Dardanelle Towers - Episode 2 - Gimme Shelter
The global trade war hits Dardanelle Towers, and the committee members are looking for somewhere to hide.
Thanks to the trade war between China and the USA, fears of Brexit (as well as no Brexit) and concerns that there may be another global economic downturn, there have been a few arrivals to and departures from Dardanelle Towers in recent weeks with overseas financial types being recalled to wherever they came from while locals working abroad have been dragged back here. The musical chairs seems to be working out so far – nobody’s been left homeless when the music stopped.
Mrs Alexander (aka the All Seeing Eye) reports that a substantial number of pornographic magazines had been left near the recycling bins due to the departure of several single men to countries where possession of such publications can result in imprisonment (or even death, according to Lady Luckby who has seen Midnight Express 17 times). Mrs A reckoned that it would be a waste to just bin the magazines and wondered if there was a charity that would recycle them.
Various lewd suggestions were made – including St Vincent De Porn and Worse Vision – leading Bernard, the chairman, to ask Ms Tran to make sure that in future, the wine wasn’t opened until after “minutes of previous meeting”.
Dr Macdonald kindly offered to look into finding an appropriate home for the magazines but then had second thoughts and sought reassurance that there was no chance of him accidentally laying eyes on pictures of naked men. Mr Wilson, the building manager, reported that the magazines had disappeared in any case, round about the time the Polish plumbers who were installing a Jacuzzi in apartment 511 knocked off for the night.
Mrs Alexander said she didn’t recall 511 having sought or received permission for a Jacuzzi and which point Mr Wilson, the building manager, went very quiet and produced a tattered envelope from his shirt pocket and began to muttering to himself while scribbling on it in great detail.
Jonathan from 708 quoted a by-law that forbids the any renovations, including bathrooms, without Executive Committee permission. Bernard pointed out that since we have three ongoing cases against 511 at the Supreme Court, the chances of the resident seeking permission for anything less than a helicopter pad extension to his balcony, were slimmer than Victoria Beckham.
Jonathan then suggested that we should have a Nuclear Winter financial plan in place – with so many people with large mortgages losing their jobs, levies might not be paid and the building might not be able to pay its bills.
Bernard tried to explain that a) increasing levies was not a solution to people not being able to pay them and b) the costs of loans and debt collectors would be covered when the defaulter eventually sold. But Lady L leapt to her feet (well, her foot, what with the gout and all) and exclaimed that we already had a Nuclear Shelter in the back yard.
Now, bear in mind the front four-storey block was built here in the 1930s or 40s and the much taller rear tower was only constructed very recently and you’ll realise that this was unlikely but possible. Anyway, the meeting adjourned so Lady Luckby could lead us down through a maze of passages to the old bomb shelter which to our collective amazement actually exists.
It had survived the construction of the rear Tower for the simple reason that it was much more solidly built than the new additions above and around it and it made more sense to build on it than spend weeks trying to remove something that was designed to withstand the collective might of Adolf Hitler, Emperor Hirohito and, quite possibly, Joe Stalin too.
As we returned to the meeting room, we had to pause briefly to quell a panic attack by Ms Tran who started to hyperventilate when she became convinced she had spiders in her hair. Mr Wilson acted with speed and ingenuity to offer her a paper bag to breathe into. All’s well that ends well but, had he thought to remove the remains of his sandwiches first, he would probably not have needed to Heimlich her too.
Back in the meeting room, Dr Macdonald thought we should use the shelter as a wine cellar on a first come first served basis but we could see he was drawing up a prototype application form as he spoke and declined.
Lady L said we could use the shelter as a “cooler” (ie, a solitary confinement cell) for people who smoke on common property or park illegally. Her Ladyship has watched the Great Escape every month for the past 35 years after she was once kissed on the hand by Donald Pleasance. Now that her memory is going, every viewing is like a premiere.
Jonathan said he thought we should stock it with tinned foods, candles and blankets – just to be prepared, presumably for the marauding bands of levy-dodgers. Elena said that she’d heard on talk-back radio that Pacific Island nations already have a plan to invade the East Coast of Australia when global warming causes the oceans to rise.
The already slender credibility of her warning was undermined a bit when she started talking in little yaps and woofs to a picture of a Chihuahua for which the owners of 604 have requested permission. (Elena is tragically pet-deprived, as explained previously.)
In the vain hope of finishing up before midnight, Bernard, moved on to the next item. The owner in 511 is now suing us for not having pursued the developers aggressively enough over defects (namely walls and floors that aren’t thick enough to withstand the thunderous sub-aural rumblings of his surround sound home cinema). Elena joked that we should give him the bomb shelter as a media room ... and for a few moments we all seriously considered it (until she started purring at a picture of a ginger tom kitten that’s recently taken up residence in 1505).
Bernard then announced that Marcus, our very popular former treasurer has had his contract in London terminated and he’s been posted back to Sydney. Bad news for him but good news for us as he could take one of the vacancies on the committee.
Lady Luckby said this was an outrage, which surprised us all because she had a soft spot for Marcus and was apparently heartbroken when he left.
“Why is this outrageous?” Bernard inquired tentatively.
“Sending people through the mail,” Lady L replied. “Poor Marcus. When I was a gel we came by Catalinas to Rose Bay.”
Bernard was in the midst of explaining that “posted” meant being given a posting, or a job – not mailed – when he noticed she’d fallen asleep.
Brought to you by Jimmy Thomson of Dardanelle Towers