Yet Another Lockdown Saturday

Since the issues with the virus began, I have been reporting from the small village of Beetley in Norfolk, about how it affects this small community.
So here is another Saturday update, with unsurprisingly little to report.

The change in the weather had an immediate affect on people being seen out and about. Rain kept in most other dog walkers, and many of the family groups who had been enjoying the outdoors by the riverside. It occurred to me that they should have just put on some coats and boots, and made the most of the remaining time off before they have to go back to work or school. But a drop of 10 degrees C overnight put paid to their enthusiasm.

After the earlier burst of activity involving cutting lawns, trimming shrubs, and banging away at parts of their houses with something heavy and noisy, it seems that they have now either done all they can do, or have lost the will to do more. We are back to peace and quiet at weekends, with no traffic, and few walkers to be seen.

On a personal note, I have become involved in a ‘neighbour dispute’ with the people at the side of our back garden. They want to cut four feet off the hedge that borders their garden, and delivered a hand-written note telling me of their intention. I have suggested arbitration from the local authorities instead, with the unhappy neighbours needing to prove that our hedge is ‘Anti-Social’, and causes ‘detrimental affects’ to the enjoyment of their rented property. If I lose the judgement, we will end up with an unsightly gap in the long hedge that will look ridiculous.

Perhaps they had too much time on their hands during this lockdown?. After all, they have lived there for some years, and the hedges were exactly the same when they took the property on. So now I have to endure an investigation from the authorities, and become involved in a neighbour dispute that I never expected to encounter in Beetley. Maybe I should have bought a small castle instead, and raised the drawbridge? Or an unpopulated island off the coast, only accessible by boat?

No matter how far away you move, in my case 130 miles, it seems you can never escape the prospect of a niggling neighbour.

67 thoughts on “Yet Another Lockdown Saturday

  1. All was sounding peaceful in Beetley until the dispute came up. I’m surprised a renter could make that kind of complaint when you’ve been there longer as an owner enjoying your privacy. I expect you’ll win the case but unpleasant to go through nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sitting here shaking my head. Renters want to cut down a hedge? I dread asking what the authorities would have to say that would justify that–it seems to me the owners may not want the hedge cut any more than you do. Good Luck. Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Theo. They want it reduced from 10 feet to 6 feet, as they say it makes their family room ‘dark’. My kitchen is dark all day, because of the orientation of the house to the sun. That’s the real issue, the position of the house they rent, not my hedge. Their garden faces due west, so the only time they get the sun at the back is late afternoon, close to sunset.
      Or maybe they have just got nothing better to do with their lives?
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Uh ohโ€”problems with the neighbors. We don’t want this to end up in your current serial. It’s incredible what people can get themselves worked up about. Isn’t the hedge just promoting social distancing?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. since our govt relaxed (slightly) the rules of isolation more people can be seen breaking the rules but that was expected…. hope all goes OK with the hedge just watch for the hedge to suddenly start dying off, some people will do anything to get their way. We are building a house, sounds like the neighbours
    could be a handful and we haven’t even moved in yet.
    Keep well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you don’t end up moving into a ‘nightmare neighbour situation’, Bobby. This is all low-key here so far. I saw on the news that people were socialising again in NZ. I hope the virus doesn’t come back, after your PM was so effective with her measures.
      Cheers mate, Pete.

      Like

  5. How annoying Pete…I hate these sort of petty complaints from others…yet it’s all part of life…and in the midst of a lockdown, the last thing you want are a bunch of people traipsing all over your property measuring hedges!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. For what itโ€™s worth, here are my two cents.
    1. He knew about the hedge when he moved in and heโ€™s only now complaining.
    2. It seems to me that as much as he supposedly doesnโ€™t like the shade the hedge is throwing, as long as itโ€™s being neatly trimmed, your wish for privacy is at the very least equal to his wish for more sun. Why canโ€™t he move his garden?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He can’t move his garden because of the positon of the house. But the protected oak tree shades his garden far more that a short length of hedge, and that is protected under law from being felled. I presume he got wound-up by the lockdown, and wanted to take his frustration out on our hedge. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tatiana,
      The header photo is an old one, from an HTC phone. I didn’t take it, unfortunately, but there are lots of photos on my blog that I did take.
      Here are some of them. There are lots more.
      https://beetleypete.com/2019/05/14/ollie-and-mousehold-heath/
      https://beetleypete.com/2017/08/22/north-elmham-a-photo-post/
      https://beetleypete.com/2016/10/18/keswick-arriving-and-exploring/
      https://beetleypete.com/2016/10/18/lodore-ollies-first-boat-trip/
      https://beetleypete.com/2016/10/20/ullswater-a-lake-in-the-mist/
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  7. At 10 feet your hedge is classed as a ‘high hedge’ (over 6 1/2 feet) and if your neighbour wants to contact the council in light of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003: Part 8 (2005) which deals with High Hedges, there is a ยฃ400 fee for doing so. He might think twice on that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, FR. I looked that up too, the ASBA 2003. He’s not short of money, as far as I know, so he may well decide to spend the ยฃ400 to get his way. Time will tell, as it is early days yet. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. He says it does, and that it makes his living room dark on sunny days. But when he viewed the house prior to renting it, that would have been plain to see. He made no objection until recently. At the time he asked to borrow the clippers, he mentioned that it stopped half hiis garden getting the sun, and I told him the hedges (and the huge oak tree that he also complained about) had always been here. The oak tree is on a preservation order, so even if he won over the hedges, the tree would still overshadow his garden all summer.

