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Monday, 6 May 2013

Happy Bank Holiday!

Happy Bank Holiday!
After a very quiet few months from me I’ve been feeling more like putting pen to paper or should I say, tapping keyboard – not half so romantic sounding.
I’m sitting here at the end of a perfect Bank Holiday.  The weather has been fantastic and I’ve been out with my family enjoying a visit to our local Naval Heritage Centre. By the far the coolest exhibits where the utterly marvellous figureheads. They were housed in a very unassuming workshop and were the very last display we were to visit, which helped greatly to restore my fourteen year old's sons better humour. It  was great to stumble upon these colourful slightly grotesque wooden ‘statues’ reaching perhaps five metres high.  The figure heads traditionally stood at the bow of the ship and seemed to personify  it. Some were mythical Gods such as Sybil and others were royal replicas such as Queen Victoria and probably the most ostentatious King William IV standing magnificent but almost hidden in the corner. To me these  wonderfully ornate and characterful carvings are totally undersold. They are a fabulous part of our maritime history and surely  tourists from across the world would flock to see them if they only knew they were there!

It was great that the Bank Holiday weekend finished so well. Things hadn’t looked so promising. On Friday I noticed that a neighbour opposite was doing strange things to his wall. His corner property was surrounded by a high brick, white plastered wall around two and a half metres. He had built a couple of pillars at either end and I could see that he had decided that he wanted to create similar pillars at regular intervals around the wall. He had marked out very accurately where he wanted the pillars to stand around six or so and somehow he was going to calve out and remove the bricks he didn’t need from the solid wall, a difficult, probably long and dirty job. I wondered when he was proposing to do this work? Nothing happened on Saturday great, sensible man.
Sunday  morning began with the sound of the buzz saw and this continued most of the day. My neighbour who was closer to him wasn’t  impressed! Remarking at least we could be grateful that the wind wasn’t a westerly or the dust would have been blowing across our houses and gardens. Yes, fine for us but what about the poor neighbour who lived next door! The noise stopped around 5pm and on my way out I noticed that he seemed to have managed to cut into the wall and I guess loosened  the squares to create each pillar. He had got much further that I thought he would.  A small consolation as I was pretty sure he would continue again next day!

When I heard the saw start up again this morning I started to feel very irritated! How could he not see that firstly, this was a ridiculous idea and secondly that it was grossly unfair to subject the neighbours to this terrible noise all weekend. Had any one complained? Was it worth going over there now that he was already more than half way through the job? Could I telephone and complain to the Council about noise pollution right now! I knew we would be out for a good part of the day so it wouldn’t be too bad but as we got ourselves organised I could hear the saw and then the bashing as I imagined him knocking down the bits of wall he didn’t want. I mused that what a shame he didn’t realise that while he would probably love his wall because of all the extremely hard work he was putting in, all around him the neighbours would hate it (and possibly him too!) Why hadn’t he thought through the consequences of his actions on everyone around him?  I felt him to be the sort of man who has some good ideas (the rest of his house and garden were looking great) but also some bad ideas. Not a problem in itself, I recognise that in myself.  It’s only a problem if we decide to act on all our ideas without discussing them and listening to feedback from other people. I feel sure that if he hadn’t been so sure, that if he had shared his vision with someone they would have said ‘Are you insane! You cannot be serious! This is a stupid idea and you are going to p___ everyone off trying to achieve it!’

As we approached our car I noticed that it was covered in the fine dust from his wall and I looked over I thought I might say something to him. Then, when I looked over I actually felt sorry for him. His plan hadn’t worked. The pillars that were left after all his sawing and bashing and smashing were not strong enough and although one or two were still standing most of the wall looked like someone had crashed into it! There were bricks and rubble everywhere on the lawn, on the pavement and dust surrounded the carnage. He was shovelling what was left of it into the back of his truck. I also noticed a hot tub van drive away. Unfortunately the wall had shielded the patio beautifully and provided a really good private space for him to relax in his hot tub. Now he would be in full view of the pedestrians and cars which frequently went by, oh and the buses.

I don’t think I had really wished him ill and as I said I did feel sorry for him. I think I stood there staring, looking shocked and he gave me a sad wave. Do you think it was possible that those neighbours in the ten or so houses he was disturbing on this our first proper sunny, garden enticing back holiday weekend, created so much negative energy that they unwittingly made his wall fall down?