Under Siege

And so apparently the dreary battle is going to keep going. Two broken bottles in my driveway yesterday morning, then late this morning, my neighbour calls me to say she has found a smashed bottle of Jim Beam in the driveway and asked me if I knew anything about it as she had seen me sweeping up on Friday. I told her about Dick.

I went up the drive to see if I could see him but the streets were empty. It was hot so I hoped he had gone home to sleep it off.

Apparently not, because half an hour later there were two more smashed beer bottles in the driveway. If it was Dick, and I can’t think of anyone else who would want to throw and smash glass in at house, then I am not sure what he thinks he is going to achieve. I guess he is a little like my dog Archie, not too bright and compelled to chase angrily after bikes, without either knowing why he does it, or indeed what he would do with them if he ever caught them.

Either way, we appear to have something of a Cape Fear situation on out hands at the moment, which is annoying and unsettling and REALLY annoying for my neighbours, who have their house on the market. I should have known they were selling when the neglected flower bed at the front suddenly became home to some new shrubs and a couple of tall rose bushes. I also saw her cleaning out her spotless garage the other day.

I am happy for my neighbour. I do not know her very well, but she has been alone for quite a while since she lost her husband to pancreatic cancer some years ago and has had a bumpy ride after she made the decision to ‘get out there’ again. This latest relationship, while relatively new, seems to be going well – as was confirmed today. The reason she is selling the house is because she and her new man are moving in together into a brand new apartment in a smart new block in a slightly more expensive neighbouring suburb. Good luck to them.

It is just slightly unfortunate that the one weekend they have their house open for viewing, a local drunk has decided to make pointless guerilla-style attacks on our block from the safety of the pavement. Fortunately, we did not see him again, at least for today and I now have now sent them the man’s photograph so we have two people ready to call the police if he appears again, which is likely because I am pretty confident I have worked out where he is staying at the moment, and it is around the corner.

Even cooler though, is that I found the sale information online and the price they are asking tells me that the value of my house has increased considerably since I bought it, even if my garage is not as tidy as hers.

Keeping my house clean is almost impossible, and it was only when I was getting it in a fit state for the house sitter the last time we were going on holiday, that I actually realised that my dogs don’t live in the house with us, we all share a giant kennel.

I did not feel like going out today, the hotter weather felt especially harsh after the lovely cooler week we had just enjoyed. It is kind of the opposite to the UK, where the weather hangs in there until the weekend, when it pours with rain. The only thing that keeps me going is the thought of March – not too far away. March / April is the nicest time of the year here, when the harsh heat of the summer begins to tail off and then we get about three weeks of autumn before we start the slide into winter.

I had a choice between starting a book that I meant to read on holiday and left behind, or watching a movie. I opened the book and the first two pages listed the cast of characters. Not only were there characters, but some of them had nicknames. I closed the book and fired up Apple TV.

The film I chose to watch was The Dressmaker and the reason was because I heard an interview with Kate Winslet on the BAFTA podcast (A Life in Pictures series) during which she talked about it.

It certainly is a quirky tale, based on a book of the same name, which I have not read, and has a great cast. The story centres around Tilly, a dressmaker, who returns to her home town after years in exile. It is a small Australian town full of small town people, their petty jealousies and power struggles, their smug judgements. She returns to lay the ghost of an event that occurred when she was a child and engineers her way into the town’s cliques through her dressmaking skills.

It has a number of things going on at the same time – small town spite, the idea of a western – a touch of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and a sprinkling of Muriel’s Wedding (and the guy that wrote that co-authored this). It has a healthy dose of black humour, cartoon-like framing in some of its highly stylised shots and is not afraid to pull the narrative rug out from under your feet as you watch it. It can be a little jumpy and patchwork-y in tone but I really enjoyed it. Plus Kate Winslet’s accent is amazing – a lot of people when they do an Australian accent go the full ocker, but hers is understated and works.

In the first part of the film, Tilly and her mother (Judy Davis – also fabulous) are under siege in their little house. Their place though stands on a hill, and both mother and daughter drive golf balls towards their enemies in town.

Maybe I should take up golf.

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