They say moving house is one of the major stress points in life.
I’m not moving, but my neighbours are and it’s me fa’s in a state nae half. By my side for 14 years, they’ve been a wonderful help whenever I needed it; a comfort just knowing they’re there.
Next strikes my high anxiety about who might buy the place – visions of a family of rampant toddlers, teenagers and dogs. Ken ‘is, to my shame I was actually pretty damnt angry when they told me they were selling up. How could they leave me like this? Selfish Mo had a wee greet. As a regular house-mover, I know only too well how important the folks next door can be.
Over the years I’ve had ‘em all. Like the guy we ca’d the Mad Chopper, who decimated his beautiful seven-foot hedge – the perfect screen between our gardens – within days of us moving in. Because he wanted to be super sociable? Uh-uh. He barely spoke.
Elsewhere, next to a pigeon fancier. Apart from the constant doo-doos, every dawn they’d flap up to my bedroom flat roof, there to perform some ritual which sounded for all the world like the tap-dancing cast of 42nd Street. If onybody asked: “Foo’s yer doos?” I’d respond: “Aye tappin’.”
Moving on, the brilliant gadgie who, hearing my scraiks, came to my rescue when a gigantic goose from Walker Dam across the road took up residence in my back garden and flew, squawking, at me every time I tried to shoosh it oot.
The president next door
As for the departing mannie next door, he’s seen this al’ dame in distress so many times. He’s been my plumber when the kitchen tap gushed apart, flooding the kitchen. My burglar when I’ve been locked out, deftly removing a pane of glass from the back door. My security advisor, erecting sturdy locked gates – for free!
Mind you, he’s nae perfect. Like that day just before their wedding when he set fire to a hedge with his flame torch, black smoke belching into the room with the wedding gowns. The first I knew about it was when I spotted fire fighters’ helmets bobbing along the top of our side fence.
I’m lucky. There’s also a lovely couple on the other side, so maybe I’ll start going to them when I’m in a pickle. I suspect he – a bit of a Bill Clinton lookie-likie – thinks I’m an odd sort of craiter, having caught me at a pucklie embarrassing moments.
For example, when I know my gardeners are due, I nip out early to unlock the side gate, then back to bed. No need for a dressing gown because the dividing fence is high. However, there I was the other day, just in my goonie, hair akimbo, tottering to the back gate, when I heard a noise from aloft.
Wid ye credit it? Bill Clinton on his roof, scraping moss. I don’t know if he caught a full view of my loveliness, nor indeed whether he saw me at all. I just turned and fled. All I can pray is that he didn’t hear my frightened little departing parp-parps.