Tide Marks up to the Elbow

WARNING **Contains scenes of an unsavoury nature**

The parents of the two lads who lived immediately next door came to help return them to their respective family folds. They cited the reason for moving as being able to save more money if they lived at home to eventually buy their own properties rather than rent. I rather suspect that the appeal of independent living soon waned when it became apparent that independence walks hand in hand with those other bed fellows – cooking, cleaning and ironing. With the last of the cushions, pillows and duvets finally stuffed into the family cars and vans they left and all was peaceful for a short while.

The tell tale sign of the landlord’s lackey parked in the driveway heralded the sight of the next Carnival of the Damned and sure enough not long after, the family hatchback. The lackey tipped us off that they had deemed it suitable and that the “lovely quiet family” would indeed be moving in come the first of the month.

The usual charabanc of goods and chattels arrived together with two teenagers who after discovering the buzzer and intercom system were kept happily amused for what seemed like hours. It was like being trapped in an endless game of Knock-a-door Run whilst as usual the guardians were totally oblivious to the constant buzzing.

The father figure didn’t appear to drive which is unusual. My mother, of course would have concluded that he’d been convicted of drink driving and lost his job as a result meaning they’d lost their house. She would have made it her mission to construct various ruses to se whether he was wearing an electronic tag for proof. All on no evidence – I blame her daily exposure to The Daily Mail and Jeremy Kyle. She may, of course, have been correct and we will never know although he certainly appeared to work in the evenings as the “Mrs” drove him somewhere and returned alone a short while later. Eventually he disappeared completely and has not been since since.

I was only too aware of how thin the dividing walls are one Sunday morning as I remain aurally  scarred at the memory of her “seeing to herself”. An image I couldn’t quite remove when she appeared at the door not long after to collect a parcel I’d taken in for her. I suppose I could give her the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up as an isolated attack of asthma but honestly she was at it for that long I’d wager she had a tide mark up to the elbow and fingers like prunes for some time after!

The worst influence was her sister who regularly brought a car load of brats to feast upon E number addled fizzy drinks and pizza before turning in to screaming banshees with leaden feet. I should be grateful I suppose they no longer wear clogs even in these northern parts. The sister would stay overnight where the constant din and music would become increasingly louder. The impromptu 3am karaoke session was the final straw for me.

She has since been referred to by me as “Dog Breath” although I’m not suggesting she does have the fetid exhalations of Cerberus but it was the first name I thought of when she irritated me yet again with her selfishness and squalor so it has stuck.

Everything is just too much trouble and so the Christmas tree was hurled out in to the back garden where it remains rotting and occasionally strimmed around rather than moving it into the garden waste recycle bin. That itself has been left for months with the lid open so it is now full to the limit with a thick film of algae adorning the surface. The green contrasts nicely with the two abandoned rusting barbecues alongside. A third has been bought and as that has also been left after it was used once to  cremate the usual duo of frozen burgers and sausages so it won’t be long before that’s yet another rusting mess. Of course the packaging box blew around the garden after it too was dumped and abandoned until it too became sodden, turning to cardboard pulp.

The slum conditions which she creates continued and I did wonder one day why she bothers with her scant regard to recycling that she doesn’t just chuck the ubiquitous empty pizza, cereal, ready meal etc boxes directly on to the front garden instead of the current system where she piles them up uncrushed in the unlidded recycling box for the wind to do the same job a week later.

Until that is, a new man appeared on the scene. The sister was ousted and she was on her best behaviour. For a short while anyway, but she does appear to have bagged him and his presence does reduce the appearance of her sister albeit at the expense of his untaxed, tatty hatchback parked permanently on the drive. It does act as a windbreak though which reduces the amount of their cardboard which ends up in my front garden. Every cloud and all that..

Time has marched ever onwards and so has the pretence of being a model wife. So the lawn strimming, such as it is has been reduced to it’s annual basis as indeed has hers – the telltale “buzz” of the Ladyshave only happening when they are going to a “do”.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Dogbreath


The Descent of Man – Part 2

“Their way of relaxing” takes a rather different form on occasion. Whether it is the getting back to nature aspect which drives them or just a bit of exhibitionism I don’t know. My neighbour has complained of witnessing far more than she would like which one day did include seeing the shadows on the living room wall of, shall we say, let’s find the turkey gobbler! Probably not the image Cliff Richard had in mind when he innocently sang about “the dim light casting two silhouettes on the shade”.

But I suppose on that occasion at least, they were indoors although we’d all wished the curtains had been drawn that night.

The al fresco by the fire pit stuff is without a doubt the most frequent. I could refer to it as the activity behind the sheets of love. But that may well conjure up an image of a curtain of silk when in reality it’s an acrylic pet blanket from the pound shop.Yes, replete with a paw print pattern! All I can say is with all that nylon and friction I hope he keeps his rubber soled sandals on. Just saying!

