Monday, 22 October 2007

Peace and goodwill to all men (but not neighbours, apparently).

Sunday was the first time I have been to church in ages. To my shame I haven't been there since Rosie was christened three years ago, but yesterday was the harvest service, we have a lovely new vicar and it was going to be fun.

I say 'was' because when we arrived we were pounced on by our neighbour and verbally abused. My husband and her husband had had a row in the week about the perennial problem - our adjoining boundary. They exchanged words. He called my husband 'stupid' and 'idiot', swore at him and came towards him as if to take him on. My husband called him a 'moron', but did not swear and stepped back when it looked as if a fist was heading in his direction.

So 'C', I'll call her, approached Mum, Me and my two little girls outside church and had a bit of a shout. She had been out when the row took place. I wasn't, so perhaps have a better idea of what went on. Not in her book. 'C' called my Mum a 'hypocrite' and called Brian 'evil'. She says he used four letter words, adding that she hoped he didn't swear in front of the girls (he didn't and he doesn't).

They were, obviously distressed, as was I, as was Mum. 'C' won't listen to us. She is sure she is in the right. Her husband, 'B', I'll call him, has, in the 22 years we have been living here, regularly come around to shout and to bully. He rarely approaches quietly, always arriving with a full on shout. He was so bad once that Hannah, who was then only two, had nightmares about him and was so scared of men in beards that her grandfather had to shave his off before she would stop screaming. 'C' says 'B' doesn't shout or swear. All they do is criticise and complain, never listening to our point of view. She kept saying how they had lived there for 30 years and we have 'only' been here for 22. One of the other churchgoers laughed at that.

'C' said they are a quiet couple, never bothering us. But that is not true. When the girls were babies 'B' was doing a lot of work on their house and had a concrete mixer running all morning and all afternoon. It kept my babies awake. As do his banging noises in his garage until late at night, and his pressure washer whining all day for several days each month as he washes all the concrete he has laid, and there is the constant lawn mowing, strimming and hedge trimming. After their meal they wrap their meat bones in plastic and burn them on their fire. They have a bungalow, so the smoke drifts neatly into our upstairs, meaning we cannot open our bedroom windows. They have woken us all up when arriving back late at night, slamming car doors and talking in loud voices. We have a shared driveway, which they used to regularly block or just open the gates into our farmyard and turn their vehicles around when they felt like it. That's fine, but they should ask first.

They are guilty of being thoughtless. Their thoughtless behaviour and arrogant attitude is causing us inconvenience and stress. But to them we are the 'bad' ones. Last night I couldn't sleep for worrying about this.

Tomorrow Mum and I are going to see our solicitor for advice. But this has been happening for 22 years to us. Before we moved here our predecessors were so upset by 'C' and 'B' that they dumped a trailer of manure outside their entrance. I wish we had known that before we moved here.

But I have been trying to remind myself that we are nice, popular people. Even if 'C' and 'B' don't think so. It was a lovely harvest service. We may have 'only' been here for 22 years, but whereas 'C' left straight after the service because she does not really know that many people, we were the last leaving by the time we had caught up with all our friends. We were the ones who did someone a good turn by returning a lost wallet. Presumably 'C' took her poison home to 'B' and told him how we had attacked her outside church. Since Sunday, and especially in the middle of the night, I kept thinking of all the things I should have said in reply. As it was, I headed into church with my two little children and just hoped that someone, somewhere, would provide some kind of solution, divine or otherwise.


  1. How absolutely horrible for you. How is it that even in the midst of this lovely countryside with so much space and beauty that you can still end up with anti-social neighbours. You clearly have lots of support within the community and that must give you strength but I know from past experience how draining it can be not to know what's going to happen when you step out your front door. Good luck and very best wishes, Chris.

  2. Not nice for you. What horrid people. It might be worth taking photos of vehicles, or even going so far` as to video the aggressive approach.

  3. Some people seem to thrive on aggression - from what you say these have a history of being nasty neighbours. I agree with Elizabethd - keep a log of what goes on - and just hope it never comes to the stage of having to use it.

    Best of luck, keep strong.

  4. Goodness that was horrible. You must dread poking your head outside the door in case you encounter them. How dare they spoil it for you so selfishly. A log sounds an excellent idea.

  5. We have a saying here that would be translated as follows.
    " The godliest person cant live in peace if the evil neighbour does not agree.
    Hope things get sorted out the way YOU want them to get sorted out.

  6. YNot nice.
    Yes blogging is theraputic isnt it.

  7. Are they the same with any other neighbours?? or villagers, photos and a log are good and regular bonfires when the winds in their direction...I've lived with bad neighbours before i moved here, He's dead [i didnt do it] now and shes a batty lonely old woman who no one visits... unfortunatly some people just can't be civil, i really feel for you..

  8. How can you live like that? It must be really difficult for you. It's disgusting how people carry on, not a care in the world when its comes to upsetting even their own neighbours. I do hope you get some decent advice from the solicitor. Make sure you have everything noted.

    Take care, Crystal xx

  9. You have my sympathy. My daughter and family are going through a horrid time with a neighbour and I have in the past so I know what you are going through.
    Very best wishes,

  10. Oh dear Mags, just doing a qick catch-up of some of my favourites, so sorry to read this. All that worry would make me physically sick too, I hate confrontation like that. They sound awful, I'm so glad you have a wide community to fall back on. Some of the suggestions above about keeping a log sound excellent. Just glanced at your one below - I like reading these! - I'm also reading 'Sea Room' at th moment! Only on about chapter 4, I'm really, really enjoying it, so atmospheric and beautifully written, but I can't seem to read very much in one go - very much a dipping into at bedtime book for me. Very cosy to read in the autumn though. Thinking of you x

  11. That is truly awful...I don't think I could handle such levels of aggression. We've had irritating neighbours in the past but never malevolent. But sounds like they are just truly nasty people and whatever you do isn't going to change that. Can't believe they had the sheer nerve to act like that, and outside church to boot. Hypocrites!
    Video for sure....and log for sure. But yuk, yuk, yuk........nasty horrible people. And ignorant as phit as well - burning plastic?? Grrr and triple grrrrr.


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