Saturday, January 24, 2009

Love Thy Neighbour

We have been living in suburbia for a year now, well I say suburbia but we are about 4 km from the CBD. We have a large block, some empty rooms and no lock on our letter box. We have a washing line and a crew of kookaburras who regular meet up in our trees. It feels like suburbia to me.

Before our baby girl arrived we lived in the inner city. No washing line, no birds and absolutely nothing outside without a huge bolt lock- even outdoor furniture needed to be chained to the balcony. Moving here has been interesting. One of the biggest changes for us is actually living next door to people who not only make eye contact but they come right on over and chat. Back in our old neighbourhood if someone even glanced your way you’d be reaching for the personal alarm in your purse.

To one side we have our lovely neighbours, to the other side we have a little old couple who don’t speak much English other than to constantly ask –“your baby, boy?” –No, girl. “Not boy?” –No, girl. “But looks like boy! Good boy.” They grow vegetables out the back and they water the front garden with washed out bleach bottles. Slightly odd but quite sweet really.

Two days ago I encountered the neighbours on the 3rd boundary line. It got off to a rocky start. They called me Caroline. That is not my name, it never has been. I know it is similar to my name but it isn’t my name. Sometimes I wish it was my name. People have been addressing me as Caroline for as long as I can remember, yes I’ll answer to Caroline, I no longer correct people but still, it irritates me. Anyway we will call these neighbours - trickypants.

So our backyard has gone from this:

To this:

 about a week.

Obviously it is a work in progress.

This is the design I created for the backyard:

We are very happy with how things are going. Now when the dogs vanish off into the yard we no longer worry whether they will come back with rabies. Anyway as it turns out the trickypants were quite attached to the jungle that was our yard.

In a matter of 5 minutes after calling me Caroline they proceeded to complain that their yard is now exposed, that it is my fault their dog escaped (can’t quite figure this one out) my fault their dog barks, they don’t really like my garden design sketch, they want more shade for their yard and more privacy so they think my husband and I should buy mature trees for the fenceline. The type that cost upwards of $10k a pop, they however, won’t go halves in an extra high latticed fence because it is slightly more expensive than your garden variety fence. Gosh that sounds like an awesome deal for us.
I smiled my very best baby pageant grin, nodded my very best stepford nod, we exchanged numbers to discuss more later and I went back inside my house.

Of course being the George Costanza that I am, I now feel that we need an answering machine so I can screen my calls just in case Trickypants ever rings me. I could, be mature and just discuss the issues again but I choose not be mature. I choose to hide in my house every time I see them peering over the fence and I choose to spend some more of my time researching caller ID costs, blockout blinds and reflective coating for our windows.

Suddenly I have been forced to take a break from reading which brand of socks Suri Cruise prefers and instead I am revisiting The Dividing Fences Act 1991 (NSW)

Still, it beats living in a shoebox and researching bullet proof vests for late night runs to the convenience store. I do love our new home.


  1. hahahahha, this is great. love the design! so artistic!

    Well it's funny because we moved into a new apartment and got all sorts of neighbourly "issues". I said to my husband "this wouldn't happen if we lived in a house!"...perhaps I won't show him this blog, then he can keep thinking I am right as usual! hahaha...

  2. haha, love it.
    hope you never have to see trickypants again, i would do the same as you, Caroline!!!!haha had to do it.

  3. funny,
    I love your design. Hopefully you get to avoid trickypants as much as possible.
    I completely understand about the name, I get "Claudia" all the time. which is not close to mine name.


  4. Lol Love it Carolyn! You should have a look into dwarf citrus trees - they stay smallish and grow normal sized fruits, can even go in pots if you so desire!
    Lexi xx

  5. Why can't they plant their own damned trees??? xo

  6. We bought lots of citrus trees yesterday, not the dwarf type Lexi because we have about 20metres for each flower bed so we'd need too many drawves I think. They are cute though aren't they? And they have the lovely grafted ones so you can have a tree with both lemons and oranges. Great idea really.

    For the trickypants boundary we bought some Leighton Greens. They want privacy, well they will have it because these trees grow tall very quickly. Give them 12 months and their bridge view will be toatlly obscured. Shame about that.

  7. I love the plan for the backyard Carolyn. I bet you can't wait to get out there and water those Leighton Greens LOL

  8. That's one of the best garden plans I've ever seen LOL

    As for your neighbours....tell them to tell someone who cares! LOL How strange. Plant your own trees people!

  9. This blog is great! I think your backyard design is very artistic so I agree with them above. Your neighbors should see the before picture because that "privacy" that they had was hideous! haha I also love your names for things. You are very creative and inspiring!