Remembering neighbours and fences.

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 19
Our son had just moved away from peeking through the fence.
The sound of the little fountain drew him to any gap in the fence as did the barking of their big dog.

A mid terraced house shares two main walls with the neighbours. Ours were well built in 1951 for a population displaced in London after World War II. Our neighbours had come to their new homes at that time and both couples had raised children in these houses. Their children were then our age.

Mrs Blackbird was the body shape “l” to her husband’s “O” . Their back fence was chain link/ wire. We spoke to them in the back garden. Then on the right was an “l” for the man and an “O” for the lady and a fence made with wavy wood panels. We only spoke to these neighbours in the front garden. I remember her saying:

” Sandy, make sure the vase you use is perfectly clean and only use perfect flowers.” I understood what she meant . She loved flower arranging and her daughter was a nurse in Saudi Arabia.

Mrs Blackbird was the lady who shared herself more. She was efficient and kept everything bright and shiny. The grass and leaves in her well kept minimalistic garden were immaculately groomed. I remember asking her how she did so much so well. I remember her words:

“Sandy, I give myself a chore, reduce it to include clear up and put away time and I never give myself too much!”

She also shared a sadness with me. She had been looking after her aged mother-in-law and our staircases in these houses were steep. This lady had fallen down their stairs while in her care and this lead after several hospitalisations to her death. I felt sad for her to feel this way . She also experienced the death of her husband during our time there. Her resilience was her routine of care for her grandchildren, her garden, her home and a paid cleaning job. Her daughter during this time had gone back to school, successfully completed the requirements for a degree course leading to secondary school teaching. Mrs Blackbird was so proud of her when she graduated.

It was good to have children playing in the neighbouring yard and when our son climbed on a stool and covered himself and the kitchen floor with a creamy, white detergent, Mrs Blackbird was there for me!

Honesty is never seen sitting astride a fence .

Lemuel K. Washburn

Borrow trouble for yourself, if that’s your nature, but don’t lend it to your neighbours.

Rudyard Kipling

I needed to remember these people. This is a small sample of their influence in my life as a new mum in a new country.

Sandy 🙂

7 thoughts on “Remembering neighbours and fences.

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