My Neighbours – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Part 1

August 13, 2007 at 9:48 am 27 comments

line cance

Mad Val

I have been blessed with good neighbours. I have been damned with awful neighbours. I crave for a detached house. Isolation. Neighbourless is a state that would suit me down to the ground. I am paranoid about neighbourly noise. Actually there is nothing neighbourly about noise from your neighbours. It is intrusive, wearing, impolite. It eats into your soul. It gets into your head, and it stays there. It grinds you down and it drives you out. It eats away at you until you can hear yourself scream the silent scream.

This is all the fault of Val. C and I lived next to Val for six years in our first home as a married couple. It was a beautiful Victorian cottage in Bolliwood (Alderley Edge) in Cheshire. Unfortunately, it was a semi-detached cottage, just one room wide. And, Val lived on the other side of the shared wall. Val, her TV and her stereo…..

Don’t get me wrong, the years were not all bad. Indeed, the first five and a half years out of the six were wonderful. After we had moved on, Val “knocked on” as they do in the North. When our paths crossed she always raised her hand in hello and we exchanged a word or two. Indeed, I remember the first time that we went away on holiday we left Val with a set of keys. In case of emergency. It was such a nice surprise when we discovered, upon our return, that Val had stocked the fridge with milk, bread and bacon and egg as a welcome home gift. We reciprocated, of course, when Val made one of her many trips back to the motherland. Val was Irish.

On my last night in the house I could have killed her. She was deliberately provoking us. She held a party despite the fact that it was a Thursday night. A work night to all intents and purposes. But, she knew we were leaving. So, she had all her Irish drinking partners around until 3 am. The shared wall shook to the tune of many an Irish jig or sad rock ballad. If I had gone round to complain I would have killed her. Actually, C refused to let me go. She was more concerned that this was a deliberate provocation and that if I had gone around there would have been many a Guinness and Jameson fuelled navvy more than ready to kill me.

For most of these six years Val lived alone. Occasionally she would obtain a boy friend. Val was in her fifties. Most of her boyfriends were in their twenties or thirties. Toy boys. Val was no looker. Perhaps she had money. These toy boys came and went. But, the toy boy that went five and half years into our residence next door to Val must have been significant. Val was inconsolable. Val resorted to self-pity, alcohol and Shirley Bassey. Shirley Bassey ballads would reverberate through the walls. Cover versions. Val once spent a whole weekend playing Shirley’s version of Foreigner’s “I want to know what love is” at full volume, back to back, in a constant repetitive loop. I did complain about 3am in the morning. Monday morning. I had to get up for work at 6am. She answered the door in an apologetic drunken haze. She did turn the music down. For maybe 20 minutes. After which Shirley belted it out at full volume until the alarm went off and I opened the door to sanctuary.

Also during this last six months, Val discovered the “pleasure” of Line Dancing. She also discovered the joys of practise. Home practise. Can you imagine listening to Cotton Eyed Joe being played at full volume on a constant loop! It was almost a relief when practise was over and Shirley Bassey would kick in. Or, bloody Simply Red. God I hate that man. Ginga!

For those of you who have read my earlier post “There’s a Bomb”, you will understand that I have long suspected that Val was trained in terrorist techniques. To be sure, the CIA would have been proud of her excellent use of noise pollution. General Noreaga would not have survived 24 hours next to Val.

I became paranoid about noise. I became convinced that we were somehow provoking Val into retaliating. I would only allow C three bars on the TV volume control. More often the not we spent the last six months in this house watching the same programmes on TV as Val next door, with our volume down, listening to her TV. When C was out I would listen to the football on the radio in the bathroom or in the kitchen so as not to provoke a retaliation. Mostly I would go out for a walk or a drive. I was making myself ill.

When selling, we would schedule viewings when we knew that Val was most likely to be out. We got very excited when someone put an offer in for the house who was hoping to set up a recording studio in the attic. Revenge would be mine. Unfortunately he pulled out. Shame.

Val, wherever you are now I hope you rot in a Neighbour From Hell existence of your own making. My own personal Hell would be a small cottage, a shared wall, Shirley and a Ginga singing a duet of Cotton Eyed Joe. Thanks Val and good riddance.

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Royston Vasey (Where My Mother-In-Law Lives) My Neighbours – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Part 2

27 Comments Add your own

  • 1. paragonia  |  August 13, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    With noise pollution as one of the options I study at grad school , I sure understand its nuisance and how sick it can make one feel.. Sick enough to have the cochlea age much before one gets their first signs of a skin-wrinkle!
    Thanks to God , I have been blessed with neighbours who believ in “silence is bliss”….

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  • 2. Middle Man  |  August 14, 2007 at 8:55 am

    Long may it be so!

