Garden sounds are often a pleasure – small birds twittering, pigeons cooing, bees buzzing, the rustle of leaves and perhaps a radio playing in the distance. Behind my garden there are trees, a park and a playground, so I hear children chattering as they play and dogs yapping happily, other than the occasional fall out when they growl fiercely at one another while owners shout at them and sometimes at each other. Noise generated by humans does tend to be annoying though – lawn mowers and hedge trimmers for example, but I can’t complain because I need to use them too. Children often take a tumble in the park and after a deep intake of breath, cry out in pain for a few seconds, while they are dusted down and kissed better. A more prolonged annoyance is “the child” – I’m sure it’s the same one every time – she seems unable to play without emitting a high pitched scream every few seconds for hours on end. I am rarely conscious of traffic noise when I’m in my garden, other than the sirens of emergency vehicles or the air ambulance overhead, which nobody minds.
A couple of years ago we started to hear gunshots coming from the park. Initially this alarmed me and my neighbours, but after it happened several times over the course of a few weeks, we were pretty confident no one had been harmed. We can’t see into the park when there are leaves on the trees, so when it happened again, it was discussed through the natterhatch and Victoria dispatched Albert to investigate! He discovered a man who explained he was firing blanks, with the aim of training his gun dog. He didn’t take kindly to Albert’s suggestion that there must be a more appropriate location for this activity. However the talk did the trick as he never returned and Albert survived to tell the tale.
A footpath running through the park is used by revellers returning home in the early hours – this brings a variety of noises – singing, fighting, crying and sometimes sounds of a sexual nature. The path also attracts skateboarders – what a racket they make – I breathe a sigh of relief when it stops and no-one has been mowed down. We always know when GCSEs have finished because teenagers start to congregate in the kids’ playground, their voices competing with their music long into the evening.
My latest bugbear is a drone! The first time I heard it I thought a swarm of wasps was on its way to attack me. It certainly lives up to its name, droning on for what seems like an eternity. What really brings out the Mrs Meldrew in me is that the controller of this contraption is not a child – it’s a grown man – grrr … I hope the drone doesn’t have a camera – I might be captured on film wearing my “never to be seen beyond the back garden” shorts!