Since getting back DrH and I have been keeping rather irregular hours. He gets up anywhere between 6am and 8am, whereas I`m from 8am to 10am, and we go to bed somewhere between 10.30pm and 1.30 am, usually heading towards the latter.
When we do go to bed we try and be fairly quiet because it`s the middle of summer and we and all our neighbours have our windows open. Living in this type of apartment building – 4 stories high and enclosing a central courtyard - can be a rather intrusive lesson in how others live.
First we have the young couple with the baby. I`m not sure exactly where they are, but it`s probably in the back house on one of the higher floors, judging by the particular acoustics it lets out at 6am. Next we have the two elderly gentlemen who spend at least half an hour every morning at around 7am discussing loudly across their windows the state of the weather, their plans for the day and The current price of potatoes. I`m not sure exactly what the fascination with tubers is, but it appears quite regularly and they`ve now started intruding on my early morning dreams. Yesterday a large potato kept ringing my doorbell and insisting on taking the dog out for a walk. It appears I´m rather susceptible to subliminal suggestion while sleeping. I´m trying to keep this from DrH however, as I´m worried he´ll start whispering in my sleeping ear such loving suggestions as “You want to give DrH a blowjob at every possible opportunity.”
In our last apartment, which also had windows opening into the central courtyard, summer would witness an amazing nighttime chorus of snores, grunts and whistles. This reached it`s pinnacle when my parents visited a few years ago and managed to set up a tag-team snore spectacle with the middle-aged lady who lived below. It was like listening to a group of four year olds trying to sing Row,row,row your boat in a round without ever having heard the tune before.
Needless to say the reverberating acoustics of such a building can put quite a damper on your sex life and I´ve gotten a lot of use out of the discretion skills you learn in shared University accommodation. Or on Big Brother. It´s pretty similar.
But the current neighbour who´s been giving me the most distress seems to be stalking us, as regardless of what time we go to bed they have timed their evening ablutions to coincide. Most nights now, after I turn out the light, roll over, close my eyes and start drifting quietly off to sleep, the silence of our back courtyard is broken by a rasping hacking. It sounds like someone is trying to bring up a lung, and judging by the solid Thwack we can hear as the fruits of this labour hit the side of the basin, I´m fairly sure they´ve partially succeeded.