There goes the neighbourhood

REGULAR readers of this column will remember my initiative to launch a property version of Neighbourhood Watch. This was a service designed to assist prospective house buyers in assessing their new neighbours to be. It is a well-known fact that the most delightful property can be ruined by those who live in adjoining properties. It had been my intention to offer to provide a detailed analysis of a neighbourhood outlining any anti-social behaviour that is not immediately apparent from a conventional scrutiny of a new house. You know the kind of thing: loud music, noisy dogs, domestic disputes, being Belgian.

Unfortunately my scheme got into immediate problems with my first assignment. I had been commissioned to keep an eye on a street in East Sheen. Unfortunately on my first night on duty I was reported to the police and arrested for kerb crawling. I pointed out that I was actually stationary and that East Sheen is not one of the racier fleshpots of south-west London. The officer was just doing his job and, between him and me, her at number 24 was a bit of a pain. If he did not move me on he and most of the Metropolitan Police Force would be looking for gainful employment elsewhere.

I was happy to oblige and, not wishing to run into an unnecessary fracas with the civil liberties movements or become embroiled in the debate about closed circuit television, I made my excuses and left. The people who had been planning to move into number 22 were extremely pleased with my report. They had no wish to live next door to a lady with a direct line to the local nick and duly withdrew their offer.

I wish now that I had kept my Neighbourhood Watch credentials intact. In the recent past I have discovered that the problems of new neighbours are not restricted to those buying houses. They can be equally traumatic for the incumbent residents when newcomers arrive in the vicinity. In the last fortnight I have been blessed with the arrival of two new sets of neighbours who have moved into properties that have been vacant for a period which is entirely incompatible with the so-called housing shortage.

One set of neighbours are distinctly nervous. I suspect they are part of the FBI's witness protection programme. They have littered their property with security alarms and these wretched security lights which are triggered by the slightest movement of a vole, cat or fluttering leaf. Their house is bathed in a permanent bright, fluorescent light, as indeed is my house.

It would be easier to sleep during the daytime when it is darker were it not for the arrival of neighbour number two who is a religious fanatic. I have no idea of his creed but it requires him to wail and chant endlessly for large parts of the day. The first time I heard him I thought he was suffering from Delhi belly after an unfortunate experience with a prawn korma. Sadly not. This man is a serious apostle.

I have wrestled with a solution to these intrusions and have decided on the creation of the Leylandii Preservation Society. These trees are the scourge of suburban society because they grow to enormous heights extremely quickly. I believe they could be instrumental in persuading new and disruptive neighbours to think again about their new abode. The beauty of the scheme is that you do not need to actually plant any trees. I will let you know how my scheme progresses.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive + incentives + uncapped comms: SThree:...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sale...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer (Trainee) - City, London

£25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future