Externalities

In recent weeks, we have had new neighbours move in on either side of us. Whereas the previous bunch were happy never to go in their gardens other than to install over-size satellite dishes, these guys both set about their lawns and beds with impressive vigour, quickly turning junk yards in to beauty spots. This is a classic example of a positive externality - an action by another person that benefits us (we now look out over nice gardens), without having to pay a penny.

On the other hand, the guy opposite's steadfast refusal to buy any sort of blind for his overlooked toilet window can politely be described as a negative externality.

What are the things that your neighbours do which improve or reduce your quality of life?

80 comments:

Pete said...

I can say with conviction that all of our neighbours in Ladywell (Algiers Road) are great.

Up the hill our neighbour is fully renovating his entire house. He has cleared out the garden which had an incredible 8 skips full of rubble and junk removed from it including the eyesore of a breeze block shed at the bottom of their garden. He even rebuilt the fence and paid of it when it was actually our responsibility.

Down the hill our new neighbours haven't done all that much to their house but they are much more friendly than the prior occupants and have a dog. They also trim the hedge more often.

Across the street another family engaged in a year long renovation project of their house and it now looks amazing.

Meanwhile the woman in the downstairs flat made us some banana cake the other day.

Anonymous said...

Well, I fully expect to have a glass of wine in the communal garden with all my neighbours this evening, maybe a few crisps and some nuts from Cranberries at London Bridge station if I can remember on my way home.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Before Headhunter says it, certain of my neighbours have diminished the area by installing UPVC windows and fitting Satelitte dishes.

Not a lot by way of improvment springs to mind apart hopefully from the Talbot.

Tamsin said...

The same things can be positive and negative. Our neighbours have a stunning garden that they expend much effort and a small fortune on. However that means that they also use it a lot - an extension of their living space, entertaining and chatting on the phone. Slightly annoying if you are slaving away on some late proofs with the windows open and you can hear other people just being laid back and enjoying themselves.

A similar negative flip side to what is otherwise positive was when I worked in Bromley. The office window looked out over residential gardens. Quite lovely. But I often worked late (what client care and legal deadlines do to you) and of a summer evening you would be starving hungry, with supper a commute away and then cooking it, while mouth-watering barbecue smells would be wafting in through the open windows.

Anonymous said...

All my neighbours are lovely apart from one lot, who are universally known as 'the anti-social neighbours'. They love having loud and rowdy parties in the garden in the summer, and one member of the family in particular has been incredibly unpleasant and aggressively threatening in the past.

Coincidentally, I am sure, they are the only household around here which has been here more than 5 years.

The Cat Man said...

Impressed that Nick managed to use a word from the economics school, but yes - externalities can be good and bad.

A bad example for me would be my neighbours behind who like to play very LOUD reggie music on a Sunday night when poeple are trying to relax quietly in their gardens.

A positive externality for me is that all the NEW neighbours moved into my street have put window boxes out on their front windows which were in full bloom in the summer.

When I moved into Revelon Rd, it was nowhere near as nice as what it is now. - The community is changing for the better!

Headhunter said...

Apart from satellite dish installation already metioned, I don't think there's anything my neighbours do to annoy.

There are small things, a year or so ago someone moved in diagonally opposite and would play music with heavy bass so loud that it was audible from our back garden which is across the street and round the back. But they seem to have stopped that.

Other than that, some neighbours have horrible caterwauling male cats that wail and screech through the night sometimes which I hate and throw stones at. Others have car alarms which go off overnight, but that also seems to have stopped recently.

My immediate neighbours are all nice enough and I've got nothing to complain about. On one side gardens are overgrown but at least green and full of trees rather than used as a dumping ground for unwanted white goods etc. On the other side, the garden is lovely.

Brockley Nick said...

Straight out of Begg, Fischer Dornbusch, catman.

Headhunter said...

Cat Man - I expect you mean reggae rather than reggie music?! I sympathise though, reggae, rock, opera whatever, it can be bloody annoying when all yuo want is to sit out and mellow in the sun.

patrick1971 said...

@Anonymous 13:53 - there is always one set in every street. Same in my road. All other neighbours fantastic, but there's one lot that everyone knows as "that house".

Nick, can you send your gardening neighbours around to mine? I need the same done in my back garden but can't afford it at present. Focusing on keeping the weeds down to an acceptable level for another year...

