Let me tell you the Story of my Neighbour

photo of Pigeon

I live in a small terraced house in a quiet part of the city. I have a studio at the bottom of my back garden. I spend most of my time there.  Next door there’s an old woman who rarely leaves the house. On the other side, there’s an old couple whose family has grown up and moved away. She’s quiet. He thinks I should paint nice landscapes and forget about all that ‘modern stuff’.  So I have very little interaction with the neighbours on either side of me.

I was invited recently by Rachelle Viader Knowles of the University of Regina, Canada, to take part in an international project on the theme of relationships between neighbours.  This is a comparative study of our everyday social lives, posing the question of how we as individuals navigate the boundaries and complex relationships that surround us in our homes.  This type of project would fall under the category of  “Relational Aesthetics”. I’ll have more news about it at a later date…

But then, who is my neighbour?  I have some neighbours who visit me every day, and some who visit from time to time. They might drop in unannounced at any time during the daylight hours. I thought of inviting them to a meal but they’re shy so instead, I leave food out for them on the patio.

I think they appreciate it. I sometimes hear them singing in the garden!  There’s a Blackbird who has made its nest nearby. He has a lovely song!  There’s a Blackcap who likes apples and also, my special fatballs. The Greenfinches and Chaffinches prefer my sunflower seeds. Then there’s the Blue tits, Great tits and Coal tits, and there’s Pigeons – they’re the most boisterous, and they make a mess. One of them has discovered how to extract peanuts from the little bird feeder.

A Heron and a Hooded Crow dropped by the other day to see what all the fuss was about…

photo of Pigeon




    • A friend of mine died in Germany early this morning. He was a kind man, with a warm glow, and he knew more about and cared more about important things in my life than some of my physically-located neighbours. When chatting about him today, someone here told me about an old man they knew, who lived next door to their Mam and Dad. After he was widowed in the 70’s, my friend’s Dad said to him, you are welcome in our house, always. And each night for 30 years, after the 9 o’clock news, the next door neighbour would arrive in, have the cuppa and the chat, and would stay till 11.15. Real kindness, real neighbours.


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