Living here in Alantown

The day we moved into this old place there was a knock at the door. It was Alan. He was here to fix something from the Real Estate Agency. A small chip in the plaster in the kids bedroom.

That small chip was the LAST of this place’s problems.

I asked Alan if he could paint. He could! And carpeting? Yes! 

“What else can you do Alan?”

EVERYTHING! He is the handiest of all handymen.

An hour later he got to work. And he has been here everyday since, working till 8pm at night.

Meet the new office, before and after. 


Alan is 56 years old and fled Vietnam in 1979. He told me that things got very bad after the Americans left. He travelled to Singapore with his family, meeting his future wife along the way.

They had the choice of going to Canada, America, New Zealand or Australia.

Alan spoke no English when he arrived in Sydney, but soon found work doing cabinetry at Westinghouse. It was during his time here that he learnt so many skills. Alan worked very hard and when his asshole boss went on holidays, Westinghouse promoted him into his boss’s former position. GO ALAN!

Years later, the division was axed and Alan was made redundant. But he had learnt so many skills, from plumbing to electrical, that he has been able to support his wife and 3 kids, who are at university, by working for himself.

Can’t you just tell what kind of a guy he is, by his smiling eyes?

Last week, I was almost successfully ripped off by George the floor sander, who demanded a hefty extra payment from he. Alan arrived and went ape-shit.

“Shifty man”… he said.

This morning he was painting the floor of the outside dunny when he popped his head out, and randomly told me how much he liked his job.

Two days ago, I was working away on a story when Chuy wandered into the office with a half dead wild bunny in his mouth.

I screamed and screamed. Chuy dropped the bunny and did the bolt. The bunny lay, twitching, when Alan burst through the door, took stock of the situation and yelled at me to “Get Out….Go Away…”

Which of course I did.

He dealt with the situation and we never spoke of it again. Apart from me thanking him after I recovered.

And yes, Chuy does have a bell. I am investigating the prospect of hiring a brass band to follow Chuy around to ward off local bunnies. Bunnies have replaced the rats of North Sydney as the delicacy of feline choice.

Alan probably has another week to go. I told him I never want him to leave. The least he could do would be to move next door. Then I would have a legitimate excuse to use these lines in a blog post.

Oh fuck it. I’ll do it anyway.


And I’m as flash as Michael Jackson now I’m
Living next door, to Alan.