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Posts Tagged ‘noisy neighbours’

  1. Gardens and gas leaks

    August 26, 2011 by superlative

    It has been quite a busy week with house stuff, and we have managed to sort loads of things out and started to get it looking quite nice.

    Last weekend I spent about £150 in a garden centre, B&Q and Homebase, and got home clutching all my homely wares thinking ‘what the fuck has happened to me?’ I’ve never needed to do any of this sort of stuff before – DIY and buying pot plants and things – simply because we’ve never had any need to. And now that I need to do it (and want to do it, because I’m quite house proud) I feel like I’ve suddenly turned into my parents.

    Most of that money, and then a large part of Friday, Saturday AND Sunday, went on cleaning up our decked patio area at the back. Honestly, it was disgusting out there. I think the previous owners must never have cleaned it, and they pretty much just used it as a space for their massive horse-like dog to sit. We can add cleaning the decking to the long list of things they never did in the flat, of which more later.

    It was covered in grime, and bird crap, and weird mossy algae stuff, so that it was basically a murky grey with green bits. This is what it looked like when we bought the place:


    It’s not too bad in the picture I suppose, but it was pretty horrible close up, and you didn’t really want to walk around on it.

    So first of all we spent three hours on Friday sweeping it and the scrubbing it with soapy water. Then on Saturday Chris scrubbed it again with special decking cleaner that brought it up a lovely sandy sort of colour and which magically deleted all the green from it. Then he had to scrub it again to wash the cleaner off, so he pretty much spent the whole of Saturday on his knees while I had a little sit down on the sofa. Then on Sunday, finally, we gave it two coats of decking stain and put our new plants out there, and now it looks like this:

    It’s so much nicer! It’s really clean now, and it feels much nicer to go out there. Of course it has rained pretty much every day since we finished the decking, so I haven’t been able to enjoy it really, but at least it looks better.

    While we were out there, the lady who owns the flat upstairs came out to say hello, so I got to meet her and have a chat. I’ll refer to her as Upstairs Lady from now on. The family of elephant children have FINALLY fucked off, so we no longer have the noise of them pounding their fat little feet up and down over our heads all day, which has been great. Upstairs Lady is very nice, as is her partner guy. She’s a bit of a hippy, like I thought, and the flat is her second home that she rents out when she’s not using it. We seemed to get on quite well, and she says we’re welcome to sit up in her garden (at the top of those steps in the pictures) when she’s not there, as it gets much more sun up there than on our deck. I’m hoping that if she likes us, she might be more inclined to do right by us and ensure she doesn’t rent the flat out to any idiots. She’s fairly protective of it – you have to pay her a £300 security deposit when you rent it, even if you’re only staying a few nights – so hopefully it’ll be only nice people she lets stay there. It has certainly been a lot quieter having the two of them up there, so if it’s mainly adults I think it might not be too bad. The noise of them walking is fairly minimal and is ignorable, and although you can hear their television in our bedroom it so far hasn’t disturbed me too much. I really hope it turns out OK, as it has been the single biggest negative point about living here so far, and I suppose it was naive of me not to anticipate it when living in a basement flat.

    As well as all those housey things, today we had two gas engineers come round to service our boiler and gas fire. First of all, they were both about 20 and were FIT. Well one of them was anyway, the other was only after-four-or-five-vodkas doable. But that hardly ever happens! Tradesman are always 50 and paunchy. So I’ll definitely be using that company again anyway. In fact I might go and jam something into our boiler right now so I can call them out again.

    The previous owners, surprise surprise, had lived here for two years but had never had the boiler or fire serviced, had no idea when they were last serviced and had pretty much no maintenance history for either of them. This was a bit of an annoyance for me when we bought the flat, as it gave me the impression they hadn’t taken very good care of it. And lo and behold I turned out to be completely right! The gas guys came round, the fit one got on his hands and knees by the fire and showed off his pert behind for a few minutes, and then stood up and said “Yeah, this fire is unsafe and poses a risk to life. As a gas safe engineer, I’m legally obliged to disconnect it, as I can’t leave a dangerous appliance without disabling it.” So, er, thanks for that you stupid cunts!

    He said that basically the fire is too big not to have a proper air vent next to it, and should never have been installed. If you used it for a longish period of time it would eventually deplete the oxygen in the room and pollute the air with its waste gases, and presumably suffocate you to death if you’d fallen asleep or something. So what kind of twat installed that there then?? And why didn’t the owners ever check it? So GAH that was annoying. I now have a large, ugly, manky old fire in my hearth that I can’t use even if I wanted to. I’d rather it be disconnected and safe though – that was the whole point of us having everything serviced, as I didn’t want to get killed by faulty appliances.