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  • 3. knowmyneighbour  |  March 20, 2008 at 9:43 am

    If you want to vent some frustration on your neighbours you may want to try this Facebook App:

    http://apps.facebook.com/xneighbours/

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  • 4. Tasmaniac  |  April 2, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Good greief what an existence. It musta been soooo good to move away from there. I had a really bad neighbour for about 3 months once, Loud music, loud TV, loud sex (some things you just don’t wanna hear!!!) & all night parties with all their druggo mates. I did every thing in my power to have them eveicted & I finally won, it felt good.. However the whole terrible damn experience triggered an anxiety disorder which I have been living with & on medication for the past 6 years.
    Damn noisy neighbours, damn them to hell!!!

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  • 5. kevmoore  |  April 9, 2008 at 9:36 am

    My god. Does this woman qualify as a weapon of mass destruction? It’s the Shirley Bassey cover of a perfectly good original that did it for me. That would have been the day I would have walked into Alderley Edge police station with the bloodied machete in my hand confessing “I had to do it, she murdered a classic”. Your self-restraint is saintly, and you must be eligible for some kind of award. Apart from the Hedge woman as mentioned in my post, I haven’t had too much neigbourly hassle, thank god, but when the family who own the apartment nect to mine in Almeria arrived for a rare visit a few months back and started pumping out slit-your-wrists David Gray, it was hard not to knock on the door and inform them that I am , in fact, a professional musician in a rock band, and, if it wasn’t for the fact that I am considerate to MY neighbours, I have the power to “blow their house down” to quote Living in a Box’s 80’s smash.

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  • 6. Olive  |  May 20, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Gosh! I can really sympathise with you. Noisy, terrible music, doors banging, and the terrifying loud screaming sex all and any hour of the night. It left me traumatised for months post the LOUD sex, which I must add sounded like a cat being strangled. I approached the couple after hearing the loud sex for the second time, gave them a “peice of my mind”. I let her know how ridiculous
    she sounded. I never heard those screams again, hope I never will.
    Although the trauma is still there, but barely, it’s just so sickening to hear it, it’s meant to be private, no one should know when you’re having sex!!

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  • 7. Amethyst Clouds  |  July 17, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Wow..the line dancing is what did it for me…glad to know you don’t have to deal with that anymore! As for me, I am delighted I will never have to hear or see my neighbors from hell once I move away the 1st of next month Yippee!!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  • 8. Black Mamba  |  July 18, 2008 at 3:01 am

    Sounds similar to my current neighbors…Only mine are Mexican and I get non-stop mariachi music. 😦

    I have no problems calling the cops, though, and will continue to do so until they get the point. The next time they pull their b.s. I will file a formal complaint with the PO PO and they will get hit in their pocketbooks. *I’m giddy with glee* I CANNOT wait…

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  • 9. babirach  |  July 24, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    hi,
    I know what you mean about bad neighbours. When me and my family moved into our new home we were glad that our neighbours were english. My parents would go for nights out with them and i would look after their two kids. We all used to get on quite well. Now they make an awful lot of noise on their stairs as the building structures are not that good and you can hear everything from next door. They have started telling us that mine and my brothers music is too loud, even though my parents can’t hear it upstairs and neither can the neighbours on the opposite side, but luckily, for us they have decided to move, (claiming that they are moving because we make alot of racket), so for the time being we are stuck with some really rude, noisy neighbours.

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  • 10. paddyK  |  July 31, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    The price of apartments should be based solely on the neighbours, and not the location. It’s really the main consideration.

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  • 11. bevchen  |  August 11, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    OMG, I’m actually grateful for my neighbours nopw. At least they don’t make a noise every night.

    And I couldn’t help but notice you wrote this post on my birthday last year 😉

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  • 12. dewinter  |  August 20, 2008 at 12:38 am

    I live next door to the anti-christ , she has destroyed our garden listens to {they tried to make me go to rehab }over and over again . if i paint the sitting room green she does the same , I tiled the step with mosaic and she tiled her with horrible 70s bog tile . she calls the police and says i have attacked her , she has taken a hammer to me and told me she would kill me and my dog , everyday we come home all the pot plants are turned upside down , when i first moved her she used to call in and tell me that somone was in her garden and glueing her locks and at her pipes and frictions she was having wih other people, this woman is slowly making me have a nervous break down having to watch tv with the noise thru her wall . i am afraid i will or my partner will be hurt by her , I lost it today when i came home all the pots upside down and her laughing i shouted at her and she called the police and they said i will be prosecuted for verbal assault , this woman has toy boys comming and going from her house and she sues every body her family her x , even a instructor she had iin university , can someone please help or give suggestions before i end up as mentally ill as her , i ahve spent the day in tears and i cannot stop shaking over the stress and my psorisis is comming back to haunt me .. j

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  • 13. Middle Man  |  August 20, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Dear Dewinter,

    OH MY GOSH!

