I meet a First World Problem.

I know that we in what is almost certainly the most terrifying, confusing and anxious time for any human to be alive. There are more things wrong in this world than at any other time in its history, and if the past is anything to go by, future generations will look back and on this time with incredulity and ask, “You only had climate change, droughts, floods heatwaves, famine, and wars to worry about? Was that all?”

But the thing that annoys me most is the never ending noise. I don’t mean noise in some allegorical or figurative sense, but in the literal sense. I know its a first world problem but a first world problem is still a problem and one that seems all the more problematic because there’s nothing I can do about it.

As recounted previously in this blog, about two years ago the landlords of my old house decided they wanted to take back possession of it, with predictable consequences for me. Fortunately, my good friend Nosferatu lives in a house with enough space and invited me to share. Fandabbidosy. The only downside to this offer was that she lives in a row of terraced houses in a part of North London, where it seems everyone either wants a loft conversion or an extension. And when they’re finished, sell it only for the new buyers to gut the entire property and start again. It’s like a game of endless domino’s. A loft conversion is started and within a couple of weeks of it being finished an extension will be started at someone else’s house and when that’s finished, another couple of weeks will pass before work starts repairing someone’s roof and well, you get the idea.

According to Nosreatu, to whom I have mentioned this problem repeatedly and at some length, part of the problem is that I haven’t lived in a terraced house for over 30 years. When she wants to wind me up she calls me ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ on account of the fact that, as she says ‘You’ve always lived in Victorian hunting lodges and now you’re slumming it’, which I is unfair, given only one my previous abodes had a servants entrance.

But having gotten really quite used to the idea of peace and quiet, it is something of a rude awakening – literally – to be woken up by scaffolders noisy drilling their erections together. And that annoys me, why is it only in the morning they seem to work? Come afternoon they are nowhere to be heard. I know that every council has different regulations as to what time work can start but do they also have rules as to when it stops.

In the hot weather, sleeping with the window open is essential but I have to endure the bothering of my ears caused by the neighbours noisy vermin every morning. Early, and by early I mean 6.30 am early. Saturdays too, their shouting and screaming remaining unfettered by any notion of parental responsibility because one mustn’t curtail their freedom of expression. I’ve suggested to Nosferatu that I find a recording of screaming children, looping it so it lasts for hours, and playing it through a speaker that I’ve hung out of my bedroom window. A call to go back to bed.

But that, I’m told, is anti-social. As I wrote earlier, I know my problem with noise is a first world problem but a first world problem is still a problem and one that seems all the more problematic because there’s nothing I can do about it