Posts Tagged ‘Ivy’

The outlook though the window and why Ivy needs removing.

October 25, 2016

Last Saturday morning at around 10.30 I happened to glance outside the bedroom window. I often look through windows. There is nothing wrong with that. I often wonder why so many windows in Australia are covered, shutting out the possible excitement that might be going on outside. The Venetian blind had a lot to answer for.

The outlook through the window is somewhat marred by a paling fence opposite the drive-way passing through our housing compound, or condominium as it known by in the US. We have planted a jasmine against the fence which helps to soften the look of the paling fence. However, we know that the Chairperson, the Secretary and the Treasurer of our Body Corporate are ardent lovers of exposed paling fences. We are therefore in the minority trying to install some beauty and making the best of the ugly paling fence by trying to get greenery to grow up and hide them. The paling fence is a revered type of architectural structure by believers of privacy. Privacy is absolutely set in stone by most people. A much loved emotional stance. It must be defended by hook and crook against anyone who dares to infringe on it.

The paling fence is a kind of barrier between properties, a border but without guards looking for smugglers or refugees. Sometimes it causes friction when a ball happens to cross this boundary. Nasty neighbours have been known to refuse to throw the ball back. In shared housing complexes, the parking of cars and shared paling fences have been known to cause endless wars between maniacally ‘privacy’ seeking neighbours. The popular image of hanging over the fence by neighbours talking to each other is a myth but it makes us look a bit better. Only last week a 68 year old neighbour got murdered by his 73 year old next door life long enemy. The Newspaper described the neighbourhood as ‘a close knit community.’ The article included a photo of a tear-stained woman holding a little teddy bear as proof. The murder was a result of an (illegally) overhanging branch of a tea-tree.

As I said earlier, I was looking through the upstairs window. I noticed a determined looking Chairperson and her equally sharp looking Secretary walking by. An ominous sign was that the Chairperson was holding a garden clipper with the Secretary following her with a small barrow. What were they up to? They stopped right opposite our house and both crawled through some shrubs. The Chairperson is in her eighties and the Secretary in her fifties or so. When they reached the paling fence it came clear what they had conspired to achieve. It was some unwanted ivy that was growing up the fence. It was not to be tolerated. Within a minute they had cut the bottom of the ivy and started to rip it off the paling fence. Such dedication. And it was Saturday afternoon!

We had resolved to not give any oxygen to Body Corporate disputes since last time, when one of them, we know it was the Chairperson had left a threatening letter in our letterbox on behalf of ‘owners’ suggesting we sell up. We let the ivy be taken. Let them relish their nastiness. I was upset but restrained an urge to a dual strangulation. Instead I took the new cordless vacuum cleaner from the room’s corner and switched it on. Helvi noticed I was upset and my usual spirited and enthusiastic vacuuming was obviously lacking. My face was long and the spirit murderous.

She said, ‘why get upset, Gerard?’ True, it is only a trivial matter. The vacuuming did give some respite and seething anger did abate a bit. Even so, I consoled myself with a fervent hope that Alzheimer will soon get to the Chairperson. The sooner the better.

Helvi, as always remained sensible. I said, ‘how come you always stay so calm?’ ‘You give so much more than I.’ ‘So true, she said wickedly and smiled.’ ‘Let’s just plant more Jasmine.’

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The Virginia Creeper versus Solar guard.

November 10, 2015
Just glorious.

Just glorious.

The Townhouses, Units or even Villas ,if you like, are pleasing to look at. They are simple and without pretension. That’s why we decided to buy one and move in. The architect or designer avoided the temptation to put in Tudor, Cape Cod, English cottage, or absurd Mediternean touches. They all have a small entrance. When one squints, it could even pass as a front-porch. During torrential downpours the front doors will stay dry. However, if the entrance was any smaller it could well be called an overhanging eave.

The area that we live in is proudly Australian or English in origin. It is rare that one hears a foreign accent. It was a very traditional area for the well-heeled and warm retired from Sydney to move to. The climate is cold in winter and pleasant in summer. Many houses have brass names screwed on the front gates reflecting a  Scottish or English Heritage with names either ending in Brae or starting with Rose. It is not unusual to sometimes notice an elderly gentleman wearing a double breasted dark blue jacket with brass buttons, especially leaving the Sunday morning service with a smiling Reverend shaking hands with some of his more solid members of the congregations. We are somewhat out of the loupe, which would not be the case if we lived in Sydney. Not that the locals are not friendly. There is just this slight draw- back when our accents are noticed but  in most cases it is immediately followed by a friendly demeanour.

I am still trying to get a handle on why the locals in our compound were so hostile to getting things done logically and with reasonable care and diligence. One remembers the Body Corporate and Department of Fair trading during the height of the dispute about painters. I am beginning to think that our own heritage might have something to do with it. The sheer numbers of Continental Europeans that were soaked up elsewhere did not happen here in Bowral. This area always remained solidly conventional and stoically conservative and very loyal to the Queen of England.  Don’t mention the idea of a Republic here. Even the meat pies here are  graced with Royal awards and ‘Princess Diane had a pie in this shop’ blessings.

It has its rituals and unwritten laws of behaviour and compliance. There is order in neatness of gardens and short clipped glorious lawns with obligatory Camellias. We all obey the laws of nature strips at the front on which the garbage bins are put out in strict order and  times. Not a day before and always removed back out ofsight within an hour of garbage being collected. The dogs are walked with the obligatory plastic bags tied to the leash. We greet each other and say ‘morning’ or ‘good-day’.

I am just mentioning it while contemplating a lovely Virginia creeper. It is the last one. All of our eight townhouses were planted originally by a landscape expert and like the townhouses did have some unity and simplicity. However, some years ago all the planted Virginia creepers were taken out. One can still see the suckers clinging to some walls. However, our creeper defied the odds against the hands ripping the item out and survived. We keenly look forward to Autumn. The Virginia creeper shows its height of beauty during fall, in its splendid exhibition of burn orange to crimson red foliage.

We have  been told that this creeper and it’s friend the ivy are capable of causing havoc and worse, to lower the ‘value’. Value is a word that our neighbours often use. Ivy and all creepers will wreck and damage walls and fences, they said and took them out. The painting was all talked about in maintaining value. We happen to mention that we like ivy and also our Virginia Creeper. We further said we prefer the wall left unpainted if it means removing the last of the creepers. I noticed the look of someone as if we were praising something odious or very brown in colour. I added that perhaps some of the paint could be left behind for us to use if the creeper dies.

We wait with some trepidation when our wall with its creeper will remain unpainted.” Over my dead body”, Helvi said.

We prefer the creeper to a coat of PVA acrylic, even if the paint is called ‘Solar Guard’.

We will placate as much as possible, and at the Christmas party that someone always organises, I will add some extra chilli to the marinate of the chicken wings.

Lots of Chilli and loads of Spanish garlic.