Tag Archives: neighbours

Daily Prompt: Next Door


Writing my post for Cee’s Share Your World this week, I was reminded of the last time we had heavy snow in Ireland.  This picture of next door’s garden was taken by hanging out of an upstairs window in the small hours of the morning.  This done for the benefit of my neighbour, who was busy asking, through Facebook,  all about the snow in the neighbourhood from her new home in the Caribbean. (She’s one of the babysitting clients mentioned in my other Daily Prompt post for today.)  I have quite a collection of “hanging out the window” pictures showing her old house and the street in various weather conditions. 

Which brings me back to a point I should have made in Daily Prompt: Good Fences –  although this girl no longer lives next door to me, I still call her neighbour, e.g. “neighbourhood” is no longer defined by physical proximity.

Daily Prompt: Next Door

Daily Prompt: Good Fences?

Home Improvement WilsonWho are your neighbors? Are you friends with them, barely say hi, or avoid them altogether? Tell us a story — real or invented — about the people on the other side of your wall (or street, or farm, or… you get the point). 

I don’t have anything bad to say about the neighbours on either side or at the front or back of my house.  I don’t have much to say about any of them.  It’s not that I’m antisocial, it’s just that we all live differently to the way we did 50, 20, or even 10 years ago.

Many years ago, when the houses around here were first built, there was a large influx of families about the same time and most of us grew up together. Time has gone on, kids have grown up, their parents have grown old and died, or  families have simply moved on.  New families have moved in. 

The thing is, when we first moved in, there were no dividing walls between our gardens, nobody had cars and very few mothers went out to work.  Whether this was good or bad is for a different conversation.  What I want to point out is that the result of being carless, unable to afford to erect a garden wall or fence and having mother available to take care of the kids after school, everybody actually lived on the same street. We had time to get to know each other, build up relationships and become good friends or sworn enemies. Visiting relatives on the other side of town was a major expedition, limited by the public transport timetable.

In the past few years, the original family moved out of the house on our left, and two other families have moved in and subsequently moved on. On the other side, the two kids I babysat no longer live in the country.     Their parents are dead and there is a new family in the house – mum and dad wave as they leave for work every morning, the kids go to day-care until mum or dad pick them up, and we all scurry to our respective homes for dinner every night.   Only one member of the original family lives opposite – a somewhat eccentric son who never really mixed with the other kids.  Behind me there is a jolly-sounding family, but I have no idea what language they speak, so our conversations are limited to “Hi” and pleasant nods through the hedge when I am entertaining the dogs or sorting out the garden.

There is the occasional chat over the wall with the folks on each side. We all engaged in a spot of bonding when we were flooded, and when the city council blocked everybody’s driveways without notice.  At Christmas, New Year’s Eve and so on, everybody smiles and gives the appropriate greeting.  But when the newer families moved in, they were fully-formed, with pre-existing friendships and relationships.  These days, we’ve all got cars, mobile phones and internet – we are not as cut off from friends and family living in other areas. For example, I have more interaction with my cousin in Melbourne, Australia, than I do with the people next door.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t speak to any of my neighbours, only that I don’t know my immediate neighbours well enough to tell a story about them. However, to stay within the context of this prompt, here is a little tale, heavily redacted for reasons that should be plain:

Person living in the neighbourhood for many years. Had conversation almost every day. Very pleasant.  Noticed this person was not around the neighbourhood any more. Turns out this person was employed by a certain illegal organisation to carry out “hits”.

So, my advice is this:  if you publish your opinion of your neighbours, do be careful not to offend.

Daily Prompt: Good Fences? – Picture from Underwater Breeding Apparatus

Daily Prompt: Your Days are Numbered

article-2514500-19A7421E00000578-759_964x751It’s January 26. Write a post in which the number 26 plays a role.

Our street is part of an estate that was built on the north side of Dublin in 1959, with most families moving in around May and June in the following year.  For whatever reason, most of the new population came from either East Wall or Inchicore, and all had young families.  East Wall families were already acquainted with one another, as were the Inchicore families.   In the beginning, our address was deemed to be in the countryside  – we are located very near the notorious Artane Industrial School, where the unfortunate boys who landed there were expected to keep a dairy farm, orchards and a horse-breeding business going. We weren’t even a recognised district, if you wanted to get any items from a shop, or visit the post office, you had to walk to the village down the road. It provided a great deal of amusement for my southside  uncles and aunts, although the uncles were very happy to avail of the old “bona fide” law which allowed publicans to provide drink to “long-distance” travellers at any time of day, regardless of whether it was holy-hour, closing time or holy day.

