Settling In

August 13, 2017 by Ray Morgan

As some of you regular readers may know, I moved into a new home in March, and it's been a lovely 5 months getting the place sorted. We have gained a garden, original tiled fireplaces, a hallway that draws gasps from anyone who visits, and truly nice neighbours.

We've had a fair run of bad neighbours in the past, and it can really get you down. If you're reading this and suffering from noisy or horrible neighbours, I feel you. We've had it all: neighbours buying heroin outside our front door, neighbours shouting homophobic abuse at us out of windows, neighbours with a massive dog trapped inside the house, never taking it for a walk and it barking all day (along with slamming itself against the front door whenever someone knocked), neighbours playing Call of Duty so loud it made our walls shake, neighbours singing Coldplay's 'Yellow' over and over (notably their dullest hit), neighbours who somehow, inexplicably, still like Dido. The whole gamut.

We had got used to waking up to the sounds of loud shouting, or Alanis Morrisette, or *very* enthusiastic sex - sometimes simultaneously. It gets you down when you're woken up before your alarm, and you try to snooze, but the dog's started barking and now there's a row going on about school shoes - so you get up, sleepy and resentful, flicking on the kettle wanting to drink ALL of the tea.

The thing that got us was the ignorance of bad neighbours. The unthinking behaviour. I like to think I'm not a selfish person so I wouldn't have my music or telly up loud "past the cut-off" (9pm IMO, one for all you Curb Your Enthusiasm fans). We've got record decks, but we have a family living next door now, so we're not going to blast them with Iggy Pop at 9pm on a Sunday. Although, children do need to be educated about good music. BUT STILL.

We've made friends with a particularly lovely neighbour who is in her 80s. We chat over the garden fence. Our Victoria plum tree is abundant with fragrant, rosy fruit: it used to be her tree, she told us, so we gave her a huge batch, and she's going to make jam. She invited us over for a glass of wine last week, and it was so lovely to get to know her. We talked about how important it is to be friendly, especially with how impersonal life can be at times. Knowing she is there is a comfort, for all of us I think.

Now that time is passing and we're settling in to our new abode, we're fixing up fun things, like painting the dining room (pink!), and I put up some flatpack bedside tables at the weekend that have made our bedroom infinitely less messy and more 'hotel room' which is the look we have always wanted to go for.

We've gone from door-slamming rows, cartoon clouds of cigarette smoke in the porch and shouting to sharing plums over the fence, and I'm grateful for that transition like you wouldn't believe.

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