Neighbours

Dear Peg and Friends,
Over the years I have enjoyed the companionship of some very interesting neighbours. A pair that stood out were Dusan Lajovic, and Sandy Burnett one of his business partners. Dusan lived in Sydney, and Sandy, Wellington. A situation that was not the best for owning a home and keeping you finger on the pulse, of their home in Queenstown. So that’s where I came in. Both Sandy and Dusan were characters in their own right, and both gave me the task by default, of looking after their home. Fixing anything that required fixing, without making any fuss or bother. This job if you can call it that, included the task of looking after their guests from time to time of any of them that really needed looking after, as there were no staff. There are still people in this world who need a minder.
As many of the guests, and there were many who didn’t have even basic home keeping skills. It would seem that many were used to being looked after in every respect. You never really knew what problems were liable to rear their head until they were on your lap. For instant, you don’t put a pot of spaghetti without emptying it, into the dishwasher. It bungs the machine up. I knew that, of course you did. But I was not surprised that some didn’t. I became an instant expert in getting things up and running again, as I was a Mr fix it. But my guests by default, went on their merry way causing minor situations. Nor it would seem, do you put ‘dishwashing’ liquid into the dishwashing machine. The resulting foam it creates destroys the machine’s ability to sense the water levels, and renders the machine useless.
Nor do you grill steak on the ovens racks. Obviously if you do things like this, you have never cleaned an oven. Of course this cooking mode really messes up the oven. Small problems too such as your kid locking himself into a bathroom. There is a quick release trigger on most bathroom locks which can be activated by pushing in a small kebab bamboo stick in a hole provided. There is no need to destroy the lock.
There were a procession of guests of some note over the years, covering a broad spectrum of both domestic and foreign folk. A Catholic Cardinal, President of Slovenia, various ambassadors, Business leaders and  General Managers, I treated them all with respect, but kept a close eye on them so they didn’t get into trouble while they played with the toys that came with the home. A $100,000 4×4, a 125hp runabout. Most people were easy to get along with, but occasionally a free loader turned up. These contributed nothing, and immediately proceeded to drink up all the free booze that they could lay their hands on. Thankfully they were in the minority.
It so happened that Dusan was appointed to the position of the Ambassador for Australasia over the period that I knew him. My duties now increased to the ‘general factotum’, and expected to be an expert on all New Zealand matters. It was never dull when Dusan was around. One night I was expecting him and a friend for dinner and by 9.00pm when they hadn’t turned up I became concerned. I phoned the Capt of the Earnslaw and asked him, would he mind to scanning the Lake with his ‘RADAR’ to look for a stray boat? At this hour all commercial activity had ceased Dusan was up at the head of the Lake somewhere and as it turned out, he had run into trouble. But he didn’t want to be rescued, especially by the Earnslaw, and the media attention that it would generate. I jumped into the car and went to search for them. Wet and cold, as they had both fallen overboard  and knowing that hypothermia is always a problem under these conditions. The Lake is long deep and cold (About 60 km) and narrow, with the road running close to the shore. Knowing the general direction where they were, I soon located them. Bundled them into my car. Tied up their craft, said I would retrieve it on the morrow. Got them home for a hot shower, something warm to eat, and off to bed. Dusan said something very kind to me as I was tucking him in. ‘I knew you would come for us’.
Sandy was as different from Dusan as you could get. I had actually done business with Sandy back when I had the milk run and we had two chests of tokens stamped out in copper and cupronickel. I was certainly a leader in this regard. Initially they didn’t go down very well with the public, but I had to do something about the theft of money that people were putting out. Sandy was one of the old school in that his word was his bond, he got very upset when he met someone who would weasel themselves out of any arrangement. I really enjoyed his company over the years. He spent a lot of his time on the golf course.
After the boat incident I purchased a cell phone and gave it to Dusan to keep a tighter rein on him. Immediately I received a call from Sydney asking me to explain why I purchased that particular service, when there were better ones on the market. I said what I had bought the one that gave the best local coverage, regardless of what their ability was in other places. End of story. I realised then that even while in New Zealand, Dusan was under close observation from his family. On most visits to New Zealand Dusan usually brought along most of his Grand Children. On these trips Dusan operated under the ‘No Rules System’, The kids could do as they wished regarding bathing, sleeping, or eating matters. The system worked as they all turned out well behaved and adjusted young adults.
