The big change I mentioned is that I have new next-door neighbours and, at the time I wrote my last post, I was revelling in the huge reduction in noise pollution. The new people are a teacher and her son, so they are out most of the day during term time. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to my well-being to have a good chunk of predictable quiet time during the day.

It’s not all perfect, after the blissful last few weeks of term the summer holidays were very hard going with six long weeks of decorating, carpentry, garden clearance, footballing and visitors. Not to mention having their bloody TV audibly on morning, noon and night. The previous neighbours may have had world champion crying and tantruming kids, but I never heard their TV.

August is always my worst month of the year, but once again I survived. I’ll be better prepared next summer, but I think my hopes and expectations were too high this year. I didn’t expect the amount of home-improvement work that took place and assumed that they would go away for at least a week or two. I also failed to take into account the fact that 11 year olds go to bed much later than 3 and 6 year olds, so I didn’t even get a quiet hour or two in the evening.

It’s an odd thing that while under duress I long for respite, but when the stressor is removed I find it hard to get going on all the things I imagined doing if only I had the energy and a bit of peace and quiet. Distraction can be a useful strategy for coping with a difficult situation, but after a while it becomes a habit that isn’t useful when circumstances change.

It took me several weeks after the change of neighbours to stop startling at certain kinds of noise, as my system went on alert waiting for the next outburst of shouting or crying. I still scanned the street for their car as I approached my house when I’d been out, tensing to see whether I would be returning home to peace or mayhem. I felt triumphant the day I realised I’d parked my car without wondering whether the neighbours were in.

The last three months have been challenging, but interesting and enlightening. Overall my life has changed for the better at least in terms of my living environment, so now have the challenge of deciding how to use the extra time I have available and getting on with it

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2 Responses to Changes

  1. Edit: Give yourself time. You’re not lazy or slow to start or anything: you’re in recovery x

    Don’t forget that it’s going to take a while to recover from the effects of all that stress. You’ve had years of it, followed by masses of uncertainty and noise pollution.
    Our previous neighbours had an extension built and 2 chimney breasts knocked out (that made plaster fall off our walls and has littered the house with cracks) that went on for 3 months. So I feel your recent pain.
    The neighbours on the other side had 3 teenagers when they moved in, (one of whom has recently been labelled with Asperger’s. It explains a LOT) and the rows were epic and v v loud. But they’ve all grown up and moved out now 🙂 So you have that to look forward to eventually 😉
    I recall a distant memory: I don’t lose my temper often. I can count the instances on one hand. So when I do it’s…shameful and scary. (Not proud) Their Mum was out (it was a single parent family). It was Sunday night, I was still teaching, and I was trying to sleep. At 1am I lost it…In my nightie I knocked on the door so violently I cut my hand and didn’t notice. Nobody answered the door obviously. So I yelled through the letterbox. I said who I was, told them the time and that I had work the next day and ‘requested’ they turn off the ‘bleeping’ music. (There may have been more bad language than that. I was incandescent with rage and can’t remember) Anyway, it was quiet after that and there was never any loud music after 12.30am. I’m not recommending that you embarrass yourself like me, but you could knock the next time you can hear the TV clearly. They may have lived in a detached house before and be oblivious about how far noise travels…just a thought.
    Wishing you much peace and quiet X

    Kind regards,

    PLEASE note –
    Due to my illness and disabilities I find talking on the phone very difficult and sometimes impossible. I can still write though, so thanks for using email to communicate wth me.
    If texting is more convenient for you please feel free to email me your mobile number.

    Please also bare in mind that I am sometimes physically unable to deal with email every day.
    I am very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, I assure you that I find it just as frustrating.

    Finally, my sincere thanks for your help and understanding. It is VERY much appreciated.

    • Thanks Sand, both for reading and for taking the time to reply. I did have a wry smile at your losing the plot in your nightie story. I once went out in mine (and a dressing gown) to bawl out some neighbours who woke me up with loud pissed-as-parrots chat in their garden at about 5am. To be fair they were mortified and stopped immediately. They also came round later in the day to apologise again and let me know that they had the hangovers they richly deserved 🙂
      TV noise isn’t really at a level I can complain about. The walls are paper-thin and I just find it aggravating that I can hear it at all, especially when I’m over-tired and my cognitive function is buggered. Last week was yet another lesson in not making assumptions! I don’t know what will happen in future, but I’m not sure that it’s wise to plan on the basis of getting predictable quiet time after all.
      I hope that life is treating you kindly at the moment and that your current neighbours are the quiet type.

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