Scary stories from a lovely place
We’re coming up on the 6 month milestone of living here in pleasant Woonona. I’ve learned a lot about this place and have really come to like and enjoy it. At first I thought there would be nothing interesting for me to see or learn. In the first few weeks as I filled my days walking the streets, finding parks, admiring gardens and becoming familiar with strangers, I felt very sad as I missed the streets, parks, gardens and strangers of Brixton, Johannesburg.
But I’ve now come to appreciate Woonona for what it is, rather than as an endless comparison to another, far off neighbourhood. I’ve found good parks that serve their different purposes. I’ve memorised some of the train timetable to cloy Silas’ ever increasing obsession with all things railway. I’ve said hello and made small talk with a few locals – my neighbour with the very old labrador, the old lady who pushes the skeleton of a pram to hold her shopping, the lady and her overly affectionate children who live in the house that belongs to a hoarder, the landlord and his cute daughters and the man who works at Franklins and walks a greyhound. I know that soccer training is on Thursday afternoons at the nearby field and provides endless entertainment and frustration to my two little ball kickers. It’s lovely to be able to make this list. It means I’m on my way to becoming a local.
Besides the above list of local faces, I’ve found the streets of Woonona to be eerily quiet, even in the afternoons when school is finished, and on weekends. I don’t understand it. I’m not sure if everyone is at work, or inside with the blinds drawn watching television, or hanging in the backyard. That was something I really loved about Brixton – the streets were always busy with different kinds of people.
At least Woonona’s main street (we refer to it as the High Street – very Joburg) is a hive of activity. I love Mountain View Meats, the bakery whose Multigrain bread may be 80c more expensive than the loaves on Park Rd, but have a delicious malty flavour, the greengrocer (oranges for 29c a kilo! – someone’s getting screwed, but it’s not me!) and the friendly staff at the Post Office.
The other thing I really love about where we live at the moment are the birds. All day we hear the mocking laughter of Kookaburras and tempestuous Cockatoos and we see the dazzling colour of different kinds of Rosellas. There’s also a pack of birds of unknown kind that fly around in a mad arc above Grey Street, or sometimes a bit further south. They are beautiful, and they are always there. Oisín loves them. On our daily walks, even if we don’t get to interact with many people, these birds provide endless fascination.
Posts about Brixton –