We have new neighbours, two doors down.
The couple who moved out, Beardy Man and Mrs Beardy, always seemed nice. I never had an actual conversation with them. We’ve lived two doors up from them for ten years. Almost the only thing I know about them is that he used to work in a timber place and would bring offcuts home and burn them in their open fire. This once led to a chimney fire which came close to burning out the thatched roofs along the entire row, including the house we would later buy. My next-door neighbour the other way told me this and he may have been speaking about a previous occupant of the erstwhile Beardy residence.
A van was outside there this evening when I came home. It’s gone now and there’s a light on in one of the upstairs windows.
I read something recently about what seemed to be yet another ‘neighbour’ found dead after several days of no-one missing her. No-one checks up on anyone any more. Even the two neighbours either side, who we really get along with, we can go weeks without seeing. We wouldn’t notice if they were extraordinarily rendered to a foreign country, nor they us.
I hope this is mainly to do with the arrangement of our houses. Certainly we’d like to spend more time with them but no space out front and high fences out back seem to mitigate against it.
We’ve been here a decade now, a quarter of our lives. We love it, but those immediate neighbours aside, I don’t think we actually know anyone else in the village. That’s okay, but it’s not okay.
Perhaps that will change. We have new neighbours.