The daily anxieties of modern life …
Two houses have gone up for sale in your vicinity. Though not sorry to see the back of Number 12 – a passive aggressive nosy parker – fleetingly wonder if you are the problem.
You’ve always been friendly and polite, though have never subscribed to the popping-in-for-a-cup-of-sugar school of neighbours.
Covertly watch removal men install Number 12. Quite clearly she is one of those – white kitchen, natural linen sofas and Luke Irwin rugs. Irish weather does not lend itself to such a decor scheme without live-in help.
As you have not yet met over the garden fence, decide to leave a card and small gift (homemade Ottolenghi pistachio biscotti) on the doorstep to say hello.
These remain in situ for 24 hours. Decide to remove in dead of night as biscotti will either attract squirrels or have gone soggy – not a good start.
As you approach, you hope there is no hidden camera picking up your (second best) dressing gown. Best dressing gown is kept for birthday breakfasts.
Before you can replace welcome offering, new neighbour pops a card in your letterbox with notification she (Helen) is changing to gas. There will be extensive drilling and roadworks.
The renamed Hellish Helen is repainting her house purple, rendering your Gustavian blue frontage anaemic. Wonder if planting a fast-growing wisteria will “marry” the two exteriors?
You finally meet when you are at peak post-shopping frazzlement. HH announces she has plans to hardscape the back garden, as hubby Henry hates the crazy paving.
Ruefully invite them over for drinks on your crazy-paved patio. Ponder if it’s time to escape to the country? Call an estate agent for a valuation and return to musing over paint finishes.
Illustration: Becky Donnelly
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