scribbles tagged ‘neighbour’

you make me wanna SHOUT!

Sunday, July 20th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

It’s HOT

People open their windows & doors to catch any breeze that might wander by

It’s HOT

Official warnings of a ‘heat wave’ and health concerns because Britons are not familiar with how to behave safely, healthily in hot weather

It’s HOT

Tempers and temperatures are rising

From my open doors and windows I can hear the family frictions of neighbours in the surrounding streets, beyond my immediate neighbours. When they shout I can hear what they say. Shouts blown in the breeze to me.

Living alone, I have no-one to shout at.

Living alone, I have nothing I want to shout at anyone about. I don’t recall ever shouting at people that I lived with. But it must have happened and I’ve conveniently forgotten it in the peace of my own home. No-one wants to invite shouting into their home, it must just happen somehow.

In the heat Sampo and I lounge around in the shade. She tells me about it, but doesn’t shout.

Windows and doors are closed when the thunder and lightening hit. As if the world is objecting to all the shouting and demonstrating this by shouting right back with a stormy temper beyond that of any mortal. Unlike Sampo, I love the thunder and lightening storms. The sound of rain pounding on the roof and the way they whipe the slate, garden and street clean.


you make me wanna SHOUT!
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white lines

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |
Dropping curb and adding house number and name sign

Dropping curb, adding house number and name sign

This year I discovered that cars could legally park in-front of my driveway entrance. I discovered when a person on vacation in the USA left her car across my drive blocking my car in.

I took the bus to work, £25 per week bus fare seemed very expensive, a lot more than the £10 diesel costs. Not knowing when, and if, I’d be able to use my car was very disheartening.

It was also disheartening that a person would choose to block my car in, it seems such a mean spirited thing to do. When I’d knocked on my neighbours doors to see if they knew the car owner, could contact her and ask her to move, they were all wonderfully outraged on my behalf. Some had seen her before, none knew how to contact her. One neighbour offered to park her car so close to the offending car that it would be unable to get out without knocking on neighbours doors. We decided against this potential emotional escalation path, and giggled.

The council wouldn’t put their white lines “Access Protection Lines” (APL) outside my drive until I’d dropped the curb. This is when I discovered that every time I drove in and out of my drive I was breaking the law by driving over the public pathway. Oops. Myself and rather a lot of my neighbours were all breaking the law.

To avoid breaking the law I needed to arrange to drop the curb. To be able to ask the police to remove people parked in front of my drive I needed APL. I gave the council a cheque and some sweet-talk – you know so much, you’re so good at your job, I’m just so ignorant of all these things etc.  The road workers were at my place before the cheque had even cleared, 2 days later, at the weekend! Sweet!

  • 4 road workers including  “Mr. Reading” a local looker. He did compare favourably with Brad Pitt.
  • A compact digger
  •  A truck
  •  Pick axes, spades and all sorts….

It took them a day to rip-up the pavement, half a day to lay the concrete foundation and half a day to lay the surface tarmac. Less than an hour to paint the APL

Hooray! Confident, legal and easy access to my driveway has been established. Peace of mind

Then, I added a house sign to the mix. The name and number of my home with an arrow to help people see which way to go to find the Wendy House. My neighbour used his cable-less drill to fix it. As he fixed the sign he told me stuff I didn’t know:

  • People deliver mail for my house to their house and they then bring it round to my home and post it through my door.
  • People knock on their (3B) door to ask where 3A is because it’s clearly not between 3 and 3B.

He’d been suffering without telling me, so English, he was thrilled that I’d decided to put this sign up.

Front of house access sorted.

white lines
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open sesame

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

finished curbI reversed onto my drive, with no bumps or bangs as would happen before my dropped curb. Beautifully smooth. A figure in the dark opposite is fiddling with my neighbours door. I get out of the car and can hear the figure cussing.

Wendy: Can I help you?

The elderly lady sounded distressed and talked about how the keys my neighbour had given her weren’t working. I offered her a cup of tea in my place and I’d call my neighbour’s mobile phone. She calmed down and tried the keys again.

Wendy: it probably won’t make any difference, but I’d really like to try the keys.

She gave me the keys and the door unlocked smoothly with absolutely no problem

Wendy: I’m magic

The lady laughed. We exchanged praise of my lovely neighbour and went our separate ways.

