Greenies have a lot to answer for. There was once a magnificent view of the bay from our upstairs balcony, but the trees between our house and the bay keep growing, and what was once a bay view is now a mere glimpse. That is, of course, if you can lean out on a certain angle and look to the right without falling over the edge.
The houses on the opposite side of the court are up much higher, but I really don’t mind not having an uninterrupted view of the water.
Steep, winding driveways have held no appeal for me since the day I was gingerly reversing a “four on the floor” ute out of one such drive and the gear stick came away in my hand.
[This left me with no choice but to take a side in the great “Holden or Ford?” debate – a debate that makes the “Melbourne or Sydney?” debate seem trifling. But I digress.]
Across the way, high and dry, one house is occupied by one of TO’s workmates; the next by a gay chap with 4 Mercs [plus an everyday car]; and next to that an elderly couple who are now both invalids. Their daughter has recently moved back in to provide for their care. Rounding the end of the court there is a small “first home” sized house; and then a slightly bigger house that is home to the Cocks family.
The Cockses are our immediate neighbours.
Their recently deceased family dog’s name was “Scratcher” – I’ll leave you to make something of that with no further assistance from me.
The Cockses have been neighbours of TO’s since their youngest – who now has an apprenticeship and a car – was in nappies.
They are very neighbourly neighbours. We’ve often begged onions or carrots or tomatoes from each other, though never a cup of sugar. We keep spare keys for each other, and do the holiday thing – emptying letterboxes, putting out bins, and looking after animals.
For me, the thing that makes them the world’s best neighbours, is the annual bounty from their two nectarine trees. We share our early apricot crop with them, and the rosellas and lorikeets take just one bite out of every almond on our trees so nobody gets any.
If you’ve seen the movie The Castle you might recall the following scenelet:
DAD: Steve, could you move the Camira? I need to get the Torana out so I can get to the Commodore.
STEVE: I’ll have to get the keys to the Cortina if I’m gonna move the Camira.
DAD: Yeah… watch the boat, mate.
Mr C had to convert part of his garden a few years ago into a driveway extension, to accommodate the horse float, the 4 WD that tows the float, the family station wagon, cars for each of the three kids, and a boyfriend’s 4WD.
Mr C works as an engineer and is often on call, so he parks his work truck out in the court in case he has to leave quickly.
Mr Gay Guy sometimes entertains guests – he seems to prefer chaps who drive a Mercedes – but his front drive is enormous. [And you can read into that what you will.]
People visiting the elderly couple – including the district nurse and the occasional ambulance - avoid using their driveway like the plague, preferring the backpack and hiking boots approach when they visit.
Allowing for all the other visitors, relos and tradesman who drop in on people at this end of the court from time to time, you would be forgiven for thinking it gets a bit like Car City at times. Just as well only one of these houses is what we would traditionally call a ‘family’ home.
On just one of the many occasions TO or I have had an over the fence chat with Mr C, he asked would we mind keeping our junk mail for him. The sheer volume of junk mail is phenomenal, so I was intrigued.
“Oh, I’ve got a mate who’s been whingein’ about the amount of junk mail he gets. And I drive past his place on me way to work anyway…”