Neighbours bond blossoms

Patricia and her neighbour Abrielle Worrall.

By Taylah Eastwell

Two Emerald neighbours saw their friendship blossom throughout Melbourne’s Covid-19 lockdown, with bright yellow sunflowers planted along their fence-line helping the friendship flourish.

The companionship between Abrielle Worrall and her 82-year-old neighbour Patricia began when Mrs Worrall found herself “on leave indefinitely” from her role as a disability support worker once Covid hit in March.

“I was lost. I come from generations of women who are carers and nurses. I felt like I had no purpose at that point,” Mrs Worrall explained.

“So I started speaking with Pat more over the fence, because everyone was nervous and scared,” she explained.

Patricia invited Mrs Worrall into her home, where the pair would share cups of tea and life stories. The women had been neighbours for ten years, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that they realised the bond they could form.

“She would make me cups of tea and I just sat and listened to her stories of her family. Her brothers and cousins are all still in the UK. I think I was drawn to her because she is a woman of faith and with what I was going through, I think I felt a sense of comfort and peace in her company,” Mrs Worrall explained.

“As much as I probably felt like I was doing something for her, I think in the end she actually helped me more to get through,” she said.

With restrictions constantly changing, Mrs Worrall took to the garden in September and planted sunflower seeds near where the two properties join,  “to bring joy, colour and a smile” to both neighbours lives.

The fence-line is now overshadowed by 12 giant Russian sunflowers that Mrs Worrall says bring “Patricia so much joy as she eats her lunch on the porch and watches the sunflowers grow”.

“We have the perfect spot along our boundaries in the full sun, we can see them from sitting on her porch. They are as big as a dinner plate, bigger than my head, probably about three metres tall,” she said.

Mrs Worrall and Patricia, who she has nicknamed ‘Nanna-Pat’, went on their “first date” to the Cameo in Belgrave a few weeks ago.

“On the way home we drove through Kallista because she wanted to see the Grants Picnic Ground where she used to feed the birds with her grandson. In a really quiet voice she said thank you so much for taking me for a drive,” Mrs Worrall said.

Patricia, who turns 83 on 13 February, said the friendship is “lovely” and said the pair “look out for each other” and each other’s animals when they go on holidays.

“It just warms my heart. Our friendship has helped both of us really. My heart just explodes, this is what I live for,” Mrs Worrall said.