Sunday, 14 December 2014

The fall of the wall

With a title like that I bet you thought I was referring to the Berlin Wall! But no! Although that was a momentous occasion seeing my beloved back wall (strangely one of the reasons I bought my home) go down in the blink of an eye was a lot more up close and personal.

Now there are not many people who would buy a house because of a wall but....then I'm not like many people! My home is around 20 years old and the wall around 60+++ years old. It was obviously part of an old factory/stables. My home was built on all that remained of the factory/stables - an empty piece of land. I loved my wall. It had a great presence. If a wall can have a great presence - then it had it in spades - or bricks!
My 'Moroccan' wall and the young yukkas - divine
And then along came my next door neighbour who wanted to build 3 x 3 storey townhouses at the rear of his property. We fought him to the death on the plans - but only managed to reduce the footprint to 2 x 3 storey townhouses. The local court of last resort (VCAT) gave permission for him to build on the proviso that my beloved wall remain. I was ecstatic. The local council gave permission for the build based on the height of my yukkas which they considered would protect me from being overlooked by the new neighbours. At the time I stated that "the neighbour/developer couldn't 'borrow' my yukkas as trees die". My pleas fell on deaf ears and the development was approved. So much for looking after current residents - this council is all for looking after new residents which of course = more rates income. 
Growing, growing, growing, having babies, having babies, having babies
But we had a problem. The yukkas which had been planted around 10 years ago 'had gone troppo'. They crushed the watering system - but it didn't deter them. They just kept growing - both upwards and outwards at the base! The narrow garden bed couldn't fight their growth - it looked like they had enormous elephants feet - and they proceeded not only to push over the small retaining wall bordering the garden bed - they also had a fine time pushing my beloved wall to the point of no return.
Yukka 'elephant' feet! Pushing the retaining wall forward (they ain't got anywhere else to go!)
The last thing any of us wanted was a death by the fall of a wall (particularly after the appauling death of 3 people walking past a development site in Carlton last year) There was no choice. It had to go. 
Looking at the wall from the developers side. Look at the height of the yukkas - great privacy screen!
After much angst on my part the deed needed to be done so the 2 x 3 storey townhouse development could proceed.  And a temporary fence put in place - until closer to the finish of the development when the neighbour/developer and I will decide what I WANT! I can forsee a year of dirt, noise, blasting radios and more angst - but this post is about the fall of the wall!

So follow me on the fall of the wall - a journey that was over in seconds. Along came the wall puller downerer - he hooked his shovel thing over the wall and in one fell swoop it was GONE! I've never seen anything like it! BANG! That was it! Talk about a ton of bricks!
The flattened wall - almost in one piece. The neighbours yukkas - almost eating their 2.5 storey home, and my yukkas waiting to go to the toxic tip
Thank goodness it fell towards the vacant land and not towards my home. It would have killed me and wiped out the back of the house! Then out came the chainsaws to remove the offending yukkas. Some were so big that they need a special saw as the chainsaw wouldn't/couldn't get through them. 
You can see the bottom of the wall as it fell - as for the chainsaw - it won't cut through the elephant feet!
Then up went the temporary fence so that all and sundry wouldn't be able to see me watching television (after all the cricket season is on!). Oh - and for SECURITY!
Looking through the patio doors from my sitting room - zero security
What a day in the life of a wall. I'm even keeping a bit just for prosterity. I'll keep you posted on my new design - but that's a long way down the track. And it won't include rampant elephant feet yukkas - the height of my 2 storey house - and the house opposite - see above.
The temporary fence (1 year?!) and the ravaged courtyard (1 year?!) I can't bear to look
And a final warning - DON'T PLANT YUKKAS unless you live in the country and can plant a copse of them (if that's what it's called) a very long way from the house!

As you can imagine I am now horrified by how many yukkas are for sale at every garden shop often in the courtyard department - they start off small but end up...... 

And the piece-de-resistance - yukkas are toxic - they have to be taken to a special dump. Dump cost - a mere $1000!

So plant yukkas at your peril as they were ultimately the cause for the fall of my beloved wall.

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