The car issues with next door continue. After asking me not to park in front of their house – which I did stop doing, despite wanting to set up an elaborate scheme involving parking  a different vehicle  there every day – they continue to make thinly veiled hints regarding the location of Charlie Micra and S-‘s Polo.

I was outside the other day, rearranging the junk in my car* when the lady of the house made her appearance. I chatted with her a bit in a show of No Hard Feelings. Her husband joined her and began washing his pristine vehicle.

“I’m so bad at keeping cars clean,” he said, staring at the bird muck on mine. Bird muck which wouldn’t be there had I not been forced to park under our hedge…

“Me  too,” I said, with a chuckle, “It’s been about two years since this one saw water that wasn’t rain.”

“I can tell,” he sniffed, and proceeded to offer me a loan of his washing gear.

“I’ve got everything I need to give it a scrub,” I replied, “I just have better things to do with my life.”

I keep doing this. I don’t mean to be that cutting but I can’t help speaking my mind – I blame my dad entirely**. It’s like when I was chatting with a couple and their golden retriever – I happened to mention I’d worked at a kennel which bred them and they asked if I had any advice for getting their dog to behave. I kid you not, the following words escaped my lips:  Do a better job of training it. Ouch. Awkward much.

But back to the car thing. Because it all went a little quiet and weird, Wifey decided to speak up.

“We were thinking of removing the end post between our drives so that you can get in easier to park on the grass.” I was astonished. I felt like saying, “Oi – I pay my road tax, there’s no double yellow lines in front of my house and shut the hell up.”

What I actually said was, “I’m not doing that.”


“Parking on the grass. I’m not doing that. My front mud guard is hanging off as it is and the bumper is so low that I don’t want to risk it.” She tries not to look affronted and her husband tries not to look a bit smug – bumpers come off if you don’t wash your car often enough, don’t you know?

“Well, perhaps S- coul-”

“You’ll have to take that up with him. I don’t like passing messages along – I tend to leave out important parts.” I try to make light. We left the last house because of insane neighbours – which I probably didn’t cover on here – so I don’t want to end up with any bad feelings between our two camps now.

We parted company with some good-natured words about the weather. I drove off to the shops and came back to find the post between drives removed and my house-proud neighbour using furniture polish on her outside window frames. She does this weekly.

A chill went down my spine. I live next to Hyacinth Bucket.


*Why not take it out, you ask? Aside from providing balast on windy days, the unusual collection of hats, nappy bins, rope offcuts, disposable cameras and towels has proved useful on more than one occasion. I AM MACUYVER.

**In a shop, next to a screaming toddler and it’s mother, Dad proclaimed these sage words of advice: “Don’t reason with the bugger, just hit it.” While we’re down here, by the way, I’d like to clarify that my definition of ‘better things to do’ probably doesn’t match up with most peoples’. Knitting the Mass Effect Cerberus symbol, the heraldry of the Hawkes from Dragon Age  II and shooting mercs on the PS3 probably doesn’t  seem as important when you’re not me.