Monday, December 01, 2008

Fun Monday # 93 Neighbours

Ari from Beyond My Slab wants us to dish the dirt on our neighbours she says:

Tell us about your all-time worst Neighbors from Hell. You know, the family of Irish clog dancers who once lived in the flat/apartment above you? Mrs. Nextdoor and her banshee-like multiple orgasms? Mr. and Mrs. Hard-of-Hearing with their television on full blast? The guys across the street who set off 4th of July fireworks starting in March and didn't stop until the first real snowfall?

I think I must have been really lucky because, whilst there may have been some things that I didn't like about some of my neighbours on the whole they have been OK. I do, however, have a couple of stories to share.

I moved into my first house, when Sam was a few months old. I knew that there was a family living one side and an elderly lady the other, the people who sold us the house said it was a friendly street. So I was looking forward to getting to know the neighbours.

Now anyone who has a baby knows how much laundry they generate, and back in the 60's disposable nappies, as we know then now, had not been invented. My layette was not extensive, we were not exactly flushed for cash, so it was 2 dozen terry towelling and 1 dozen muslin nappies. Six nappies a day meant I was washing, at least, every third day.
One Sunday I had a line of washing blowing in the breeze, back then washing lines were strung the length of the garden, hoisted with a prop (no rotary lines). You can imagine my surprise when I got a knock on the door, to find my elderly neighbour on the doorstep, to tell me NOT to put my washing out on a Sunday as they didn't do that in this neighbourhood!

I can't remember what I said exactly, but it was words to the effect that I would put my washing out whenever it suited me as I had a baby to keep clean and well dressed. I do recall how livid I was and I spoke to my other neighbour, who indicated that she had no problem with it. Now some of you might agree with her, that Sundays should be kept for Church, and I do recall my father being angry because the vicar had told him he should not open our shop on a Sunday, but we sold Sunday papers so needed to open in the mornings. As far as I'm concerned there is nothing wrong with honest toil.

I digress, my elderly neighbour didn't speak to me for ages, even if she passed me in the street. A long while later she was ill and housebound and I knocked on the door and offered to run errands for her. She was clearly quite surprised and when she got better she came and thanked me, saying I was the only one who had bothered. Oh, and it really made me laugh when I noticed that she actually sometimes put washing out on a Sunday-I had clearly altered the tone of the neighbourhood for ever!

Four years later we moved to a house a couple of miles away. It was a detached house so I didn't think there would be any problem when I applied to run a pre-school from the property. I did the courteous thing and informed the neighbours explaining I would have extra children on the premises for a couple of days a week. No one expressed any concerns so again I was surprised to learn that the neighbours (who actually had children) had raised an objection on the grounds of increased noise. In defense I said that it was no different than inviting a few friends of my own children to play, and I got the permission.

When I was digging up my patio and had a waste disposal unit for the earth and rubble, this same neighbour asked if he could put a little rubbish into the container. I explained that we had quite a lot to get rid of and I didn't know how much room there would be left. He said "how about I help you in return" (I was lugging all these barrow loads of earth by myself) so I agree. What he hadn't told me was that he wanted to get rid of a large settee which practically filled the skip. I thought OK it will be worth it to get some help. He wheeled out 2 barrow loads and told me it hurt his back so he couldn't do any more. Oh and I had to get a second small skip to finish off- I think I got the poor end of the deal, don't you!!

Now a story for this house, I think it was when Beccy was recovering from the birth of Dillon, so we are going back 15 years. The house next door had been turned into a guest house and at times the residents in rooms adjoining some of our bedrooms were quite noisy late at night or early mornings. Beccy had banged on the wall in an attempt to make them quieten down but it was having no effect. I think she was feeling so exhausted that she phoned the owners in the middle of the night and told them to shut the people up. (I slept through this so hope I have the story correct!) Anyone who has read my blog for a long time may realize this is the same guest house where I had problems with cigarette butts being thrown out of the windows onto my balcony.

Having said all this my neighbours may well think that I'm the neighbour from hell!!!

