Monday, November 24, 2003

Vanessa relates how she saw her neighbour in his pants and he saw her; also in her undies. This would be kind of like a nightmare for me - although of course it's unlikely to ever happen. Of my 3 neighbours Mrs A is widowed, at least 65 and I have never seen her wearing anything other than a black dress and a shawl. Mrs C also lives alone but has a daughter who visits her sometimes. They are both lovely to chat to though sometimes you get the idea that Mrs A is a bit nervous and frankly living where I do this seems pretty reasonable. Actually Mrs C is a bit odd too. My ex flatmate was once talking to Mrs A about the fire alarm and happened to see through her flat to the bedroom. Around the bed were at least a dozen straight backed chairs - all facing the bed, and on each chair was a doll or teddy bear looking at the bed.

Right next door is K. Actually as we share a light-well the chances of accidental viewage would be quite high if she wasn't so mysterious that I don't know anything more about her than that - her name begins with K and she might be French. Given that we share a landing door and most of the time can be no further apart than 5 metres this might seem odd, but she is a real mystery. We hardly ever see her arrive or leave. In fact I've had 3 convs with her in 18 months :

1) When she arrived we went round and invited her for a drink (her : "Yes a 'coffee' sometime would be fine". As if)
2) When she locked us all out using the Chubb security button and refused to answer her intercom
3) Confusion over her electricity meter.

It's actually quite sad as she was recently burgled but didn't even say anything to us then - we only found out as we have the same landlord. I always say hi to her on the very rare occassions I see her on the stairs, but communication is not encouraged. Perhaps I'm a nosy neighbour - after all living in London does give you carte blanche to ignore your neighbours utterly. It's one of the benefits, and sometimes prerequistes of living here. Oh yeah - and she makes the most delicious dinner smells. And that's it.

Although thankfully I have never seen any of my current neighbours in a state of undress this has not always been the case. Many moons ago I lived in a shared house in Finsbury Park and one day we got a large envelope in the post with just our house number on. So we opened it up and there were lots of pictures inside of this group of friends, their house, their cat, them in the forest somewhere, them in the forest with no clothes, them in a pool in the forest with no clothes (not swimming, just standing), them in a pool in the forest with no clothes posing as Robin & Marion (+ assorted merry men).

Nothing naughty - just a bunch of friends playing (as one does) Naked Robin Hood. This was fine, merely some random postage; until we recognised the cat and realised it had to be one of the neighbours. Eventually after much "is that the corner of a shed" style conversation and peering out of our windows we worked out where they lived and late at night pushed the photos through their letterbox - but it was completely obvious that the envelope had already been opened and all the photos well looked through.

What else could we have done - introduced ourselves in the pub? "Oh sorry –these came to us by accident and it’s taken us 2 weeks of detailed forensic analysis to work out who you are with your clothes on. By the way when are you next going away for the weekend?" It's a nice thought tho . . .

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