Yeah, you know I was going through some stuff a few weeks back and just couldn't talk about it? It culminated in one or two of those binge out pictures remember? The last 2 weeks I have been back on track and all has been settled, and now I feel I can talk about it, and why it was so hard.
This is VERY long winded, but it will be cathartic. Don't read if you don't want to read drivel. I just couldnt bring myself to talk about it on here right then, which is weird because it always makes me feel so much better to get things off my chest. I guess I wasnt sure that I should write about it, just in case it turned out they read it or something, but dont think there is much hope of that.
To sum it up (and there was a LOT more so this is seriously edited) we found out that the neighbour we thought did the dirty on us regarding our previous garage conversion back in February, was not the culprit. It completely rocked my world when I found out who it actually was to be honest.
I found out by pure accident as their Singular Offspring was being a bit too nice - offering services free of charge and being really wheedling and it just smacked of guilt. Turns out it's because it's parent is a BEEYATCH
When we did the original conversion, which was back in February (all on the blog - pictures and all) we didn't really know that we needed certain regulations because we were already using the room as a room and not a garage. The doorway was there, and so we just made it better. We didn't give it much thought as we weren't changing the structure or anything and not being builders... how would we know. So when we received a letter from the council 6 months later asking "did we know we needed building regs" the answer was no.
To be honest, it was not too much of a problem really... after the flood in August we decided that we would get the thing done really well and nicely and get a nice window in there. What it meant was we needed to raise the cash a bit faster as obviously we now needed to get it done to building regs. What I did feel was a bit let down that someone was obviously poking their nose into our business and it had to be someone who knew about the room... and who knew about the room, and was that bothered about it, that they would actually bother to find the number and ring the council about it. I mean, for goodness sake. It wasn't hurting anyone was it. In fact the house looked exactly the same as it did before.
Anyway, once we knew we had to 'comply' to certain issues, we employed a builder and did it. We are law abiding citizens and I hated the fact that someone thought I was flouting the rules, when I was simply ignorant.
We just didnt know it was this particular neighbour. We had our suspicions, but they were NOT this one. This neighbour was very seriously ill about 3 years ago and since the incident we have literally bent over BACKWARDS to help them and their singular adult offspring. Its just them two living alone. I will refer to the informer as IT. IT is completely disabled down one side. I don't do things for people because I am going to get anything back - EVER - but I just want give you some idea of the FEW things that we have done over the years:
*Taken the Offspring to see It every other day in hospital for about 6 weeks until they passed their driving test.
*Cooked the Offspring many meals as they were working all the hours and also visiting hospitals etc.
*Helped the Offspring when the parent came home with washing, cleaning and sorting the house out before they arrived back to bedlam after being hospitalised for 6 months
*Done umpteen tesco orders for It with MY card, on MY computer, getting it delivered - and orchestrating that, as well as my own shopping, and then letting It pay me back for the shopping at their convenience "whenever you like is fine, don't stress" - so it usually got paid back a week later after the money had come out of my bank for it already.
*Applied 3 summers worth of sun screen to It's 'live' arm because their dead arm cannot reach obviously.
* SHAVED It's armpit because obviously you cant shave both armpits with one working arm.
*Sorted out It's electric stair lift whenever the power goes off
*Taken It's shower curtain down, washed it and put it back up when they thought it was dirty
*Got into It's house numerous times when they locked themselves out by accident
*Helped It with their arm braces, fixing small parts that have fallen off etc
*Done millions of things - DAILY
*Helped It pay for THEIR boundary fence because it was broken and I felt sorry for It being single and ill and alone and stuff.
*Helped It write cheques, do banking, run errands, take to Physio when Offspring was on a 4 month holiday (!) etc
When work started on the conversion proper, I hear from my lovely builders that she keeps complainign to them about - the noise, the fact there are vans on OUR drive, a Skip on OUR drive and making all kinds of nuisance.
