Last weekend the very nice elderly couple who turned our property (well it was theirs, then) from virgin bush to an English country estate came to tea with us.
‘We had seven dogs when we were here,’ they said (The Man said nothing, but when two dogs are a crowd, seven dogs are what – a riot in China?) ‘and threw amazing rock and roll parties with disco balls and drunk neighbours doing nudie runs on the lawn!’
Over tea and cake they showed us what the property used to look like – the house going up step by step, from slab to outline to walls to roof, the views out over lawn and saplings now turned to full grown bush, the creek with walkable banks, the little shed that’s now a big one…
And the hazelnuts, then the pride and joy, now the huddled masses with their suckers unplucked and their catkins withering in the winter cold, and the irrigation system neglected and forlorn – I’m pretty sure I caught a tear in the husband’s eye as he brought out a polite phrase.
So they walked all over, and looked at this place that they thought they’d grow old and die in, nearly twenty years ago left. There was lots of ‘oh, there’s the…’ and ‘do you remember when we…’ and ‘so what’s happened to the…oh THERE it is!’. Life happens. And now they’re caravanning it across Australia, adventure a way of life, feet never still enough to get itchy. Who can say which is the better life? (And would we really have wanted to buy a paddock with two old people buried in it? Personally, I think it would’ve added character.)
We’re more wattle than oak-tree oriented – but I’d kinda like to have parties like that. Although I don’t like parties, and the Man is even less enthusiastic. Still….all the neighbours letting their hair down, nobody worrying about the designated driver, music loud enough to wake the roos, crazy lighting and dancing in the firelight….
Ok, let’s be honest – it’s somebody else’s idea of a good time, I’d be looking at the clock around ten and wishing everybody’d slope off home – but it sure sounds like the glory days. We shall not see their like again.