Friday, 21 September 2007

The welcome walkabout for new neighbours I was walking with a friend in his neighbourhood last week when we came up with the suggestion that a walkabout for new neighbours might be a good welcoming device - kind of 'welcome-pack-cum-urban-safari'. You'd just invite your new neighbours and anyone else who fancies it, for an informal stroll round the area one evening or afternoon. Has anyone tried this or come across it? I can see some advantages. Conversation is going to be easier and less stilted because you're on the move and there are different things to talk about. There's no reason why several folk shouldn't come along, whether they're recent or long-term residents. You can mix in a bit of history - 'there was a fire in that house once' - with useful information - 'Tom at no.4 has a ladder for borrowing' - and a few tips - 'that's a quiet pub, the other one's livelier'... The more people, the more information gets shared: the buses are / aren't reliable; you can get penned-in by the rubbish truck on a thursday morning if you time it wrong; there's a footpath at the back of the crescent takes you through to the shops; it's safe for the kids to use that field unsupervised, and so on. I can imagine I might even learn something from someone I've lived next to for 20 years. Yes, there's potential for misinformation and malicious gossip, but that's always there. Might be best to all be out there having the introductions and sharing the information in neighbour-space. And come back to a few glasses of something afterwards.

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