Love from Christchurch,
Wally
Over the years I have enjoyed the companionship of some very interesting neighbours. A pair that stood out were Dusan Lajovic, and Sandy Burnett one of his business partners. Dusan lived in Sydney, and Sandy, Wellington. A situation that was not the best for owning a home and keeping you finger on the pulse, of their home in Queenstown. So that’s where I came in. Both Sandy and Dusan were characters in their own right, and both gave me the task by default, of looking after their home. Fixing anything that required fixing, without making any fuss or bother. This job if you can call it that, included the task of looking after their guests from time to time of any of them that really needed looking after, as there were no staff. There are still people in this world who need a minder.
As many of the guests, and there were many who didn’t have even basic home keeping skills. It would seem that many were used to being looked after in every respect. You never really knew what problems were liable to rear their head until they were on your lap. For instant, you don’t put a pot of spaghetti without emptying it, into the dishwasher. It bungs the machine up. I knew that, of course you did. But I was not surprised that some didn’t. I became an instant expert in getting things up and running again, as I was a Mr fix it. But my guests by default, went on their merry way causing minor situations. Nor it would seem, do you put ‘dishwashing’ liquid into the dishwashing machine. The resulting foam it creates destroys the machine’s ability to sense the water levels, and renders the machine useless.
Nor do you grill steak on the ovens racks. Obviously if you do things like this, you have never cleaned an oven. Of course this cooking mode really messes up the oven. Small problems too such as your kid locking himself into a bathroom. There is a quick release trigger on most bathroom locks which can be activated by pushing in a small kebab bamboo stick in a hole provided. There is no need to destroy the lock.
There were a procession of guests of some note over the years, covering a broad spectrum of both domestic and foreign folk. A Catholic Cardinal, President of Slovenia, various ambassadors, Business leaders and  General Managers, I treated them all with respect, but kept a close eye on them so they didn’t get into trouble while they played with the toys that came with the home. A $100,000 4×4, a 125hp runabout. Most people were easy to get along with, but occasionally a free loader turned up. These contributed nothing, and immediately proceeded to drink up all the free booze that they could lay their hands on. Thankfully they were in the minority.
It so happened that Dusan was appointed to the position of the Ambassador for Australasia over the period that I knew him. My duties now increased to the ‘general factotum’, and expected to be an expert on all New Zealand matters. It was never dull when Dusan was around. One night I was expecting him and a friend for dinner and by 9.00pm when they hadn’t turned up I became concerned. I phoned the Capt of the Earnslaw and asked him, would he mind to scanning the Lake with his ‘RADAR’ to look for a stray boat? At this hour all commercial activity had ceased Dusan was up at the head of the Lake somewhere and as it turned out, he had run into trouble. But he didn’t want to be rescued, especially by the Earnslaw, and the media attention that it would generate. I jumped into the car and went to search for them. Wet and cold, as they had both fallen overboard  and knowing that hypothermia is always a problem under these conditions. The Lake is long deep and cold (About 60 km) and narrow, with the road running close to the shore. Knowing the general direction where they were, I soon located them. Bundled them into my car. Tied up their craft, said I would retrieve it on the morrow. Got them home for a hot shower, something warm to eat, and off to bed. Dusan said something very kind to me as I was tucking him in. ‘I knew you would come for us’.
Sandy was as different from Dusan as you could get. I had actually done business with Sandy back when I had the milk run and we had two chests of tokens stamped out in copper and cupronickel. I was certainly a leader in this regard. Initially they didn’t go down very well with the public, but I had to do something about the theft of money that people were putting out. Sandy was one of the old school in that his word was his bond, he got very upset when he met someone who would weasel themselves out of any arrangement. I really enjoyed his company over the years. He spent a lot of his time on the golf course.
After the boat incident I purchased a cell phone and gave it to Dusan to keep a tighter rein on him. Immediately I received a call from Sydney asking me to explain why I purchased that particular service, when there were better ones on the market. I said what I had bought the one that gave the best local coverage, regardless of what their ability was in other places. End of story. I realised then that even while in New Zealand, Dusan was under close observation from his family. On most visits to New Zealand Dusan usually brought along most of his Grand Children. On these trips Dusan operated under the ‘No Rules System’, The kids could do as they wished regarding bathing, sleeping, or eating matters. The system worked as they all turned out well behaved and adjusted young adults.
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