Dick Gets Nicked

Two blogs about our nutty neighbours in a month? It seems a little excessive. But when the story’s this good, I just have to share.

For those of you not in the loop, Susan and Dick, aka SuDick, are a pair of curtain-twitching, moaning retirees, who keep tabs on the movements of all other residents in our apartment block in the most busybody way imaginable.

Last month, a pair of new residents moved in and had a rather raucous party, which disturbed many other neighbours into the early hours. Inevitably, SuDick sprung into action the following morning; emails were flying around from as early as 8am to gather support for their nuisance tenants campaign.

Belligerent Bill (another curmudgeonly retiree of Post-It Note Parking fame) also waded in on the action – complaining direct to the council’s noise nuisance squad.

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Dick followed up the complaints with a strongly-worded letter, which he half-slipped under their door the following evening. Before the party-loving tenants arrived home, I managed to sneak a peak at the note itself (who’s the nosy neighbour now? I hear you cry).

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Here’s a snippet:

‘I think you’d do well to start apologising to your neighbours and show more consideration in the future…’

‘I’m telling you this in your own interests… Don’t get off on the wrong foot.’

It was a little heavy-handed perhaps but nothing too serious.

That’s not what the new neighbours thought.

At approximately 4pm on Monday, a police car pulled up outside the apartment block and two police officers got out, handcuffs jangling at their hips. Entering the premises, they headed straight for SuDick’s apartment, where they invited themselves in ‘for a chat’.

A complaint of harassment had been filed against poor Dick. The new tenants, it seemed, had decided to go nuclear on him, complaining that he was intimidating them.

Sparrow-hawk Susan sent out an email to us all, recounting Dick’s police encounter. ‘Dick wouldn’t hurt a fly,’ she cried.

She added: ‘Dick’s note was not threatening; it was just convenient to construe it in that way. He simply pointed out that such behaviour had not set them off on the right foot here and suggested an apology to those kept awake might be appreciated. None has come, of course.’

Under no circumstances are we to contact the new tenants directly about noise again. I’ve got to hand it to them.

But I do feel a bit sorry for deflated Dick, now the long arm of the law has put a stop to his over-zealous neighbourhood watch.

Susan ended her email saying that the police seemed to know a lot of information about them.

‘Are our emails being hacked?’ she pondered.

Complaints, conspiracy theories and late-night confrontations… I fear it’s only a matter of time before Dick gets an ASBO – and Susan ends up in the slammer.

The Return of the Nosy Neighbours

Regular readers (ie. my sister) might be wondering what ever became of our bothersome neighbours Susan and Dick, aka SuDick.

I am pleased to report that SuDick are very much still a feature in our lives. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t have an email of some kind from them cluttering my inbox. I estimate that 90 per cent of Susan’s life is dedicated to keeping tabs on the movements of all residents, while trying to evict the management company of our apartment block – as yet, to no avail.

She even sent out an email the other week stating: ‘Just seen Isaac from Apt. 14 take delivery of a Dominos pizza at 11.30am’.

I promise I am not making this up.

In fact, no-one can leave the compound without ever-watchful Susan peering at them from her perma-perch in the window. I emailed her recently, simply to ask what the new code for the electric gates was. And this is what she replied:

Hallo Katy,

The vehicle gate is 2958. The pedestrian gate has been failing to open using the code and remote for about 10 days now – not consistently, but intermittently, enough to cause problems to a number of residents (incl Isaac and Julia) and visitors.  (This is in addition to the gate staying open, opening and closing repeatedly, opening only half way, etc) I reported it to the management on Monday of last week but got no acknowledgement.

I have had enough of reporting things to them and getting no reaction or an ignorant, dismissive response. I keep my contacts with them to a minimum. I actually prefer the inconvenience of a gate not opening, etc etc to the incompetence and expense incurred when they send a contractor. I won’t be contacting them again.

Susan

Obviously, her pledge to never call the management company again lasted approximately 12 hours and before long, she was back on the blower – complaining about a whole litany of problems, from squeaky door hinges to ill-fitting bin lids.

When she’s not on unofficial neighbourhood watch or pruning her roses as she observes the comings and goings, crabby Susan occasionally heads to the shops with her trusty shopper.