I’m magic and available for all your ‘locked-out’ needs

open sesame
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bubbles from a balcony

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Carrer UnioThe little old gentleman in the appartment opposite shuffles out each morning and early evening, He smiles and waves at us, watches the bubbles we are blowing into the gap between our building. The bubbles fall towards the pedestrians below. People see them falling, spin around and laugh contagiously

In the evenings the lady in the apartment next to the old gentleman leans out, looks upward and calls to her friend 2 floors above. We see the lights in the apartment above go out then see the friends together in the apartment opposite

Another young man sits most days in a room full of books with his windows and shutters thrown wide open. Lightly dressed, often barefoot. He rarely looks away from his books. A plump, elderly lady in overalls wipes his windowsills and brushes his floors while he reads and writes. They work alone in the same apartment

We never saw the person who owned the parrot or the person who stored their bike – hanging off the balcony

At night my imagination built stories in dreams about the unseen occupants

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gently swinging the house – 150th birthday

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

Birthday cake for a houseIt was the sort of party where the men wore ironed shirts, ties and jackets. When a new guest walked into the room everyone stood up and rearranged themselves so that the more senior people in the room were sure to have a seat, with no fuss. The host constantly circulated checking and filling people’s glasses and making sure they were introduced to people nearby. I was glad I’d taken the trouble to wear my smarter clothes, a tailored boating jacket over white Jaeger jeans

As the amazingly perky 90 year old lady next to me showed me the plaster cast of her broken wrist and listed other recently broken bones she  smiled, adding that she was glad I was wearing slacks too. The chirpiness of her conversation was contageoius, and inspiring given the clear deterioration of her body

A Magician moved from table to table, playing a range of tricks and gently encouraging guest to talk with those people near them.  He wore a black suit with pink pink shirt, tie and pinstripes. I watched the magician, found out how other people knew the hosts,  mingled…

It was a real pleasure to be part of this civilised event, so different from informal parties hosted by my peers

Today I’m carefully hand-writing the hosts a heartfelt thankyou letter

Magician's feet

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muting the February sunshine

Saturday, February 12th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

first day out in my new Holly Golightly glasses. I stepped out of the house as my neighbour left hers she called out – what long hair you have!

Less than an hour later,  a work colleague asked ‘Have you had your hair cut?’

In the evening at the Moscow city ballet performance of the Nutcracker, no-one said anything. What is a style consious person supposed to think? Do these people

  • notice something different in the general head region and pick the most likely thing?
  • expect me to wear different and stylish glasses?
  • think sunglasses in the UK in February is so silly they are too embarressed to draw attention to the seemingly pretentious faux-pas?

or is it something that my paranoid self hasn’t yet dreampt of?

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to and from the jungle house

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

plants breaking out of a houseI knocked on about 10 different doors asking if anyone in the house drove a small red Vaxhall Corsa. No-one did, but everyone gave me very helpful advice, telling me which houses I didn’t need to ask and which houses were strong contenders. One house was high on everyone’s list, the house with the jungle growing out of the window. The one hidden behind a sizeable hedge. The one with a sign advertsing a room vacant for a student.

I knocked, I asked. No, no-one in the house drove a red Vauxhall Corsa. I moved on.

The tiny Corsa was parked in a position that effectively blocked 2 driveways, which is illegal.  The car was also parked over one foot away from the curb and across a road parking space. These were not signs of a skilled driver, a careful or consderate person.  A baby seat was strapped in the back, a St. Georges flag decorated the rear window.

Poor Tanking thomas couldn’t get into the Wendy House drive and I don’t have a street parking permit.  One of my neighbours kindly offered to let me use her drive.   I didn’t have to find a place miles away, outside of the restricted parking zone and catch a bus home.  My favourite Fiesty neighbour started ranting on my behalf about how inconsiderate and ignorant the Corsa owner was. Fiesty neighbour offered me her spare street parking permit.

