Yesterday while the soil was still moist from the morning rain I spent a few hours weeding in the front garden. Felt good to have my fingers in the Aussie soil, so full of organic busy critturs making their own living - always a surprise to dig up a witchity grub, for instance.
As I stood up to stretch my back, I noticed a middle aged polyester fellow heading towards me across the grassy median.
'Hi, my name's Alan. I live in that upstairs condo across the street. How ya goin?'
'Fine, thanks. I'm Annie.'
'Doin' some gardening? I've been watching. You're doing lots of repairs around the place.'
'Oh, that! Just cleaned up so the painters could reach the neighbours house. It's only a quarter of an inch on his side of the fence, down there.' Pointing to the west fence of our front garden, I indicated the scaffolding on which painters stood.
'Did some trimmin, didja?'
'Quite a bit.'
'Are you planning on taking down that palm tree?' He pointed to the fifteen metre palm on the northwest corner of the garden.'
'Well, if you were to decide to take it down, I'd be willing to pay for the removal. We removed the street palms in front of our condo. They blocked my view of the city.'
'Does my tree block your view?'
'Ruins the view and kind of makes your house look strange, too. So tall, these palms, hardly do any good for the look of your property.'
'I rather like them, myself. Gives balance and groundedness to the garden.'
'Well, I paid to have that scruffy gum tree next door taken down a year or so ago. I'd be very happy to pay to have that palm removed as well.'
'The gum with the Butcher Bird's nest? You had it removed? How did you manage that?'
'I just approached the owner - you know it's a rental? I asked and they indicated that no one would care. I paid to have it removed.'
'I rather liked that tree.'
'I'll think on it. Do you have a card? I'll give you a call when I've made up my mind.'
'Sure.' He slipped a snazzy black card out of his wallet, handed it to me, and said, 'Bye. You be sure to let me know. If you took all four palms out the property would look a lot better, ya know.'