    The boiler turned out to be fine, and the central heating all seems to work OK, which was my other main concern as we haven’t needed to switch the heating on yet. As part of their checks though, they went out to inspect the gas meter in the under-pavement storage vault outside. And guess what again??

    “Your meter’s got a gas leak from the nipple on the top.”

    “Say nipple a few more times for me, it’s turning me on.” (I only said this in my head, I’m not a pervert. I’m only an in-the-head pervert)

    “I have to report it to Transco, and they’ll come within two hours as it’s classed as a leak emergency to replace your meter. In the meantime I’m obliged to turn your gas off.”

    So fucking thanks again, owner twats! They said it was only a minor leak, but still, there were FLAMMABLE GASES leaking away outside my bedroom window.

    The Transco guys came within about half an hour, and initially said our address didn’t exist on their database so they weren’t allowed to change the meter and we weren’t allowed to have any gas. This was rather stressful, as obviously we DO have an address and there obviously IS gas going into it, but the guy was very nice and did some to-ing and fro-ing on his mobile to his office until finally they decided we either existed or it didn’t matter and they changed the meter.

    So hurrah! I now shouldn’t be living in a gassy deathtrap. No thanks to the previous owners though, who were apparently lazy wankers.

    That should, finally, be most of the major jobs done that we needed to do in the flat. We’ve got guests coming for the bank holiday weekend, so I hope they’re suitably impressed, and I hope that everything just stays fixed and working for a bit. I’m not sure I have the stamina to be sorting out anything else for a while!

  2. Curtains and curfews

    August 11, 2011 by superlative

    It has been four weeks since we moved into our flat now. Four weeks that have really gone very quickly, that have been insanely busy, and which have made moving day feel like ages ago.

    The flat is starting to look really nice, and I think there is only half a box of junk left that we haven’t unpacked. We have our lovely new sofa, and we have sorted out our guest room such that we might actually be able to use it as a guest room now, rather than the Room Of Shame where all the crap we haven’t dealt with yet has been hiding.

    For the first time in my life I have had to buy curtains, and FUCKING HELL are they expensive. The ones in our bedroom cost £140! For squares of cloth on little hooks! I had no idea; I have obviously been living a very curtain-sheltered life. It has also made me feel very old, trolling around C&H Fabrics going “Hmm, I like the pattern on those, but they’re pencil pleat not eyelets”. Why the fuck do I know what pencil pleat is now?? That’s not cool! But anyway, all the windows have curtains now, so I plan never to buy any ever again. Or to wash them. I’ll be too busy having homosexual parties.

    I have been subtly probing the secretary of our freehold company this week, and got some contact details for the woman who owns the flat above us (the one with the toddler-elephants). The noise has been quite bad at times, always just toddler noise rather than anything else, but their parents just make NO attempt to control them. Why are parents like that these days? They think if they upset their child by telling them not to do something, they must be a bad parent. So even though we have complained twice, and Chris has banged on the ceiling several times (which always results in several hours of pure silence), they still haven’t actually told their children not to play ball games in the house or run fifty times from one end of it to the other. Stupid parents. So I emailed the owner of the flat anyway, and I have found out that the flat is indeed a short-let holiday type place now. It seems to be the woman’s second home by the sea, so she’ll be there a fair bit herself, and then it’ll be empty some of the time I expect, and will have paying guests at others. She was very nice about the noise, and apologised for it, and has said that she thinks she’ll put an age restriction on any children who come to stay in the flat. So that would be great from our point of view, because I don’t think we’ll hear normal adult noise much, or will easily be able to ignore it, and slightly older children don’t tend to run and cry so much.

    So that was some good news anyway. She’s a yoga teacher, I have found out by internet stalking her, and I now know where she lives in London. It’s terrifying sometimes what you can find out in five minutes on Google. I bet she’s a hippy. A rich hippy though, with a house in London and a flat in Brighton.

    The curfew bit of this post title was because I had planned to say something on the subject of the recent riots in cities around the UK. I’m not sure if I can really be bothered to get into it now, as those sorts of posts always attract critical comments, but I like the alliteration of the title so I’m not changing it. Suffice it to say I have been both very shocked and very saddened by the scenes of British people smashing up their own communities, and feeling so disenfranchised and disengaged that they see society as ‘other people’ and don’t care what happens to them.

