Breaking the ice with a spade

Want to break the ice with your neighbours? Found that they don’t generally say hello or give you the time of day? Don’t want to have a reputation as the secretive soul in your street? Then dig a hole!

Yes, my amazing discovery of the week is that digging a hole in your front garden is the perfect way to get to know your neighbours and far easier to organise than some sort of party or barbeque. I’m currently working on the front garden, swapping the turfed area with the parking area so that the cars are not parked right by the front door (sounds easy, doesn’t it? – I estimate a completion date some time in September, particularly as rain is precluding any digging activity today), and as I’m working various neighbours have stopped by our gate and called out such pearls as:

  • that looks like hard work
  • how big are you going to make that hole?
  • it’s a bit hot for digging
  • when will it be finished?
  • why don’t you use a digger?
  • found anything interesting?

The usual suspects have been more-than-usually friendly, but I’ve also had brief, hole-oriented conversations with neighbours who have been strangers for the first eighteen months that we’ve lived here.

So, why not give it a try? Report back in the comments on the conversations that you have as a result of wielding a spade.

10 Replies to “Breaking the ice with a spade”

  1. I had that experience about three years ago when I decided to do some brick-laying in my front garden – on the day that my neighbour’s stepfather was coming to dinner…he’s a brick layer. I knew I was avoiding their other parental units – landscape gardeners – because they’re based in the Midlands and their van is a give-away.

    Just yesterday I was thinking I should present a spare set of secateurs to the tenants next door, but I can’t work out a way of saying “That climbing rose will look a lot nicer deadheaded” without sounding sarcastic.

  2. There’s a song about digging a hole:
    “Don’t dig it there, dig it elsewhere,
    You’re digging it round and it ought to be square,
    The shape of it’s wrong, it’s much too long,
    And you can’t put a hole where a hole don’t belong!”

    Bernard Cribbins has a lot to answer for…

  3. On holes of a different sort:

    There are holes in the sky.
    Where the rain gets in.
    But they’re ever so small.
    That’s why the rain is thin.

    Spike Milligan

  4. Is being under 6 a sect now? I’ve been discouraging Tom from such cultish behaviour, at least until he’s a bit older. I’ll have to have words…

  5. section of society. You get the undying admiration of every kid on the beach. There is no purer admiration that a 5 year old thinking you are the coolest thing ever.

    This is not as dodgy as it sounds, please don’t lock up your kids. I’ve never buried one.

  6. Nah, a perv is a someone who befriends a single mother to have sex with the kids.

    Adrian befriends the kids to have sex with the mother. It’s a route worth exploring.

  7. Be careful using the word “route” (or root) in relation to sex. I understand that it is Aussie slang for “shag”, which is exploring a different sort of route. Well, not that different. Actually, it’s exploring the same route.

  8. A few years ago I took down a row of Leylandii between the road and my house to the enormous pleasure of everyone who passed by. I got lots of comments, especially about the ‘secrecy’ of the homeowners before us who hid behind the tall hedge. We built a knot garden in the front garden and lots of passers-by commented on how long it would be before the box hedges joined together. It was all a very worthwhile project.

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