My Neighbours – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Part 1
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.
Entry filed under: middleman, neighbours. Tags: Alderley Edge, bad neighbour, bomb, good neighbor, good neighbour, mad val, noisy neighbor, noisy neighbour, noisy neighbours, paranoia, provocation, rant, Shirley Bassey, terrorist technique.