After a whole series of short-term tenants the house next door to ours was finally sold just after Christmas and at the end of January the new owners moved in. The new owners are a married couple, both newly retired and both former science teachers.
All six of us were invited around to their house the first weekend after they moved in. I have never seen so many books in a house before, every room downstairs except for the kitchen had at least one bookcase and the lounge had three. The study has two computers - one each - and a top-of-the-range colour laser printer that made the men in my life drool with envy.
Within a few minutes of arriving I would have been able to predict that they had children of their own. They were so good with Nicola and Alice, even taking them on an exploration of the house, that it was obvious that they had children and grand-children of their own. I was right because it turns out that they have two grown-up children, both are married and both couples have little ones just like us.
Even their politics are broadly the same as ours, that is New Labour, so they score very highly on our ideal neighbour scale.
Our other new friend is a good example of a weird co-incidence. Didi and Magda have moved into their new rented house not far from us. It is within easy walking distance and twice when I was walking there I saw a girl that I thought I recognised from my past. I just couldn't put a name to the face which isn't like me at all.
It wasn't as if she wasn't distinctive. She is tall (6 feet at least), as slim as a credit card and with a complexion that most of us would die for! It felt like ages before I remembered where I had seen her before. She is/was a client of the same adult mentor and ghost writer who has supported Ella and I over the last few years. I had only ever seen her in Kidderminster when I was just leaving a meeting with the mentor and she was just arriving - no wonder my memory let me down.
Anyway we have now met up with her and her boyfriend, they too are both teachers (clearly teachers attract other teachers) who work in local schools. She is parentless, but through a horrid traffic accident rather than by the Eve and Ella route. We have lots in common with the two of them and I hope that they will become long-term friends.