Neighbours

“Neighbours,
Everybody needs good neighbours.
With a little understanding you can find the perfect blend.

Neighbours,
Should be there for one-another
That’s when good neighbours become good friends.”

From the theme tune for “Neighbours” probably inadvertently sung by all of us at one point or another…

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Living in a city can be exciting, but it can also be lonely.  I’ve lived in five different properties in Edinburgh over the past 14 years.  How well did I know any of my neighbours?  Some of the best friendships I made were in the stairwell of my first property purchase, a humble little traditional one bed flat off Dalry Road.  There I found real community in the older folks who’d stayed in the area all their days and could recite all the changes and the people and places and how well Hearts had played in any particular season.  It was mixed with young professionals, just out of Uni or trying to get onto the property ladder.  The flat had a boiler that constantly broke down and a carbon monoxide reading that is frightening with hindsight, yet, I have such fond memories of my time there.

Our latest home also has some of the best neighbours we’ve known.  I love the discussions and laughs we have and the evenings we’ve spent in one another’s homes chatting well past the wee small hours about life, death, the universe and plenty of childish antics.  I enjoy the constant activity in the driveway as campervans and mountain bikes and motor bikes get stripped down and rebuilt.  We seem to operate a barter economy where any favours done for one another are paid for in red wine, produce from one another’s vegetable plots or offers of complimentary curries from Edinburgh’s best take away which is just across the road.

This week alone our neighbours have: assisted my parents in selling their car; advised me on which new bike to purchase for my commute to work (and eased my conscience about buying a new bike rather than trying to modify my 15 year old bike); offered to jointly undertake to get quotes for sorting out our crumbling shared drive-way and excavating our front gardens; taken my creaking 15 year old bike out of my garage and tuned it up, serviced it and returned it with some advice for future use…

Jesus said to “love your neighbour as yourself.”  Now, I know that that doesn’t just relate to whoever lives next door  – but, surely, it starts with the people we have regular contact with.  Who has shown that example more this week – us or them?

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