I vividly remember the day we moved in. I came over early, armed with a vacuum and cleaning gear while Geoff and his mates loaded the truck back in Box Hill North. George was 18 months old and I was six months pregnant with Jaz.
I arrived prepared to give the old house a thorough clean before we started unpacking, only to discover the elderly lady who was the prior occupant, had left it immaculately clean. (Well, as clean as an 80 year old house, most recently decorated circa 1970, could be).
The location is great. We have a tram stop at one end of the street, a train station at the other, we're just minutes from the freeway into (and out of!) the city, there's a cafe virtually next door that makes excellent coffee, we can walk to two pubs, a wine bar, a local supermarket, pharmacy, newsagency, a couple of good gift shops, various cafes and some great restaurants that also do take away. (Plus a heap of antique shops which is what brings people to the hood.) But the real soul of our location is our neighbours.
Over the past 20 years we have been incredibly lucky to be surrounded by amazing people you'd gladly have a drink with and could count on should you need. And we've often done both.
Our next door neighbour, Marcus, was here when we arrived and recently turned 90. His family generously included us in the celebration by asking us over for a drink, where Peter decided it would be hilarious to sneak over and turn on the ceiling fan which had been festooned with '90th' cardboard cutouts. And is was very funny!
A few days before we got back from the beach this year, our alarm went off and understandably, Marcus was concerned. He sought assistance from the neighbours over the road, Shen and Dean. The alarm is monitored so I also knew it was going and rang Shen.
Me: I'm so sorry Shen. If you use your key, I'll tell you the code to turn it off.
Shen: No worries... hang on, I'll just pop Dean on. He's just opened the door...
Dean: Hi MWW, we're just popping a few things on eBay for you...
Me: Oh cool! Don't forget the golf clubs in the shed!
Once the alarm had been disarmed....
Shen: It all looks fine but we'll just have a look around outside to make sure no-one's tried to break in.
Me: Oh gosh! Be really careful!
Shen: Don't worry... we have Marcus with us!
That was the reassurance I needed!