The Truth about living on a main road

Hello neighbourBack in 2008 when we decided to move in to our current home the hubster and I had few real reservations about the fact that our house is situated on a busy main road. We were a bit concerned about the lack of allocated parking outside but the times we visited there was invariably little reason to believe that the strip of freely available parking right outside wouldn’t always offer an available space. I grew up living on a main road – albeit on a ‘drive’ set back and a little more secluded from the road by hedges and trees, so I wasn’t too worried about getting used to the noise. I also lived on another busy street in Brighton whilst I was at university and knew that the worst kind of traffic noise occurs when you are too close to a set of lights and have to listen to people slowing down, radios blaring and engines revving.

What we have discovered since living here is that: a) the parking situation can and often is a problem, particularly when you have two small children, a bunch of shopping bags and nowhere to park except down a side road on the opposite side of the main road (logistical nightmare); b) earplugs are a must (perhaps this is just the bad mum in me talking but I have always refused to sacrifice a good night’s sleep for snuffling, sleep cries or general child shenanagins – don’t get me wrong, the earplugs don’t render me deaf and I can and do get woken up for a real issue that needs my attention like a vomiting toddler but at least they block out the ambient noise of occasional cars passing on the road outside); and c) there is no sense of community when you live on a main road.

This last point is the one that saddens me the most. The drive I grew up in was full of families and children around about my age including several of my school friends plus my aunt and uncle and cousins who lived about six doors down, and we used to play outdoors together all summer long. We had street parties (the wedding of Charles & Di anyone? Hello – showing my age here!) and I remember making mud pies and dangling off next door’s climbing frame with my best friend (who I still know and love 40 odd years down the line!).

Our current situation is that we have next door neighbours on one side who have a little girl the same age as EJ – and we never see them. They like to keep themselves to themselves and don’t even use their front door preferring to come and go down the side of the house meaning we rarely bump into them in the street outside. On the other side we have a couple with a 10 year old boy and we have precious little to do with them either (albeit contentious parking issues resulted in a bit of a heated neighbourhood ‘discussion’ last summer and haven’t exactly led to us all becoming the best of friends!).

We had essentially resigned ourselves to being good friends with people living in various other locations round our town, but not good neighbours with anyone until something a little bit miraculous happened over the weekend. I was out in the back garden on Saturday afternoon with the boys and they were having a bounce off on the trampoline which is situated close to the back of our 60-foot garden. From out of the blue we heard a voice calling from one of the gardens which backs onto ours – generally hidden by fences, hedge and foliage. The hubster went over and I heard the man asking if JJ went to the local primary school where their son goes as they’d seen flashes of yellow uniform before when he’d been jumping on the trampoline. I peered round the fence to see a little face I am fairly familiar with – their 6 year old, B is in Year 1 at JJ’s school and his four year old brother is looked after by the same childminder as EJ on the same day. I haven’t crossed paths with the parents as we have all been coming and going at different times and I had no idea they lived in one of the houses behind us.

We quickly discovered that, with a bit of brute force it was possible to push through the obstacles and navigate between our garden and theirs without having to walk all the way round the block, and their boys came and played while I had a chat to their dad and then later they reciprocated and we went back to their house where I met their mum.  Their house, in complete contrast, is situated within a little cul de sac which benefits from all the things we lack. I finally feel like we have met some people I am happy to call neighbours – we discussed the benefit of having someone close by to call on in emergencies – for the occasional school pick up or babysit. They told us that they’d invite us over next time there was a street party outside the front of their house and we exchanged phone numbers.

JJ is now slightly obsessed with the idea of ‘popping’ over to B’s garden to say good morning or goodnight and we’ve told him that he can’t just keep going through the hedge whenever he feels like it! Having said that I am so happy that the boys have potentially great friends right on our doorstep – something that has been sorely lacking for the past five years. Fingers crossed this new discovery will remain mutually beneficial and enhance our enjoyment of living where we do.


And then the fun began...

23 thoughts on “The Truth about living on a main road

  1. What a lovely little story Sam, sounds like there’s real potential there to become good friends! You’ll have to keep us posted if you do meet up.

    We live a stones throw from the main road, but within a little private development and are very fortune to have the community side of things here… So much so that it makes it hard to leave, even though we need to because we are bursting out of the seams of this house xx
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  2. We live on a main road too Sam and so understand exactly where you’re coming from. I grew up on a culdesac so miss the benefits of that environment. We have invited all our neighbours round at some point at my son gets on well with our neighbours which is nice. You just have to find new methods. Sounds like you’ve managed that situation well….or your son has! X
    Suzanne recently posted…Dear Pre-Babies Me {Part 1} – All ChangeMy Profile

    • I’ve never known a cul de sac and to be honest it was never even on my radar when we were house hunting but I would definitely be looking at the immediate surrounding environment much more closely if we moved again. We have been very lucky to discover these ‘new’ neighbours at the back – haven’t had a chance to see them again yet but when I spoke to our childminder she said the youngest boy had been telling her all about discovering a secret passageway at the back of his garden! X