2007: So Cute

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At 1/12/08 16:52, Blogger Sam said...

If you're the neighbour from hell then no one needs worry if they don't make it to heaven. xxx

At 1/12/08 17:28, Blogger Beccy said...

I remember banging on the wall but not really ringing them up. I do remember being exhausted at the time though!

At 1/12/08 17:41, Blogger ChrisB said...

beccy I'm sure you told us you rang them that's what we have always believed.

At 1/12/08 17:48, Blogger Sayre said...

I'm glad the elderly lady finally saw the light (and didn't worry about a little work being done on Sunday anymore).

Noise in the middle of the night is my biggest beef with neighbors. As long as they don't bother me, I won't bother them.

At 1/12/08 18:35, Blogger Beccy said...

I really don't remember mum but I'm sure I could have done.

At 1/12/08 19:11, Anonymous m (the misanthrope) said... I know that neighbors like to air their own dirty laundry sometimes, but I never thought you'd have anyone snooping into YOUR clean laundry! Gee that's nosey. Great story!

At 1/12/08 20:22, Blogger Lil Mouse said...

you always have such good stories.

At 1/12/08 20:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There great stories, I love that she told you when you could hang your washing out!

I was told to sweep up my leaves here, I had no idea I was also responsible for the pavement!

At 1/12/08 21:43, Blogger Faye said...

We did the outside laundry thing as well. The only laundry etiquette I remember was that underwear must always be hung on an inside line!

And isn't it the nature of people to "oversee" any projects that go in in the neighborhood and try to figure out how they can benefit like your dumpster neighbor. Always happened with fencing for me--was I on the property line, etc.? Chuckled at you closing--perhaps you are the neighbor from hell!
My FM is finally up if you get a chance to check out.

At 1/12/08 22:40, Blogger IamwhoIam said...

While I always knew we had good neighbors growing up until I heard your stories I didn't realize how good. For our neighbors would have given you extra nappies, help you with you wash, and even oftered to do the wash and watch the baby to give you a little rest.

At 2/12/08 00:02, Blogger Betty said...

Hi Chris,

I enjoyed reading about your experiences with your neighbors from the past. Some just too funny.

I've been blessed in that I can't remember having any bad neighbors and hope I have always been a good neighbor.

At 2/12/08 00:45, Blogger karisma said...

All of those neighbours still sound like saints compared to mine! The list of things they have done to us is far too long to write down. And the same woman had the hide to complain about my dog barking after she had stirred her up and her dogs howl and bark all day! Grrr!

At 2/12/08 01:19, Blogger hulagirlatheart said...

Glad the elderly lady came around, even if it did take a while.

At 2/12/08 02:51, Blogger Ari_1965 said...

There's an ordinance in my neighborhood against hanging laundry out on the line. I think it's the silliest thing I've ever heard of, but my neighborhood is the only one with such an ordinance.

At 2/12/08 02:58, Blogger Sandy said...

You do have such lovely stories. I remember my daughter's doctor actually "prescribing" Pampers because she wa allergic to everything. That was the first year they came out - no reclosable tapes so we kept duct tape on the changing table!

At 2/12/08 03:11, Blogger Pamela said...

I remember some elderly ladies in our neighborhood who would have reacted the same way to hanging laundry. No one knows anymore unless they smell the aroma of your softener on the breeze from the dryer.

At 2/12/08 13:20, Blogger {i}Post said...

Wow! Not hanging wash on a Sunday, huh? Would they rather your baby stink up the neighborhood with dirty nappies for heaven's sake?!? Geez...the nerve of people!

At 2/12/08 19:54, Anonymous grace said...

funny, my dad did not allow us to dod laundry on Sunday and even today, when I do laundry on Sunday, I feel guilty. Nice post

At 3/12/08 11:26, Anonymous Sarah said...

I'm glad the little old lady neighbour saw sense - and found that you were a really good neighbour :)

Sorry it's taken so long to get to your Fun Monday!


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