poniedziałek, 21 października 2013

Neighbours

The best neighbour I ever had was an Italian restaurant. Emergency lasagne available night and day, change for the launderette on Sundays, a permanent door-keeper against gatecrashers and policemen with parking tickets. Even if our fourth floor bath water did run dry every time they filled up the Expresso machine, I miss them still.

Bad neighbours can blight a house worse than dry rot but there is no insurance against them, no effective barricades in the compulsory intimacy except a decent caution and conversation ruthlessly restricted to matters of meteorology. And it only takes a tiny breach in the wall of platitudes to unleash appalling dramas of persecution and passion.

And what can be done if the people next door breed maggots or wake up to the Body Snatchers (or some other punk group) in quadrophonic or poison the cat with their slug doom? What happens when one man's trumpet practice is another's thumping headache, when two neighbouring life styles are just incompatible? There are three basic responses to what the law calls Nuisance:
surrender, retaliate or sue.

Joan and Andrew live next to a couple who have been having screaming, shouting and banging fights two or three times a week for the best part of five years. 'It sometimes gets so bad that our whole house shakes, pictures rattle on the wall,' said Joan. She has tried sympathetic chats, face to face confrontation and even recourse to the local social services department and the police when she feared that the child of the family might be at risk. 'Every time I say something, she is apologetic but says she can't help it. I don't think the child is subject to physical abuse, but the verbal onslaughts are frightful. It's worrying as well as infuriating but it seems there's nothing to be done. There would be no point in bringing an action against them, it's just how they are. '

Retaliation - or crash for crash - is a dangerous game which calls for nerves of steel and considerable perseverance. It is a winner take all strategy from which
there is no turning back, because it becomes a war of escalation and the side which is prepared to go nuclear wins. Michael's neighbour in Surrey made every summer afternoon noxious with the sound of his motor mower. Negotiations got nowhere so Michael bought an electric hedge trimmer and plied it right where the neighbour's wife liked to sunbathe. Neighbour opened up with a chain saw. Michael lit bonfires full of wet leaves when the wind was westerly. Neighbour left his car engine running with the exhaust pointing through the fence. Michael served an ultimatum: either an end to hostilities or he would sow a plantation of ground elder right along his side of the hedge. Legal, but a lethal threat to neighbour's well-tended acre and a half. Mowing now takes place on weekday evenings and the weekends are silent.

There are two main areas where the law has a role: in boundary disputes where the tide deeds are not clear and in cases of nuisance from noise or fumes or some other persistent interference in someone's peaceful enjoyment of their home. The remedies available in case of nuisance are either an injunction -
a court order to stop it - or damages in compensation for the victim's suffering.
There is only one thing worse than having to take your neighbour to court,
and that is letting your fury build up so long that you lose your temper and end up in the dock yourself like Mrs Edith Holmes of Huntingdon who was driven mad by her neighbour's incessant hammering, drilling and other DIY activities between 7.30 and 11. 30 every night. She ended up throwing a brick through his done-it-himself double glazing and had to plead guilty to criminal damage. A merciful magistrate gave her a conditional discharge and allowed only £35 of her neighbour's £70 claim for compensation. The neighbour, he said, was an expert and could do his own repairs.

But judges and ten-foot walls and conciliation and bribery can only do so much. In this one vital area of living you are entirely at the mercy of luck, which may deal you a curse or a blessing regardless of any attempts to arrange things otherwise.
Artykuł pochodzi z książki przygotowującej do egzaminu CPE.

Vocabulary:

- laudrette - pralnia samoobsługowa
- gatcrasher - nieproszony gość
- blight (a house) - niweczyć, niszczyć
  to cast a blight on sth - to spoil sth
- insurance against sth - ubezpieczenie na wypadek
- barricades - barykady
- decent - przyzwoity, porządny, skromny
- ruthlessly - bezwlędnie
  ruthless = cruel
- it takes a tiny breach in... - a hole in a wall for protection (wyłom)
  be in breach of sth - to be breaking a particular law or rule (naruszać, łamać prawo)
- platitude - frazes, banał
- unleash - uwolnić, wyzwolić
- appalling - przerażący, straszny, obrzydliwy, wstrętny
- breed - hodować, wychowywać
- persecution - prześladowanie
- thump - walić, grzmotnąć, walnąć
  thumping headache
- retaliate - odwajemnić
  to retaliate against sb with sth
  in retaliation for
- the best/better part of = most of
- recourse - uciekanie się do czegoś
  without recourse to
- onslaught - a very powerful attack
- noxious - trujący
- maggot - larwa (mięsna), robak, robal
- slug - lazy person
- mower - kosiarka
- electric hedge trimmer - elektryczne nożyce do żywopłotu
- ply - posługiwać się
- open up - ujawnić
- sow - siać
- elder - czarny bez
- lethal - zabójczy, zgubny, śmiertelny
- boundary - ograniczenie
- deed - czyn
- persistent - trwały
  persist in doing sth - trwać, utrzymywać się
- interference - wtrącanie się, ingerencja
- nuisance - niedogodność, udręka, niewygoda
- injunction - nakaz, zakaz sądowy
- to lose one's temper - tracić panowanie nad sobą
- be driven mad by - oszaleć przez coś
- incessant - bezustanny, nieustający
- double glazing - podwójna szyba
- plead guilty to - przyznawać się do winy
- merciful - litościwy
- conditional discharge - zwolnienie warunkowe
- conciliation - pojednanie, postępowanie pojednawcze
- be at the mercy of luck - być na łasce szczęścia
- regardless of - niezależnie od

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