Thursday, January 24, 2013


Ok, what's Housanality? Well, people have personality, houses have housanality. OK, I just made that up. But think about it, it works, doesn't it?

This is the context I'm talking about:  In our group of 8 townhouses we find that certain types of people live in certain houses in our complex.

For example, house number 2 attracts noisy people. The tenants before the current lot screamed and argued with each other on a daily basis. We were tempted to call the police once or twice when it threatened to become physically violent but luckily they backed off. Often outside, too, in their courtyard, so they could share the hate with their neighbours. The courtyard is number 2 is a bit of a noise amplifier because of the shape of it, we think. Every shout is magnified.

The current tenants in number 2 are loud, too. Like the previous tenants they are from India or Sri Lanka. It seems many Indian women have LOUD voices. Maybe they have to shout to make themselves heard above city noise in India. I'm not trying to be racist here. But most of our neighbours are Indian or Sri Lankan, and the women have voices which can clear blocked drains. Fact.

Anyway, our neighbours in 2 have a toddler, and they play, at loud volume, a CD of nursery rhymes in English, but with an Indian accent. We can hear them clearly in our own house. These songs become ear worms for me; I get "to marrrket, to marrrket, to buy a fat pig" stuck in my head for minutes at a time. It's worse when the child's mother, who we call Gobbler (more on that soon), sings along. She shouts loudly and tunelessly; the funniest song is Baa Baa Black Sheep, when Gobbler bellows, "YES, sir, YES, sir, thrrrree bags FULL!!!!"

The kid cries and screams a lot as all toddlers do, and then Gobbler gobbles to him. Yes, she could be mistaken for a turkey. She does an amazing turkey imitation, heaven knows why, and I swear that kid is going to grow up believing he's raised by poultry. When she's not gobbling, or singing, she talks to him, either in Hindi or parrotting back his own baby noises at high volume. Needless to say whenever it's not raining all the action takes place in their courtyard, so we hear every gobble whether we want to or not.

Then there is number 5. Number 5 attracts noisy dogs. The owners had two dogs there a few years back before they bought a bigger place and moved out, and their dogs barked and barked and barked and barked and barked. At nothing. When the owners were at work and I was busy working at home I wasn't above turning a hose on the bloody animals to shut them up. Now the place is tenanted and guess what, a noisy dog lives there. He barks and barks and barks, but usually for a reason, ie someone is walking down the street 25 metres away. His bark gets higher in pitch the more excited he gets until he sounds as if he's being strangled. When the maintenance men did the lawns today I thought he was going to choke. Thankfully, unlike the previous dogs, if you go out and say his name gently and tell him to be quiet, he'll look you in the eye and shut up. He's nice. If noisy.

Whoever lives in number 8 is scared of dogs. The previous owners were petrified of our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who does have a nasty habit of rushing out of the front door and barking at people from a distance. We're trying to get her out of it but she's determined to protect us from our neighbours, all of whom she knows well and likes. On the lead she's fine but off lead she's a wolf. So we try and keep her on the lead when we go out front. But... a few weeks back we'd been out in the car with her and we let her  jump out of the back seat. G went to open the front door of the house thinking she'd follow him but our dog spied the new guy in number 8 and went galloping up to him, barking, tail wagging frantically. Harmless but loud. Poor guy - he's scared of dogs and he ran to his car and jumped onto the bonnet, then the roof. I couldn't believe it! I was mortified. Poor bloke! He's Indian and I've met many Indians around here who are frightened of dogs. I had to grab our dog and apologise profusely. Inside our house G and I collapsed in cruel laughter as jumping on your own car was like something from a movie.

So there are the personality traits of a few of our neighbouring houses. Numbers 3 and 6 attract quiet people; we've seen a couple of families come and go in each of them over seven years and we've never heard a single shout. Numbers 1 and 7 I can't make a comment on, as the people in them have lived there longer than we have; will number 1's future owners have a penchant for white fluffy dogs and twee garden statues? Will number 7's future owners be outgoing and friendly?

Who knows? The local council is likely to rezone our entire street to high density housing, and if developers make us owners an offer we don't want to refuse, our houses, and their housanalities, may be gone forever in a few years, replaced by an apartment block. That's a sad thought as apart from KFC on the corner this is a quiet street, a neighbourly place, a sleepy hollow where houses sit on quarter acre blocks and kids still play cricket in their back gardens. Once land is gone, it's gone. And so is a way of life.

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