A few weeks back, as we returned home, we were accosted by the Shouty Woman. I expect she has a name but I don’t know what it is so I call her the Shouty Woman. Or The Mad Woman Next Door.
I always think that if you want people to do something, the best thing is to approach them politely, at least at first. Otherwise, you risk alienating them. Such subtlety, however, is not the Shouty Woman’s strong suit. I will admit that she caught me on the hop so I stood and gawped at her while Tigger, being more streetwise and more neighbourwise, simply ignored her and went on indoors.
Some of the houses in our row, including ours, are owned by the Council and some are privately owned. Not unexpectedly, this leads to a certain amount of friction. The good burghers (did I spell that right?) who live in the private accommodations look with a leery eye upon us Council yobs and some of them at least would like to see us removed. I suppose they think we bring the neighbourhood down. I don’t know whether the Shouty Woman is an owner occupier or a private tenant but she seems to look upon us with disfavour and yells at us if ever our dustbins cross the invisible line between our property and hers.
“When are you going to clean your windows?” she shouted.
Tigger’s silence and my gawping seemed to irritate her.
“The Council requires you to keep them clean,” she yelled.
I shuffled sideways towards the safety of the doorway. Tigger had disappeared.
“You’re dirty!” she shrieked.
I bolted indoors.
As I went out a few days later, she was there again. “Are you going to clean those windows?” she bellowed at me.
This time, I followed Tigger’s example and maintained both my pace and a dignified silence.
The Shouty Woman was wrong about one thing and right about another. We don’t have windows (plural) at the front, only a window (singular). But she was right about it being dirty.
We live on a main road with heavy traffic rumbling past night and day. Then there are, or rather were, Silas’ pigeons. They used to congregate on his balcony above our window with predictable results for the cleanliness thereof. Below our window is the basement entrance to the lower flat, so we have nowhere to stand in order to reach our very tall window. Until refurbishment, the window was jammed and could not be opened, so we could not clean the outside from inside, either. And now, there is scaffolding all up the front of the house, complicating matters.
Tigger did suggest I might like to crawl along the scaffolding with my little spray-bottle of Sainsbury’s Window Cleaner and a roll of kitchen towels but I don’t much fancy the idea. Funnily enough, even as I was writing this, the scaffolders came and removed the planks that I crawled along that time I had to break in because I had come out without my keys. So crawling is out.
I suppose we could buy one of those long-handled thingummies that people use to clean first-floor windows from the ground. It might come to that. After all, what with a refurbished flat and posh curtains at the window, we have found a new pride in our home. The Shouty Woman may think it is her doing if we clean our window but I don’t care about her. Now we have proper curtains I can look out and see the world passing by in the street. It’s rather fun.