There is a big yellow furniture van parked outside; no, we’re not moving, but the people opposite us in our little cul-de-sac are on their way to somewhere else. I think he is called something beginning with G, and I have no idea what her name is. On the day they moved in, about three years ago, I went over and introduced myself, and told her who we were and a little about the village (lovely place, friendly people, interesting boatyard, near the sea, two good pubs, excellent village shop etc…) Since then I’ve not spoken a single word to her – I have called out ‘hello!’ or ‘hi!’ or made some comment about the weather, and sometimes, although I’m sure she heard me (I am quite loud) she didn’t respond, or she would murmur something, or she would nod vaguely; he works long hours and when he does cycle/walk past he avoids catching my eye… So good luck neighbours in your new home! You obviously didn’t like it here as you have been trying to sell your house within a few months of being here, but good luck for the future!

We have neighbours on either side of us, and another in the corner of the cul-de-sac; we don’t know them very well but they always shout a greeting, or reply to ours, wave, smile, take in parcels for us if we are out – just as we do for them if they are out, and all the things you might expect. They all work so we don’t see much of them, but they are nice and friendly.

We have neighbours opposite on the other side from those moving out, and they are friends. They are the ‘parents’ of Smirnoff the cat, and we look after him while they are away, and they keep an eye on our property when we are absent. We have other more distant neighbours further down the road, and I would say we are a friendly little place, not nosy or intrusive, but friendly and reliable and pleasant and… neighbourly… When we had a party recently, lots of people came and joined in our celebrations!

I guessed that the word ‘neighbour’ might be an old English or Anglo-Saxon word, and indeed it is! ‘Neigh’ comes from a word meaning ‘near’, and ‘bour’ comes from something meaning ‘dwelling’… easy! here is a link explaining it from a favourite site, the Online Etymology Dictionary:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=neighbor&allowed_in_frame=0

The word ‘neighbour’ has come to mean much more than the people living or dwelling near you… as the theme from the TV series ‘Neighbours’ puts it:

Neighbours, Everybody needs good neighbours
With a little understanding
You can find the perfect blend
Neighbours…should be there for one another
That’s when good neighbours become good friends
Ooh Neighbours, should be there for one another
That’s when good neighbours become good friends.

 

 

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