2004-03-30 : The Castle
On Saturday I took some stuff over to my parents' place to commence The Move (which didn't get very far at all really), and discovered a fairly radical change in arrangements in that neck of the woods.
I knew that the house next door had been sold, but I didn't realise it had been demolished. That in itself was strange – the disappearance of a structure from my childhood…
Anyway, Mum gave me a fairly detailed description of what had ensued – after years of trying to subdivide the block and build another house but having the council tell him he couldn't, the guy next door sold it. The buyer as it turns out is a property developer, and guess what the first thing they did was ? Subdivide the block! Frustrating.
The next bit was that when they were clearing the block, they used a big tractor/earthmover thing to rip the trees out. They're a great invention, but not exactly a precision instrument, because they managed to completely bugger the fence as well. Mum was less than delighted to tell me about how they'd gotten a letter from the developer stating that it was a council regulation that they put a 6 foot high fence alongside townhouses, and that Mum & Dad would have to pay for half ! I understand that these laws aren't always designed with compassion in mind, but doesn't it seem a little unfair that you can destroy a perfectly serviceable fence, and then demand that someone else pay half for a new one ?
The upsetting bit is that there's been no communication from these people – they've just bought the block, come in, and started breaking things. Mum & Dad had a whole lot of shade-plants down the side of the house, which had to be moved fairly hurredly when the shade all disappeared. Just a bit of warning would have been good – I mean Jesus, it's polite to let your neighbours know if you're going to have a party, which they can break up at any time by calling the police, but you can just come in and demolish a house without so much as a “hello” to the people next door!
I guess the bit about the whole thing that I found moving was the way that Dad was walking around in the front yard – sort of keeping an eye on the guy driving the earthmover, but more out of being ready to fix anything else that broke… he sort of had the slightly deflated and crestfallen look about him of someone who was resigned to the fact that his territory was being invaded but had no control or rights over it. Had to feel for the guy.