Neighbours really are funny creatures aren’t they? Unlike friends, colleagues or family the only thing binding us to our neighbours is our locality. We may have age gaps of decades, we may have different religions or we may have different temperaments. There’s no wonder there are so many complaints over neighbours to the police.
At our last house we’d struck up a mutual understanding with our neighbours. At first, used to the house being empty, they wanted to lay down the law while accessing our garden whenever they felt the need. After a few heated discussions, they realised this was no longer going to happen and so we left each other alone, relying on simple pleasantries.
Our new house is a good 500 yards from any other houses so neighbours didn’t really cross my mind when moving in. That was until one sunny Sunday morning a family turned up and stayed for over an hour as their children used the whole farm as their playground.
The family were lovely and it was a pleasure to see them, it was also great to be able to ask those questions you have when you move to a new area:
- Where’s the best local pub?
- Is there a KFC nearby?
- What’s our local supermarket?
- Does a milkman deliver?
- Who cleans your windows?
- When do we put the bins out?
- How do the children get to school?
- Is there a babysitter nearby?
I bombarded them with all of these questions while our children played happily together. It was lovely.
Then just the day after they attempted to pop round again. Living in the middle of nowhere for half my life I’ve been used to wearing what I want, when I want. This time I was gardening in an outfit I wouldn’t be seen dead in in public because of the sheer amount of flesh on display, it was a very hot day. As I saw them approach I felt a wave of embarrassment rush over me. I couldn’t be seen like this. I ducked out of the way quickly but not before they’d heard me say, “Quick I need to get out of the way, the neighbours are coming.”
They didn’t stop, they marched straight on delivering some evil looks as they went. (So I’m told, I hid in the bathroom). I felt quite bad but not bad enough to pull a jumper on and beg them to stay.
I love being myself in my own garden, it’s a reason we choose to live on small holdings remotely. We want the freedom of being able to garden, work and play without being overlooked or interrupted.
I know at some point I will have to apologise and I do keep meaning to go round with cake but I am worried that if I do they’ll visit every day!