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Voices of COHP

Tania Reid

For The Crowded House


My Mum and Mo got together when I was 21, and soon after they left with Australia Volunteers International to live and work in Pakistan for 2 years. It was 1991. They lived abroad, with occasional visits back, for around 20 years.  Then they bought a house near the beach, about 1 hour away. 


I’m not sure when I started to notice. They live in a 3 bedroom and Mum started saying they were going to build a garage as the house wasn’t big enough. This was about 7 years ago. Mo used to be an engineer, and loves projects and repairing almost anything.  So they built a garage, but the door never got put on.  I too have unfinished projects.  Just like we all do. 


Then they were going to add on a room for all Mo’s stuff.  Mum was sick of it all being in the lounge room and needing to get him to clear the kitchen table before every meal.  I think I starting to saying to Mum, "do you think he’s a hoarder?"


She said he doesn’t buy much he doesn’t have a purpose for.  Nobody does really, do they?  But I work with people who hoard, so this didn’t convince me.  I said “but Mum, he doesn’t throw anything out!”


She is a very patient and tolerant woman so she accepts his ‘problem solving’ ideas.  Which solely consists of building more sheds.  They now have 3.  To be fair, one is for wood, as they have a wood heater.  I remember once Mum told me where the spare key was, I was visiting and was going to be there before they returned from Petanque.  There were horizontal pieces of wood framing the small space under their floor. As I reached for the key on the nail, I saw an assortment of lawmowers, old TV’s, stereos. Oh dear.  I wanted to check the ceiling cavity to make sure he hadn’t started storing items up there!


They have 3 cars and 1 truck, 2 cars are used and useful, the other car and truck are slowly rusting with the salty beach air. Neither of them have been started for many many years, but they still pay expensive registration on each, however they couldn’t be legally driven even if they did start!  They are lucky that they can afford this, his attachment isn’t a financial drain. 


Mum has a friend who asks “what are you going to do with the trucks and all the stuff if he dies?” (They are both 75). Mum simply says “pay someone to take them away.”  My sister recently told me that the before the truck could be moved, a tree would need to be trimmed, severely.  As Mum isn’t too stressed about it, nor am I.


But I wonder if Mum dies before he does, what would happen?


Connect with Tania at:

Her website, For The Crowded House

See her illustrated children's book, The Ordinary House

On Twitter




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