I live in a semi-detached property at the end of the block. My next door neighbour’s house is bigger than mine and there’s more people living in it as well, there being only the two of us in here. We don’t speak much – me and the neighbour that is – although sometimes that can apply to me and my good lady as well. We don’t actually have all that much in common him and me. We’ve got different outlooks on life and different opinions on how to set the world to rights. If I’m honest our relationship has gone steadily downhill over the last few years which is a shame although to be honest we’ve never really been all that close.
I enjoy living here in this historical part of the country. One day some years ago I was digging in my garden and came across a stash of gold coins. As this place was once a hotbed of Roman activity with various camps dotted throughout the area I was naturally very excited and thought that this would be my ticket to a life of prosperity. I shared my good news with my neighbour who informed me that he knew someone in the business and would get them valued for me. Well you can imagine my disappointment when he told me later that they were in fact relatively worthless. It was much later actually as he suddenly seemed to be really busy with all sorts of home improvements – new kitchen, new conservatory, etc. I suppose I was lucky to be able to track him down at all. Anyway he sympathised with me but let me know that if I found any more that I could just hand them over as well and he’d pass them on to various interested parties on my behalf. He also told me that the Romans didn’t stay here very long so there were unlikely to be many more. It was really a bit of a relief that I didn’t have to bother trying to dispose of them myself.
It did made me think about the guy on the other side of the car park from me though. He was always digging out in his back garden too with a metal detector close at hand. I always hoped he wasn’t wasting his time looking for the same useless artefacts. It’s a wonder he found the time of course as he and his wife always seemed to be jetting off on foreign holidays or going on big shopping sprees. And that’s before we mention the two brand new cars every year. Maybe he’d just been lucky on the lottery or something.
It’s hard to say when me and my neighbour fell out really. It certainly didn’t help when he got this mutt and didn’t seem to mind when it fouled my garden. I was majorly hacked off by that. A whole year I put up with this before suddenly it started fouling his own one as well. I suppose it was no coincidence that shortly after this he got rid of the beast.
And don’t get me started on the time he had a row with a noisy neighbour. ”Just watch,” he said to me. ”About 45 minutes after he comes home from work the music starts.” Now this other guy had never done me any harm, but when asked to support my neighbour when he went to confront the man I readily agreed as that’s what neighbours do. Unfortunately things escalated and we ended up giving the guy a bit of a kicking. However, the funny thing was it was me that ended up doing most of the fighting. Come to think of it there’s been numerous disputes down the years where the same thing has happened. On a couple of occasions quite a while back I got a real pasting, far worse than he did. Strangely in this particular case the guy ended up being evicted and it turned out that he didn’t even have a stereo. There’s someone else in that house now and early indications are that he’s going to be even worse.
Thinking about it though it’s maybe been my neighbour’s behaviour at the local residents’ association meetings that I’ve found so off-putting. All households in the area are welcome to attend these where items of common interest to everyone are discussed. He’s made it clear many times that he sees my household’s needs as being expendable if they conflict with his own and he’s used the extra votes available via his various family members to ensure that he’ll always prevail. The crazy thing in all of this is that my good lady more often than not just agrees with him and puts his wants before mine. There must be something going on there. It makes me very suspicious as it’s just not natural to go so readily against your own. Of course she’s never been all that supportive of my aspirations. ”Don’t be daft,” or “You’ll never be able to do that,” were the usual responses whenever I spoke about wanting to start my own business or go back to college. Maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised then.
As for the trees on the embankment right behind my property, well there’s another huge bone of contention. Why on earth have I got 60-foot tall Scots pines blocking out all my sunlight? It seems complete overkill to me. They could have planted some nice rowans or hawthorns instead of these monsters. Any time I’ve spoken about taking them out my neighbour has immediately complained to the association, the council, his MP, in fact anyone that’ll listen. He said they need to stay where they are as they provide a protective windbreak for his property. I’ve suggested that he plants his own trees behind his own house but he whined that it’s too dangerous to have them so close to his home and that mine need to stay where they are. When I pointed out that if they came down they’d totally level my property he just shrugged his shoulders and said that the rebuild cost for his house would be greater.
It’s difficult to see how any sort of relationship can be maintained with someone as utterly selfish. He seems to feel the same way as he’s always going on about building a taller fence between our gardens and how he wants to block off my access to the communal drying-green. If it was a marriage I suppose you’d call it “irreconcilable differences”.
The above is of course entirely fictitious. Can you imagine anyone being that daft?