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People walking into house unannounced - acceptable?

(46 Posts)
Tedber Mon 20-Jan-20 20:24:34

I was thinking about a couple of threads speaking about Parents/inlaws walking into their adult children's houses without being invited. Replies varied between those who felt it was horrendous and rude and those who felt it was part of a close family relationship.

Got me thinking to my earlier life in a small village in Scotland (maybe other people may relate also?)

When I grew up - nobody locked their doors - ever - not even when they went to bed. Even after I was married...

Neighbours and relatives constantly called in with all sorts of things, cakes, biscuits, whisky from the 'still, you name it. There seemed to be a bit of a barter system going....you put my shed up (not me personally lol) and I will give you Beef/whisky etc. One of my neighbours would do our garden for a bottle of Glenfiddich!

Not only that but the postman didn't just put post through the door, he opened the door and came in with parcel, shouted as he came in but would often have a cuppa! Well if he hadn't had numerous ones before reaching us that is!

I remember one day I was upstairs and the postman was actually putting the kettle on!! Hahaha........

When the milkman called for his weekly money, he would knock and walk in and wait in kitchen for his money.

Another time a random guy called and He had a cardboard box for another neighbour, which had a 2 pigeons in!!! (neighbour was a pigeon fancier) Asked me to look after it until neighbour returned which was like a week later. Never thought anything of it t.b.h. - this was life!

Not sure it even happens there now but it did get me feeling a bit nostalgic thinking about the days when there was so much community spirit - I didn't even realise it at the time let alone appreciate it.

I feel totally appreciative of where I was brought up and loved the 'intrusive' neighbours. Anyone else experienced a time like this in their lives? I know Lancashire was like this many years ago.

Ilovecheese Mon 20-Jan-20 20:35:58

Where I lived in Manchester when my Mother left the back door unlocked, someone walked in and stole the food out of our fridge. The past is not always as rosy as we like to imagine.

TrendyNannie6 Mon 20-Jan-20 20:41:07

It was great growing up not having to lock the doors.i don’t think we appreciated it at the time as it was the norm, we didn’t have anyone just walk into our house like a tradesman though, but I do remember my mum telling me a funny story she had made dinner put it on the dining room table for my dad to eat, shouted to him upstairs telling him to hurry up as it was served his friend came round as they were due to go out, saw dads dinner in the table and said if he’s not down in a minute I will eat it, my dad came down three mins later to find his friend tucking in he did see the funny side

Tedber Mon 20-Jan-20 20:48:02

Ilovecheese Well that is the MANCS for you smile Robbing Barstewards even at football bahaha (being faceitious in case anyone takes offence lol)

love0c Mon 20-Jan-20 20:48:56

I was brought up in a fairly busy place I suppose really. But I clearly remember our milkman always came in for his breakfast. He would knock but walk straight in. My mum always had a plate of marmalade sandwiches ready and a pan of hot milk ready for his coffee. This went on for years till he retired. I never thought anything odd about this. you knew all your neighbours and most of my friend's mothers were a home all day so I could call on them anytime after school etc. My mum worked all day. I liked all the neighbourly' comings and goings.

SueDonim Mon 20-Jan-20 20:51:27

It was like that in the north of Scotland where I lived when my boys were small. The older one came home one day after playing out (as they all did back then!) and said ‘I went to the wrong house for my lunch.’ I was a bit taken aback and asked what had happened. The houses were all quite similar and he’d mistaken which was ours and just walked in. He only realised it was the wrong house when he saw that there were different sofas in the sitting room. grin No one was at home but everything was unlocked.

I also walked into my own sitting room one day to find a small, blonde-haired boy playing with my boys’ toys. I asked him who he was and he said he lived over the road. I suggested he went home as his mummy must be missing him but he said no, he didn’t want to as he was enjoying playing in our house!

annep1 Mon 20-Jan-20 21:03:28

My mum had a couple of friends who used to drop in in the afternoon during summer holidays I used to offer to make tea so I could listen to the chat. Sometimes they would start to talk very low and then I was told to go outside. Obviously not for children's ears!

paddyanne Mon 20-Jan-20 22:22:10

West of Scotland here and locked doors were unheard of ,tradesmen usually "turned the check" and called out as they went to the kitchen where their money was left if nobody was about. Only the parish priest was treated differently one of the kids would run ahead of him to warn he was on his way so a kettle could be put on and a cup and saucer laid out for him .I've never locked a door unless we're in bed.Ever.I've never felt at risk from anyone .Neighbours and even a courier who has been delivering to me for years will open the door and call out .There are far more decent honest folk in the world than the media would have you believe.I started life in a Glasgow tenement and thats what life was like there too

Doodledog Mon 20-Jan-20 22:32:41

I don't feel at risk in my house, but I would be furious if anyone just walked in. If I know someone is coming, and want to get in the washing or something, I sometimes leave the front door open and the hall door closed, and the expectation would be that they would knock on the hall door then come in, but nine times out of ten the door would be shut.

For me it's not about honesty, it's about privacy, which is important to me.

grumppa Mon 20-Jan-20 22:46:14

When I was a child in suburban London everyone I knew had "Yale" locks which required a key for the door to be opened from the outside, however relaxed and welcoming the occupants were.

