Children were considered troublesome and unimportant in Ellen Street and although these thoughts had never lingered far in my mind, it was soon to change this year.

I had other hobbies in mind; I enjoyed reading and the simple activities of life – observing small peculiarities whether it was in nature or my street. My street was small yet wide. Its concrete road dragged across the street and the cosy, Victorian houses were seated alongside each other. So imperfect was my street, in such a way that I viewed it as the perfect little avenue to live in. The busily crowded shrubs and plants swarmed itself among the households, yet freely sharing accommodation to any new youngsters that began to grow. The roses ravaged its way upward in some houses, flaunting their beauty to anyone nearby. Old women began prettily spraying their petals, overjoyed at their rose's desire to sprout out so quickly.

All the houses were small, crooked and plain. The families would sit on their porch; the 'privileged' would sit on chairs (usually the parents or elders as we called them). Every evening I would glance at the sky or at the other children wrapped up against their parents.

Our family did not have a porch or a verandah that was visible at the front, 'a perfect place' the other kids would say for the 'perfect view.' These evenings were not to be missed, no matter how much homework you were given or how much fun you were having; you were permitted and ordered to sit on the porch outside, at 6:30 to 7, as parents had decided that this was their bonding time with their children. They would watch the sun come down, while the parents would seem to genuinely care for their children in that precious half an hour that every child enjoyed. The neighbours would swat the flies and lift their hands above their eyes, trying to block the scorching sun from burning them. The neighbours would never talk to one another, it was a forbidden and unspoken rule - this was the time for families to bond. It was a routine as important as television; they were all in it together. Once, Uncle Joe had spoken to the March family as he was childless and fed up with his wife's constant bicker.

"EH! You Marches doing anything tonight?

The whole street had stopped in mid silence, eyeing the March family, daring them to speak. The March family looked around nervously and ignored Uncle Joe's rambling speech and continued with their ordinary conversations. Mr March asked his daughter, Rosalie, "What have you been doing at school, my child?" while patting his younger son lightly on his head. Though this had hurt Uncle Joe's feelings, the Marches had felt so guilty for dismissing Uncle Joe that they soon apologised after the half hour. This event had ruled out speaking to neighbours in the evenings and it never happened again.

Our house, as I was saying, rose up against the others. It was a large oriental house with slightly big shutters and a loose letter post, which looked, as though it had sat there for a century. My parents never kept up with the street routine and since we did not have porch near enough for them to see us, our neighbours accepted our little involvement in their activities.

I was the quiet and blunt child that loved to peek through the Brown's bushes to see my neighbours at this time. The teenagers, particularly the senseless girls, would blush whenever they caught a boy staring at them. Rosalie March, being a teenager and a redhead, loved to look at her crush James Ranch. He was tall yet stocky and had a thousand freckles on his face. He was not the most dashing crush but his humour and character usually won the girls over. James Ranch however looked at Lucy Bendigo, who we called Goldilocks – with her golden hair, blue tipped eyes - she was perfect for any male. Though, I never could understand why anyone could like her, half the boys on our street were falling madly in love with her – Dylan Landly, a rather stupid boy who followed everyone, Michael French from Germany with an unusual liking for tidiness, Devin Frankly who was so arrogant that half the time he was checking himself out using a mirror. Lucy Bendigo was foolish, innocent and liked the one boy she couldn't have – Bob Binns, the boss of the boy's gang. Bob however looked at Rosalie; you could easily see she was the prettiest, with her delicate features and confident nature. She hated Bob, once even punching him in the face for calling me 'a silly little git.' I disliked Bob, he had lots of jewellery around his neck and his mother forced him to do ballet. He was supposedly 'striking' to the ignorant girls on the street and only Rosalie knew better.

At the hour where the supposed 'bonding' was to take place, the street's activity went wild. The grown men looked at the girls down the street and silently rated them out of ten behind their wives back. The wives smiled daintily at the others and once, I even caught Mrs Ranch smiling somewhat mischievously at Mr Binns. It was all rather disgusting, in my mind. We, kids, talked in our special language and observed what was happening in our occupied street. We were smart for our age and soon, we would manipulate our way into the neighbourhood – becoming vastly important.