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Freaky Old Lady Neighbour - What to do?

(14 Posts)
Sycamoretree Fri 10-Oct-08 17:54:28

I'll try and be as succint as possible:

When we moved into our house in December, we noticed camera flashes on the street as we unpacked from the lorry.

I look up and saw what appeared to be a fat teenage boy in a bobble hat at the upstairs window of the house opposite us. He was taking pictures. He bobbed down as soon as I looked at him.

The flashes continued even when we were in the house and had no blinds as yet to shut the prying eyes out.

As days turned into weeks at our new house, we started to notice major curtain twitching going on, and realised the it was in fact an old lady opposite us - not a fat teenage boy! She looks like Mrs Pepperpot. Very proper. She spies from behind her curtains and ducks when you look. Poor old dear - sad, but not harmful...so I'm thinking.

Then the picture taking starts again - of the DC's. Every day, whenever we leave the house. Am not happy. Beginning to feel as though we are living in a goldfish bowl.

She props curtains back at both sides permanently so she can "spy" from her nets. We can see her. It's obvious.

She props her camera permanently on the window sill so she can reach it whenever she wants.

She then takes the drastic action of cutting squares out of her heavy curtains so that she can spy through the holes without having to pull back the curtains.

She has had a disabled space outside her house for years. She isn't disabled. Apparently her husband was, but he sadly passed away about 5 years ago. We are in London. Parking is at a premium. A neighbour must have complained, or else local council finally got wise and came to remove the parking space (incidentally she does not drive, nor does she have a car).

She went crazy. Screamed it was "her space".

She is not without friends. Often we see people stopping by.

Now, I know there's obviously some psychological issues here. I'm not a completely insensitive cow, but I am utterly sick and tired of permanently feel watched and photographed. (am sure she can't afford to get them all printed, but that's not the issue).

Whatever, if anything, can I do?

Sorry so long.

hecAteTheirBrains Fri 10-Oct-08 18:00:52

wave at her. Pose. yell CHEEEEEEEEESE. have your own camera ready to take pic right back?

blush on a slightly more helpful note. contact the police or social services or something. Make a complaint about her.

I'm not uncaring about her mental health. But she needs stopping and she needs help and you are doing her (and yourselves) no favours by putting up with it.

Or maybe, if the visitors are anything close to ok people, perhaps you could grab one of them as they visit, and have a word, maybe tell them if she doesn't stop, you will go to the police.

I would advise telling her this directly, but I have a prickly feeling she wouldn't listen to you and would probably cause a scene!

Sycamoretree Fri 10-Oct-08 18:05:46

Well, I confess my DH has given her some rather un-gentlemanly finger gestures on a couple of occasions blush, but I tell him off, because something tells me she has the potential to be quite unpleasant.

Our neighbour says she is mad, but not funny daft old mad (whatever that is!) but nasty mad.

I have thought a lot about the police. I think that's why I posted. To see whether I'm being a complete bitch to do that to an old lady. But I'm at the end of it with her - it's affecting my quality of life now, and I can't accept that.

Hassled Fri 10-Oct-08 18:09:41

I would tell the police - and it could be that a gentle warning from them will be enough. If you explain all the circumstances to them they won't be heavy handed, but it has to stop somehow.

hecAteTheirBrains Fri 10-Oct-08 18:09:46

no. I think age has nothing to do with it. In fact, it is rather patronising to try to 'protect' someone from the consequences of their behaviour, just because of their age. So I would say report. If she's just a nasty cow, she'll get sorted, if she has some sort of mental health problem, or maybe beginning with dementia, then someone needs to know about her behaviour so they can help her. Either way, just allowing her to continue unchecked is not the answer.

BEAUTlFUL Fri 10-Oct-08 18:11:13

Can't you go and see her and say you'd rather not be photographed? Have you ever spoken to her in person? I'd go over and talk to her.

Lauriefairycake Fri 10-Oct-08 18:13:04

You need to get your dh to stop doing that or from someone else's point of view it looks like she is recording some rude man giving her the fingers and that she is the one being harassed

poor you, not sure what to suggest but I would contact the PCSO's in your area. I'm sure there's right to privacy legislation however not sure that applies if you're out in the street as there are cctv cameras everywhere.

Sycamoretree Fri 10-Oct-08 18:13:32

Aye aye, Hectate. Thee do maketh a lot of sense (even with your scary halloween name hat on).

Sigh, now have to call local police who have manner of bored teenager on checkout whenever you call to report anything (last time I called to report teenager being clubbed with length of wooden fencing behing our house at 1am by gang of thugs - cue much harumphing over whether I was sure and what I could see).

Grrr - will gird my loins and try to stay strong even if I feel I'm being laughed at on the other end of the phone.

herbietea Fri 10-Oct-08 18:15:08

Message withdrawn

Sycamoretree Fri 10-Oct-08 18:16:14

I can't go and talk to her, I just can't. It's impossible to explain, but she is so scary looking and so completely hostile. I don't think I'd get any sense from her.

And yes, DH has been very much scolded for the finger gestures, which TBH he has only done twice ever. An under extreme provocation.

All neighbours would back us up anyway, so I'm not worried on that score. It's just unfortunate for us that we are so directly opposite.

Previously just one lady in her 50's lived in our house. We must provide so much more for her to look at - bet she thought she'd hit the snooping jackpot when we arrived!

CapricaSix Fri 10-Oct-08 18:21:09

shock I would hate this! Definitely report her. I think even my dd (5) would be yelling at her! Or bursting into tears at having her photograph taken...

Sycamoretree Fri 10-Oct-08 18:23:08

She is like the woman from Misery..except she looks like Mrs Pepperpot. It's the only way I can describe her.

She washes and sweeps her front porch and path everyday. she wears pinny and housecoat - all perfect and her hair all scraped up.

She will hold your stare. No shame, no fear!

serin Sun 12-Oct-08 21:45:42

She really does sound like she could have some serious mental health problems, ?paranoia, which may or may not be age related. You have a right to feel secure in your own home and I think it would be perfectly reasonable of you to contact the police who could go and have a chat with her and refer her to the appropriate agencies. You will be doing her a service if it turns out that she does require treatment.

mammy2G Tue 14-Oct-08 22:24:15

Aside from her scary-maryness let me reassure you that there is a very good chance of no pics actually turning out with flash at the distance you are talking about.
She probably has a wee happy-snappy camera which has a flash range of say 3 metres. If it is reasonable daylight and no flash goes off then you are probably (hopefully she doesn't get too close shock ) so far away as no decent image registers either.
But I agree that is not the point - just want to reassure you a bit on the photo front. This is harrassment and I would not put up with this crap from anyone. Report her.

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