Snooping on the neighbours 81



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Twice a year our council gives us permission to snoop on our neighbours to see what they’ve been hiding at the back of the garage or under the house. They call it a ‘clean up’.

I’m never exactly sure when these events are, but when Bob-across-the-street, who knows these things, put out a pile of stuff that used to be two bikes, I knew the time had come.

My offerings this time were a bright pink suitcase, a picnic hamper and a clothes airer. The bright pink suitcase (good for spotting on the luggage carousel) had succumbed to the baggage handlers across Europe, Asia and Australia. The postman knocked on the door and asked if we could put it aside for him to collect after his rounds. He must have discovered the large tear on his return because it remained till the end. The picnic hamper, not in bad nick, but surplus to requirements, disappeared one day. We have two others. The airer, with chipped and broken plastic covering, also disappeared. The scrap metal people do the rounds.

These piles wax and wane. People find more ‘stuff’ that can be let go. People go round in trucks collecting broken machinery or scrap metal. I saw someone seize on George-across-the-road’s defunct whipper-snipper. Bob is a handyman, so he found lots of remnants from household projects to add to the bike bits.

Around our way, there were lots of car seats, office chairs, plastic outdoor furniture, bikes, faded and split plastic toys. We’re that sort of place.

Some people didn’t read The Rules. After the collection, some people were left with microwaves, bits of computers and televisions. You have to take them to the tip on a designated weekend in October.

And there is a rule about size – armchairs and washing machines are too big.

It’s six months to the next one. Can’t wait to see what the neighbours have been hiding!


Do you enjoy a little sticky beak into the neighbours’ lives when it’s kerbside pickup time? Or do you just mind your own business?

Vivienne Beddoe

  1. A lot of what is wrong in the world right now is the inability of people to mind their own business

  2. Yep. And in Tweed Heads (NSW) I saw a bloke in a blue Mercedes going around, ratting the piles of Heaven-knows-what.
    Brother in law put out an old stove and an exhausted exercise bike. Both disappeared before the official collection.

  3. I never knew the snoop rule existed… How pathetic. I couldn’t be bothered…..

    3 REPLY
    • I think Vivienne may have had her tongue in her cheek when she called it snooping on your neighbours. It is hard rubbish day.

    • Its not a snoop rule the writer was joking. I often think of the folk tiptoeing in the night looking to find a treasure and hopefully they do. Not snooping.

  4. Your council does this twice a year? You lucky buggers. Our council does this once in a blue moon. However, putting items on your footpath with “Free” on them, usually has the same result.

  5. I had one old man next door and omg he was Dorrie Evans of the street, he knew everyone else’s business and if he thought you were not doing things the way he liked he would report you to the council. My neighbor across the road had a large tree in her back yard,she loved it because it shaded the kitchen.. he rang the council while she was on holidays and said the tree was causing him to get hayfever and they chopped it down before she got back home, he never even lived next door to her, he lived 4 houses down !! She was furious..people should mind their own business

  6. The photo and the word snoop made your story sound sordid – which it isn’t.
    Thanks for the read Viv and for your ability to insert humour into a simple subject.

    1 REPLY

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