Wednesday, November 17, 2010
An early bird's mystery tour
I am not usually an early bird. I am usually a night owl and therefore often a foul fowl until at least my first coffee of the day. But there is no daylight saving in WA (a mystery to me) and by 5am the light is streaming through our uncurtained and uncurtainable rented bedroom window. So I push thoughts that I am turning into my mother out of my mind, get up, and go for a walk.
Even though it is early I first slap on some sunblock - it is a mystery to me why so many people still believe in the myth of the "nice, healthy tan". Since moving here I've seen enough noseless old ladies, earless old men and cornflake-skinned people of all ages to know that there is no such thing.
Today I did a swift lap around the perimeter of the local golf course which gives a pretty typical taste of what it looks and feels like around here, including a few pretty mysterious things.
First mystery is the width of the streets. They are barely two cars wide. There is no space for parking on the road but the enormous verges are usually plumbed in with "retic" (reticulated sprinkler systems) so folk get mighty grumpy when you park on them. At Open Homes (known here as Home Opens) I've given up asking "where would all our guests park when we have a party?" because then I inevitably get the agent's best "you're a crazy lady!" look. I get that look a lot here. It is still a mystery to me where our hypothetical party guests would park at any of the three hundred and twenty seven Home Opens we've viewed so far.
Just along from here a man popped out from behind some bushes and bellowed "what's the camera for?" How I resisted giving him a smartypants answer is a mystery. His sprinklers were on full blast in his lush, thirsty, tropical garden even though today is not his allocated one day a week to water. As a water-wise gardener I met here puts it "this town has more palm trees than you can wave a chainsaw at". Given that the native wildflowers of this region are unbelievably beautiful, attract visitors from all over the world and once established and mulched need almost no watering, it is a complete mystery to me why there are so few in suburban gardens.
Typical house on my side of the hill: brick, tile, pink driveway, lawn, retic.
Typical house on the other side of the hill: McMansion usually with all manner of garden statuary. I thought the style of Carbo's house on Packed to the Rafters was just some set designer's joke until I moved here. It's no joke. Carbo has lots of houses here; he even has whole suburbs! Mystery.
Every walk is chock full of wildlife sightings including at least a dozen species of birds, thousands of black millipedes crossing the footpath towards the dry, hundreds of tiny albino snails crossing the path towards the shade and kangaroos grazing in any vacant sections. Sadly the only shingleback lizards I've seen so far have been squished on the road. One house always has a grumpy-faced cat on the driveway and loads of ibis on the roof. The most we've counted is fourteen. They are only ever at this one house. Mystery.
I spot another ibis having a mysterious moment of its own - "but is it art?"
At the top of the hill I solve the mystery of that house with the strange attic extension,
and get a glimpse of sea.
I spot an interestingly named boat (at another Carbo's house) and could not agree more as by now I'm hot, sweaty, and harassed by hundreds of tiny flies trying to feast in my mouth, on my eyeballs and up my nostrils. Time to head downhill towards home.
Spot a house with multi-coloured brickwork and a dolphin ornament and wonder Whywouldya?
Oh that is my rental house. Best go in and put a pot of coffee on so I'm a bit less foul by the time the rest of the family get up in only another hour and a half.