Wednesday 24 May 2017

How well do you know your neighbours?

Some years ago there was an incident in our locality and police did door-to-door enquiries about it. We were away when the actual incident occurred but I will never forget one of the questions they asked. They wanted to know if we knew who lived next door to us. I realised they were making sure that everyone in the street was accounted for. I was able to tell them exactly who lived next door but could you?

Since I have been at home after having my children I have got to know my neighbours even more. I realise that if you go out to work first thing in the morning and then go straight back into your house in the evening getting to know who is next door is not easy to do.

On one side of where we live my neighbours' granddaughter is in the same year as my son at school and they regularly do the school run. Across the street lives one of my daughter's best friends and there are three other houses with children who all go my children's schools. Having children certainly helps getting to know people. On the other side I regularly say hello to the father and his sons. The chap two doors up regularly stops to chat as does the lady further down the road with the husky. In fact there are only a handful of houses that I don't know the people who live in them. It does help that we have lived in the same small street for nearly 15 years now.

Does my knowledge of my neighbours stem from the fact that I live in the north of England where is it supposedly friendlier? I would argue not. I grew in the London suburbs and my parents still live in the same house. Despite not living in that house for over 20 years I know the names of both of their neighbours. Before they moved in the lady who lived next door used to look after my goldfish when we went on holiday. In my living room I have a photograph she took of me and my father standing in front of the house on my wedding day. On the other side I always seemed to be knocking on their door so I could retrieve the foam tennis balls I had hit over the fence. So perhaps where you live has no impact on how well you know your neighbours but how much you want to know them.

Do you think you know your neighbours well? Would you recognise them if you saw them in your local supermarket? See how well you fare in this survey from Rattan Direct.

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