I love where we live, I really do. I think it's really rare to find a house that you love, in an area you love, with neighbours that don't post dog poo through your letter box as part of their hate campaign. This is mine and The Husbands first house and we've been here for eleven years. It might not be the biggest or grandest house in the World but I fell in love with it as soon as I walked through the door; The Husband was not so enamoured however. It had been empty for a few years, as the elderly lady owner was in a care home. As soon as it became apparent that she wouldn't be returning home, the house went on the market and we joined the estate agent and a few other interested parties for a viewing. I should probably explain that the house was stuck in a time vaccum. The bright blue bathroom suite, faux-wood panelling, 1960's kitchen cupboards and headache inducing soft furnishings seemed to deter the other viewers just as much as it did The Husband. I, on the other hand, skipped around the house clapping with glee, unable to hide my joy. As we stepped into the jungle at the rear of the house, him that pays muttered "We are never buying this house!". And eleven years (much replastering, two kitchens, one replacement bathroom, brand new carpets, a loft conversion and 7 total redecorations) later - here we are!
We have only had one new neighbour in the time we've lived here; an elderly lady who joined the predominantly pension-aged population of the street. Our adjoining neighbour is a quiet middle aged man who we don't see from one month to the next. He also very kindly pretended he doesn't hear any of our noise - a total lie, given that neither The Husband or the kids are capable of doing anything at a volume that doesn't make your ears bleed. On the occasions we do see him, he's very polite and thoughtful. Take the time I banged a Chocolate Orange on the lounge wall to break up the segments, and he came round to ask if there was anything wrong. That was nice; quite embarrassing as I stood there in my pyjamas looking sheepish, but nice all the same. He's had a 'girl'friend for the last two years, and although we still never hear him, we do frequently get blasts of her laughter and overly loud tv through the wall. And as irritating as her saturday night mooing can be, I try to remember that they are regularly subjected to my two thundering around the house shrieking "Go on! Kick me in the head!" and "That's MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!", and attempt to unclench my jaw.
On the other side, we have a single lady the ripe side of middle age who lives with her Lhasa apso puppy - a small thing that looks like a Popple (remember them, children of the 80's?) and that, I have been informed, likes to eat the turds that my cats deposit in her garden. I am referring to the dog by the way! Despite her efforts, the kids still seem a tiny bit afraid of her, which can be embarrassing. As she's jovially asking "Aren't you talking to me today?", The Boychild is hiding behind my legs peering at her like she's the Childcatcher. It's this neighbour that gave us the carrier bag full of fish, the fish that outlived the ones I spent a small fortune on at Pets At Home. I might be the crazy cat lady, but she's the fish equivalent - I once nearly pooped myself when, having a nose over the fence to shout one of my cats, I saw three goldfish swimming around in her waterbutt! One way of having a pond on the cheap I suppose.
Apart from the incident years ago where I crashed the car into a lamp-post when angrily reversing off the drive, and shouting at the neighbours who were standing aghast, we've had no fallings out or neighbourly disputes. Even having our shared drain blocked by some unknown minger (not me, I hasten to add) dropping sanitary towels down the toilet wasn't enough to cause a rift. Oh, there was the time that the neighbour we call "Ooo-ooh!" made me mow over the lawnmower powercable, but I've forgiven her for that. Just about. So here I want to stay; in the home I've spent time, money and effort getting to the way I like it. Unless I win the lottery, in which case there's a huge 7 bedroomed pile in the village I've set my sights on. I can always move the neighbours into caravans in the garden to make me feel at home..!