped into the car and headed down the road. Thanks to her, we were were too late. The firestorm leapt the road ahead of us and behind us. I saw a stormwater drain down in the gully, we crawled into it and thanks to my quick thinking, and we all survived.”

Years later, my mother is visting my house and I am re-counting this story of paternal heroics to my wife. My Mother quietly said, “Actually, I remember it very differently”.

“Your Father was reluctant to leave town to come and get me, instead, telling me to hold tight and stay in the house. If it got really bad and the house caught on fire, I was to run across the paddock and jump into the dam with the baby, duck my head under the water when the fire hit.

Eventually I persuaded him to leave town and drive home to collect me and the baby. While I was waiting for him to arrive, I climbed onto the roof, cleared the sticks and leaves from the gutter, stuck a tennis ball in the gutter downpipe and filled the gutters with water, threw the wood stack away from the side of the house, sprayed the house down with water and finally let all the animals out of their pens (pigs, duck, goats, chooks).

When he finally arrived he was much panicked, not wanting to leave the car, revving the engine and yelling at us. We leapt into the car and by then the wind was searing hot and ferocious, the sky was orange with smoke and burning embers. Cinders were starting to land around us. Dad tore along the driveway, and turned onto the twisty road that led down the mountain into town. Progress was slow because of the dense smoke.

We could sense the fire all around us, the smoke was very thick, then it cleared suddenly, and all of a sudden a huge fireball flared up from the gully, cutting off the road in front. The road behind was ablaze too.

Your Father completely lost all sense, got out of the car, ran around to my door and wrenched it open. I thought he had a plan to escape, but in fact, he screamed to smash the baby’s head against the road thereby killing you instantly, then we were to plunge ourselves into the heart of the fire and die as quickly as possible.

He was beyond panic, simply gone mad with fear. We apparently had no means of escape and his only solution was to kill ourselves.

I pulled myself away from him, grabbed the baby and ran. I had to get away from him before he killed us. I slithered down a steep embankment with the intent to lie low in the ditch at the bottom and simply pray. Your Father followed, trying to grab the baby from me. At the base of the embankment was a large concrete pipe for stormwater, I shuffled inside to get away from him and kept moving along the pipe, further and further into the cool darkness. After a while, we realised that we might just survive inside the pipe.

There was a breeze coming up the pipe as the fire was sucking all the air through it from miles below, and despite the inferno outside, there was a small trickle of water running through it. We wet one of the baby’s blankets in the trickle of water and held it up to the entrance, and lay down as the fire raged outside. After what seemed like an eternity the fire moved through. We waited, and waited then finally crawled out to greet a scene of hell. Every house around us had exploded, there were no trees, only ash, the petrol in the tank in the car had boiled dry, and the tyres had completely melted. “

But, despite being surrounded by desolate smouldering carnage, my Mum felt safe. She knew everything had burned, and therefore the fire couldn’t come back to get us. They had survived, so Dad’s desire to kill everyone had dissipated somewhat. Then, my Mum suddenly realised that I hadn’t made a noise for quite some time. She had a cold chill of panic, fearing that I may have suffocated from smoke inhalation, or being smothered by her own body in the pipe.

She gave me a pinch.....and fucking woke me up.!

I’d slept through the entire thing.

Then she fetched the saucepan of custard from the car and we had lunch.

And she didn’t give any to Dad.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 2:46, 29 replies)
You deserve a click
Actually your mum does. Good read, glad you made it
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 4:07, closed)
Our house survived too...
...it was timber, but all the paint had peeled off, and the windows here thicker at the bottom that the top - they had ever so slightly melted in the heat. One external light bulb had melted andwas twisted into a long strand of glass from the heat and the wind.

All the neighbouring brick houses exploded - I guess they can't "breathe" in a bushfire. None of the big animals made it, the ducks and chooks all lost their legs when they flew above the flames, but landed in the ensuing hot ashes that covered everything (had to be put down, must have been in extraordinary pain)and the dam had 6 feet of ash on top of the water.

