And two days ago, the new neighbours moved in. They are a young family of mum, dad and two girls aged around 4ish and 9ish I should say. The parents are heavy smokers and have been sitting in the back garden chain smoking which means I can't have my window open all day as I like to because I really cannot abide the smell of cigarettes. They are also prone to shouting very suddenly and very loudly in Polish or Latvian or Lithuanian, or whatever is their mother tongue, I don't know because my language skills are limited to un peu de francais, a bit of sprechen sie Deutsch and Borra Da. They have loud and fast conversations on their mobile phones. Their youngest child is a screamer. They are certainly going to give their neighbours on the other side a run for their money in the Loud and Shouty Family Stakes.
Last night I went to sleep quite quickly, as I am wont to do. I was woken very suddenly by the sound of one of those buzzy waspy mopeds screeching into the road and squealing to a halt and then...
'What the eff are you doing on that effing thing?' shouts a woman's voice.
'Mmmmmmfff....mffff....mmmfffff...' came the helmeted reply.
'Get off it! Switch the effing thing off!' shouts the woman.
'Mmmmmmmmfffffpppppphhhhh!' shouts the helmet.
There is a mild scuffle and the moped is rendered silent. Then...
'I told you to effing walk home with it!' shrieks the woman, as the moped fires up again. 'You effing effer.'
'Nice,' I thought.
And then peace. I drifted off to sleep...
Nope, wasn't me being woken for a wee. It was what I could only describe as the sound of a random but persistent whistle. I got up. It wasn't coming from inside the house. Not Phoebe performing one of her selection of interesting nasal snores, then. No, it was coming from somewhere outside, up the other end of the road.
'Oh, good grief, ' I thought. I went for a wee anyway as I was up, and surveyed the pimple on my chin which I can now confirm is, officially, a chimple. I returned to the bedroom and hung out of the window as getting up had brought on one furnace of a hot flush. After a few minutes both the flush and the whistle abated.
'Thank goodness,' I thought. I climbed back into bed. A car alarm went off. 'Wheee-ooooh, wheeee-ooooh, wheeee-ooooh........' Ad infinitum and forever and ever and ever and ever....
Needless to say I have been a la zombie mode today. Zombie with a chimple. I have tried to remain spiritual. It has been hard.
On another note, when I went to cut some lavender this morning in an attempt to pretend I was living in a lovely country cottage surrounded by fields of lovely calming lavender I saw what I thought were two bumblebees hitched together in an episode of high-jinkery but which, on closer inspection, turned out to be a single bumblebee of enormous proportions. Honestly, it was the size of a horse! Well, okay, not a horse maybe, but if the Borrowers were after a joint for their Sunday Dinner, they could have served up that bee and had enough leftover for a Monday Beeherd Pie.
And then, when I continued my pretence at The Bucolic Idyll by letting out the hens and doing some
a-scattering of the corn, Primrose did a very convincing impersonation of a Chicken Who Is About To Drop Dead, but then, equally as quickly, reverted to her normal Chicken Who Is Going To Live One Hundred Years. I do not know what that was all about. Constipation, maybe? Some form of transcendental yoga?
'Joke,' says Primrose. 'Just to keep you on your toes.'
'Not funny,' says I.
'Very funny,' says Primrose. 'Now get me some grapes.'
And talking of fruit, Andy has been eyeing up our apple tree which is positively groaning with apples this year, possibly to make up for the poor showing last year.
'When will they be ready to eat?' he said.
'Not just yet,' I said.
'But they are going red,' he said. 'How do you know they aren't ready to eat now?'
'I just do,' I said.
'Well,' said Andy, who can be very persistent when the occasion arises, 'how can you tell when an apple is ready?'
'When you can cup it in your hand, give it a gentle twist on the stalk and it plops off,' I said.
Andy looked disappointed. He is convinced the birds and the insects are going to snaffle the apples before we can.
'You can try one if you like,' I said. 'But don't blame me if it takes the skin off your teeth.'
So off Andy went. He returned shortly thereafter.
'That was quick,' I said.
'It wouldn't plop,' said he.