    You have my sincere sympathy. Please try and hold on to the fact that there is nothing that you are doing at all which is provoking this kind of unreasonable action from this insane woman. The bad behaviour here is clearly all on her side. So, hold onto your own sanity.

    In other altercations with neighbours I was advised to involve the police based upon the argument that if you are dealing with unreasonable people then there is nothing that you can do and that dealing with unreasonable people IS the job of the police. You will not find my experience of doing so blogged here because, to be frank, it made things worse and we do not want any revenge attacks from the neighbours who have, thankfully, moved on.

    But, if you really do fear for your safety I WOULD consider the police. Certainly do not confront this woman when you are angry or upset – it would be a shame if you were provoked into doing something you would regret.

    This woman sounds unwell and in need of medical care. Perhaps it would be worthwhile talking to your local mental health trust for advice……..or maybe your council could help. I know that people are often advised to keep a diary of events, dates and times in circumstances such as these.

    But, I am no expert in these things at all. Do whatever makes you feel safe and secure. I know that moving is not always an option in these circumstances.

    Good luck! Keep safe! And, drop back every so often and I will endeavour to put a smile on your face.

    LOL

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  • 14. dewinter  |  August 20, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    thanks for you help , i have spent the day calling different mental health places in ireland all day trying to find out what my stance is , i have been told to go to my g.p. and report the situation to him so he can contact the police , the police are afraid of her as she has made so many alligations regarding unfair practice they know she is mad they say it but they are not willing to have her commited to much paper work , today she had 3 gypsies outside her house all day doing work and i left my dog out to be hurled abuse… I jsut wish to move out of here but my partner does not wish to , the police said this is one of the messiest situations they have had to deal with due to the fact this is a respectable neighbourhood,and due to her mental health issues they will not arrest her , but if she makes anymore alligations they will be forced to arrest me or my partner . today i have spent the day so depressed and on edge . i am going to take a leap and move back ho,e for a few weeks , hopefully my partner will get some sence and will put the house on the market , i am afraid of both our safety but i cannot sleep eat because of what is going on ,,, will drop you aline soon , godbless

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  • 15. Middle Man  |  October 6, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Let me know how you got on!

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  • 16. faithl  |  November 6, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Hey, thanks for posting a comment on my blog so I thought I’d do the neighbourly thing (!) and check out yours. Now feel somewhat ashamed that I can’t write about my experience without swearing while you were so eloquent but hey…I was still wound up.

    This woman would DRIVE ME NUTS. In fact, I’ve suffered with noise for years – in almost every place I’ve lived. Last year I rented a flat in London and had a couple below me who would scream at each other at 1am, then wake me up again at 5 by talking.

    Like you, because this kind of thing keeps hapening to me, I am now hyper-sensitive and utterly intolerant…ugh!

    I just wish my current neighbours would move and a nice quiet family would live there instead. It’s horrid being stressed all the time! Glad you’re rid of yours. 🙂

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  • 17. christine  |  November 24, 2008 at 3:57 am

    We live here now since July last year and it was good so far till recently.
    My one neighbour tryed ti invite me to anything; coffee, underwaer partys etc.
    I do not want this, because i have enough to do with this house and kids.
    When i do the front gardening, she ask me to come over or start talking without an end…, so i try to avoid her, but questions she ask are strange like: my husband must get lot of money( he works hard for the dollars), how old is he ( i am 52 and he is 34), where i bring my child with the car to school etc.
    Couple weeks ago, we got a letter complaining about loud music and cars coming in-and out our driveway day and night. That is not true, only our own ones( we do not have family or friends here), and music yes, but in room sound( my 2 boys)
    I was thinking straight of her and went to police.( I have to say, that we have a PC in one room, right or 5m apart next to her front yard, so i can hear anything they saying when i sit in front of PC, like german bitch etc). Since then i started recording on our Video camera and hear thinks i have better not heard of)
    I was very nice to her, gave her things my boys do not use anymore, like expensive toys, bed sheets etc.
    She is very nasty and brings me down to her visitors for no reason.
    What can i do about this?
    I am so far, i really avoid seeing her accidently in front yard and also my husband since he know’s what is going on here.
    I also heard from neighbours, that 4 familys moved out within 5 years they living here. We have an inground- pool and people saying there was always partys here, but not with us. She( the bad neighbour) told me once, that she used to come over to previous tenants ALL THE TIME.
    Could it be, that she is jealous of me being much older then my husband, or my nationality , or seeing me always going shopping , or having everything ( nice furniture etc, cars etc)
    I do not feel good anymore here, please god help me and give her back what she deserves!
    Also, i have spoken to every single neighbour in our and behoynd the street since we got this letter, everyone is saying, that they have partys all the time and i should report it to police, i even have proof now.

