A Des Res with a Laundry room

As time went on and the Fang baby grew ever larger, the time approached for Mrs Fang to don her bright yellow T Shirt and return to work as a self employed cleaner. Around the same period a dog kennel arrived and was immediately assembled. Mrs Fang had clearly lured White Fang in to it, slammed the door shut and left him. No introduction, no period of adjustment – nothing. Clearly distraught, Fang howled pitifully and loudly for the entire afternoon.

Mrs Scruff’s dogs were upset and spent time at the fence separating them from the incarcerated Fang. Even Mrs Scruff was not a happy bunny, for whilst she might be a stranger to a damp cloth, she doesn’t mistreat her animals.

Eventually, Mrs F returned and released White Fang who understandably wouldn’t go near the kennel again. Whilst the kennel appeared large, it was in fact partitioned so that the other half could double as a shed – a sort of “man cupboard” for Mr Fang!

Although I wasn’t involved, I was party to the conversation which took place later when Mr Fang returned from work and a complaint was made about the failure to slowly expose Fang to his jail and lessen his distress. Mrs Fang didn’t appear in person but cowardly hurled insults from inside the house culminating in the declaration ” ees a friggin’ ‘usky” (for those for whom northern isn’t a first language, I translate – He is a frigging husky) as if the possession of a thicker coat and David Bowie eyes would naturally prepare him for all canine hardships. The fact that he was outside was not the issue but she ranted on aggressively although she wouldn’t appear in person to discuss it rationally. I do know that the complainer was actually going round to offer to exercise him whilst she was working to help but didn’t actually get that far as Mrs Fang was so keen to state that they’d just had a baby and she had to go back to work. No mention was made of the extra financial burden of their own making in having just bought a large brand new car in which to transport her mop bucket and dusters. Mr Fang slammed the front door shut bringing the conversation swiftly to an end.

I’m guessing that they did feel some pangs of remorse and guilt given that they wouldn’t open any curtains for two days. It transpired, sometime later, that someone had posted a letter through their door also complaining. I don’t know who exactly but my money is on Megane man two doors up who is at home all day waiting for a kidney.

One morning, the curtains opened! Enter Granddad Fang as chief child and dog carer. Like some aged keeper of the Waltzers at the local fairground (think more Status Quo than David Essex), he appeared each day in his stone washed denim jacket and jeans. Every hour, just like his daughter before him he went outside for ” a fag”. But, at least, the situation for Fang was resolved happily and Granddad Fang did play with him a little during the “fag” breaks.

The kennel remained unused as Fang wouldn’t go near it. Mrs Fang made a public display of filling it with his toys but Fang wasn’t having any of it. I actually saw Mrs Fang sitting hunched up in there to shield herself and her fag from the rain! A Lilliputian smoking shelter!! You couldn’t make it up. It was probably at that point she bitterly regretted the fact that the kennel door faced her neighbours!

So, what to do with the void? A dilemma. But not for master of invention and he of the power tools, Mr Fang. A bit of modification later and Mr Fang together with his new Bob the Builder tool belt had created a laundry room. Never mind it was only 4ft high – it was functional and they were going to use it. An extension reel clad in a plastic bag trailed from the house and a palette donated from Mr Scruff’s collection to keep the dryer from the actual patio flags were the chief safety features. Mr Scruff was called in to help manouevre the tumble dryer in to position. Ta da!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I witnessed Mr Fang virtually bent double on his knees actually using it and folding the laundry before putting it in to the washing basket. A few modifications to the roof later after a heavy downpour must have highlighted the faults…and leaks and MKII was created!

It didn’t last too much longer and the kennel was noticeable by it’s absence. All their belongings piled into a tranny van and a few trips later they were gone. But, to be fair, Mrs Fang did return and clean the place thoroughly before vacating for a final time. The patio slabs, now devoid of the laundry room positively gleamed.

So that was it, the Fangs reigned no more and that chapter finally closed. The house wasn’t empty for all that long but that’s a tale for another day.