  3. It is so sad that times have changed but very happy you seem to have met a lovely family behind you. The parking issues when there are no drives seem to be awful. Had friends in similar situation who had to have words. Makes life so hard DNS awkward for everyone! I’m so with you on the earplug front though!! Xx -#twinklytuesday
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  4. Oh that’s wonderful – how lovely to finally become friendly with one of your near neighbours and to be able to start building that feeling of community. I’ve lived in my village for five years and it’s really only been in the last couple of years that I’ve started to build friendships with other parents who live locally. So glad that you are now starting to have potential friends on your doorstep 🙂
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    • It’s really great Louise, I’m so happy that they got up the courage to approach us – if it had been the other way round I think I would be a bit worried that we were crashing their lives uninvited but this way I know that we are all in the same boat and this new found connection is right for us all. X

    • Ah, I’m really sorry to hear that you are suffering from the same issues as us with living on a main road Beth. Our immediate neighbours have been hard work but we are more friendly with the family opposite and another lady a couple of doors down – not that we have any kind of regular interactions with them. We have also considered moving within our town to somewhere a bit more conducive to family life but now we know we have some neighbours who we have a lot in common with I feel a lot more settled all of a sudden! I hope you find a good solution for your family too X

    • I’m not sure how I managed to change your mind Kiran! There are certainly things you can overcome but it doesn’t make up for the lack of community spirit in the immediate environment. I feel lucky that we have discovered our ‘new’ neighbours but only time will tell if we do manage to strike up a lasting bond with them. X

  5. Ah, how lovely. We used to live just set back from a main road but then moved to the end of a cul-de-sac in the middle of a newish estate less than a year before our first was born. We’ve been very lucky – our next-door neighbour’s younger child is a few months older than Isaac and there are a number of other kids of similar age/slightly older in the close, so we’ve struck up friendships that we never did at our old place, which was basically all professional working people like ourselves or retired couples. It’s also great that we’re on the ‘T’ right at the end of our road, which means there’s a lovely little apron where the kids can play freely together safe from traffic. It has its disadvantages – I can’t get down and then up the hill out of the estate in winter when it snows! – but on the whole we’ve been very lucky.
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    • Oh do you know Tim, the point about getting out when it snows always sticks in my mind as *the* one good reason for living on a main road!! It was an absolute gift for me to be able to drive over to my parents when I had a four month old and I was deep in depression and the hubster was working and all the baby groups shut down. I do envy you your idyllic sounding location though! X

    • I never thought too much about living on a main road until I had children – that does kind of change the dynamics of everything. When i was childfree and living in a rented house in a cul de sac with my ex-boyfriend I felt excluded then because everyone else seemed to be home owners or families. I longed to be a part of it all but there was just a dynamic there that was missing I guess. Anyway looking forwards to having a better relationship with at least one neighbour now!! X

  6. Aww I am so glad things have worked out. We live on a very quiet road – it’s a dead end and there are lots of children but we haven’t really made friends with those who have children yet! We’ve only been there a year though so there is time and Zach isn’t at school and at a nursery a bit further away so even that hasn’t brought the opportunity. That said, we do have fantastic next door neighbours on one side. A family of five, all three kids are 15yrs + but they are AMAZING with Zach! They talk to him over the fence and the other day, their fence was down (they all need fixing like ours do but heck they are exensive!) and Zach ended up in their garden playing footie with their middle lad while I had a chat with mum! It was so lovely. Our other neighbours on the other side don’t mind chatting to us out the front but came along and put up huge fences in their garden so we couldn’t see in. I like short fences so you can have chats with people so I’m less of a fan of them hehe! #sharewithme

    • I guess it all takes off a bit when your children start school – especially if they are the same age. I think when part of our fence went down it was actually quite nice as our next door neighbours were forced to chat to us a bit as their daughter was curious and JJ and EJ wanted to interact with her. I don’t like the thought that she won’t even recognise us as she grows up as they seem to keep her away from us (and all the other neighbours too mind you!). I’m glad to read that you’ve got great neighbours though who are happy to interact with your son – how lovely! Thanks for stopping by X

  7. That is so nice to hear! My son could use some friends as well. We live in the town center so at night its just us and the delivery turcks passing by every now and then. We would want to move to a more residential area but we cant afford a rent. I wish someday this story of yours will happen to us too. Cuz its really nice to have friends =) #sharewithme
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  8. The Mother says – What an absolutely fab post. We live in a cul de sac and luckily a lot of children from Lucas’s school live here. There’s also Jordan who comes and stays with us when his Mum is poorly and it’s fab in the summer. Us adults do a tag team to keep an eye on the kids and there’s water fights, etc……. So pleased your kids are going to experience this xx #sharewithme
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