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How to Deal With a Noisy Neighbour

Old fashioned kettle, beautiful

“One lump or two?”

I have spent the day looking like Gordon Ramsay’s stubbed toe. While this may appeal to the foot fetishists out there who have a penchant for angry chefs, it doesn’t really go with the majority of my outfits and it takes 25 coats of Chanel make up just to stop grown men and women recoiling in terror and screaming at the mere sight of me.

Not only do I have a face like the famed foody fury’s flogged foot, I also have all the wit, sparkle and joie de vivre of week old road kill. In short, I am in a vile mood. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking that one so delightful, tolerant and sweet as I couldn’t possibly have an off day (stop sniggering at the back) but today I have been operating on a paltry amount of sleep and not through my own cursed sleep pattern or partying, but through the selfish act of another.

It may amaze you to know this, but PFPT Towers is not the palatial cosmopolitan abode you might imagine, standing alone in the middle of Hyde Park, with an east wing and a stable for the butler, but is in fact part of a block and as such, I have neighbours. For the most part, these neighbours and I do everything in our power to avoid ever having to interact with each other, to the point that passing each other in the corridor can take hours as we both stand facing the wall pretending to be rubber plants until the other has gone away. This isn’t rude, it’s a London thing. I once had a neighbour actually introduce herself to me. I promptly moved.

This avoidance tactic runs all the way into the homestead too. The fact we have to travel, work and live nose-to-tail means that when we retreat into our safe little hamster cages with the door shut, we wish to imagine that we are, for the most part, isolated from the rest of the hamsters. Anyone who disturbs this equilibrium is a deviant and a criminal of the highest order, which brings me to the neighbour who lives directly above my good self.

Owing to walls about as thick as a whippet’s nipple and flooring coated in special Noise Enhancing Laminate ™, I know some of my neighbours a little too intimately. I’ve put up with the smell of them boiling cat vomit for breakfast each day, I can tell how tall some of them are from the noise their urine makes on contact with their toilet bowl, I’ve put up with them hoovering to the soundtrack of Glee on Sunday mornings and I have turned a deaf ear to the sound of some very lacklustre rumpy pumpy after dinner last Tuesday, but the man upstairs has gone too far. He has dared to have, what I can only assume to be, flamenco dance-furniture-shuffle parties with his screechiest companions at 4am on a school night, directly above my boudoir.

I understand that some of us work alternative hours to the general populace, I also understand that sometimes you lose track of the time when the wine is juicy and the gossip juicier still, but how anyone living in a flat made of filo pastry and loud speaker flooring can imagine that the noise of excitable hens performing Riverdance and feng shui at god-awful o’clock would be conducive to a peaceful night’s slumber and neighbourly oblivion, is beyond me.

Being awake so early, I decided to get up and do some housework. By “housework” I mean using my broom and by that I mean hammering away at the ceiling with it like a clichéd angry housewife, merely lacking a few rollers in my hair and saggy stockings round my ankles. If ever The Speaking Clock decides they want an irately accurate version, I think I’ve got a future. Never will you hear the time called out so frequently and with so much passion and profanity than when depriving someone of their beauty sleep – “IT’S FOUR F%*£#ING FIFTEEN IN THE MORNING!”… “IT’S EIGHTEEN MINUTES PAST S%*£#ING FOUR IN THE #^&£!^% MORNING!” (continue until hoarse, then continue some more).

After a mere hour and fifteen minutes of almost burrowing through the ceiling and auditioning for World’s Most Vulgar Town Crier, my subtle hints did the trick and I was able to lie back peacefully in bed, seething with a rage so furious, I left a scorch mark on the pillow. After a further hour of plotting ruination and bloody downfall, I was able to drift off to sleep, just in time for my alarm to rip what was left of my soul out through my eye sockets. Joy.

It’s amazing how much clarity and creativity one can experience in the small hours when all about you is still, but for the throbbing vein threatening to burst through your temple, and the snowy shower of enamel drifting from your gnashing teeth. Sure I thought of all the sensible ways to counteract a troublesome neighbour, of course I wrote a note that carried just enough scathing weight to drive home my frustration, yet had enough of a polite tone to avoid returning home to a fresh fox carcass on my doormat each day, but what was far more fun was thinking of the following plan for “next time”.

If you have a troublesome neighbour, feel free to borrow this plot but bear in mind, if you get arrested, I’m not bailing you out, mainly because I shall also probably be trying not to drop the soap while at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. This scheme really only works well on British people, but to all my foreign chums out there, please do give it a go and let me know how you get on.

Step 1. While your target is out of the building, gain access to their humble abode and ransack the place, making it look like a really good robbery. You may want to upturn a few items of crockery and dishevel a few books, you may even want to go as far as leaving their framed Glee poster at an annoyingly askew angle.

Step 2. Place a cat turd in the kettle.

Step 3. There is no step 3, get the hell out of there before they come home, you idiot! And put down those DVDs, you can’t actually steal them; that would leave a trail of evidence.

Now your noisy neighbour returns home, sees the awful carnage that has befallen their personal effects, assumes they have been burgled and slips into a deep state of distress, and what’s the first thing all Brits do in times of crisis?

One lump or two?

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About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

26 responses »

  1. Glad to finally know the secret of a good British cuppa….

    Reply
  2. I usually blog angry, but now I’m tired as well, due to noisy neighbors. I had to step away when I titled my last post “I Hate You and the Last 10 People You’ve Met”. I like your advice, but there was nothing on how to deal with the hooker that lives next to me. Please. Send help. (and nice article.)

