Monday, May 6, 2013
When Neighbours are NOT good friends
We have our very own soap opera going on in our neighbourhood. About 6 months ago we got new neighbours. They are right next door to us, but its not us directly they are having the feud with.
The mud map above shows the approximate layout (I am no town planner or artist). The black wavy lines is the river, the parallel lines on the left is a major road. We are in a little cul-de-sac that was just a dead-end when the old house subdivided its land and 5 blocks of land were created. The people who bought the 5 blocks, us included, all built within a year of each other. The only one who didn't was Noisy Kids, they were about 5 years later.
Hippy Neighbour has lived in her house across the road for over 25 years, she is a very sweet, kind lady, who keeps to herself, and has 2 dogs. You have to have dogs where we live, there are a lot of undesirables wandering about, and the houses without dogs get broken into. We have been broken into 3 times, once while we were in the house and asleep. It happened when we didn't have an outside dog.
It has been a happy place to live. Most of us get along, we have parties in the street, know each other, have helped out when needed, rescued dogs when they got out etc. There are a few characters (the latecomers with squeely girls) who are a little prickly, but on the whole its amicable.
Then the new people arrived. Not very friendly as in, we stop to say hello and we get a brush off, or their little puppy gets out and we take it back and there is barely a thanks but a whole lot of yelling at the dog and kids. Little things that tell you they are just not friendly neighbours and that's fine, Mr K and I have got used to living in suburbia now. This is what you get. We get along fine with Hippy Lady, she is warm and chatty, and the Old House people are the same. The Noisy Kids family are luke-warm too, bit weird (that's a whole new story there) but they generally keep to themselves.
About 3 months ago, Mr K gets a phone call from a very distraught Hippy Lady. She has had a visit from the rangers saying there is a complaint about her dogs barking. Its never happened before. Her dogs do bark a bit, but only because she lives on the main road and opposite is a service station that is frequented by some people who think its their local pub. There are often fights and police and of course the dogs are going to bark - that's why we have them.
Hippy Lady confronted the New people, and said that we have been a nice little neighbourhood and we normally just talk to each other if there is an issue instead of rushing off to the Ranger. She was upset, she is a very touchy feely type, but sensible. New Man just was rude and said to keep her dogs quiet. A few weeks after this, Mr K gets another, more distraught phone call from Hippy Lady. She has had an argument with the New people and a letter from the council. Mr K advises her to just do the best she can about the dogs, and to ignore the New people. She has also found out that the New people have gone to all the houses in the street (except us) and asked them to sign a petition against Hippy lady. None of them did, but she is now furious at New people.
Mr K talks to her for a while, trying to get her to see a lighter side, to not take it as her problem but theirs. Hippy lady lives alone so her dogs are her protectors and company. Mr K suggests she write them a note telling she is doing what she can (she bought a bark buster collar and locks them up when she goes out) and jokingly, to lighten the mood, he said "give them some earplugs."
So she does!! She writes a long letter (she gave us a copy) and includes some earplugs for the family. You can guess what happened next! Mr K comes home from work and there is an all out fight going on, not physical but verbal, between Hippy lady and New man. Mr K, ever the negotiator steps in and calms them both down, when New Lady gets home, sees the letter and the earplugs and comes ranting and raving out her house to confront Hippy Lady.
Its calmed down a bit since then, but there are flare ups and these New people are quickly running out of friends. They don't realise that they make as much noise and disturb people too. Their kids are very noisy, he starts up his truck at 6am, he is a compulsive blower-vac user, and we have heard rows that get loud. They have an alarm that goes off regularly and guess what? All of us ignore it. That's all part of living in a close neighbourhood. You just have to mutter under your breath (or blog about it like I do) and get on with your life. We can't go about complaining and whining about every little thing that bothers us.
If New people wanted quiet, they should not have picked a house that was so close to a main road, a train line, a B&B and other houses. I work from home. Yes it can be noisy, but you know what? I either close my window or play music or put in earplugs. If I want perfect quiet I will move to the country!
I can't see it being a very friendly Christmas party this year, but it will sure be interesting. Stay tuned for further episodes.