I am somewhat alarmed to note that the weather this weekend will be what meteorologists describe as "lovely".
Now, there was a time when I was delighted to hear that the weather would be lovely, especially in early spring. I'd get my beloved sea kayak onto the roof rack and head for the Thames and have a lovely, long paddle about 15km upstream and then drift back down nice and leisurely like. Sadly, I no longer have a sea kayak. It was too big for London and my ex secretary type lady grew tired of having it cluttering her garden so I sold it. Bah.
I also used to delight in going cycling on a lovely sunny weekend. I'd get my mountain bike out and go for miles, exploring the countryside or the city. Sadly, my bike is, to use technical jargon, fecked. I need a new rear suspension bearing kit which is as expensive as a decent 50mm lens. Lenses are more important right now. But not as important as my overdraft and my desperately agitated bank manager.
This weekend, whilst the weather is sunny and photographic conditions are bound to be perfect all day, I have to stay at home. My other half's parents are coming. Now, don't get me wrong, I am glad they are coming. I like them. and having done a lot of shoots recently, don't need to go out on yet another one. A nice, salady lunch will be perfect. An inspection of the garden will will feature on the programme and I'm likely to see some post-prandial dozing which I find amusing.
So what is it about a lovely sunny spring day that fills me with dismay? I will tell you:
It is the neighbours. The bloody, bastarding neighbours.
I am still not used to having other people living so close to me and frankly, I do not like their "ways". I try to be tolerant as I have been reminded several times that "this Is London".
I have never been a fan of the Beatles (Much as I'd like to divert into a rant about them, I won't) which means that I'm not necessarily well disposed to their fans either. We have one neighbour, to whom it has quite obviously never occured, that I don't in fact want to hear his stereo belting out beatles songs all afternoon. Nor do I want to hear him singing along. It doesnt make me think of him as a happy, summery soul. It makes me think of him as a legitimate target. He lives about three houses away.
Our next door neighbours upstairs are Jamaican. They like nothing better on a nice day than to throw open their kitchen window and blast a simultaneous mix of the Eastenders Omnibus on their TV-for-the-deaf alongside seventies soul and reggae. Because this aural chaos isn't enough, the lady of the house embellishes it with whistling that is so tuneless that all the creatures of the forest who inhabit our garden run away terrified. When the noise reaches its peak, the man of the house then decides its time to call his buddies in Jamaica. He has a deep and booming voice and a number of forthright opinions that he shares with all of us as well as his friend in Kingston.
Then there is "Little Brazil". I have a number of potato sized rocks - cobbles - if you will, that are gaining enormous value for me. They have been elevated from humble potato sized rocks to the status of (semi)guided missile. Little Brazil likes to treat us to samba/rhumba whatever played at size 11 on the stereo. Little Brazil is a good six houses away. My (semi) guided missiles have the range.
We also have a church 3 houses away that rents its hall out to various small congregations. Now, this hall that they use is not big and the congregations number a maximum of about thirty - I have counted them. Why then, do the preachers need to use a microphone and a PA system to deliver their fire and brimstone messages? I can guarantee you normal conversational pitch would do. Why does the 'band' (and I use the term loosely) need such amplification? The worst thing is, they have band practice on Saturdays and then a succession of services on Sunday afternoons. A never ending stream of incompetent music and unsolicited "ALLAYLOOLYAH! PRAIZALOD!" (in some accents it sounds like "PRAY SALAD") Sometimes, in moments of particular Christian fervour, the drummer will punctuate appropriate milestones in the preacher's message with a ba-da-boom-tish! There are a lot of appropriate milestones, apparently.
Clearly this vexes me. And, after three years of being forbidden to retaliate by my lovely lady, I have sworn that this year I will teach my neighbours a lesson. You see, if they want to assault my eardrums and shatter my peace, I will do the same unto them. Thricefold. I happen to have a son who is a musician. He's in a band whose musical style is in the genre of "Death Metal". He and his bandmates are always looking for somewhere to practice and I have just the place: my garden. I've paced it out and there is enough space for a 20KW concert PA with just enough room left over for the 5 members of the band.
I've seen this band live and they unleash a truly withering thunderstorm of obscene noise. Trees will shed their leaves. Babies several miles away will spontaneously combust. Windows will shatter and the ground will quake. That first Pimms of the season? Forget it. It will explode and sever Mr Summertime Beatles' head.
Of course, I know that death metal is not to everyone's tastes, but neither is the work of messers Lenon and McCartney or Mr Teddy Pendergrass. I also realise that the gentleman in my son's band who does the 'singing' may cause some minor offence when he volunteers to dine upon a living person's liver or to clothe his body in the entrails of someone's daughter, but I'm sure most of my neighbours will understand, after all, "This is London!"
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