First I must make it clear that my neighbours nearly drove me crazy when they first moved in and the fact that on all sides except mine high fences have been erected shows that I was not the only one. But most of the other neighbours were worried by the Staffie pup that is part of the family. For me she was its redeeming feature. Recently they acquired a trampoline where they shrieked and swore and transferred their battle ground. Bounced too of course.
Now the bouncing boys are moving. Their trampoline passion only lasted a week or two, they are back on their bikes terrorising the neighbourhood again. And the canvas cupola is in full use for barbeques. Not this week though, the family has taken itself off to Dorset for a week though Keisse is left behind in the care of two friends of the family who let her out and take her walkies. I miss her morning visits a lot. And strangely I am sorry to see the back of them all in spite of up to eight people having noisy parties in the back garden – which means that I am loath to use my own garden though ‘garden’ is an exaggeration. More a back yard really.
Even the three boys in the middle of age range have become my friends and all chorus ‘Hello Mo!’ as they whizz past on their bikes. And now, when I tell them to stop destroying my front wall by digging out the cement with sticks – they stop. They love banging things, any things but especially the wheelie bins and though I have asked them why they enjoy banging they shrug and carry on. It has ceased to annoy me.
The eldest boy comes over the wall with rubber gloves and bags to clean up the Keisse evidence and the new baby is charming. ‘Our little princess!’ after five boys she is adored and the toddler is too busy copying the older boys in their banging and fighting to be jealous. All these people in a tiny house with lines full of washing and the lady of the house laughing infectious laughter that cheers me and always ready for a chat if I go out. I do admire her, much as I admired the last neighbour an Afghan woman with her own six kids. (I begin to wonder if I am a fertility deity) But she had daughters elected to help with cleaning.
I can’t imagine in my wildest nightmares having to feed and look after six kids. And true, I have encountered the two year old toddler in the road on one of his Houdini jobs, giggling and gurgling stick in hand, merrily banging of course. ‘Hello!’ he says as I turn him around and he happily makes his way home. And there always seems to be at least one boy off school but I have great conversations with the youngest of the boys. Conversations that reveal huge gaps in our shared experiences. The Afghan girls would speak of Jacqueline Wilson and lend me their books and their own writing was brilliant in one case. The boys don’t read as far as I know and I wonder if it is anything to do with gender or culture?
I conclude that I don’t know and I also realise that I am a nosey woman who enjoys watching – but I always knew that. What is new to me is the fact that I find I am fond of this crew and not just for facebook material and blogs, I like them and do hope they like me. I will keep in touch with them when they move. And not just for Keisse the dog.