Are you a bad neigh­bour

A friend’s neigh­bour once left the hand­brake of his 4WD off while he dashed back into his house to grab some­thing, writes

The Invercargill Eye - - BACKYARD BANTER -

My friend watched through my lounge win­dow as the neigh­bour’s gi­ant ve­hi­cle rolled across their shared drive­way, right into the back of her sta­tion wagon. Then she saw him look around to make sure no one was watch­ing and drive away like noth­ing had hap­pened.

An­other of her neigh­bours owns an ob­nox­iously loud V8 that he revs up ev­ery morn­ing be­fore 7.30am.

The car roars in and out of their drive­way mul­ti­ple times be­fore 9am when its owner fi­nally goes to work. The same thing hap­pens at the end of ev­ery day – the owner ar­rives home and is then in and out ev­ery half hour un­til roughly 10:30pm.

Get­ting a baby to sleep amidst the con­stant dis­rup­tion is nearly im­pos­si­ble.

My friend and her fam­ily moan about their bad neigh­bours daily. But last week they asked them­selves the fol­low­ing ques­tion: If we think they’re bad, could they think we’re bad too?

How do you think you stack up? Ask your­self:

Do you know the names of your neigh­bours? Do you make a habit of mow­ing your lawns at 7:30am on a Satur­day, or hold­ing reg­u­lar rau­cous par­ties? Do you steal fruit off your neigh­bour’s trees (even if it hangs over onto your side)?

Com­mu­ni­ties are much nicer to live in when neigh­bours com­mu­ni­cate. Maybe your neigh­bour doesn’t re­alise their V8 is as loud as it is. Maybe they don’t know that ba­bies live next door, or that you look for­ward to Satur­day sleep-ins. Per­haps all it would take is a friendly ‘how are you go­ing?’ and a ca­sual men­tion about the noisy ve­hi­cle?

Let’s make a con­certed ef­fort to make our neigh­bour­hoods friend­lier. In­tro­duce your­self to your neigh­bours and in­vite them over for a cuppa (or a beer­sie). Think about the noise you’re mak­ing and mow the lawns af­ter 10am on the week­end. If you’re hav­ing a bit of a shindig – pop over to the neigh­bours and give them a heads up – or send them a mes­sage on Neigh­ In­stead of driv­ing around your neigh­bour’s re­cy­cling bin, bring it in for them. And if you’re a wiz in the kitchen, of­fer to turn the fruit that’s hang­ing over onto your side of the fence into jam for both of you.

Th­ese lit­tle ‘acts of kind­ness’ might seem in­con­se­quen­tial, but can be the first step when it comes to build­ing con­nected neigh­bour­hoods.

Neigh­bours are much like fam­ily; you don’t get to choose them, you just get handed them. With that in mind, let’s all go out of our way to be good neigh­bours, not the ones that peo­ple peer at through cracks in their cur­tains.

Get to know your neigh­bour – it could make life a lot eas­ier for all con­cerned.

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