Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Playing Hide And Seek With The Neighbours

Our neighbours are many things but they are not nudists or naturists or given over to holding Druidic ceremonies in their back garden.

Which is fortunate as the fence that divides their good green earth from ours is (a) dilapidated and (b) only about 3ft tall even when it is upright.

We can see absolutely everything.

Every barbecue. Every attempt at sunbathing. Every sweaty session with the lawnmower.

And they of course can see us doing the same. With the exception of the barbecue as that’s an activity that Karen and I haven’t yet embraced (we’re quite capable of burning our sausages in the oven, thank you very much).

Now, our garden lives are quite innocent. Neither of us are growing marijuana or opium. Neither of us are burying hated relatives under the patio of even stuffing their decomposing body parts into green wheelie bins for the local council to take away.

We ain’t got nuffink to hide, guv’nor.

But a little privacy would be nice. A little privacy would be welcome.

We get along fine but I’ve noticed that whenever they are in their garden, sat around their Ikea table, we have only got to appear around ours for them to immediately disappear inside. Or if we’re in our garden playing with the kids and they suddenly appear we feel strangely inhibited. That entire side of the garden is somehow off limits for us to approach or even look at. Especially when Mr and Mrs Neighbour are stalking around in their very highly cut European shorts (they’re Polish) ‘cos let’s face it, a camel toe on a man is not a great look.

Instead we nod hello politely and one of us relinquishes their claim on the outside world and disappears back inside, no doubt grumbling a little.

It’s a ridiculous situation.

And one Karen and I intend to remedy as soon as possible once the money from my aunt’s will is divvied out.

The plan is to erect a good 6ft fence along that side of the garden. Previous quotes gave us a ball park figure of £1000 – which is why we are currently unable to ring-fence our little compound to our mutual satisfaction.

This will have the benefit of not only allowing nude sunbathing and gratuitous camel toeing without risk of causing offense or traumatizing the children but also prevent a certain rogue rottweiler* from invading both our gardens like a canine blitzkrieg.

We’ll effectively be erecting a Cuprinol enhanced Maginot line only without the watchtowers or the gun emplacements (though I’m hoping that these can be added at a later date).

Happiness, it seems, is a warm high fence and good border control.

Which sounds scarily like some kind of BNP manifesto. Gulp. But honestly, folks, it’s not meant to be. I just don’t want any more glimpses of my Polish neighbour’s man bush...

I just want to be able to enjoy my garden without being reminded of 1970’s editions of Health & Efficiency magazine.

Is that too much to ask?

*Re: the dog. We’re no further forward. The dog warden makes regular visits and the owners pretend to be absent. However, although we’ve heard the dog barking on several occasions we haven’t see it marauding or pillaging for a number of weeks now. But until the fence is commissioned neither us nor the Poles can fully relax our guards.


Anonymous said...

Ah yes, it all sounds very sensible and I hope you get the dosh through soon so you can get on with it.

I would hate to be exposed in my garden. I like to sunbathe occasionally and I also like to be able to throttle my children at regular intervals when they get carried away with their water guns! The neighbours can see if they peer out of an upstairs window but they don't seem to (can't say I blame them!!).

Cooking sausages on the barbecue might be safer you know, Steve?

Steve said...

Gina: yeah Karen hates being overlooked and I must admit that at the moment even I feel rather exposed everytime I go out in the garden. The neighbours are really nice but I think we'd both prefer to get on with our lives without having an audience. Hopefully a higher fence will also reduce the amount of balls that end up in our garden (and I'm talking about footballs here not my neighbour's own personal set of yo-yo's...)!

KAZ said...

How about some nice giant Leylandii with electrification.
Can you tell I like my privacy a bit too much?

Steve said...

Kaz: electrification. What a great idea. Why didn't I think of that? An electric fence... Maybe some cattle grids to keep their kids off our dahlias... I wonder if you can still buy segments of the Berlin wall on Ebay?

The Joined up Cook said...

The garden is really an extension of your home. Would anyone really want the neighbours looking in while you watch telly and pick your nose at the same time.

We have a six foot high fence around our back garden; our 'secret' garden and very nice it is too.

