Sunday, 29 June 2014

Woken Up At Midnight and It's CT 2, Wood Mouse 1

Three nights ago, some neighbours (and I use that word in the loosest possible sense of the term) decided the best idea they could come up with was to throw open the gates of their field at midnight and invite a bunch of drunk teenagers in to have a party.

We live in a quiet place so a whole caravan of cars going up the lane after dark (or, to be frank at any time) is usually indicative of an emergency. When it happens at midnight and is accompanied by screams, horns tooting and the distant but distinct 'duf, duf, duf' of music - the sort where you can't hear the tune or melody, only the dull thud of base that gets inside your skull in a way that could drive you to insanity very quickly- it means no sleep and the sort of anger whose embers are still glowing several days later.

I do not cope with broken nights. L (bless him) woke me on the hour, every hour, from the minute he was born until he turned four. You do not catch up on that kind of lost sleep, and as a result I am extremely tetchy if I get woken in the night now.

By one am, it had got louder. By 1.02 I was out of bed, dressed and grim-faced and heading for the car with the intention of discovering where the bloody noise was coming from. M, knowing I am not at my most sane or reasonable when wrenched from sleep by Other People's Noise, and perhaps therefore fearing what I would do to the person who was responsible if I found them, beat me to it and rushed off down the lane on foot with torch in hand. By the time I caught up with him he was standing beside the aforementioned neighbour who was calmly seeing cars into their field with his torch as if it was a Perfectly Normal Thing To Be Doing At Midnight. It was probably a good thing M was standing next to him because if he hadn't been I would have been tempted to run him over.

Standing in the lane was his second mistake (the first being allowing the party in the first place). His third was to start the conversation thusly: 'and who are we?'

'We,' said M grimly, 'are two of your extremely pissed off neighbours. It's a Thursday night, it's 1am, you have woken our entire household, some of whom have to go to work and school tomorrow. IT IS JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!'

He feigned a look of surprise (mistake number four) because, apparently it is Quite Acceptable in his world to blast loud music and the screams of inebriated teenagers for several miles out across the fields at 1am.

'Oh,' he shouted over the sound of the music, 'I didn't realise it was that loud.'

It was probably a good thing I was still in the car and not standing within swinging distance of him. Also that the music was so loud he couldn't hear what I saying in reply. M, who knows me well, cast me a Worried Look.

'Oh well,' he said, in a hurt and not-understanding-at-all-voice, 'if you give me ten minutes I'll ask them to turn it down. It's my son's birthday,' he added, as if that made it alright.

They didn't turn it down and I lay in bed being forced to listen to duf, duf, duf, duf for the next two hours before anger finally gave way to sleep. I drifted off dreaming of the sort of revenge that entailed getting up at 7am and driving round the field blasting the horn of the car wherever there were sleeping bodies. Unfortunately, I was so knackered the next morning (having had four hours sleep, which is about half what I need if I'm not going to turn into a pumpkin) that it was 7.30 before I struggled out of bed, and by the time I got down to the field all the buggers had gone.

The other thing that annoyed me this week was receiving a string of texts asking 'how much for a full body massage?x' from a complete stranger who never bothered to leave his name. I don't do massage, for exactly this reason. Idiots see it as a euphemism. I replied politely that I didn't do massage and then had a text saying 'can you see me tomorrow?' I felt like writing back 'exactly which bit of 'I don't do massage' did you not understand? I repeated that I didn't do massage and then the next morning I had another text from the same number again asking 'how much for a full body massage?x' I ignored it.

So my equilibrium has been sorely tested this week and I have been struggling to get it back ever since. That sense of being out of sorts was compounded today by the pitched battle I fought with the several thousand feet of bindweed which is threatening to take over the top of our garden. It has strangled my buddleia and when I tried to free it it severed several of the branches in half so now there aren't as many buds for the flutters as there would otherwise have been :-(

Never has the image of a flame thrower been more appealing..... I would get good value for money out of it too, because I could also use it on inconsiderate neighbours and idiots who think healing is a smoke-screen for something less wholesome.

It looks like a jungle at the bottom of the garden :-(

I tore as much of the bindweed away as I could and set about tidying up the rest of the beds which have also become festooned with things growing where I would rather they didn't. The recent torrential rain has flattened my cornflowers and the cosmos, with the result that sections of the garden look like someone who's been sleeping rough for several weeks with no access to a hairbrush or a fresh change of clothes.

This morning I discovered that my voles have been at work at the corn poppies which I have been assiduously nurturing these past few weeks. All that remains of them is a pile of neatly incised tidily stacked stalks cut at tell-tale 45 degree angles....

Vole Larder

By way of an apology from nature, we did get two new species of flutter in the garden today: Meadow Brown (I didn't get a pic) and this Ringlet.

A Ringlet
Along with a freshly hatched Comma....

I've moved the Nasturtiums into the back veg patch where they look colourful and cheerful....