I photographed the Corsa, its parking permit, and got into Thomas to move him into my neighbours drive. As I started Thomas, a large blond lady come out of the jungle house, briskly walked up to the Corsa and got in.  I jumped out of Thomas and ran up to the Corsa before she pulled away, tapped on her window. She said nothing, just nodded as I explained that she had blocked my access, that I couldn’t park on the road and asked her not to park there again. She nodded, pulled away and drove the wrong way up a one way street. Both my neighbours watched.

small car bocking 2 driveways at onceFiesty nieghbour: you were much more polite than I would have been

wendy: she knows where I live and could make life really difficult for me if she wanted – I told her all she needed to know and have photographic evidence

Fiesty neighbour: you should report her for driving the wrong way up a one way street

wendy: I think she would guess it was me, wouldn’t you guess it was me, and she might want to take revenge.

Fiesty neighbour: yes I’d guess it was you if it was me, you’re right, but she broke the law and is a pest

wendy: she’ll suffer for it because of who and how she is, I dont need to be the instrument or a focus of her suffering

Parking permit

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caring in the hood

Sunday, August 1st, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

knock knock

neighbour: hello, I live opposite you over there

wendy: hello

neighbour: is your cat ok? the black and white one

wendy: I think so, she’s quite old and has a heart condition. Not as active as she used to be, why do you ask?

neihgbour: we were worried because we dont see her sitting on your bedroom window like she used to

My neighbour was worreid because her 15 year old cat had died recently.  She knows how upsetting this is. She thought that maybe my cat had died and I needed someone to check that I was ok.  How sweet is that? I love my ‘hood

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cranky jaspers

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

lady at stable door: I live in that house there, we’ve just had a wasp nest treated and those left alive are a bit cranky, probably best to keep the cats in and the doors and windows shut

wendy: there’s a lot of them about this year

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little goldfish

Friday, October 9th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Dusk in Holy TrinityMumzie:    come next door with me,   to feed the goldfish

Wendy:  yes please,   how is she?

Mumzie: she died last week.  

Her children thought they’d inherit the house,  were planning to move in.   They would have been good neighbours.   But she had a  reverse mortgage which means the bank owns the house and is selling it.

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Tuesday, August 26th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Why I love England #3.    closeness

closeness illustrated by analogy to the display system in a local store UK closeness illustrated by the proximity of items in a local store

Within 6 months of arriving in Reading I’d been invited to a local couple’s wedding,   into half a dozen neighbours houses for tea and general niceness,   out to numerous local events,   heard multiple personal stories of divorces,  abortions, new-loves,  disputes with the local council,   disputes with neighbours,   and, of course, the standard commute and job stories.    I experience a closeness with people here that is very heartwarming.

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champagne dreams

Monday, August 25th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

One  night before my holiday,   after drinking Stanlake Park champagne in the company of extremely charming, senior, neighbours,   I discovered the potential benefits of a champagne-induced dreaming.   Obviously these are only preliminary findings prior to systematic investigation.   The preliminary findings are looking good.   The dream qualities included but were not limited to:

  • warm squishiness.  
  • high memorability.
  • good mood inducing.
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meet the neighbours

Saturday, July 5th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

One of the larger (circa 1862) houses in my street hosted a street-garden party  where I ate oodles of triffle and met dozens of neighbours who chose to buy homes  there because of the:

Each of us introduced ourselves by name and house number,  I became ‘Wendy at n(a)’.   My introduction received one of two common reactions:

  1. Oh,   the cute one that isn’t really on the street!   We knew Marion who lived there before you.
  2. Where is that?   We know [name] at n+1,   n,    and the empty new house n(b),   there is no house between them.

Uncommonly, the  Wendy House doesn’t have a frontage on the Street.    It is hidden behind n+1 with the pathway approach unintuitively placed between n+1 and n(b) rather than intuitively between n and n(b).    I discovered that  a prior resident of this Wendy House,   Marion:

  • moved in soon after the stable was converted to a house,   mid to late  1960’s.
  • moved out in 2002.
  • died in 2005.
  • was a kept woman,   no-one knew who her patron was.   My deeds show the house was owned by Brian during her time here.
  • would stand at the gateway and chat to passers-by.  

My plan to become the wierd lady with the hats was generally well recieved.    One neighbour may give me an old set of oak gates from a local house currently stored  in his stables which haven’t been converted into a residence for a working woman.

