there’s nothing like a bit of quiet middle class uproar to get you acquainted with your neighbours. we’re friendly with them next door and she keep bringing us plums, but there’s five houses in acuba terrace and I never speak to the occupants of three of them even though we pass each other on the pavement as we dodge the pavement cyclists and dog presents and we smile weakly like we know we should invite each other round for a gin and tonic and a wedge of brie but really, life is so impossible with the children at their clubs and us seeming to always be down at waitrose, flicking through the salads and maris piper, trying to fill out our weekly meal planner for less than a tun, but oh, those tarts looks lovely and blimey, I’ve got to get that ganache. so, I watch them pile into their multiplas and their golfs and they probably see us tumbling out of the scenic after swimming on friday or trampolining on saturday or skipping on thursday or yarmouth on sunday or dorset at half term or burnham market at easter or the video shop when its raining and they probably think they should probably invite us round or something but best wait until we’ve finished the kitchen because it looks a bit of a mess at the moment and anyway, we’ve not done with the utility room yet so really, its just bad timing and maybe when we’ve got the living room straightened out we could invite the whole terrace round. for christmas. in 2007.

so, when the friendly neighbourhood pubs thought they should really apply for extended hours under the new legislation so that the local vehicle remoulding squads and extreme wall repointers could get a few more swift pints of stella in before pissing into our gardens and barking at the moon, we all naturally got terribly upset at the prospect and miraculously we all found ourselves suddenly gathered around the kitchen table at number blah blah blah for a hastily convened residents meeting with our local councillor and the area police community catchment coordinator with water on the table and a chairperson and everything. being the kind of residents we are, we naturally had in our terrace a solicitor, a writer, a project officer, a pensioner, an expert committee leader, a teacher and about 17 IT consultants. well, 2. to say the meeting was organised was something of an understatement. I thought about doing it remotely at first so I didn’t have to walk 2 doors down, but in the end, that would have probably made it into the meeting minutes which would have ended up being published on a residents committee website somewhere and I would never live it down. we had a chair, we took our turns to cover our agenda items. we had a lively and informative discourse with the police and local council representative and we ran to time and captured all our action items and of course, agreed on some next steps and a broad outline of our plan of action going forward into the next millennium. it was like being at work. but with my neighbours. who I didn’t even really know, at least, nowhere near as well as I know the people I work with who are all the other side of the atlantic and live in mountains and stuff.

but at least I got to meet everyone I normally just catch a glimpse of out of my office window as they unload the farm goods and swimming bags, and actually they’re quite, well, nice. when we’ve got the kitchen and bathroom sorted out and got the pictures up and decided what we’re going to do about the hall and the back garden and then spent endless days and about ten thousand pounds putting everything in its right place, we might just invite them round for tapas and a vegetarian cocktail with bits in.


Make somebody else read this