Our house fronts on to the Cooks River, along which a public pathway gives access to a continuing parade of runners, power-walkers, dreamers, cyclists and The Old Greek Homeless Guy who sleeps in the facilities block in the park across the river and makes his way along the path every morning, shouting his lungs out.
We’re used to people stopping and having a chat if we’re in the garden – or even popping up the steps to have a stickybeak if we’re not. But yesterday, whilst admiring the jasmine on the front wall (Christopher Sheil’s brief reverie around the alluring scent of Jasmine – it was the plant you were talking about Chris? – set this off) I became aware of someone behind me.
A large, disapproving looking woman of mature years accompanied by a lugubrious Schnauzer – both clad in sleeveless knitted jerkins – had materialised on the lawn.
“I was just passing and noticed the Jasmine. You know it’s an Invader Plant? If it gets loose, it’ll choke the native bush.”
If it got anywhere near the bush it would be a bloody miracle. It would have to contrive to snake it’s way across 30 kilometres of suburbia, several highways, bridge the Nepean River and rush headlong into the Blue Mountains undetected, laughing maniacally no doubt. Call me a Green’s worst nightmare but I was unconvinced. Still, for all I knew she might have just come from a Reynolds/Windschuttle History Wars Discussion Panel and could have been a bit over-sensitive about floral genocide. And being pleasant costs nothing, does it?
“Yeah, we have to keep an eye on it” I agreed (manouvering myself to block her view of the Wisteria for fear she’d have it out in a trice and off to the Villawood Detention Centre).
“Have you thought about Australianising your garden” she queried, clearly unconvinced at my lamentably lackadaisical approach to Border Protection.
My partner, Lance, chimed in: “what… you mean stick a Hills Hoist and a ute on blocks in the middle of the lawn and surround them with empties?” It was quite funny I thought, but she didn’t. She huffed off.
“Christ”, said Lance, “she’s got a bloody German dog. In a jumper.”
“Either that or it’s a dingo with a moustache.”
We decided that it was too dangerous to continue gardening and went inside. Then I discovered this encouraging news about ecstasy. It seems that scientists at Johns Hopkins University who claimed, a year ago, that one dose of ecstasy can send you permanently doolally, were not in possession of the full facts. Indeed, they weren’t even in possession of ecstasy. Instead, it turns out that they administered an entirely different chemical to some perfectly happy and unsuspecting baboons and totally ruined their day. Accused of “doctoring” the original results for War on Drugs agitprop purposes, the Principal Investigator angrily denied it. It was an honest mistake apparently. “We’re scientists, not politicians,” he declared. Yes. And pretty piss-poor ones if they get two different vials mixed up. Still every cloud etc.
“We could give up gardening permanently and go back clubbing” I suggested. “It looks to be much less injurious to the health.”