We have lived in the same house for twelve years now. We like our house very much and we like the area. Given that we have lived here for so long we know very few of our neighbours. We know our opposite neighbours fairly well and often stop to chat. They keep an eye on our house whilst we are away. We nod to the lady next door to the left if we should meet, pass pleasantries and we know her name. There are a couple of others on the street that we might pass a hello with if our paths should cross but that is about it. I actually like it that way. We all go about our daily lives without knowing all of the ins and outs.
A few weeks ago our garden fence on the right hand side blew down in the storms. Given that the storms and windy weather are showing no signs of respite, it seems pointless to have new ones put in until the spring. So we used old wood panels just to block the large gap for now. The panels have proved pretty useless at keeping the dogs confined just to our back garden and we regularly have to chase them back in from next door! Last weekend the lady who lives next door, whom we have never spoken to since she moved in 4-5 years ago happened to come out into her garden whilst our dogs were out. They happily and easily skipped over the useless panel to greet her. We apologised profusely as you do, whilst trying to recall them. “Oh, don’t worry about them, I like to see them.” the lady said as she bent down to fuss them. We got chatting about the bad weather and the damage done to all of the fencing. We said that once the weather improved we would sort some new fencing out. “No hurry” was the response, “these are lovely dogs, don’t worry about them.” She really wasn’t fazed at all. We chatted a little longer and returned to our respective houses.
We have chatted a few times since, over our non-existent boundary. The dogs are still enjoying a new garden to explore despite our best efforts, and the lady seems to enjoy seeing them – even if she does keep calling Humphrey “Harvey!”
As we chatted again yesterday, it struck me that it was probably quite odd that we had lived next door for so long and never spoken until last week. She is very nice and very friendly. Despite the fact that it wasn’t anyones fault that the fences blew down, she could have been awkward about the dogs being less contained than usual, or we could have continued to not have ever spoken. As it is, its been quite nice to pass the odd few minutes with our neighbour!
We have today brought some temporary fencing so that the dogs can’t continue to intrude into her garden. She seems a little disappointed that she won’t have her “new little visitors calling around anymore.” The dogs are certainly not going to be happy to have lost visiting rights! Fortunately the temporary fencing is of the green wire variety so they can still see each other and we can still chat now and then. Which is good for now, but I can already imagine the sulks from our four legged friends and our new friendly neighbour when the real fencing goes back up in the spring! 🙂