Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…

…are the lyrics to the title song of an Australian soap. Well, I assume most know that.

I am not sure whether it is still running or not, I have never actually watched it. I tried when I first visited the UK for longer, 1995 I stayed with Lucy and her family and during my exchange year 1996/97 I spent half term and long weekends with them. Lucy and her Mum are the reason I speak English as well as I do. They were so patient in teaching me, and so lovingly supportive. They were and somehow still are my English family.

Lucy was addicted to watching Neighbours and Home and Away, another Aussie soap. I tried to watch it with her a few times but gave up quickly, the accent was impossible for me to understand.

Anyway, somehow that melody is associated in my brain with my first steps in England and it popped into my mind when I took my last steps there.

Dave, my 70-year-old neighbour welled up when I said good bye. He I had known since before I moved in and he was always the most lovely and helpful person you could imagine. A true Cockney working class builder, still getting up for work at 4.30am six times a week, with a heart of gold. Whenever my extensive tool box wasn’t enough he’d help out and he’d keep an eye on things when I was on holidays.

The night before I left a neighour from two houses down came by, I never knew her name as we only occasionally spoke across the fence, and she brought me a self baked cake. “You’ve got such a long journey to drive, I thought you might need a snack on the way.” Bless her.

And then Kasha, my Polish neighbour, who I haven’t known for long but quickly felt fairly close to, invited me for lunch on my last day before I drove off. Amongst her family, three kids who climbed all over me as if I were a playground on many occasions, her husband and parents who don’t really speak English, I probably had the best last lunch there I could imagine. She even packed me left overs for the drive. It was lovely.

I really had good neighbours.

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