Anonymous said...

On Chudleigh road both my neighbours have pleasant gardens. This year there seems to be effort to section off a small part of the gardens to grow vegetables or fruit. What a neighbour does, can aspire somewhat.
On a lesser note, there is a particular kid from the house across that is always constantly doing tantrums outside.

Pete said...

The kid who lives opposite sits out on the balcony smoking spliffs. I assume his parents don't mind or pretend not to know as everyone in the street knows and I'm sure someone would let them know? I just think it's funny.

Decos said...

My neighbours are terrible - they complain when all I want to do is chill out to some music on a sunday night. So instead I have to hear him and his boyfriend go at it hammer and tongs every night.

Oh well, babylon be strong n' that.

tyrwhitt ali said...

I'm starting to think I've just moved in next door to Nick :-) Completed on my flat two weeks ago and a concerted two week effort has finally got the garden under control!

Brockley Kate said...

Oh god, Begg, Fischer & Dornbush, that takes me back ...

Anonymous said...

Bit of a niche reference, innit?

ladywell birdspotter said...

Crosby Stills and Nash for me...


birds looking at empty birdbath in garden

Finenoiseymotorists said...

Anyone else find the music-blaring motorists around Brockley an absolute nightmare? I hear them rumbling past in my garden and the whole place shakes. Brockley road is particularly bad - try sitting for a drink out side Jam circus and a 'kerb crawler' will blare past (usually annoying rap/rnb) every minute or two - can this not be stopped somehow? Everyone is entitled to listen to music in their cars but these people are blatantly breaching the peace to complete their 'image'. Its a new phenomenon from 10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Wow the weather is good today. Makes me think it's the last of a summers day. Both neighbours gone on holidays. Just the planes and sirens to keep me company in the garden.

drakefell debaser said...

I am quite lucky because the people that used to own the flat took care of the garden so we inherited a pretty decent outside space but I constantly have to watch my fence and cut back the crap that is growing next door like a scene from the Day of the Triffids. I have just bought 10 metres of bamboo screening to see if I can at least hide the next door garden completely and I will probably have to do something similar in the front because their bit resembles a mini landfill site, without the scavenging birds circling overhead.

There are benefits and one is that seeing as I am the only one with a garden that you can safely sit in for several houses around, I am the only one who can invite friends around for a BBQ and get pissed in the sunshine. In a civilised way of course, for example we don’t drink special brew and we rely on passing motorists for the music rather than play our own.

Anonymous said...

noisy motorists?

I feel sorry for the poor buggers sitting in the car. If they drive past you only have to tolerate it for a second or two, but they have to endure it all the time!

max said...

What about ice cream vans? Do they count as noisy motorists?

Anonymous said...

Me: top floor flat.
Ground floor: an ever changing group of not unlikeable young Russians (with faltering English) crammed into a two bedder, who chuck their fag butts everwhere. Middle floor: a schizoid - and I mean that in the proper psychonalytic sense - weirdo who's caused me a lot of stress (won't acknowledge anyone else's existence), and parks his car so that nobody else can manouevre in the square. As both flats are rented out, they don't care about the upkeep of communal areas (ok, that's not necessarily a causal link), and I find that I'm the one who has to take charge/do the skivvying. A change from when I moved here; nice philosophical owner-occupier types who took a bit of pride in the place and were happy shooting the breeze/listening on the doorstep to my crackpot discourses on the meaning of life and stuff. The building now has a seedy feel to it, not unlike student bedsits, and I feel trapped because I can't afford to move. Arse

barryls said...

We had a ukelele party down our road (Salehurst/ Manwood) the other day. Disgraceful.

Old Letch said...

I am reminded of one of my former neighbours, sadly long gone, who used to do her housework, cleaning and so on, wearing a pair of Marigold Gloves ....................and nothing else.

As she was young and attractive I suppose it was somewhat more life enhancing than Nick's neighbour at his ablutions.

older letch said...

a forwarding address perhaps...?

Headhunter said...

I occasionally prepare mung bean salads dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressed in nothing more than a pair of organic hemp moccasins. Any interest?

Monkeyboy said...

Had to Google the "Begg, Fischer & Dornbush" reference. Still none the wiser. You'll be glad to hear that BC is on the first page of Google results.

