Monday, November 17, 2014

A Neighbour's Goodbye

Our neighbours in Balaclava some 14 years ago for about 8 years were Mr and Mrs Zile, pronounced Zeel, I believe. I think they were born in Latvia or was in Lithuania, and Mrs Zile had worked at a post office or mail sorting place. Her English was better than her husband's and they were a pleasant old couple who I would describe as good neighbours but never forceful.

Her welcome to us when we moved there amused us and imagine it said in a heavy European accent, 'Welcome to you both. If you need anything, please ask us. We like to help people. But do not ask us for money. We do not have any money, but please, ask us for anything else but money.' Mr Zile was the person who kept an eagle eye on the street and if mail needed collecting or bins bringing in from the street, he was the person to ask.

Generally the neighbours in the street were terrific. Everyone knew each other by name and it was certainly an eclectic mix and no one quite fitted the category of what you would call normal.

This piece of her own work was given to us by Mrs Zile when we left. I came across it the other day and I decided to scan it, but as it is on A3 paper, I had to have two cracks at it. The person referred to as collecting animal welfare signatures was Gloria and she was always to be seen collecting signatures in either Carlisle Street or Acland Street. She was a very 'interesting character' with a colourful past, well a colourful present too back then. Her pet when we left the street was a rat, always snuggled under her jumper or on her shoulder. I could write rather a lot about Gloria....one day. 


18 comments:

  1. AH neighbours they are like family some good some bad but mostly just a bit odd.
    Merle.............

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merle, we have been fairly lucky with neighbours over the years.

      Delete
  2. Andrew, it lovely letter and definitely you have had great neighbours. When I was a child relationship among people were very friendly I have remembered a lot of funny and cheerful meetings my parents with their neighbours in the afternoons and they were plating cards or chess drinking alcohol and so on.. But it was before 1990 when it was communism. Now where there is democracy situation is completely differently the main goal for everybody is money and work. Nobody has time for meeting and my neighbours are completely anonymous for me. All are very busy..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia, but even us without communism have experienced the same. The world has changed and in some ways not for the better.

      Delete
  3. A lovely letter and very nice handwriting, easy to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good River, I did wonder how readable it would be on a screen.

      Delete
  4. It is a lovely letter - and she sounds like someone I would really, really like to sit and have a cuppa with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, yet we never did that and only ever had a chat at the front gate. Their history might have been very interesting to know.

      Delete
  5. Wow! That is wonderful. And yes, like River I noticed and like the hand-writing. Lovely neighbors they must have been.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackie, puts our handwriting to shame, well mine anyway. There were very pleasant neighbours.

      Delete
  6. Ha! normal! Who is normal? The more colourful and exotic, the better :)

    I like knowing the families in the houses on each side and over the road. I cannot imagine living in a country where people moved home every couple of years and there was no on-going relationship between neighbours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hels, eventually Balaclava became too colourful for us, but no regrets. You know it is hard to imagine but when we moved there, there was only one place that served coffee and that was not very good.

      I think it is important to be connected with your neighbours, but some people prefer to fight than love.

      Delete
  7. You can't put a price on good neighbours. I found it difficult moving from the north of England, where neighbours were always popping in for a cuppa, to the reserved South of the country where no -one speaks to strangers. Having lived in the same house for 30 years I can say that I have very good neighbours that I can call on in an emergency but pop round for a cuppa? No. That's very much a northern tradition. What are your neighbours like now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Golly Fun60, 30 years. Yes, when I think about it, you have been down south for a long time. I guess that you can depend on them in an emergency is the best that could be expected. It is the same here now. I think Manchester is not unlike Newcastle, where there are still strong neighbour connections, although I think even in these towns it has diminished a bit. Because we were on the body corp committee, we do know people quite well in our building. I think it is our doing that we have kept them at a bit of a distance. But if not for being on the body corp for a while, we would know no one.

      Delete
  8. Your x neighbours were straight to the point :) But they were there if needed as you were there for them. So different these days getting to know your neighbours. Having said that we do have lovely ones on both sides of our house and across the road. We are here if needed as they are there if we need them. We just wave and chat once in a blue moon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WA, that seems to be how things are now for most people. Modern lives don't have time for one hour chats over the back fence.

      Delete
  9. I like that a lot.. Ask for anything but money, very succinct :) anyone who tucks a rat in their jumper is ok by me... kidding :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, their senses of humour could be quite deadpan at times.

      Delete