I can lounge around yawning like an orang utang and scratch my balls without fear of frightenting the neighbour's horses.

They can hear me though, so the farting has to be kept under control.

Steve said...

AWB: "Would anyone really want the neighbours looking in while you watch telly and pick your nose at the same time" - I'm hoping this is a common generalization and not a specific observation of my front room activity... because it sounds uncannily accurate.

I will take your point regarding the farting. You'd think someone would have invented a silencer by now.

justme said...

You know, its possible the neighbours might be willing to share the cost of the fence? Just a thought.
Glad to hear the money might get sorted soon. It will make your life so much easier. And I think you deserve a nice holiday!

Steve said...

Justme: the fence is legally ours plus while we own our house they are just renting theirs... so Karen and I have accepted the fence is down to us and actually prefer it that way; it gives us an element of control.

Thank you for your good wishes - we're not counting our chickens yet but we feel that things are a step nearer at last.

Mr London Street said...

Nice blog, have slouched over here from KAZ's place.

I voted Monster Raving Loonie Party once because of their defence policy. Namely that defence should be 6 feet high and creosoted every other month. Again, they were ahead of their time.

Anonymous said...

I was going to suggest sharing the cost of the fence too, maybe the owners of the property would be willing?
When we moved in here there was an empty plot next door for about 5 years, where my kids built dens and caught lizards, then a young trendy couple bought it and built the most gorgeous house, huge and plenty with the windows, solar panels etc, lovely. Then they erected a concrete wall around it all so no one can see in and we get to view a concrete wall from ours. Funny thing is, from the glass lift in the building behind them you can see right in to the ball-scratching;)

Steve said...

Mr London Street: be most welcome! Compared to some of the policies bandied around by our politicians The Monster Raving Loonie Party could be seen as not very raving loonie at all.

Missbehaving: bizarrely Karen and I like the idea of maintaining control of that border - it's all part of the footprint of the property when we bought it and we guard it quite jealously... so although some financial assistance would be nice, we're prepared to go it alone to keep control.

skatey katie said...

in NZ neighbours usually go halves when building a fence - maybe they could sell one of their camels to pay for their half (or at least buy some hipster shorts)???
egads - i have visuals X

Steve said...

Katie: why make do with imagination when I can supply you superlatively magepixelled digital photographs and even a little movie? Would you like it in widescreen or something smaller that you can upload to an iPod? ;-)

Steve said...

magepixelled? That sounds like something Gandalf would produce... I meant, of course, megapixelled... something just as magical.


maybe a daft suggestion I know but we have flats that overlook our garden and so in the summer using the garden for us is also a problem.
however we have been known to peg sheets and blankets on the washing line to make tents for the children and it also stops the neighbours views.Is it possible for you to put up some sort of wire or rope or line to peg sheets from, I am sure the children will love it.I remember making tents from the washing line when I was small.

The Sagittarian said...

Steve, you need a moat as well. You can finance that with the money you're getting from down-town Limpopo.
We're lucky at our place, we have a 2 story house with a high fence round - very private and in summer we can swim in the pool NEKID if we want cos no-one will see. We don't tho' I hasten to add. Of course we don't.

Steve said...

Ally: that's a possibility I suppose but our garden is so huge we'd need to use every sheet we own!

Amanda: a moat is a great idea - and if I became a British MP I could charge the cost of it to my expenses and get the great British taxpayer to pay for it.

skatey katie said...

steve, you scare me X

Steve said...

Katie: hope it's a "good" scared...!


French Fancy... said...

I feel for you. One of our neighbours recently lopped down his Leylandaii (sp?) hedge and I can now see into their garden lives a bit too clearly. Not that they do anything wrong but I just don't like watching them sit round the garden table.

Let's hope that cash comes soon, eh?

Steve said...

French Fancy: without going into too much detail my mum has had some positive feedback from the solicitor at last... the end may finally be in sight...!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Trellis on top of your existing fence with some plants growing up it?

£1000 sounds an awful lot for a few panels of 6' fencing. Or are you going for the soundproof variety?

Steve said...

Laura: that's not a bad idea. Soundproof and with a Wembley-esque roof that can slide out on bad weather days... hmm...!