Monday, January 14, 2008
Neighbourhood time lapse
Visitors to our place often point across the valley and say "What the hell is THAT?" They are always referring to a very steep block below Loudon St, where there has been a lot of stuff under green tarpaulins, since before we moved here in 2000. Due to the lie of the land, it's all really on display. Some individual has been slowly noodling around on his slope there for years, doing a little terracing, a bit of brickwork, a little retaining wall, a few more mysterious piles covered in plastic, and so on and so forth. The people next door have put their place up for sale. They have been giving him access to their water and power to try to help him finish whatever it is that he is doing, but to no avail. When they bought they were told he would be finished in eighteen months, but that was three or four years ago.
So now, his building permission has run out. The poor bugger is singlehandedly carrying everything back up that slope, loading it into his small white van and driving it away to God knows where. Like many we have watched him from afar, mocked his lack of progress, questioned his sanity, and sometimes bemoaned the blot on the landscape he has made. But now I feel very sorry for him. How must it feel to take each load up the slope, with a sense of injustice or failure making the load seem heavier and the slope steeper? I want to leave him a carton of beer and an anonymous note of support.
With this in mind I have made a then/now comparison picture. The main difference is seasonal. The first pic is either April or May 2007, the second is today. Of course the state of our house has changed a little as well. His block is circled - the first pic shows how it has looked for at least the last eight years, until he got the bad news from the council.