62 people died that day. An elderly lady up the road was boiled alive in her water tank, when she leapt in, trying to escape the flames.

And to be fair to Dad, he returned to the house and doused an old smouldering stump that was about to re-ignite the house. He saw a lot of horrific things on the way to the house - people burned alive in their cars, and he found a man lying in a ditch, alive, but badly burned.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 4:36, closed)

Alright mate don't milk it.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 5:48, closed)
Alright mate, no-one's forcing you to read.it.
I like telling stories. Seems to be the purpose of this board? You don't want to read it? Then don't.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 6:32, closed)

I read it, I clicked for it cos I liked it, I was taking the piss, thought you convicts liked that sort of thing.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 18:37, closed)
we're thin skinned.
It's the inferiority complex.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 18:56, closed)
& your story is?
Clearly never faced "Bush Fire Season" anywhere. Let alone done something like volunteer fire brigade stuff.

Think. Before you type.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 7:52, closed)
You're telling me, it was terrifying
fuckin flint on the zippo bust and I had to use matches instead
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 17:39, closed)
Cracking story. *Click*
Was family life strained afterwards? Trying to kill your wife and child in a fit of cowardly panic can't be good for a marriage.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 7:50, closed)
Mum packed us all up one night, about 3 years later and left...
...he was off shagging someone else, which made a difference from the usual nightly ritual of whacking the shit out of our Mum.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 8:58, closed)
I read that whole thing in alf stewart's voice.
you flaming galah.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 8:00, closed)
All right, darls?
I'll always be your Irene.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 8:29, closed)
Awww Darlin'
It's awll trooo. Promize ya.

Stewth it wuz fuggin hot 'n' shit. We orrmost fuggin died, tellin' ya.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 9:01, closed)
Don't know about you
But I read that in the tone of the voice from the two bogans from the Fosters advert.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 9:13, closed)
Thank you
A candidate for QotW best of the best, were there such a thing.

Has your dad ever responded to your mum's version of events?
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 9:07, closed)
Oh fuck yes, don't worry.....
....but I believe her version. He's incapable of telling a story that doesn't paint him as a hero. He totally refutes her version, gets very angry.

But, an insite to his character: he locked his child from his 5th marriage in a hot car for about 1 hour because she was "making too much bother". She was 2.

I found her just before chronic dehydration melted her kidneys.

Nice bloke.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 9:54, closed)
fifth marriage?
that says a lot
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 15:46, closed)

What a cunt
(, Mon 18 Jun 2012, 17:52, closed)
definitely deserves a click
well worth reading
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 15:47, closed)
But no click for your old man, as he sounds like a wanker. No offence.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 17:00, closed)
Sir, I am indeed offended!
Wanking 'tis a noble art, an art worthy of your devoted learning. T'would denigrate the proud name of such a noble art to associate same with this lowly slug. His actions do not merit the esteemed moniker of "wanker".
(, Sun 17 Jun 2012, 11:34, closed)
Year, Month, State?
Click - FTW.
Great story, well told.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 17:57, closed)
1967, Tassie, Feb.

(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 18:31, closed)
dear god
i just skim read it before. it's actually pretty terrifying to think about. And your ma is hard as nails!

but seriously; custard?! on it's OWN?!
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 20:09, closed)
Custard on its own
But probably made from the purest resilience, fortitude and quick thinking since his Mum was doing the cooking, so that's not such a bad meal.
(, Sat 16 Jun 2012, 21:34, closed)
Fucking 'ell - good work by your mum there.
Makes me almost glad that Adelaide's so dull.
(, Sun 17 Jun 2012, 5:05, closed)
Thank god
your mom was resourceful enough to save the three of you. Shake her hand for me, wouldja?
(, Tue 19 Jun 2012, 4:13, closed)
The Aussies have it
This and Que's story are surely the best for this week.
(, Wed 20 Jun 2012, 2:29, closed)
Definitely A click!!!!

(, Wed 20 Jun 2012, 14:00, closed)

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