    Reply
    • I might be able to help you here. If you follow my plan and, first talk to police to see if they are already watching the place for prostitution. If so, then wait until a John arrives, and call the police talking about too much noise or something else you can prove. Perhaps, when they arrive, they will be able to arrest her for the actual prostitution.
      Just a thought

      Reply
      • Thanks for the input. Cops were useless. They literally caught one guy in his boxers fleeing, yet wouldn’t arrest. I stuck a noise ordinance fine on her, but that just slowed her down. Served her with an eviction, but it takes time. Guess I’ll just have to muscle through it and keep writing angry posts. Ha, but thanks, anyway.

        Reply
        • There’s an urban legend/joke that I would like to recount for you here. A man calls the police to tell them that his property is being burgled and the criminals are still in the act. The police inform him that the nearest officer in the area can be with him in the next hour. Knowing that this will mean the thieving little rascals will have made good their escape, he calls back the police and tells them not to worry about sending that police car after all as he’d shot the thieves. A car was there in 5 minutes and the red-handed burglars promptly arrested.

          Reply
  3. Goddamit woman. I followed your advice, broke into my noisy neighbors abode, got attacked by their dogs, got bit and chased out. But I did manage to break china and toss furniture in trying to defend myself. I also managed to pee all over their plush fireplace rug in my fright.
    So mission accomplished, yes? $%^#. Not like they were not already intolerably noisy. When they got home their wails of distress added to the dogs’ howling were more than I could bear. My home is up on the market as of this writing.
    ps: It’s a good thing I don’t own firearms or there would have been two homicides to report.

    Reply
    • Your error here was in not leaving a cat turd in the kettle. You went 90% of the way then fell at the last hurdle. Try again and don’t come out of there until you’ve completed the mission, even if that means losing one or more limbs to rabid hounds. Man up!

      Reply
  4. While your plan do bring a smile to my face, one of the things I get to do, if needed, since the town is small, is call the police after midnight on a school/work night and after 2 on Fri / Sat nights. There is a decent amount of confidentiality to it, though not perfect. However, there are enough small laws on our books to, usually, be able to find something else to send the police over during the daytime, if needed. I would list your plan here, too, but, not being Brits, here they would, most likely, report it to the police and, if you were found out, court is a messy expensive process.
    Scott

    Reply
  5. Oh you poor thing! Where was your cattle prod when you needed it? Even worse than awful neighbours are awful roommates. I had one for two years and she had the most annoying habit of showering, cleaning, listening to music in the middle of the night. The one time I tried, timidly, to ask if she could refrain from the above activities when anyone other than a vampire is sleeping, she called me a dictator and promptly stopped talking to me for a week.

    Which, upon reflection, wasn’t all bad as it meant I finally got a quiet night’s sleep.

    Reply
    • Having a room mate sounds like one of the most “character building” experiences out there. I have thankfully been spared that horror, although with filo pastry walls, it often feels like I didn’t.

      Reply
  6. Attack them with a hammer wearing a mask of David Miliband shouting “FAB you fuckers!”

    Reply
  7. I have nothing clever to say. I simply enjoy your voice. Wonderful!

    Reply
  8. PFPT Towers is not the palatial cosmopolitan abode you might imagine, standing alone in the middle of Hyde Park, with an east wing and a stable for the butler

    Reading between the lines, and using the time-honoured method of scientific deduction, I now realise from your denial of having an east wing and a butler, that you in fact have a west wing and a maid.

    So, next time they have a noisy party upstairs, I suggest that you sleep that night in the west wing and/or send the maid upstairs to to complain.

    Once again, there is no need to thank me. Dispensing sagely advice to others is all the thanks I need. Happy to help.

    Reply
    • You caught me guv, fair and square. The west wing is out of use for renovation and the maid’s name is… well I don’t need to know her name, she’s staff.

      Reply
  9. Pingback: Why Sundays?? | Shelina W.

  10. The “This isn’t rude, it’s a London thing” cracked me up, mainly because in North America there seems to be this idea that British people are all polite and friendly. I was recently at our local ‘Brit Foods’ store that is run by some actually quite lovely people from England who are always quite pleasant, but keep in mind this is Canada – if you want people to shop at your store you generally are polite regardless of where you come from; and someone remarked oh, they’re so nice at that store! And someone else said, of course – they’re British, all British people are nice and friendly! To which I thought to myself ‘yes and how many British people do you know?’ hehe – but I decided not to ruin their illusion, perhaps they’ll go to London some day and it’ll be really fun! As for your neighbors, that was quite creative I must say. Our human neighbors are all quite good – the only questionable ones moved out last month and even they weren’t noisy, I just wasn’t too sure about them (I warned the male of the couple that my dog was antisocial and he didn’t believe me and then when she tried to take a bite out of his dog he looked offended and ever since looked at me like I was the devil.) We do have a dog in the building, however, who has taken to howling when his owners aren’t in – and the owners deny it, so nothing is being done about it… yey.

    Reply
    • I had a neighbour whose dog howled and barked every time she wasn’t in, so she shut the curtains so it couldn’t look out the window at yap at passing cars. I should have felt bad about that but, meh.

      Reply
  11. Got one too, (grotty neighbour) and so felt every single moment, swear word, and in my case an urge to kill blossoming to a hit man style shooting spree… Worrying how to get away with it though was the only thing stopping me in my fevered early morning wakefulness and wild planning. The planning fell through when the sun rose in the sky and banished the darkness in my soul, (dramatic eh?) Finally they stopped, I won’t go into why in case it could incriminate me.. (Joking) but why are people so insensitive to Others? I shall forever be grateful to a sense of the ridiculous/humour which got me through the darkest of thoughts. Many thanks for sharing and for showing me I am/was not alone…

    Reply

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