Back in Sandhurst, although we lived in a small cul-de-sac, we only knew about half the other people in the street, and out of those we were only really friendly with our immediate neighbours on one side. When we bought our house up here we made an effort to go round to all the other houses in the immediate neighbourhood that we knew about to introduce ourselves. We discovered there were a few more houses we hadn't known about when Ray and Janet, from the bungalow further up the hill on the other side of the river, stopped when they were passing to say hello. People wave when they go past in cars - and occasionally even complete strangers have stopped for a chat when they have seen the dogs. It is amazing how many people used to own greyhounds, whippets or just used to go to dog races.
Ray and Janet have been very good to me and my garden, a steady supplier of plants from when we first moved up here for good. Frequently when we walk past with the dogs they are waiting for us on our way back for a chat and to enquire whether I would like some x for my garden. We have also been provided with rhubarb and apples.
We have become good friends with Anne and Neil from 'the big house'. They now keep chickens, and we have had a good supply of eggs. We have also shared some gardening catalogues, which means we have taken advantage of the special offers and postage savings. Anne lent me her jam pan which meant that I didn't have Paul standing over me worrying about spilling sugary goo onto his hob for my last couple of batches of jam/jelly. Paul has set up their website for them - they are hoping to holiday-let their renovated basement flat - www.blanernehouse.com
We often see old John and Mary, who own a farm at Edrom, when we are out and about. They sell their own potatoes and Paul went and bought a couple of stones (imperial measurement - not small rocks) at the end of last week. We also got given another bag of apples. We should not need to buy any for quite a while now as long as they keep okay.
My main part in the community spirit has been distributing jars of jam - although I still have enough to keep us supplied until next autumn! I have also been seed collecting from my garden and should have a quite a few packets to give away. It was a particularly good year for giant poppies - all the better as they were self-sown and just sprouted up in all the areas I had cleared along the bottom of the long bank.
Well, I'd better get back out to the garden now. This looks like it might be the last good day for a while now, and I want to be ready when the new plants I have ordered arrive...
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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