Friday, August 03, 2007

Tour a Leura lie

Leura is the perfect place to highlight on a lifestyle show. It has the resort, the quaint specialty shops, the waterfalls and natural features. But living somewhere gives you a different outlook on any place and Leura was no exception. It may have a record store called Stairway to Kevin, it may be cause enough for city folk, in their best effort to 'get away from it all' to crowd one narrow strip in a more concentrated effort than they would in their own downtown precint and not appreciate the irony one whit. It may have the restaurants to safely take first dates on and the cherry blossom and charming parks. Oh it may have all this and more.

But I had a horrible time there. I suppose the fact that I didn't have the money for the cliffside gardens or the speculative luxury to engage in topiarist pursuits, may have cast me as the outsider from the start. Perhaps the incongruous burnt-out wrecks that appeared on otherwise cultured streetscapes at the time my family were about to descend was an ominious indication of things to come. Not that we stole and destroyed motor vehicles I hasten to add! It's just that we experienced the travails of renting an old house that had seen many tenants before and a tenuous grasp on the part of subsequent estate agents over who did what and left what behind. I froze many a night in a studio with a broken cat flap then was charged for it when I moved out!! I pointed out that the thing was in exactly the same condition as when we moved in i.e. crap, and it was not my responsibility and mounted a convincing if wearying argument to get more bond refunded. I also spent days in high anxiety and little sleep scouring the mold off the walls and battling the elements blustering in from the cliffs, only to be charged for the whole house to be 'cleaned' by the slackest bludgers to ever advertise their way around a mop and bucket. In short, the place, despite being up the road from a magnificient and quiet view of the mountains, heaped insult onto injury (and I didn't tell you about the fungus that settled on a finger for a couple of YEARS after cleaning the guttering).

I lost my marriage for the second and final time there and had to take in a lodger with no social skills, who proceeded to take over the lounge area with his television. I gave the homely old lady across the road the completely wrong impression and may have even made her move out. I felt lonely and isolated and struggled under some pretty ordinary contract jobs, which I had to travel miles to get to. Talk about champagne on a beer budget, this was sham life on a beer budget.

Were there good times in those years at the cusp of a millenium? Sure, I grinned and beared a lot of things, and just having that attitude helped. I still think being an optimist having a shit time is preferable to being a pessimist in the midst of plenty. You manage to do things and see things that are worthwhile looking back. The time we all rode out to Sublime Point on pushbike and scooter, for example. I wish I could remember more of the times where we were all living together out there but later times have all but eclipsed that.

Eventually I moved into smaller digs in Katoomba and spent five years there so I feel there is enough distance to be able to comment. I recommend the area for people with money and a good vehicle; people who can buy their own property and maintain it. For couples with uncertain incomes and a dyspeptic disposition, I'd probably confine my explorations to a weekend trip up on the train.


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