Friday, 10 May 2013

Neighbours from hell.

"You won't get anywhere shouting your head off," I say to Eldest, "that would make us as bad as they are and will only antagonise them." He wants to scream at the people in the garden backing onto ours, the people who have kindly wedged their stereo speaker into their window in order to blast House FM straight at us. 

At least it feels as if it's straight at us because we are directly behind them but it's nothing personal, they are also kindly blasting House FM into ALL the gardens in the vicinity, spoiling the day for loads of other families as well. 

These wonderful and considerate people (I'm using my sarcastic voice here) live in the middle flat of the large house behind us. They have a piece of garden to which they don't have direct access because it's beyond the garden belonging to the ground floor flat. 

The volume is unbelievable and it's not the first time they've done this, they did it last Sunday as well. It was so bad that Youngest ended up in tears and we all came in from the garden, shut the doors, and Husband and I took a trip to the Council dump via a beer joint on the way back to drown our sorrows. Now it's bank holiday Monday, a lovely day, and we are out on the decking contemplating having a barbecue later on. 

Right, I think, time to nip this in the bud. I pop my head over the fence and smile. Eye contact, eye contact! And be nice!

"Hi!" I say. They look up at me. He has a pinched little weather-worn face, shaved head, no shirt, tattoos. She is wearing a strapless boob tube dress straining across her lumpen form. And if that sounds snooty I don't care, it's true.

"Any chance you could turn that down a bit?" I chirp, when really I want to say, "Any chance you could turn that off and we could all sit in peace in our pretty gardens in this beautiful sunshine and listen to the birds?" But I don't dare do this.

"Oh!" Exclaims Boobtube Woman, "Is it too loud? We weren't sure." And they look at each other. 

Was that a smirk? Are they taking the piss? They turn the volume down. But not much. We can still hear every beat and, worse, every single word the DJ says (he's hot, he might have to pour a whole bottle of water over his head in a minute, he's got a great line up of House music for us for the whole afternoon! Radio 4 this is not). We all go in the house.

Husband and I have row. I think he should say or do something. He thinks I'm over-reacting but really he just doesn't want the hassle. 

Youngest says he can't go on the trampoline because their music is too loud (Middle Class problem!) and goes off crying. 

Eldest goes to play his guitar in his bedroom at the front of the house where he can't hear the racket.

Middle One goes out, to Herne Hill, to play his guitar with his band, thank God, because he is the one who gets the most incensed by it all. 

I contact the council.

To my amazement someone at the noise abatement department actually answers the phone. He rings me back within the hour and then he sends two very nice people round to the house. These two very nice people quickly agree that the noise nuisance is out of order and say they will send a letter. Result!

Unfortunately two teenage boys do not agree that this is a result. They do not think letters are the answer to very much at all and by the time we all go back outside again in the late afternoon to start the barbecue, and the music is still blasting far and wide across the gardens for miles around, they are beside themselves. 

Middle One wants to set up his amp on the decking and play Jimi Hendrix "turned up to 11". He is as enraged by their choice of music as he is by how inconsiderate it is. I try to persuade him that if he does this we will be as bad as they are, but teenagers don't appreciate this kind of logic. 

Eldest is just as bad. He wants to shout/kick the fence/throw a rock/swear at them/blast music back at high volume. Again, I tell him this is NOT the answer.

We all end up bickering about what we should do, then we stand on the bench at the back fence and look over. There's nobody there. They have gone back in their flat leaving the music blaring out of the window. We feel like Gromit in The Wrong Trousers when he finds the evil Penguin wasn't in the house playing terrible lift music all evening after all.

All of a sudden someone shouts: "SHUT THE F*** UP!" at the top of his voice. It's Eldest. The music very briefly gets louder and then is switched off. Completely. For good.

"You see!" says Eldest triumphantly, "why didn't you just let me do that in the first place?" And I have to concede that he has a point. Trouble is now Boobtube Woman and Tattoo Man will be getting that arsey letter from the Council as well. 

Think we might have to lie low for a while...

View of our garden from office window with the offending house behind to the right.

Kitchen news: Two appointments with kitchen designers this week so far, two more organised for next week. Went to Grand Designs Live! by myself last weekend, which was two parts hell to one part useful and have started a Pinterest board!




  1. Injunction with power of commital might be a lasting solution. Can not the Council serve penalty notices? The joys of houses in multiple occupation.

  2. The property does not belong to the Council but to a housing association. I think there are measures they can take later. They have to follow a procedure if the noise happens again... E x