Noisy Neighbours… GRRR…

We have some incredibly aggravating neighbours living across the road from us who show no consideration whatsoever towards those living around them.

They have two daughters, I’d say around 7 and 10 years old. The younger one has frequent screaming temper tantrums. She slams the front door often and repeatedly. We’re talking grabbing hold of the door, opening it fully and then slamming it deliberately full force – not just once, but repeatedly, often accompanied by her screaming. Everyone else in the household slams the front door too – a lot – but nothing compares with this girl.

Often, one or other of them – including both parents – will get locked out. So it’s time to hammer on the door, and the window, then shout through the letterbox while hammering on the door, and then yell through the window while banging on it – repeatedly for several minutes. One time the oldest girl couldn’t get in, so she was screaming and in tears as well as shouting and banging and kicking at the door.

They have a dog. A small ‘rat on a rope’. Every time they open their front door the dog makes a break for freedom. They don’t always notice, but when they realize she’s not there they all then spend a good ten minutes shouting for her, sometimes they even bother to go down the road shouting for her instead of just standing outside their house shouting like a group of fishwives. I can’t say I blame the poor dog for wanting to escape, but she obviously hasn’t managed to find somewhere nicer to live, so she always comes back. Daddy once backed the car into her because she’d escaped and he hadn’t noticed, so there was a good ten minutes of the youngest girl screaming and wailing that he’d run her over and she was dead. (She wasn’t dead. I don’t think the car even hit her really, because she was running around like a crazy thing the instant the girl put her down). There must also be a back entrance to the house (window or door) through which the dog can escape, because one time their neighbour was banging their door at sevenish in the morning with the dog in her arms, and the father opened the door still in his pyjamas, clearly bewildered at why someone was holding onto his dog.

And then there are their cars. They have two. One (his) parked on the drive, and one (hers) parked on the road directly in front of their drive. So – morning comes. He gets ready for work, shouts at her to come and move her car so he can get out. She then parks on the drive, even after taking the kids to school. Her car remains on the drive throughout the day. If she goes out, when she comes back it’s back on the drive. So he comes home and repeatedly blasts his horn (usually at least twice because it wasn’t heard the first time – except by the rest of the neighbours) so that she can come out and move her car so he can park his on the drive for the night and she parks hers on the road across the drive – and so the process is repeated the following day and every day. Anyone with half an ounce of sense would surely have parked the car leaving first on the road, then there would be no need for shouting, car horn blasting and car moving morning and evening… and the neighbours could then enjoy peace and quiet.

Most mornings when Daddy goes off to work, one of the girls hangs out of the front upstairs window shouting after him, ‘Bye daddy. Love you daddy. I love you. Love you daddy,’ which is not only annoying first thing in the morning (and unnecessary as over the car engine and blaring music in the car he cannot possibly hear her) but also a little creepy.

Oddly enough the only thing in their house that doesn’t make any noise is their dog. When it does bark it’s not a loud bark. Perhaps they should each learn a lesson in respecting other people’s peace and quiet from this dog.

And then a couple of weeks ago a couple of their friends roared up in a Lamborghini they’d obviously just bought. All the family came rushing out of the house, all screaming with excitement and demanding to be taken for a ride. Which the driver of the car allowed them. With a screeching of wheels and screaming passenger strapped in, they then roared off down the road (terrifying our cats and no doubt other animals as well) so far over the speed limit that it was a miracle they didn’t crash. Four times. I’d have taken a video and passed it to the police if a) I’d thought it would do any good and b) if I’d thought about it soon enough.

If there’s the sound of a car horn or shouting outside in the street, 9 times out of 10 it’s them. And most weeks it happens 7 days a week, although occasionally we get a peaceful weekend. I’m usually quite a tolerant person, except when it comes to unnecessary and unwarranted endless noise. These people should be locked away.

We had people similar to this where we lived in Portsmouth. One lot got evicted by their landlord, and another lot got arrested for drug dealing.

