SO, IT has finally happened. Scotland will hold a referendum on whether to split from the UK.
Thankfully, having grown up in bourgeois suburbia, I know that most neighbourly disputes can be rectified with a friendly letter of passive-aggressive appeasement.
Dave, leave something like this on their front step, preferably with a jar or two of Sam’s home-made chutney, and we’ll be golden...
Dear Jock and Mary,
We hear with dismay that you are considering leaving our local Neighbourhood Watch Association. I do hope it is nothing we said!
Apparently you plan to hold a “family vote” on the matter after one of your summer garden parties. How very democratic – let’s hope the ballot papers are not too soggy!
Of course, it would have been nice if you had asked us for our opinion – your decision affects us too, you know! – particularly as you will be offering your CHILDREN a say. (If 16-year-olds want to vote, we say let them watch X Factor!)
But we are not here to quibble. Only to ask that you think carefully before leaving us in the lurch.
Naturally, we have not always seen eye-to-eye over the years. That issue over the partition fence, for example, which often rears its head when Jock has overindulged (and why not?!) on your wonderful home brew.
As we have explained many times, that fence was erected by our skilled but rather presumptuous Italian builder. We do not use Hadrian any more.
As for the few occasions when we caught your boys nipping over the fence to make mischief, yes, perhaps we did over-react. But you must remember those were different times, and it was quite normal to give your neighbour’s child a clip around the ear for misbehaviour. Or, in this case, to hang, drawer and quarter him.
Instead of focusing on our occasional disagreements, perhaps we should remember the many benefits achieved by our working together over the years?
Like that nasty business a few years back, when those ruffians from the new housing estate (Aryan Towers) tried coming over to make trouble – and we worked TOGETHER to see them off. Didn’t that feel much better than those bygone times (completely forgotten and forgiven by us!) when you used to invite other local ruffians (mainly Mrs O’Rourke’s and Madame Blanc’s boys, if memory serves) to hide in your garden and throw stones through our greenhouse?!
And let’s not forget how much our children love to play together. We are always happy for your Chris to ride his bike around our yard, or your Andrew to play tennis on our lawn. Who knows, perhaps one of these days, we could even get together and talk about letting your lads come over to play football with us on a Saturday. Well, a couple of them.
In the meantime, let’s get together for lunch and sort this silly business out.
We’ll cook, by the way, so no need for Mary to bring any of her speciality ground-intestine dish, delicious as it undoubtedly is!
With best wishes,