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wendy (open) house warming

Sunday, May 25th, 2008 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

One recent Sunday afternoon the neighbours, local Reading celebrities,   and a gal from West Sussex dropped by to warm the wendy house over lashings of tea and cake.   A jolly civilised affiar with a little bit of dribbling.   During the goings-on I discovered many useful facts including:

–   a local granny can climb the walls to escape from a locked cemetry after dusk.

–   the Wendy House was converted from a  garage in 1968 partly explaining the dangerous staircase.

–   my nieghbours have lived all over the world – Kenya, Italy, India, Edinburgh before settling in Reading.   Excellent company.

–   the Readibus preferred gift to welcome a newcomer is a bottle of wine.

– the bath works best for a person under 5ft 2  (as do the  stairs).

– house numbers evolve.   One person’s home had evolved from without number to  number 4 then number 2…

I suspect I missed some real news treats while in the Kitchen  warming the pots,   I  wonder what other goodies these people are going to share with us in the upcoming years….

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Sikh new year: Vaisakhi

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Singing and high spirits in the streets near cemetery junction,   Balloons tied to fire engines,   lamp-posts,   leaple and shops.   Police directing traffic and cycling aound,   smiling.   A yound boy offered me bottled water and a leaflet.   I took the leaflet and  read…   …Nagar Kirtan is a Punjabi term that literally means “neighbourhood hymn singing“.   The seek new year is April 14th,   the day that Sikhism was born in 1699.   It is the holiest day of their calendar.

Wikipedia described Vaisakhi

Such singing and laughter and happiness,   it was a joy to mingle with the crowds

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Popular conversational topics #2: neighbours from hell

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

This conversation topic sneaks out over lunches and in pubs.   At first I thought it was a reserved conversation amongst friends because while the stories have entertainment value they clearly point to a source of stress in the tellers life.   Then recently while  buying home and contents insurance from a clerk in my local Reading bank branch:

Bank Clerk (BC):   is it a nice home?

Wendy: it needs some work  but its detached,   no noisey neighbours to worry about

BC:   Oh tell me about it!   we’ve got the nieghbour from hell she deals crack cocaine and everyone knows about it,   last night at about 4am she through a concrete garden boulder at her friends car because they were having an argument,   I was lying there praying she didn’t miss and hit my car…   …we tried calling the police but they just don’t want to know,   there’s nothing you can do…   …we’ve asked the council to move us but they can’t…     …she leaves her 4 year old child alone in the house while she goes out partying…  (and more of the same ilk for approximately 15 mins)

My listening  performance was  worthy of  the type of fees traditionally paid to professional psychiatrists.       What friendly approachable, troubled,  staff they have at my local bank branch in Reading.  

I might just drop into the bank to check she’s ok next time I’m downtown.

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nosey neighbor (me)

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

Noseying on the  left

A few weeks ago Candy1 was taken handcuffed from her home by police, strapped into an ambulance.   I don’t know why.   She seemed perky enough when I talked to her a few days later.

Candy’s  husband knocked on my door at midnight to explain  they  were burgled last week while at work when they left their back door physically open  to enable  the cats free access.

Noseying on the right

Sipping lemonade in the shade on my stoop.   In a neat line four people filed by to view the empty home to my right.    Realtor lead the march.    Middle-aged mom scurried behind her.    Middle-aged dad strode with  perky terrier in arms.    Gangly late-teen swept the rear.     I smiled saying “Hello” trying to catch the eye of each passing person. Maybe the parents didn’t hear me.   Gangly did.    He gave me a gigantic smile, raised his eyebrows,   flashed a glance at his biddies, then smiled back at me while waggling his eyebrows again.    This silent acknowledgement of his parents ignoring my greeting was funny,   generous and  clever.  He can live next door.

  1. psuedonymn for cute asian female neighbor
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Meet the neighbours

Sunday, February 19th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

Conversation in the local Diner:


Granny: do you live in the condominium over there?

Wendy: yes

Granny: I live opposite you,   my name’s (unpublishable)

Wendy: oh, hello (smiles and shakes her hand) my name’s Wendy…

Granny: I recognized your…your…erm…top (a fabulous pink fluffy thang)

In England I would meet and get to know my neighbours in the local pub.   In NW USA  this  acceptable social sharing happens in  the Diner.  

Wendy lurrrffffs-diners.

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