In truth I’m amazed this situation hasn’t risen before now.
For the last 5 or 6 years we have had an assortment of university students renting the house next door to ours. Each time a new troupe has taken possession of the house keys in September we have braced ourselves for what we thought would be the inevitable shockwaves of electronically amplified youth noise erupting through the intervening wall of our semi.
However, for the last 5 or 6 years the gods of white noise have smiled upon us and we have had relative peace. In fact I only recall being disturbed twice: once by some Asian girls to remove a rogue wasp from their bedroom (which was far too sweet to be at all erotic) and once by a guy last year who literally knocked on my door in an abashed fashion to ask for his ball back which had been kicked over the fence and into our back-garden.
This year, however, we have plainly angered the gods. Or they have just developed a taste for eardrum shattering drum and bass.
A couple of lads and a girl moved in a couple of weeks ago and right from the start, even when playing their accursed music “quietly”, it felt like we had an underground tube station suddenly routed beneath our feet. It was, however, bearable. They kept the volume low-ish and seemed to adhere to the unwritten “good neighbours 11am watershed for unwanted noise” rule.
Last Saturday though they had their first party.
I have to admit they diluted our wrath by bringing us a bottle of wine in the afternoon as a pre-emptive apology and giving us their mobile number so that we could advise them if things got “too noisy”.
“Too noisy” proved to be woefully inadequate but I was impressed with their attempts towards goodwill and to establish a decent dialogue. As my wife pointed out: their parents ought to be proud of them; they might be decibel terrorists but they are at least well mannered.
The noise of the party was quite frankly unbelievable. If I had been playing my own music at top volume it still would have been drowned out by the power outage of their industrial strength sub-woofer. I’m sure the baby gallstone that was forming in my kidneys was cured overnight just from the vibrations that tore through the walls and stirred up tsunamis on the other side of the planet. My youngest had a mini-freakout at the noise but thankfully was able to succumb to sleep and slept through the worst of the cacophony. My wife and I fared less well. I think I made a request around 1am for the volume to be reduced and received a text apology and notification that the sub-woofer had now been switched off. This cut down on the vibrations but not really the volume of the music and the weird screams and shouts from the back-garden. I think unconsciousness took me around 2am. My wife reported that party events were still unfolding at 5am.
We’ve spent the last couple of days feeling rather grainy eyed as we’ve slowly clawed back the sleep we lost.
I had another text from the boys next door yesterday apologizing again and hoping they didn’t keep us awake too long. I admitted we were shocked by the noise and my children had disturbed sleep but we appreciated the fact that they were talking to us about it; I was sure we could build on this and become good neighbours. They apologized again and admitted they would probably have another party “at some point” but would have a think as to how they could achieve a good time for their guests without disturbing us. I resisted the urge to suggest they hold the party in the next street. Or even that they have a “mime party”. I daresay sarcasm and charades are not a good mix.
So there we are. An uneasy détente.
Not sure where we go from here or what possible noise abating solution they can come up with before their next sonic hurricane disrupts the neighbourhood’s airwaves. If they start eating a lot of eggs I’ll know they are lining the walls with the boxes (apparently they act as very effective sound-proofing). Hell, I may even start making a few more omelettes myself.
Given the vibrations last weekend I have a box full that are already cracked.