Saturday, 8 August 2015

Going back to inspect the Campsie unit

Yesterday I met with the estate agent who is managing my apartment in Campsie where I used to live from the end of 2005 to the middle of 2009. The unit has been rented out to a succession of different tenants since I moved to Queensland at that latter time. Now I am back in Sydney I can drop by to see the old place when the leases expire, so I drove out on the Western Distributor in the car and then down through Ashfield across the Hume Highway.

From the outside the tan-coloured brick structure was familiar although I did notice that contrary to body corporate rules the downstairs tenants on the street side had hung laundry on their balcony. The side fence still has not been fixed since I left all those years ago, in fact it has gotten worse with more of it missing, taken away no doubt because it had started to obstruct access to the driveway.

Inside the unit I noticed immediately that the carpet needs replacing, but the agent has already found a new tenant and it's not clear whether this person will have time on their existing lease to wait - the property they are living in has been sold, apparently - while new carpet is laid in the Campsie unit. In the bathroom I noticed a new wash basin larger than the one I used to use, which had obviously been installed after I left. The venetian blinds in all rooms need cleaning. In the bathroom two shelves from Ikea that I once installed myself need to be replaced because of damage due to moisture. On one of them the chipboard has rotted and is exposed, on both the aluminium brackets are corroded. The agent told me that if I do the carpets I'll have to also do the walls, and I said "Ok".

Another thing that struck me when I went inside is how small the living room feels now that I have lived elsewhere. The small rooms are not improved by the bad carpet, furthermore. But I remembered how I had completed a university degree while living in the apartment in Campsie. I also remembered how sick I had become later, in 2008, when the paranoia returned with its delusions and had suddenly flipped my life upside down. It was in those rooms that I encountered those hellish days and nights, and fought off that terrible disease with my whole being. The sounds, especially, of those days come back to me as I write. Sounds that other people no doubt thought were completely innocent ...

The agent showed me where rain coming off the roof due to blocked gutters had backed up in the balcony well and caused damage to the carpet after seeping into the unit under the balcony door. Outside, she pointed to the additional escape drains that were drilled in the slab to make sure such an accident wouldn't occur again.

I walked down the hill to the side street where I had parked the car. I used to park the same car out the back in the unit block, where the concrete slabs have cracked on the sandy subsoil. The street I was in was almost deserted off the main road with its constant traffic. I got in the car and wended my way back home through the busy streets.

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