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Writer's Forum: Exercise No.1 "The Neighbours"

28 replies

AussieSim · 15/04/2004 18:15

You think there is something going on at your neighbours. It has started to make you feel uncomfortable. Your DH/DP has told you to mind your own business, but your best friend says that you should start keeping a record in case something comes of it.

Write 5 entries in your diary of around 2-4 sentences each, recording what you've seen and what you think it might mean. Anything goes - don't worry about grammar, syntax etc etc.

OP posts:
popsycal · 15/04/2004 18:24

aussiesim...prose or poetry? Or does it matter?

sunchowder · 15/04/2004 18:43

Feel like I am barging in, never have enough time to catch up on all the threads! Are you keeping a real diary or do you want POSTS here? This looks so so much fun---can I join in?

Jimjams · 15/04/2004 18:46

oh no! Our next door neighbour really did kill and chop someone up in the house. But that sounds unbelievable But anything I think of feels boring in comparison.

Janstar · 15/04/2004 18:51

OMG jimjams! Why not write how you felt about that real happening?

Sunchowder - I've been wondering if you were going to join in with this!

When do you want this completed by, Aussiesim? I am going away for a dirty weekend with dh

suzywong · 15/04/2004 18:54

jimjamsyou don't live in Muswell Hill do you?
Can I join in please although I didn't do the introduction - always get the impression everyone may be bored enough of my particulars, I do tend to blah on so.

papillon · 15/04/2004 18:56

yes is there (tremble) a deadline?

spacemonkey · 15/04/2004 18:57

ooh yes, was it dennis nilsen?

suzywong · 15/04/2004 18:58

that's what I was thinking
(public nuzzle)

Flip · 15/04/2004 19:07

I'm a font of ideas due to the interesting neighbours I have. The hard part will be keeping it fiction! Is there a prize for first post?

Flip · 15/04/2004 19:38

Right it's done. Where do you want it?

Jimjams · 15/04/2004 20:15

No not Muswell Hill- sunny Devon. It was a few months before we moved in (so it would be fiction I guess). We didn't find out until the day we moved in. Next door was in the process of being rennovated (rather beautifully I have to say) when another bone was found- I have heard 2 different stories from the builders- 1 that it fell out of the roof and one that it was found in the front garden. Forensics wouldnt let any work go ahead for the last year- but it can't have been anything interesting as they didn't come back. So we've been living next door to a derelict house for a year. Funny thing is a bone appeared on our blacony and I assumed a cat had dragged it there, so I threw it into the rubbish tip that is next door's back garden. It was kind of human sized but not knowing that a bone had been found- I assumed it must be from someone's roast dinner. Hope they don't find that one and stop the work for another year!

gothicmama · 15/04/2004 20:28

Can I join in JUne after Uni has finished I do not need any more distractions but this sounds like fun

AussieSim · 15/04/2004 20:35

I am glad this got a bit of attention!

Popsycal - anything goes! Everyone will have a different take on it and style I am sure.

JimJams, it sounds like you may have some personal experience to draw on - go for it!

Janstar, I figured that we would keep the thread alive for as long as it was keeping postings. I am going to barge ahead with half-arsed attempts just to get the ball rolling, but others may take more time, but I don't think that it is necessary to do to many rewrites on these exercises. When you get back from dirty weekend will be fine.

Papillon - no deadline, but I am wanting to avoid dead thread.

Please Sunchowder, join in. There are two other threads where this started: The first is Writer'S/would-be Writer's forum - who would be interested? and the second is Writer's Forum Introductions.

OP posts:
AussieSim · 15/04/2004 20:51

Thursday PM

  • Overheard long-haired teenage son say "You are sooo cool mum"
  • The mum was standing on front steps in chenille dressing gown and black socks.

    Friday AM
  • saw the mum in her best tracksuit get in her bomb car with a fullish looking back pack that was clearly not hers.
  • Doesn't that woman own a pair of pants without stripes down the side?

    Friday PM
  • son comes home with two friends - both carrying a case of beer on their shoulders-
  • How did those boys even buy beer?

    Saturday AM - 2AM!
  • heard a suspicious noise in street, DH wouldn't get out of bed to see what was going on. Left it up to me again.
  • There is an overweight young man leaning over the neighbours fence vomitting onto the nature strip. Disgusting. How can that woman have allowed this to happen? DH won't think it is none of my business if he had to clean up puke when he gets up.

    Saturday 4AM!!!!
  • Woken by loud cheering. DH just rolled over.
  • There was a young woman without her top on standing on OUR car parked outfront.
  • Where do her parents think she is?
  • I will take photos as evidence with my daughters digital camera.
  • Daughter not in bed.

    OK guys. I've blazed the way. Your turn.
OP posts:
Flip · 15/04/2004 21:06

Monday 11 April 2004

There seems to be a lot of cars coming and going from number seven. They are definitley upto no good. Tony says I should keep out of it but Bec thinks I should keep a diary just in case. As usual I side with Bec so that?s why I?m writing this. I counted eleven cars in a two hour period tonight.

