“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a neighbourhood made up of one moderately wide street, 22 semi-detached houses on either side with 22 adjoining driveways, an average of three vehicles and half a dog per property must have an abundance of goodwill amongst its occupants.
It is also a truth universally unacknowledged that this is not so.”
Lust & Prejudice
“Look, Harry. The new neighbours are moving in next door.”
“Hm? Ah, ok.”
“They’ve got a van, parked right across our drive. A big, white, ugly transit van. Great. That’s our neighbourhood spoiled then.”
“Is that all you’ve got to say? Hm, hm? Take a look at that horrible thing. You won’t like it. And, I can tell you now that the Joneses and Mellenforts won’t like it either.”
“My God, Jenny. Give them a chance, will you?”
“What chance is that then, Harry? Hey? They’re obviously peasants, with such a rust-covered, bumped out monstrosity. And, no manners. Parking across our drive like that. But, as usual. You take their side already. And you don’t even know them!”
Harry lowers his Sunday Times and watches his wife’s ample backside rushing out of the front room. He sighs and listens to her blowing her nose noisily in the kitchen.
There’s a knock on the front door. Before Harry can fold up his newspaper, he hears Jenny charging to open the door.
“Oh, hi. I’m Vicky. We’re just moving in next door. Pleased to meet you.” The tall and slim woman with long blond hair standing on the doorstep waves at Jenny and smiles.
“Ah. Hi, I’m Jenny. Nice to meet you too. I can see that you’ve got your hands full.” Jenny smiles stiffly and points to the van blocking her driveway.
“Actually, yes. I’ve come to ask a massive favour if you don’t mind.”
“Why would I mind?” Jenny laughs a bit too heartily. “What can I do for my new neighbours?” She clasps her hands together in front of her ample waist.
“Could we park our van in your drive for a little while? The moving company’s lorry will be here soon, and we need free access to our driveway.” Vicky points across the iron railings to the adjoining strip of tarmac, where a number of large cardboard boxes have already been stacked up in front of the open front door.
“Ahem. Yes. Let me just ask my husband if he’s happy with that. Just a moment.” Jenny closes the door halfway and leaves Vicky staring at the ornamental flower patterns covering the two glass panels of the white PVC door.
Having heard the exchange from the comfort of his large leather chair, Harry looks up dispassionately as his wife rushes towards him and hisses under her breath, “Say something. We can’t have this thing in our drive. What will the neighbours think?”
“That we are helpful to the new arrivals?” Harry shrugs his shoulders.
“Harry. For once, be serious! Get up. Tell her you have to wash your car soon or something like that. Come on!” Jenny starts pulling at his arm.
Harry shuffles his bulk to the edge of the seat, puts his paper on the floor and heaves himself up to standing.
Jenny is already back in position as Harry reaches the front door. “Good morning. I hear we have new arrivals in paradise.” He laughs at his own joke.
“Oh, haha, yes, hi. I was just asking your wife. Jenny isn’t it? I was asking if we could have the hire van in your drive for a little bit?” Vicky blushes as Harry appears to be fascinated by her chest area.
“Ahem. Unfortunately, I have to wash my car in 5 minutes. Sunday mornings, you know what it’s like. There’s no better time to do it.” Harry trails off and attempts to look as though he’s convinced by what he’s just said.
Vicky stares at him with round eyes and an awkward silence descends on the small group.
Suddenly, the van door opens and a tall, handsome man jumps out, beams and waves at them all from the top of the driveway. Harry and Jenny slowly raise their hands to return the gesture.
A blushing Jenny clears her throat. “But, Harry. You can wash your car another time, surely? Let Vicky and …?” She looks eagerly in the direction of her new neighbour at the top of the drive.
“Tom,” Vicky mumbles.
“Tom. Let Tom use the driveway. I’m sure he won’t need it for long.”
She pats Harry’s arm and smiles at Vicky. “We are a fabulous neighbourhood here, you will see. As they say, one hand washes the other.”
She laughs enthusiastically and lowers her head confidentially towards Vicky. “And, after all, we women have to stick together, don’t we?”
Caren is a qualified and experienced digital copy & content writer with both a corporate and small business owner background. She runs KreativeInc Agency, a web design, development and content creation agency with her autistic son Callum Gamble.
She specialises in creating Inbound Marketing content for business websites and blogs. Using her expert knowledge, skills and personal experience in business development, personal improvement and autism, she crafts content that makes people take action. Her work is found in retail publications, professional websites, on her writer’s platform StoryBlog and more.
She is also an active advocate of neurodiversity in the workplace and co-founder of the NeuroPool network, neuropool.co.uk. Here, she is organising free educational workshops for employers on how to utilise the extraordinary talent found in people with autism, ADHD, dyspraxia and dyslexia within their business.
When she isn’t typing away on her keyboard or spreading her mission, you can see her having her nose buried in a book or hiking up and down the steep hills of the Yorkshire countryside with her husband, son and daughter.
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