Since my daughter has been living on my barge and we have an interim, lock up and leave flat, we are down south more often than not at weekends. Reason? I still feel the need to get away from the noise in my neighbourhood.
But now, instead of drunken students throwing bikes and tables into the harbour, it's the old duck upstairs who is so obsessive about cleaning that she's bashing around with her broom and hoover in hob nailed boots every morning from about 5:30. Even worse, after she's done hoovering, she goes and starts cleaning her balcony in the same hob nailed boots but this time with a yard brush for extra amplificiation.
Her final pièce de résistance is hanging her washing on the railings while making sure to beat a tattoo on the steel, the result of which sends Sindy into paroxysms of fear and teeth rattling for the rest of the day....okay slight exaggeration, but only slight, I promise! Maybe the boots aren't actually hob-nailed....But I have to say it's hardly an edifying sight to watch her 'nighty and nickers' waving around over my geraniums for all the hours of sunshine that we are lucky enough to scrape in this part of the world.
A few nights ago, though, I lay in bed totally stymied. I woke to hear this sort of whining noise. Puzzled, I couldn't place it for a moment, so I looked at my watch to see if was the street sweepers. My reliable timepiece told me it was 3:30 a.m. Surely not! I listened again and heard tapping noises and then a scraping that sounded like a stick being dragged along the skirting boards. And then I 'twigged' it. My industrious, compulsive obsessive cleaning neighbour was hoovering (yes hoovering!) her flat at this ungodly hour of the morning! Convinced I was wrong about the time, I got up to look at the kitchen clock. Still 3:30 - well, 3:40 by then. I looked at the ceiling in disbelief. The whining and scraping whined and scraped on. I suppose I should have been thankful she'd conceded to the hour enough to forego the hob nailed boots, but even so...
I started thinking all sorts of uncharitable thoughts about yanking her nighty off the line next time I saw it waving over my balcony, or worse, playing my violin under her bedroom window. What a riveting thought. I'm still at the blood curdling, cat strangling stage in my musical development, so I had visions about serenading her at midnight, just to get my own back.
In the end, though, the whining stopped, the skirting boards were left in peace and the next morning, she sweetly offered us a replacement for the flickering TL tube on our landing, so what does that tell me? Is it my neighbours and those in my neighbourhood that are noisy and compulsive obsessive about everything they do.........or is it simply that I'm just a misanthropist - intolerant, hyper sensitive and unsociable? I'm in denial of course, but it's food for thought, isn't it?