EVERYBODY, according to the theme tune of the Aussie TV soap, needs good neighbours.
I’m not entirely sure about that.
We haven’t spoken to our next door neighbours for seven years. I don’t even know their names.
It all stems from a conversation the day after we moved in when, let’s call her, Mrs N told us that Mr N was from Kent and I jokingly replied “Never mind, someone has to be.”
It was meant in jest but clearly not taken that way. Never mind, at least they don’t complain when I play my old punk LPs too loud.
In the speedway world, of course, our neighbours are Newcastle Diamonds – and we’ve spent a little time in each other’s company over the past week.
But what sort of evening might we have had on Monday if they’d been a real family living next door to us?
OK, it’s a bit like one of those market research surveys where you get asked questions like “if this chocolate bar was a person, would you A) be his best friend; B) like him a bit; C) not take much notice of him; or D) want to take him outside and give him a good kicking?
But here’s my account of what Monday night up at Newcastle would have been like if the Diamonds and the Bears were individuals living next door to each other:
Well for a start they rang us up and said they couldn’t make it on the night we’d originally arranged to pop over.
The two youngest lads were away with their mates for the weekend apparently.
The neighbours reckoned they knew how much the two young ‘uns wanted to see us and that – but really they just wanted to sit back with a smirk of satisfaction as the precocious twosome showed off with their toys.
But the evening started well enough.
The neighbours sat us down, gave us tea and let us stroke the dog.
The biscuits stayed cellophane-wrapped for the whole night though, and once the tea pot was empty there was no way the kettle was going on again.
They humoured us for a while, which was nice. We began to get comfortable in our surroundings, made small talk and passed the time of day.
But after feigning interest in our tales of Torremolinos last summer they quickly became bored and made it clear they wanted shot of us ASAP.
So that was it. The rest of the night flashed by in a blur and before we knew it, we were heading out of the front door – the clinking of empty coffee cups being washed ringing in our ears.
We shook hands as we left and said we’d catch up again in a while. Hopefully Our Ulrich will be back from Denmark then too, so we’ll bring him along too.
If you want to read what actually happened, click here.