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Under-the-thumb Dick is a lesser-spotted beast: last seen pilfering blackberries from the neighbours’ hedgerow, while Susan looked on in glee.

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But this weekend… drama! SuDick had a new focus in the form of Troublesome New Tenants at Apartment 4.

Said tenants had a loud and raucous party on Saturday night which went on well into the early hours, disturbing both us next door and Belligerent Bill below. As I lay awake listening to their partying, all I could think was, ‘Bill is going to go NUTS’.

I briefly wondered if SuDick had heard, being on the opposite side of the building. But of course they had. How foolish of me to even question such a thing. No sooner had I sent out a general email to all residents, asking if anyone else had been disturbed by the late-night revelry, a reply came through from ever-vigilant Dick.

Hi Katy,

Some voices and light were noticeable in our (rear) bedroom. I went and listened outside 4; we heard the loud noise inside clearly. We were going to ring on their bell at the outside door, but ran into two women coming in the side door with shopping bags (midnight by now). 

I recognised one as the new tenant – her name is Nina. I had spoken to her briefly when their moving van came the previous Sat. I reminded her we’d met. I said I’d call the police if the noise continued. Nina apologised and said she’d get it quieter and that it was a one-off house-warming. (Two-off?).

Susan thinks ‘they’re trouble’. In bed (rear) we could see raised light levels and hear doors banging after 12.30 – woken up again 3 a.m. then went to sleep again. Bill this morning has mentioned the lights at 4 being on all night. They also heard the bathroom fan on all night, and Susan has now identified this fan as the hum she heard constantly in the night, as it vents over our rear deck (below some steps). I understand some lights are still on now.

Bill, I believe, spoke to the agent during the week because they suffered from noise the previous weekend, stomping and perhaps dragging furniture late in the night. Bill apparently also had an unfriendly response at the door of 4 when he went to speak to them. 

We need to tackle this PDQ. 

Dick

PDQ? I had to Google it, and it means ‘pretty damn quick’. Get Dick and the text-speak.

Bad-tempered Bill then waded in. Never one to do things by half, he’s already emailed the council’s noise nuisance squad to lodge an official complaint. I almost feel sorry for the Troublesome New Tenants; they really have no idea what they’re dealing with.

To be fair, I was going to phone the letting agent myself but now I don’t need to bother, knowing that SuDick and Bill are already on the case. Sometimes our nutty neighbours can be a blessing. They have all the time in the world to moan, rant and complain on our behalf.

But whatever you do, don’t order a Dominos pizza before midday.

Dick… and the Dastardly Decorators

High drama at our apartment block this month after we employed an ‘experienced’ decorating company to paint the external walls and metalwork – only for the Chuckle Brothers to show up.

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This hapless pair seemed to spend most of their time smoking and eating sandwiches in their battered Peugeot, emerging only to scratch their heads in bemusement – barely registering the need to dip their brush in a pot of paint from time to time.

The Chuckle Brothers probably thought they could get away with slapping a bit of paint on the walls in between lengthy tea breaks. But little did they know that their workmanship would be conducted under the hawk-like watch of my favourite nosy neighbours: twitchy Susan and downtrodden Dick, who took up permanent residence in their window and began logging a minute-by-minute account of the clueless cowboys’ movements (or lack thereof!)

Less than 12 hours after their arrival, SuDick began firing off emails to anyone who’d listen, documenting the sheer scale of the Chuckle Brothers’  ineptitude: walls not adequately primed, metal work not sanded down, scaffolding posing a ‘health and safety’ hazard…

I won’t bore you with the details but let’s just say the Chuckle Brothers aren’t chuckling anymore. In fact, SuDick have pretty much seen them off the premises.

As a result, we are currently locked in a battle over paying them, with Dick now threatening to send a sample of the paint work to a laboratory (yep, a laboratory!) to be scientifically analysed.

Having got wind of this, Chuckle Brother 1 then attempted a stealth return to the scene to patch up his flaky paintwork.

But he was no match for ever-watchful Dick – with even Belligerent Bill getting in on the act…

Here’s Dick’s latest:

Dear residents,

Darren the decorating ‘gaffer’ showed up this morning. Bea from apartment 2 came and knocked on our door and said ‘there’s a painter on my deck!’ From the back of our place I could see Darren on his knees trying to scrape paint off the upright girders at Apt. 2.

