Neighbours Part XIII

What’s new in the block, you might be wondering. Well, let’s see now. The new girl at No 2 is settling in. We’ve only seen her once or twice in passing and the conversation hasn’t gone past basic hellos. I think she’s rather a heavy smoker though. The smell of it leaks into the communal hallway. She had a gas engineer round to fix her boiler the other day. I know this because I overheard the lady at No 4 questioning what he was doing, creeping about behind the building.

I also know that she is new to Bournemouth and that she knows nobody here. I know this because I was eavesdropping at my front door as the gas engineer was leaving. He asked her out on a date. She said yes. They swapped phone numbers. They are clearly planning on breaking lockdown laws. If not this weekend, then next weekend. Should I call the rozzers? I am open to suggestions.

Otherwise, the only other new news in that No 12 is up for sale and the owner of No 8 is also planning to put that flat on the market. The guys renting No 12 are the blocks longest serving residents, having moved in twelve years ago. We, I believe, currently rank as the third longest standing residents, behind Panty Lady in No 10. We may both be promoted one up the rank. I think the expense of renewing the leases, which must be done soon, is the cause of the exodus.

But none of this relates to the photo. The photo is my nearest high street. It’s not much of a high street. It is what you can see in the photo and the same again on the other side of the road. We’ve lived on (or more precisely, just off) this road for seven years at different addresses. It has changed plenty over the two years.

The chiropractor and care shops were, until recently, both owned by a chap selling trophies, complete with custom engraving. Schools and sports clubs would have been his main source of business. He’s moved in to a unit on an industrial park. Much cheaper than running a pair of shops, I suspect. The chiropractic industry is probably having a growth spurt right now, what with a nation of couch potatoes suddenly taking up lockdown exercise.

The laundrette is the one I visit most. Every week. Like most people living in flats, we have a single washer/dryer unit. The washer bit is fine. The dryer is next to useless. They always are. You can only do a half load at a time, it’s takes hours, costs a fortune in electricity and at the end of it you have a basket of very hot but still pretty damp laundry.

So I wash at home, then pop up the laundrette, fill two drying machines, feed in a total of £3.20 into the slots and it’s all done within 25 minutes. That’s nearly half an hour to catch up with all the local gossip. The lady who runs the laundrette is an absolutely first class source for gossip.

Next to that is a new micro brewery, All Hail Ale. They’ve been in there for a couple of years now. It took them a while to get a license. Some of the neighbours, Launderette Lady included, had objected. But they’ve been absolutely no trouble. They attract a decent sort of clientele. And it’s nicer than what was there before. When we arrived on the scene, it was a Nepalese restaurant, but had clearly been closed for years.

Finally we have Da Mario pizzas. We used to eat there now and again, but haven’t for ages. Both Mrs P and I have celebrated a birthday in there. It used to be owned by an Italian gent and his Colombian wife and they did a roaring trade. A year or two ago, they sold up and started up a new deli/coffee type diner on a nearby stretch of road that sees almost zero foot traffic.

I thought they were mad and would go bust in next to no time. And I was right. The new owners of Da Mario still do a roaring trade.

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