Tuesday, 14 May 2019

OH FOR A BIT OF PEACE AND QUIET...



Is it just me, I wonder?  Am I deluded in my memory of things being much quieter in my youth when it came to neighbours sitting out in their gardens enjoying the sun?  I seem to remember gentle murmurs of laughter and subdued ripples of convivial conversation, carried on balmy breezes across the garden hedges or fencing.  The faint clink of cups on saucers as families and friends indulged in tea and sandwiches, and lemonade for the kids who quietly played with their toys nearby.  Am I the only one who recalls it that way, or is it a false memory of something that never actually was?

Nowadays, it's all effin' and blindin', growlin' and roarin', shoutin' and swearin', singin' and screechin', and radios blaring away at full volume, while kids scream at the top of their voices as they run around unchecked, adding to the cacophony.  It's no longer tea and lemonade, but rather beer, wines and spirits being quaffed, which perhaps accounts for another element, absent in my day, of a strong sense of barely-suppressed aggression which seems to permeate proceedings, threatening to burst forth at any moment and spoil the fun.

And when I say 'fun', I'm talking about what the participants in these melees presumably derive from such raucous occasions, because it's certainly no fun for anyone wanting to simply sit contendedly in their gardens and relax in the warmth of the sun, listening to birds chirping, bees buzzing, or gazing at aeroplanes flying overhead in the distance.  Gardens were once considered places of peace and quiet, an oasis, where families could laze in deckchairs and forget their troubles and woes for a brief-but-ever-so-welcome spell.  When I hear the noise that emanates from some nearby gardens nowadays, it sounds more like war-torn Beruit, or a fight at an Old Firm football match.  (I'll let you decide for yourselves which is the worse option.)

My nerves are frazzled within no time when I'm out in either of my gardens, and that's only to fill the bird-feeders and water dishes, or to deposit household waste in any of the four bins.  (Oh for the days of one single refuse receptacle.)  The noise isn't only audible outside though, as I can also hear it from indoors.  Am I alone in my feelings about this, or is there anybody else out there who feels the same?  Or have I simply metamorphosed into an intolerant old fart like Victor Meldrew now that I'm of a certain age, and am out of step with everyone else?

Feel free to express yourselves (whatever your opinion) in our ever-lovin' (and far too often neglected) comments section.    

14 comments:

Colin Jones said...

It's rather quiet where I live. On one side of me is a large house which takes in lodgers and on the other side is an old man who is looked after by his daughter since his wife died. The old man and his wife used to sit in the back garden but nobody sits there now. And on the opposite side of the road there's an auto-repair business/garage from which emanates assorted clanking noises as the mechanics fix cars, plus music from their radio. But the noises from the garage aren't loud enough to be bothersome. It's quite pleasant around here really.

Kid said...

Good to hear, CJ, but wait 'til that old man passes and a young couple who want to party all the time move in. Then life will be hell. Had a noisy pair like that live next to me for a couple of years until they did a runner. (I might have helped 'encourage' them with that.) Honestly, they'd sit out in their garden until two in the morning with their pals, gabbing and shouting at the top of their voices. Even when they were inside, it was like having invisible lodgers as I could hear them as if they were in my house.

McSCOTTY said...

I think if you are just asking if neighbours were noisier in the past as opposed to now, then I think that (obviously) depends on your neighbours then and now, although I think in general people are louder, more arrogant and swear a lot more than they did years ago. Where I live now I have had 4 neighbours on one side of me, and 2 on the other side in the 16 years I have lived there - all have been really nice and friendly. The only have the odd garden “party” (summer, New year etc) but never riotous (and I am usually invited). However back in the late 90s I used to live in a Maisonette flat and had horrendous neighbours not overly noisy but they never looked after the flats and left the security doors open, never cleaned their windows or the path in front of their own place etc place was like a tip. Final straw was when a youngish woman moved in was on drugs, she was noisy (well loud) but she had a big dog that she never looked after and let roam the communal garden (it always looked on the verge of attacking me) so I bought a new house as on the odd occasion I couldn’t get out the house for that beast. In the end the council pulled all those flats down, but it was for the best as the place was looking like a war zone after starting out a really nice area.

As to my childhood I think I was lucky we always had nice neighbours, possibly as at that time it was the “baby boomer” years so lots of young families with kids and we got a new “electric flat “back then people we more grateful for a good home, nowadays to many think its right and don’t look after their homes. Saying that we did have one neighbour back in the 60s that liked a drink or ten and could be a noisy so and so. Certainly now its noisier in general if you live in a city or largish town with traffic alone .

Kid said...

