Since moving here, we've gone from a largish house and garden in sprawling Adelaide to a compact-but-renovated house in Flemington.
The front yard, as you can see here, is miniscule, so apart from Milly deciding it makes the perfect place to drop her butt nuggets, we tend to wrinkle our noses in disgust, slip the key in the front door and forget what we just saw and smelled.
The back garden is the size of a party-pizza box and has a block of flats looming over it from the eastern side with at least one tenant favouring ACDC at level eleven during the early afternoons.
On Auction Day, straight after we'd been the final bidders and had sat in the kitchen negotiating the sale price (the owners were in the bedroom) and signed the documents thrust in front of us with gleeful-but-shaking hands, Love Chunks and I stood outside in the unseasonally freezing November hail for a few minutes, grinning at each other.
It isn't as though I'm a habitual streaker who's fond of doing nude cartwheels, or operate a thriving meth-lab in the bike shed. Nor am I a volatile junkie, a Tourette's sufferer with a foghorn voice, a born-again bible reader or into homespun Satanic rituals, but if I want to serenade Milly ("There was a showgirl, her name was Milly, she had blue ribbons in her hair and a dress cut down to there...."), call out to the rabbit ("Hey Spunky Buns, want a bunch of parsley?") or try double-dutch skipping with Sapphire then I'm damn well going to.
Apart from saying "Hi" as we wheel our bins out on on the kerb Wednesday nights or offer to collect each other's junk mail during holidays, they mostly hear our lives rather than see them. Their cat, Hendrix, likes to parade along the wooden fence dividing our back gardens, luxuriating in the thrill of sending Milly berserk and enjoying the fact that he's the only creature that can actually get her to bark.
Kerry says all she can hear is me saying, "Oh shoosh Milly, he's just teasing you. Go find something better to do, like lick your date or eat Skipper's vegan poo poos." Stuart joined us and said, "I tend to hear a lot of heavy breathing and sometimes a bit of really weird, toneless singing, but usually it's only every seventh word."
Ah yes, that'd be me on the treadmill. Headphones and iPods are marvellous motivators (trust me: Neil Diamond's 'Crunchy Granola Suite' is a top song to run to on a drizzly Monday morning) but can fool the listener/runner into believing that their/her occasional heartfelt but heaving sing-alongs are being effectively drowned out by the sounds being pumped into their eardrums.
It's only then I look up and see at least one of the twelve balconies has someone standing there, trying to look over the mechanic's shed onto Mt Alexander Road or towards the big yellow cheesestick and red toast-rack on the Tullamarine. If they make eye contact, I'll smile and wave and know that every single time they'll be the first to avert their gaze.
And that's fine by me. When Sapphire sits on the bench and occasionally sheds a tear about the friends she still misses or we're sipping our microwaved hot chocolates and cuddling, I don't want to feel self conscious or as though we should be editing our lives.
Besides, our clothesline is wedged up against the fence of the flats and our jocks, knickers, bras and socks always get hung closest to their side. Why should we have to look at underwear when we're playing in the garden?