Thursday, 15 April 2010

Disturbances and deposits

The other night there was a loud crack outside our window accompanied by the tinkle of glass. It sounded like a shot. I wasn't wholly shocked as quite a lot can happen around our streets (last year's August bank holiday afternoon saw someone round the corner being half-murdered with a macheté before being thoroughly run over by a Beamer - all ok, however: it was drug-related). Nevertheless, I took the precaution of opening our shutters from a crouching position. Thankfully, we weren't under armed attack.

Having gone outside to inspect it was evident that the noise had come from the smash of a beer bottle thrown against the surround of our front window. People opposite had also come out thinking they'd heard a shot so we didn't feel too foolish. Counting our blessings that the bottle hadn't smashed any windows we went back to our telly.

Further inspection the next day of the basement-level 'area' between the front of our house and the street (a sort of moat/light well that has much-appreciated defensive qualities) revealed the missile had been a bottle of Kronenbourg 1664 (better, somehow, that it had been a premium beer - there are standards, you know).

We're a bit blasé about this sort of thing as this is the fourth time in six years someone has taken it upon themselves to launch an object at our window. In reverse order we've had: a round, small pebble that made a round, small hole; a handful of stones that entirely shattered a pane; a large, black plastic dustbin that smashed and stoved in half the window. The first (in time) was obviously the worst, particularly as we had a young baby who at one time or another had been lying in his baby chair more or less under the window. That time it had been kids, who had perpetrated a rash of dustbin defenestrations in the neighbourhood - some sort of craze, no doubt. The other stone-related incidents I suspect were also carried out by kids. I imagine the most recent bottle incident was committed by some embittered, venomous drunk.

There's not really a lot to be done about this sort of thing. We inform the police, who sometimes increase the frequency of their patrols. We keep our shutters firmly shut after dark (I hadn't fully appreciated their defensive qualities when we first moved in, thinking of them largely as aids to privacy). Despite my fantasies about bringing the .410 shotgun into town (a poacher's gun that would sit quite comfortably behind the telly) the whole thing is something that just needs to be borne. That and the deposit or two of dog shit that is to be found somewhere on every street - ideally in clearly visible but not overly-prominent locations.

Front window-seeking missiles and near-ubiquitous dog shit: my two biggest concerns right now. I wonder if there's anything about them in the manifestoes?


worm said...

blimey, sounds rough in your 'hood, nobody ever smashed anything on my windows when I lived in islington! are you sure you havn't accidentally upset anyone? perhaps you turned down the offer of some lucky heather in chapel market, and now the gypsy curse is upon you

Gaw said...

We do seem to get more attrition than other houses. I'd like to think it's because we're the penultimate house on the terrace and so suffer from the imperative to get rid of your munitions before returning to base, German bomber-like. You wouldn't want to leave your jettisoning to the last possible moment and so the pressure is on by the time you reach us.

We live in a very quiet residential backwater with no through roads, which, being out of the way, is ideal for learner drivers, joy riders of stolen scooters and drug-related punishment beatings. There's a paradox there, you know.

Brit said...

We had our garage gate kicked in the other week - nothing taken just mindless chavvery.


(or before long we'll all have to move to Bakewell and live with Sean)

worm said...

thats right brit, they should all get a decent haircut too

Sean said...

You will be safe up here Garth, we have a few judges living in the area (all hangers and floggers as well) anyone throwing pebbles around here gets special branch jumping up and down on their heads. a true zero tolerance neighborhood

malty said...

You really need a moat and portcullis Gaw, available from Screwfix direct for £1072.75 plus vat, self install of course.
The drawbridge will be extra, at cost.

Everything changes and nothing changes, mid sixties, some friends invited us for a night out 'clubbing', turned out it was Mr Smiths club in Catford the very night some Richardson mob heavies walked in and started shotgun practice, adrenalin rushed around the torso like an icelandic volcano.
Some days later, we lived in the ground floor apartment of a large Victorian pile 'Knockholt Mansions', unadopted tree lined backwater, tennis club out front, park like the one in 'Blow up' out back, isolated for SE6. Some time during the night I heard noises, the lady on the pillow next to me phoned plod and I eventually plucked up courage and dived outside, complete with a large, long metal torch, saw someone in the trees and brained him with the torch, missed and whacked him on the shoulder, very painfull.

It was plod, oops, turned out that a peeping tom was out and about.

A few days later it all paled into insignificance, the Lewisham rail disaster occurred, virtually on the doorstep, we heard the sounds.

We beat the Krauts though but.

Note to Brit, I missed national service by fourteen months, the very thought sends shivers, bog off.

Gadjo Dilo said...

There is a paradox, you're right: we also live in a very quiet residential backwater with no through roads. Being backward, uncool Eastern Europe, we don't get much drugs crime or chavvery as 'being bored' is not a concept that's caught on here as yet, but our road is the dogs' toilet.

zmkc said...

Time to move to Sidonie's place.

Recusant said...

and Malty slips back into the room as if he had never been away.

Move down to my neck of the woods: the police are ubiquitous, because of all the embassies and residencies, and everyone is frightfully good about picking up the doings of their dogs. Urban cool, we aint.

Gaw said...

Brit: Mindless chavery is about it. If we can't have National Service, perhaps we could have more Bad Boys Army? It seemed to do a lot of good and I enjoyed Denis Waterman's voiceover.

Sean: It's some of the residents I would worry about.

Malty: I understand more and more about the Victorian era in London through living in our house (c.1850). As well as having a moat you could quite easily set up a portcullis at the top of our steps. And you could pour boiling oil (or slops) from our bedroom windows on any besiegers. What 's more, our terrace and adjoining ones form a sort of defensive laager. Residential architects knew what they were doing in those days.

Gadjo: At least in Romania no-one would make a fuss if you took it upon yourself to shoot a few fouling dogs.

z: But apart from all this we do quite love it here...

Recusant: My guess is that we'd need a couple of mill more to get down there what we've got up here. Anyway, West London makes me feel uneasy - too unscruffy.