Aussie Life Challenges

Debbie’s Hangover

This week when I was cleaning our shower room I stopped for a moment to admire an old Timothy Whites chemist bottle that we use as a ‘decorative piece’ on the windowsill. Timothy Whites was a chain of chemists, founded in the latter half of the 1800’s, incorporated in 1904 and taken over by Boots the Chemist in the 1960’s.   That bottle had come a long way; half-way around the world in fact. I’m pretty sure (although my memory is rather foggy) that my brother and I found it in the woods not far from our house where we lived in East Sussex, GB.  I reckon I must have been 14 years of age and the Timothy Whites bottle probably being early to mid-1900’s. It was in perfect condition with embossed writing on the clear glass and probably  a cork to seal the contents of the bottle. It was lovely to stop for a moment and reflect on its journey.

chemist bottle
Timothy White Chemist Bottles

Now, some of you may be aware that north Queensland was battered by cyclone Debbie this week with the Whitsunday islands being decimated by winds up to 263 kph. She was particularly slow moving, lingering on to strip trees of leaves and branches, before uprooting them while causing widespread damage to communities, crops and infrastructure. Even birds were stripped of their feathers.

Once she hit land, Debbie headed south, saving the rain for SE Queensland, including the capital city Brisbane. Some parts in the region received over 700mm of rain, causing widespread flooding. Our house is not in a high risk flood area (we checked that when we moved) and although there was a torrent of water running by in the street, the house was safe.

The Queensland authorities advised people to go home and stay indoors. They closed all schools for two days and urged bosses to allow their workforce to leave early. Chief and I spent Thursday afternoon trying to ‘work from home’ alternating with Netflix and praying we wouldn’t lose power. We were lucky that we weren’t flooded like so many less fortunate households.

Brisbane woke on Friday morning to a watery sun and the hope that the storm appeared to be over. Chief and I were keen to get going; we had started to go stir-crazy being cooped up in the house. It was lovely to open up the windows again after being shut in the muggy heat. But Debbie decided that she hadn’t quite finished, leaving us with some gusty winds throughout the day.

That evening when I arrived home I noticed that the shower room door was unusually closed and as I opened it, I was confronted by smashed glass all over the floor – the Timothy Whites bottle had been blown off the window sill and smashed into smithereens, over the floor tiles – chunks of glass everywhere and not a hope in hell of gluing it back together again – ever!  That was that then; the end of my ‘decorative piece’ with a history.  Thank you Debbie, that was your doing and probably my fault for opening the window. I expect the ‘God of Thought’ had something to do with it as well. Mind your thoughts people or it could be you next!

By Waking the Wombat

Life - part two; Australia. Having spent the first 39 years of my life in England, with two adult children who don't need me so much, a workaholic husband and a head full of stuff waiting to be unleashed, Waking the Wombat is my place to share life's experiences with you.

6 replies on “Debbie’s Hangover”

Oh dear! just hope that the broken bottle is not a broken dream of happy hunting at Christmas Farm?


Very true about the memories, they stay with you till the end. So pleased you survived Debbie.
Not sure what we will get from that storm, the met service say’s it will hit our shores tomorrow.
Keeping fingers crossed hoping it has rained it self out at sea.
Have a nice Sunday.


Sometime Mother Nature gets angry and vents her wrath on us as only she knows how. ‘Debbie’ was determined to include your neighbourhood in her depredations and in your specific case as you put it, ‘the bottle was smashed to smithereens and couldn’t be put back together.’ Sounds like ‘Debbie’ has ‘ let the Genie out of the bottle.’ According to the English Cobuilt Dictionary, that means ‘Something has happened which has made a great and permanent change in peoples lives.’
The loss of your wonderful bottle has certainly done that and your memories of the bottle and everything it meant has now taken on a totally new dimension.


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