But that’s a tale for another day.

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Love for animals

Ripley and BenIt’s no secret that I love animals (except spiders and wasps). When we take our dog for his evening walk we quite often see foxes, which are just so cute.

I love cats and dogs in particular. My old Gran used to have a Jack Russell called Timmy. I loved that little dog and have nothing but happy childhood memories of taking him for a walk along an old disused railway track near where she lived. Mum on the other hand says he was a horrid little ankle-biter. I choose to maintain my own memories of little Timmy.

Ten years ago I was given two kittens as a farewell gift by a friend. I called the tabby Ripley after Sigourney Weaver’s character from the Alien movies because she was straight out of her box exploring the house and just seemed so adventurous. And while she was exploring, this little black and white face popped up, staring around imperiously, all prim and proper and regal, and so I named her Isis.

We lost Isis back in March, and now just under 3 months later Ripley has gone to join her.

We still have Tobey the ginger tom who is seven, Max the silver tabby who is 5, and our 3 year old Golden Retriever Sam.

Even with 3 animals to keep us company, the house feels strangely empty now the two sisters have gone. We will however be adding to our family again at some point in the near future, most likely with a female dog.

Finished!

Well it’s finally done.

I had a final push to finish the first draft of Maid for Murder, and completed it around lunchtime. I went through moments during the writing when it threatened to become a novella rather than a full length novel, so I was quite pleased when it finally came in on a par with the other Gertrude Harrington Mysteries.

248 double-spaced typed pages

72,878 words

By a small margin it’s the longest of the four Gertrude Harrington books. Obviously only the first draft, so it will change somewhat, but I have to say I’m pleased with the way it turned out, and I do love the sense of achievement when a book is finished even though it requires polishing.

Naturally no-one has yet read any of them. My task for the next few months is to try and secure publication or representation. I might post some snippets from the books on here occasionally in the meantime. Death on Swift Wings is ready to go, so that’s where I shall be focussing my efforts.

But also, as promised, I will also be returning my attention to the final volume in the Sawyl Gwilym Chronicles, The Master of Time. This has stalled a number of times over the years, but the time has come to dig it out, dust it down – and  get the damn thing finished.

House Hunting

I must confess that the writing has been a bit lacking over the past week.

I made up for it in advance by having a magnificently good writing day when I wrote three times as much as I usually do by avoiding housework and other chores, and by practically ignoring my other half for the day.

The reason for this ignorance and avoidance – house hunting.

I actually quite enjoy house hunting as a rule. It’s the subsequent sale and purchase that’s the stressful part. I mean, what’s not to love about seeing the insides of other people’s homes – seeing their clutter or neatness; getting ideas for decorating and furnishings and generally just seeing how other people live. It’s all such good fun.

This time however, we’re moving from one rental house to another, but to complicate things there’s the small fact that neither my other half or I actually have jobs to go to, and also the area we’re moving to is in a completely different area of the country. We currently live on the coast in Sussex, which is in the south-east, and we’re moving to Devon down in the south-west. Our unsuccessful trip took us five hours of travelling each way and an overnight stay in a lovely little hotel called the Thornhill in the pretty seaside town of Teignmouth. It wasn’t a waste of time, though, as we decided we loved the area and now have somewhere definite to concentrate our search rather than looking in the whole county.

We’re going back again at the end of the month, this time for a week, which will hopefully give us much more scope for success, and we’ll be taking our dog with us too. This time we left him with a lovely dog sitter named Karen who lives round the corner from us, which was fine for one night, but I couldn’t bear to be parted from him for a whole week. Taking him with us means we can go for some lovely coastal dog walks down in Devon too.

So I’ve given myself the challenge to get this first draft of Maid for Murder finished before we travel, and I have a couple of publishers in mind to submit the finalized Death on Swift Wings to this month as well.

It’s going to be a busy time!

xx