GETTING READY: Geraldine Bigelow, of South Lismore, on her balcony as partner Matt%Faragher inspects their dinghy and outboard.
GETTING READY: Geraldine Bigelow, of South Lismore, on her balcony as partner Matt%Faragher inspects their dinghy and outboard.

Love living by the river, even as the waters rise

By ANDY PARKS

GERALDINE BIGELOW and Matt Faragher say their house overlooking Leycester Creek is on the highest point in South Lismore.

"It ends up being like an island," said Geraldine, adding that the river had come up by about four and half metres in the past two days.

The couple, who have lived in the house for two years, say they haven't experienced a flood in Lismore before, but are bracing themselves for the possibility.

Geraldine is an artist and has her studio under the house.

"There's not a lot to move, but we'd have to take all my stuff upstairs and turn the spare bedroom into a studio and storage space for a while," she said.

"We're actually quite spoiled for space here.

"In the 1974 flood it apparently came up to about a foot from the floor level and flooded underneath the house."

Geraldine said they had moved from the coast and loved living by the river.

"We swim in it nearly every day and use the boat and canoes all the time. We've seen how the tributaries are clogged with weeds," she said.

"This river is so under utilised. It only ever features when it threatens us, but I think Lismore should be turned into a New Orleans-style river town with cafes and river cruises."

Geraldine said she had been looking at the Bureau of Meteorology website to see the long range predictions.

"It looks like being wet for a while yet, up until at least the end of March," she said.

The Bureau said cooling across the equatorial Pacific, in association with La Ni?a, meant there was a 65 per cent chance of higher than average rainfall expected for the region until April.

Apart from getting her artwork upstairs, Geraldine's main concern was her garden.

"If it keeps raining like this, everything will rot," she said.



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