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  • 18. Yuriko  |  February 4, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Okay, so you’ve made my neighbors seem really quiet like church mice… Thanks!

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  • 19. richardmackinnon  |  February 4, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Wow! What a nightmare… makes my neighbours seem like vaguey reasonably human beings (which of course they aren’t).

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  • 20. greyrabbit  |  February 9, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Thank God I’m not alone…. oh good, the noise has started for the morning. This is my first time living in an apartment. I never imagined people could be so very rude and now I find it’s global.

    Two more days. Just two.

    -grey

    (love your blog and writing style)

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  • 21. taking it up a notch « kevo’s deranged ramblings  |  May 16, 2009 at 11:41 am

    […] Maybe this is the payback an Irish person is due after the story I read during the week on https://caughtinthemiddleman.wordpress.com […]

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  • 22. Kerry  |  August 23, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I’m glad my family aren’t the only ones who have suffered!

    I’m 18 and all my life I have NEVER had peace, when I was born til 5 years old we had neighbours who would have a party all weekend, every weekend and sometimes all week! The council, police did nothing. After that the house next door was taken over by our local housing association, ARGH! I’ve realised now that most people on the housing register/benefits etc do not know how to live a ‘normal’ ‘respectable’ life. During my GCSE years from 14 – 16 we had a single mother and her child move in she was lovely at first, then she turned the house into a drugs den. She would have slanging matches in the street at 3 am let her child throw rocks at windows, we had every form of emergency vehicle up my street from fire engines (she regularly imagined her house was on fire during I’m guessing trips) to a riot van! Eventually after 5 years of it she moved out, not after victimising my mother for complaining and telling her child not to throw rocks at our windows/the flats 2 doors down for the childs OWN SAFETY (she would stand right underneath them as she tried to break them.)

    We then had a couple of moths of peace before our new neighbours another single mother and child moved in, again lovely at first, silence!!!!!!!!! It was bliss, but I swear they must test the waters and since last summer our walls have been vibrating to the tune of loud hip hop/reggae/ska/RnB. I have had ENOUGH! Her noise drives me to tears! My study leave for my AS levels consisted of my sobbing over my text books as my skull was constantly thumped by bass (I have tinnitus!!), It’s a miracle I even got ABDE, and I was going to apply to Cambridge having gotten 13 GCSEs, I;ve just gotten over that dissappointment. Well, someone on my street has complained about her, and she came storming round here accusing my mother and in the process kicked my poor cat (he’s bloody 13!!) she’s terrifying a stereotypical bruiser of a woman, but the thudding on our walls has stopped for one day! It’s the most peace I’ve ever had in 18 years except when going on holiday to Dartmoor to stay on my nan’s farm.

    My dream is to now do my degree in history, followed by postgrad at Cambridge and become a proffessor of histpry to fund my moving to a silent, blissful country cottage somewhere miles from humans.

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    • 23. Middle Man  |  August 24, 2009 at 8:35 am

      Kerry, so sorry to hear your tale of woe. There truly is always someone who is worse off. I hope that you do continue with your studies and manage to escape. Although, I must say, you are going to the wrong place – many years ago I studied History at Oxford 😉 All the very best and peaceful nights!

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  • 24. M  |  August 5, 2010 at 5:18 am

    I totally agree neighborly noise eats at your soul!

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  • 25. She.Is.Just.A.Rat  |  August 5, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Oh goodness! We are kindred spirits across the ocean…so glad you stopped by my blog now, as you seem to be dealing with so many of the same issues as I. My husband and I rent the lower half of a two storey home and we’ve had lovely neighbours in our landlords for a year. Prior to that, we have also experienced the 17 and 18 year old children of a woman who rented the unit so she could leave her criminal children there to store their stolen goods and share their drugs and permeate their music through the home while she galavanted (and eventually moved in) with her boyfriend. Currently, we have a young couple and their oh-so-intelligent two year old above us. Children are *always* intelligent and well behaved when a couple is on the hunt for a place to live. In previous homes, we’ve dealt with offensive smells (something like a dying wet dog being cooked with blue cheese and garlic), a neighbour obsessed with Bollywood soundtracks, and domestic violence street theatre. Ah, the life of high density living. I shall be reading more of your life experiences soon I’m sure…

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  • 26. jollof  |  December 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Val just wanted attention. Shame you had to be er…’in the middle’ of it all 😉 lol.

    Great post btw!

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  • 27. Sydney Sophia  |  March 10, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Great post. I feel your pain, as my experience is similiar. What a horrible thing to deal with on a daily basis. What I’d do for a detached bungalow in the country, away from the noise pit of this city.

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