Thursday 15 November 2012

Noisy Neighbours

I live in an Edwardian terraced house, built in 1906 during the reign of Edward VII. We moved into the house in 2002 and I watched it pass its 100th birthday.

I love my house.

We have now removed most traces of the previous occupants, an elderly couple who didn’t have too much money to spend to develop the property, choosing instead to (and let’s be kind here), patch the place up.

Mrs PM and I have spent a fortune on it, renovating each room in the house including a fair amount of building work, a new bathroom and a new kitchen.

The previous occupants would not recognise the place now.

We have completely stamped our personas on the house.

It is ours – well, when I say ours, I really mean that it belongs to the cats.

We acquired two of our moggies, Jasper and Poppy, about a month after we moved in and they have been with us ever since. Two other moggies have lived here with us too; poor old Spike – the cat that belonged to a woman two streets away but chose to live with us instead until he finally disappeared again – and now Liquorice, the hellcat who tears off strips of my skin for fun.

We are all one big happy family.

One of the problems of living in a terraced house is that we share walls with our neighbours, and can sometimes hear them. Normally, this isn’t a huge problem, as our neighbours are quiet and friendly.

This hasn’t always been the case though.

When we first moved in, the neighbour on one side decided that she wanted to sell up, leave her job and travel – so she did. She sold the house to a rich man, who bought it for his young son, a student.

At first, everything was fine. The young man was friendly enough and didn’t make much noise. For the purpose of this post I will call him Student.

The house on the other side of Student was owned by a young gay couple, who have since moved out but we are still friends with. They were more Student’s age and often hung around with them. We popped over a few times but I kind of lost interest because I was too old to sit outside laughing with students about young people’s stuff.

I was happy to leave them to have fun.

That is, until the fun started to get annoying.

At first, things were friendly. Student would come round and say “I’m having a party tonight – you are welcome to come round.”

“Thanks for telling us, “ I would say with a smile, but declined to leap into a house full of young people getting drunk.

On the occasions when he warned us, he was good to his word and the frivolities would fade about midnight – at first.

And then he stopped telling us.

And then he decided that the best time for the start of a party was at midnight when he and his mates had returned from the pub after drinking for hours.

And then he started doing that during school nights.

The first time it happened, I was lying in bed at 1am on a Saturday night and all I could hear was


with the gentle screaming of pissed people as a background melody to accompany the thumping beats.

The second time it happened, I was very annoyed. To cap it all, somebody knocked on our door.

I was genuinely angry thinking that one of his mates had drunkenly wobbled to our house by mistake. I quickly got dressed and ran downstairs preparing to shout at the idiot who had turned up at the wrong house.

It wasn’t an errant partygoer, it was Luke, one of our gay neighbours.

“I’m going to complain to Student,” he said. “Will you come with me for backup?”

“Damned right I will,” I snarled and the two of us went next door.

The door was answered by a very drunk Student.

“Can you keep it down? It's late and we're all trying to sleep,” said Luke diplomatically. I stood behind him looking as mean as I could.

Student uttered a quick slurred apology and the volume was almost immediately lowered.

The parties continued and no matter how much complaining we did, they kept on happening. One one occasion, I knocked on his door at 3am and was heckled by one of his mates, standing behind Student when he had opened the door, said:

“I don’t like your attitude mate. You could ask nicely.”

Step out of the house and let’s discuss it,” I snarled with an uncharacteristic rage building inside of me.

Student intervened and turned the volume down while trying to shut up his dumb drunk mate.

I decided to exact revenge. I woke up at 8 am the following day (a Sunday), knowing full well that Student would be sound asleep and nursing a hangover.

I put the speakers of our hi fi against the bedroom wall, knowing that his room was on the other side and subjected him to a full hour of this at high volume:

I didn’t hear a peep out of him; not one complaint.

The last straw, for both of us I think, was when, on a Sunday night at 3am, Mrs PM and Luke went round to complain and the noise was so loud that they couldn’t hear the door being knocked.

Our bedroom and Student's were separated only by a wall and I could hear him in his room blasting his music out at a volume that could probably have been heard in Liverpool, peppered with a few giggles from the people in there with him.

