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Out and About

...but not actually very far. This afternoon I went visiting to catch up with my neighbours, as we've not seen much of one another lately. I saw Ed From 126 a couple of weeks ago at a random street party and chatted a little. His wife, Ann, had just had a gall bladder op and was going to be at home for the next three weeks, so I promised to call in and say hello.

I called today and we settleddown  for a chat, Not too long after, she had another visitor drop by: a friend with two children of similar age to her two. Ann's children were at an art class and before long she left to pick them up, leaving me and her friend to chat until she returned. We mostly talked about the cats, while the children played with a Top Trumps set. The boy, Ben, was keen to play with a Harry Potter game that was set up on the table, but he had to wait until Ann returned with her two. I left Ann and friend to entertain their children and went back across the road.

Diesel was outside, basking in the sunshine, so I called next door. Their little boy, George, loves animals and is fascinated by cats, so I thought he'd like the chance to see Diesel and stroke her, if she was feeling sociable enough. Kate was at work but Andrew has Thursdays off in the holidays, so was at home. He came out with George (3) and Emily (1 1/2) and we chatted while the kids looked at Diesel, who had retreated to a clump of foliage. Then their door blew shut, and from the word Andrew said, I correctly guessed that he didn't have his keys, and they were locked out. All three were barefoot, so he couldn't take the kids to the hospital where Kate works to get her keys. He'd been planning to taken them into the back garden anyway, so we all went round, via my garden, and sat in the sunshine. They've had a patio built and planted flowers and a lawn, It all looks like a nice family garden, which after the years of neglect as a university property is really nice.
   The kids amused themselves with garden toys. Emily seemed very fond of a water table toy modelled like a pirate ship. She was less happy when she soaked her sundress, but once it was taken off and Daddy cuddled her, everything was all right. Andy was fairly relaxed about being locked out - after all, it was a lovely afternoon and he'd intended to be outside anyway. He said it could have been worse: Kate once locked herself out of their previous house, while George was still inside. Fortunately he was very small then, and not mobile, but Andrew had left work and come home in a taxi so she could get in as soon as possible.
    When kate was about due home, we went round to the front again. I picked Diesel up and brought her over so the children could stroke her. She put up with them with good grace, but we didn't try her patience, and let her go.

All in all, it was a nice day, being neighbourly. It's good to have regular neighbours after the years of students coming and going around here. The students were rarely any trouble but I like having neighbours who actually stay more than a few months. It's also good to see the lovely old houses being proper family homes again, as they were intended to be. They look loved. Ours looks rather neglected in comparison, but at least my honeysuckle out front is thriving and covered in scented flowers. Anyone want an elder tree ? I have a coupe of saplings to spare. And something that looks like a beech sapling too.

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