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Posted by on March 10, 2012 in The Fangs, The Scruffs



The Fangs

When a rental property is due to be let it is with some trepidation as we herald the approach of the first of the month that I wonder what circus of horrors will be unleashed.

Pacman’s house had been tidied and all of the rusting detritus removed from the garden which could only signify the imminent arrival of new occupants. A young couple appeared together with a large white Alsatian dog whom I called “White Fang” and so “The Fangs” we’re duly christened.

Initially, I had quite high hopes as they didn’t immediately move in. Most of them make a few trips in a tranny van, unpack the telly and sit in the manner of The Simpsons, wolfing down pizza from the box. But no, The Fangs spent the first part of the month decorating, painting and surprisingly, cleaning or given the previous occupants lifestyle, mucking out.

An assortment of Knicks knacks, or as my mother terms such things, with a derisory snort, ” muck collectors” soon adorned every available surface and windowsill. Pacman’s former “study” became the nursery and as the amount of blue toys increased as we awaited the arrival of Master Fang.

Not realising at first, that Mrs Fang was pregnant as she had a very similar looking thinner sister, it became obvious to all that she was. I was surprised that she continued to smoke heavily, but then they all seem to on the estate, going on to produce perfectly formed, if slightly feral children.

Master Fang turned out to be Mistress Fang and was dressed in pink and the toys replaced. Perhaps the scan was wrong or they had resorted to the dubious abilities of great Auntie Fang suspending a needle and whose claims at predictive sexing had never yet been challenged over the generations. We shall never know.

The Fang baby spent much of it’s early months in a powered rocking seat which as it reached speeds worthy of the local theme park I did wonder if they had replaced the usual half a dozen Duracells with a 12v battery. I’m surprised the milk intake it had didn’t turn into butter as it churned so rapidly in it’s white knuckle ride chair but then you probably can’t make butter out of SMA.

Latterly, it has spent most of it’s time suspended from the doorway in one of those elasticated bouncers. I haven’t seen those on sale in years. I had assumed that the demand had plummeted as they’d probably been highlighted on something like “That’s Life” where Esther Rantzen would heap guilt on the nation’s parenting skills. They in turn would would look shamefacedly at the 70’s shagpile whilst being lectured about the madness of suspending junior in the doorway below a metal bar. All before moving on to the next feature in the programme, usually a phallic shaped vegetable that a viewer had sent in, oh, how we tittered on a Sunday evening.

Mr Fang meanwhile took to completing his manly duties with great gusto. What he lacked in experience he had in enthusiasm – mowing the frozen lawn when it was white with ice, building a fence to contain Fang and having to add chicken wire as the gaps were too large, having to start from scratch when the green paint he was using ran out and he replaced it with brown….and so it went on.

Mrs Fang stopped bothering to get dressed and so when she was indulging in her hourly cigarette she would position the baby on the other side of the patio doors whilst her and White Fang would be stood outside. The occasional wave from a pyjama clad arm cementing the maternal bond. Well, what’s a couple of sheets of Pilkington K between mother and child?!

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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in The Fangs


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Mrs Scruff Gets Mad – Real Mad

The Scruff’s fascination with fire continued over the summer. The fire pit, also a tip reclamation was a new introduction and gateway into the world of pyromania – allowing even larger pieces of wood to be burned. I was actually speechless when a whole set of MDF bedroom furniture arrived one day.

Fortunately, I was away for the weekend and didn’t have to witness or inhale the carcinogens of the boudoir. Nothing now surprises me about this family.

The rest of the family have a varied interest in fire – “Geek Boy” (Mrs Scruff’s son although not Mr Scruff’s as he is regularly swapped with a boy from Mr Scruff’s loins on alternate child care weekends) only does it if the rest of the family are out. The children are themselves obsessed with lowering things from their bedroom windows – I’s weird. It’s rare to see Geek Boy outside (think an emaciated and ghostly Harry Potter type) as he spends most of the time in his bedroom playing computer games.

Periodically, Mrs Scruff appears with a magazine, places it on the lawn and sets fire to it. She chooses to do this even if the fire pit and chiminea are available. I dread to think what the magazine contains and why it can’t go into normal recycling – time may tell.

