I wanted to do something for quite some time with older people. I’m close to my grandparents and that motivated me. I met Fred and we just clicked.
Fred gives me all the gossip about the neighbours and celebrities he used to chauffeur around London. We watch wildlife programmes as we love animals.
I’ve been living in London four and a half years now so it’s still a novelty and I learn a lot from Fred as he’s lived in south London his whole life. It’s great to hear about what’s happened around here through the years and to become a bit more aware. I love it when he tells stories you wouldn’t think to hear from an 84 year old – I will sit here and cry with laughter.
Fred is a part of my life now. It would be very odd to not come see him on a Tuesday. All my friends and family know about him as well. Every Tuesday my boyfriend will text me saying say hi to Fred ‘The Ledge’: he’s come over a few times to visit Fred with me. I only met my boyfriend in April so Fred used to hear all about my dating life and get all the gossip.
It’s completely different, my relationship with Fred, to my grandparents. I wouldn’t talk about the things I talk about with Fred. It’s opened my eyes to how the older generation aren’t exactly like your grandparents and how people are all from totally different social backgrounds.
All of a sudden, I have this lovely lady here visiting me. We can talk about anything. It doesn’t matter that I’m old and she’s young. There’s nothing governing our conversation and interests. We natter about what’s been happening, what’s in the news. We can talk about anything and we get on together so well.
You’ve got to live life as easy as you can. You don’t want people to run your life or rely on people. But it’s nice to see people that you like to see. I’m an easy character and I can sit on my own and enjoy myself. But then I get this call through and a new friend and its opening my life up more. You see, I’m talking to people I wouldn’t have talked to before. No one can beat her, she’s wonderful.
It makes me feel more in touch. It makes me feel more confident to sit outside on my buggy and say hello to everyone. I can be a local celebrity and I like all that. All ages can mix if you’re that way inclined – I can mix with anybody, it doesn’t matter about the age or where they come from. I enjoy life.
As soon as she puts her head around that corner I smile. Every time is my favourite visit. I always look forward to the next one.
As we were leaving, and saying goodbye to Fred's cat Lucky, Fred shows us souvenirs Louise has bought him from her holidays – including a boomerang and painted cow. Fred, a keen seamstress and knitter tells us he’s making Louise a tote bag in return.
Fred and Louise’s favourite things
Favourite telly to watch together: Masterchef and wildlife/farming programmes.
Favourite food in common: Fish and chips and poached eggs.
Favourite shared stories: Fred getting up to no good and scrumping as a child (climbing trees and stealing apples) and Louise’s dating gossip.
Favourite visit: Sharing a takeaway together. They got lasagne from down the road.
Favourite local fact: Van Gogh used to live around the corner.
Favourite quote: ‘’She’s called Lucky because she’s lucky to have me’’. Fred rescued Lucky the cat when she was a kitten.
Favourite advice: Fred's dating advice to Louise, ''Tell them to b***** off if they’re not nice and get them to pay for dinner!''
Louise and Fred are one of sixty Love Your Neighbour matches – south Londoners who wouldn't usually have met, but who can gain a lot from knowing one another. Find out more about Love Your Neighbour here.
Posted by Jasmin White on Wednesday 11th October 2017
Jasmin is the Programme Coordinator for Love Your Neighbour, connecting younger and older neighbours one-to-one for weekly visits and longterm friendship. Previously Jasmin worked for Headstart supporting young people to volunteer in their local community.