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Would you ask your neighbour for a cup of sugar?

(46 Posts)
petitpois Fri 18-Sep-15 14:24:50

I've been living in the same road for almost 3 years now. I always say hi to the neighbours when I see them outside but both sets are a bit...curt. They'll nod and acknowledge me but there's no stop for a quick chat about the weather or anything like that. I get that everyone's very busy these days but I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable calling round to either house for a cup of sugar - something I wouldn't have thought twice about in our old neighbourhood where there was a real community spirit.
What's it like where you are?

downtoearth Fri 18-Sep-15 14:39:36

just had a cuppa with one of my neighbours,I know in time of need I could go to her and she has to me many times,we are respectful of each others privacy...we also have a friend over the road who is a friend that can be called on.....the rest of the street sometimes morning or a nod...

HirplesWithHaggis Fri 18-Sep-15 14:53:19

I live quite rurally so my "next door" neighbours are a fair walk away. I don't know the nearest one (though DH has chatted with him) but got on very well with the second-closest; sadly, she had to move out and closer to family/into town as she has a longterm illness, and there's no new tenant yet. Not that I'm spying or anything

When I used to live in a city I knew most of my immediate neighbours and we did call on each other for things like pet care when on holiday, babysitting, ceiling-light fitting - ok, that was only once, but it was handy having a friendly joiner living across the road! grin But that was when my dc were young and in the days when they played out on the street, so you met other parents through them. Also everyone went to their local school rather than schlepping across town, and I think that makes a difference to the community feel.

My mum has lived in the same house since 1971 and her neighbours are brilliant, especially "Bobby next door" who has been very helpful over the years. He's another joiner/builder, is there a theme here?

Indinana Fri 18-Sep-15 14:56:57

When we lived in Essex it was the norm to pop into any new neighbour, as they were moving in, with a tray of tea and biscuits. Not to have a nose, just a friendly gesture.
So you can imagine my surprise, when we moved to Plymouth with our two pre-school children, that no-one in our road spoke to me for a full three months, despite my attempts at friendliness, smiles and so on. I remember going out to the ice-cream van a week or so after we moved in, thinking that it might be an opportunity to meet one or two of the neighbours as we queued. Oh how that idea fell flat! As people walked towards the queue, they quickly averted their eyes to avoid meeting mine shock. I did start to wonder whether I should get some new deodorant grin.
We have lovely neighbours now and I wouldn't mind asking either side for a cup of sugar, but in reality there's no need because the shops are only a couple of minutes' walk away.

sunseeker Fri 18-Sep-15 15:12:24

I think the days of asking neighbours for a cup of sugar are gone (although I did once have a neighbour ask to borrow soy sauce - sign of the times!). However since my DH died I have called on my immediate neighbour for help setting up a new TV and we hold keys to each others houses and water plants and keep an eye out when each is on holiday.

Lona Fri 18-Sep-15 15:22:38

I live in a long cul-de-sac and in the last four or five years I've got to know more neighbours. They are all younger couples and as I'm quite often the 'parcel collector' when they're out, they are friendly!
I've lived here for 23 years and I would be happy to ask any of them for help, or a small favour. One youngish man looks after the old man opposite, does his shopping, visits when he's in hospital, goes every day to make sure he's ok.
I'm obviously very lucky and I shall be sorry to leave next year.

rubysong Fri 18-Sep-15 15:25:02

We have great neighbours and everyone does cat feeding, fish feeding, greenhouse watering etc. While we were away our lovely neighbour earthed up the spuds in the polytunnel and did some weeding and another neighbour has lent us their flat in London several times. We are very lucky to live in a village with a great community spirit.

MargaretX Fri 18-Sep-15 15:56:42

YES any day. It doesn't happen often but we all have each other's keys and I have been know to borrow a couple of eggs.

janerowena Fri 18-Sep-15 16:03:26

I met one of my best friends when I ran out of eggs for a cake I was making, and I knew she kept chickens, just across the road from me. I popped over to see if I could buy a couple.

I have always gone to neighbours for help and advice about the new areas I have moved to, we have moved around a lot and it helps to break the ice, they often want to be a little nosy about the 'incomers'. I have asked about dentists and doctors, when the bin men come etc.

Teetime Fri 18-Sep-15 16:04:31

It seems to take an age to get to know people. We always call Good Morning to whoever passes by the house if we are outside. sometimes they answer sometimes they don't. Over the last five years we have to got to know only a few by this method and by sending a Christmas card. There are a number of rental houses in our cul de sac and people come and go. My pet grouse is that the modern trend for 6ft high garden fences prevents neighbourly chats and getting to know each other, I do think people live 'shut in' lives these days as they go house to car, car to house. I'd love some one to pop round for a coffee or be invited in but it doesn't happen here.