So I was very surprised, when I was teaching English in France in 1967/68, to find myself using a textbook which invited readers to walk down an English street and take a look in the houses, as "in England no doors are ever locked". That must have been the perception of the English!

Resurgam123 Mon 20-Jan-20 23:23:03

I would not worry if any of my grown up children came in.
My son and daughter still do rarely but this is still the house they lived in from being our children. And they do not live very near. And they both still have keys.

Which can be very useful for us.

BlueSky Tue 21-Jan-20 00:17:35

Seems unbelievable that years ago people felt safe enough to leave doors unlocked. Also privacy is important to me, I would hate it if friends and neighbours, or anyone else, felt they could just walk in anytime.

absent Tue 21-Jan-20 05:43:10

I have a completely reverse picture. I grew up and lived for many years in London. Our doors were locked when we went out and locked when we were in the house. I moved to Darlington for three years before emigrating and we always unlocked the front door when we got up in the morning, although we still locked it at night and when we were leaving the house. Now I live in a fairly small town in New Zealand, I leave my front door unlocked all day, sometimes when I am not in the house. All visitors tend to wander in through the front door, the French doors or the ranch slider (patio door). Perhaps if I lived in Auckland or Wellington, I might feel different, but I have no fear of intruders where I live.

Katyj Tue 21-Jan-20 06:27:08

When I was young if the Dr called he used to walk straight in.When I had my dc the midwife knocked or called out then came straight in too, it felt quite reassuring don't know why.Now it's the dc and relatives that knock and come in, wouldn't want everybody doing it though.

Scentia Tue 21-Jan-20 06:36:16

I am talking as late on as the late 70’s. Our house and others in the village were never locked.
We had all sorts just walk into our house, I used to come in from school/work and there would be someone sat in our kitchen, even if the family were out.
If we went on holiday ‘someone’ would come in and feed the dogs😊
The local bobble would come in most days and make himself a cup of tea on his rounds. The milkman would come in and just ask for his money, if mum was skint she would run out the back door as he came in the front and it was up to us to tell him she was out and he should come back next week!!!
This is making me feel very nostalgic.
I can’t believe how different life is, even in the same village, just 40 years on.

notanan2 Tue 21-Jan-20 06:44:39

I also grew up with people walking in the unlocked door, but there were still boundaries: you expected people to come into the back kitchen, it was sort of the "public" area of the house and it was always ready for visitors, but people did not continue through your whole house!

notanan2 Tue 21-Jan-20 06:47:52

The IL threads are totally different: ILs going round the house peering through windows, saying they hadnt been there when they had, going through the upstairs etc.

Not the same thing

Liz46 Tue 21-Jan-20 06:52:26

I seem to remember a key on a string and the children put their hands through the letterbox to get the key when they returned home from school.

I see a neighbour opposite us 'hides' a key in her porch for extended family. It is a bit too obvious to be honest.

kittylester Tue 21-Jan-20 06:59:19

I grew up in a farming village in Derbyshire. Our front door had a huge iron key which was always used when we went out and placed under the mat!!

We all knew where people 'hid' their keys. shock

NanKate Tue 21-Jan-20 07:43:58

My paternal grandmother insisted on leaving the backdoor unlocked when my dad married my mum in case he ever wanted to return home 😳 My mother was not impressed!

kittylester Tue 21-Jan-20 07:50:32

My mum wouldn't lock the door when my younger brother died, aged 2, so he could get in if he came back.

sodapop Tue 21-Jan-20 07:58:11

When we were young we knew all our neighbours and people tended to stay in the same area for long periods. We looked out for each other more then but it wasn't all rosy, there were people who we didn't get along with and frequent neighbour disputes.
I don't want anyone just to walk into my house apart from my family, I don't like people just calling in either, I like to be prepared.

Resurgam123 Tue 21-Jan-20 08:18:37

Kitty your mums loss was sad, but I rather like the idea of leaving a key for a "lost child." It lets a memory continue.

timetogo2016 Tue 21-Jan-20 08:19:32

I grew up in Birmingham in the 70`s and we never locked the front door .
and neighbours/family/friends/milkmen/posties even the coal man would either walk in or shout it`s only me on opening the door.
That was until one night someone walked in and went upstairs upon which my Father followed only to find a man getting into bed.
He was drunk and told my Father he has the wrong house and was really sorry.
From that day to this ALL doors are locked.
Today I still keep them locked and I would NEVER just walk into my families/friends home without knocking first and I never just turn up either I hate that.
I like my privacy tbh.

Hetty58 Tue 21-Jan-20 08:24:41

It's open house here so anyone can pop in whenever they like. They take me as they find me. They certainly don't have to make an appointment.

It's London (so the door is locked) but friends and family all have keys. (I have their keys too). They'll come into the sitting room and kitchen but wouldn't venture upstairs.

If I'm out they'll usually call me, to find out if I'll be back soon, or simply go on their way.

One day, I came home to three coffee cups in the sink and a half-empty biscuit barrel. I never found out who that was!