Tuesday 12 April 2004

Another eight cars have arrived tonight and I?ve started to jot down their license plates. There?s far to many swanky cars for this neighbourhood and why do they never even get out? It?s really starting to annoy me that they just pip their horn at all hours of the night. There?s something weird going on because Jay just comes out of the house, leans into the car for a few seconds then they drive off. I?m keeping an eye on this. Good old Bec!

Wednesday 13 April 2004

Tony is starting to take notice of me now. He thinks that Jay?s dealing drugs from his mothers house and that?s why there?s so many cars coming and going. I was already thinking that but I?m glad he?s come to the same conclusion. Bec came round earlier on and I showed her all the license plates I?d got so far. She thinks I should go to the police. I?m not risking it with my babies in the house.

Thursday 14 April 2004

I was so scared tonight! It was gone eleven when I was woke by the screaching of breaks and then shouting in the street. Tony and I both went to the window and we saw Jay being beaten in the street by a man who?d got out of a black BMW. His poor mother was shrieking at the man and trying to pull him off and then he hit her. Tony wanted to go out and help but I wouldn?t let him. This is getting so dangerous. It was over quickly and the man drove off. Poor Mrs Boldinger.

Friday 15 April 2005

After little sleep last night I was woke at 5.30am by Mrs Boldinger?s door being smashed in. Tony and I once again rushed to the window and saw three police vans. Armed police were surrounding the house and I was terrified yet glued to the window. Only minutes later Jay was dragged out in handcuffs wearing just a pair of jeans. The police took ages in the house, seaching it I assume. They came out with boxes of things. A WPC came to ask if we?d seen anything. I said no but handed over the list of times and license plates and then closed the door.

AussieSim · 16/04/2004 06:16

Goodie goodie, off we go! More neighbour stories please

OP posts:
coppertop · 16/04/2004 09:16

Here goes:

Yet again old Mrs Dreyfer hasn't left the house all day. I know someone is at home because the curtains have been opened. At 11am a shifty-looking character in dirty overalls looked around furtively before opening the front door and entering. I didn't see him leave.

Still no sign of Mrs Dreyfer. She usually leaves for the shops at 9am on the dot, but not today. 2pm and Mr Dirty-Overalls is back - this time with a friend who looks as though he's just stepped out of Broadmoor. I hope to god that Mrs Dreyfer is okay.

I'm really worried about Mrs Dreyfer. She's a fairly wealthy old lady. What if she's been tied up (or worse?) while these villains help themselves to her savings? George thinks I have an overactive imagination.

Mr Dirty-Overalls came out of the house at 7am and put what looked like a roll of carpet into the back of his filthy van. I was just wondering how heavy Mrs Dreyfer could be when a shiny black Mercedes came to a halt outside the house. Could he be the Mr Big of the operation?

At 10.30am I finally plucked up the courage to knock at the front door. I was sure that the next time George saw me would be when they pulled me off the river-bed but I owed it to kind old Mrs Dreyfer to find out the truth. My heart was pounding as the door creaked open.
"Helen, darling! You MUST come in and meet my three grandsons!"

goosey · 16/04/2004 09:59

Hope you don't mind me joining in ...

No-one ever lets their grass get so long on this street. Her bin bags are all over the lawn and it?s not even bin day until Friday. Karen doesn?t seem to be coping and her dogs are allowed out at all hours. I saw her this morning walking passed my window and she certainly wasn?t dressed to walk the dogs ? she looks so tarty.

Saw Karen in the garden in her dressing gown with a giant mug of something ? probably gin - at 10 this morning. She waved at me! Don?t know what she?s got to look so happy about. Its disgraceful how she carry?s on with loud music keeping the street awake ?til gone midnight.

Sally up the road says she has seen several men coming and going from Karen?s during the day when her kids are at school. I saw the same one twice today and now she is at her bathroom window cleaning her teeth. She waved at me again. I don?t know why John can?t see it ? it?s obvious the woman is a prostitute.

Six visits today and all furtive. Two men with their hoodies up and one even adjusting his trousers as he walked back up the drive. That?s it ? I?m calling the police tomorrow.

John went mental this morning when I told him I?d called the police. Called me a sad, interfering bitch and went straight out. Sally came round and made me a coffee, but I can?t stop crying. He?s not back yet and I can?t sleep for the partying going on over the road at Karens.

twiglett · 16/04/2004 11:34

message withdrawn

popsycal · 16/04/2004 11:45

2am. There it goes again. Everytime that baby cries there is a tap tap tap which goes on for half an hour ? quiet, but in fits and bursts. Annoying though. Jack just rolled over and said that they must have some hi-tech breast pump; no breast pump I know does that!

12am After a rather unnervingly quiet night last night, today has been much more strange. Mrs X does not normally have visitors during the day; however, a stream of bedraggled looking 20-somethings with babies in tow arrived next door, all carrying pink balloons. Eh? Starting to think there may be some sort of cult going on. Jack thinks that I am crazy.

Decided to chat to Mrs X today when I saw her getting into her people carrier with her kids. Jack says I am way too nosey for my own good. She kept talking about all these ?friends? that she has ? one whose daughter won?t eat, one whose son won?t sleep and one whose twins are gong through the ?terrible twos?. Didn?t think that she was that sociable. Maybe these friends are all in her mind.

