The Folk Next Door

They tell me that in today’s world people don’t know their next-door neighbours. Well, on a personal level, if that’s the case, then I’ve been a very luck bunny. I’ve only lived in four homes thorought my 56 years which, by todays standards, I think is fairly modest. I’ve never treated my house as a financial asset purely because it’s where I live, and if I didn’t live here then I’d just have to live somewhere else: does that make sense? As far as neighbours are concerned, apart from one brief spell as a child, I think I’ve been well blessed. But, have you ever asked yourself this question: what kind of neighbour are you? And, above all, do you care? You see, unless you understand the different needs and lifestyles of your neighbours then you will, perhaps even unintentionally, get on their ‘wick’ from time to time. My dad would often be found leaning on a spade or shovel and talking with Percy or Frank or Jim. They were his neighbours and it was important to him to know their needs and irks. My mum would chops away to Linda or May over the fence as they all hung out the washing on the line. Of course the world is a more transient place today and people move home for all kinds of reasons. The buyers’ pack is an important document, which was devised to alert any prospective purchaser of a home to any potential structural problems. The idea is that the pack becomes a ‘travelling’ record through time of the property’s history. What it can’t possibly do is tell you what type of neighbours comes with the territory: literally! It seems to me that being a good neighbour is like any relationship where reasonable tolerance and compromise are the order of the day. One should be able to communicate, even on a superficial level with ones neighbours, so that they may have an understanding of the type of person or family you are. Of course all of this is reciprocal, and in the perfect world might just do the trick. The fact is that this is not a perfect world and sometimes one hears of the most horrific neighbour disputes over such things as tall trees, noise at inappropriate hours, barking dogs, parking and territorial issues, to name but a few. I would say that I have found it better to treat my neighbours as friends and with the respect that they, and I, deserve. Neighbours are undoubtedly like fire and money: they can be wonderful friends but you really don’t want them as enemies. So, here’s a thought. Whoever you are or wherever you are, make it a mission of yours to make contact with each of your neighbours this weekend, for no other reason than just plain friendliness. You might get a pleasant surprise.

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