Anyway, Bill then came home and exchanged a few words with Darren who beat a hasty retreat, as I witnessed: Darren scrambled over the railings onto the lawn with his stepladder.

A bit later Susan found him in the car park and told him to go away and take his paint pots with him. There was ‘something of an exchange of words’ I am told, but he went. Apparently, he blames us residents for not getting paid. Susan can tell you more.

Susan informed [management company] and I think Bill also phoned…

Q1: What did Darren think he was going to achieve?

Q2: Who had tipped him off to focus on the metalwork down there?

Dick

Belligerent Bill… and his Crocodile Smile

An encounter with Belligerent Bill this week – my first since the angry email I sent, lambasting his hypocritical, self-imposed parking rules.

He was polishing his car in the visitor space that I often use and – astonishingly – actually waved chummily to me as I drove past.

Avoiding eye contact, I parked up and scuttled sheepishly to the door.

‘Katy!’ he called cheerily, clutching his chamois leather. ‘You can park back here if you want. I’ll move my car for you.’

‘It’s okay…’ I said. ‘I’m going back out shortly…’

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Move his car for me? Really? This seemed extraordinary behaviour coming from the meanest, most selfish man on the planet to whom my last words were, ‘Please don’t bother me with any more of your silly messages and practice what you preach…

I smell a rat.

He probably wants to lure me back in with his crocodile smiles before smothering my front door in 100 ‘NEVER PARK HERE’ Post-It notes.

Well… Bill, my friend, two can play at that game.

Belligerent Bill

After locking horns with SuDick and my weary battles with Greenclaws, it probably won’t come as a surprise that I’ve entered a cold war with another of my tiresome neighbours; I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m the problem.

Bill from Apartment 2 is one of those ‘I’m-alright-Jack’ characters, who is perfectly pleasant when you bump onto him in the corridors but underneath his friendly facade, lurks a selfish and mean-spirited man.

Bill and I were muddling along quite well (with a neighbourly wave here and there) until one evening the husband accidentally parked in Bill’s parking spot rather than our own (if you knew The Husband and his acute absent-mindedness, this is a perfectly plausible mistake).

The next morning we found a note on our car saying: ‘NEVER PARK HERE AGAIN’. I was a bit taken aback. The mask of friendly Bill had slipped.

Outside our apartments, there is an unofficial parking bay which people occasionally use if they’re too lazy to park in the proper car park down the hill. Bill, in particularly, was a regular user. However, at a recent residents’ meeting we collectively agreed that we shouldn’t park there as it was causing an obstruction to others.

Initially, Bill took this new rule very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that if anyone ever parked in that spot, he would leave one of his NEVER PARK HERE notes on the offending vehicle. Like SuDick, he was another retiree with too much time on his hands (and a seemingly never-ending supply of post-it notes).

A month or two elapsed – until, to my amazement, Bill started parking back in the very spot himself. I couldn’t believe it. Talk about double standards.

It was time for some payback.

Spotting his car there one morning, I scampered rapidly back into our apartment, grabbed a post-it note of my own and wrote: DO NOT PARK HERE.

‘Ha ha! A taste of your own medicine, Bill,’ I thought, as I gleefully slapped it on his windscreen, before heading down the hill to clamber in my own legally-parked vehicle.

However, as I drove back up from the car park… Oh no! Bill was there – standing by his car and brandishing my note, a look of pure rage etched upon his ruddy face. I attempted to maintain an air of superior indifference as I beetled past. But we both knew I had been caught red-handed.

I thought nothing else of the incident until I returned home that night and found my post-it note back slapped on my front door for all to see, with a new message scrawled on the bottom.

‘GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT’.