Tap tap tap. Tappety tap tap. The night time tap dancer strikes again. Trying to work out what on earth that sound is. Baby cries; pause; tap tap tap. Odd. Very odd. Morse code expert? River dance auditionee? Bad percussionist? Lying awake debating the lifestyle of my neighbour is not something I had in my ?life plan?!

Final straw tonight ? such loud tapping that I ended up getting up and going online to search for information on dealing with problem neighbours. Found a fantastic site with information. Not much to do with neighbours however ? but I think I may have solved the tap tap tapping mystery. The sound of Mumsnet addiction.

Flip · 16/04/2004 17:23


papillon · 17/04/2004 08:20

It began with the night I drank too much and went for a midnight wander round the orchard. It was spring and the fragrance of the blossom seemed to heighten my inebriated state and senses. Approaching the neighbours farm the smell of smoke threaded through the air and made me curious to investigate. I walked up and down the boundary for some time but could see no flame.

It had been a week since my midnight wander. The neighbours don´t what I am going on about and said if I want to wander around in the dark on their property they didn´t mind. They thought it was abit of a joke. Apprehensive, I walked again at midnight but this time with a torch. Much to my consternation and excitement the smell of smoke was in the air - I run home.

What am I doing? Here I stand inhaling smoke without flame. I take a big breath and climb through the fence and walked around. The smokey smell seems to wax and wane - tendrails enticing me and then denying me as the smoke disappears.

Tonight I go again, this time with the dog and the torch. When we reach the neighbours the dog takes off, so much for stealth. I run after her to find her sniffing at the base of a large tree. I was beginning to feel very excited when I see a rabbit dart off with the dog in hot pursuit. No smoke tonight.

Again, I headed out on my increasingly fruitless search for the phamtom smoke stack (named but not found). It begins to rain and I suddenly felt restless. I shake my head as if to clear the smoke, realising I am next to the tree again. I decided to wait, but in the cold I find my dream is over and I awoke at the base of the tree.

AussieSim · 18/04/2004 07:41


OP posts:
Mirage · 20/04/2004 12:58

Here goes.

Monday 5th June;Mr P next door has sold his house.He wasn't the best neighbour,but better the devil you know.Haven't seen him to ask what the new people are like yet.Hope they are nice!

Tuesday 6th June;Am starting to worry now.What if they are noisy?It is enough of a struggle to get Tom to sleep as it is.Dh laughs at me & says that there is no reason to worry,that most people are nice & reasonable.

Wednesday 7th June.Ok,now Dh is worried too.He heard Mr P shouting about some woman & what a bh she was.Turns out he was referring to our new neighbour.Dh tried to question him,but Mr P was in such a mood that he stormed back inside ignoring Dh.

Thursday 8th June;Saw Mr P today.He wished me luck with our new neighbours,said that the woman was a hard b
h & that he knew who wore the trousers in that relationship!I am seriously worried now & had nightmares about the new people last night.

Friday 9th June;Well they are here & am I relieved.They both seem lovely & nothing like what Mr P described.I gathered up the nerve to ask how they had gotten on with Mr P & found the reason for his attitude.Apparently the lady of the couple next door had done all the negotiating on the house & Mr P didn't like having to deal with a woman.The best bit was that when she had refused to pay extra for his swirly,orange carpets.That was the reason for his outburst the other day.

ponygirl · 21/04/2004 13:24

My turn!

I saw someone leaving E?s house today I?d never seen before. A man, and not J! I wouldn?t have even noticed, but she stuck her head out and peered up and down the street before practically pushing him out the door. I mentioned it to R but he just grunted at me.

I saw him again, but this time going in. I feel a bit embarrassed about it, but I watched out for him leaving, but it was nearly an hour and a half! Mentioned it to R again when he got home, he?s been for a drink a few times with J, I thought he?d be interested, but apparently not. He wanted to know what I thought I was getting at, but I didn?t like to say.

I?m sure I saw him again, but this time down the alleyway at the back, as though he?d come from over the garden wall. Saw her later in the street when I was walking up to school. I looked her right in the eye and I swear she blushed, then looked the other way. R just laughed and said I was imagining things, and should get out more! Cheeky sod!

Saw J washing the car out the front and went up and chatted to him. E was out in a flash, butting into the conversation and being all bright and cheery, but it was a bit forced if you ask me. I told R I?m sure she?s having an affair and he should say something to J, but he got angry and said he wasn?t going to ruin J and E?s marriage on my say-so. Then he stormed out.

Didn?t see them, but didn?t really expect to see anything today. Will be watching out tomorrow though!

I was right, bloody R, I knew I was right! She went out and I followed her. She met the man in the park up the road and they were all over each other. It was disgusting. I waited and made sure she saw me then walked off. She came running after me, crying and begging me not to tell J. I told her it wasn?t my place to, that she should do it herself. I said, tell him tonight or I will.
Later: saw J throwing a suitcase in his car this evening and driving off while she sobbed on the doorstep. R said: ?I hope you?re satisfied now.? He was still angry, as though it was my fault!

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