"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."



('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)




Monday, June 11, 2012

Neighbours

I have mentioned before that there are a lot of new houses being built about half a mile down the road from us. Some of them have been occupied for about eight months now. Today, walking past with Paddy, I noticed a woman in her front garden trimming a plant, when the woman next door came out and although the two were only about four foot apart, neither looked at the other and neither spoke to the other. Unless they have already fallen out and are sworn enemies, which is possible, I don't understand how people living side by side would not at least smile or pass the time of day, but it does support the various studies which have been done which have concluded that, these days, most of us don't have a clue about our neighbours.
Further on, workmen were hard at it on the foundations of the next phase of houses and once again, I was struck by how tiny they looked, especially as these are supposed to be three, four and five bedroomed houses which cost an arm and a leg. We live in a small, modern house ourselves and I am very happy with it. It is just about big enough for our possessions but not quite big enough for Keith to spread his aero-modelling all over the place; win-win as far as I'm concerned! But I certainly wouldn't like to be bringing up a family or even one child in it. Families living in the traditional semis built in the thirties and forties might not have had central heating and other features which we now take for granted but at least they had spacious houses and gardens. Which brings me back to the beginning of this post. Maybe the result of living in such close proximity in modern housing developments is that we 'pretend' that the neighbours are not really there invading our space so we ignore them. Well, it's a thought.

14 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

"I was struck by how tiny they looked"
Were these workmen dwarves or small children?

When Robin and I were lads in our East Yorkshire village we knew everybody from the oldest to the tiniest baby. It gave us a warm sense of well-being and community.

Jennyta said...

Yep, I just knew you would pick up on that, YP. ;)

elaine rickett said...

It is just the opposite living in a small village everyone knows everybody elses business and if you walk round the village it takes forever as you meet fellow villagers wanting to chat. Better that than being ignored.

ZACL said...

We know our neighbours and then some about the various tribes further out. I guess it's the kind of area we live in. We are not so familiar with the residents of the multi-occupied house nearby. Whether you know people or not, it is the done thing to smile and or acknowledge someone you look at and who you pass by, on foot or in a car. It is now second nature to do it, it is a local norm.

Small doesn't necessarily mean you have to be divorced from immediate society. I grant you, it is an interesting theory, which may hold some water. On balance, though, it probably has more to do with importing the learned norms from elsewhere.

The little boxes built today that pass for family homes are just another case of getting less for your money.

BTW, we do share a smile and wave with the occupants of the multi-occupied property.

Jennyta said...

That sounds nice, Elaine.

Jennyta said...

Yes, and they are little boxes, ZACL but my theory was just that, a theory - no proof it's right.

Flighty said...

It's a sad reflection of the world today! I don't like the low ceilings in modern houses, I can't touch mine even on tiptoe arm outstretched. Flighty xx

Jennyta said...

I find low ceilings great when I'm having to climb ladders to decorate, Flighty! ;)

Shooting Parrots said...

They must be English - we're not allowed to speak unless properly introduced.

Give me an old house any time. Ours is 120 years old with decent sized rooms and high ceilings. It's a bugger to heat, but at least I could swing a cat if I had one.

Jennyta said...

Yes, but it probably has more spiders than ours, SP. ;)

Rosie said...

You should try living in the South East they have perfected the art of ignoring their neighbours.

cheshire wife said...

We do not speak to our neighbours and you would not either if you lived next door to them.

Jennyta said...

Ah yes, I've heard about the south east, Rosie! ;)

Jennyta said...

Yes, there are good and bad. Luckily, ours at present are goo both sides.

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