Thursday, 8 August 2013

Summertime Neighbours

These are our neighbour's flowers. We have neighbours in the summertime. During the winter full-timing can be more quiet and solitary, in the summer we meet more long-termers. Well, that's around here anyway. We have found this friendly site with its incredibly accommodating and laid back owner, and due to the projects that Pete has been involved with recently our travels have been short, and usually starting from this same spot.

So it would appear that the combination of a really nice 'landlord', relative peace and quiet  and lots of green scenery brings people back year after year. Our opposite neighbour has been coming here for years, stays for a few weeks and then pops home for a bit to keep and eye on things there and pick up her post. A couple who spend their winters in Spain return here for about three months each summer to catch up with family and friends, attend weddings, that sort of thing.

And I've got used to seeing them. My hermit tendencies have receded just enough for me to pass the time of day, and so when Pete returns from a day of fixing up Airstreams I can let him know that after three years I have learnt somebody's name, they are 71 years old and in training to run a marathon, their next-door neighbour back home just won the lottery, and I've been asked to water someone's plants while they go away for the weekend.

Our clever Gerbera that just keeps on flowering

Hermit tendencies is a slight exaggeration, but when you live in an Airstream you can spend an awful lot of your time explaining what it is, where it's made, admitting that it costs  more than any other caravan, and why. And sometimes that's a lovely thing to do, other times I might just be trying to do my chores quickly and efficiently so that I can get on with my day. So you develop a way of making fleeting eye-contact and giving a short, friendly greeting, just enough not to be rude but brief enough to be able to move on. Often, someone will say, I didn't know they still made them. That happened yesterday and, when I offered my brief explanation it clearly wasn't brief enough and the chap who had started the 'conversation' cut me short and started to walk off. Suits me.

I know this all makes me sound pretty antisocial. But it's a common experience. Ultimately I am trying to avoid a situation that has happened too often, which is when someone, typically a middle-aged man (that's just a fact, not a judgement on age or gender) comes up to me while I'm busy, makes an opening statement like, I bet it takes a lot of cleaning. I say, no not really. He then tells me all sorts of facile misconceptions about Airstreams, or worse, tells me all about his caravan, not noticing that I am not actually asking or agreeing with any of it. He just goes on and on. He might tell me stuff I already know, but he hasn't got the perceptive skills to realise that I know stuff too, or he doesn't care, because he's a crashing bore!

There, that's what can happen. That's what has happened, a lot! And that's what I'm avoiding with my dark glasses or shifty glances. On the other hand you don't want to miss out on genuinely interested and interesting people, because there are plenty of those too, and it can make your day to have an unexpected friendly encounter. And having vented and ranted, I'll just go back to our lovely neighbours and point out that the long-termers and full-timers know about all of this and mostly respect each other's space. So you get a friendly little chat about the weather or a trip out somewhere, then move on. I know that they would help me if I needed it, and vice versa.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Oh Tracy, I hear you so loud and clear! Add the fact that they've seen or read you into the mix and... As much as I love my trailer I do sometimes hate turning up on busy caravan sites for reasons that I don't need to explain to you.

Amen to all that, it's nice not to be alone! ;)

A xx