Mum has a really noisy neighbour. Separating their properties is a tin fence. Mum’s outdoor seating area is on one side and Noisy Neighbour’s double garage, shed, a rusty corrugated iron structure, and lawn area on the other. This area is his powertool/home-handyman’s playground. He loves his powertools and any outdoor equipment that makes the most noise possible. Especially on the weekends. One weekend morning Mum and I had our breakfast (chopped fruit with yoghurt and a sprinkle of ground almonds) to the sound of a buzz-saw making high pitched squeels. EeeeEEEEOWEeeeeeEeeeeOw. We endured this noise and thanked the gods when the noise stopped, which was some time into the morning. Later we began to make lunch. It was a hot day and we planned to have lunch outside on the deck at a table in the shade, which happens to be next to Noisy Neighbours tin fence. We had been at the stove making corn fritters to have with a salad and couldn’t wait to get outside into the cool breeze to have lunch. We were only outside in the cool for a few minutes and had a few bites of lunch when we were forced indoors by Noisy Neighbour. He was two meters away from where we sat, facing us on the other side of the tin fence, weilding a water-blaster. Occasionally water was being shot over the fence towards us and our lunch. The close proximity of the full force of water being blasted onto a tin fence was noisy enough, and combined with the motorised pump required to blast the water made the level of noise too loud to hear each other speak. We moved inside reluctantly and shut the doors and windows against the wall of sound and sweltered inside. The insane thing is that between noisy neighbours breakfast buzz-saw and the lunch-time water-blaster and compressor, he had been busy with the lawnmower! This is Noisy Neighbour at his best (or worst!).
But he is not restricted to creating noise only, he is also skilled at combining noise and fumes. There have been several occassions when we have been about to go outside for a meal, and he will start spray painting with a motorised pump. It is not nice to eat a meal with paint smell let alone the air-borne droplets of paint drifting our way. I remember when this happened; it was a warm summer evening and we had just gone outside to eat dinner. But he is not exclusive to painting at that time of day – once on a really really hot day we had to shut up the house to stop very strong paint fumes and more drifting spray from asphixiating us. We could see toxic paint plumes drifting over from his side of the fence. Eventually we got fed up and escaped our prison and went out for the day, after having saved the washing from becoming covered in spray paint, and that was more than enough time outside in the fumes.
He’s possibly a member of some powertool club, as he does an inordinate amount of home maintenance. On the previous visit I paid to Mum’s for the weekend he was grinding metal off a fly-screen door, and the resulting noise was worse than fingernails scraping on a blackboard. Some days when he is really noisy, and then suddenly the noise stops, it is like a vacuum of nothingness, except for the residual ringing in our ears. I really hope he becomes a member of another club, or better still, clubs – Powertools Anonymous and Home-handyman’s Anonymous and learns to deal with his affliction.
Recently, Mum had the Friday afternoon off work. She was looking forward to an afternoon at home after a busy week at work. I received a text from her at 2.46 pm. “Not long home from work…Noisy neighbour has compressor goin!!!”. I had a little chuckle to myself about this, but I can imagine Mum’s dissapointment as her ideas of spending an afternoon at home were ruined by the constant noise of a compressor (typically on a Friday).
The area where we have outdoor meals, next to Noisy Neighbours tin fence.
Just this last week I visited Mum for a long weekend. Noisy Neighbour was up to some noisy shenanigans (with some paint fumes too), but to give Noisy Neighbour credit, he was fairly subdued this weekend. Maybe sessions at Powertools and Home-handyman’s Anonymous are working for him. His few transgressions were on a Sunday (had to be a Sunday) when he couldn’t help himself to some noisy violence. This was the day the above photo was taken. It is the tin fence that separates Noisy Neighbours and Mum’s properties. The espalier shrub in the photo was shaking violently taking a pummelling from the other side of the fence with what could only be a sledgehammer. Then on the Monday (a public holiday) the radio was blaring from his workshed. He thinks everyone in the neighbourhood likes his choice of music. Which happens to be Classic Hits. Strong paint fumes were wafting over Mum’s fence (not spray paint this time fortunately), and he was painting away merrily with this brush, listening to his favourite tunes. (Sometimes he even sings along, but this is rare). Fortunately by lunchtime the paint fumes had cleared, so Mum and I had lunch at the outside table near to his fence. We had Lentil Pie, and salad.*
I see that noisy neighbours house has swatches of colour patched on odd spots, meaning that he is testing colours out, preparing to repaint his house. That will be interesting. I’ll bet he has the latest powertool with which to paint his house, and his sixth sense for when and where and how to create home-handyman hell for his neighbours on the weekend (plus Friday afternoons and public holidays), will allow him to time it precisely to cause the most inconvenience possible to those around him.
* See next blog for the Lentil Pie recipe.