On the Market: Nothing says ‘home’ like a gurning topless neighbour

Rachel Love

Rachel Love - Credit: Archant

Hoorah! It looks as though the search for a new home has come to a standstill. Talk of moving has fallen into eerie silence and there is only one thing for me to do: Make the most of it.

Yesterday I thought I’d go for a long walk around the neighbourhood - if I’m eventually going to be leaving I want to make sure I soak up as much of the place as possible.

I tried to conjure up memories, glancing at neighbour’s houses as I strolled, taking a seat at the parade and watching village life plod along as usual.

I hated it here as a child, there was nowhere to go and nothing to do. The patients of a nearby mental health care home scared me and the elderly neighbours would keep me in conversation for, what felt like, hours.

Isn’t it funny how you can grow to love the most horrible aspects of somewhere?

There’s a house on one of the lanes that oozes “drug den”, with whiffs of marijuana sent floating down to the lake, a pothole the size of the infamous St Albans sinkhole, the village drunk that leers at passers-by and mumbles obscenities to himself, the house with a skip permanently stationed in the drive, the human poo outside the train station. There’s something faintly loveable about them, familiar.

Now, when I think of the word ‘familiar’ I don’t necessarily want images of human poo and drunkards to crop up, but there is comfort in knowing that they are there. Do you have these too?

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Obviously there are good things as well. There’s the neighbour that knew me as an 11 year-old, the postman that writes us a Christmas card every year, the long route along the lake where families splash about in the summer.

So what if there is a man across the road who likes to strim his lawn at 6 o’clock on a Saturday morning? Who cares if the old bloke on the corner gurns while standing topless on the drive? Or if there’s a slightly unhinged woman that likes to jump out of bushes on the common? All of these things make this place home.

Yesterday I strolled past the pothole, I waved to an elderly lady who calls me Susan, I inhaled the tinge of Sweet Mary Jane in the air. It’s not perfect, but it’s home.

Sometimes I think we would all be a lot happier if we embraced the oddities and found the silver lining. I hated it here as a child, but now I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

The saga continues...