A walk down my street
I’ll start at the top. There’s a turning circle, with some steps leading up to the steep, perpendicular street on a hill. To the left of the steps, it’s a good rolling-down hill. Wilfred rolled down it like a sausage a few times in the summer. On the other side it’s almost flat, with a few bumps. The pram can manage that side. I’ve almost never used the stairs. There may be around 20 or so. I did sit on them once, during a low point of parenting. I sat and looked at the stars and spoke to Steve — himself having fathered a newborn — just letting off steam. It was a good one. I think there’s bannisters on the steps, maybe on both sides.
The turning circle has a streak of paint running through it, that travels down the road. Houses on the left look small, but as they’re on a hill that descends down, there’s multiple levels going down, and incredible views over Wamberal and Terrigal. On the right the houses ascend into the hillside, the last row of houses before it gets too steep to build. Thick bush backs onto these houses, and rises up to a huge water tank, although you can’t see it from here.
No two houses look alike, apart from the semi-detached matching pair 100 metres or so down the street on the right. The houses go up, up. Steep driveways, gardens and steps. Telescopes at windows to see the stars, or the whales. Some houses are wooden, the more robust ones are built of stone. One is ultra-modern, huge glass and metal and brick. Google Maps tells me there’s a pool high up, but you can’t see that from the road level. On the left there’s a space where a house hasn’t been built yet. One for the future, I imagine.
As we walk further down the street, we get to our house on the right. A steep driveway — maybe the steepest — ascends up towards our home of a year. The wooden deck is probably the most prominent feature. The whole house looks wooden. It’s wide, simple. The grass is overgrown, and the red chips have been consumed by weeds and dirt. Sporadic rocks appear with grass inbetween. It’s a real nightmare to manage. During the colder months the driveway doesn’t see the sun, and it’s cold and damp and dangerous to walk on. In the early days I feared reversing the car down the driveway. I continue to be shocked that the handbrake hasn’t failed and the car slid down. The tall trees cast a shadow over the house, and it feels a bit wild.
The view is incredible though. And the deck permits it. From the left, since some trees were removed for being too close to the wires, we can see a wide panorama of the ocean. More whales, essentially. As we move to the south, the lagoon appears, and the sand dunes divide the bodies of water. The glimpse of Wamberal Beach and the white waves crashing is always beautiful. We can hear the waves at night. In the foreground the houses in our part of Wamberal creep down to Wairiki Road, directly ahead. Wamberal rises again, where the roads are called Crest or Hilltop, and then we see Terrigal and the Haven beyond.
The Entrance Road carves the picture, from left to right. Sirens and trucks and cars start at 5.30am or so, as the Coasties try to get ahead of the rush to Sydney. To the right we can see what I imagine is Erina Heights, some spacious houses with cracking views peering back at us. Further to the right is the southern-most houses in our section of Wamberal. In fact that’s where our street ends, with another turning circle, and steps down to the Entrance Road. The only time I’ve been down there is running at night, or when I pushed the boys in the double pram for a brief period over the summer.