The return of my senses

A post from my early days as a blogger. Only one person has ever read it, I believe.

beetleypete

Since giving up work, and retiring to Norfolk, I have noticed something quite strange. This was almost immediate, and happened without warning. My hearing returned. Not that I was deaf, you understand, just unaware how much auditory capacity I had previously lost.

Over ten years of working in Police Control Rooms had meant that I had to wear a headset for 12 hours a day. This was a dual-purpose item, used for radio transmissions, and answering telephone calls too. It was never turned off, so even if other operators were talking, you always heard everything that went on. Meanwhile, you could hear all the talking and shouting across the room, and the noise of the telephone ring signal in your ear, despite whatever else you may have been doing. Other than the occasional headache, I was not really aware of any damage that this may have been doing to my…

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Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

The Quiet Life.

I woke up earlier to the distant sound of a lawn mower, which stopped soon after. Almost a hour later, and one car drove past the house. Since then, the only noise has been the sound of confused bees flying into the windows.
The soft tapping as they try a few times, before realising it is pointless.

The quiet life indeed.

Remembering the sayings of my youth today.
‘Live fast, and die young’. ‘Better to burn out, than just fade away’.

I genuinely never expected to get old. I worked in stressful jobs, smoked too many cigarettes, and liked a drink too. I lived fast, but didn’t die young. I used to say that I would be lucky to see sixty, and when I got to sixty, thought another five years might see me out. But that didn’t happen. I think about why that didn’t come to pass, and can only put it down to living a quiet life.
I stopped worrying about being able to go to shows and exhibitions, or the ability to eat out anytime I chose to. Stopped worrying about having to keep in touch with everyone, and to meet up on a constant rota of plans and engagements. And I moved away from the stress of life in the big city, the constant noise, and crowded streets.

I got a dog, and started to wander about. Living a quiet life.

I rarely go out in the evenings, and there is no circle of friends for me to socialise with. I sleep longer, think a lot more, take some photos occasionally, and read some books. The closest I get to excitement these days is enjoying a binge-watch of a TV series, or a good film that I have been looking forward to seeing.

When I lived in London, I used to hear people talking about wanting to live a quiet life, somewhere peaceful. I thought they lacked imagination, and would regret that choice. They would hanker after the bright lights and entertainment choices they had left behind, later realising that they had made the wrong decision. I didn’t tell them that of course, believing they had to find out the hard way.

Then I got to the age when I could imagine the same thing. I remembered those conversations with a wry smile, as I found myself having them with younger people keen to deter me from making the same decision. I concluded that you have to wait for the right time. That time when the quiet life beckons, and you are able to embrace it.

And I did.

Thinking Aloud on A Sunday

Neighbours.

When I lived in London, neighbours could ruin your life, even though they may or may not have intended to. Selfish people might play loud music, and refuse to answer the door when you went to complain. The authorities were so inundated with such complaints, they just didn’t have enough staff to deal with them. Likewise the Police, overwhelmed by incidents, and no time for what they saw as a petty squabble. Live in a block of flats, as I did for twelve years before coming here, and you can magnify the problems greatly. I had people living above, either side, and below. Working shifts, and trying to sleep at ‘unusual times’ made it all worse, as very few people are considerate enough to turn down televisions, stop home improvement projects, or not have radios blaring at all hours. One next-door neighbour went away for a weekend leaving her smoke alarm blaring, until the battery ran out. I was on the verge of smashing down her door and ripping it off the ceiling, when it suddenly stopped.

City living is hard. And living in a five-storey block of sixty flats housing almost two hundred people makes it even harder.

So I retired to a quiet village in Norfolk. Peace at last. For a while.

Then someone opposite started to run a side business of cutting firewood, stacking it in the area in front of his house, and presumably selling it on. Chainsaws. On cutting days, the petrol-driven chainsaws start around 08:30, and continue relentlessly, often until dark. It is not illegal to make such noise of course, but it is completely inconsiderate. When we moved here six years ago, there were a lot of small children around, and a few houses owned dogs. We didn’t mind that. It was nice to see the children having fun, and we had a dog too. Now those children have noisy motor cycles, noisy souped-up cars, and friends who visit with even more noisy vehicles. And not only does every house but one now own a dog, the house next door has become a ‘dog-sitting’ business, with as many as eight dogs yapping and barking, just over the fence.

Then the boyfriend of the dog-sitter started working on cars, in the driveway close to the side window of our living room. Installing more powerful exhaust sytems, running engines, and constantly hammering parts too. Then he expanded, and friends and customers arrived, so he could make their cars run faster and sound louder too. Once again, it’s not illegal. It’s his hobby, and maybe he makes some spare cash from it, or helps his friends for nothing. But we now have at least four cars outside most days, sometimes six. And being young, just working on the cars in silence is not an option. They also have to have the car music system blaring, usually some sort of Rap, or Hip-Hop. They are not unpleasant people. They are a friendly young couple who will happily take in a parcel for you, and give you a happy greeting as you walk by.

But they are not considerate, and pursue their business and hobbies with scant regard for those of us who live close by. Yesterday, I had to go out and talk to some young men working on cars next door. After almost thirty minutes of revving engines accompanied by deafening pop music, enough was enough. I calmly explained to them that it was very hot, so we had all our windows open. I suggested that they turn the volume down, and remember that people are living a few feet away from their antics. The neighbour wasn’t even around, just letting his pals use his facilities in the garage. They did apologise, and turned off the music. Luckily, this is Beetley, and not London, where I could have risked being beaten up by asking the same thing. But they carried on fixing up the cars, making the most of the fine weather and good light, no doubt.

I was left regretting the move to what we thought was such a peaceful place. As new people move in, the area is bound to change for the worse. I mused over my ‘ideal’ residence, and made a mental check-list.

I would like to live where the nearest neighbour was not visible, even using binoculars.
A moat would be nice, with a drawbridge that can be raised.
Perhaps thicker walls, with the living accommodation higher up.
There would have to be surrounding land which I owned, so that nobody could build nearby.
I realised that I had the perfect solution.

A castle.