Monthly Archives: March 2015

On Neighbourly Love

There is a window to our room that has been sealed shut. Partly because the wood is swollen. Partly because someone painted it shut. Either way, it pretty much faces onto a brick wall about a metre away but it would be nice to crack it open for some cross ventilation.

The result is a protected ledge, untouched by man for years. A small colony of pigeons has taken this area as their mansion. Aside from the cooing and chirping associated with a couple in love, there have also been a few pigeon wars with feather, wings, backsides thrust up against the opaque glass as one or the other seeks leverage.

Worse, when nesting, the bored pigeon incubating eggs tends to tap incessantly on the window for attention at odd hours of the morning.

Once the nest have hatched, you see the babies strutting obscenely as dark grey shadows due to the opacity of the glass. This is annoying but tolerable compared to when they begin to learn to fly. At this point they tend to practice flying to a pipe on the wall a metre away and back. What actually happens is they tend to crash spectacularly into the window on return, having not worked out how the brakes work. I always hope at this moment they will fall to the ground and not return but somehow they do.

The issue with ferral pigeons is they are still homing birds. They keep returning like a bunch of fools to the same area year on year. I’m currently in a war where I rattle the glass at erratic hours of the day and night when I am in, resulting in Plus One complaining I am as annoying as the birds.

My secret hope is with spring coming, I can scare mamma off the ledge long enough her eggs freeze and the dynasty ends. I am not actually sure why I want to achieve this this badly. We will have to move in awhile anyways and our room converted to an amazingly overpriced flat. With pigeons on the window. Because that’s what you want to see when you paid a fortune for ¬†your flat. Or pigeon proofing like spikey barbed wire for leprechauns on your window sill.

Then again, if you do open the window, you are just looking out onto a brick wall so your view are a bit restricted anyhow.

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Creepy stories from the crypt

I bumped into the security guard the other day. I’m not sure how one makes a living out of being a security guard, but in all fairness it has worked for him and he has job security and somehow manages to stay in a fairly good area of town just up the road.

Apparently he was on the site before we came onboard as guardians. He knows it from before it was purchased by developers and was still operating under it’s semi-original guise before someone decided what you need to do is repurpose an old building into a completely unrelated use.

This is sort of where I miss Africa. You would just knock the whole thing down and start again with better foundations, better layout, better construction. Look at the poor Village Walk in Sandton, in many ways the precedent for Montecasino. A colourful little two storey fake ‘village’ of a shopping centre. It was always destined to do not very well or badly due to its proximity to the glowing Sandton City against which it could not compete.

Now it’s being torn down because with all the high rise buildings in the area someone deemed it the squat ugly older sister to be replaced by new and shiny.

This does not happen in England.

We are keeping the buildings where I live. Except when they are converted, I will not be able to live in them. At present they are semi-occupied with dark and dank corners where you could film the best of American style horror movies with zombies and crazed terrorists breaking through red double doors and people flee in chaos across dim lit corridors.

Turns out this is supposedly not that far from the truth. The security guard regaled me with tales of people who had committed suicide on the site. People who said they were pushed from the top of a series of spiral stairs. People who have seen shadowy figures walking up and down where noone was supposed to be. How he feels an atmosphere of pure hate along one of the corridors where a door further on led onto what was once a morgue.

And I thought my biggest problems in life were Not Greek God and the pigeons trying to breed on the window sill outside.

Now I have to worry about invaders from the spirit world…

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The Daily Wail

So I went on holiday and came back to discover that Plus One had somehow succeeded in falling UP a series of stairs, thereby breaking a lot of crockery we own. It is just as well I was feeling cheap and indecisive when I insisted we buy a mediocre but really economical set of plates and bowls because I didn’t have the gumption to make a decision on really nicely designed plates I could live with for years.

Apparently, Not-Greek-God heard Plus One fall and came and said it was his own fault for not leaving the lights on to the top flight of stairs where we live. Now, I do not like that light on. There is enough residual light through the ENORMOUS windows and the floor below without it. On encourages random strangers up the stairs to see what is behind the door at the top of it. (There are only two doors at the top, one to a toilet we keep clean and one to our ‘home’.) The light also disturbs me when I can see it on through the crack at the bottom of the door from my bed. Don’t ask but it is like every American horror movie nightmare seeing the little sliver of light.

Plus One admitted to me he fell mostly because he was shuffling round in slip slops, not because he couldn’t see. He also doesn’t really like the light on because in that building lights that go on never go off and people do just bang into your room without knocking, highly lit areas just encourage them like moths to a flame.

The thing is, he and Not-Greek-God seem to have developed some kind of a placid but intense dislike for each other. This is partly because Not-Greek-God views the kitchen next to his room as his. He doesn’t like me clattering about in it when I do dishes because I am noisy. He doesn’t like Plus One cooking with the door open because he thinks it is a fire hazard. He also resents Plus One turning him down when he tried to borrow some stuff off us.

We are not that fond of Not-Greek-God either. He has been known to leave the stove and oven on and unsupervised for undetermined but extensive lengths of time, with no sign he plans on cooking or returning. He does clean up his dishes but will not fish out anything he drops into the plug hole. He also seems oblivious to food he drops on the stove/counter/floor. When making dolmades for example, you will find scatterings of dried rice grains like shrivelled up maggots for days after on the countertop.

We also suspect he may be the person who sometimes uses the toilet but doesn’t always grasp flushing or not dribbling on the seat.

This has resulted in a rather ridiculous standoff.

Despite the fact that I have taken to leaving on an additional light halfway up the stairs in the evenings only that supplies enough light for anyone of normal eyesight, someone keeps switching on the light to our landing. At all sorts of funny hours of the night.

We switch it off. Someone switches it on. It is tiresome because if we go away for a few days now, it is quite clear we are not there and you can try break in because there is noone playing on/off light games with you.

It’s bizarre but annoying. A sort of silent warfare. I’m just hoping it sticks to just this. Because the next step is where he tries to do us in for breaking some house rule and have us evicted and we try convince the powers that be he smokes in his room (because I have a high suspicion he does).

(PS old letterpress people, I can’t figure out how to put a post on the original converted wordpress account they transferred our work to or how to access it)

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