For goodness sake, its not like she lives in a preservation area or a country park! Its my bloody drive and I am having work done. Of course there are going to be vans there, and a skip. It was only for 2 weeks! It has vans and ambulances there all the time - sometimes I have been late for work because I cant get out of my drive because of an Ambulance on IT's drive taking her out.
I try and placate the builders with coffee and tea and explain to them that IT has been very disabled and is not completely all there now and has nothing else to worry about in IT's life any more other than little insignificant things. Bless it. Should feel sorry for It (obviously am blissfully unaware its a complete bastard at the moment!).
So, my builders are tearing their hair out as the Building people are also, inexplicably, really coming down on them with all kinds of stuff that's completely unnecessary. I have a friend in the inspection trade for another country and he TOLD us we didn't need these things, and that someone was obviously making complaints and they were getting jiggly and officious. He said it would all sort itself out, and it did, but I never thought it would.
The crunch came when we were told that we needed to have a sound test on our new room. Neither our builders or a couple of builders we know, knew what the building guy was on about. Our garage is next to another.... garage. Both were uninhabitable rooms. We obviously were changing ours into a habitable room. If the party wall had been next to another habitable room, then we would need to make sure they didn't hear us singing at 2am and chatting and turning lights off etc. However, the room next door was a garage. This is not a habitable space. Its empty. We were dumbstruck.
My builder put up exactly the right stuff to drown out noise, infact Over and above the regs. He ever bought a decibel reader to check it. We did various tests with a radio on white noise and a drill going and made sure that it was reading 45 Db difference. However, it was looking more and more like we were going to have to get a professional company in to do the readings because the council were going off.
So I rang several of these sound places. They all said they would not want to do the job because it would fail. The flat roof, the fact that IT's garage door was 1 foot from the new window, the joint shared concrete floor etc. It would all have too much sound leakage for an accurate reading. So we were in a catch 22. They didn't want to do it, council said we must, regs said we didn't need to. Who the fuck was right. Face off. But WHY??????
Whatever happened, I certainly didn't want to throw £1000 away for nothing!
There was 2 ways around the situation. 1.) Get the test done, have it fail and tell them why and then hope they are satisfied and or give a solution for compromise (especially seeing as the regs don't need it anyway!!!!) 2.) As a reasonable person, and in good standing with neighbours, Ask IT if IT will refuse a sound test. Then the whole thing will be assessed on materials and (seeing as we dont need it) cleared up. It would also be better for IT to refuse a sound test... why? Because the sound technician must come into and out of IT's property many, many times, set up 100Db bass noise, block up their garage door, and test over several hours with the sound in it's garage VERY LOUD. It would have caused terrible disruption to IT, and IT is very sensitive to noise and has just had new carpets, is already finicky about stuff and precious since the disability and you cant explain stuff to IT well and IT's just a royal pain in the arse, although we try our best to be nice. Try to having a cup of tea takes IT 10 minutes to talk itself around to it.
But feeling like we should give IT the option to not have all that disruption, and maybe give us a hand so we didn't have to fork out £1000 for something that was not necessary anyway, and us knowing each other well after all - or so I thought, and still not knowing It was the protagonist in all of this, we went around there to speak to them.
The Offspring is sitting there hanging their head in shame (so that's why offspring was offering their help so much. GUILT!) as they know exactly what the parent is like and the Offspring is actually a thoroughly good sort and we get on with them well, but its the parent who has lost their mind. IT was honestly a little bit of an arsehole before, but now worse if you know what I mean.
So we sat around there and I am in tears from the stress of everything, coupled with the tests I have to go through for my kidneys and bladder and my Dad in hospital again (long story) everything like that, I just cant cope with anything else and I couldn't have stopped crying whilst sitting there - even if we had been best of mates and were just having chin wag. Telling it all again to them was too much for me, and I thought it would be easily sorted out. We have lived next to them for years and years and thought we knew them well.
I thought it would just be elimentary.