    I’m not totally surprised, as it is really in keeping with attitudes that have been growing for some time. I went to school in a not particularly nice area of London, and even back then in the 90s there were kids who simply had no respect for other people, for their property, or for the rule of law. And that just seems to have grown over time, to the point where most people are too frightened to challenge anti-social behaviour when they see it because they might get stabbed. Is that really the country we live in now?

    There were two girls on the radio, who had just been looting, who said “This is the rich people’s fault. We’re showing them we can do what we want”. As terrifying I found that sentence, it is not actually incorrect. Yes you can do what you want. Everyone can. We are policed by consent, and the police can’t actually stop you doing most things. They can only hope to arrest and punish you afterwards. But most people feel it is wrong to break the law, and if given an instruction by a police officer they’ll just obey it. Hardly anyone (I hope) would assault a police officer, not because they can’t but because they know on principle that it is wrong. So yes you can do what you want; but the fact that people are doing what they want, and what they want is to smash their own high street up and steal from people who may only be marginally better off than they are, is really scary. People say this is due to deprivation and marginalisation; to people being called ‘scum’ and so behaving like it. In some ways I’m sure that’s right; but at the same time, lots of the looters we have seen on the television probably aren’t that deprived – they have nice trainers and mobile phones. So it is much more complicated than that.

    Anyway, I’m not going to go into it much more. I just hope the trouble dies down now. One of the most pleasing things to come out of this so far is the sense of community that has been generated among people affected by the riots, with people helping each other out, cleaning up together, and raising money for those that have lost everything. If that continues in the future, it may actually do our cities some good.

    Changing the subject, it is Brighton Pride this weekend, so I’m sure it will be a busy one. Sunburn doesn’t look like it’s going to be an issue – the forecast is cloud or intermittent drizzle – but it will hopefully be fun nonetheless, and if I’m careful I might be able to enjoy it without too catastrophic a hangover. This year the park will feature performances by Joe McElderry, Alexandra Burke, and SONIA! Yes Sonia from the 80s, who apparently isn’t dead. So I’m sure it will be fun. I’ll blog about it after the weekend.

    Stay safe everyone (that seems to be what you say to each other at the moment) and for FUCK’S SAKE BE NICE TO EACH OTHER. We all have to live here together, and it’ll be much more pleasant if we aren’t beating each other’s skulls in.

  3. Flats flats flats

    January 18, 2011 by superlative

    Our flat hunting hasn’t been going as well as I had hoped this month. I’d been expecting a flurry of activity after Christmas when all the people who were waiting until the new year suddenly put their houses on the market, but so far that hasn’t materialised.

    I am also getting slightly more desperate to find somewhere and move though, mostly because I’m fed up with our neighbours. I’m fed up with neighbours full stop actually, largely because I don’t like most other people and so I certainly don’t want them within three feet of me at any time of the day or night with only a flimsy bit of wall to separate us.

    On one side of us we have some weird old South African man who keeps very odd hours and likes to clatter around in the middle of the night and switch his bathroom light on and off about fifty times (yes I can hear that through the wall, and it’s annoying). I’ve never seen him, but I know he’s South African because he also enjoys having very long, very loud phone calls (possibly with some relative in South Africa) where he tells them over and over again “Bit yew darn’t wint a cridit cord, yew wint a dibit cord. With a cridit cord yewa spinding the bink’s miney, nit yew ewn miney, sew a dibit cord is mitch bitter.”

    Seriously, he did this for about 40 minutes and I could hear him over my television. If I’d been the person on the other end I’d have taken an overdose just to end the nightmare that is a phone conversation with him.

    And on the other side of us we have two girls who are admittedly better than the drug dealer we had in there before. But the one of them that is a ‘mature’ student (she’s like 22, not my idea of mature any more) has been getting progressively louder this month. She obviously has no lectures at all because she has people over most nights, makes lots of noise in the flat while they squawk loudly at each other until they go out about midnight, and then she comes home about 4am and goes in and out of the flat at least three times slamming all the communal doors each time. And we’ve even said something (well Chris has) about it to them, that it had been too noisy and they had disturbed us, but ALL the tenants who get put into that flat are completely oblivious of the world around them and they just say “oh sorry” and then continue doing it.

    And it’s really annoying! I had four hours’ sleep last night and look like a mongoloid today, and now I just want to move.

    But I can’t find anywhere even to look at, so it’s a bit depressing. The estate agent we’ve been dealing with pissed me off this morning too by completely denying he’d said something to me on Friday, even when I repeated it back to him word for word as he’d phrased it, and insisting I must have misunderstood. So now he’s probably going to put us at the bottom of the pile because I dared contradict him, and because apparently you’re the one who is supposed to go grovelling to estate agents begging to be allowed to buy a property, rather than them making the slightest bit of effort to sell you one.

