Recently a friend on Facebook posted an update about her neighbour. The grumpy bloke next door swore loudly at her kids (who are only two and seven) as they played in their back garden at 10.15am on a Sunday morning. Hearing him from inside, my friend came out and they exchanged a few choice words, which ended in him screaming at her to “f*ck off and move!”
There is nothing worse than neighbour issues.
Halfway through last year we moved house. We were sad to leave that house with the fabulous views. But I was relieved too. We were also having ‘neighbour issues’. In the house next to us lived a family with three teenagers (I sound like an old lady writing that). When we first moved in, the teens’ mother made friendly offers over the fence of cheap babysitting and get-to-know-you wine. But they never came. But what did arrive were the parties.
At first the entertainment value was high for this bored housebound mother of toddlers as I peeked through the curtains and watched as the revellers were dropped off by their parents. The minute the parents’ cars pulled away from the curb the girls would hitch up their skirts, kick off their pumps and open their bags for their heels.
To be fair to their mum (the sole parent), she was pretty prompt when it came to kick-out time. At about 11.30pm she’d turf the kids out the front door where they’d spew up by our front gate and stumble down the street. And before you say it, it was nothing I wouldn’t have done myself. And it’s likely my own kids will do the same one-day also. I know. I know.
But as the kids got older, the parties got a little more intense. And then one evening we came home to find our house shaking. In our neighbour’s teeny tiny garden was a DJ on his decks, and the party was going off.
We watched as carloads of more kids arrived and tumbled into the party. Soon it was at capacity and it seemed the only place for blokes to relieve themselves was all over our garage door. That was Busy-And-Important-Husband’s cue to ‘have a quiet word’: a word that was quickly thrown back in his face by a bunch of cocky lads who picked up on his Irish accent and declared: “You’re not even from here!”
I decided it was time to check in with the mum, so I weaved through the party and found her. “Is it getting out of control?” she asked. “I’m not sure what I should do?”
As I left her, trying to coax her son down from the table he was dancing on, I didn’t feel terribly confident in her ability to get things under control. And when I saw lads scaling and walking along our wall, and another bunch of kids run into the garden of a house a few doors down, I knew it was time to call the cops.
The next day we woke up to carnage. There was graffiti all over our garage door and the street smelled of piss and puke. We went next door and dragged the birthday boy out to take a look at our garage door. As he scratched it with his nail he said: “It won’t take long for you to get that off.”
His mother came up behind him and declared his friends wouldn’t so such a thing. “And besides,” she said. “I‘ve already organised for the smashed car windscreen two houses down to be repaired. What else can I do?”
And what can do you? Well, apart from make him clean up the graffiti, (which we did) there’s not much else you can do really. While you get to choose the house you live in, you can’t choose your neighbours. It’s a lucky dip. Sometimes you get awesome ones who are at the same life stage as you. Other times not.
Six months later we have now moved house and the parties have gone for now. But this week as our new neighbours unpack their boxes, surely I can be forgiven for a little curtain twitching?
Ever had a neighbour from hell?