The Neighbours

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Frosty morning, and I’m squatting down on the grass to get the camera at just the right angle to catch the sunlight through the frosted weeds… just as well the neighbours already think we’re mad, eh?

red eyed

And I forgot to turn on the red eye reduction but here she is in her winter fur (and winter fat, since she’s had very few walks of late…)

Well, today was the first day I haven’t actually felt WORSE than the day before. Yay?

For all that, it was still Another Bed Day.  *sigh* And our solar hot water didn’t get installed yesterday because – THE PLUMBER WAS SICK! We’ve rescheduled for next Wednesday, just gotta hope that the weather doesn’t work against us.

Ricë wrote a post today about the intrusiveness of muzak.  I started a rant in reply in my comment on her post, but here’s some more rant:

I’ve been rabbiting on at various In Real Life friends about the new growth industry (no, Dustin, it’s not PLASTICS) – it’s audiology.  Seriously, every time I go to the shops there seems to be a new one offering hearing tests and ever smaller hearing aids.  I think Toowoomba is up to about 20, for a population of 90,000.  And do you know why?


It’s because almost nobody can stand SILENCE any more. When and how did we become a culture that feels the need to be constantly immersed in man made sound?  Waiting rooms are drenched in either overly loud muzak or blaring televisions.  Supermarkets and shopping centres play their identifying jingles over and over and over.  We get in cars and immediately turn on the radio or a CD.  Those ubiquitous white dangly cords drape from ears to iPods, cocooning each wearer in their own world of individualised sound.

Our house is near the local railway yards, and surrounded by train tracks.  We expect a certain amount of noise each day from the coal trains and maintenance vehicles, and most nights we can hear the chiropractic clunks and crashes of carriages being shunted. Some of the train drivers are artists, echoing the horn of their diesel engine around the valley as they pass by the yards.

On clear  nights I can hear the “ping… Ping… Ping… pokpokpokpokpokpokpok” of the traffic signals over 150 metres away across the creek.  Some nights we are visited by the local owl (mo POKE! mo POKE!) and some nights the plovers scream from the vacant, weedy blocks.

Some nights we are woken by domestic quarrels; by neighbours who think that chopping wood after midnight is a perfectly reasonable thing to do; by dog fights, screeching engines and tyres sliding on the bitumen.  Or the ever-so-charming individual who believes that by renting a nearby industrial unit he has the right to super-amplified music at any time day or night.  I don’t think in the 5 years I’ve lived here there has been a single night without hearing at least one set of emergency service vehicles dopplering by on one of the main roads.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget to mention Bung Lung – one of the new neighbours who, although appearing to be in his mid 20s, has the emphysemal lungs and bronchial function of a 50 a day pensioner.  (We’ve started referring to their household as The Brueghels – because they’re phlegmish. (groan!)  Nothing like hearing a lugey hawked up outside your window at 3am to jolt you out of a dream. (The cigarette stench is a subject for another post…)

All of those are noises which are beyond my control.  When I can choose my audio surroundings, more often than not I’ll choose silence. Because it’s rare and I enjoy it.  I have quite enough trouble fighting with my head to get anything done, without inviting more noise in.

I’ll listen to Radio National, if there’s something good on.  My CD collection is almost exclusively female singers (loving the new Lily Allen album, and I never get tired of Kirsty MacColl)but I really only listen to music if I’m sewing or at the gym.

But Mr Beloved lives in a music centred world.  Where I find it VERY difficult to process two audio signals at once (especially if one of them is voice), he thrives on audio complexity.  (Not suprisingly, he’s a long time fan of Brian Eno.) I can’t read if there is competing audio – my brain just gets frustrated.  My Dad  can listen to radio, watch TV, AND read the newspaper all at once – I have no idea how he does it and even THINKING about it makes me feel quite ill.

My ideal world would have a soundproof room, possibly with squishy walls, and maybe a coat with arms long enough to actually fit me…

And now I’m off to take my medications.  Night!

… my dress sewing has stopped tonight.  I can’t find my camera (hopefully when the TeaBot 5000 reads this post he’ll remember where I put it, LOL!) to show you progress, but apart from the zipper and binding the neck and armholes and doing the hem, it’s done.4505

Simplicity 4505 is long out of print, which is a shame, since it’s a useful pattern, with a jacket, dress, skirt, and pants all in the one envelope.  No linings though, and  I couldn’t be bothered THINKING about linings, so the dress is unlined.

(photo will go here when the camera is found!)

I perhaps should have made a full pattern and tried to match the pattern in the fabric a little (naaah, this ain’t couture!) and I think if I bother to do this one again, a slightly heavier fabric would be better than the 100% cotton I used in this version.

I cut out a 22… but cheated on the seams at the waist and managed to squeeeeeeeeeze enough out to fit in my waist (groan mutter curse curse) It’s okay… not as good a fit as I’d perhaps like, but hey, it’s fabric that was $5 per metre from Spodshite, it’ll do.

In other news….

I got to gym last night for cardio + Pilates, then again this morning for BodyStep.  Managed to do more of the class actually using the step today.  Yay me, huh?!  Tomorrow: cardio + Oxigeno (love those functional movement and stretching classes!).  That’s provided the neighbours let me sleep…

You see, we live in a worker’s cottage.  And very close next door is what started out as an identical worker’s cottage.   So the floor plans are exactly the same in both wee houses.  Which means that THEIR loungeroom? Is about 5 feet from our bedroom.  (Don’t even get me started on uncorrected property boundaries, grrr!)

Not soooo bad when all they’re doing is watching (violent, noisy) movies late into the night. Up until about, say , midnight, I don’t care, I’m usually awake anyway.  But combine the loud action flick with even louder sex?  That becomes less tolerable.

The straw that broke this poor old camel’s back, though, was that that decided to DO IT with the lounge (sofa) jammed up against the outside wall of their house.  5 feet from our bedroom and RESONANT.  And they’re young, so they go at it like rabbits.  HYPERACTIVE RABBITS.

"Wait wait! I think I've got a hare in my throat!"

"Wait wait! I think I've got a hare in my throat!"

Bang a bang a banga banga bangabangabangabanga ooooooooohhhhhh bangabangabanga banga YES!  OH YES! bangabangabanga….

This went on until 4 am.

When I overslept the alarm this morning and had to rush to get to the gym, I mentioned that the neighbour’s shagging had kept me awake.  Various suggestions on how to deal with the problem were made:

  • Ask loudly “Is that IT?”
  • Join in the over-the-top moaning
  • Play baaaaaaaaaad 1970s European (*wink wink*) film soundtracks: Chicka booowwwww!

All good – but not as funny as the song that appeared as track 5 or so in the BodyStep Workout: Yep, Acka Dacka’s “YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG”

sing along, everyone!

sing along, everyone!

I was laughing so hard I was nearly crying, and still trying to do the step class!

Ahhh, ya gotta laugh, eh?!

Anyone got any further suggestions?  Would a note saying “HI! We’re your neighbours! Would you mind moving the couch out from the wall when you have noisy fun?” be too much, do you think?