Away Awhile

Chapter Seven
Neighbourhood Watch

Dad had mentioned starting up a ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ to look out for all the neighbours on our road. It turns out, other people had had the same idea and they were springing up all over the place. It’s like in a matter of a week, we formed a whole network where everyone was checking in on each other. For the last few days, we had been doing Uncle Brian’s shopping too. I felt a bit bad because his list was always so short. It just alternated with items like: ‘bread, milk, soup, apples, tomatoes, beans, biscuits, teabags, handwash and toilet roll.’ At the top of every list, he would write ‘cat food.’ The strange thing about that was that Uncle Brian didn’t have a cat. I asked him about it after seeing it a few times.

“Oh no, well see, I don’t have a cat per se,” he said, “but you could say I have them all. There’s a lot of them tabbies, or strays – or even just neighbourhood cats – they’re always in the garden so I try and keep some food in a bowl. So, in that way,” he scratched his head, “seeing as they drop by here day and night for a bite, they’re all my cats.” I thought that was really very nice of him. I have a rabbit called Tumbleweed and she’s a bit scared of cats so we try not to let any near, but I didn’t want to miss out on this idea. I decided I would keep out a few carrots in case any homeless rabbits needed a meal.

“I haven’t seen anything like this, you know,” said Uncle Brian. “I was born in the wartime – just towards the end in ‘43 – and that was the last time things got so shaken up here. I don’t remember any of it of course, but people really tried to help each other out. It’s not good unfortunately, but it takes a lot to get people to wake up and look around – realise how many need help. Even before all this virus business, there’s been plenty of trouble in the world and even here, but that’s all gone quiet now. There’s been diseases, wars an all but they didn’t reach us so we didn’t care. True to say, plenty have been living all their lives – in these here modern times – with checkpoints, no food, stuck in their houses. It’s no good to me if I get killed off by this virus – but it’s good that you get to experience it and have your eyes opened young. And don’t forget,” he tapped the list on the words ‘cat food’, “it’s all sorts that need looking after.”


Continuing the story of the semi-fictional journal entries of a child, based on what is happening. Taking inspiration from real life scenarios; a little of the sad and grave aspects, a lot of the uplifting, rallying together aspects. Chapters are about all the community work that is really happening, looking after neighbours and the elderly, ways children can and are preoccupying themselves, and inward reflection.
Good for kids to read, being written in a child’s voice. Short chapters with original illustrations.
(NB: this chapter is set before the lockdown.)