Surprise surprise, The Australian didn’t show up this morning. So I rang the newsagent as promised (even though I would be walking straight past later on) and got him to bring one out. Okay, so it may cost me 25 cents for the phone call, but it’s a small price to pay for the satisfaction of knowing that he was inconvenienced.

Last week some new people moved into the flat below us. There’s a good and a bad side to this.


  • They’re smokers. Just like the people before them, and the people before that. Will we be doomed to live next to people who smoke for the rest of our lives, with a nicotine smell wafting up into our place? If those new adverts featuring pictures of peoples’ aortas aren’t enough to stop people smoking, there’s probably no hope for them.
  • Why is it we keep getting neighbours who seem to be unable of emptying their own mailbox? It wouldn’t worry me but junkmail delivery people never figure out for themselves that a mailbox is already full and there’s little point in adding their contribution because it will never get read. And after the three hundredth piece of junkmail has been jammed in there, a sudden gust of wind usually comes along and distributes all of it around the carpark.
  • They also seem to be unable to keep the foyer door shut, despite a notice requesting it. Apart from stopping the wind, rain and fire (well, okay, not fire, just wind and rain) getting in, it might also lessen the prospects of our pram getting nicked when we leave it down there rather than lugging it up and down stairs several times a day.

But of course, there’s a good side to having neighbours again. Apart from the fact that they may be nice people (I don’t know, I haven’t run into any of them yet), there’s the all-important:

  • Central heating. We don’t have central heating, but our neighbours do. The great thing about poor insulation is that their heat comes up through our floor and heats most of our place up. At the very least, it makes walking on the hallway tiles in bare feet an absolute delight.

And actually that’s probably the only good point, but in the middle of this cold winter, it really makes up for all the others.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.