Saturday, February 13, 2010

waterfront walk

The tall houses stare blankly at the water. Despite their premier location, and the time of day - sunset - few people are sitting on the balconies or terraces that overlook the river. I wander along, intrigued by these dwellings worth millions of dollars.

The homes are grey, and taupe, and grey. Their walls are within an arm's breadth of the dividing fences; windows face into windows of adjacent homes a mere 3 or 4 metres apart. The buildings themselves are long, and sprawl down the length of the narrow blocks of land. The few houses that have a patch of grass sport lawns the size of a large tabletop.

I pass a schoolboy in his matchbox back yard, leaning listlessly on the low wall. He looks lonely and bored. He hunches in his school uniform. He has nowhere to run about, no trees to climb, no pet to play with. He has a very glamorous abode, but it doesn't look as though he's impressed by it.

It strikes me that as much as I love the river, as much as I love to be near the water, I wouldn't want to live in one of these skinny mansions, even if we could afford to. I actually prefer our rambling, haphazardly-decorated home in suburbia. I love that we have lots of grass, lots of trees, a vege patch and a dog. Oh, and possums, rats, mice, geckoes and cane toads. Birds, frogs, lizards. Friendly neighbours. And kids with room to play.

16 comments:

Katherine said...

Oh, couldn't agree more! I shall wander through your posts and see if there are glimpses of your paradise.

thisisme said...

Gorgeous post Jelly - I feel like I was there with you. Funnily enough, I agree with you - I love that there is room to move at our house too, and the neighbours are separated just a little more from us.

Puss-in-Boots said...

I so agree with you, Jelly. What a sterile environment for kids. I know why I like the five acre block and the dogs, frogs, crows, cockatoos, possums, mice and rats in the roof, not forgetting the odd snake or two to enliven the place a bit.

freefalling said...

Amen.
That river didn't wash you away last night, did it??

Motherkitty said...

I do not want to see my neighbors. We live on the edge of town, and our little plot of ground is almost an acre, we enjoy a bit of separation from next-door houses and enjoy all the creatures that come to visit. Last fall we had cats, a baby skunk, and a baby opossum all feeding on our back deck at once. We can sit at our kitchen table and revel at the sight of so many different birds at our feeders.

Don't envy those millionaires living in their concrete and glass jungle just to look at some water.

Stomper Girl said...

There's a house in our street that just got subdivided, so now there are two houses where there used to be one, and NO BACKYARDS AT ALL. I think that's sad. I love our backyard, and my boys spend hours running round it. Sure it looks dilapidated to an adult eye, but every little kid who visits immediately has a great play, ESPECIALLY the little inner-city ones.

John Cowart said...

Ginny and I practically live in our backyard. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

TUFFENUF said...

I am like you, I like to spread out on my property. I have a corner lot and a small "cracker-box" of a house. It has a big back yard with a deck, an umbrella & hammock. The house has gotten much bigger now that there are just two of us (and three dogs!):D

Susan said...

I think it is unamimous, we all agree that we love our space... I suppose you don't have any readers who are millionaires living on the waterfront!

Michelle said...

Your house is pure kid heaven and a sensational family home!!

I still struggle that we have moved to a smaller block but there is room for the kids to still play....the grass is bigger than a tabletop.

Isabelle said...

An acre is just a dream to me, living in a city on a small island. But there's still plenty room to play in our garden ... or there would be if we still had small children... or grandchildren... sniff...

Not desperately sure I'd like all that wildlife, though. We do have foxes, badgers and mice. Lizards, no.

Love your descriptions.

Tracy said...

Your post reminds me of a place I used to go walking when I lived closer to the ocean. I noticed the same thing; that even though the homes were on the water and had lovely balconies that one could sit upon and overlook the water, most of the balconies were empty.

Meggie said...

Oh yes! Those lonely 'mansions' do not seem to be 'homes' for children! I love my shabby house & furniture, where our dogs and grandchildren can feel relaxed and comfortable.
You obviously have a healthy regard for your children's comforts in life!

Alipurr said...

my mom, motherkitty's yard, is just great...my kids love to run around there. I love seeing pics of animals, birds, and grass around your place, too, jelly :)

Alice said...

Most people agree that it's a horrible environment to live or bring up children, and yet the trend is increasing. Why?

It's a bit like houses without eaves.....most people say they hate them, but they are still being built and bought.

Have we all become sheep and just blindly follow the mob?

Kerri said...

Give me land, lots of land.....
and an old farm house with gardens....and I'm happy as Larry :)
Is that an Aussie expression or did I pick it up over here? I think it's Aussie or English.
Lovely to catch up with you, Jelly. I hope you're enjoying life and feeling well.