    Hmpf. Well, anyway. Stupid flats. We’re expanding our search a little bit to include some other areas of town, as looking just in Kemp Town is proving really difficult and limits you to about 30 streets where you might be able to buy something. I’ve seen a couple of nice things but there’s always something wrong with them, so we haven’t even viewed anything since about November. I might just book a couple anyway, in case they’re nicer in real life or they give us some more ideas about what we’re looking for.

    Wish I were rich.

  4. Birthday booze and 30 looms

    May 5, 2010 by superlative

    I had a really nice birthday weekend and seemed to pack loads into it. I also managed to avoid any particularly bad hangovers, which for me is a massive success and meant I could actually attend my whole birthday weekend and not spend it with a cushion over my head on the sofa.

    I came home on Friday to find that Chris had stuck balloons up in our building’s front passage, on our front door, and then around the living room, and had laid out my cards and presents all nicely for me, which was lovely. He’s much better at making a fuss of me on my birthday than I am of him. I opened all my stuff with a nice glass of wine, and then we had dinner WITHOUT THE TELLY ON because it was that much of a special occasion.
    Our friends joined us later on in the evening for some drinkies and some Singstar, which was a nice easy thing to do and meant I didn’t have to leave the house. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, there were about nine of us in the end, which is good because I know Singstar isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It was unfortunately rather loud though and we ended up with the neighbours banging on the wall at about 11.45pm. Well, in fact it was mostly one friend who was rather loud because he has the loudest voice ever and thinks that singing means shouting, so giving him a microphone to do it into was possibly not the best idea.
    I actually felt really bad, as the neighbours have never banged on the wall before in the six years we’ve lived there, and I know how tetchy I am about other people making noise. I did turn it down after that though, and most people went off home about 45 minutes later anyway. It left me slightly concerned that our Eurovision party in four weeks might not go down very well with them, but that’s normally a bit quieter because it’s watching telly (not shouting into a sound system) and it’s much earlier in the evening.
    I had to get up a reasonable time on Saturday to go to the Children’s Parade and take photos for Chris. He’s a teacher and he was in the parade, I should point out, it’s not that he just likes photos of children. Anyway, the combination of my slight hangover headache and 2,000 children with drums and whistles did not mix very well, but apart from that the parade was quite fun.
    And on Saturday night, as planned we went to Pop Kraft at the Hanbury. We took a couple of friends with us who haven’t been before, and I’m always a bit nervous when we do that because Boogaloo Stu’s nights have a rather…. unusual feel to them. They’re fabulous, obviously, and I love them to bits, but the very first time you go you can’t help thinking “What the fuck is going on?”
    Our friends really enjoyed it anyway, so that was good. I made a cake:

    And Chris made a balloon dog:

    And then on Sunday, as if all that weren’t enough, we had the most GORGEOUS Sunday lunch at the PV. They do a great roast there, and it’s just what you need when you’re a bit hungover and can’t be bothered to cook.
    So that was my birthday weekend, and it was great. I’ve also seen Iron Man 2 and The Reader this weekend, but I might have to write about those separately. They were both good, but obviously in very different ways.
    Now that the dust has settled though, I actually have to consider the notion that I am 29 and have entered my last year before I’m 30. How the fuck did that happen?? 29, at least when I was 10 years younger, has always sounded so OLD. But now that I’m there, I don’t feel old remotely, and it makes my age feel rather inappropriate.
    I don’t feel any different to how I felt when I left uni really. When I look back on my university years, yes I was much younger in my mind then, but since I left and started work I feel like I’ve psychologically stayed the same. Yet somehow nearly seven years have drifted past, which is actually almost twice the length of my whole degree, and that just sounds insane. I know I sound like I’m 60, but where the hell does the time go??
    Oh well, it could be worse. I have a nice life, and a job that pays pretty well, and a lovely flat, and I can go out clubbing and go on holiday and drink booze and more or less do whatever I want. So I’m not complaining; I know I’m very lucky. But I’d be even luckier if my stupid age had stopped at 24 instead of stubbornly marching onwards.
    It has made me think a little though that maybe there are things I would like to have done before I’m 30, and if that’s the case I really ought to get on and do them. I don’t know what they are of course, but I’m going to have a think about it. And then procrastinate and not do them, and pretend I never really wanted to do them anyway.