Wednesday, 22 January 2014

In which we're living on top of each other

House prices being what they are (ie, completely bloody loopy), The Writer and I - and most of the people we know who live in the nation's illustrious and overpriced capital - live in a flat (rather than anything bigger or grander).

Ours is very nice, if bijou. It has high ceilings, and period features, and a very sophisticated and grown-up if completely impractical shade of neutraul, mushroom paint throughout. But the fact that it’s a flat in a converted house in a Victorian terrace means we have people on all sides of us: there are other flats below and above us, as well as on both sides. And living in such close proximity to everyone around us, it necessarily follows that everyone else’s lives encroach onto one’s own. And heavens to Murgatroyd, people are noisy.

The flat in the next building seems be undergoing a process of total rebuilding. A van of (no doubt the Mail would have us believe Romanian) builders has been camped on the street for about a week, and last weekend was punctuated with the unmistakable din of improvement. Sadly, it wasn’t an improvement to my weekend. Thankfully some judicious yelling and aggressive deployment of their buzzer meant that I didn’t have to follow through on my threat to call the council’s noise department. Yes, I’m that neighbour.

And much as our neighbours are brilliant, I could happily do without Upstairs’ apparently insatiable predilection for doing her laundry no earlier than 9pm on any given weeknight. It’s not particularly an issue until we hit her ferocious spin cycle somewhere around 10.15pm, shaking the ceiling in our sitting room to an alarming degree and getting in the way of my binge-watching Damages.

I could also live with the disappearance of Downstairs’ enormous heavy-handedness. I’d overlook the occasional violent SLAMMING of the front door, and our windows rattling in their frames, if it weren’t for the fact that they get up at daft o’clock in the morning and violently SLAM every single cupboard door in their kitchen – directly under our bedroom. CRASH goes the cupboard when the crockery comes out; BANG goes whatever else it is they can possibly lay their hands on.

But none of which is nearly as annoying as the as-yet-unidentified source of noise that is currently waking TW and I every weeknight, without exception, at precisely 4am. Whether it’s Downstairs crashing into their bathroom in a fit of peculiarly clockwork bodily function, or (less likely) Upstairs sorting her laundry, or a car starting on the street as someone goes to work, or a door shutting somewhere, I don’t know. But I’d like it to stop.

I’d also like house builders to start building enough houses for the rent prices to drop about 50%, and for my peers and I to be able to afford decently-sized homes that aren’t slap bang on top of everyone else’s, and to have more than four rooms to live in.

Hahahahahahah. Sorry. *Wipes eyes*

But until such a time as that happens, I’ll take an end to the 4am wake up.


Kat said...

I've long resigned myself to the fact that my children are going to have to live in cramped, if impeccably-decorated conditions, because there is absolutely no way in hell I am ever going to be able to upgrade my flat for a house. Unless I move to northern England or somewhere, in which case the cost of the commute will negate the mortgage, and also my sympathy. (PS - I was totally that neighbour when Across The Road had violently loud parties for days, nights on end. They've gone now, hoorah)

nuttycow said...

The Swiss version of Upstairs have very loud, very long arguments. She cries like a small dog.

(and the washing machine thing is another reason I LOVE living in Switzerland whereby you're perfectly within your rights to call the police if anyone so much whispers after 10pm)

Marcheline said...

I must apologize for the 4AM wake-ups. It's my fault. Or, rather, my cat's. He's been going out in the hall and howling for no discernible reason at just about that time every night. Yes, I'm in New York. That's how loud it is. Sorry.

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