It’s two o’ clock in the morning and four of us are awake: Husband, Eldest, Youngest and me. Our neighbours are having a party.
Earlier, lying in our own bed, in our own bedroom, at 11.30 on Saturday night, the music was so loud it was like actually being at the party ourselves: both the wall and bed were shaking (no wise cracks please) from the thumping base in the living room on the other side of the wall.
It’s someone’s birthday. We know this because they were singing Happy Birthday. And they really like Blur. We know this because they were joining in with the chorus for Song 2 turning up the volume on the ‘yoo hoos’.
I say ‘we’ but husband did - very annoyingly - manage to fall asleep. He’s a lark you see, while I’m an owl, or perhaps a dormouse would be a more accurate description. Either way there’s no way I could sleep through that racket so I made up a bed up in the office at the back of the house, dragging a heavy mattress and bedding across the landing.
I shut all doors to rooms with adjoining walls to the house next door and lay on the floor in the dark; except it wasn't dark because it turns out that electronic equipment has lots of flashing lights. So I lay on the floor watching the flicker of tiny green lights and listening to the hum of computer and slightly more muffled thump of base.
Surely I won’t be able to get to sleep like this? It’s all in the mind, I think, and try to convince myself that I'm actually at a party (through choice), I’m really, really tired and I’ve just sloped off to find this lovely bed to sleep in all by myself... Not so hard, it’s what I really do feel like doing at parties a lot of the time.
And it must have worked because before I know it I’m waking to the sound of even louder base, which means I must have been asleep, for a short while at least. But now I can hear something else…a creaking door and footsteps. It’s Youngest coming downstairs from his room. And then Husband bursts in.
“So that's where you are! This is ridiculous!” He says, “Both Youngest and Eldest are awake now.” (I’m paraphrasing - obviously he doesn’t actually refer to his own children like this). “It’s two in the morning and Eldest says he hasn’t been to sleep at all yet.”
To prove the point Eldest comes in to recount the entire playlist. It includes The Clash and Arctic Monkey’s. So at least they have good taste. Husband says he’s going to complain, which just goes to show how bad it is because usually Husband would rather die than complain (unlike me). So here we both are, fully clothed, shaking with rage and ringing the next-door bell in the middle of the night.
They do eventually turn the music down, a bit, but not before arguing with us that it really wouldn’t be so bad if they’d just managed to warn us about the party first - which they hadn't. I point out that, although courteous, forewarning us would make no actual difference to the inconvenience. But they don’t seem to understand this, perhaps because they’re drunk.
Eventually, after listening to a lot of car door slamming and taxi engine ticking, we settle down again to try and get some sleep. But Youngest refuses to go back to his own bed and spends the rest of the night thrashing around in ours digging his feet into my kidneys.