Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's war!

We have, on the whole, awesome neighbours. It's a caring tight knit community without anyone getting in your face. Tools and trailers are borrowed and returned, stock are rotated round the neighbourhood so the poorest doers get the best grazing, drenches and other items best bought in bulk are shared, and every now and then we have a drink together.

Except (and there is always an except isn't there) for one lot. Who have mates with gang patches, and a different perspective on life. They don't have any stock, instead they have a great collection of weeds - probably sheltering plantings of things it is illegal to grow. And a collection of abandoned vehicles, and some dogs that they don't necessarily control. The house is in a state of advanced lack of maintenance. In fact it lacks doors and windows because they have been broken and not replaced. All of which would be fine (except maybe the dogs) if they didn't otherwise bother us.

When we first moved in they didn't bother us a lot. They had the occasional party, but not too frequently, and they came over and borrowed the phone every now and then, but only made local calls.

In the last month or so they have been living a lot harder, the parties have increased in duration and frequency - now up to two or three a week - and the stereo has got so loud that we can't sleep through it with all the windows shut (they must be extremely deaf over there as they are a reasonable distance away). On top of the music the occasional fight breaks out and there is more noise as they smash the house up some more and scream abuse at each other or just scream. We stopped letting them borrow the phone after the toll bill came in so they go up the road and make toll calls on another neighbours phone, a woman on her own who is too scared to tell them they can't use the phone until they pay the toll bill plus some more for next time, which is what we did.

The scary bit is there are children in that house... who are absent when the school bus does its run on the mornings after a party...

One of the neighbours called the dog ranger as she watched five dogs as a pack wander through everyones property snapping at the heels of every animal they found on the way while their owner watched them and made no attempt to call them back. The dog ranger came out, unfortunately found only two dogs present but removed one unregistered one.

So I got stroppy and told them I would shoot any dog I found on my property. It probably wasn't a good move... (especially as I don't have a gun so can't follow that through) as I was treated with a fair amount of disdain for my efforts.

Now we are taking turns round the neighbourhood ringing noise control on party nights. Sometimes we don't get it right and noise control is inundated with complaints every ten minutes. The first time we did it they went out and rang back to say they would not be going back without the police. We replied that they should call the police then as the stereo was still going. They didn't that night. The next party they did turn up with the police. Which was effective and silence descended. But obviously they had some beer left over because they had another one two nights later. And when the cops and noise control showed up there was too many of them to enforce the peace and the cops retreated. (we suggested to them when they reported this to us that they should not tolerate threats of violence to police and tear gas or the armed defenders was a good solution...) at three in the morning, in need of sleep, and due to get up to go to work again in three and a half hours, they were lucky I didn't have access to a firearm because if I had had I would have used it. The next day I picked a couple of dozen bottles, half a dozen hard boiled eggs, three or four plates, an onion and a TV remote out of the horse paddock. I took great pleasure at hurling the remote into their watertrough, luckily none of the bottles were broken and the horses tend to stick to the other side of the paddock... but I was not amused and told the police about it among our other chats. They have suggested to the council that the state of the house makes it uninhabitable and they should be issued with an order to repair or vacate it but the council isn't that interested.

Last night they had another party. "It's only Wednesday" said the girl at noise control as husband took the cordless phone outside so she could hear the noise. He explained that he didn't think the day of the week mattered a lot to people who didn't work anyway.... so eventually a lot of cops and the noise control turned up and the music stopped for half an hour before it restarted. The police have a few more thoughts on the matter but I was too tired this morning to take in what they were planning to do next.

Went outside shortly after this discussion to find someone has rammed our mailbox and flattened it during the night. Must have been an accident.... yeah right! As it was attached to a 4 by 4 post I hope the vehicle used sustained some good damage.

Not sure who is going to win this one...

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