Beata works as a qualified primary school teacher, a councillor for drug and alcohol addiction and a farm caretaker for organic olive grow.
This is the story of my old friend and previous neighbour I truly respect and admire…
She waved to a neighbour looking after her horses.
Another neighbour drove toward his winery. There was a new nursery that had opened, where people stopped to buy plants. And then there was the Manor House.
She remembered the plot of land with a lot of trees, and the grazing goats that her old neighbour had liked so much. But then she'd died. An old Englishman moved in, working day and night to build the stone mansion with his own hands, slowly, patiently, brick by brick. Lawn slowly appeared at the front, and then a stony road lined by trees. He was old and wrinkled, and the people on her road wondered where he got his strength from. But his enthusiasm was unmatched, and the neighbours slowly warmed to his idea and came to give him a hand. She was there as he struggled with the limestone boulders at the back of his newly built, majestic residence. “Build your own Pinnacles,” she suggested, and he did, digging the ground around them. When it was all finished, the neighbours were invited to high tea with the old English owner and his wife. It was a close knit, rural community and they depended on each other, especially after the fire a decade ago that had destroyed a few houses and damaged the wildlife park that was there, back then. The neighbours chipped in to rebuild it, but it had gone now. And then the English lord, as his neighbours had nicknamed him in good spirit, died. The property was sold to someone rich from Perth who never lived in it, just using it for commercial purposes. Their road changed then.
The arrival of cars gathering on the big lawn of the Manor House down the road, roused her from her daydream.
She stopped at the hen house to collect a few eggs that she'd promised her neighbour, who stopped near the fence to collect them.
“They're doing high tea now,” the neighbour pointed to the English residence: “Fundraising of some sort.” She nodded and he waved and rode off. Nothing that concerned them. She turned to walk back to her house, thinking that her old fence needs repairing again, when she noticed a pair of lorikeets playing in the bird bath that she'd used to replace a broken fence post with. She loved the birds that visited her orchard and she shared harvest her with them. There was enough for all of them, even the macadamia nuts that the parrots loved so much.
She was walking back to her veranda, when the screeching sound of a braking car caught her attention. When she turned, she realised in horror that cars parked along her fenceline, had knocked over her bird bath and cracked her old fence posts. Before she'd managed to walk over there, the families ran excitedly toward the mansion to enjoy their high tea. She decided to follow them, noting that her grass had been ruined by the tyres of their big four wheel drives. There were cars everywhere and people ran up to the mansion’s gate. She stopped among them, looking up the lane now lined with tall trees, toward the Manor house that she remembered being built slowly brick by brick for many years. What would the old Englishman who'd build it, think about the crowds rushing in for high tea now?
She decided to walk up the lane, jostled by people who were excited to enter as they rushed toward the majestic staircase. She stopped in front of one of the few tents on the lawn, where an important looking older lady, wearing a volunteer's badge, looked her up and down: “This is an invitation only event, with some of the proceeds going toward saving pets.”
“I'm just a neighbour. I wanted to talk to someone about your guests, who're parking on my lawn...
“Well, if you don’t like it, then move out. Find a quieter road to live on...
This is a place for big functions, you see. The next one will be the day after tomorrow. The self-important volunteer turned her back to welcome the paid guests, as the old woman shuffled back to where she'd come from, shaking her head: “This road is all that I know. It's my home.”
She went back to her house, watching the cars next to her old fence fill up with people after their high tea, leaving tyre marks on her lawn, her birdbath shattered and the fence posts askew. She was watching those people who were happy to be out and about after the lockdown, thinking to herself, do they even notice where they park? Do they care? Or they are like the staff and volunteers and probably the new owners of that magnificent Manor House that her old friend and neighbour had built, once upon a time? Are they oblivious to other people's properties nearby?
Beata Stasak (author) from Western Australia on October 15, 2020:
'The House Divided against itself cannot Stand.' Abraham Lincoln. As you noticed in this story people are not divided by their political views or race or religion or culture. All that is dividing them or binding them is the act of kindness and respect. Let us stay HUMANS first and only after everything else...
Liz Westwood from UK on October 14, 2020:
This is a salutary tale. How thoughtless and sad that people can act in this way.
Beata Stasak (author) from Western Australia on October 14, 2020:
My dear Shauna on the request of my friend and it is also my beliefs I am not here to point a finger and name anyone. Those Who have done it know and hopefully change their ways, that is all we can hope for:) Thank you everyone for stopping by and voicing your fears about lost respect...your beautiful responses ensure me and my friend that respect is not lost yet...
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 13, 2020:
What a sad story! The people who ruined her fence, lawn, and birdbath should be responsible for repairing it. That volunteer who said she should move is an uncaring person who has obviously not considered all the situation's angles.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 13, 2020:
Beata, is it now called Peel Manor House? Their website says it was originally built as a B & B, which simply isn't true, if this is the same Manor House to which you refer.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 13, 2020:
This tale was an enjoyable read, Beata. I have lived most of my life in rural areas, and it is a totally different lifestyle to the city. It is a shame that people don't show respect for other people's property
Beata Stasak (author) from Western Australia on October 13, 2020:
Thank you my dear friends and followers just tried to give a voice to an old friend, thank you so much for hearing her out through my words:) I wrote this story on the Manor House site and guess what? They did not even bother to respond back:) The owners may not care but I believe the guests to the Manor House will, at least some of them:) THANK YOU AGAIN...
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 13, 2020:
Beata, some people are so inconsiderate. Regardless of whether or not the visitors are aware of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into building the Manor House, they should respect neighboring property.
I was aghast when the volunteer told your friend to move if she didn't like the activity at the Manor. Just downright disrespectful!
It would be nice if the neighbors could somehow gather enough funds to buy the Manor House and do something respectful with it.
Good to see you back, my friend!
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 13, 2020:
Wow! This is really well done. So much to mull over. I lived in a city in my youth. A barn with horses was a block away. A forest miles and miles long just 3 blocks away. I spent my warm months in a riparian forest. I never did see the folks come and ruin it. Maybe just too remote.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 13, 2020:
City people have been venturing out a lot this year. I've seen them going further than usual. And those who figured-out that they can work from home have rushed to buy properties outside of cities and moved out (my sister is one of those people).
The pandemic has made cities quite unhealthy so, I cannot blame people for trying to escape cities but your piece of writing clearly describes the effect city people can have on the slow-moving country life. I am always aware of this as I split my time living in a city and living in the forest. It's a double-life really and I do urge people to understand one another (when they come from different environments) and respect one another. We are going to mingle more and more because this pandemic is not going anywhere anytime soon and city people do need an escape, from time to time.
Good article. Thank You for writing it.
All the best!