nice people. They are not particularly noisy. They smile at us. We smile at them. We talk to the husband, whose spoken English is excellent. We try to talk to his wife who, having come here a few short years ago, speaks less English and is rather shy.
Occasionally when the husband is talking to us he will hesitate for a word or ask how something should be said. This rarely happens. His spoken English is good enough for him to be an interpreter at the hospital and in the courts.
His written English is another story altogether. He writes very, very formally and awkwardly. When he has to write something to someone in authority he will write something down and then come in and ask for help. I make corrections and explain why I am making them. He goes away and, presumably, rewrites the corrected letter and sends it off.
It was yesterday's letter that alerted me to the fact that, not unexpectedly, he owns property elsewhere. The council in that area wants to grant planning permission for a brothel near the property he owns. He is incensed. He was even more incensed to discover that licensed brothels are legal in that state. They are not legal in this state. I had to explain this unsavoury fact and the fact that the law is not the same for any number of things right across Australia. We have a mere twenty-three million people - about the same as New York state - and we have more legal jurisdictions than I can count on one hand. It makes a lot of work for lawyers.
He gives me the letter he has written. I read it and make some further suggestions that will strengthen his arguments, including one with respect to the dangers to the young girls in the family which rents the property. We put them into the letter. We go through it all sentence by sentence. I do not hold out a lot of hope his objections will be given much consideration. There are other complaints going in from other residents. It will make more work for lawyers.