The larger size of the fire pit and Mr Scruff’s fascination with outdoor survival meant that along with whittling sticks, he could now progress to outdoor cooking. Or rather, Mrs Scruff had to whilst he had the occasional poke about with it.

One day when many of Mr Scruff’s offspring were in evidence, Geek Boy had been shipped out although Little Scruff (the girl) was still there and relations were very much strained. Mr Scruff was still hypnotised by outdoor living and keen to impress his children with his survival skills. He’d even assembled two camouflage tents in the garden, although I fear that was more from the practical necessity of trying to accommodate them all. Generally, they bedded down with the animals in the living room – a modern day version of a biblical story without the gold, frankincense and myrrh.

It was a hot day and the midday temperatures were already pushing past the mid seventies so Mr S decided to get a roaring fire going in the fire pit. The family sat round it and watched the flames grow higher. Personally, I felt they were all bonkers doing that in the heat but clearly they thought was fine. It was decided that some sort of lunch would be cooked in a large disposable foil container sat atop the flame and heart of the fire which Mrs S tended and occasionally stirred.

An apt description indeed as there was a teenage girl present – could have been one of Mr Scruff’s but it was evident to me there would be trouble. She was at that age when she realised her effect on males and was using it. Earlier, Mr S had his arm around her as they looked at a mobile phone laughing and joking whilst Mrs S seethed and simmered pushed to one side.

I don’t know what happened as I was minding my own business (honestly you’d think I watched their every move!) and cooking lunch myself when there was an almighty crash. I could see the fire pit had been hurled to the ground and the scene was deserted apart from the dogs trying to lick at the food and one or two of the younger children still out there looking shocked.

Mrs S stomped back out and sat with her arms folded in full sulk whilst little Scruff tried to console her. Of course, hours later they were all lovey dovey again. They’re all bonkers I tell you – completely bonkers!

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Posted by on October 6, 2011 in The Scruffs



Mr Scruff and his Tangoed Chopper

Mr Scruff passes through various phases and interest, such as the archery one where he entertained himself with a bow and arrow (probably purloined from the tip) and fired the arrows into a knackered wicker basket or the one where he decided to become Mr Bicycle Repair Man. Before this phase was over he had amassed 7 bikes, most of which spent the time upside down in the garden and he obsessively removed the wheels from one and put them on another. I don’t suppose he had the knowledge or the Allen keys for anything more adventurous.

The one that has entertained him the most (and me) is the suspended reality that he is in fact a hunter gatherer. He obviously watches far too much Bear Grylls and come the sunshine, out comes his khaki tank top (believe me, he does not have the upper arms to pull this look off successfully), combat trousers in camouflage print (natch) and sparkling white trainers.

Many, many moons ago there used to be a shoe manufacturer who decided to retail his rejects by spearing the back of them, threading string through which whilst ensuring they could never be confused with a perfect pair, would indeed remain together whilst they were hung on a rack – much in the way of bananas.

Bizarrely, you could only ever try one shoe on at once as a result or if you had both of them on then you could only test walk by shuffling the few inches that the string would permit! As retailing changed and people didn’t want to be identified as wearing a pair of Tommy Balls finest (this is pre designer label shopping I might add) the shops eventually closed. However, the sort of trainers they sold were always the bright, white types that old people in particular favour, especially for the first day of their holiday.

Man must have fuel to burn and to facilitate this Mr Scruff began to bring anything that he considered combustible back from the tip. He started ordinarily enough, with offcuts of wood which he brought home in various dilapidated wicker baskets (or targets as he probably liked to think of them!) and progressed to wooden pallets before his piece de resistance – MDF bedroom furniture (more of that later).

The original offcuts weren’t too large but they still needed to be chopped to smaller pieces to fit into their chimenea, which judging by the state of it had been another tip cast off.

Enter the tree trunk as a makeshift block and an axe so rusty that it was bright orange. Mr Scruff had rescued a tangoed chopper! The original owner must have taken it to the tip as it was completely blunt and to use that most technical of terms – knackered!

