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.