Everybody needs good neighbours

29 Aug 2023

A few years ago, a young couple moved in next door. They had to gut the place, but we coped with the noise. They love dogs, and if they think it's odd seeing me out in the garden in my pj's at 11.am they never say so.

Then the  woman on the other side left. I  became strangely fond of her over many years, but she was an odd one. The first week here I found her going through my bins, she watched me indoors through binoculars. She was replaced by a lovely retired cop.

How great I thought, for once nice folk on both sides. We all respect privacy but take in parcels and enjoy a chat…

Last week, the young couple came to tell me they're relocating, back to their hometown. Both are doctors, so career promotions are involved, but it's more about the little baby. There are two pairs of grandparents in the hometown, very eager to offer free child care.

On hearing this I fell to the floor, clutching at their legs.

“Oh No, don't do this to me I beg of you" I sobbed "I thought you were staying for ever, or at least the rest of my life. Please stop a minute, is it really wise to move back there? I mean, what if the families interfere with how you bring her up? O.K. Just hear me out. How about I look after baby? If you do nights, she can get in bed with me and the dogs, and I won't charge you a penny, in fact I will buy her food and nappies. What do you think, please say Yes!”

Of course, this did not happen. I smiled brightly while dying inside, wishing them all the best for the future.

I am not good with change. I read once that Woody Allen has gone to the same restaurant in N. Y. for all his adult life, sitting at the same table and ordering the same food. I get that, that is me. I am also very much a homebody, hugely attached to my surroundings.

It has taken some really bad experiences with neighbours in the past to make me realise what a big part they play in our lives. I read once that bad neighbours are the main reason why people move house. That's maybe not mentioned much now. If you tell agent or solicitors that the people next door are raving psychos they are obliged to tell potential buyers.

Now of course my imagination has gone into overdrive. I gather they are cash buyers, in their 50's. When they move in I need to strike a happy medium,  welcoming, but not too friendly in case they are the sort who might cling. Will they be dog lovers, or like a couple from years ago who complained that my dogs barked when I was out. They thought I was out one day, and I found them in my back garden rapping the windows and bashing a metal tray to make the hounds race around barking.

We moved here to get away from a neighbour who saved on renting premises by running his shop fitting business from the garden and  the pavement outside my house. It came close to fisticuffs when Spock tried to reason with him.

Am I stupid to get anxious about this? Have you a story to relate?


A Moodscope member

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