It can be a bit of a worry when your long term neighbours sell up, especially if they were really nice. What if the new owners have non-stop barking dogs, or are throwers of wild parties? That might sound a bit grouchy, but as an aging baby-boomer I like a quiet life. Another awful thought…what if they rip out the garden and destroy our privacy? I can’t imagine losing the azaleas previous owner John planted so many years ago. In spring they spill across the fence line.

Shared beauty form a neighbour. Azaleas spill across a fence.

Anyway, our new neighbour Dave turns out to be a teacher around our age who lives in Sydney. He has just purchased the property behind us as a holiday retreat. My partner Rob met him over the fence just after settlement and they had a long chat. Phone numbers and email addresses were exchanged. ‘Seems a really nice bloke’. Rob told me.

We live in the Blue Mountains and are currently surrounded by bushfires. Given this crisis I wonder whether Dave is regretting his decision to buy a place here. As the fires crept ever closer, he said he was driving up with his daughter.

Mystery gift from a new neigbour. It was a watering can, to help catch any much needed rain in.
The advancing horror!

Were we OK and was there anything we needed? We assured him we were safe, and that a little rain had fallen. Unfortunately, conditions then became so bad that he had to cancel the trip.

On Christmas Eve a parcel arrived from him, Express Post. What on earth could it be?

Mystery gift from a new neighbour.
Goodness, that’s an odd shape.

Inside was a miniature watering can and a brief message, ‘You can use this to catch the rain!‘ ‘ Well, we are still waiting for more, but meanwhile I have put the gift to good use as a ‘flower pot’. Oddly enough hydrangeas are one of the few flowers blooming right now. They are thriving in the shady section of my garden amid ash and burnt leaves.

And here’s a very special thing. I had just taken a photo to send our thoughtful new neighbour in a thank you text when a butterfly landed on one of the flowers. How wonderful is that? Surely it’s a good omen.

No more rain, but a sweet addition to the garden.

Meanwhile, all we want from Santa is lots and lots of rain to help our wonderful firefighters!

UPDATE – after the fires we had a storm with the most torrential rain I’ve seen in Blackeath during our twenty years here. And where did a tree fall? Right across Dave’s driveway. Next came the pandemic, and he was banned from visiting the Blue Mountains for months.

Surely there could not be any other disaster in store for this lovely fellow. Well, sadly there was. On his very first trip up he called in to tell us that he has to undergo serious surgery. He is still waiting to be operated on weeks later, due to delays caused by Covid and then, would you believe….his surgeon being involved in an accident!

Dear Dave, we wish you the happiest Christmas and best 2021 imaginable. 🎄💛

  1. Thank you for this lovely story, Pauline. We’ve had such a lot of rain here; I wish I could post you some.

    • Pauline

      Oh dear Mike, it’s all too sad for words, especially for our wildlife. Still no real rain, and another heatwave due this weekend.

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