The local branch of the New South Wales State Emergency Service spent the better part of Saturday at my place, together with a very big commercial crane, lifting a tree off the roof of my neighbours' townhouse. To be precise, the tree was leaning against the edge of the second-storey roof, having taken out a fence, the gutter, about ten tiles, and associated support beams. One metre further, and my neighbours' second bedroom would have been smashed open and under an inch of rainwater.
The SES generally has been busy in the last couple of days, with wild weather all along the coast and elsewhere. The rain is scheduled to last for at least another week, so there will be no rest for the wicked.
My last dealings with the SES were at a Cave Rescue Weekend more than fifteen years ago, in a late-adolescent flirtation (which would be surprising to some of my more recent friends) with the insanely dangerous pastime of recreational caving. In general, as a city boy, I don't have much cause to cross these guys' path, but I have always liked them. Even in this day and age, the work is voluntary. Respect.