My next door neighbour knocked on my door yesterday to tell me it was starting to rain. My neighbour is eighty-three, he sat undercover keeping bubby amused while I took my washing off the line. This is my new home, it is actually my grandfather’s home, and his community is very well established. I am taking lessons from him.
His morning begins with phone calls while he is lying in bed. Around 7am I hear him telling somebody on the of the line that “She hasn’t come in yet”. He is waiting for me to bring my daughter in to him. I have a shower while she lays beside him. He always puts the phone on speaker and makes everybody talk to her.
When he does get out of bed he checks whether the neighbour has puts his blinds up. He worries when it is almost lunch time before they are raised. The neighbour came over the other day. He had locked his keys in his ute and needed help calling NRMA (road-side assistance). My grandfather called them first but after declaring “we are both in our eighty-fives” to the operator he passed the phone to me.
The next door neighbour on the other side is younger. My grandfather has organised him to come and paint his roof, and that of the other neighbour. He brings his daughter over and we chat about school (what else do you talk to a seven year old about?) for a little while.
Sometime after lunch the postman arrives. He rides his postie bike up to the back door and yells out. My grandfather comes out to collect his mail and they both have a good talk. The postie does this for the two old neighbours and an old lady down the street. My grandfather explains all of this to me. He tells me that they grow a choko vine along the fence line so the postie can help himself from either side. He tells me they give him a six-pack at Christmas time and also that my Nanna used to give him a glass of wine on cold winter days. He tells me about the time my Nanna was smoothing out the concrete when he road up, he parked the postie bike and helped her finish the job.
The other night my husband, working out of town, called and asked me to urgently email his resume to him. Our Internet service was not yet connected, my Aunt and cousins had just left for a holiday in Thailand. I was stumped about what to do. My grandfather pulled out the phone book and called the neighbour across the road. Three minutes later I was standing in my ugg boots knocking at the door of someone I had never met. Five minutes later I had emailed the resume, met another neighbour and discussed the mouse problem being caused by the construction happening two doors up.
There is such a sense of community surrounding this place. The neighbours care about each other. They stand around talking as they watch the ground being broken where a new house is to be built. They keep an eye of the things going on around the place, They still have gates going between there houses. I look forward to becoming a part of this community, this is something special that should continue.
On a personal note: I am settled enough to begin blogging again. I have a few half-written (iPhone) entries which I may backdate at a later time.