Well, IT is a complete FUCKER. Absolutely not prepared to give an inch. It complained when we said we need a sound test because we need to get into their property and put a 100Db noise in their house and test in our house for sound. They don't like that idea. The only reason we need to do this is because they complained in the first place (It told us it did!) so, shocked by this, we say then - still reeling - all they have to do is withdraw the complaint or refuse access to their house and all is fine again, but NO NO NO. Their mind is too fucked up to reason with itself. It would rather go through all that hassle for some reason.
THEN, we find out the real reason. Insane jealousy. Offspring sits with head in hands excruciatingly annoyed with the parent, and I am in tears, DH is fit to blow a blood vessel, and we could see this was a pointless waste of time and get up to leave, keeping amazingly calm - so the sound test, costing £1000 which WILL fail because of the logistics, will have to be paid. We just start to settle that fact in our hearts and also the one where, although we have helped IT so much, the one time we need IT's help, it is simply not prepared to. EVEN THOUGH this has absolutely no impact on them.
*I must stress this as otherwise it might seem unfair - The party wall is a garage wall and there is NO SOUND able to permeate into it, let alone from there into their garage. This is such a NON story that we are stunned by Its sheer viciousness and venom that it attacked with. It was honestly at war with us as we walked through IT's door. *
Then, as we decide to leave, losing £1000, but whatever... IT says "Why don't you just forget it? I mean, how are you going to pay for that test?"... I am annoyed right, and I reply "Not that it's any of your business, but my parents are helping us" and IT says "Oh! well that's nice! Lucky you having family to bail you out! We don't have any help like that! No one comes and see I am alright" And the Offspring says "Oh lets not get into that, that hasn't anything to do with anything" and IT SCREAMS at the offspring to "Shut UP!" and turns on us and says "I just want it to go back to being a garage like it used to be".
I cannot believe my ears. My tears have stopped and I reply "Well, sorry X, that ain't ever going to happen! If you think i am going to pay £6K for a conversion and then wipe my hands of it you have to be crazy!" at which point we left.
Now remember that this was not all that was said. IT was really really hideous and nasty and was totally unbending. IT didn't want us to do the sound test because it meant us coming into their home, setting up loads of equipment and making awful noise for a day, but IT didn't want us to not have the sound test either as IT apparently wanted to "make sure it was all above board"! Stupid fucker. You can't have it both ways love. Above board is already done. This is going beyond the beyond. The fact that we didn't have to have this done in the first place is just compounding the lunacy. I am not sure if you are getting this but it was honestly like the proverbial chicken and egg conundrum but with 5 parts!
1.) Don't need it done
2.) Idiot#1 from council says we do
3.) She wants it above board
4.) she doesn't want noise
5.)has to be noise if done
6.) don't need it done
7.) Idiot 1 from council says we do
and on.... and on....and on..... and... on......
The best bit - it REALLY didn't need any of it. We didn't need planning anyway, they had no hold over what we turned the garage into and it didn't need a sound test costing £1000 as it was next to an UNINHABITABLE SPACE. It's been passed and we just haven't bothered IT with that news, so IT can sit there and stew thinking that they have the upper hand until the cows come home but I have my certificate and that's all that matters. If IT ever asks about it, then I might tell IT... or I might not.
Can you imagine an armpit that can never be washed. GRIM. Well, I certainly ain't going to shave any fucking stinky armpits again!
The pure jealousy of it was so abundant, and I am left with a knowledge that IT is a deeply nasty person, even though damaged. To be outright vindictive to people who have honestly bent over backwards for you, for no good reason is totally unbelievable. When we told people they couldn't believe it.
Here is a picture of the finished article. As you can see the conversion is next to IT's garage. Why it was so annoyed or upset I cannot imagine. It neither sits in It's garage or uses it for anything at all, with 20cms of insulation It also ain't gonna hear a bomb going off in there, and thankfully we wont hear It complaining through it either!
Wonder if IT will ask for help ever again. Hope so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!