In one of his books, John Paul Flintoff describes how when he had a surplus of tomato seedlings, he and his daughter went down the street knocking at neighbours' houses to share the spares. This little story has always stuck in my mind as it seems such a perfect way of meeting people who live nearby but with whom you have never struck up a conversation. Now since we moved into our house the number of homes has at least doubled. A car alarm workshop was converted into a studio, the studio later split to add a flat, the yard across the road rebuilt to accommodate four new houses, the cosmetics warehouse pulled down so that eleven flats and houses could be squeezed tardis-like into the space. We scarcely see anyone from these new buildings because they are built behind security gates. Knocking on doors to share surplus produce face to face with these unknown neighbours is well nigh impossible. So when we trimmed our rosemary bushes and had masses of sprigs of rosemary, I decided to make them up into bunches and hung them on the railings with a sign asking people to help themselves. Over the course of the day at least half of them disappeared. When I went out to bring them in later that night, a young woman and her friend called out to thank me from across the road. She was going to make rosemary bread, she said. Then this morning when I popped out to shake out the mats there, hanging on the railings, was a cloth bag and inside it a loaf and a note from Ellie.
I like to think that isn't the end of the story but the beginning.
Have a good week.