This last weekend was meant to be a quiet one. I was looking forward to being indoors and still, working on my craft projects, spending time in the kitchen and doing a battery recharge before the social onslaught of May began. (Insert ‘yay’ face)
Irritatingly, for about a week and a half, I had been disturbed by noisy neighbours. The building adjoining mine is a religious centre and they seem to congregate in the room on the other side of my wall and talk loudly/shout, jump around and generally use the wall like a drum. This is usually past 10pm and this aunty needs her rest. I started composing a letter of complaint in my head but as soon as it came to writing it they fell silent. I was grateful but curious. It’s like the ominous silence of a toddler, that’s when you’d really want to see what they’re up.
On Sunday there was commotion at the back of this property – a yard with a couple of outbuildings that I look down at from my window – being on the first floor. Some children were erecting speakers, covering them in plastic and leaving them. As the afternoon continued I started to get worried and brought out my handy council A – Z to have the ‘noise disturbance’ number to hand. I was not in the mood to be kept awake again.
Well, just after 7pm the singing started. There was a whole choir, literally, on stands – about 50 boys and some men. Since it was still early, I didn’t want to report it, but thought if it went on for ages I would have to. An hour went by and they hadn’t stopped. I then saw flashing blue lights reflected from the windows of their building and went to see if someone else had called the cops. There was a fire engine in the road and I saw the yellow helmets of firemen in the road. I then looked into the yard and saw they were singing to a massive raging bonfire. It was like a kosher Wicker Man. I immediately rang Shane and wondered why we hadn’t organised a sleep over – if we knew there were going to be firemen we would have made a plan! Or at least brought some marshmallows…
There was a solitary policeman strolling up the road in amongst the many ‘devotees’ observing. There was even a granny on a wheel chair watching from a balcony three storeys up across the road. The firemen then left (!) but there was at least three participants keeping the fire in its designated zone with hoses and brooms sweeping any embers back towards the inferno. They continued singing around the blaze until it died down – another hour. They eventually formed a ‘circle’ to dance around it but because of the number of people, the shape of the yard and site of the fire it was more like a pear shape, with most participants squashed into the top bit. Quite farcical to watch.
What I found most amusing was that tomorrow is Beltane – a Pagan fertility festival. It’s all passion, maypoles and all manner of ‘wild abandon’ in between (including Morris Dancing). Fire is also associated with this and massive bonfires are lit during celebrations, which are traditionally held the night before. I did some quick searching on the internet to see what the neighbours’ party was all about since I found it ironic they would have a similar tradition – but sadly found nothing. If anyone knows anything about this please let me know, I’m fascinated!
I saw some kids making a new stack of wooden palettes last night but was not treated to the same show. Maybe I should ask them if I could borrow it for tonight… Never a dull moment in London!