Love thy neighbour? At least introduce yourself.

Blessed are we with some splendid neighbours here in the rolling valleys of Wiltshire. With lockdown 3.0 dragging its heels, a cheery hello on a walk is a tonic. The village WhatsApp group is helpful and good natured. Need eggs? Someone has chooks. Flat car battery? A charger.

You just know there is a “but…” coming and you’d be right.

When do blogs turn into rants? [Checks notes] About, ooh, now.

Next door was a derelict farm building and is now a bijou dwelling. Freshly filled with good, decent folk who are settling in well. This post is not about them. It is about another neightbour who is directly across the street.

I encountered the latter on yesterday’s daily fresh air fix and was bluntly cross examined about the new arrivals. Who are they? Where have they come from? Being a helpful sort, a cordial member of the community I answered, nodded at his supposedly pithy responses and – not a moment too soon – carried on.

Seconds later I experienced that “dammit” moment. What our French friends encapsulate gorgeously as L’esprit de l’escalier.

Dear reader: I know you are bursting with a question! How did yours truly know all the information about our newest neighbour? Well – hold on to your pyjama bottoms, put down your tea – the day after they moved in we knocked on their door, handed over a bottle of “welcome to the neighbourhood” fizz and introduced oursevles. We had – drumroll please – a chat.

Why can’t Lord Snipealot go say “hello” FFS? Am I doing this wrong? When a next-door are new, pop over and say “welcome”, no?

My uber-wit, mic-drop, way-too-late comeback skills need work I’ll grant you. So for the record, here is the energy I should have conveyed at the casual interrogation:

“Why don’t you ask them yourself you dick?!”


Other words have been edited from the above because I am a grown up. (This I keep telling myself. As if the mantra will somehow make it true one day. Because it has totally worked in other areas of life. Like, totally.)

[FYI: Dude has lived in the village forever, is not on the WhatsApp group and is minted. His conversation is always tilted to gaining/retaining the upper hand (as opposed to a more humane, appreciative inquiry). Next time I see him, I hope a little more cynical readiness will be with me.]

And there it is. We live in strange times. Times where a little empathy goes a long way. Where reaching out to people helps us all.

It’s not diffiuclt to be nice. It’s not about wealth. You just have to make a teensy effort.

Worth it if you want community.

Categories: Our posts | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Love thy neighbour? At least introduce yourself.

  1. Jennifer Creese

    Well said Ian – agree with all that. Love they neighbour New and Old! X


  2. Patricia Beer

    Said Inquisitor is a crafty moneyed snob.


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