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The cheeky swine. I was furious. And in my fury, hastily bashed out the following email:

Dear Bill,

I’m assuming it was you who left a post-it note on my front door today stating: ‘Get your facts right’ regarding your obstructive parking on the driveway this morning.
I’m not sure what facts I need to ‘get right’. Did we not have a new rule not to park up against the side of the building, which we all agreed to adhere to at the last residents’ meeting? In fact, I have noted other occasions when your car has been parked there in the last fortnight.
What is even more baffling is that you regularly leave ‘Do not park here’ notes to other drivers parked in that very same spot. I’ve seen you attaching them, in fact, in little clear plastic sandwich bags tied onto the driver’s door handle.
This to me, seems to be the ultimate act of hypocrisy; clearly one rule for you and a different rule for everyone else.
Please don’t bother me with more silly messages. Perhaps you could just put into practice what you regularly preach.
Kind regards,
Katy
Apt 3

Seconds after hitting the ‘send’ button, I regretted it. It was a bit strong, I thought anxiously. Even The Husband (bcc’d in) was shocked by my venom.

I spent the next few weeks skulking down the corridor and tiptoeing to my car, hoping never to bump into angry Bill again.

Until one morning, I hopped in my car and was just plodding up the drive when the engine suddenly cut out. I just about managed to pull over. I turned the key. The engine coughed slightly and then nothing… I had broken down.

And worse still, I was now parked myself in the illegal parking space! Surely this could not be happening.

With a heavy heart, I had no choice but to abandon the car for the whole day, with a giant note pinned on the windscreen stating: CAR BROKEN DOWN. AWAITING RECOVERY.

I could just imagine Bill’s smug smile when he saw my sad, malfunctioning vehicle occupying the much-maligned spot – before being carted off to the garage.

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Bill had won.

And he didn’t need a post-it note to tell me.

Nutty Neighbours

Every apartment block has a nosy neighbour: someone who casts an overly-watchful eye over the daily comings and goings – and we have our very own curtain twitchers in the form of… Susan and Dick.

Susan and Dick are a retired couple who moved into our apartment block with seemingly only one purpose in life: complaining. Susan is a twittery sparrow of a lady, with darting eyes and an accusatory scare. Prone to odd bursts of jittery laughter, she permanently scans the entrance gate of the apartments from her perch in the window. Poor Dick is a world-weary packhorse – placid and obedient – clearly worn down over the years by hen-pecking Sue.

When I walk past their window, I have this ridiculously childish urge to yell: ‘Sue loves Dickkkk!’.

This curmudgeonly couple take Neighbourhood Watch to a whole level. Susan knows the car registration of each and every resident – and their visitors. When she isn’t peering out of the window, she is firing off angry emails to the management company, complaining of noise, bins, squirrels, door mechanisms, and many, many other mundanities. Only last week, I spotted her measuring the communal entrance door, with a tape measure. Goodness knows why.

Deflated Dick seems to spend the winter shovelling snow and gritting the car park, complaining bitterly about the lack of support from other residents. One of his favourite pastimes is to Google neighbours to discover more about them. Nothing delights him more than finding out the occupation and workplace of a new resident. ‘Did you know the blonde girl in Apartment 4 works in PR?’ (Let’s hope he doesn’t google me!).

When we first moved in, the husband and I were very much in favour with SuDick. Basically, we nodded and smiled in all the right places, tutted in agreement about whoever dared to leave the gate to the bin compound swinging in the wind, rallied round to help Dick with his snow shovelling. But it was only a matter of time before our delicate relationship broke down. And broke down, it did…

Approximately a year ago, SuDick mooted the idea of having a carpet installed in the main entrance outside their apartment, claiming that the clip-clopping heels at night were interrupting their sleep. Initially, we were sympathetic and agreeable. That was, until we discovered that they didn’t just want to carpet outside their own apartment; they wanted to smother the whole apartment block in carpet, covering the perfectly nice wooden flooring – all at a cost of several thousand pounds.

Unbeknown to SuDick, I began a stealth campaign to veto the carpet, approaching residents one by one to join the boycott. It was risky. And when Susan got wind of my renegade carpet gang, she sent me a terse email, accusing me of causing ‘dissension among residents’.

We haven’t spoken since.

But there’s more fun to come. Bird-twitcher Dick has been leaving nuts out for his sparrows, which pest control claim are attracting pesky squirrels. The nuts, they say, have to stop. Oh dear.

I’m already building up to sending an ‘all residents’ email with the subject title: DICK’S NUTS ARE CAUSING A NUISANCE…