Although she has been concerned about the possibility that our back wall would for over a decade - at one point we worked intensely to remove a Chilean willow and ivy vine to stabilise it - it is only very recently that my mother has acted decisively about the crumbling structures of our home of fifteen years. The recent order of the Melbourne City council that all potentially unstable walls within the local government area be demolished has caused her limited finances great difficulties because the combined cost of demolishing and rebuilding the back and side walls could be a large fraction of my mother’s yearly salary - at a time where I am doing as little as ever to find some work that could ease the home’s dependence on her salary at Penleigh.
A week and a bit ago, my mother thought that the wall would be demolished and rebuilt by Tuesday 16 April, but the dangers of a standard demolition delayed the job of the demolition of the back wall until the last minute. I watched the demolition and - without showing it to the builders or even to my mother when I spoke to her that night - did feel concerned about the western wall between our courtyard and the living room next door.
Still, it is a shock to see that the western wall may need demolishing, and that we may have to move into a new house. With my brother working overseas, Mummy even thought of moving to the gorgeous climate of Tasmania with its 21˚C summers because of the lower cost of housing (and energy with less need for air conditioning) compared to suburban Melbourne! I have often thought that even if we did have to move to have the western wall demolished we could save money by moving into a relative’s home, but Mummy dismissed the possibility and said that there would be enough housing to rent.
Having not moved for a long time and acquired so much material - though I do try to be discriminating nowadays and do have a feeling I am more efficient with money than for a long time - it would not be easy to move. Yet, the side wall and even the front glass-brick wall may soon need replacement as the cement in it is just as loose, and especially in the summer it would be too uncomfortable to stay.