And in so-doing managed to upset an entire colony of ants whose pre-children fell out the bottom of the pot, prompting much frantic scurrying about and furious waving of tiny fists in my direction as the ants attempted to relocate the eggs.... They look more papery than I'd realised close up.

While this was going on I also found a Cellar Snail. I am Becoming Very Interested In Snails. Cellar Snails are flatter and smaller than Common Snails, and as such are probably food for Glow Worms, which M and I went out hunting for the other night (but more on that in a later post).... I am Getting Very Interested In Glow Worms too....

Cellar Snail Cutey Pie

Some areas of the garden are looking better than others. The Calendula sown from seed this year are beginning to flower....

And the Spirea is looking Pink and Fluffy (unlike me)....

The Poached Egg plants are cheerful and the Star Jasmine smells divine....

And a new kind of Dragon flew over for a chat as well- I think this is a Common Darter, but feel free to offer corrections if I'm wrong...

M has been out since 5am (so less sleep for me again. It is Just As Well we have next week off and are planning on visiting some Nice National Trust Properties, which is confirmation of my having reached Middle Age in a way nothing else is). He and his friend Tall Paul (whose thirteen year-old daughter changed his username on some cycling-related website to Baldy Gonzalez quite a long time before he noticed) are cycling 140 miles round the South. They have various strategic cream-tea stops booked in along the way (very hard-core) and are not due back till 6pm, which doubtless means M will manage to stay awake just long enough to consume supper and a pint of home brew before he's snoring through the final episode of Game Of Thrones....Which I suppose will balance last night, when I fell asleep after a particularly large gin and had to be woken up for supper at 8, and then had no idea where I was, who I was, what time it was and what generally was going on..... :-)

The mouse (in case you were wondering) went back into the Longworth again on Fri night and has been set free in the Vineyard, a reasonable distance away from the house. I was careful to blindfold him, spin round a few times and talk in a foreign language while we walked up to the vineyard to make Absolutely Certain he was thoroughly confused about where he was. And I kept all sleeves tucked well out of the way too when I opened the trap so we didn't suffer any mouse tickles upon release. We are now waiting to see whether he finds his way back (I won't be surprised if he does).

I'll leave you with a pic of Pop who has been helping me garden, which translated means she has been chewing up the various sticks I've chucked on the ground in a small fit of fury over the bindweed problem....

Until next time, I hope you all have Equilibrium-Filled Weeks....

CT :-)


  1. And you thought it was quiet and peaceful in the Countryside!

    We get second home owners having all night Duf, Duf, Duf music sometimes, 2 fields away and still LOUD. Then sometimes we have tractors working on fields around us all night too - Such Fun

    1. If it's natural noise it doesn't bother me at all. I have no problem sleeping when the vixens are crying or the owls hooting or the frogs singing, but people noise undoes me.

  2. The noise sounds horrible!!! Glad that you got rid of Mr Mouse though, I hope that he doesn't return!!! xx

    1. It WAS horrible. I have since learnt that most of our lane was kept awake by it. No one is pleased with that particular neighbour :-(

  3. What a time you've had, hope there is not a end of school dance!! I don't do well with no sleep too, the smallest thing can seem HUGE.
    The Comma looks beautiful all new?
    Hope you have a nice time next week.
    Amanda xx

    1. I rather fear there will be, and that's only across the fields too :-( Ear plugs are the answer (or a bottle of gin).

      Yes I think a new comma- so fresh and perfect, for a second I thought it was a fritillary and got all excited because we've never had them here. A comma is most welcome too xx

  4. In our former home, drunken parties up the road, complete with fireworks were uncomfortably common with the excuse of a 'holiday.' Even in a 'nice' rather rural neighborhood this can happen--and there seems little recourse.
    Sorry about your voles--there's always something after the garden!

    1. Noise at night and me just don't mix...I must be getting old!

      I'm not too worried about the voles, I rather love have having them here...although doubtless I will be saying something different if they eat everything in sight.... :-)

  5. The noise must of been awful some people are just so inconsiderate, aren't they!!!!! And the thing that really annoys me is that they just don't realise, do they!!!! Fair play to you for not taking a swing at him, I bet you so wanted to!!!
    Love the little snail, never seen one of those, something else to look out for, I'm discovering so much from you blog!!
    Your flowers are looking beautiful, and I hope you manage to sort that bindweed out, nasty stuff!
    Here's hoping you have a quiet week and manage to catch up on your sleep. xxxx

    1. We've since had an apology via a letter, which makes it better (although I'm still speechless that a midnight till 5am party was deemed a reasonable thing to do in this environment).

