There is a house next door to me here.
I won't call it The Neighbours because it isn't really. It's just the House Next Door.
Many years ago a little old dear lived there. We called her The Dormouse because she was extremely quiet and loved nothing better than to tend to her garden and feed the birds. We never heard a peep out of her and only occasionally I would meet her out on the lane. Then she decided to move and she put the place up for sale.
It was bought by some bloke who decided he wanted to rebuild the place for his family. To put it very politely, he and I crossed swords on a few occasions over his plans for the place. Maybe it was my persuasive arguments or maybe it was the fire that caused him to mellow, we'll never know because the next thing we knew the place stood empty. He tried to sell it for about twice what it was worth but he gave up on that one too.
Eventually a couple moved in. I think. We used to hear voices in the garden from time to time but after a year or so it became obvious that they had moved out again.
Another family moved in then. We knew this because they had a couple of dogs, and one of them used to climb through the fence to play with Penny. I never met Yer Man but did chat to Yer Woman a few times through the fence. She seemed nice enough and life was pleasant. Apart from those rare chats and the frequent visits by the dog, they couldn't have been quieter.
Then they disappeared.
We knew they had gone because suddenly Penny's pal failed to turn up for his daily play. For a couple of weeks the place was deserted. Then one day the builders moved in. There was a lot of banging and sawing but it was all inside work so there was no need for me to repeat the fire episode. They tidied up the garden and eventually the place fell quiet again. That was a few months ago.
I was out in the garden last night and realised the back garden light was on Next Door and the central heating was humming away. All the signs were there that someone has moved in again.
There still isn't a peep out of them. There's no sound of voices or cars coming or going so I may have to run with my alternative theory. The presence of bright lights and heating would tend to support the latter and that in fact I'm living next door to a cannabis farm.
I sincerely hope not.
We have enough of them in the neighbourhood as it is.