Neighbours. Everybody needs good neighbours. I heard that somewhere.
We have some lovely neighbours. We have some not so lovely neighbours. And we have everything in between. The good, the bad and the thoughtless. The complete cast, soap-opera ready.
Would you like to meet them?
We live beside a little old lady, her daughter and her granddaughter. We hardly see the daughter, but when we do, she stops for a chat. She tells us about her mum, her daughter, and anything that might be interesting.
We often see her mother. She speaks with a strong Italian accent, peppering her speech with endearments. Hello, dear. Nice to see you, love. You look beautiful, Ashleigh sweetie. Like a real princess, dear.
She bakes cookies and brings them over. She brings our rubbish bins in once the truck comes past in the morning. After years of hearing renovation noise from our place, she came over one day to warn us that there would be some men with chainsaws in her backyard one day, and to apologise in advance for the noise that may wake Mitchell.
A section of the fence we share with them has been down for more than a year so we can build a garage. Construction has not yet started on it. They’ve not complained about the lack of fence once.
They are better neighbours than we deserve. We try to make up for it by mowing their nature strip when we mow ours (and that of the neighbour the next house over). Once or twice I’ve even managed to beat them to the bins after the truck has been.
Once or twice in almost eight years.
On the other side live a rotating cast of characters. The only casting requirement for filling the role of ‘neighbour on the other side’ is that the applicant must love noise, with a preference for those trying to make it as musicians.
I love music. I love listening to it. I love creating it. But not all noise is music. Two hours of ‘Smoke on the Water’ riff practice is not music. Three hours of attempted singing that sounds like strangled cat impersonations is not music.
No noise of any description is music at 3.00 in the morning. 4.00 in the morning.
The swearing that is directed at me when I dare to knock on the door at said times to ask them to keep it down? Definitely not musical. Nor were the comments directed me as I waddled past the house on walks with Ashleigh in the later stages of my pregnancy with Mitchell. (Common decency is clearly not a casting requirement.)
They are worse neighbours than we deserve. We’ve called the police dozens of times, and complained to the council six times. They have been sent a list of noise restrictions and a half-hearted warning.
That’ll learn ’em!
We live opposite a family hell-bent on security. Their car has an alarm. Their house. For all I know, their every possession is linked to a security system of some sort.
Their house alarm goes off about five times a day. That probably sounds like an exaggeration. But, if anything, I’m underestimating. It’s ridiculous. And it’s loud.
Their car alarm goes off less frequently. Or possibly not – since it doesn’t spend most of its time at the house, and I seem to hear it at least once a day, it possibly goes off at regular intervals wherever it spends the majority of its time. Presumably at the owner’s place of employment.
I have asked the neighbours if they might possibly consider perhaps just maybe not setting the house alarm. Surely the false alarms are a waste of time? And money, if there is a security company involved?
“Sure,” was the response. “But I’d rather eighty false alarms and catch the bad guys the eighty-first time, than miss them altogether.”
Right. Clearly, that neighbour has something very valuable in their possession. I’m guessing it’s not a copy of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’.
But hey. It probably evens out the renovation noise we’ve been spreading about the neighbourhood for the last four years.
These are the neighbours we probably most deserve. Because, while we like to think we’re lovely neighbours, when it comes down to it, we’re probably just as thoughtless.
What are your neighbours like? And what are you like as a neighbour?
Linking this post with The Lounge, being hosted this week by the lovely Tegan at Musings of the Misguided.