Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Everybody needs good neighbours

In September there is a village outing - two nights in a rambling, old fashioned hotel in Woolacombe. Parlour games, communal meals and swimming. Blog heaven. But for the second year running, we are going to miss it. Last year we were on holiday and this year it's Number One Daughter's wedding. If I were paranoid, I could be forgiven for thinking the timing was deliberate.

But I am not paranoid, which is just as well because two sets of neighbours either side of us have 'sold' signs like bookends on their houses. Is it us? Mr Loggins thinks not. He turned sage on Sunday when he said: 'The fact they've both sold means there are people who actually want to come and live next to you.'

We are pleased our neighbours have sold in a so-called bad housing market but sorry they are leaving. They are village 'lifeblood' people and the square and our community will miss them. They will be a hard act to follow. Our elderly neighbour Gandalf is the wisest man I know. Our growing children were convinced he was a wizard, particularly after I told them the sound of his Flymo was really a hi-tech flying carpet.

I first became aware of his superpowers seven years ago when the square was to be the venue for a street party to mark the Queen's golden jubilee. The skies were black and we were all sure it was going to be a wash-out.

Gandalf emerged from his front door like one of those little people who go in when it's raining.

'What do you think the weather's going to do Gandalf?' I asked.

'At three o'clock, the sun will be shining,' he said.

At about 30 seconds to three, the clouds parted and the rays burst through as if we were in a Disney film.

I almost did a Wayne's World-style 'we are not worthy' at Gandalf's feet. It was a couple of years later I discovered he regularly listened to the weather forecast on the Radio 4 Farming Today programme. So it was the power of the BBC rather than the power of magic.

I wish him well in his new home. Which reminds me of a lovely song that comes courtesy of my Number One Son iPod playlist.

Here's the live version. Hope you enjoy it.

That's about it
Love Maddie x


  1. Hello honey...sorry been awol in Norfolk recently!! Ooh I don't like it when neighbours go either- we had fab ones who used to feed our cat when we were away and then they emigrated to the States. We got all their furniture when they left though - so maybe they'll be something for you from Gandolf! Hope so x

  2. I'm sure you're perfectly fine as a neighbour, Maddie, and I don't think you should be at all paranoid just because the neighbourhood is emptying around you and those left are choosing dates for fun times based on your unavailability! Really.
    I'm sure you'll miss your own Gandolf - we only have old trolls..the kind with warts, not the wise, kind ones.
    The music was heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

  3. Will be interesting to see who moves in.

  4. Lovely music.
    Neighbours, eh?
    No,you're not paranoid just a terrible shame you're going to miss out on a really good time for a second year. Wedding will be good though???What's the date? Bethan and Matt's is the 6th of Sept.

  5. Mmm, a gift from Gandalf, MT? I would like magic powers please.
    Pondside, glad you liked the music. I listen to my iPod when I can, otherwise the neighbours might complain because it's too loud!
    Gail, it's going to be an interesting time, that's for sure.
    Jude, the wedding is on Sept 5 so we will have to compare notes. I have already told Number One Daughter to expect a speech - from me!

  6. Oh, God!!
    Considering I've just made the invites you'd think I'd get the bloody date right......aaaaaaaaaaagghh!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Start again..guess what? my daughter is getting married on the 5th Sept!
    I'm going to do a reading ( I've been so lucky, I asked Cait for pieces and she came up with 7 beautiful poems/words within an hour. Whether I'll be able to get the words out without blubbling is another thing. Bethan asked me to give her away, but I've left that to Gareth, her brother.
    There may be a speech by me but I think I'll keep that quiet for now.
    Don't want to spoil surprises....
    Excited about Ithaca?? Loads of skinny dipping, I hope???

  7. Very beautiful music - is that Anthony from the Johnsons?

  8. Your next lot of neighbours might be even better, so look on the bright side.

  9. Jude
    well fancy that, what a coincidence. Number One Daughter is organising everything herself so I'm keeping out the way.
    Cait, it's a guy called Patrick Watson, singing and playing the piano for The Cinematic Orchestra. But I know what you mean, the voice is similar.
    CK - yes, I should look on the bright side. But they have been pretty good, as neighbours go, and more like friends really.


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