Another Country Diary
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29 March '02
Today there is the last of the black grapes, apples and pears,
horse chestnuts and hazel nuts but the first
of the quinces. The season's end is accelerating and it's a brought me a
real feeling of melancholy. More so this year probably because I've been immersing
myself in the garden so much more. The mood swings that come with these
changes, as the sun arcs across this small yard, are real enough.
|31 March '02|
Easter has been a little flat. It's got nothing to do with crucifixions or
exploited third world workers making chocolate for our foil covered eggs.
The sadness comes because our neighbourhood has lost something.
The two biggest pine trees that marked the edge of the old estate (that our house was homestead and centre of), and which sat at the end of the dogleg in Rutledge Street, have been cut down. The animation shows what a difference it will make for the streetscape and I've some images here, slightly larger that show what a lovely pair of trees they were.
Being Easter I haven't been able to get
to the council to ask why they changed their mind (a previous
application by the first owner was refused). Phillip, the local tree
cutter (who has helped us a number of times with broken branches and
storm felled tree with a hive of angry bees inside), wouldn't cut it
down without a permit I'm sure, so something has changed in how the
value of these trees has been perceived by the council to the town.
|2 April '02|
called the council and the 'officer in charge of approval for cutting
down trees' called me back. Sue Robb confirmed that she had given
permission based on a number of arguments that she didn't want to
discuss. She pointed out how difficult it was to justify keeping pine
trees and that people were encouraged to plant natives to replace them.
We did however have a long talk about the value of existing
streetscapes, aesthetics and the lack of a small town 'beauty' plan for
Bungendore. She pointed out that the willows along the creek were a
similar issue, but I didn't see that they were related. The willows were
having a detrimental effect on the creek, and had grown to become
invasive. These trees were not interfering with anything much, no power
lines, and had been there when the property was purchased (and long
before any council drains and pipes were laid). The inescapable fact is
that their beauty will never be replaced by 'natives' of similar
stature, at least not in my lifetime. I can't see that the view of the house that
their removal has uncovered, is an improvement.
On reflection what I felt wasn't addressed in our conversation was that one person could agree to a change that would affect the whole town. It's obviously impractical to ask everyone's opinion for each tree that might need to be removed, but the community could at least set some guidelines that Sue can use. If it will have significant impact on the rural character of the town and its heritage feel, I believe that would be the first issue we need to discuss.
I've sent her some images that she can keep on file.
|4 April '02|
my mailbox. It's had that lean for a few years now. I think it was hit
by the post person, on a wet day (there were skid marks). When I moved here, the
first piece of communication with my community was a hand written note
on one of those 'Mail item waiting' cards that said, "Please secure your
mailbox to ensure continued delivery".
'Thanks for the neighbourly welcome' I
thought, and tightened up the single nut that holds the pop riveted
galvanised box to the rusty star picket. I thought that I'd be replacing
it soon with a 'proper' one, fixed to the gate post. It wasn't worth
fussing about a nut that was always coming loose.
Of course moving with the times, the
postperson now rides a small motorbike (the main function of which is to
let the local dogs hear her coming). It is now easy for her to manoeuver up to almost any type
of mailbox, and her bottom need never leave the bike seat.
I mapped out the area and I've decided
that there is a town edge, where the boxes change to 'rural' and I'll stop
the project there. The rows of boxes at side road intersections are a
different story. (One I'll probably have to pursue. I was in the local
cab being driven by June to the airport one morning. She told me
that the picturesque rows of barrels and boxes were 'a target for the
local hoons with a few beers too many', and that they 'took them out'
regularly with the bull bars on their 4wd's, for some late night
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