Thomas lives in the last cottage before farmland rules, with woods out back, and only the laughing bastard is his neighbour. No one to his right, no one behind, no one across the way (farmland rules there too), but even this singular presence is too much for Thomas. It is not the fact that someone else lives nearby, but that nearby is far too close. There should be very clear and unbreakable rules regarding proximity, as far as Thomas is concerned. One should never smell what one’s neighbour brews up in the kitchen for dinner…particularly when one is on the brink of starvation. And one should never hear one’s neighbour laugh while he snips at his perfect hedge. It is an absolute affront to one’s sensibilities.