So we are now treated to displays of his manliness on a fairly regular basis, more frequently, to Mrs Scruff’s annoyance, when Mrs Fang is in her garden.

He assumes the position like a weightlifter (I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t have a tub of chalk to complete the effect) and it wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t so knock kneed. He stands with his knees together, much like he is experiencing what my late father used to call “follow through”!! I don’t know if that’s something that affects men more than women but you get the picture.

The orange chopper is raised and brought down to ricochet off the wood as it’s too blunt to cut. He looks around for approval at his testosterone fueled activity and repeats the procedure until he has enough hacks of wood for the chimenea. It looks more like it’s been repossessed from a family of beavers.

Later, as dusk falls he sits in front of the fire on whatever garden furniture has passed through the tip that week. Occasionally, Mrs Scruff joins him, although given she spends the entire time in silence with her knees to her chin and arms folded in defiance, it doesn’t appear to be a shared pleasure!

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Posted by on October 2, 2011 in The Scruffs


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Pacman Revealed

The previous holder of the title of the scruffiest neighbour had previously been held by The Scruff’s neighbour. Pacman, as he was christened spent the working day in front of a computer in the box room (to which he laughingly referred to as “The Study”!!!) Generally, I was just aware of a hair line and the dome of a forehead, that is until the weather warmed. The Study (!!) windows were thrown open and he conducted very loud phone calls in the irritating manner of people using mobile phones on public transport. You know the sort – the ones that want us all to know that they are ON THE TRAIN.

I have to say that when I actually saw him, in full frontal mode, so to speak, in the garden that he wasn’t at all how I imagined he would look from the forehead down. Suffice to say he was less George Clooney and more “man at Greggs”.

He lived with his hefty wife and daughter (Little Pac). He may or may not have been the natural father of Little Pac as another bizarre observation I have made is that the children appear to change on a fortnightly basis. It’s common to see a car arrive on a Friday and for a child(ren) to emerge with a bag and then take the place of the previous children (who have gone to one of their other parents) for the weekend.

Little Pac always remained resident but periodically a boy arrived (Pacboy). I don’t suppose he was popular with Mrs Pac and Little Pac as he was noisy, boisterous and most probably bored. The sort of kid that hasn’t an ounce of common sense and will no doubt soon be appearing on “You’ve Been Framed” carrying out some act of gross stupidity. I do remember he was a dirty little kid who urinated on the fence rather than go indoors – earning him the name Peeboy.

When they vacated they left everything much as you see in the photo (they did take the ketchup!) Grass had grown up the legs of the legs of the rusted barbecue and the trampoline, long wrecked by Pacboy was left as general junk in the garden. These people always expect someone else to clean up their mess.

Barbecues it would seem, for the majority of the residents encompass nothing more than shop bought frozen burgers/sausages encased between a cheap white bread roll and eaten on the hoof in between swigs of beer/pop and blue WKD.

That house is also rented and so the landlord’s gardener and wife had a mammoth task to tidy it up and make it more habitable for the next occupants – The Fangs.

Coming Next – “Mr Scruff and his Tangoed Chopper”

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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Pacman


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Meet the Scruffs


I toyed with the idea of calling this entry “Who Let The Dogs Out?”

Of all the neighbours the ones that continue to shock, horrify and astound me in equal measures are the family opposite at the rear of the property. Let me introduce “The Scruffs” and they represent a very deep seam of such appalling behaviour that I know I will be returning to regularly plunder.

I hadn’t realised that this was yet another rental property and it certainly didn’t appear to be so as the previous occupants were very quiet and only appeared occasionally to tend a few plants.

The house wasn’t empty for long and a ragbag of assorted people appeared one day.Those houses are very small – three bedroomed (just) and the ground floor consists of an open plan living area and a dining kitchen. So I was surprised when a family with children, two cats and three large dogs (Boxer, Rottweiler x and a Labrador) arrived.

It didn’t take very long before the property was a complete mess and with three unwalked dogs churning up the garden the lawn soon began to resemble Glastonbury or any other festival site as depicted by the redtop press.

