Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Well, what a week!! A week in which I've been reflecting on what it is to be a neighbour.
We've decided to call the spangle 'Molly'. My apologies to anyone out there called, or related to a Molly, but the name really suits her. At the Shrewsbury Folk Festival last year we met some Molly Dancers called 'Black Dyke Molly'. They were very friendly camping neighbours who dressed in black with flashes of white, which is exactly how the spangle's coat looks. So there we are, she's called Molly.
At the weekend my next door neighbour and I built a run for her. Our garden is insecure due to upcoming building work, so she now has a safe, 70 square metre area big enough for a horse!
It was a pleasure to work with my neighbour. He is a multi talented man who has a tool and an idea for everything. Without his help, I'm not sure I could have built it so quickly and robustly, if at all. When he came round for sunday dinner, it put me in mind of how communities used to be - neighbours helping neighbours and accepting nothing more as payment than a place at table and the fellowship that comes from that. We regularly hear on the news the phrase 'close knit communities'. I've doubted for some time if, with the rise of television, commuting, cheap supermarket alcohol and dwindling church attendances, such things exist outside of soap operas. I think if I have a new year resolution, it has to be to pay more attention to the needs of my neighbours.


  1. We all lead such busy lives don't we, Dean, that we barely have time to glance around us at the things that really matter. I was mortified when I read in the Shropshire Star about the two elderly women who died from hypothermia over the recent cold snap. Where were their neighbours? Their families? It's so sad but a clear indication of where our society is - mostly every man for themself.

    We don't know those who live around us - we don't know the more vunerable members of our communities who may struggle for whatever reason - we never find the time or make the effort to seek these paople out and offer our help. It's tragic, it really is. But then we are all so suspicious of each other aren't we.

    Not sure what will change that.

    I hope Molly is settling in well and is happy with her new run.

    Julie xx

  2. My mother lives about 90 miles away so it is difficult to pop round.
    Thankfully she has some great neighbours who take her shopping each week and pop round for a chat.
    Mum has also spoken of people who normally just pass by who, since the snowfalls, have been popping in to ask if she needs anything.
    I think it is because my mum spends time looking out of the window at the times when she knows people will be passing by. She waves to parents and children on their way to school and generally takes an interest in what is going on. It passes the day. Since she no longer goes out alone the days are long.
    When she isn't at the window people notice her absence.
    Now, if it were me, I would definitely be unnoticed. I am a real loner in many ways. I'll struggle to do things myself and never ask for help. That's just the way I am.
    I can't see myself waving to passers by or ringing the doctor to pop round to collect some sweets for her children, which is what my mum does.
    She even had some random builders make her a wall once, started out as a simple request for a spare bucket of sand, next thing they knew they were humping bricks across to her and building a patio wall.
    I think times have changed, we are all less involved with others. There are few milkmen, people don't go to pubs, the post offices are closing, the heart is being ripped out of the place.This makes it even harder for those who are vulnerable in our society.
    But, thank goodness, there will always be survivors.

  3. Sue, that is a really touching story and I thank you for it.