Thursday, 22 July 2010

Chess's Charming Neighbours

I’ve got some really rather charming neighbours. They throw things like dirty nappies and KFC boxes into our garden. But only when we’re not watching.

It all started when we moved in; first the occasional Fruit Corner pot, graduating to beer bottles then full on bin bag missiles. Bin bags tend to create a lot of mess, particularly on a windy day when they’ve been speared by a tree. And, judging by the contents of said bags, I am frankly concerned for the health of the perpetrators whilst simultaneously pissed off by the risk they pose to my own. But it gets better.

I was woken one morning last week by scrabbling, screeching, something smacking against the window pane. Tired and a little hungover, I did my best to ignore it and go back to sleep but with only partial success. Once I had dragged my bones out of bed, showered and dressed, I opened the curtains to reveal a dead pigeon swinging by one foot from the wire surrounding the guttering. I screamed. I cried. I felt utterly disturbed and quite sick. My boyfriend rushed to shut the curtains and hide the dangling corpse from view while its pigeon friends congregated around it, for what reason we could not imagine. Some undiscovered form of avian grief? Cannibalism? No: the people in the flat above were feeding the dirty little specimens. Not only were they depositing human waste in our garden but they were beckoning filthy, disease-ridden creatures to our bedroom window.

I called the council as soon as I arrived at work that morning and they pledged to ‘address the situation as appropriate’, promising to call me when they’d cleaned the gutters out and presumably given someone a bollocking. For the next five days I was awoken by the same noise (thankfully minus the cadavers) and decided to call back and find out exactly what was going on:

‘Sorry, there’s no record of your call. And anyway, we don’t deal with pest control. You’ll have to phone this number instead.’

So I called the number the lady gave me, then they made me call someone else and then I was put on hold four 15 minutes then finally, finally I was granted the privilege of a conversation with a council worker. I explained the situation, my shock, my utter disgust; she was making the right noises and I really felt like I was getting somewhere.

‘So what are the options?’

‘Well, I’ll issue a letter saying we’ve had a complaint from your address and hopefully it will encourage them to stop.’

A letter? With my address on it? To compel the skanks upstairs to dream up something even more revolting to subject us to? Weeing over the side of the balcony, perhaps? I conveyed this to her in the politest possible terms and subsequently demanded that she dispatch somebody to clean the rice out of the gutters and pay them a visit and, after much umming and ahhing she eventually agreed.

The council are popping into our neighbours’ flat at the weekend and I am feeling a strange mixture of excitement and dread, anticipating either the first decent night’s sleep I’ve had in a while or a deluge of chicken bones and Pampers. But if all else fails we have a back-up plan: an arsenal of that 90s favourite, the SuperSoaker. Suggestions for what they should contain are most welcome. Read more by Chess.