      I LOVE those little cellar snails and they are pretty widespread around the UK so you may well find some in your garden. They have flatter shells than common snails and are much smaller with brown shells and grey bodies xx

  6. When you answered that ad about the massage, they got your address, so you will continue hearing from them. Go up to the top of your email page and block them - that happens innocently enough. A person opens something simple like the history of dolphins and all of a sudden you are in a singles bar, or offered scandalous things. Beware of whom you open - they're only looking to connect and will sell your address to others, so block the next message or messages - BLOCK ALL. Noise like that should have been reported to the constable/police and "ooh, there's a nice field - we could all gather there and crank it up - they do the same sometimes here till the Mounties are called and then the Mounties do a drive by to ensure they haven't come back - the Mounties come in a group, surround them and check all their Id's to see if they should even be drinking alcohol- they look for a place to party and they picked your field. Nobody in their right mind that had any sort of decency as a parent or otherwise would have allowed their kids to do this - I am not from America but as they say in the American Movies - "Call da Coppers Marcy" - wow, your garden looks so "puffy" and those ants - the "pre-baby" sacs are just that, kinda papery. I too have seen them. Nice snail and photo of Dragonfly - we have thousands of coloured dragonfly's on the river right now, feasting on black fly's and mosquito's. We went out for a boat ride on Wed, fishing (on my post) and there there thousands and thousands of them. Landing on my arm, my knee, my hand, my hat, but I loved every minute of it because there were no black fly's or mosquito's to attack us.....AND they were so pretty. They land very softly, rest a moment and then take off in a blaze because they have spotted food. Our Dragon fly's had a rather purply tinge to their wings, if that means anything to you. I love it that you always include Pop. See Ya and have a nice day.

    1. Your dragons sound lovely- how magical to have them land on you. I'm OK at UK species ID but would be clueless about Canada :-)

      We've just got back to find a note from the annoying neighbour containing an apology for the party, so hopefully he got the message! And re the dodgy message, it was on my work mobile rather than email and I've not had another one so hopefully he's finally understood too- if I do get another I will block the number :-)

      Hope the fishing's going well :-)

  7. I totally sympathise. I can't stand it if my sleep is disturbed. Like you natural noises don't bother me but woe betide anyone who selfishly makes tons of noise at night.

    Jean x

    1. It is unsociable and selfish, and he is old enough to know better, but I suppose I can (dimly) remember being 18 and partying all night and never thinking it might be annoying other maybe this is Karma?! :-)

  8. Hey CT,
    I have recently mentioned a party in which I broke one of my Mum's prized Royal Doulton figurines. I didn't mention my next door neighbour, Auntie Beryl. She went down in teenage history for walking into a party in full swing, grabbing a fag of the hostess, pulling the plug on the music, telling all the boys to 'leave before I box your bleeding ears' and then making fag puffing hostess tidy away and wash up all party traces. You needed Auntie Beryl. She would have sorted it.
    Leanne xx

    1. I LOVE AUNTY BERYL!!!! Where can I get one? Fabulous story- I shall try that next time :-) xx

  9. I'm SEETHING for you CT! I'm utterly hopeless without sleep and am feeling rather that way myself tonight. OB is going through a phase of 'not being able to go to sleep' and appearing at the sitting room door half an hour after he was meant to be asleep claiming various things are responsible.

    As for the full body massage requests, I don't know where to start! xx

    1. Oh poor you Em- L went through exact same stage to a 'T.' We used to write down all his excuses: everything from 'my pillow is too hot' to 'my toe is hurting' !! I used to despair it would ever end, but it did once I gave up trying to impose bedtime. Now he goes to bed 10.30 when we do and there isn't a peep out of him till morning.

      Nothing more from Mr 'Full Body Massage' which is probably just as well, given how grumpy I've been since being deprived of my sleep!

      PS- I am trying to get suitable pics of Pop, but so far the 'right' one hasn't appeared. I haven't forgotten :-) xx

  10. Sounds awful, brings back memories of when my elderly neighbour thought it would be ok for his then teenage granddaughter to have some friends over for parties, yes there was more than one! I have distinct memories of Mike locking me in the house & trying to sort out the mess next door including some dipstick(I'm being polite) climbing on the roof!!! Ii have those snails in my garden too, so excited now, I never thought Ii would be excited about snails. I've got oodles of bindweed too, not excited about!

    1. Noisy, drunken teenagers having parties bad, cellar snails lovely, bindweed VERY VERY bad :-(

      I think M would lock me in the house too....however, I might have climbed out of the window which probably wouldn't have been a good idea. You did well not to, Jo :-) xx

  11. So sorry to hear about the party and noise problems - absolute nightmare :( I don't cope well without at least 7 hours sleep. There was a wedding near here recently held in a marquee in the garden and the celebrations went on for several nights. They did stop just after midnight but then on one occasion started again 5 minutes later so you are constantly on edge :( Hope the mouse hasn't returned - we used to catch them in the garage in humane traps and let them go about a mile away. Still get them from time to time though even though I now store bird food in a big plastic dustbin.

    1. I did have a major sense of humour failure :-( But I think we made our point and I'll be surprised if it happens again.
      How annoying about the wedding celebrations- inconsiderate towards everyone else. I would have been on edge too.
      No sign of the mouse- must have just been one and now he is too far away to find his way back :-) Dustbin for bird food is an excellent idea.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x