Long-handled thingummies

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.

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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4 Responses to Long-handled thingummies

  1. athinkingman says:

    I am glad that you have found a good reason despite the Shouty Woman to do what you want to do. I am afraid that my instinctive reaction (I am so ashamed to tell you this) would be never to clean the window again and to throw dirt at hers! (I sometimes have this very, very strong aversion to doing what I am told by shouty women.)

  2. Chris says:

    @athinkingman – I like your attitude, at least in principle. One should never allow oneself to be dictated to by shouty women. If SilverTiger doesn’t mind me saying it, that neighbour of his sounds like a right battleaxe.

    However, if I had been in the same place at the same time, I would probably have either, 1) Hidden behind SilverTiger himself until the danger had passed or, 2) Rushed indoors out of harms way, just like Tigger did. Call me a scaredy-cat if you like; I don’t care.

  3. emalyse says:

    We used to have a shouty woman who would hurl expletives (really words I didn’t know myself) at all and sundry. She was quite intimidating and we assumed it was a mental health issue but apparently she was checked out by mental health as ‘normal’ who then served an asbo on her (it’s a strange world). We have one of those long handled window cleaning thingies and they work quite well (OK clean but streaky-I’ll never make a window cleaner). It’s amazing how much dirt is in the rain and air.

  4. SilverTiger says:

    It’s amazing how much dirt is in the rain and air.

    Yep, especially where we live on one of London’s main arteries. Our net curtains act as first-line air filters and turn grey almost as you watch them.

    “Battleaxe” is the right word. I think it was the initial shock that caused me to stop and gawp like a rabbit in the headlights. Tigger has had run-ins with her before and was inured to the effects. Each time I go out or come in I mentally prepare for an encounter.

    We received a letter announcing “Clean-Up Sunday” and the Council came round to collect rubbish from the front gardens. I think this must have been in response to complaints from the Shouty Woman as we have all been putting stuff out during the refurbishment. What she didn’t know was that we had also arranged for it to be removed so by the time the Council’s lorry arrived, most of it had gone 😉

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