I was enraged because Mrs PM and Luke’s futile attempts to penetrate the vile pounding music had fallen on deaf ears. I ran downstairs to get a broom. One good thing about living in a terraced house with adjacent bedrooms is that the windows are quite close together.

I ran back upstairs, opened my bedroom window and walloped his window with the broom handle as hard as I could. He opened the window and Mrs PM and Luke complained in a more controlled way than I would have done.

When he turned the music down I heard him shout:


I was just about ready to smash his door down and show him exactly how I really wanted to complain. I didn’t – I was too tired.

His parents sold the house about a month after that event – that was his last party.

On the day Student moved out, I walked past as he was loading up a van with his parents.

“Moving out?” I asked with a smile.

“Yes,” he said. “It’ll be a little more peaceful now, I guess.”

“Yeah,” I agreed.

Our new neighbour is the complete opposite; a lovely lady who is very quiet, so quiet in fact that we can hardly hear her most of the time.

As for Student – I bumped into him about six months after he had moved out, in a bar in Manchester, as I was having a last beer before going home after a concert.

I saw him at the other end of the bar and raised my glass to him with as smile. He raised his back to me, also with a smile, and we left it at that.

I don’t hold it against him now he's gone; after all I was young and stupid once.

Now I’m just stupid.


River said...

I would complain directly if I was sure they wouldn't turn on me and trash my front door in retaliation. Otherwise, I have no reserve at all about calling the police to ask them to turn it down. Thankfully, I've never had to do that.

Mind Of Mine said...


I have never dealt with a noisy neighbour before. But I have been the subject of a noise complaint.

I lived in a student house, which had tenants coming and going all the time. We would have the occassional pre-drinks before going out, usually around 10pm but we only ever had one party, which was New Years 2011.

Our next door neighbour, was a habitual complainer. She would complain that people were walking up the stairs to loudly. That she could hear doors slam, that our wash machine vibrated to much. She even complained that the room adjacent to hers, must have had a stiff light switch because the loud click would sometimes wake her up.

One evening, I woke up from a nap at about 9pm to her banging on the walls, screaming to keep the noise down.

It was deathly silent.

Bat shit crazy!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I think one of the other neighbours did once threaten to call the police.

I thought I could handle it without them. Although he was a noisy pain in the arse, he would never have done anything nasty.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi MoM,

I have also been a noisy neighbour in my youth (hence my statement "I was once young and stupid").

I think complaining about walking upstairs too noisily is a bit extreme.

Also, a New Years Eve party is also a thing we have done in this house in the past - I wouldn't have minded so much on New Years Eve myself - I might even have gatecrashed.




DelGal said...

Dearest PM-

Ugh, noisy neighbors, I could tell many a tale about that, which briefly included my neighbors having band practice at all hours of the day/night (practicing scales nearly drove me to murder) and a neighbor behind my home who would mow his lawn at 2am, not to mention they'd have brawls that would spill out onto the highway in front of his home!

Then there's noisy neighbors in hotels - I just got back from Boston where I was subjected to noisy Asian teens running up and down the halls all night. And my all time "best" noisy neighbor has to be a couple getting down with their bad selves all night long in the room above us - not only noisy, annoying etc. but embarrassing since I was sharing the room with my mom!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Dearest Lynette,

Mowing a lawn at 2am? How absurd!

Yes - I've heard "the couple next door" in a hotel room. And it is quite embarrassing.




Mind Of Mine said...

The same complaining neighbour called the police on our party, *It continued on after the night out, till seven in the morning*.

The police came to respond to the complaint in March, probably just to close it off. The two police officers, clearly had no sense of humor though, I was laughing my head off and they tried to keep up the charade that the complaint was still relevant.


Dale Brown said...

I used to share a house with 3 guys - all mates - that used to come home at midnight then listen to The Dickies for a couple of hours. Full blast naturally.
When I left it was not on good terms...

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Big D,

The Dickies? Bloody Hell - I might not have left on good terms either.




MedicatedMoo said...

Geez, that sounded like hell on earth! I don't think I would have been as civil as you when he moved out and when you saw him in the pub.

We had a house like that in my student days. I might have been to a few parties myself, but not on weeknight after weeknight, so my boyfriend at the time snuck over and yanked out all the circuits from their powerboard!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Yes - it was at times. But I'm a nioe guy and don't bear grudges - often.