Donald MacInnes: Why I've hit the roof over a SWAT team of noisy builders

 

Following last week's mean-spirited and unwarranted attack on the infant millionaire Prince George, I fully expected to be bundled into a van and driven to the Tower of London, then ordered to stand in the corner of the gift shop until I had sorted my head out.

Thankfully, we live in a land where all speech is free and if Prince Charles happens to remind you of a tweed-swathed goblin plotting under a bridge, you have permanent leave to say so. It is a grim old fairy tale he is living, sure enough.

Unlike the "royal" family, which costs the British taxpayer just 62p each a year (a drop of 7p on last year… woo hoo!), the recipients of this week's spluttering rage cost us all fortunes in not just monstrous rolls of tenners, but in hours of sleep lost and in nerve endings hammered flat by their seemingly permanent presence.

I talk (with a Basil Rathbone sneer), of course, of builders.

My wife and I live in the ground floor flat of a converted townhouse in Blackheath, London. The flat above had been empty for a while, but was then bought and earmarked for major renovation work. Like a dark and malevolent circus occupying an innocent village green, the driveway in front of the house was annexed overnight by vans bearing a sweaty SWAT team of dusty men with sufficient drills and buzzsaws to reduce the Houses of Parliament to a pile of toothpicks. Twice.

For the first few weeks we thought they must have brought their rubber hammers and jelly saws, because they really didn't bother us at all. Well, not in terms of noise, but they did begin to wind my wife up with their sneering inaction as she tried to reverse our car past their van blocking the drive. Well, I say "inaction"; they managed a few words, most of them involving combinations of "love" and "sweetheart" and "darlin'".

Then the noise began. It sounded like they were fencing with chainsaws. Or giving R2-D2 an appendectomy without anaesthetic. It produced the kind of brain-piercing unhappiness that made you want to lock yourself in a disused fridge with David Walliams and James Corden, just to get some perspective on what real suffering feels like.

It got so bad that last Friday (my first day off in a week) I couldn't stand it any more and ran up the stairs, where I pounded on the door of the flat. A small weasel of a man opened it.

"Aye?" He was Scottish. Brilliant. "Look, mate," I growled. "Enough's enough. It's too much. You're driving us mental. I'm warning you. Shut the [word drowned out by drilling] up, okay?"

To my annoyance, he apologised profusely and promised he would keep it down that day and be finished by Monday morning. "Great," I said, and skipped down the stairs, glad at my manliness. "See?" I said to my wife, "I know how to speak to these people."

Footnote: they haven't left.

Twitter.com/DonaldAMacInnes

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor