The Tortoise and the Share

We know grandparents double as the best babysitters. They can be trusted, they dote on children and most importantly, they’re free.

Occasionally they might be good cat or dogsitters or even de facto plant parents. One woman who knew her parents would have no qualms looking after her pet decided to move in next door.

Charity worker Gail Randall wanted to make sure her tortoise Shelley had enough grass to play on, so she bought a property next to her parents.

The 39-year-old moved in with her partner Lisa to the semi-detached property in Plymouth.

Conveniently for them, parents Janet, 57, and Ken, 69, are only ten feet away so when Gail and Lisa are away, their pet has carers and plenty of space to roam.

The two couples say they love living so close together, even if Gail still regularly raids her parents’ fridge.

Parental privileges Gail is privvy to include free personal security over the house, oven space during Christmas, 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.

‘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.’

Gail added that sometimes the tortoise wanders over to the other side and has to be returned by Janet or Ken.

Though Gail and Lisa like the perks of having parents next door, they also return the favour when they can.

‘It’s actually quite nifty,’ continued Gail. ‘We don’t even have our own WIFI because we connect to my mum’s 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.

She said: ‘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.’ Mum Janet says she also indulges in using the neighbour’s washing machine sometimes. She said: ‘I was really happy when they said they were going to move and although I initially meant it as a joke at first.’

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 added: ‘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.’

Story From Metro

Written by Dr Jamie Branson

I provide a broad spectrum of news to View TV News whilst taking stories from the public and allowing people to hear about the real news every day of the week. Check out more at

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