(The opening paragraphs of the first chapter)
Gazing quite bored, as the time passed, at the black dials with their small white painted fluorescent markings set deeply into the sun marked black vinyl dashboard. The windows of the parked car were gradually steaming up with condensation due to our combined breathing, Ian’s mobile telephone suddenly rang loudly making us both jump for a split second.
We had been waiting nervously in the car nearly an hour now for our solicitor’s call to say that we had finally completed on the purchase. We are buying our first home together. Not that we have not been living together before now.
I’m Samantha and I have been living ‘in sin’ as they say with Ian in his old shared rented flat for some time now. Like most young people we had to wait and save hard until we had the deposit together on this our first place together. This took us well over a year after we had finally got married, and this step was only really possible because of financial help from both of our parents.
Ian started the engine and the car moved off from where we had been parked. We drove straight down the road before turned the corner into the next adjacent road that we came to. We then negotiated a cul-de-sac where our new home was situated. Ian’s colleague from work Max, driving a rented white box van, was already parked up next to the curb outside the new house waiting for our arrival with the all important keys, so that we could gain entry.
Suddenly seeing the van parked, Ian came to an almost abrupt stop in the middle of the road, level with the driver’s door of the van and immediately signalled through the window to the check-shirted driver announcing our arrival. Max reciprocated with a broad grin and quickly climbed out of the van to talk to us on the pavement.
“Do you have the keys mate?” said Max eyeing me moving towards him.
I had just got out of the passenger seat to join the two men already conversing.
“Yes, there here,” said Ian waving a bunch of keys displaying the estate agents distinctive logo fob under Max’s nose.
Soon the two men where making multiple crocodile journeys back and forth to the house carrying large reused cardboard boxes containing our meagre possessions. I carried the most delicate things, table lamps for example with there bases wrapped in protective bubble wrap and their shades still on, barely covered and somewhat exposed, one in each hand.
After a few hours we were all done, except for the unpacking to come that finally took us several weeks to really finish. We thanked Max, and Ian pressed some folded notes into his hand for his help before the box-van departed the close and was soon out of sight around the corner of the road.
SOME MONTHS LATER
We woke up abruptly to tremendous banging through the wall and the sound of constant scrapping behind our bed. Looking at the nearby alarm clock it was barely seven o’clock in the morning. What was going on?
Our alarm clock still hadn’t even rang, we had been sound asleep until we heard the sound next door, but now we were both fully awake.
It suddenly dawned on us what the sound was. Our next-door neighbour, that we hardly even knew was already drilling on the other side of our bedroom wall. We hadn’t ever really seen the couple living next door since we’d moved in. Not to talk to anyway, just an occasional friendly wave from us across the garden fences, not that we had ever saw a reciprocal gesture back. Now we were beginning to realise why.
(Please be warned this summary reveals much of the novel’s plot)
A young couple buy their first home together; a semi detached house outside a small town. Within weeks of moving in and redecorating, the next door neighbours start redecorating themselves; constantly banging and scrapping on the walls at all times of the day and night. This activity does not go on just for a few weeks but for many months continually. Their house becomes excessively dusty inside and cracks appear on many wall because of all next door’s drilling and sanding. The young couple are finally in complete despair and decide to confront the their next-door neighbours to stop and allow them some peace and quiet. On the doorstep they are surprisingly welcomed in and then persuaded to participate into having their house’s exterior painted at the same time as their neighbour was planning to do theirs. Soon the house was clad in scaffolding poles and boards with plastic sheeting screening every view from all the window for months at an end while the man next door painted both houses by himself. The young couple had had enough by now and and decided to sell up and move, but every prospective buyer that came to see the house was put off the property by the building works going on. The estate agent advises them to reduce the price substantially for a quick sale. Much to their surprise it is suddenly then sold very quickly and it was only when they were moving their processions out did they realise that the wife’s mother of the couple next door was buying their old house and they had been purposely driven out of their home so that the mother-in-law could buy it cheaply.