What Pegman Saw: When Archie Gregson lived next door

Image: Google Street view

Archie Gregson lived at Sandy Bay, the guesthouse next to ours.

My mother didn’t approve of Mrs Gregson, her home’s faded pink paintwork, the fact she didn’t wash her step every day or her net curtains every week.

“Clean glass means clean guests, Phillip,” said Mum, scrubbing our windows with balled sheets of the Daily Mail.

I don’t know about their guests, but she had a point with Archie. A torque of dirt circled his neck, river valley runnels up his forearms. In summer he smelt more like the sea than the breeze did.

But when you’re 12 you don’t love people because they’re clean. You love them for skipping stones, for teaching you to catch spiky crabs with a line of string and a chicken bone.

You love them for not laughing when you fall over. For keeping your worst secrets the best.

And so I loved Archie.


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that takes you across the globe through google Street View. This week, we pop to the UK, to Great Yarmouth. To join in with the prompt, see here.

16 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw: When Archie Gregson lived next door

  1. I can totally picture that mother and how she judges the neighbors, and what that says about her own life and what petty things she is able to call her own. I love the contrast with what the narrator values in a friend, which seems a lot less like it’s because he’s young and naive, and a lot more like an important reminder to all of us.


    1. Thanks, Joy. Kids can be good at seeing past the things adults allow to cloud their judgement. We see class, race, gender – kids just see people and whether they want to be with them or not. Of course, they also see difference and that can turn to bullying – perhaps that’s where adult prejudices begin

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kids pick up the prejudices they see all around them, especially in their parents, whether their parents are conscious of conveying those or not. And most kids who are bullies, you can see the seeds of that in their own home life; it’s a sad cycle. So for the kid in your story, I hope he has a father who is providing a more positive role model so he gets a contrast to learn from!


      2. You’re so right about bullies often having a complex story behind their actions. They’ve often been victims themselves and are reasserting some power, sadly making others suffer as a consequence. I suspect my MC doesn’t have such an understanding parent, but I think he’ll find his own way. Thanks so much for reading

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Dale. So glad you liked it. Sometimes kids are good are seeing passed the superficial to what’s important. not always something adults are capable of! Thanks for reading, hope you’re well ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. AW, thank you Penny. If I’d written more, I’d have suggested the friendship grew into love, but perhaps I’ll save that idea for another day ๐Ÿ™‚


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