Increasingly larger piles of general junk appeared on a daily basis and I had thought initially that perhaps they were car booters who must buy more than they sold. The truth dawned when Mr Scruff appeared in his workwear and as he stood in his bright green sponge dry overalls, complimented with a fluorescent yellow vest with “Happy To Help” printed on the back, the proof -that he worked at the tip!

So, the ceaseless flow of junk appeared to be sourced from the tip or re-cycling facility as we must call it these days. I don’t suppose his employers envisaged that he would take it so literally!

Mrs Scruff does or did order quite a lot from “Next” who employ a series of Home Delivery Drivers. I did think that the chap rooting about through the junk one day was from Environmental Health checking for rats, but no, he was looking for somewhere to leave yet another delivery from “Next” . She doesn’t work and spends most of her days reading magazines or watching TV,  completely oblivious to the mess although she does have an obsessive attitude to the washing (see “Yeah but no but Yeah entry).

Given that the three dogs use the grass (I hesitate to use the word lawn) as a toilet and there’s only so much faeces that the labrador can eat (oh yes, it does) I can’t imagine that it isn’t treaded back in to the house otherwise the hanging out the washing would be much more of a tip toe through the tulips affair than it appears to be. The three dogs were soon joined by a puppy – A King Charles spaniel which of course needed house training. That made for some very grim scenes with the mop bucket early in the morning and I dread to think what that has done to the laminate flooring! Perhaps we shouldn’t dwell too much on that thought!

Coming Next – “Pacman and Peeboy”

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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in The Scruffs


Molly Bianca Butches Up

One of the after effects from the eviction was the cat belonging to the Wife Beater’s daughter which they just abandoned along with the rest of the detritus from their nasty existence.

I hadn’t initially realised that they owned the cat that I’d christened Crappy Nappy due to it’s predilection for depositing on the front garden. (No, I didn’t take photos!) It must possess acrobatic skills to have even assumed the stance over the hebe bush let alone deposit the faecal parachute which then adorned the shrub until the next rainfall!

Only once did I see the cat being allowed into the house and it spent most of the time hunched up in all weathers on the coir front door mat or attempting to access the wheelie bins, presumably for food. I was still shocked to see that even during the extremely cold winter of 2010/11 that the cat had still not been allowed inside and was attempting to keep warm on the drain covers in the road which had managed to thaw a little in the snow covered icy conditions.

The cat is a long haired black Persian type which had a thick matted coat hanging down in chunks. It did look uncomfortable especially as winter warmed and gave way to the spring of the eviction. When we realised that Crappy Nappy had indeed been permanently abandoned, I arranged with the cat rescue people that if we could catch it then they would organise vet care and neuter it if necessary. My Auntie, 20 odd miles away also agreed to re home it so not only would I have been able to sort the act out it would also remove my cat soiling problem – a result!!

Operation “cat capture” began and was entirely unsuccessful. Clearly I’m more gatherer than hunter. A few tins of tuna “bait” later, still no bounty and the irony that I was providing the raw fuel for the deposits! Fortunately, it emerged that another neighbour had felt sorry for Crappy Nappy and had secretly fed it through the winter. She was prepared to take it on permanently and had arranged for it to go to the vets. Her very young daughter had already declared it had always been called Molly Bianca. Of course, in the way that young children can be very convincing we all believed her and so Molly Bianca she became.

Until, of course she returned from the vets, completely shaved down to pink blotchy skin and with the irrefutable proof that it was a neutered male! Molly Bianca had once been the possessor of a set of knackers! Another neighbour vaguely remembered it had been called Charlie and so overnight Molly Bianca became Charlie.

To this day, Charlie is still around although he has a proper home to which he returns and stays inside when the weather isn’t pleasant. The hebe bush has been dug up and whilst the deposits are an occasional problem they aren’t on the scale they used to be.

Charlie’s fur has almost grown back – the photos show him when it started to return. It did look so awful at the time that my next door neighbour who was unaware was going to report it as she thought he’s been the victim of cruelty.

The vet only left the fur around his feet, head and tail so that he looked like a cross between a poodle and an attempt at topiary.

Coming Soon – “Meet The Scruffs”

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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Wife Beater