I miss the neighbourhood of yesterday

I’ve moved around a lot in my life but perhaps one of the most memorable things about each address is the neighbours I’ve had. From the quirky to the immensely kind, our neighbours can have a real impact on us. Years ago, I lived in a cul-de-sac with the most wonderful neighbours.

Our children grew up together and would play at the end of the street without a care while us parents would shoot the breeze. We’d often have street parties with lamingtons, punch and messy clean-up that we all shared. Of course with close neighbours there was gossip, but we always managed to stay friendly and never got each others’ nerves. We were so comfortable with each other we’d allow Mrs Jeffreys to pick up our mail or Mr Thomson to mow the lawn. It seems so picturesque now in retrospect…. and almost dream-like. I feel like that would never happen now.

I remember one evening our dog ran away and everyone in our cul-de-sac joined together to find him. It was that community spirit I miss most. Since then, we have moved several more times, and our neighbours have been wide ranging. One had a large yard full of various animals (in suburbia), whilst another watched our every move. The next one came into our house uninvited every time we opened the door, and our neighbours now are many – we live in an apartment block. Julia downstairs is friendly enough but I can’t help but think how strange it is that we live in such a close proximity yet we never so much as smile at one another.

Our neighbour John even organised a get-together for everyone in our tower but only 5 of us came along. We since haven’t really communicated – I’ve tried though!

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I long for those days where you could come home and stay talking at the gate until it got dark. Or when you’d find some fresh biscuits at your door because Moira baked too many. Or even just someone for the kids to play with.

I wonder if anyone still has those neighbours, or if they desperately try to avoid eye contact or wait that extra second in the car until they’re gone. It used to be so important to have good neighbours but now I feel they are hard to find…


I want to know: do you have great neighbours? Or are yours strangers?