They’re making big changes to the house next door," announced Paul to his wife Sally. "They’ve started to build a new patio onto the front of the house now."
Paul and Sally took a special interest in the house next door. The last family, the Walkers, that had lived there had been crazy about drums. They had bongos, tabor, snare, bass and every other type of drum that you could think of. They’d played the drums all day and night.
Before the Walkers, the house had been rented out to three teenage boys who had been into fixing up old cars. The yard had been full of cars at different states of repair, and motors had been tested at all times of the night.
When the house next door came up for sale again, Paul and Sally had begun to wonder who, and what, they would get for neighbours this time.
From the neighbourhood grapevine Sally had learnt that the new owners were a middle-aged couple about to retire early. From all accounts, the were looking for a quiet and peaceful life. They were keen gardeners and had bought the house because of the large yard.
Sally was pleased to hear the owners were going to live in the house themselves. She and Paul supposed that was why they were doing massive renovation before they moved in.
The workmen were there from early morning to sundown every day. The couple that had bought the place turned up every few days to supervise the proceedings. Paul and Sally had seen the couple arrive, but it never seemed the right time to go over and introduce themselves.
The couple had a beautiful puppy. A little white Scottish Terrier. Sally and Paul would hear the woman calling to the dog.
"Bradley, don’t eat that."
"Bradley, get here!"
"Bradley, drop it. Drop it!"
"He really is such a cute dog. I wonder how he puts up with all those commands?" Paul wondered aloud.
"Oh, I think Bradley looks like a happy little dog. He is always wagging that little tail of his," Sally answered.
"Do you think today would be a good day to introduce ourselves?" Paul asked.
Just as they were trying to decide, the couple came out and headed for their car.
"Bradley, come here. Get in the car. It’s time to go."
Paul and Sally watched as the man carefully put the dog in a harness in the back seat of the car, before he helped his wife into the passenger seat, then slid himself into the driver’s seat.
"Look, the dog has his own baby seat," Paul laughed.
"It’s a dog harness," corrected Sally.
The renovations continued until April, when the Tradesmen left and the furniture was brought in. The owners came in their car and it looked like they were there to stay.
"Should we go over now?" asked Paul.
"Best let them settle in first. We’ll go tomorrow," Sally advised.
The next dat they saw the couple out in the yard. The lady was watering the garden while the husband was planting out rose bushes along the pathway. Sally had made a cake the night before and she got Paul to carry it over to the neighbours.
"We thought you might enjoy this cake," Sally told the new neighbours after she’d introduced herself and Paul.
"Thank you. It’s just the right time for morning tea. I’m Helen," the lady introduced.
Paul indicated the new patio with his arm. "The house looks good after all the renovations."
Helen smiled. "We think they did a good job. We hope the noise didn’t bother you too much."
"That was nothing compared to what we had to put up with from the last neighbours," Paul explained.
At Helen’s inquiring glance Sally explained about the last family and their obsession with drums.
"That explains it," the husband exclaimed. "We’ve found drumsticks everywhere throughout the house when we were renovating."
Just then the terrier came running up to sniff at Paul and Sally. "Hello. This must be Bradley," Sally said as she bent down to pat the dog.
Helen gave Sally a strange look. "No," she answered. "The dog is called Macbeth. My husband’s name is Bradley."
Oops! It took time, but Paul and Sally did become good friend with Helen and Bradley. Although, even years later, Helen would often look at Macbeth with a strange stare and ask, "Why would anyone think I’d name my dog after my husband?"