Neighbours may grate, but could always be worse - Argus Friday 20th May 2016
Posted Tuesday 24th May 2016 By Ericka Waller
Do you know your neighours? One in four British people would call their neighbours friends. 17% of British people have had a serious disgreement, 8% of which resulted in police or court action. The top contentious issues are noise, parking and border disputes.
We've recently moved. We've not fornally met the new neighbours, but the former owners of our house were quiet, unassuming folk, in their 80's. They liked to potter in the garden and paint pictures, quietly. I doubt the neighbours noticed them at all.
You can't really miss us. We like to exercise on our front drive. We have bikes, balls, a punch bag, and a loud speaker. Oh, and three, noisy children, a dog that barks at the postman, two Love Birds who chirrup non-stop and a Cat who growls at Seagulls.
The husband and I like to do high intensity work-outs in the garage. It involves heavy interval sprints on our turbo trainer, and screaming 'COME ON LEGS!' over DJ Stormzy rapping 'I don't wanna box man trust me, who told you that I got rusty' to the background of grimy bass music.
We must be the new neighbours from hell. I imagine the reason we have not been invited to join the Neighbourhood Watch is because we are the ones they are waching.
You can imagine my delight then, when I stumbled across a story about American gym-owner Suellen Epstein who has been shining a strobe light into neighbour Richard Miele's window because he refused to close his shades when watching TV.
Epstein, along with the landlord at Epstein's request, "demanded" Miele close the blinds on all three windows whenever watching TV. Being as no one else was asked to do this, he found it rather unreasonable. Instead he suggested Epstein close her blinds if the TV light annoyed her, he even offered to pay for remote-controlled blinds for her.
Epstein refused, and instead chose to install "a series of large, extra bright spotlights against her windows" set up to shine into his.
The lights were turned on from sundown until late into the night. According to Miele, Epstein even installed timers on them, so that when she was on vacation, they'd still shine into his apartment.
"At one point in time," Miele said in court papers, Epstein "installed a large, nightclub like strobe light and began shining those spinning colour lights into my apartment in addition to the spotlights."
The case has gone to Civil Court. Miele is asking a judge "to stop her outrageous behaviour" as she "believes she can operate with impunity as a member of the condominium board."
Lights seem to cause problems. There is a delightful story on Facebook about David Thorne, Justin Flecker and the new lamp that Justin installed in his front yard.
According to Thorne, the floodlight was like 'a small but intense sun shining through his bedroom window'. When Flecker advised him to close his curtains if he did not like it, Thorne replied 'Last night, with them closed and bedside light off, I read a book. Wearing sunglasses. Under a blanket.'
Justin responded to say that he'd had no problems with the previous neighbour. They went to his BBQ's and lent him their mower.
Flecker responded by stealing the lamp and emailing the clue ’What burns with the light of a thousand suns and is in your letterbox?'
Flecker told him never to contact him again. Thorne asked 'But what if I need to borrow your lawnmower or want to invite you to a BBQ?'
In light of this, my bad neighbouring does not seem so bad, especially when also compared to Sussex tycoon, Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, who put razor-wire across his unfinished £41m property, a public right of way, to keep off ramblers, and his 'moronic peasant' neighbours.
And finally, while we are on wonderful news stories, I loved the tale of the Polish pensioners who travelled to the UK to go to London nightclub Fabric after reading a review in a newspaper.
After downing a shot of Tequila they waltzed the night away at weekly club night 'wet yourself', perhaps they thought it was sponsored by Tena. Apart from brief interlude, when they asked for a cup of tea, they fox-trotted till 5am amonsgt the techno-heads, then went to wait for a tube, but the club intervened and paid for a taxi.
Promotor and DJ Jason Hansen said "I thought they were lost, they didn't speak English, but they had pre-bought tickets. I ran down to welcome them. They had two shots and gave me a high-five before heading for the dancefloor. She was really slow so he went a bit more into the dancefloor and got some dances with the young girls. They were really happy, they loved the crowd, it was really, really great.’