A new landlord is usually not your friend. Not necessarily your enemy either but generally there is just a faint relationship formed which is centred on how reliably you pay the rent. Our new landlord, however, is a big, warm, funny Greek man called Kon. We call him Konglomerate, after the character Con Glomryt in The Desperate Dwarf. His father was a property developer who sold everything in the seventies and went back to Greece where he discovered more relatives than he had remembered. He returned to Australia a few short years later, a lot poorer than he left, and had to start his property empire again when prices had more than quadrupled. Dad passed away and Kon now looks after the properties. What makes Kon so unusual is the extraordinary generosity he has shown us. Pick whatever carpet you want, never mind about the price. You like those blinds? You can have them. I'll install a brand new air conditioning system and new vents while I'm at it. Yes, you can choose the new kitchen and the tiles. You'd like me to cut a hole in that wall and make a doorway? Sure, I'll do that and please, let me buy you a ton of Haighs chocolates to take back to the girls.
I admit I was skeptical. I was suspicious. I worried that this was all too good to be true but every time I visit the new office to check on the progress of the work, he's done what he said he would. And he buys me coffee at the cafe across the road where we go in through the back door and the MIB that run the place seem always to have something to say to Kon.
Last week as I sat with Kon and two of his friends drinking my skinny cap while they downed their short blacks, they told me that now they had this close relationship with a children's publisher, and they know this is a lucrative business, they are going to write a children's book. I told them we had an excellent rejection slip. All three swung around and fixed me with their suddenly steely eyes.
'We don't take rejection well,' they said as one.
I'm pretty sure they were joking ...
Some thoughts from our Driver.