Neighbourhoods

I know I have some weird neighbours, but then maybe they see me as someone with two heads. Who knows! And would you blame them? That second head is hard to camouflage and my eyes are very far apart! 😉

I have lived here in my little palace since I married 30 years ago. It is in a small estate of 20 similar style bungalows. The buildings may have looked similar but the gardens were all different. The fact that the ground was on a slope and every two bungalows were on a different level helped to change the look.

In the past ten years several changes have taken place. A sun room here, a conservatory there and the odd roof space conversion to add to the mix. The latest is that two Houses sprouted in one garden. Well that should be in half a garden as the original bungalow is still there with lawns to the front and rear.

The neighbours, like the houses have changed as well. Some of us have stayed put, but aged. While others have moved to be closer to family; yet more have flown to pastures new, and a few have gone to the great big garden of eternity.

We now have a mix of age groups, from over ninety down to late twenties. For the most part you could call them ‘street friends’, you know the type, address you by first name and shout a friendly ‘hello’ or ‘that’s a lovely day’ if you were in the garden or if you meet them down the town. Yet they would never think to knock on the door to check if you were al-right. There was one gentleman who would blatantly ask how much you paid for a new car or the latest fill of heating oil! Mind you, if HE got a bargain he became very tight lipped!

At least you saw the neighbours coming and going, cleaning the windows, cutting the grass or washing their cars. Naturally in winter time we all rushed indoor to the warmth and comfort of our firesides. Living in a Cul-de-Sac I quickly learned to tell without looking, the time of day by the sound of the motor cars. Each one had its own distinctive engine noise.

There are a few children about again, and I look forward to the stretch in the evenings so that I will hear and see them on their bicycles, go-carts or roller boots, endlessly plodding their way up the hill and racing back down again.

I was reading a post at The Other Side of Sixty the other day. Wisewebwoman is in the city of Toronto house-sitting, far away from her little village in Newfoundland. This temporary home has a fairytale look to it. I thought what a wonderful idea, live a different life, in a different place and indeed almost become another person for the duration. Now that should provide a wealth of blogging ideas!

Then she posted Transition a totally different angle on the area of her house-sit. She wrote:

My family came for dinner tonight.
They drove up to this suburban haven of large houses, double garages, and vast swathes of lawns from the city.
They remarked on the silence – quiet wealth makes no sound.
The trees are carefully landscaped and calibrated to enhance the neighbourhood. White birch, low slung colourful shrubbery and precise flowerbeds carved out of eye-hurting emerald green lawns.
There are no sidewalks.
Every house has got security and has picturesque ye olde outdoor lighting.
The front windows are all in darkness.
There is never any life on this street.
I assume any life takes place in the back of the house….

The photo she posted brought to mind my idea of a post- nuclear attack.

How can anyone live, never mind exist, in such soulless isolation? Maybe their lives are spent blogging!

So what is your neighbourhood like?

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Neighbourhoods

  1. I still live in the same neighbourhood that I did when I was a kid (albeit with a sojourn to the north east some years ago) and I know live on the hill that leads up to the highest spot in this city upon which is perched my old primary school.

    So twice a day this road gets very busy with mums and kids plodding up or down the hill to and from school but other than that it has no natural life of its own, no children playing in the streets, no-one stands at driveways for a chat, like your story mentions all life happens around the backs of houses now.

  2. I’m still living in the same house as always. It’s on one of the main streets in town. the town centre is one way traffic and our house is just after where the traffic becomes two way again. Up until about 15 years ago until they built a relief road, all traffic heading from Cork to Waterford or to Rosslare and back had to pass our front door. When the relief road was built, we only had the traffic from the west heading east passing!

    The town finally was bypassed 4 years ago and for ages I couldn’t sleep because I wasn’t used to the relative silence! Also it became very hard for me to tell the time as before the bypass opened If I was lying in bed and wondering what time it was and a truck passed in the early hours I knew it would be around 4:30am as it would be a linen truck on it’s way down to Rosslare to the ferries.

  3. Grannymar,

    In 1965 our cul de sac and neighborhood was filled to the brim with kiddies. Every house had 4 or 5 kids; some more!

    Well, by the mid 80’s all of those children were mostly gone. Off to college or married, but not here anymore. You could hear a pin drop on our street, it was so quiet.

    Then one day about 1993 or so, I hear a strange rumbling on our quiet street and went to investigate. I could not identify the sounds I was hearing. What could it be?

    It was a little boy on a “Big Wheel”. A large plastic contraption that made a lot of noise. “Hallelujah!!!! The kids are back”,I shouted to my husband.

    I was right. Every time an Old Timer moved away, the house was immediately bought by a young family with small children.
    What goes around, comes around, as they say. We have really enjoyed establishing a relationship with the kids. They are fun to friends with and watch them play and give them cookies.

    It has been wonderful having children around again. One of the little boys, Eric (6) said to me in May,” I like to visit you,Mrs. L.,but I have to go to school, you know. But, don’t worry, school will be over in 2 weeks and then I can come every day.”

    His mother and I had a great laugh about that. That is another benefit of young kids. It brings me in contact with their young parents who I can call on for help in lifting a heavy package ,and they can call on me to watch their little girl for an hour while they get their hair cut.

    It’s been grand having all ages in the neighborhood……

  4. Grannymar,
    I live in a post-war neighborhood just about two miles from the post-war neighborhood I grew up in. It is about ten blocks by four blocks of little brick houses. My immediate neighbors are a mix of the original owners now in their 80’s and 90’s and families and people my age, late 40’s. There are a few teenagers around to cut the grass and shovel the snow. Folks around here have an affinity to go for a walk in the evenings so from spring to autumn the evenings here are very neighborly with people just stopping to say hello. I only bought this house a little over a year ago so I’m one of the newbies.

  5. I’ve lived in the same neighborhood for 30 years too Grannymar. It is very different now than when I first moved here as a young mother of 4. The neighborhood was filled with young couples and little kids. I’ve seen many changes come and go. There are very few little kids living here now…just a few; and I’m sorry to say that I really don’t have a connection anymore with many of my neighbors….the circle of life. There are very few of us still here after 30 years.

  6. I have returned! Gary, Nancy, Robert and Brian thank you for calling while I was out. I had lunch with some ex work colleagues. It went on longer than I expected. I might even blog about it.

  7. Joy you slipped in there when I was not looking, I often say that the way to reach neighbours is to go walking with either a pram or a dog! The first one is now out for me and I am still not sure about the dog.

  8. Grannymar,

    You can kill two birds with one stone now if you want to.

    They have liitle prams to walk your dog in at Petco… So, see, you can do both. Just in case your neighbors don’t think you’re eccentric enough, try this. Walk the dog in a stroller.

    Glad you had a nice lunch out with your friends. We missed you !!!!!

  9. Nancy, now there is a novel idea. The neighbours would certainly talk about me if not to me!

  10. Grannymar – a Toyboy on your arm would definitely set some tongues wagging!

    I tried my hardest to stay quiet today (for a change) and I’ve held out as long as I could but I couldn’t resist any longer 😉

Comments are closed.