January 1, 2013 by Doug Coutts
We’ve been a bit late in putting up the Xmas lights this year at Duncapitalgaining, but we knocked the last section off in the wee small hours today, pressed the switch and already we’ve had three busloads from the old folks’ homes in the district passing by to admire the effects. There should be even more when it gets dark.
Of course, we don’t put the lights up for ourselves – that would be self-aggrandisement on a large scale, and we’d need another ten thousand LEDs at least to achieve that. No, we do it for the old folks, some of who appear to enjoy the bus trip and often drop off baking, or prosthetics. And we do it for the hundreds of cars full of people who drive up and down gawking, which isn’t easy when you’re in a cul-de-sac as we are.
And most importantly, we do it for the neighbourhood. Since we put up the first set of fairy lights outside seven years ago we had no idea how big it would become, or just how fast properties would sell nearby. The Hobbit-themed Nativity on the roof of the largest gazebo was the master-stroke – when we started building the trusses and running cables, there were real estate agents all over the place, there was that much interest in the area. We like to think we’ve done for local property prices what John Key has done for the entire country – encouraging more people from outside to come and take a look.
Of course there have been a few downsides – we no longer get a special rate from the power company, as the LEDs are much cheaper to run. But you have to balance that against the reduced number of fire-brigade call-outs due to the LEDs being cooler as well.
And we’ve had to stop synchronising the lights with music. Apart from losing several stereos each year to the Noise Control people, it’s now just too difficult to find songs long enough for the sequences we’ve developed – without repeats or going classical. Somehow Xmas and Bach just don’t sound right together, not to us at any rate. Anyway, it was often hard to hear over the reversing beepers of the buses and tow-trucks. Silence is good for the golden goose as they say.