It's been a busy couple of weeks, as the floodwaters have receded from around Lismore.
Heading in to Brissie in a low-slung courtesy car (a Ford Focus) to pick up C's mum Rose from the airport, we hit a "road closed" sign at Murwillumbah. The locals seemed to be driving round the sign however, so we risked following them, as the only alternative route to Brisbane is nearly three hours' extra driving. The water got deeper and deeper, until three of the four lanes were completely submerged, and then the fourth lane was underwater as well for about 30 yards. We could see from the cars ahead of us that it wasn't more than 35cm deep though, so we gunned the Focus and splashed our way across.
After collecting Rose from her red-eye special, we headed to Rod and Cherdina's to look after their spoilt (but lovable) dogs while they headed off to Bangkok for their honeymoon.
We took advantage of a few days in Brissie (apart from the morning markets and West End coffee houses, which go without saying) by taking K to the science museum to meet the dinosaurs (a huge hit) and driving up to Australia zoo. K was taken by the tigers, 'eleflumps', and koalas.
The rest of us, though, were blown away by a wee critter I'd never even heard of - the (apparently critically endangered) red panda. This photo is representative, but doesn't capture the cheeky fun these little guys radiated.
I got to check out the new West End offices that Gensolve have moved to (more space, and a great view across the river to the Brisbane skyline, from where the software development team sit). Inevitably, I was also party to Friday night drinks, but it seems pretty much the whole team now has young kids, so it was a muted affair compared to last year's impressively blind-drunk efforts.
Ridiculously, I agreed to three weeks of heavy overtime at work, and then immediately had to drive back midweek to return the courtesy car to Trevan Ford, and straight back up to Brissie again the next day. The entire experience would have been quite awful, except that Steffan and Iris saw my bedraggled state, and invited me home for falafel, fried haloumi, and a friendly evening - when what I'd been expecting was a cold, dark house alone on a winter's evening.
On the Saturday before we were due to head back to Nimbin, we dropped in on Marina (at the house we used to share in West End) and she made us a delicious lunch, and sprang a surprise: Mbweda was up in Brissie, and together they were putting on a fundraising evening for the community-sponsored afro.dot.net cafe in Moorooka (a major hub for the African community in Brisbane). We went along with Rose and Naomi and Bruce - all in a good cause! There was African food, a welcome in song from an Aboriginal elder, and then performances by the Brisbane African Womens' choir and a traditional Chilean group whom I recognised as friends of Louis's. We slept well that night, and headed home the next morning feeling we'd taken full advantage of our week in the city.

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