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We really won the lottery with our neighbour, A. He’s a lovely guy, very friendly and gregarious. The best part is, he is super handy. He’s basically got a life membership at Bunnings, and has done all sorts of amazing things to his house. We regularly commiserate over the strange things we find leftover from the previous owners (who owned the whole property then re-divided it into semis when they sold). Strange wiring, weird not-quite-legit things…but between the two of us we’re putting things to rights and making two lovely spaces. He’s always very proud of things he’s done around the place and will tell me in great detail; I think his boyfriend isn’t that interested in the detail so A’s glad to have a willing audience in me.

My backyard cabin is going in next week (hurrah!) and I needed to cut some of the old timber railing away and move some plants. I asked if I could borrow A’s chainsaw and muscles; he came over with his chainsaw and his boyfriend (I guess he’s the muscle) and they spent a few hours replanting raphis palms and cutting down anything I asked them to and doing a much better job than I would have on my own. I gave him a bottle of wine to say thanks, but I don’t think he expected anything. It’s quite something.

I told him over the fence today that we’re getting the driveway resurfaced in a few weeks too.

“What about the retaining wall?” he asked. He’s been talking about building us a retaining wall in the front yard with the leftover railway sleepers from the deck he took up in his backyard. “You’ll have to do that before the driveway. Well…how about this weekend? I’ve got some time. We can come over and…you’ll need rapid set cement and these long bolts…why don’t I just get them from Bunnings for you and you can pay me back?” A quick chat with his boyfriend and they’re all set to come over and…build me a retaining wall.

But the thing is – he’s going to China for work on Sunday for a month! So this is their last few days together and he’s willing to come over and do stuff in my yard. I don’t quite know how to repay him. He says he loves doing landscaping and gets a lot of pleasure out of it. But I’m still so grateful for his generosity. And muscles.