The Gnome and I: Adventures in First Time Home Ownership – Epsiode 4

The Gnome and I: Adventures in First Time Home Ownership – Epsiode 4
Meeting the Neighbours

Episode 1      Episode 2      Episode 3

Luck of the draw, bad karma; all the places I had ever rented in cities were rife with noisy, inconsiderate neighbours.  Very much like the ones in the Rolling Stones song  of the same name.    If one is renting, one can move.  But as a homeowner, you are rather stuck with whomever owns the properties bordering yours.  So I was a bit apprehensive about meeting my neighbours here in the country.

Henri did a bit of covert spying but did not acquire any intel of value.  (He was of the opinion that the leaves he attached to his hat made good camouflage as well as a fashion statement.)

Henri the Spy
Agent Henri

I had already experienced serious unfriendliness from the woman living at the property directly behind mine.  My several attempts at communicating had been soundly rebuffed so I wasn’t sure what else to expect.  I wasn’t too keen on meeting the ones with noisy dogs on the other side of my property.  I was pleasantly surprised by the couple directly next door.

I met Dan and Jane one sunny day as I was hanging the laundry on my newly installed clothesline.  They were a lovely, elderly couple who found me rather comical.  (Little did they know I was half-mermaid with a guard gnome.)

It seemed Henri was not the only one with keen powers of observation!
Dan and Jane remarked that I was the only one in the neighbourhood who hung laundry outside.  (I was living in the country. Air is clean and free; why waste money on an electric clothes dryer?)

I was spotted several times on the main road using my own shopping cart instead of a car.  (I don’t have a car.)
cartI wear my hair in braids like Pippi Longstocking. (Like other mermaids, my hair is waist-length and everywhere I went people commented on it.  Apparently ‘women of a certain age’ wear their hair short.   Not happening.)

One of their friends wondered if I belonged to a religious cult as most of my attire is black.  (I’m from the city; light-coloured clothing on public transportation does not fare well.  Should I be expecting a visit from Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General?)

They took it upon themselves to teach me about living in the country.  My clothes apparently ran the gamut from too elaborate to weird.  “Who knows?” I countered.  “I may become a fashion trendsetter!”
“No, people will just think you are a bit off”, they said.  (Well, it won’t be the first time and certainly won’t be the last.  Better to be labelled ‘strange’ rather than the village idiot.)

They thought it was hilarious that I locked my doors when I was merely going next door to their house.  In the city we locked the doors at all times.  I once lived in a building in which we locked our doors to go down the corridor to deposit rubbish in the chute. The place was routinely burgled so precaution was necessary.

When I visited Dan and Jane, I rang the bell and waited to be invited in.  They insisted I should walk right in, whenever.  (Other than Kramer, who routinely burst into Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment, I had never known a visitor to enter someone’s space in the city without knocking .)

They were amazed that I had gotten rid of the screen door in the front and had the contractor install an iron security door.  He had never heard of a security door.  My front door, original to the house, is all glass panes and thin wood.  Perhaps I watch too many crime dramas and read too many murder mysteries.  But I knew if I, a person with no criminal experience, could break in less than 30 seconds; so could a burglar. I also had him put security bars on the windows in the basement and the back door.  Apparently another first.  Which led Dan and Jane to believe I was safeguarding a fortune until I explained I had never lived on the ground floor on my own.  Now when I heard strange sounds in the night, I was confident it was not burglars.  (Just wild animals, ghosts or a wayward werewolf.)

Dan showed me how to use some hand tools so I could fix things myself and gave me all sorts of tips. Such as rolling the garden hose up after use and keeping it off the concrete step so it would last longer.  Jane had an array of talents that included sewing, painting and baking.  She often sent over home-made treats.

Dan and Jane became real friends for which I was very grateful.  They were in poor health so if heavy things needed lifting or they wanted assistance with anything I was happy to do so.  They were kind enough to show me some of the surrounding countryside.  We went to a nearby apple orchard and to some farm stands for fresh vegetables.  I could never work out where we were as all the country roads looked the same to me, which always gave Dan a chuckle.  If they had errands to run they asked if I wanted to tag along and we often went grocery shopping.

When the I invited them over to see how I was progressing with the house, Henri hid in a cupboard.
Henri in cupboard

To be continued!


  1. I’m sure Henri would have liked to meet them! Maybe not so much the other way round, though…

    I live in a small village with practically no crime, but when I go inside I lock the door and set the perimeter alarm…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you MM I have extremes of neghbours, one wonderful and the other crazy. I’m too conservative to be odd and talk to a gnome …….. “Isn’t that right China Cat ?” lol 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you found a nice couple to help you acclimate to rural living. We live on a dirt road and are very dependent on our neighbors. They take care of our chickens and Buster (our dog) when we are out of town, bring us fresh things from their gardens, and we do the same.

    I’ve lived in town and quickly found it was not for me. You and Henri will soon fit in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a fun read! It’s so nice that you have those lovely neighbours…who bring you treats, and teach you how to use power tools…or whatever. 🙂 Couple of notes:
    1) I have the exact same cart! (No car since last year when I retired – sold car so I could *afford* to retire!
    2) I love Henri’s idea of camouflage! LOL.
    3) I think that even though I live in a city, I have country naivete. I don’t lock my door when I go down to the laundry room. I live in a building that has 90 apartments. My daughter was aghast when she discovered this. OMG, you don’t lock your door?! Horrors. But it’s been 12 years and, well. all is still standing. Yikes. My mom would’ve said I just tempted “the fates.” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you! 🙂
    re: 3–I’ve lived in two buildings in which the superintendents regularly let themselves in with passkeys for no apparent reason. They never fixed anything! I could always tell when someone had been there. And once one of them forgot to relock the door! I trust no one! 😉


  6. Oh you are funny. Manifold questions, points and other curios.
    I’ve never heard that Rolling Stones song which slightly amazes me. Clearly not a true fan!
    Sister – I’m with you and Henri drying your washing outside and using the trolley. Those country folk are plain nuts.
    Matthew Hopkins made me larf – I’ve got that film but it freaked me out so much first time I can’t rewatch it!!!
    Shame cos it’s beautifully filmed and shows a slice of England that’s all but disappeared 😀
    And you’re right about Kramer. No-one does that. I suspect these country bumpkins just make all ths stuff up to freak newcomers out. I refuse to believe anyone on the planet lives these ways now. They sound a bit rude talking about your clothes that way. I bet they feel threatened by your hi tec ways is what it is.
    Also, if I lived in a town populated entirely by clones of me, and I was sharing a house with myself and one of me popped out to get some milk, I’d still lock the damn door! It’s just good door etiquette!!!
    If they give you any more crap, I’m parachuting in to set them straight with some proper wicker man pagan guerrilla tactics.
    Also, if I were in your shoes, I’d take the exact same security precautions. I think it’s very sensible. What have you got to lose. Apart from cobbled street cred.
    And the Henri pictures! Hilarious.

    Oh and , er, you don’t live in California per chance do you?

    Liked by 1 person

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