Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Good riddance. With a little nod to UKIP, for good measure

There was a knock at the door an hour or two ago.

“We are Milena and Robert,” the couple on the doorstep told us, “we are your new neighbours.”

What could be more banal? A couple moves in. They introduce themselves. But its very banality makes the incident special for us. For they are taking over from our neighbour from hell. She left last night, and I have never felt so joyful over the presence of a removals van outside our house.

Sign of joy.
When it appeared outside the house next door
Two years we’ve had the delight of living next door to the woman I shall refer to as Kayleigh, if only because that’s her name. She was a delightful neighbour on the many occasions when she was away; alas, though she was away a lot, there were inevitably times when she’d be home, and that made her less easy to like. If we saw the lights on between a Thursday and a Saturday night, we knew we were in trouble. On one or two of those nights, she would have ‘friends’ round.

Why do I put quotation marks around the word ‘friends’? Because there was nothing particularly friendly about the way they behaved to each other. More or less from the start they’d be talking far too loudly, as though at a convention for the deaf from which hearing aids have been banned. But then as the alcohol started to kick in, to say nothing of other substances less socially acceptable, that early phase would come to resemble the pleasant calm of a busy library.

By about 3:00 in the morning, they would start sharing deepseated views about the character, temperament and behaviour of the others present. The views were, clearly, held with passion, and communicated with concision, since anything involving a verb or an adjective only seemed to require a derivative of that fine four-letter Anglo-Saxon term for the way we’re all generated.

Expressing oneself simply is an admirable stylistic aspiration, so I can only admire their talent. Although it’s also possible that simplicity was a way of life, and there really was nothing more sophisticated to be said about any of them.

By about 7:00 in the morning, the company had exhausted the entertainment to be extracted from abusing each other with increasing intensity, so things really got serious. At this point Kayleigh, who could have found employment as a fog warning siren had she been interested in having any kind of employment, would start to dominate proceedings more than ever. She would request various individuals to depart her presence, preferably on a permanent basis.

She would communicate this desire by suggesting that they go forth and procreate, if I may be permitted a euphemistic paraphrase.

Sadly, it turns out that such desire was merely a passing phase in the Kayleigh mood journey. Once most or all of her guests had gone, which would generally be between 8:00 and 9:00, she succumbed to a sense of desolation and loneliness, which she would bewail to the few who were left or, if there were none, to some unfortunate she could raise by phone. This final stage of the night’s festivities would generally continue until some time between 10:00 and midday, at which point silence would finally descend on her house.

One must, of course, be tolerant towards the customs and culture of others, even if in this instance the word ‘culture’ more aptly describes something in a Petri dish than in the great achievements of a community. But I have to confess to being bemused by Kayleigh. Those nights seemed to leave her wracked by sorrow and self-pity. I may be naïve, but it seemed to me that she wasn’t really enjoying herself all that much. Still, who am I to judge the pleasures of my neighbour?

What I could judge, of course, was the impact on ourselves as, yet again, we avoided all the inconvenience dreaming can cause. Or indeed sleeping at all. And that judgement was one that I felt was worth sharing with the police, the letting agents for the house and the landlord. Our friends on the other side of Kayleigh did the same, and by dint of keeping up the pressure, we eventually prevailed.

The turning point was no doubt Danielle’s recording of Kayleigh making it clear, in choice terms, that she didn’t wish to talk to her. Danielle got it all on her phone, which survived even Kayleigh’s throwing it into the road, providing a tribute to iPhones as well as a damning piece of evidence against the neighbour.

Hence the removals van last night, and Melina and Robert’s courtesy call today.

Poor Melina and Robert. The little front yard is already full of rubbish, partly what Kayleigh left there, partly what they’ve flung out of the house.

“The place is filthy,” they told us, as they took a brief break, still wearing their rubber gloves and knee pads. We offered them drinks (turned down, as they wanted to get on with the cleaning), and sympathy for the scale of the post-Kayleigh task.

The contact with them may have been banal. But in contrast with what came before, it was painfully welcome. A huge improvement.

Interestingly, Kayleigh is English to the core. Born here, bred here (for some value of the word “breeding”). While Melina and Robert are Polish.

Hey, UKIP: you really think it’s the immigrants that are the problem? Seems to me, we’ve got far worse difficulties with the native born. At least, with the very Kayleighs you draw on for support.


Anonymous said...

ConResult It sound as if you have absolutely no national pride at all.

David Beeson said...

I'm proud of the nation when it does good. But what good did Kayleigh do?

Awoogamuffin said...

Wahey! Great news! I'm very happy for you!

Maybe the new couple will be great, maybe not, but just the fact they have the social skills to introduce themselves does bode well, doesn't it?

And as for that weird anonymous comment above - are you really that dumb?

Sad thing is that in the past I'd praise Britain for its tolerant attitude (allowing Sikh policemen to wear turbans, for example), but the recent rise of popularity for ukip (which as you said, Kayleigh probably supports) has shown another, small-minded ugly part of Britain that makes people prefer a monster like Kayleigh over what seems like a friendly Polish couple.

Anonymous said...

What a shame! With them gone, you've got one less seam to hack at.


David Beeson said...

ConResult has been conned, and his comment's a result of it. As you say. Britain's at its best when it's most generous and displays the greatest openness of mind; sadly, it at its least generous and most closed when it backs UKIP.

David Beeson said...

San, I can assure you that particular seam is one I can abandon with not the slightest regret