'Twas the opposite of that, PM - I was asking if neighbours were generally quieter in the past than they are now. (I think that's what you meant to say though.) That's the impression I'm left with, though there were always exceptions. I like peace and quiet, and it just seems harder to find these days as there's always some kind of noise going on. Kids' screaming in particular does my nut in. There's a church near the town centre with a bench at the side of it in a little garden-type area, and sometimes I'll sit there and just watch the world go by. There can sometimes be quite a bit of traffic noise as a road runs past, but after a short while it becomes almost soporific. That's because the sound is consistent, whereas with kids, the noise is sudden and usually in short bursts, so it always comes as a shock to me. That desert island on Robinson Crusoe (the '60s TV show) seems very enticing to me these days.

McSCOTTY said...

I think kids always screamed and when we were kids (well me at any rate) I was a noisy sod (not rude though) but played footy, cowboys and Indians, dead man falls etc all day, it must have driven our neighbours "spare". You should move to a wee village outside where you are now there are some lovely places there that are nice and quiet like Eaglesham and Strathaven etc.(although probably cost and arm and a leg to live there)

Kid said...

I've got this theory that as we get older, PM, our hearing changes and certain pitches register louder than when we were younger. Regarding what you're saying, there used to be more fields and play-parks for kids to play, they weren't confined to their gardens, but now most of them in my town have all had housing schemes built on them. (The fields and play-parks, not the kids. Hey, now there's an idea.)

Bob said...

No. It’s not your imagination. Things have changed.

Here is an unpopular opinion, but I provide it anyway.

I’m 56, and I believe we are close in age. When we were young, the country was a different place. It was largely monocultural, and we weren’t isolated by our technology.

Nations are extensions of our own families, and when our neighbors no longer share a common heritage or values or culture, the sense of community is erased.

Add to that the isolating nature of how we amuse ourselves – watching television, looking at computers, staring at phones – our sense of common currency in what makes community similarly erodes. Finally (very unpopular opinion!) our art is isolating, as so much of our music and our movies thrive on a sense of aggression or hostility, warning humanity to keep its distance.

This is not good in the long run and does not bode well.

I love your blog!

Kid said...

At last! And here I thought I was the only person who loved my blog. Great to know there's another. I'd say there's a lot of truth in what you say, but the PC brigade would call you names for it in an attempt to diminish your opinion. Today, madness reigns, and the asylum is being run by the inmates.

pete doree said...

Obviously I agree with all this, and If I stopped to go into detail about how my horrendous neighbours have made me an unwilling participant in the comedy / drama of their lives, we'd be here all night. But here's the thing I always think, that very few people are even aware that they SHOULD be aware of these days.
Nearly everything you do in life affects somebody else. That's how I was raised to think and consider, and everyone seems to have forgotten that.

Kid said...

Sadly, PD, all people seem to be interested in these days is their own personal gratification, regardless of how it impacts on others. Consideration for other people is a thing of the past, alas. Obviously, not everyone is like that, but too many people are, unfortunately.

Philip Crawley said...

Now I had my Grumpy Old Fart card around here a moment ago - some kid's probably nicked it! Seriously though I think your right in your perception about the general level of noise and disruption inflicted on all by an increasing number of clueless self-centered individuals. When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s there seemed to be more of a sense of, for want of a better expression, how to behave in public, which seems to have been lost now and replaced by the ego-feeding, "look at me" pandering that so much social media on so many devices and platforms has tapped into and boosted out of all proportion! (Don't get me started!) I dread Summer, not only because I'm not a fan of hot weather (and I live in Australia!) but because it brings people out of their houses and they bring their loud music, unteathered dogs and similarly unteathered offspring with them out into their yards where they don't care if all of this is annoying anybody else because it's all about what they want to do. And bring your concerns about the din to their attention at your own risk!I do wonder just how far this trend towards self-indulgent and selfish behaviour will go.

Kid said...

I think it's already gone TOO far, PC, and I fear that it's only going to get worse. Some people think nothing of turning their gardens into 'pub gardens' (too many friends sitting out drinking and swearing) or swing-parks (several kids at high volume running around playing football and screaming for hours), which means it's not even safe to open a window to let in some fresh air. Oh, for the languid, gentle, relaxed and easy-going sunny summer days of my childhood, as opposed to the raucous and rowdy 'pantomimes' that so many of us have to endure now.

Colin Jones said...

One annoying thing about where I live is the increasing number of empty drinks cans littering the place. I've noticed that 90% of these cans contained Polish beer. I don't want to sound all Nigel Farage but I wish those bloody Poles would stop dropping their empty beer cans everywhere.
When my elderly neighbour dies I'm hoping his daughter will continue living in his house but that might be wishful thinking and she might just sell up. But the house on the other side of me (with the lodgers) has been FOR SALE twice in the last 15 years and nobody bought it.

Kid said...

Of course, it's not just Poles who litter (though it might be them doing it more in your area - or Brits who have developed a liking for Polish beer), but I know what you mean. Whatever happens with your neighbours, I hope it goes on being peaceful in your area for many a long year, CJ.

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