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The Unreliable Guide To… Neighbours

By Nat Shepherd on June 19, 2017 in People

The peak of Australian television.

“Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours. With a little understanding you can find the perfect blend. Neighbours should be there for one another. That’s when good neighbours become good friends…”

Some of you will laugh out loud reading those lyrics, but the Unreliable Guide does actually some great neighbours. They look after my parcels until I get home, water my plants when I’m away, and are happy to lend me an egg, an ear or a hand. They are a good bunch, but it was a long, hot summer this year and my normally happy neighbours fought each other over issues that will be familiar to all residents of this highly populated little area of ours: noise, parking, and the sharing of communal facilities. High-density living is a challenge, but the Unreliable Guide is here to help prevent neighbours from turning from good friends into the worst of enemies…

I love a party, but having them too often and too late doesn’t make for happy neighbours. If you’re young and frisky and need to party from Friday to Monday every week, do it properly and go out. If you have kids and live in an apartment, maybe don’t let them play in the driveway. You may not care about the racket your darlings make, but it’s dangerous as well as noisy. We are never far from a communal space in the east so get off your lazy arse and take your kids to the park or the beach. If you have a dog, be a good owner. If your dog is barking all day it’s not the only one that’s unhappy. Make more of an effort. Train it properly and walk it at least twice a day.

Complaints about parking probably outnumber every other whinge in Sydney. We live in a city, it’s crowded, and you may have trouble finding somewhere to park your car. That’s a fact of life for you and for your neighbours, so make the most of what parking you do have. Don’t park your car so it blocks the pavement, or someone’s driveway, don’t park in such a way that only two cars can fit into a three-car space, and if you have a garage clear it out and park in that it of taking up space on the street. Maybe do like the Europeans do – instead of getting a massive 4WD, get a scooter or a smaller car that takes up less space.

No one wants to endure other people’s pongs. Smoking is a hot topic at the moment and soon they’ll probably ban it altogether, but in the meantime use your head and make sure your smoke is drifting away from others’ windows and balconies. If your neighbours wanted to smoke in bed, they would light their own. Communal bin areas are often so disgusting that new life forms are created. Leave a bag of prawn shells or fish heads in there for a sunny week and you’ll create a stench that could strip paint. The solution is simple: keep your stinky meat/fish in the freezer until collection day.

Think communally: what can you do to be helpful for your neighbours? Can you bring some shopping home for the old dear at number 24? Can you help out the single mum at number 12 with her toddlers? Can you keep a parcel for the nurse at number 5 who works crazy hours? Do this and you won’t have any trouble finding someone to feed your cat or water your plants when you’re away.



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