The family that moved into No 26 were a little different.  They weren’t from either East Wall or Inchicore.  They arrived probably about six months to a year after everybody else, and I guess it must have taken them a bit of time to fit in with the two already established groups.  Anyhow, all the kids grew up together on the same street, went to the same church and schools (when they were eventually built) and many of the dads worked for the same company (B&I Lines).  Mr 26 worked in his family market garden business, and everybody was delighted to buy their fruit and vegetables from him.   It was a tight-knit community, bound together mainly because there were no other neighbours, places to go or things to do for miles, so we had to make our own entertainment.  Remember, television did not happen in Ireland until 1961 and it was considered dead posh to have a set. I think we got our first one in time to see President Kennedy assassinated.

As time went by some families moved on, others moved in, and by now the city has almost come out to meet us.  There is a huge apartment complex set in the fields where our parents used to organise ad-hoc sports days for us, and we are surrounded by several housing estates. We’ve got McDonalds round the corner and  a 24-7 supermarket –and the B&I no longer exists. As is the Irish way, we claim to be gregarious and welcoming, while at the same time harbouring a deep and abiding suspicion of strangers.  Individuals of my parent’s generation (at least those few of them who are still alive) don’t even notice this paradox,but I promise you it is there. You can see it in their faces when the “new” Chinese family (they only moved in 20 years ago) , or the Czech couple who bought the house around the corner (about 8 years ago) pass by. They are blow ins, newcomers, strangers. So why was I surprised when I suggested to an old friend of my mum, who had forgotten some fun detail or another about the good old days, to check with Mrs 26 to see if she remembered, and she responded with  “How would she know, sure she’s only here a wet weekend…”

Daily Prompt: Your Days are Numbered – Picture from a Daily Mail story about sculptor Ron Mueck

Day Twenty Three: Publish a Roundup

instant_weekly_roundupToday’s challenge: Publish a roundup post that links to posts on at least three other blogs, and tell us why you love the posts — and why we should read ‘em.

I was getting a little fed up with the amount of tweaking that came out of the Zero to Hero Challenge, part of why I want to take up these blogging challenges is to get away from fiddling and get on with writing! It’s hard to decide which is a favourite individual post among the wealth of posts that are published every day.  I’ve interacted with several WordPress bloggers recently and I would hate to favour one of them over another, so I’ve turned to some long-time favourite non WordPress blogs, that are always guaranteed to publish something that will be among my many favourites in any given week.

Life with Dogs – Dog insists on bringing neighbours news paper
This blog is a must-follow for any dog lover, I will bet hundreds of my co-Wordpressers have already seen it.  The post tells about a very reliable delivery-dog and I’m pretty sure that Life as a country bumpkin, not a city girl will relate to this after reading her post Country internet earlier tonight (or last night, depending on your time-zone) – oops, it’s actually tomorrow here, I should have gotten busy writing this post before midnight, instead I was Busy Browsing Blogs like the good little  Zero to Hero participant that I am.

RCPI Archive – The Irish Born Physician and the British Museum
This blog is written by my colleagues in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Heritage Centre.  The Heritage Centre houses one of the largest collections of medical publications, along with a vast array of paintings, sculptures and other artefacts.  One item in the collections really fascinates me, the diary of Kathleen Lynn, which I posted about a long time ago.  I chose a recent post from the archive, but you know what? If you like  to combine a little bit of history with a wealth of odd facts and unusual information, take a stroll through the archives, I promise you, it’s well worth the time.

Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd – Planters: Two Spots Cafe at Swords, Co Dublin
Although we share the same family name, Peter is not a family member.  He is an old school friend of a family member. Peter has a wonderful talent for turning jungles into beautiful gardens, and turning the oddest pieces of scrap or junk into fantastic and original garden pieces.  He organises garden tours and also has an award-winning weekly podcast, aptly named The Sodshow. You will see from the picture in the post how has turned what he calls aged, rustic timber (translation, something another person threw away and he saw a use for) into beautiful, solid planters, complete with branding for the cafe that commissioned them.  A must-read for gardeners, recyclers and nature lovers.  Uncle Spike (also no relation), now that pruning has started, you might like to check in with Peter.

@FoxeinSocks – Amazing Cast Iron Facade
Now this IS a family member, the very one who introduced me to Peter (above).  Not long ago, he and his family emigrated to New York. His job there brings him to all parts of La Grande Pomme. It’s clear from the huge library of pictures he has Tweeted that he is loving his new life, and displays his newcomer’s delight in the things he sees around his new home, every day. The Write Might’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition makes me think he and @foxeinsocks may be kindred spirits.

Internet Techies – Instant Weekly Roundup : Free WordPress Plugin To Generate Weekly or Monthly Roundups In Seconds
If you intend to continue with these rounds ups, you might find this post quite useful.  I’m tempted to break my “no tweak” resolution to try this one out myself.  Time will tell.

Tee-hee… I managed to slip in a few WordPressers I follow after all Winking smile

Zero to Hero