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2012 in The Scruffs


The Descent of Man – Part 1

Sometimes I think I survey the state of the neighbours behind me that live opposite what seems to be a parallel timespace continuum. It’s like witnessing Neanderthal man with his primitive approach to civilised living. It’s thanks to Primark that they are not wearing animal skins and sewn together pizza boxes.

One of the activities that unites the majority of the males is playing with fire. For most of them it takes the form flipping a burger or turning a sausage in between beers and most likely telling their womenfolk that they’ve cooked a meal. Given that most of the ladies are themselves salad dodgers, their contribution is usually in the form of opening a cardboard burger box, running a knife through a bread roll and fetching the ketchup.

Mr Scruff, in his guise as the God of Hell Fire is positively obsessed with fire – an activity I’ve touched upon in earlier blog entries… See Mr Scruff’s Tangoed Chopper and Mrs Scruff gets mad, real mad.

Last summer, a time which we Northerners define as that period of only slightly less rainfall and being able to unbutton the vest you’ve been stitched into since October saw Mr Scruff become an official nuisance albeit primarily to my neighbour.

He had taken to nightly wood burning sessions which had increasingly annoyed my immediate neighbour. The window seals on the Barratt properties aren’t exactly an airtight fit and so the smell of smoke pervades the house even when the windows are closed. I have actually bought a chiminea myself, being partial to the odd glass of chilled wine alfresco so I was also out in the garden. My neighbour’s top floor window opened and he had a go at Mr Scruff. When someone begins a conversation with “oi mate” it’s never going to end well. To be fair,my neighbours young son was seriously ill and had to be kept cool so he was under a strain from that and being forced to keep the windows closed because of the smoke made him react quite aggressively. Mr Scruff mewed piteously and said they haven’t got much money and it was their way of relaxing. You could almost hear the violins playing as he described his poverty stricken existence conveniently ignoring his almost new Focus sports parked outside etc. The window was slammed shut and then Mr Scruff’s head appeared chad like over the fence! He could have had the line “wot, no fires?” written below him.

After telling me he’d had a “bollocking” from my neighbour then asked if we had a chiminea. It was tempting to reply “what? Like this one I’m sat in front of?” but he offered me a free supply of wood for it! Not needing the volume that he did and having already bought a net of seasoned wood  so at least it didn’t cackle and spit or spew carcinogenic fumes from the glues we politely declined and he returned to his fire.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2012 in The Scruffs


Tags: , , ,

The Young Entrepreneurs in the Den

I was reminded recently of an incident which happened not too long after I moved in when I was passing the time of day with my immediate neighbour.

A couple of young girls aged around six or seven appeared each carrying a plate. They simultaneously approached us, splitting only to walk down our individual drive ways to where we were. They both proffered up the plates for inspection and asked if we wanted one of their cakes. Each plate contained a few chocolate covered cornflake cakes of the type that constitute a child’s first experience of cake making and where the interest lies more in the chocolate covered spoon and bowl.

I would normally politely decline something like this from complete strangers especially as I’d no idea of their provenance but my neighbour, who has a daughter of a similar age immediately accepted. I felt compelled to do the same for fear that I would be perceived as a miserable git!

As I offered my thanks and took one from the plate a pair of beady eyes looked up at me, an outstretched hand appeared and she said “that will be a pound please!” A pound! For one scabby, cooking chocolate festooned object of questionable heritage and hygiene! Talk about being fleeced. I was so shocked I paid up and my “prize” spent a day or so in the fridge before being thrown out!

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

The Sound of Silence – If Only

Moving from a large Edwardian semi in a fairly quiet neighbourhood to this estate really has been an eye-opener or perhaps I should say ear opener. What new properties gain in excellent thermal insulation they certainly lose in poor sound insulation. I am driven to distraction by the noise pollution and sometimes I feel it will be the death of me. I’m going to end up having a cardiac arrest on the door step during a Victor Meldrew experience!

Most of it is pure selfishness on the part of the cretins who inhabit the estate. Since the wife beater has left, the road or “Avenue” as I like to call it in my best Margot Leadbetter voice has not been too bad.  As Barratt has crammed as many configurations into the smallest footprint as possible, it’s mainly the muppets who live on the accompanying roads who are the worst offenders.

One of the neighbours actually placed huge speakers, the size of which you would find at a rock concert or outdoor music venue and proceeded to play the latest sounds as loud as possible. I know the sounds were current as I accidentally strayed onto a radio station were playing the same song. I don’t know if it was hip-hop or drum n bass but it was loud, repetitive, tuneless drivel.  If I live two roads away and have my doors and windows closed I don’t expect to be able to hear it above my own music. A bit of shouting at out of the window, (not from me as I was too wound up) during a brief interlude did stop it, eventually.

