When I moved, I figured that for once I intended to stay put for a long time, so I might as well do the neighbourly thing and get to know my neighbours.
Not that I’d been unfriendly to previous neighbours. Well okay, maybe if they deserved it. But neither had I gone out of my way to get to know them.
So as I met the new neighbours, I wrote some notes, not in a creepy stalky kind of a way, but just so I could try and remember their names, so I could greet them by name when running into them on the street, and so I could send them Christmas cards once a year.
This year the people who live behind my house, Jeff and Sonia, got in first with a card, so I got busy last week and sent them to all of my neighbours — six houses in all.
Because I know the people by sight but not terribly well otherwise, I dug out the notes, hoping they were all correct. There were some gaps, but if you know one name, you can get away with “Dear X and family”.
After a couple of days, replies have all come back.
Bob and Val always wave from across the street, and their reply came in first.
Joan’s card had a stamp, which I thought was unusual. It turns out she’s in hospital for Christmas, after having a fall. Shame.
Glenn, Rosie, Grace and William sent a picture drawn by one of the kids, and noted in their card: PS. Hope Santa brings more trains, buses and bicycle tracks, which I liked.
I misspelt Ann’s name with an errant E, but seemed to have got Gary’s name right.
And the last card back? Well I had two of the kids’ names right. I knew they had another older boy, but they also appear to have a fourth child I’ve never seen. Or maybe they have twin boys and I’ve never seen them both together? Dunno.
And I thought the mum was Gail. Or possibly Gayle. In their card back it’s clear that she’s called Fiona. My notes (and presumably my memory when I wrote my notes) have led me astray. How embarrassing. But they don’t seem to mind.
I suppose it’s the thought that counts.
Hope everybody reading, and your friends, family and neighbours have a good Christmas. No matter what your name is.