Neighbours Part XV

Our block of flats has a new villain. It’s the new chap at Number 6. He moved in just four months ago, but he’s already demonstrated a selfish, inconsiderate streak. And the evidence is there, plain as day, for all to see. He won’t deny it either, as he doesn’t really seem to stop and chat to anyone. You might be wondering, what has happened. Well, let me tell you.

The other day, one of the girls of the block left a stack of Easter chocolate on the window sill by the entrance, along with a little note saying, ‘Free to a good home’. I grabbed a photo of some of it, which you can see above. I think it was Hot Lady at Number 8. I’m sure it’s her writing. And she’s been exercising a lot, so sacrificing a chocolate feast makes a certain amount of sense.

You can probably see where this is going. The whole lot disappeared. All of it. And a day or two later, all the empty boxes and wrappers appeared in the recycling bin, amongst the stuff thrown out by Number 6. You can see it’s Number 6 straightaway, because the Amazon boxes are all round them, delivery label side up. He didn’t even try and hide it. Heck, if I didn’t know better, it was his funny little way of bragging that he’d had it all.

You might be wondering, if there was still chocolate on the window sill when I took the photo, why didn’t I help myself to some? Oh I did. I took the lot. Every last egg and bar. And very tasty they were too. But I’m not silly. You don’t think I’d openly dispose of the evidence within my pile of recycling, do you??

I know. Crafty…


Neighbours Part XIII

What’s new in the block, you might be wondering. Well, let’s see now. The new girl at No 2 is settling in. We’ve only seen her once or twice in passing and the conversation hasn’t gone past basic hellos. I think she’s rather a heavy smoker though. The smell of it leaks into the communal hallway. She had a gas engineer round to fix her boiler the other day. I know this because I overheard the lady at No 4 questioning what he was doing, creeping about behind the building.

I also know that she is new to Bournemouth and that she knows nobody here. I know this because I was eavesdropping at my front door as the gas engineer was leaving. He asked her out on a date. She said yes. They swapped phone numbers. They are clearly planning on breaking lockdown laws. If not this weekend, then next weekend. Should I call the rozzers? I am open to suggestions.

Otherwise, the only other new news in that No 12 is up for sale and the owner of No 8 is also planning to put that flat on the market. The guys renting No 12 are the blocks longest serving residents, having moved in twelve years ago. We, I believe, currently rank as the third longest standing residents, behind Panty Lady in No 10. We may both be promoted one up the rank. I think the expense of renewing the leases, which must be done soon, is the cause of the exodus.

But none of this relates to the photo. The photo is my nearest high street. It’s not much of a high street. It is what you can see in the photo and the same again on the other side of the road. We’ve lived on (or more precisely, just off) this road for seven years at different addresses. It has changed plenty over the two years.

The chiropractor and care shops were, until recently, both owned by a chap selling trophies, complete with custom engraving. Schools and sports clubs would have been his main source of business. He’s moved in to a unit on an industrial park. Much cheaper than running a pair of shops, I suspect. The chiropractic industry is probably having a growth spurt right now, what with a nation of couch potatoes suddenly taking up lockdown exercise.

The laundrette is the one I visit most. Every week. Like most people living in flats, we have a single washer/dryer unit. The washer bit is fine. The dryer is next to useless. They always are. You can only do a half load at a time, it’s takes hours, costs a fortune in electricity and at the end of it you have a basket of very hot but still pretty damp laundry.

So I wash at home, then pop up the laundrette, fill two drying machines, feed in a total of £3.20 into the slots and it’s all done within 25 minutes. That’s nearly half an hour to catch up with all the local gossip. The lady who runs the laundrette is an absolutely first class source for gossip.

Next to that is a new micro brewery, All Hail Ale. They’ve been in there for a couple of years now. It took them a while to get a license. Some of the neighbours, Launderette Lady included, had objected. But they’ve been absolutely no trouble. They attract a decent sort of clientele. And it’s nicer than what was there before. When we arrived on the scene, it was a Nepalese restaurant, but had clearly been closed for years.

Finally we have Da Mario pizzas. We used to eat there now and again, but haven’t for ages. Both Mrs P and I have celebrated a birthday in there. It used to be owned by an Italian gent and his Colombian wife and they did a roaring trade. A year or two ago, they sold up and started up a new deli/coffee type diner on a nearby stretch of road that sees almost zero foot traffic.

I thought they were mad and would go bust in next to no time. And I was right. The new owners of Da Mario still do a roaring trade.


Neighbours Part XII

We have new neighbours moving in. Number 2 has been unoccupied since the last tenants suddenly upped sticks and disappeared in the middle of summer, having not paid their rent for quite some time. The landlord, we presume, failed to pay the mortgage as a result. We presume this, because the flat was put up for auction in the autumn, which is normally what happens when a property is repossessed by a lender.

What do we know about our new neighbours? Very little, I’m afraid. A 2016 model Alfa Romeo was parked in the No 2 parking space when we got home from our walk today. A young lady left the block and got into it. She’s slim, blonde, tall, late 20s or early 30s. Not unattractive. We said hello and politely smiled. I say the signs so far are all good.

Modern Alfas are classy cars, owned by thoughtful people who like to be a little different without being unnecessarily extravagant or vulgar. Of course, we are assuming this lady is the new tenant. I think it’s a safe assumption, but we will have to wait and see. Perhaps there is a partner, too. Hopefully not a BMW 3 series with flared wheel arches type, though.

I peered through the bedroom blinds to see what was happening in their living room. Alas, for the first time in six months, their blinds were pulled down. My attempt to spy was thwarted. I went instead to the kitchen to peer into the car park. A rental van had pulled in, with an older gentleman driving it. I’m assuming that is her father, helping his little princess move into her new pad. Perhaps there is no partner.

Then my blinds were suddenly pulled shut. My attempts at spying thwarted a second time. On this occasion by Mrs P. Whilst I like our blinds slanting open so that I can peer out and see what’s going on, Mrs P likes them shut to stop anyone from peering in. As with most battles of will at Chez Denness, I only ever win when Mrs P isn’t at home.

My attempts at spying did bring one noteworthy piece of information to my attention, however. You too might have noticed, if you are a particularly observant sort. The seal on the double glazing panel in our bedroom has clearly gone. There is condensation inside the unit. It’ll have to be replaced, I suppose. I wouldn’t want my neighbours blogging about the flat downstairs that is in something of a state of disrepair.