          Like

  8. I really sympathize…I’m in a strange neighbourhood where we are in the rural/frontier desert but people here persist in pretending they are in a posh gated community with water-needy landscaping and perfect lawns…it’s made me question my desire to live in a big city and just move to a desolate coast with no neighbours. *wry laugh”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We live in a small village with a good community spirit, but still value the privacy afforded our small garden by the 10-foot high hedges. The three other neighbours concerned have never complained, just the couple that rent the house in the street behind, as their garden fully borders ours.
      Now I wish I had moved three miles further north, and bought a house where you couldn’t even see a neighbour!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Good luck with that! If it’s always been that way, it seems to me that you’re on solid legal ground. But such an annoyance, especially in these hard times. One wonders… don’t they have anything better to worry about?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We’re lucky with our neighbours. Well, actually it is only one. Two sides of our property are marked by roads, and one – the back – by a dry creek and there are many trees and bushes on both our side of that dry creek and of our neighbour’s on that side and also his is a very large place with his house far away. I don’t think there will ever be a problem like you have with him. And I don’t expect any problems with our one “real” neighbour. There’s no fence at all and she and we like it that way. There’s a covenant, too, that if there’s to be a fence it has to be in mutual agreement. That arrangement suits us fine.
    I hope your “fence dispute” will not turn into a fence feud and spoil the relation with your neighbours, but that it will be solved in your favour.
    Tell them they’re lucky you won’t solve that issue once and for all in the American way! ๐Ÿ˜€
    Have a great weekend and stay healthy,
    Pit

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have agreed to abide by the decision of the local planning officials, and I am awaiting a visit from them at some stage. We have not actually had words with the couple concerned, as I replied to their letter by email, in a very reasonable tone. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I suppose this sort of dispute must be fairly common, sadly; I seem to have always been lucky with my neighbours, from what I can remember anyway! Coincidentally, my ex-wife’s sister & brother in law, with whom I am still friendly, are having this sort of dispute [but with some added unpleasantness], which sounds very tedious and potentially stressful. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is an unnecessary stress at any time, and even worse now.
      It is the first time in 8 years that we have had any disagreement with the neighbours on either side, or those in the road behind the house. I could have done without it, but I won’t allow it to become a ‘big thing’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I totally get your aggravation, Pete. While living in Florida, our elderly neighbor sold his single house which was promptly torn down and a mega-mansion built in its place. I lost all privacy as their house gave them direct view into all my windows. They also tore all the greenery out along our property line so there was no longer privacy in the pool. I hope you prevail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Maggie. This is an irritation at best, and our hedge will look ridiculous if the cutting is ordered. In the middle of all the ther worries right now, it is one more stress I could do without. Whatever happens, it seems likely that any reasonable relationship with those neighbours is now lost for good.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. In spite of the fact there are also “nigging neighbors” in good times.. these kinds of human responses during times of trauma, and isolation, anger, angst, and frustration many times gets transferred onto other avenues that previously were considered more petty or non-important. People are home more now… so they get bored and try to get distracted from their plight by tending to things not normally a life priority… and making mountains out of mole hills. It’s gonna get worse before anything gets better. Oddly, I would wager your neighbor subconsciously welcomes the dispute with you…….?

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Does sound like someone with too much time on their hands….personally I would like the privacy that is why I have a 7 foot fence around my property….good luck with the neighbor…..be well chuq

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The lady works from home, and he is a retired policeman. If he wanted a ‘view’, he should have rented a different house, as far as I’m concerned. But the council does have the authority to make me cut the hedge if they decide in his favour, and of course he knows that. Some people, eh?
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I actually lent him my hedge clippers in 2018, when he asked to borrow them to trim the bits hanging over his fence. He kept them for weeks, then brought them back without doing the job, as he didn’t feel up to it. I was happy to pay my hedge man to do that in his garden, but now he wants to make it all ‘official’, I am not bothered.
      I have ivy growing over my fence from a house on the other side. I don’t go moaning to her about it, just cut off the bits that grow across my fence.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The other houses at the back have never complained. And the owner who rents the house to them never complained either. Niggle, niggle. They just have to do it, don’t they?
      At times, I get really sick and tired of ‘people’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have the tall ‘serpentine’ hedge that I wrote about previously in the short story. It’s Sam’s pride and joy. Sam got quite incensed with teenagers forever chucking themselves into it, trying to push it over and ruin it. When it was still twiggy in the winter he ran barbed wire through it so that everybody could see where it is. People talk as they pass by, stating how dangerous the barbed wire is. Sam is of the opinion that it’s only dangerous if anybody touches it. Thankfully since the barbed wire has been in there, nobody has! Hedges can cause quite a bit of argy-bargy, but Sam is very resourceful!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Barbed wire is extreme, but if it stops people trying to ruin it, why not?
          Our smaller front hedge gets empty cans and crisp packets stuffed in it, by kids returning home from school. I hope they grow up to have their own hedge one day. Shame I won’t live long enough to stuff a can in their one. ๐Ÿ™‚
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. How high is the hedge? I guess if it casts a lot of shade I can see the problem. Maybe you could cut it all the way along? Or suggest taking off a couple of feet rather than four

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is about ten feet high, and has always been the same, even when the previous owner lived here. I pay someone to trim it now, and he does a good job. If we drop the height, we will lose the privacy of not being overlooked by the surrounding houses. There are two other houses behind that have never complained, probably because they like the privacy it gives them too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

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