ghost on notice


There’s few more vicarious pleasures than reading community noticeboards, with their homespun ads offering weeny windows into other worlds.

While the lost dog appeals always make me sad, I wonder where all those folk who insist “everything must go” are headed, and how many violins have been set aside by children before they’ve mastered even Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Until recently one of my all-time favourite finds, which I swiped and stuck to the fridge, was a flyer for The Annual Yandoit Lesbian Knitting and Wool Show.

That I live in a society where people can so proudly and openly stick to their knitting makes me happy.

But today this was trumped by a handwritten note headed “Room Available”.

I scream in the night, I snore, I also keep irregular hours, play loud music; have a dog who sits on furniture, I often use the mantlepeice [sic] for target practice. I smoke, I drink a fair toddy, I am selfish, private and easily bored. If this is not a problem, for cheap rent please phone …”

While this is an unashamed rip-off from A Study in Emerald written by author Neil Gaiman, it doesn’t lessen the charm.

The man is clearly a reader, can spell (mostly) and appropriately use a semi colon and takes himself none too seriously.

Will he, I wonder, find true love with the lady who responds in the vainglorious belief such a winsome creature can domesticated, or simply wind up living with another head-banger who steals his smokes?

But, mostly, I wonder if absolute honesty in advertising works.

We’re seriously considering selling our house and I’ve drafted the following:

For Sale, completely misplaced Austrian ski chalet, roof perfect slope should we ever receive a metre of snow, but no solar company is game to install panels on it. Energy efficiency not helped by the fact the owner-builder suffered a heart attack and fell to his death from same before he could install insulation.”

But, I’m of two minds whether to mention the ghost.

We bought the property on a flying visit from NSW, before relocating permanently.

At the time it was tenanted by a widower with a heart condition who – judging by his surrounds – liked to drink, smoke, read, listen to music and bake fruit cake.

On the day after settlement we rang the agent wanting to ask the tenant about the elaborate watering system, given that he’d lived there for 12 years.

You can’t talk to him,” said the agent. “He’s gone.” But you’ve got a contact for him, right? “No, he’s gone.” Well, give us his forwarding address. “I’m afraid that won’t be possible – he’s gone as in gone, gone.”

You mean dead? “Yes!” How … long silence. “By rope in the garage … your garage.”

For many months after we moved in, in the very early morning, I could smell cigarette smoke and hear the radio though none was on and we don’t smoke.

My husband tried to convince me I was receiving radio waves through my dental fillings! He offered no explanation for the cigarette smoke.

It only stopped after I went and half-heartedly flapped a couple of burning sage branches around in a “cleansing ceremony” on the advice of a herbalist friend.

But mate, if you’re still around, I think I know of a room you might like to rent.


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