Life

By Dan Coles

 

Most millennials are rejoycing when they finally save enough money to move out of their parents house and start their own life – and look forward to some independence.

But Gail Randall didn’t fly far from the nest – buying the house next door.

Gail, 30 and her partner Lisa, 39, now live just 10 feet away from Gail’s parents Janet, 57, and Ken, 69, at their semi detached properties in Plymouth

And despite the set up sounding to most like a recipe for disaster, the two couples say they love living so close together, even if Gail still regularly raids her parents’ fridge.

Now, Gail, a charity worker, has lived next door to her mum for three years and benefits from the “shop of mum and dad”, personal security to watch the house, twice the oven space at Christmas, her own taxi service and on-call garden maintenance.

Gail said: “Lisa and I were looking to get onto the property ladder, and mum and dad were helping us find our first house so I could move out.

“One day, mum told me the house next door was for sale as a joke, but then I started thinking about it seriously.

“Luckily my parents are quite good so they weren’t as intrusive as we thought they might be.

“My dad however will only come in the house if we let him in, even if we are at the window waving him in he won’t enter until we go to the door and let him – he’ll just keep knocking.

“We have a pet tortoise and my mums garden is grassed but ours is patioed, so we have to pass him over the fence, so he gets time on the grass.

“Dad always does our gardening as well, it’s like a free service – we’ll come home and see our hedges trimmed and the grass cut.

“We always pop next door if the shops are shut, it’s like a little personal tuck shop where we can go and get milk or bread.

“The funniest thing is getting a knock at the door and it’ll be my mum returning our tortoise because he’s wandered next door.

“We were on holiday in Spain and she had gone missing for a day and my parents’ found her behind their shed.

“It works both ways really, if we’re at work she’ll grab the washing in for us and we do the same.

“It’s actually quite nifty, we don’t even have our own WIFI because we connect to my mums’ which can be a little awkward when our friends come over and we’re asking next door for the password.”

Although living just feet away from your in laws might be too much for some, Lisa, a volunteer coordinator, says she loves being so close to Gail’s family.

Lisa added: “They’re both great, I was a little curious at first living next door to my partner’s parents because of our own privacy but they really haven’t overstepped the mark.

“If anything, they’re less intrusive than we would like them to be.”

And rather than resenting the extra ‘mum’ chores that fall Janet’s way, she is happy to keep her daughter’s fridge full and provide a taxi service – and uses the situation to her own advantage to use her daughter’s washing machine when the weekly wash becomes heftier than usual.

Janet said: “I was really happy when they said they were going to move and although I initially meant it as a joke Gail was quite keen.

“Obviously I was aware that we would need to be careful and not be keeping tabs on everything they were doing.

“It’s nice to have that bit of extra support and being able to nip in to use their washing machine is a bonus.

“In return, we’re like a little branch of Morrisons to them sometimes.”

Ken added: “It’s great having them next door and I do like to help out with the house where I can.

“Some people jet off halfway across the world when they’re older but Gail is next door and we love having her close by.”

They have all lived next door to each other for three years, and Gail has lived on the same road her whole life.

 

One of the biggest positives, they say, is being able to look out for each other, they don’t have to worry about noisy neighbours or anti-social behaviour because they are their own unit on their road.

Gail said: “It’s really comforting living here, I feel at home because its where I grew up.

“My partner and parents get on really well, I’m very lucky in that respect so it’s quite perfect how everything has slotted in to place.”