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Neighbour complains about us talking in our garden

(119 Posts)
morningsarethebest Thu 19-Sep-19 09:02:32


First time poster, long time reader.

I live in a typical suburby house in London, with DH and DD (4y/o). DH had a rare morning off work (he works long hours so this really was a treat) and so I made a full breakfast for us in our garden. As common in London, our garden is surrounded by other gardens, with high fences all around.

DD was playing, and DH and I were chatting about his work and a small problem I've been having ordering meds for my elderly father. Suddenly, our neighbour started yelling "yoohooo!" at us and waving something around to get our attention. She then asked us "yohooo! could you have your conversation inside? I can hear what you're saying!"

I didn't think we were talking loudly or about anything particularly gory/interesting/inappropriate. I was so shocked I did stop talking. and after that we didn't really feel like being outside, our family breakfast was ruined.

AIBU to think that my neighbour was bang out of line? It's a private garden, we weren't doing anything more than a conversation midmorning on a Wednesday. I just feel so annoyed! I felt even more annoyed when there was full on noise coming from her house the day after as she's having something done to her conservatory. Building noise but it's a lot louder (and 6 hours longer) than me and my DH having a chat!

Happy to accept and move on if I am unreasonable here.

Seeline Thu 19-Sep-19 09:05:41

YANBU if it wasn't early and you weren't shouting. You are obviously entitled to have a chat in your own garden!

But from what you have said, I don't think she was worried about the noise, more about overhearing a private conversation. However, if this was her problem, then just stop listening!

GruciusMalfoy Thu 19-Sep-19 09:06:24

You're obviously not being unreasonable to use your garden at that time.

GabriellaMontez Thu 19-Sep-19 09:07:11

Unless it was a 5 am breakfast yanbu!

ChardonnaysDistantCousin Thu 19-Sep-19 09:07:25

What time was it?

Early morning or late evening can be annoying. Otherwise, I don’t see an issue with it.

Coconutbug Thu 19-Sep-19 09:09:40

YANBU! how ridiculous are you expecting to spend time in your garden without talking? Lol silly.

GruciusMalfoy Thu 19-Sep-19 09:09:43

OP says mid morning.

Spingtrolls Thu 19-Sep-19 09:14:39

Depends on the time.
Neighbour had loads of complaints about their midmorning breakfasts. Clearly people could hear them at 7am. Yes they said 7am was mid morning.
They didn’t think they were in the wrong because they were quiet. Clearly not if people can hear conversations.
We heard the excuses and more from these early morning meals and when they can to a resident meeting.

Cyberworrier Thu 19-Sep-19 09:15:07

Yup, she was out of order. How odd of her! As Seeline says, if she thought it was private and she didn’t want to know, go inside or stop listening! Are you new to the area?
I’d carry on as you were OP, and if she ever does this again, just be light and breezy and say, “actually we are enjoying our family time in the garden so will stay put thanks? Isn’t it a beautiful day!”
I am fairly sensitive to noise and have got annoyed with neighbours insensitivity in the past, but that’s generally loud music or very loud drunken conversations in the middle of the night, neither of which this was!

morningsarethebest Thu 19-Sep-19 09:17:18

It must have been around 10.30am and we'd been outside about 15 minutes. DH came back from a work trip late the night before, so it wasn't early. @seeline hadn't thought of that, good point. like you say why not just not listen?

Should I say something if we see her again? not sure what. Just feels like there's "this voice" on the other side of fence. I feel judged.

ColaFreezePop Thu 19-Sep-19 09:17:53

You need to google the time your local council allows for noise.

Then if the lady complaints again simply tell her to stop listening and to leave you alone as you aren't breaching the peace.

Windydaysuponus Thu 19-Sep-19 09:18:56

Time you started discussing your piles imo....

Cheeserton Thu 19-Sep-19 09:19:24

Wow, YANBU. A very firm "no thanks, we're fine talking in OUR garden" would be in order.

Chottie Thu 19-Sep-19 09:19:34

OP - were you talking loudly? it's amazing how voices can carry outside.

KUGA Thu 19-Sep-19 09:19:39

I would have told her to go inside.cheeky cow.
I bet she was listening to your every word.

morningsarethebest Thu 19-Sep-19 09:19:48

@cyberworrier “actually we are enjoying our family time in the garden so will stay put thanks? Isn’t it a beautiful day!”

hahahaha I wish I was brave enough!

We've lived in the area for yeaaars, but only this house about a year. we've seen the lady about and said hello, but nothing more than that.

malmi Thu 19-Sep-19 09:19:57

You can't just not listen if someone is having an audible conversation within earshot, like you can look away from something you're not meant to see. That's not how hearing works.


ariamontgomery Thu 19-Sep-19 09:20:42

Of course you weren’t being unreasonable for talking outside but you were being unreasonable for not just telling her to stop being ridiculous and letting it ‘ruin’ your breakfast.

Malbecfan Thu 19-Sep-19 09:21:26

Or just shove a cheap pack of ear plugs through her letterbox. Job done halo

Adversecamber22 Thu 19-Sep-19 09:21:31

I’m sensitive to noise but the time was fine plus it was just a chat. I would love to live in the middle of nowhere but only to avoid people noise though owls and woodpeckers can still be noisy buggers smile

Gingerbreadsonme Thu 19-Sep-19 09:22:53

YWNBU and nothing could convince me you were. Totally reasonable, normal noise in your own garden. Anyone who thinks otherwise has officially lost the plot!

gubbsywubbsy Thu 19-Sep-19 09:24:20

I would have told her that I wasn't going in.. moreover I'd have told her if she doesn't want to hear anyone's conversation she should move to a field on her own , oh no she probably can't afford to so suck it up sunshine 🙄🙄🙄..
neighbours are annoying but it's life , sometimes we are noisy , sometimes they are .. swings and roundabouts 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

HeadintheiClouds Thu 19-Sep-19 09:24:25

Was it actually the noise she was complaining about, or was she pointing out she could hear your private conversation (you were talking about work issues)?

Tanith Thu 19-Sep-19 09:26:17

It sounds to me as though she was warning you she could hear your conversation rather than that you were noisy. You say you'd been talking and she called when you started discussing your father's medication.
It may not have been possible or convenient for her to go elsewhere.

Perhaps, if it happens again, just call back "That's fine. It's not private."

Katex888 Thu 19-Sep-19 09:26:48

It’s your house your garden your rights. Next time ignore her and carry on talking. I live in London and my neighbours are nothing like that. They should be lucky you was only having a chat not blasting music.

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