Friday, January 4, 2008

Thinking positive

I can’t write much today. James’s family has just left, Bella has been feeding at two hourly intervals day and night, ever since I told people she was sleeping through, the dog next door continues to wake us early every morning with its howls, and I have just heard that one of my dearest friends in the world has given birth to her first baby, a little boy. I am (respectively) too sad, too tired and too excited to write. So I shall leave you with this letter that I wrote two weeks ago to my neighbours. They show no signs of responding so we may as well enjoy the funny side – think positive is one of my new year's resolutions after all.

I am off to sleep with Bella. I know this is a mistake because it means letting Jemima at large in the house with her little friend Sofia. I did this, this morning, with a different friend. I let them play behind the closed door of her bedroom for nearly an hour. “We’re having so much fun!” I could not bare to spoil it, especially when she was mourning the departure of her cousins.

Of course when I opened the door I wished I had (spoiled it, I mean). The shelves, drawers and cupboards were bare and her bed was nowhere to be seen. We found it an hour later. It had been hiding underneath a debris of clothes, books, puzzle pieces, paper doll clothes, tiny beads… Clearing up with their participation was fun, you can imagine. Oh well, it was just another reminder that we have way too much stuff in this house. I discovered bits and pieces I’d forgotten we had. Time for another clear out. Oh that reminds me I also need to blog about taking my girls and their cousin to give presents to Sok Chan’s family this Christmas. Oh so much to say! Next week I promise.

So no, on second thoughts I won’t disappear with Bella after all. I’ll sit and join their play and continue to text Jo, the newest member of the 'very clever, incredibly brave, just been through hell but now deliriously happy brigade' (mothers, in case you are no longer with me). The one good thing about being hours and oceans away from your favourite people is that when something happens in the middle of the night we are the first to know. I’ll see you next week with lots of interesting posts I promise.

I have already told you about one set of neighbours. This letter was addressed to the ones on the other side.

Dear Sir

Apologies for writing in English but I know you speak it well - better than my French these days.

I am writing to you from the house next door because I never seem to find you in and your wife will not speak to me. I do not understand her hostility, but it makes it hard to gather the courage to come over and speak to you personally. One time I tried when you were out she shouted "tell those foreigners to go away". So please forgive my emailing you instead.

As I write your dog is howling so loudly I cannot hear myself think. I am tired again because he woke us all up today, as he has done for the last month (since the other one savaged our cat).

No doubt your wife will come home and the dog will stop howling. But she will start shouting for hours on end, as she has done for the two years that we have lived here.

I am sorry - I want to be a good neighbour, I have often found you to be pleasant and civil and we greatly appreciated your contribution to our cat's vetinary bills. I once had your sweet daughter over for play and dinner.

But my patience is running out. It feels as if our life is invaded every day by yours. Can you help?

Your dog is obviously unhappy to be left alone. I work at home in the mornings and am at home with my children for the rest of the day. It howls the minute it is left alone and does not stop until someone comes home. You can imagine what that is like for us on weekends when you go away. Perhaps it needs a new friend or someone to care for it when you are out?

Perhaps you could also ask your wife to stop shouting at the top of her voice? It scares my toddler, wakes my baby, gives me a headache and makes it impossible for me to work.

As I write this I realise it is ridiculous to have let this go on for two years without coming over to speak to you. I did once come at 6am on Sunday morning to ask your wife to stop screaming but she just shouted something at me and closed the door. My husband came yesterday but there was no one there.

It is Christmas and I believe in peace and good will. I hope you will find a way to make things better for the year to come, and that we can be happy neighbours again.

Thank you and very best wishes

1 comment:

Tara said...

Happy New Year - is that the Jo that I know too? How lovely. We are waiting to hear about at least 5 babies this month....

Your letter above would be hilarious if not so tragic for you guys. What does the wife shout at all day? And my husband suggests it is not surprising that the husband is probably so elusive as he surely needs to get away...!

I can fully empathise with the feeding thing... there is nothing to say that you don't already know I am sure - but at least you know there are others out there!

Can't wait to see the rest of your posts for 2008...

Much love T x