I was made to live on a desert island…

**Once again, I’d like to thank all of you who have been kind enough to send me such caring messages. It really means a lot that you have taken the time to send us all these little supportive comments. If I could send you all chocolate, I would!**

I’ve decided that, on the whole, neighbours should be banned. There should be a strict vetting process before people are allowed to live in close proximity with others, and those who fail the vetting process should be exiled to a very crowded commune, a long way from civilisation, along with all the other inconsiderate idiots who make their neighbours lives a misery.

As you may be able to pick up, if you are talented at detecting nuances from the writing of others, we are having some problems with those who live around us. Unfortunately, as we live in a flat, it’s literally people who live around us. We have neighbours directly overhead who think nothing of parties until four in the morning, and although these don’t happen that often, most of the other nights we can enjoy the relaxing sound of a four year old being chased up and down the flat by her parents at half past ten at night. Not to mention the regular loud and heated domestic arguments and the incessant playing of their ‘Coldplay’ album (I’m wondering if they own any other music). Then there are the neighbours diagonally above who rent the flat and don’t give a monkeys who they disturb with their stomping up and down the stairs and slamming of doors at all hours of the day or night. Not to mention the phone calls which they feel a need to take in the communal hallways at significant volume. I sometimes feel like going and joining in the conversation. But our favourite of their activities has to be when, as happened last night, their friends show up in the early hours and hammer on the security door to be let in, and then ring each doorbell in turn. Let’s be clear; the security door at the entrance of the flats is just on the other side of the wall from the head of our bed. Their flat is on the second floor. I’m assuming that they don’t hear the pounding as easily as we do. And the doorbell ringing is extremely special. They obviously aren’t in their right minds because what sane person would expect any one of us in the other flats to buzz in a drunk person who has spent the last twenty minutes standing outside the building screaming at the top of their voice? After about fifteen minutes the tenant graciously let the screaming, drunk, hammering woman in, only to stomp up the stairs, slam the door, have an argument (yes, we could hear it clearly from that far away!), come back downstairs and let her out again (slamming the door just for good measure). I think a trip to their letting agents may be on the cards for me. Not that I expect that to improve matters; these tenants are actually significantly better than the last ones. These ones at least don’t stand in the hallway screaming obscenities for no known reason at the other residents of the block!

In theory, there is a phone number we could call to alert the police or the noise pollution officer to the problem. In practice, we’ve tried this before and nothing happened. I miss so much our house in Mid-Wales. It was a detached bungalow in the middle of an acre of land, surrounded by trees. Peace and quiet was the norm, and if you heard a car you’d get up to see what was going on. I’d dearly love to pick up that house and land and put it down in the middle of Cardiff (pick carefully and I could obliterate quite a lot of other buildings in the process!). We crave tranquillity. Perhaps when we move we could look to build a large wall around the perimeter of our new house and maybe install the finest soundproofing that money can buy. Until then I shall continue, I expect, to fume, within the confines of my own flat, about the thoughtless nature of some of those with whom I live in such close proximity.

And yes, in answer to the unspoken question, my early training to become a grumpy old woman is going very well, thank you.

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Dear upstairs neighbours…

Dear Upstairs Neighbours,

I thought I’d take this opportunity to write you a little letter, as you’re way too aggressive for me to ever contemplate approaching you face to face. You’ve lived upstairs for a little while now, but seem wholly unaware that you have near neighbours. Do you not know that every time you shout and swear in the hallways, we all hear you. We all hear your friends when they stand in front of the block and shout to your flat. We also hear when you throw things around in your flat and damage things like the hallway cupboard doors which don’t belong to you and I hope you have to pay for when you move out.

Most of us in the flats are of a ‘live and let live’ mentality, and so long as you respect the property and your neighbours, we’d have no problem with you. However, when you stand in the communal hallway or outside the flats and shout, swear and scream about how “everyone ‘f***ing hates us and can’t f***ing wait for us to leave, f***ing b*****ds”,  it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and we do start counting the days. I don’t want my children exposed to that sort of language, in their own home, or that sort of aggression. And I don’t want to worry about leaving and re-entering my home in case you or your friends are hanging about and being intimidating. Don’t even get me started on causing the police to be called to the flats because of aggression and threats of vandalism by people associated with you.

All in all, if you were polite to those around you, showed a little respect and empathy to your neighbours, I imagine you’d be a lot happier and would enjoy living here more than you do. And we’d enjoy having you as a neighbour considerably more.

And yet again – inconsiderate neighbours

So, I guess that my pessimistic assessment of my upstairs neighbours’ consideration of our feelings was about right. Last night, they invited another group of friends around and had another all-nighter, including an impromptu karaoke session at gone midnight. I managed to sleep, on and off, from about 1am on, but GG and I both woke up at intervals and this morning were able to tell each other that they were still going at 5.30 and 6.30am. Handsome (eldest son) was woken at “three minutes after quarter past two” (he’s very exact with the time!) by the shouting and music.

I think I’m past anger now. I also think that I’m resigning myself to sleep deprivation in a way that has been unnecessary since Cheeky started sleeping through the night. This in itself is competely unacceptable. Why should I (and my family) have to put up with this?

Anyway, changing the subject, I woke up (most recently) at about 8.30 this morning, and at 9am felt the strongest urge to practise Handsome’s violin (I like to be able to pick out tunes on any instrument). Then I did a bit of music making on the recorder, followed by a short burst of spontaneous singing of “I could have danced all night” from “My Fair Lady”. Then I had a quiet half hour, since when I’ve been listening (and singing along – I was a soprano in the university choir) to Verdi’s Requiem – a very loud, stirring piece of music! I do hope that none of my (upstairs) neighbours were trying to sleep, especially if they were worn out with partying all night, as I imagine that could have made it a little difficult ;-).

Definitions #4

Disbelief

Definition – the way we feel this morning after our upstairs neighbours invited a group of friends round for another all-nighter last night, after last week’s incident which necessitated calling 999 and getting the police in their riot van round here.