Don’t Get Me Started!

One of last year’s coursework pieces, in my usual sarcastic style. Enjoy!

Don’t Get Me Started … On Being Neighbourly

Why is it that wherever I live there are neighbours from hell? They seem to follow me wherever I go in life! I must have a big sign on my head that reads IDIOT or something.

When we owned a house and we moved in, we were happy. The neighbours were great; fine, friendly people who wanted to have good neighbours by the side of them in their life, people one could rely on, people one could trust. If only that was the case with other forms of housing. When we lost the ability to bring in the income at the rate we were used to, we lost the house and ended up renting privately. The first set of neighbours we had were fine, but when we had to move again into a Council property, that is when the horror began for the both of us.

On our first day in the flat, we were met by a man who told us from the start that he “will have quiet in these flats, no matter what.” He resembled a hideous version of Grant Mitchell from Eastenders and was just as intimidating. We did not realise at the time that he was issuing a set of standards with an “or else” warning but the attitude of the man, the blind ignorance, as well as arrogance personified, was just incomprehensible to behold.

As we settled into the flat, the noises started from below where he lived. The hypocrite was prepared to lay down rules and then do whatever he wanted. The problem with this is that when someone does that to me, it usually elicits a single and devastating response. I live my life in a simple fashion, just wanting to live my life peaceably but when someone endangers that standard of living, I do like to either join in or start moaning. I did the latter to the council, but got absolutely nowhere!

We suffered for eight long, laborious months. We tried to get the flat up to scratch and did a good job of it, laying carpets, hanging curtains and generally making it into a lovely little cave to dwell in, but before long, everything we did was wrong in this person’s eyes. No matter what we did, we were always in the wrong. He would intimidate my wife to the point where she became agoraphobic. Oh, it was alright for him to have his television on so we could hear every word clearly of the commentary below in the England v France game in the International Rugby Union match at Twickenham. The torrent of abuse was endless and eventually, we gave in and went back to renting privately.

We did this for two years and in each case, ended up with neighbours from hell. Living in Selby it seemed, was rapidly becoming a nightmare! And just after the moment I was told I was not required any more at work and was given my notice, the phone rang and the council said they had a flat for us, a permanent home, with a housing association in Selby. It was a new build, all mod cons and luxurious. Would we like to see it?

The timing was incredible. We knew we could not afford to live in privately rented accommodation any longer so we went and looked at it, taking it immediately. We moved in the January of 2009 and moved out in the November of 2012. Whilst there we were treated to abuse, both verbal and physical, being spat at, our car being vandalised, drugs being dealt on the estate that was so new it was labelled as ‘perfect’ for everyone and things stolen from communal areas. It was, in essence, two and a half years of hell and through all that time, the landlord did absolutely nothing even after numerous complaints.

Social housing it seems is as bad as council housing in the sense that the choice of tenants is not guided by anything but numbers and statistics. The council uses people off their list to fill the places for the housing association and in our case, the dregs of society ended up at the Chandlers in Selby, the estate where we lived. It just goes to prove that being neighbourly is an act of the will that is sadly lacking nowadays and that is such a sad indictment of the society in general that we live in. On this matter alone, do not get me started!

[750 words]