While you read this column, hopefully with a cup a tea that someone else has made you, I would like to wish you a Happy Wednesday. For those of us lucky enough not to work on the weekend, it’s hump day. After slogging uphill through the beginning of the week, Wednesday marks midweek and the start of the gentle downhill jog towards the weekend.
I have always liked Wednesdays but this week is a special one for my family as we are finally moving into our new home in Eastbourne. Hooray, I hear you cheer. Maybe now he’ll stop rambling on about moving house. It’s a deal.
Moving has got me thinking about what makes a good neighbour. We have left behind a kind and friendly bunch in South London. Saying hello in the street, being interested in– but not interfering with - each other’s lives, offering advice and small favours, occasional social invites for a beer or a glass of wine or two. On the other side of the coin, we have also been lucky not to have any nosey parkers (sometimes neighbourhood watch can go too far!), anyone who has objected to the behavior of our two boisterous boys or anyone dealing crack on our street (except perhaps for the few days every year of the ironically named Lambeth Country Show).
We’ve left some lovely people behind. Ieuen and Peter who voluntarily look after the very elderly and frail Helen at Number 92. Roger and Sarah who kept an eye on our house and fed our cat for months after we moved out. Jemma, one of our lovely friends, who texted my wife a few days ago to say she shed a tear passing our old house a few days ago. In truth, my wife, the boys and I have all shed the odd tear of sadness in the last few months. Though there are some people we won’t miss, like the otherwise quite nice family who regularly fly-tipped their bulky rubbish by a wall opposite our house.
We never complained about the fly-tipping neighbours. In fact, we occasionally took their dumped white goods to the council tip (sorry, recycling centre) ourselves. I am not sure why we didn’t complain. I was tempted to do so once or twice. But, on balance, I believe that it’s better to fix things than complain about them. Better to get things done, or suggest solutions than make problems for other people. That said, if any of my new neighbours are reading this I am not a soft touch!
As for more important issues, the design day for the new Wish Tower Restaurant is now set for 31st March with local architects lined up to help run the event (details at www.eastbournecan.com). Good news that the Council has promised to support the event and to use the outputs from the design day to inform the planning brief for the new permanent structure. In the meantime, it seems likely that the Council will invite bids for a temporary cafe on the site until a developer can be found. The Wish Tower debate isn’t the hottest topic in my family. Our great debate is whether or not to get a dog. I grew up with a family mongrel but my wife has never been keen. Now I sense she is relenting but I am not sure myself. On the verge of success in my 10 year campaign to convince my wife, I’m not sure I want a life of dirty paws on the furniture, arguments about walks and being refused entry to cafes and pubs. As usual, when success confronts me I am having a wobble.
I dare you to say Happy Wednesday to a friend, neighbour or work colleague. They might think you are odd but it will probably make them smile.
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