Sassy at Seventy: Caught in a construction nightmare

Feb 07, 2023
Source: Getty

That’s it! I’m going to have to leave home! I can’t stand the incessant noise and whinging any longer. 

No, I haven’t taken in a teenage boarder.

The noise is from the development of a 344-home, over-fifties lifestyle, resort that started being built on the 15-hectare lot across the road this week. And the whinging? Well, I have to admit that’s me.

I’ve always been a bit sensitive to noise, and now I have excavators, bulldozers, graders, dump trucks and water trucks all growling and rumbling and beeping their way back and forth across the paddock, knocking down the scrub, scooping up dirt, dumping it into trucks, out of trucks, and mounding it into ever-growing piles.

Kangaroos are fleeing the only home they’ve known in front of these determined machines. Yesterday one poor bewildered buck, who obviously couldn’t find his way to his usual bushland, frantically bounded into the roadside drain, then back up into the paddock, then down into the drain, and finally found an opening and made his escape.

Today a mob of eight small kangaroos raced across the exposed dirt, trying to find somewhere to hide. And a bandicoot lay dead on the road.

I know development has to happen, but it’s sad to see the native animals so distressed. The human residents aren’t coping too well either, but at least we understand what is happening.

The bird’s life is also suffering as its habitat is destroyed, but they have a better chance than the kangaroos at finding a new home. I’ll have to check my garden more thoroughly now as snakes that have been displaced will also be on the move.

In the humid weather we’re currently having, I’m grateful to have to air-condition, but in spite of closing windows and doors, my furniture and floors are covered in fine dirt. While I might find having a tidy house impossible to achieve, I do like things to be clean. But I’d have to hire a live-in housekeeper to win against the dust blowing in.

A spiral fracture of my right humerus years ago causes a frozen shoulder whenever I do too much vacuuming, so I’ve had to resort to using my robovac, the little monster that purports to be a vacuum cleaner but with no sense of direction. It gets stuck under the fridge, the bookcases, or the lounge, whirring madly until I rescue it or it turns itself off in sheer frustration, disgust or hopelessness. Its little round face doesn’t reveal its emotions so I can only guess. 

I really don’t like using the darn thing because it creates more work than it’s worth. I have to throw something heavy in every doorway so it can stay in its designated area. Boxes, lolly jars, boots, grandkids. Unfortunately the latter quickly tire of being human bulwarks and sneak away and let Robbie (it came with that name) race off like an escaping prisoner.

Every time it hits a chair leg it twirls around like a drunken dancer and heads off in a different direction. It also has no sense of order. There are no straight lines and no grid pattern. It’s like taking a dog for a walk after several other dogs have been before it. A sniff here, a pee there, a wander into the bushes, a lunge at a moving shadow.

But I’m grateful I have a home, even if it does currently have a gritty edge. Buck, the old kangaroo that used to take occasional refuge in my backyard to rest and lower my lawn height, has probably gone searching for a new territory that isn’t already occupied by macropod refugees. I wish him well.

Apparently, the development will take five to six years. I wonder if my sanity, and my hearing, will hold out that long. Like Buck, I might have to search for another home.

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