13 AUGUST 1994, Page 39


Dear Mary. . .

Over the years I have suffered more than a fair share of trouble from neighbours, but I believe I have now found the complete solution. When my neighbours recently complained about my singing in the bath, I decided to take drastic action. First, I had a `FOR SALE' notice erected in my garden and let it be known that I was moving house. I then contacted friends who are engaged in amateur dramatics. On an after- noon when I knew my troublesome neigh- bours to be at home, I telephoned my friends. Disguised as a 'family' of Hell's Angels, they made their noisy arrival on two large motorcycles. First they called next door asking if that house was for sale. Rebuffed by my horrified and terrified neighbours, the Angels spent the afternoon loudly examining my house as prospective buyers. They turned up the stereo to maxi- mum volume (Meatloaf) and lobbed a few lager cans into next-door's garden. During their survey of the house they loudly expressed their delight with it in the most vulgar language. They drove their motorcy- cles through the house. The climax came when, sitting with me in the garden, they declared in loud voices that 'this is the f . . . pad for us, perfect for weekly meetings of the Chapter and all-night parties' etc. They then roared off scattering estate agents' lit- erature in their wake. The next day I received a visit from the neighbours, who begged me not to sell to the 'family'. After a period of 'consideration', I told them that for the moment I would not be selling. However, I let it be known that the Angels were very disappointed and that they were living close by in the hope that I might change my mind. I am now master of my neighbours, who do everything they can to please me. Their subservience is pitiful to behold. Of course, I still sing in the bath. I hope this story will help readers. My friends are available for hire to Spectator readers at reasonable rates.

R.B., West Cornwall. Thank you for your enjoyable account. I found your solution stimulating, but fear that too few Spectator readers would be prepared to go to such lengths to punish their own ungrateful neighbours.

Q. In a few days' time we are throwing quite a large 21st birthday party for our daughter. Out of courtesy, formal invita- tions were sent to my sister-in-law (who is large and pompous), her husband and their four children plus their husbands and wives. None of them has replied. How can I find out, for table planning and catering purposes only, which, if any, of them is coming without ringing them direct and giv- ing my sister-in-law the satisfaction of thinking we care whether or not she and her progeny will be gracing the occasion with their presence?

J.E.P.F., Woking.

A. Do not bother to find out. Should they turn up you will be able to humiliate them by publicly redoing your table plans, and ordering extra food with a 'more in pity than in anger' expression on your face.

Mary Killen