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live @ the lounge

Yeah gidday. How's it growing? Just recently a refugee couple moved in next door. Shaz said I should make them feel welcome. Oh yeah. Why not? I jumped the fence and was greeted by a lady covered from head to toe and a bloke with an expression that could convince an All Black to take up Morris Dancing in his undies at an RSL club. After a while and a bit of explaining who I was, they asked me to

get Shaz and join them for some grub. I grabbed a couple of home brews and Shaz made up her pickled walnuts, pineapple and onion soup dip platter. We polished off the brews and moved on to some kind of wine he had but they didn't actually drink anything. Never mind. More for us eh? Great avo though. We tried to answer some of their questions but the language was a bit tricky. Shaz twice had to point out to me that his name wasn't, Oshit-Disisbad but actually. Osheet-Dilahad. I decided to call him Ozzy and his wife Wendy. They asked why New Zealanders had chopped down all the trees and then named streets after them. Tricky to answer that. Back in the day, to bond with your neighbour, you would share a

project – build a fence or pour a driveway together. I have these old goal-posts I scored from Eden Park when they replaced them with metal ones, so asked Ozzy if he'd like to help put them up. This was quite timely I pointed out, as there was a Rugby World Cup on. The next morning, Ozzy and me popped down to the council just

to make sure everything was kosher. We waited round a couple of hours before making an appointment for two weeks later. Oz said the queues really made him home-sick. We filled out a neighbours’ consent form. Luckily Ozzy and Wendy are our only neighbours. Two weeks later we rocked up for our meeting with the inspector.

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He asked us where our drawings were. They recommended a bloke but he wanted $500 so I slipped a draftsman mate of mine at the Razza a ton and he sketched up a couple of holes in the ground from three different angles on a bit of quad paper. Armed with these we shot back down town. The inspector approved the plans, took $300 from Oz and booked us in for two site inspections. One per hole at $75.00 per inspection. Blimey, welcome to New Zealand matey. On the Friday the inspector arrived on-site and approved the holes and poles so on the Saturday we were ready. It was then that, the ever vigilant Shaz, who had picked up a copy of NZS3604 [the council code book] for $90 from the council read out that we couldn't just make concrete in the wheelbarrow: I had to put my hand in my very shallow pocket yet again for a concrete truck and pump. Another $450. The inspector said he would do the final sign-off once we fixed the cross bar with stainless steel fittings not No8 wire ($56) and used scaffolding to put it up because it was over a metre off the ground. Safety first in New Zealand neighbour. Scaffolding hire charge a snip at $213. So a few weeks on I invited Ozzy to take the first penalty attempt.

Turns out, he's a natural. The regulation World Cup ball, $75, flew over the post, and the fence, and onto his roof. There it remains because it's, you guessed it, it’s more than a metre off the ground. We sat round the BBQ the other evening and Shaz asked Oz if he'd

learned anything. Wendy was quick to say, 'the council taught my husband how to bloody swear'. Awesome. Welcome to Aotearoa bro and yes, rugby was the winner on the day. Later, Lizard.

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