I wrote a few months back about our neighbour, Mr Quinn. For some reason the follow up post about the neighbours on the other side never happened – I can’t remember why – so this is it.
The house on the other side of ours, number 15, was actually owned by the fire brigade and let out to a senior officer at the station (or, at least, that’s how I have always understood the arrangement to have worked). For the first few years that we lived in Leamington the house was occupied by the Compton family – Mr & Mrs Compton, their two sons Stephen and Gary, and a baby who arrived during the time that they lived there.
Stephen was a few months older than me and one of those kids who liked to throw his weight around. It took me years to realise that he wasn’t necessarily malicious and violent, and that he was in fact rather spoiled and really, really stupid. The fact that he was the only boy at my junior school to be caned in the entire five years that I was there should have given that away, as was the fact that he was the only one I can remember being made to do PE in his underwear after repeatedly forgetting his kit.
Stephen owes his place in my history to being the only person ever to deliberately give me a black eye. We were about nine and I saw him repeatedly kicking a football against our back fence. I took umbrage at this – I did it often enough, but then it was our fence – and rushed out to stop him. A brawl ensued, and at one point he ended up on top of me and very deliberately punched me in the eye. That’s just the kind of meathead he was.
As for the rest of them, I remember very little. Gary was my sister Karen’s age and actually had an unwitting part in the slow torture of the aforementioned Mr Quinn. To the stream of balls of all shapes and sizes that found their way into the Quinn back garden Gary added one of Karen’s teddy bears. I still can’t remember why, but I am sure that the act itself was deliberate.
After about four years, the Comptons were replaced by the Becketts. They had a daughter who was my age. Fortunately, she didn’t try and hit me. Sadly, she didn’t try and hit on me, either.