Good Neighbours
BANG: construction can be loud

I love peace and quiet.

I also think we should respect our neighbours’ right to those things.

That’s why I’ve been working the best floor jack (in my opinion) on my car and pounding nails into framing studs along the wall that divides my house from the young couple and their one-year-old daughter who live next-door.

The exercise is producing a lot of noise and I imagine it is rather irritating for them, but at least I’m not banging away on weekends or after sun-down.

That’s more than I can say for the cowboy carpentersthe couple hired to redo their interior wall when they moved in three years ago.

I say ‘cowboy’ because I never heard anything through the old wall, but the new one conducts sound, especially baby crying and mother scolding noises,very efficiently.

I’m guessing that’s because the carpentersbuilt the new wall onto the back of my wall without leaving an air gap for sound insulation.

Unfortunately, most of the work was done before my neighbours moved in, so they probably don’t realise how much less sound travelled through in the old days.

The noise issue, however, is far from one-way traffic.

For the past year or so,I have been trying to learnsome AC/DC, Black Sabbath and other electric guitar tunes that don’t sound very good without a bit of volume and distortion on the amp.

All right, they probably don’t sound very good when I play them with those things either, but that’s beside the point.

I’m not playing that type of music to irritate the neighbours, though.

I’m playing it because when I’ve had enough peace and quiet, it’s one of the things I like to do.

It’s also something I think I should be allowed to do in the privacy of my own home.

I’m not banging an additional inner wall together to irritate them either.

I’m doing it to restore some peace and quiet for all of us.

The interesting thing about this project, though, is that… well, I’ve found it to be extremely interesting.

To do it properly, I’ve had to find out which types of plaster board and insulation to use, and how narrow of a gap I could get away with for maximum soundproofing.

I also had to figure out how to mix and apply plaster without wasting too much.

Those are things I’ve never done before.

The big problem with thewall, however, is that I have had to sacrifice eight centimetres of floor space to build it.

Eight centimetres that should be on the other side.

I don’t think that’sfair, but it’s the price I’ve decidedto pay to restore the peace.

And the way I see it, I could have been landed with neighbours who were a whole lot worse than the ones I got.

“How’s the flat in London, son?” asks a Scottish mother when he calls home.

“It’s okay,but the woman next door keeps screaming and crying all night and the guy on the other side keeps banging his head on the wall,” he replies.

“Never you mind,” says his mother, ” just ignore them.”

“That’s what I do,” he says, “and it’s not too bad as long as I keep playing my bagpipes.”

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