No need to adjust your colour balance here.
Us neighbours. Our neighbours are a funny old bunch. When we moved into our house from Liverpool last August they were all over us, offering us help and kindly advice and hinting at long standing unwritten communal rules like You don’t park there because Mrs So-and-so likes to brush her hair there on a Thursday or Mr Thingy likes to have the gate closed to the tune of the Dambusters on a Friday except in October when he prefers it covering in weasel fur. As the months have passed I’ve noticed how they each have their own little feuds, tollerations and dislikes for one another and how each are as two faced and as bitchy as a room full of stereotypical switchboard operators from the seventies.
We have 4 neighbours (not including those across the road who have some weird extended family thing going on) Mr&Mrs P, Mrs O, G and his family and the Good Life
Mr & Mrs P – It was until recently we thought Mrs P, an elderly woman, was actually Mr P,an elderly gentleman, and he was some kind of weird Norman Bates character. This is based purely on how, until recently, Mrs P was only ever seen at the same window and never when Mr P was around. Mr P thinks Mrs O is a bit of an old trout, G is head of a family of gyppos and The Good Life are a bunch of ignoramouses. Legend has it that The Good Life fell out with Mr P over use of the back lane and often both houses have a who can “block the back lane in the most annoying way” competition. Of course if you are anyone other than Mr P and you even form the sentence “Let’s block the lane” in your mind, he’ll be straight round, all nice as pie in a none threatening manner, to remind you that access may be required by emergency vehicles and can you not wash your car in the lane as it erodes the banks of soil. Despite this he is very active in the village, making sure he is involved in all sorts of planning and community action group. Legend has it that Mr P didn’t agree with Mr Edson (the husband of Mrs Edson, the former (and possibly now etherical) occupiers of our house) and his political points of view. Mr Edson was an independent candidate and believed that party politics had no place in local politics (something I have in common with Mr Edson). However, it seems Mr P has since changed his mind and often argues against the current Councillor, Mr Vodden. Further more, Mr P used to also have heated political debates with the former owners of the house of G who was also something to do with politics. I recall Mr P grilling, in a surreptitious way, me about my political view points. Unfortunately I didn’t bite and we seemed to agree on the bad way planning applications are settled these days.
It also turns out that Mr P didn’t get on with Mrs Edson. This feud was brought to a head when Mrs Edson’s daughter’s boyfriend was mauled by Mr P’s dog. I could still detect the bitterness in his voice even though this event occurred more than 30 years ago. I think the dog was destroyed.
Other than that he seems quite jolly. Often out gardening or talking to the horses in the field behind our houses.
Mrs O – A lovely elderly widow, the kind of old aunt you always wanted and always has something to gossip about but, in some weird paradoxical way, very private. From what I can ascertain, Mrs O and Mrs Edson were good friends. Mrs O’s husband popped his clogs sometime back and this really upset her but thanks to his diligent hard work she can now live comfortably (or as comfortable as someone can with an aching back and sore joints) from his pension. Mrs O is also worried about the blocking of the lane and is often seen to come running out of her kitchen if you leave your car outside her part of the lane for more than a nanosecond. Her concern is that if The Good Life and Mr P are playing silly buggers then an emergency vehicle would have difficulty accessing her property should she be in trouble. Fucking stupid if you ask me as emergency services would, like every other normal fucker, use the fucking front of the house. Also, for some reason, Mrs O can only turn left out of her garage. There isn’t anything stopping her turning right. It’s just the way it has always been.
Anyway, Mrs O, despite her busybodiness, seems pleasant enough too. Mrs Gnomepants has had the occasional very minor misunderstanding with her but nothing too serious and Mrs O will often pop round to have a gossip with Mrs Gnomepants. Mrs O seems to have been in her house since the mid 50’s and, as I said, she was a good friend of Mrs Edson’s. At the weekend she showed us a picture of Mr & Mrs Edson. The eerie thing was it was taken in our front room. It was odd to see two strangers surrounded by balloons and flowers (it was taken on Mr & Mrs Edsons Golden Wedding anniversary) strood in our front room. Mrs O then told us about how Mrs Edsons daughter became a Jehovah’s witness and how it broke Mrs Edson’s heart. She often delights in telling us what she was discussing with the other neighbours, including The Good Life. She is also not afraid to get stern with council workers and “That horrible man at the village club”. She goes to church (methodist) and has asked on occasion if we attend services on a Sunday (we don’t, we sacrifice small children and virgins to the Goat of John Menzies on Heath Common on a Saturday night)
G – He that is known as Homo Lupus, though sometimes referred to as Gandalf – and his family – mysteriously shy yet domineering wife and more kids than a Romanian Orphanage (some named after characters from Lord of the Rings…eg, Bilbo, Gollum and Frodo1.
Mrs Gnomepants knew G before we moved in from when Mrs Gnomepants went to Sunday school as a child. By some bizarre coincidence we only discovered this on the day we put the offer in for our house and was one of the deciding factors for us to buy the property. G drives a large people carrier (one of them big Chrysler jobbies with enough room in the back to fit the population of a small African Country) and we often have to play at the old car shuffle ballet because the Gnomepants household is a two car household. This is not a problem though because we get on with G and he likes to talk about things that are going on. Often for a very long time. Mrs Homo Lupus, like their children, seems very shy. However on quiet gardening weekends one can hear her screech at the kids and slam doors in a manner to rival even Mr & Mrs Gnomepants. Apparently Mrs Homo Lupus went to the same school and was in the same year as one of Mrs Gnomepants’ sisters. It seems that then she was renown for being the school bully.
The plethora of children all seem very polite and very quiet. They even play violent stick sword games quietly and seem to quietly melt away into château Homo Lupus whenever an adult is seen. If only all children were like that. Quiet, well spoken and polite.
Mrs Homo Lupus thinks Mrs O is an old busy body, Mr P is a “fucking gate nazi” and The Good Life are just weird. She insists we should keep our guard up on the two elderly households to the other side of us because apparently they can “turn in the blink of an eye”.
The Good Life – or Tom & Barbara2The mysterious, and some would say rude, couple from the end house who appear to live a self sufficient lifestyle and possibly have some weird sexual thing going on involving rhubarb and cats. He is a post man. She thinks she is a homonculus ofMystic Meg and Felicity Kendal and they have surrounded their house with a mysterious “fence with no gates”.
We’ve been in our house since August last year and everybody, even the extended family thing that take up the opposite side of the road, has been along to say hello. Tom & Barbara havent even smiled. They seem to be really ignorant and oblivious to anyone outside their fenced up little smallholding. They both drive red cars and their garage is long enough to fit 3 cars and a motorbike in it yet they insist on parking at the bottom of the lane making it nearly impossible to turn cars round should it be required.
He, like G Homo lupus, sports a bushy beard. However unlike G Homo lupus, he wears a tea cosy hat and the same woolen self knitted clothing day in day out. He drives a Volvo 840.
She, like Julie T Wallace, is a sinisterly dark woman. She also wears self knitted garments and is only ever sighted on the second Saturday of the month. She drives a Nissan Micra
They have one of those security lights that have more candle watt power than the fucking Eddistone Lighthouse and a cage containing rescued cats. Both their cars are Post Office Red.
They have a red motorbike too.
1 – May actually be slight exaggeration
2 – Not their real names but I call them that. Though not to their face as I’ve never spoken to them.
Anyway, thought I’d give a little further insight into Brierley and the locals. I’m not going to leave this post public for too long because I’m sure Mr P and Mr Homo Lupus have been tipped off of my natterings by the man what drives the taxi and says I “fucking swear too much on t’internet”.