House of lights
Riding home last weekend from a housewarming party I saw something quite remarkable. It wasn’t the type of remarkable that nature delivers. This sight was of the man-made variety.
The housewarming party straddled the late afternoon and early evening, laced with a beautiful sunset over the hinterland and a balmy summer night. It took us to some different streets in an adjoining suburb. Riding home in the early evening under the beam of my dynamo bike light, I glanced towards a side street and saw a dense display of coloured lights meshed and blinking.
At first, I thought it was some type of community centre or hall. As we turned into the side street and neared the blinking lights, it still wasn’t clear what we’d stumbled upon. People wandered on the footpath. Cars crawled past on the road. I stopped my bike on the kerbside and peered through the dense strings of flashing lights and moving Santas, elves and reindeer. Inside this cloak of lights sat a meek ground-level blonde brick house with a tiled roof.
I’d never seen anything like it. Even though, I’m not a regular to the Christmas light shows that dot suburban streets around this time of year, I think this one might be something quite special.
I met the owner as he stepped his way through his densely displayed yard and out onto the grassy footpath where I was filming. As a retired Boilermaker, making things is his speciality. It takes him two months to set up the display and he’s been doing it each year for fourteen years.
He does his rounds throughout the evening to check which lights need replacing and to ensure the displays are moving as intended. He makes sure that at the clap of hands, Santa jumps out of the box. He checks that around the corner the saxophone playing kangaroo, the drumming penguin and singing Santa keep ‘Rockin’ the Halls’ with the right songs. There are igloos, polar bears, kangaroos, a nativity scene and even Homer Simpson makes an appearance.
Perhaps it was the serendipity of the sighting – a bit like unexpectedly seeing a shy bird in the wild – but it made me happy to see this house of lights and to hear the owner’s story. I admire his endeavour. I just hope he’s got solar panels on that tiled roof. 😉
Here’s some film of some of the house of lights: