In 1986 we moved into our first detached house at the edge of a small development in Sible Hedingham, Essex. We were in our mid-thirties, with two energetic boys in primary school, Clare was teaching and I was a computer science researcher at STL in Harlow (now a Nortel R&D centre).
Our new neighbours on the left lived in a post-war bungalow which was as neat and tidy as the old prefer. They were both white-haired (we thought of them as grandparent figures) and tolerated our boys batting heavy objects over the fence and into their greenhouse. They also, to our initial surprise, played host to our cat when we thought it was out hunting, and had problems with our other neighbours when their son played his pop music too loud. We thought they were ancient, but affable enough.
Yesterday we attended the BBQ for the community of nine or ten houses making up our little development now. Our neighbours are mostly thirty-somethings with young children: toddlers and under-tens predominating. Most of the men work in hi-tech. We chatted about kids, cars and IT. However, there was some kind of subtle divide. What was it?
Afterwards I remarked to Clare “You remember when we used to live in Sible Hedingham? Well, you know -- we’ve turned into our neighbours!”