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?