Mamie Fri 18-Sep-15 16:18:04

Ours is an incredibly close and supportive community. I could borrow all sorts of things from anyone. Mostly my role is to help with English homework and visit elderly neighbours to check they are OK. My OH makes bread for the hamlet when we are snowed in and gives away exotic (i.e. not French) plants and seedlings to lots of people in the village.
We also get spare fruit, nuts and veg left on our doorstep quite regularly.
I once went to the farm to get milk in deep snow and came back very carefully with two litres of milk and a litre of Calvados in my rucksack!

NotTooOld Fri 18-Sep-15 16:32:50

I don't think I would pop in for sugar. We have been in this road in a village for 7 years but, despite friendly overtures on my part, we still don't really know anyone. I frequently take in parcels for my nearest neighbour and we exchange a few pleasantries on the doorstep but that's about it. Round here you need to be a dog walker or the parent of children attending the village school to really get accepted into a group. I put a notice in the parish magazine once asking if anyone was interested in starting a book group and I only got one reply and that was from a rather querulous old lady who said she would need me to take her to wherever the meeting was. I did also get a phone call from a man who said he already ran a book club in the pub and would I like to go along. I did go along but the other members were all young mums who only talked about their children, the book barely got a mention.

ninathenana Fri 18-Sep-15 17:05:40

I have keys to neighbours on one side as they are away a lot.The men borrow tools from each other.
DH occasionally works for the guy the other side in his gardening business. I asked his DW to scan and print something for me last week as my printer was playing up. I suppose that's the modern equivalent of 'a cup of sugar' smile

Luckygirl Fri 18-Sep-15 17:25:24

I would ask any of my neighbours for anything I needed, secure in the knowledge that they would help - just as we would help them if the need arose. This is one of the reasons that we do not move from our house to something more manageable and with a flat drive!

POGS Fri 18-Sep-15 17:26:20

I actually borrowed a bottle of 'brandy' from my neighbours on Saturday!

So a cup of sugar would be 'yes' without so much as a twitch.

Likewise I would be only to happy to lend them anything they asked for.

I live in a very friendly village though so I am very lucky perhaps.

boheminan Fri 18-Sep-15 17:37:40

I have a deep fear of falling down stairs, or injuring myself badly at home as I fear none of my neighbours would notice if I were around, or not.

I've lived in the street for over 40 years, and over that time my immediate neighbours (9 different families so far) have become more and more insular. Yes, I do say hello and smile when I see them, but a 6' fence now divides me from both sides (one of the fences is doubled up with my own 'side' fence, which is 3'). I would not knock and ask them for sugar, I don't think they'd open the front door.

NotTooOld Fri 18-Sep-15 17:47:04

boheminan - your post worries me. Would it not be possible for you to get one of those alarms you can wear around your neck in case of such an emergency as you describe? I don't know what they cost but it might be worth looking into it.

downtoearth Fri 18-Sep-15 17:54:13

perhaps cheating a bit next door neighbour is a registered childminder and when we had to "escape" from Essex with DGD we where supported by child services and a childminder found for neighbour.....,quite by coincidence we moved to this village and next door to her,and as she knew a fair amount of information,an alliance was formed,steve over the road is a single parent to a son with learning difficulties,after 4 years in the village further attempts to mix/socialise,on a wider scale has met with a stonewall....

Pittcity Fri 18-Sep-15 17:57:16

I live in a very friendly close and know a lot of the residents by name. Wouldn't ask for sugar as we never use it but we would all help each other if necessary.

TerriBull Fri 18-Sep-15 18:02:05

Probably my neighbour has popped round several times for an onion.

tiggypiro Fri 18-Sep-15 18:36:01

All my neighbours are brilliant and we want for 'nowt we've got between us'. At the moment I have on loan one neighbours BFI garden fork (BFI because it needs brute force and ignorance to use it), just had Pimms in the garden of another and I am the keeper of a new roll of Gaffer tape !

boheminan Fri 18-Sep-15 19:03:26

NotTooOld thank you for your concern flowers.

I live in an old terrace house, and the neighbours stairs are next to my stair wall. They have a dear little dog with the biggest bark ever (imagine a Westie with the voice of a Doberman!) if she hears anything from my side of the wall, she barks (and barks and barks)...if she went on for three days, they may start to wonder if all was well my side of the wallgrin).

The alarm you talk about, I believe can be obtained from Age Concern? I don't seriously feel in need of one at the moment - I'm in my mid sixties, am very active and in good health - but they do seem a comforting safety net in the case of someone living on their own. I'd seriously consider getting one if my health did deteriorate.

Marmark1 Fri 18-Sep-15 19:06:55

My neighbour is lovely,I often go in and have a chat with her,she hasn't been well and can't get about as good as me.If I needed a cup of sugar,I'm sure I could ask her.A young man the other side,he's in and out the driveway like a fart in a fanfare.Nice enough thou.

gettingonabit Fri 18-Sep-15 19:18:34

I wish estate agents would cite "neighbourliness" (or lack thereof" in their blurb..

NfkDumpling Fri 18-Sep-15 19:25:09

Actually my new neighbour did call round a couple of weeks ago for a cup of sugar! They'd only recently moved in and were(still are) living with builders and upheaval and don't use sugar. Nice people, I think we'e going to get on.