Monday, April 12, 2010

Dueling Jack Hammers - no banjos, these monstrosities

As may of you know, I live in one of the loveliest sections of a large Australian capital city - Brisbane. Our hundred + year old Queensland Colonial sits almost atop the ridge line of a quiet fig tree lined hilly corner only two kilometres from city center. In the USA that usually means dilapidated housing, unkept sidewalks minus lawns.

Not here in the down under. Here we walk a block to our small residential shopping area along narrow sidewalks flanked by grassy lawns and lovely southern hemisphere bromeliad blossoms.

Life could not be more comfortable - the night lights of the city central skyline peek through massive branches of Morton Bay Figs, fruit bats nibble on tiny figs outlined in the moonlight, kookaburra klans chatter and chortle just before dawn, and the blatant Butcher Bird sings his harrowing paean to the sunrise to finish the job.

Noisy Minors take their morning dive in the back garden pool and deep blue eyed, green feathered fig birds flit in and out of the hanging limbs that surround our garden. Multicoloured lorikeets bathe in the rain gutter above my office windows at noon.

Life could not be more sonorous nor more enthusiastic!

And then –

Renovations on neighbouring properties. Ours is a corner house with two street frontage.

Three houses to the left a renovation has created the ugliest white shed imaginable. The house takes up all but one metre on each side of the lot on which it is located. Called a renovation because one small room was kept in tact and perched atop a large warehouse looking structure. If the appearance of this huge shed were not enough, the noise required to construct it would be!

And across the street to the right, a two story apartment building made mostly of asbestos was torn down while we were visiting in America. Upon our return a new behemoth rose on the property. Like its neighbour to the left, this four story modern steel and glass structure ( a private abode) barely sits inside the property boundaries. All of which is acceptable to the local rules and so irreproachable.

However, it is the jack hammers of which I have come to write. Dueling jackhammers - one to the left of us, two to the right of us; one shaping a new lap pool behind the shed; two tearing down a twenty metre by twenty metre 'feature wall' whose concrete settled incorrectly in a recent rain storm -

My lovely fig tree wilderness has turned into an industrial building site - my earphones mask a small amount of the jack hammers, but only slightly. Neighbours!

When the new householders move in, they owe the entire neighbourhood a block party of behemouth proportions to make up for the clattering shrieking of jack hammers, nail guns, electric saws, and construction crews sitting on curbs eating their macdonalds brekkies while sharing tales of the 'night before' under bedroom windows at six in the morning.