Saturday, June 12, 2010

Having fun

When one’s children are small – well, dash it, even when they’re not – one tends to think that they’re superior to the general run of other people’s children. You know: sweeter, cleverer, more charming and all that.

Mine actually are all these things, of course; but even those with lesser offspring are inclined by evolution to admire them. Which is just as well.

I believe, however – though I may be misremembering – that if one of my children had stood out in the garden on a lovely summer’s day yelling over and over again, “This is my garden – aeeeeeeeeeeee!” I would after a while – say at a conservative estimate after the fortieth “aeeeeeeeeeeee!”– have taken the little darling gently by the hand or another convenient part of its anatomy and led it inside with the suggestion that it might like to listen to a story, since there are other people on the planet who might be enjoying working peacefully in their gardens on a nice afternoon.

This child was several gardens away in the street at right angles to ours. Just as well, or I might have – oh, I don’t know – thrown slugs at it.

Our street is normally very quiet. It’s a cul-de-sac with five houses in it and the inhabitants are: D and S on one side of us, well into their sixties; us, and we’ve established that we’re 59c and nearly 59a; N and K next door to the other side – in their 50s, childless; A, about 70 and unmarried; and Mr C, also unmarried and well down the 59 alphabet. When we first moved here, 21 years ago, I was unnerved by the quietness. I felt that one could easily die and lie festering in the middle of the road for some months before anyone passed by and noticed anything amiss.

However, I quite like it now. But this evening the people up the hill – not in our street but on the corner of it – are having a party. They put up a tenty thing earlier and all their friends are standing in this tenty thing or beside it and going
This isn’t a terribly good photo – I didn’t have the nerve to stand in the middle of the street to photograph their tenty thing, but here is: the green bit is the tenty affair, the brown bit is their fence and you can see some heads of partygoers over the lower bit of the fence. It was 9.30 at night when I took the photo and it’s now 10 but it’s still quite light outside, which is why one can keep gardening here till 11 if one wants at this time of year if one doesn’t mind being eaten by the Great Scottish Midge or deafened by people’s noisy parties.

But I’ve been driven in. The air is filled with the revolting smell of barbecued meat (yuckyuckyuck – I hate barbecues – why do I, a vegetarian, have to have the air in my garden smelling all meaty?) and “I Will Survive” is belting out, further polluting the atmosphere. They might at least have played some decent music, “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” or something.

Grumpy? Me? I can still hear them hahahaing from where I'm sitting in the study. Where's the rain when one wants it?


  1. Similar idiocy going on here with random screams and strangled cries. What is the matter with everybody?

  2. It's so very intrusive - they are invading your space. Throwing slugs seems quite a good idea.

  3. Hurling slugs is way too tame. Let loose the hounds, I say! Or better yet,the cats!

    When I saw the title of this I thought "How nice! Isabelle is finally finished with the accursed marking and is free to have some fun." But my face fell when I discovered, to my dismay, that you were not the person having all this fun. Drat those people! could climb over the fence and join the party. Not that I would do that, but YOU could. Then tell me how it goes....there are some things I prefer to enjoy vicariously.

  4. My DH broke up a very noisy party in our street last summer by telling the partygoers that a couple of snakes had been seen slithering through their fence. Heh. Most of their guests left, very quickly. The ones that didn't leave retreated indoors. Noise problem solved.
    I'll try and think of something creative you could use in the absence of snakes. ;)

  5. Oooh the snakes ruse is good! yet I feel undecided about this dilemma..not wanting to be a party pooper and also wanting peace and quiet.......sometimes it is lovely to hear (not too loudly) a group of people having fun and enjoying each others company on a summers evening. It depends on your mood at the time I suppose...and as for the barbeque smell? well I'm with you there...

  6. I sympathise. the rented house opposite us has parties rather too often, until about 3 am, and it is impossible to avoid being disturbed. Well brought up people like you and me would never inflict such torment on others, although I have been tempted to broadcast Wagner sometimes.
    Are you all vegetarians?

  7. Now multiply the noise and smells (though probably not the tenty thing) by 3 or 4 times weekly, and you have life in a student area. My life.

    I sympathise deeply. I was woken at 4.40 this morning by loud talking and laughter outside my house (I can't quite see the pavement from the attic) and I suspect it was Suzy down the road, same age as me.

  8. Oh dear, what a shame. We don't have that problem - it tends to be very quiet round here. Our garden problems are more permanent - overgrown hedge one side and towering trees on the other.
    Hate the barbeque smell, too - and I'm not a vegetarian!

  9. We also had a party going on to the small hours,not close but close enough to disturb sleep. I'm with you on the barbecue thing, hate the smell.

  10. This was funny. I hope your neighbours aren't bloggers.

  11. We have "The pterodactyl neighbors". The corner of their backyard touches the corner of ours.

    Pterodactyl woman regularly comes out of her house to shriek at her kids, her husband, or whatever unfortunate person she has on the phone.

    My favorite Pterodactyl moment?


    And this, on a beautiful Sunday morning, while Bear and I sat out on our patio enjoying our coffee and listening to the Sunday Baroque radio program.

    Further - I must admit, it never occurred to me that a vegetarian would consider the smell of a barbecue as invasive as non-smokers consider the smell of cigarette smoke. But it makes perfect sense.

  12. Gosh Isabelle, you do attract all the right people to your blog! We all like peace and quiet, and good music (as opposed to screeching), and most of us aren't keen on barbecues! I do sympathise with you on the noise pollution, having put up with it for 15 years next door. Hopefully it was just a one-off celebration party with your neighbours.
    I giggled over Marcheline's comment - her neighbour sounds like our next door family. Just last week two of them were having a row with all the F words at top volume. 2 am, mind you.

  13. Now you've all got me a smidge worried as our next-door neighbors are moving-house is currently up for sale. We have a few couples who are odd ducks, a few who party frequently, and their friends (who have imbibed too much) try to drive home, crashing into another neighbor's street-parked car... We do have a few nice couples... But I'm worried about who shall move in! :)

  14. Oh dear Isabelle! Well, the good news is -- by now, the party is probably over and hopefully you're having a good night's rest!

  15. We do not have too much trouble with noisy neighbours, but sometimes their dogs become rather tedious. We try to keep ours indoors, so they don't annoy.
    I have found 8 year old children to be quite monstrously unappealing, so I don't know if the yelling child was of that age.

    I love your Cat Cave, I am sure Morty would adore one!

  16. Other People's Chiildren can be rather annoying, I agree. Mine, of course, are lovely and never irritating.

  17. Anonymous4:55 pm

    Hmmm - noisy neighbours are a bother, but I do love the smell of BBQ!

  18. I'm not fond of HAHAHAHA! parties either.

    The neighbors across the street had one, with great waves of music and laughter blowing around at 9 PM. I suppose that isn't terribly late, but it is late enough that I'm thinking about the state of my teeth and such.

    The key thing their party accomplished was to remind me that their gigantic boat and its hideous awning are in violation of a city ordinance, and I need to make a complaint to the city.

  19. Cul-de-sac. Ditto
    Sometimes a loud party. Ditto
    Non meat eater. Ditto
    BBQ'd meat smells vile. Ditto
    Gardening till dark. Ditto
    But we have mozzies, not midges.

  20. go knock on the door with your falling-down trousers on....hahahahah