There’s been a double departure from out street this week.
Two sets of neighbours have vanished in the night leaving an assortment of detritus in their wake (an old mattress, a swivel chair and an assortment of mildewed shelving).
The first was the Polish family that lived in the counterpart to our semi and used to impinge upon our back garden privacy by staging volcanic barbecues every weekend and walk around in bollock revealing shorts whenever there was the slightest hint of sunshine.
I shall miss their loud arguments in Polish – the wife was particularly vocal – and their pigeon English as they tried to make small talk with us with the small change of their English vocab. But what I won’t miss is the door slamming, the stomping up the stairs, the late night hoovering or their eldest son who played the guitar so loud late one night that I was forced to go round and knock on his front door.
I didn’t get very far. His parents were out and with typical teenage nerve he tried to tell me that he didn’t even own a guitar and that the music was coming from a house about 20 yards away on the other side of the street... totally overlooking the fact that while he was stood at the door talking to me Mr Hendrix had mysteriously downed tools mid-lick. I wasn’t happy: after being on this planet for nearly 40 years, I’ve pretty much worked out how my hearing works and can divine where sounds are coming from and know when someone is trying to take the proverbial.
The damned temerity! I came away wishing I’d clipped him around the ear but the guitar playing didn’t start up again so I guess it was a victory of sorts. Young whippersnapper!
The other departure is even more welcome. The people whose Rottweiler has terrorized half the street for the last 2 years have finally gone taking with them Cujo (or whatever the dog’s name is), sundry ill fed rabbits and a particularly pernicious black and white cat that couldn’t deem a day done until it had shat on our lawn.
Our youngest, Tom, has (alas) inherited his father’s ability to wonder across an open field and step straight into the only instance of animal excrement for miles around and then carry it into the house in a compact little pat on the heel of his shoes. Suffice it to say, I shall not miss the cat at all.
The biggest relief though is the removal of the dog. Some of you will be aware of the worry and trouble that it has caused us and other neighbours by frequently escaping from its own garden and rampaging through ours and everybody else’s.
I am an animal lover but this dog was terrifying. Huge, bad tempered and slightly unhinged. Not what you want snarling around when you have young children who love nothing better than pottering about outside.
We last saw the dog last week. Again on the loose. Eyes wide with agitation. Bounding up and down the street and biting chunks out of the bumpers of passing vehicles.
The Poles (at a push) we shall miss. But as for the doggers...
Good riddance to ‘em.