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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”.

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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Dogbreath


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!

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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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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.

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Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Dogbreath


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The Debt Man Cometh

The actual road on which I live tends to be fairly quiet and for the most part nothing particularly significant happens. My neighbour, who has lived here since the properties were built six years or so ago regaled me with various stories mainly involving jealous wives, revenge and the police as he gave me a brief appraisal of what I believe may well be called, previous form!

One such story involves the end house, opposite where he told me “The Wife Beater” lived. I can’t say that I was particularly taken with this family and they appeared to keep themselves very much to themselves but at least the outside of the rented property appeared to be tidy.

I was somewhat horrified, the first winter when they festooned the house with gaudy Christmas lights and tableaux but then I’m not fond of bulb filled plastic tat, festive or otherwise. Mrs Wife beater’s decorative approach to the Australis palm tree (Barratt Estates landscaped garden approach is a quota of cheap palm trees and a few shrubs each) did actually save it during the cold winter as she trussed it tightly with yet another set of flashing LED lights. The removal of the decorations by the twelfth night lest bad luck befall you held no fear for her and the tree remained bound for many more weeks, hence it’s survival.

As the months passed, some of those still bearing witness to a chain of plastic Santas suspended from one of the upper window ledges, it became apparent that there was a number of unusually early morning official looking callers. I feel, that I should point out that I have not been permanently on surveillance but that it coincided with me doing my hair near the window and the fact that the road is a dead end so any unusual car is obvious.

Mrs Wife Beater, herself no shrinking violet – I could never figure out whether she had a hair extension or she deliberately dyed a black streak down the back (think skunk in tight denim and bling) invariably had to deal with them. Her method usually involved shouting and ended with door slamming.

The debt collectors eventually came accompanied by a “heavy”, perhaps they were worried about the harm she or the skunk might do.

Eventually, the callers in suits clutching paperwork gave way to more sinister looking callers. I don’t know whether Peter Kay based his Max and Paddy, from Phoenix Nights characters on the security men he knew or whether all security men now model themselves on Max and Paddy.

Coming Soon – The Eviction

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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Yeah but no but yeah

I can’t fathom the obsession with the colour pink among the young females here (see pic below) but it is rife. On wash days, this estate must contribute more than it’s fair share of pink tinted water into the water courses eventually destined for United Utilities.

Actually, there is a peculiar technique to “pegging out” the washing here that I’ve never before witnessed. In all but a few circumstances, the neighbours bring the wet washing out draped around themselves in the style of voluminous togas and attempt to heave it on to the washing line roughly between the pegs which remain permanently attached to the line. Mrs Scruff, who is the main exponent of this technique has only recently acquired pegs – just the twelve though. I didn’t imagine that you could even buy them in such a small quantity so I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr Scruff has brought them home from the tip. She remains unworried about wiping the line first although I imagine that’s because her washing usually ends up impaled on the rough edges of her tatty larch lap fence and so there is no point.

Oddly, the laundry is not the sole preserve of the lady of the house and so it is not unusual to see an overweight, football shirt wearing male replete with buzz cut or whatever the latest terminology is, draping his own grey jogging bottoms over the line.

Most don’t seem particularly concerned about taking the dry washing inside so it often suffers a few days of continual rain and further drying. I don’t suppose it’s so important to consider whether that would make it more difficult to subsequently iron given that most of the laundry has such a high lycra content and therfore never comes within sniffing distance of a Tefal Ultraglide.
Coming next – “The Debt Man Cometh”
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in The Scruffs, Uncategorized


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The Addams Family and Hissing Sid

Across the way, the end house is inhabited by a family originally christened (by me) as The Goods, referring to Tom and Barbara from the Good Life, as they appeared to be interested in self sufficiency/gardening and seemed, during the winter to be fairly normal. However, scratch the surface and they are just as odd as the rest of them. We’ll call them the Addams Family as the eldest daughter Cyndi (Lauper…stick with it!) changes her hair colour as often as her underwear and appears to have what can only be described as a small black coffin on her bedroom windowsill. She did have a model of a skeletal upper torso but that has now gone. Perhaps she eBayed it for pouch tobacco and a gallon of mixed hair dye although not that stuff Davina reckons she uses. Yeah right, like we believe she’s bent over the Armitage Shanks on a Friday night with a home dye kit!

As the spring evenings lengthened I caught sight of Mrs Good (Morticia) out in the garden appearing to wash what I thought was a chain link of raw sausages (look, it’s called an over active imagination!!) I did a double take and realised she was actually washing a snake which, when the ablutions were complete, she kissed on the nose before returning it to the warmth of indoors. Presumably, it’s the lack of limbs which make it difficult to get a bathrobe to stay in place!
A few weeks later as spring made way for early summer, Cyndi was parading in the garden wearing what can only be described as a white tutu, wedding train and high heels whilst sporting the latest new hair colour – flame red. The youngest daughter, (Wednesday Addams – keep up) appeared with the aforementioned snake draped around her neck. Ooh, an opportunity to photograph and prove the existence of the snake!
Cyndi struck various poses for the rest of the family to admire whilst Morticia, with the snake now draped around her neck recorded the scene for the family album – how quaint!
I did learn to always have a camera close by to record such odd events for the future as subsequent blogs will testify. There’s nowt so queer as folk..especially on a Barratt Estate!
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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Who’s been a naughty boy then?

A blue police van, of the sort that has a mesh grill windscreen, together with three squad cars arrived one morning and the area was surrounded by officers both at the front and behind the house. Next door but one lives a chap whom we christened “Lily” as in Savage as he appeared to live with a younger bloke whom we called “Julian. Based purely on the evidence that it is a female free zone and he has a mincing run!

Recorded by the police video camera the officers gained a forcible entry after establishing there was no one at home and a paper suited and booted officer went in. He was inside for ages before the waiting detectives joined him. My mother, who watches “The Bill” and “CSI:NY” and considers herself to be an authority on police procedures on both sides of the Atlantic has declared without a scrap of evidence that he must be growing drugs or he is a teacher involved in a kiddie porn ring! The fact that they removed nothing, not a computer or a tomato plant is but a mere detail for her potential theories. We will probably never know – his cat has returned to the warmth of the recycle bin and he continues to put his smalls on the rotary air dryer (badly) so all carries on as normal.

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Posted by on May 6, 2010 in Uncategorized