Beth’s Guide to Meeting Your Neighbours

Step 1: Get locked out of your house while taking the rubbish out. Barefoot. Sans phone. Visibly pregnant.

Step 2: Stand there looking bewildered until a nice housepainter/some-type-of-home-repairman having a smoke across the street calls out to see if you’re all right.

Step 3: Take him up on his kind offer to climb over a neighbour’s fence for you, because fortunately you’ve at least left the door to the back garden open.

Step 4: Start knocking on neighbours’ doors, to see if anyone with an adjoining fence is home. Of course, neither next-door neighbour is home.

Step 5: Extend the search. Find a kindly old man who will let you borrow his flip-flops so you’re not wandering the streets of London barefoot. Feign being impressed when he tells you the origin of the flip-flops is Australia. Try not to be grossed out by wearing old man’s flip-flops from down under.

Step 6: Take the parade of pregnant woman in distress, housepainter bloke, and old man around the block and start knocking on doors of houses that might back up to your garden. Traipse through anyone’s kitchen who will let you to see if their garden does, in fact, have a connecting fence.

Step 7: Repeat Step 6 until you find a back fence that does actually adjoin to your garden.

Step 8: Ask somewhat irritated homeowner to borrow a ladder. Watch a stranger climb into your back garden and pray to the Lord that the dog doesn’t bite him.

Step 9: Walk back around the block and you’re in!!

Step 10: Ask the dog what good she is if she’s not going to attack a strange man that climbs over the fence and comes in the house.

Step 11: Realise your new neighbourhood reputation is that poor pregnant American woman who does stupid things and begs strangers to help her.

Step 12: Bake everyone cookies and banana bread. Because darn it, you’re a good neighbour.

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