Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Do you know your neighbours?

Just a very quick post because my flat looks like a bomb has hit it and I really want to finish my reading group book tonight. But I've got a question for my readers. I'm back from Canberra, and the key question in my mind right now is 'should I be living back in Canberra?'. (This isn't the question for you - my question to you is below). Living in a big city is almost a little isolating, even though there are so many people and so much going on.

Having spent a long weekend in Queanbeyan (although I say I'm going to Canberra, I really stay in Queanbeyan which is border town next to Canberra where my Mum now lives and where her family were based on and off during her life), I realised that there is a real sense of community in smaller towns. For example, after we went to the Canberra Dawn Service, we went to the 10am Queanbeyan ANZAC service which was all about the Queanbeyan community - every community group was out in force, most in their uniforms. A place where the local policeman knows everyone and what they are up to (and told me he is only new to town - I later found out he has been there 15 years, which apparently in a country town is only quite new). Compare that to my life in Sydney where I don't even know the people I share walls with!

So I ask you readers: Do you know your neighbours? Has a sense of 'neighbourhood' somehow left our society in big cities? Or do I live in the wrong neighbourhood?

Funnily, when I lived in London I felt a real sense of neighbourhood - I even chose to have my wedding in almost the same street. I knew every shop keeper, every beggar, bought my TV off a man down the street and all my neighbours were within hearing distance all the time (maybe that had something to do with the fact we were so intimate with each other that we shared a washing machine!). Why is Sydney so different?

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