He is not the only one either as the Corner Cretins are just as bad. What I can’t understand is that they are all oblivious to each other’s noise so they can all be listening to a different radio station or CD and it doesn’t appear to bother them.  Maybe it’s me age!

It did take my hand a long time to recover when I had to hammer on the wall of Dogbreath’s (the matriarch from next door)  karaoke session which began at 3am.  Blind drunk, from alcopops and Lambrini, I’d wager, she kept a very low profile for the next 36 hours when she eventually surfaced. I meanwhile, simmered and seethed with sky high blood pressure. Tell you, they will be the death of me.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Dogbreath


Tags: , , ,

The Scruff’s Cat Gets “Knocked Up”

Four dogs and two cats are still not enough for Mrs Scruff and as she added to that collection with yet another kitten. Something else to cuddle.

Kitten number two is now just over six months old and judging by the sudden appearance of every tomcat in the immediate area is now receptive. Barely a kitten herself, “Nokia”, (the one that looked like a mobile – see Blog entry “The Official Hoax Letter”)  was being stalked by a motley gang of misfits. Topcat was never like this!

So it won’t be long I imagine, that Mrs Scruff will have an entire litter to cuddle and the circle will begin again. Cat number one has shown no interest so I expect it’s a female and neither has cat/kitten number three. If kitten number three is female then this is going to become an ongoing problem as I expect that this too will not have been “done”.

There really is no excuse and even if they can’t afford, odd then they can afford a PS3 (I’m treated to the sight of Mr Scruff boxing on his days off) there are plenty of local charities who will help out to prevent the cycle of unwanted animals.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 17, 2012 in The Scruffs


The Official “Hoax” Letter

I expect the Scruff’s literary heroes are The Borrowers as they themselves can’t seem to help acquiring things – wood, bikes, lawn mowers and of course dogs and cats. It doesn’t seem to be a consideration that they live in a tiny house that can’t really accommodate it all and it’s certainly too small for 7 animals.

A fourth dog appeared – a tiny King Charles puppy which Mrs Scruff fussed over as she does with every new young animal, losing interest as they grow. It’s fairly rare for Mrs Scruff to go beyond the boundaries of the property and she seems to spend her days watching TV and endlessly draping washing on the line for it to trail through mud or be left out overnight regardless of the weather. The dogs therefore, are in and out all day long. No sooner does the pack appear outside than they wait to be let back in which they communicate initially by staring through the patio door, then scratching at it before eventually barking. Occasionally, she fails to notice that one hasn’t gone back inside which surprises me as it’s a tiny garden although perhaps understandable given the amount of junk there is.


Mrs Scruff did leave the house and wasn’t aware that the boxer was still outside. Although it could see the rest of the pack through the patio doors, it couldn’t actually get to them. Inevitably the barking began and didn’t stop. One of the neighbours shouted for it to “shut up” but of course it didn’t. Later, that afternoon the doorbell rang and Mrs Scruff was at the door to apologise for her dog barking and to explain that she had left it out accidentally. It transpired that a few days previously she had received a letter purporting to be from Barratt Homes themselves stating that there was a clause in the deeds preventing buyers from owning more than a certain amount of dogs. She recognised it as a hoax and had gone to the police with it who most likely just logged it on to the system and did nothing especially as it was a civil matter. She contacted Barratt Homes who denied sending it and told Mrs Scruff that they were “concerned about misrepresentation” but I imagine also filed it under B1n. She didn’t know who had sent the letter so she was visiting each house to apologise and perhaps see if she could gain any clues. Prime Suspect’s Helen Mirren/Jane Tennison she aint!

That evening, when I happened to mention it to my immediate neighbour who had been unaware  of what had happened whilst he was at work, told me that he didn’t have a printer. That must have been true as months later he did ask me to print something for him.

So who sent the letter? I can only guess but whoever did was most likely someone who had originally bought their house from Barratt Homes to have known of the existence of the clause. After ruling out my immediate neighbour that only left two suspects. I can’t imagine that it had been sent by “Lily” (he of the unexplained police search – see earlier blog entry, “Whose been a naughty boy then?” That only leaves Megane Man, so named as he had a Renault Megane. He is at home all day enduring dialysis as he waits for a suitable kidney so I expect he is very aware of any extra noise. He does not make eye contact and I’ve never seen him smile either. The missus isn’t that much better but at least they are quiet and outwardly tidy.

The fuss must have died down over the months as Mrs Scruff has felt confident to add to her menagerie. One cat disappeared so she replaced it with a kitten. She had it in the crook of her neck and I thought it was a new mobile phone until she handed it over the fence for Mrs Fang’s inspection and approval when she was still in residence. The spaniel also disappeared but not happy at owning just three dogs she soon acquired a border collie puppy to bring the pack back to four sticking two fingers up to the hoax letter writer!

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 13, 2012 in The Fangs, The Scruffs