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Letter From The Other Side: Mr Rottweiler

...Not far away from us lives a gentleman I have always privately called Mr Rottweiler. He is a short, stocky gentleman with a square face, square glasses with thick lenses and a large overbite to his square jaw...

In this letter to her friend Del on the other side of the state Cynthia (Liz Thompson) reveals that she may have chosen exactly the right name for the neighbour.

Dear Del,

After all the rain and humidity Teddy has just finished following the lawnmower around once more.

No self respecting groundsman would ever call the assortment of clover, grasses and various unspecified weeds we have a lawn but when they are all cut to the same height they can masquerade as lawn for a few days. This summer we have had little respite from the constant mowing. There has been none of the usual browning off and arid appearance of most years. Instead every four days or so the green mown areas have become a ragged tangled assortment of plants looking as scruffy as Walter, our long haired spaniel, does after he has spent an afternoon rambling in a paddock.

Since we have been back, Teddy has become especially keen to keep our place looking neat and even to go so far as to remember to trim the edges of the grass and flower beds after each cutting. Quite a new innovation for him.

Ours is a tidy town………. ask anyone who lives or visits here.

The Shire council and the citizens are proud of this fact and work hard to maintain the public gardens, walkways, bike trails and anywhere within the boundaries that people like to stray. There is not a trace of graffiti in sight and no local youth would risk their personal reputation or that of their parents by daubing anything mindless about.

The citizens are equally fastidious and woe betides anyone who shows an inclination to allow their garden to resemble a grassy meadow or a miniature jungle.

Many visitors murmur vaguely of their love for gardens as they enjoy the green and colourful displays each season brings and express the wish that they too could retire to live in such a lovely place.

They need to be aware that to actually move here may come at the price of missing out on a game or two of golf or perhaps giving up the afternoon naps lounging about in front of the television during daylight hours.

It is frowned upon to become complacent about the appearance of milk thistles, uncontrolled ivy and any other plants considered a pest in this region and should a person be so negligent as to allow them to multiply, it could well bring the wrath of their neighbours upon them.

Many of our visitors are young sportspeople, cyclists, skiing enthusiasts, long distance runners etc and not really interested in horticultural matters. Some learn of the unwritten rules of behaviour very quickly and painfully if they ignore the obvious pride and floral artistry which is on show all around them.

Not far away from us lives a gentleman I have always privately called Mr Rottweiler. He is a short, stocky gentleman with a square face, square glasses with thick lenses and a large overbite to his square jaw. I have always found him pleasant to converse with and during the singing of the carols last Christmas admired his clear bass voice.

It seems I was quite accurate with my nickname for him because he was telling Teddy of his fury one morning not long ago when a cyclist peddled past him as he was putting the finishing touches to the large grassed nature-strip in front of his home.

The cyclist appeared to be having problems with something on his bicycle and in his attempts to fix the problem he freed up his hands by throwing a half filled aluminium can of drink onto Mr Rottweiler’s newly cut grass. The can landed right on Mr Rottweiler’s left boot.

Without thinking about the size of the cyclist, the obvious fact he was probably thirty years his junior and could possibly do him some pretty bruising harm, Mr Rottweiler bent down, picked up the can containing what was left of the contents and threw it back.

He is obviously not only a one man vigilante ranger against litter, but could also qualify as a candidate as a pitcher for the local baseball team because he hit the cyclist on his right shoulder. It made a satisfying thud and the cyclist made an even more satisfying yelp of pain.

The surprised cyclist looked behind him, yelled some abuse as he turned around and peddled back to the seething elderly gentleman who was now hopping about with anger with his grass rake at the ready in his hands.

‘What did you do that for you silly old bugger? You could have hurt me!’

‘Well!’ barked back our canine look-alike friend, bouncing a little higher in his agitation. ‘Come here,’ he challenged ‘and I’ll finish the job!’

We suspect the cyclist rode off thinking what a mad lot of old fogies live in these parts and enjoyed the telling of the tale over dinner that evening about the grandad who had the effrontery to challenge him to a fight.

So I guess the lesson here is that appearance may not always be deceiving when we assume something about someone. I would also ask you Del, if you know anyone who loves this place and would dearly wish to live here, warn them they must be prepared to love their gardens and be ready to keep them in a certain state of neatness.

Especially if they buy a home near Mr Rottweiler’s end of town.

From your particularly neat, garden happy ‘flower child’ friend,



Do visit Liz's Web site


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