Will you be trousering a cool billion when Google come a knocking? If so I expect to receive a little kick back for my incessant posting.

(Day 10 of house refurb, wish I hadn't discovered the fireplace. Has absorbed 2 days of effort)

Bobblekin said...

My advice to anyone suffering from noisey nieghbours is deal with it - quick and hard. Do not take any crap as it is totally unacceptable to consistently play music at high volume or low frequency. Lewisham Council have a department that are very good at supporting you on this.

fred vest said...

"My advice to anyone suffering from noisey nieghbours is deal with it - quick and hard"

this is good advice - especially if it's new neighbours - best get the confrontation about it done early doors and hard to lay down the situation, if you let it drift it will be harder in the end

Lou Baker said...

Most people nearby are fine - but there are two exceptions.

There is a freak who lives four doors down who sits outside in his car for hours on end with the engine running.

I went out to object once but he's aggressive and bigger than me so I now let him carry on being an inconsiderate knob in peace. One day I'll crack and sabotage his car.

Two doors down the other way the family there regularly have bonfires. Always when it's nice, always when our washing is out, always when our baby daughter is in the garden. I am secretly hoping they burn their house down by accident.

Brockley Nick said...

Lou, I must say it's good to hear from you on subjects other than the east london line ;) You'll be pleased to hear, however, there's another one coming very soon.

Anonymous said...

I think I must live next to Fred because there is a continual droning noise

Anonymous said...

Our neighbour is very fit and regularly walks around his kitchen wearing few clothes. It's wonderful - washing up has never been so much fun.

Lou Baker said...

@ Nick

I saw one of the new trains like the ones they'll be using on the East London line the other day. I was waiting at Shepherd's Bush Overground station when it pulled in to the other platform.

It was rammed full to bursting and was running 13 minutes late .... a sign of things to come?

ladywell bodybuilder said...

"You'll be glad to hear that BC is on the first page of Google results"

It's not difficult getting to the top of google.

Monkeyboy said...

So I should cancel the yacht brochures?

ladywell bodybuilder said...

i think so, yes, but all the best MB

NB 'tits' buried in the meta tags helps enormously

Anonymous said...

I used to used to water his back garden by peeing out a 1st floor window.

Anonymous said...

Well I did have a drink in the garden with neighbour. Now I have a little bit of a hangover. Asprin anyone?

Tressilliana said...

Lou Baker, there is a chap like that in our part of Tressillian Road - are we neigbours or is this a widespread Brockley phenomenon?

Our neighbours are fantastic. We're very lucky and I don't take it for granted. One day one of them will move...

patrick1971 said...

What is it with people sitting outside for hours on end in cars? There is a house on the corner of Salehurst & Ewhurst Roads where, every Saturday without fail (possibly other days too; I only go past on Saturday to buy my paper), the inhabitants are sitting outside tinkering around with cars. Surely their car(s) can't be that unreliable? Must drive their neighbours potty.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they're making some modifications to the internal instruments?

Anonymous said...

@ Lou Baker

I caught one of the new trains like the ones they'll be using on the East London line the other day.

It was practically empty at rush hour, lovely and cool thanks to the air con and exactly on time ....a sign of things to come?

M said...

Oops, that was me above.

Headhunter said...

....Sigh, I take that as a no then...

Anonymous said...

The trains that roll through Ladywell are similar. A sign of things to come indeed as they have barely any seats leaving people to sweatily fall on top of each other as they tried to read their London Lite

M said...

Those trains are fine by me but very different to the new ELL trains which are more like tube trains - a row of seats against each side and standing space inbetween. They are also completely 'walk through' - without doors at either end of the carriage - which makes feel a lot more roomy.

Old Letch said...

HH - invest in some Marigolds;-) a bit of rubber usually spices things up..........

Anonymous said...

I wonder if we'll see a future where truly everyone gets a seat?

Oh well, back to my car.

Headhunter said...

Old Letch - I couldn't possibly - Maigolds are not biodegredable...

Headhunter said...

Anon - Are you really saying that you can't use the train simply because you have to stand for a couple of stations? Blody hell, toughen up! I doubt there's anywhere in the world in which everyone gets a seat on major commuter routes. I could understand your frustration if you were stood up on the train for 45 mins or more but it's barely more than 15 mins from these parts!

Danja said...

Be more thoughtful, HH. That Anon doesn't have any legs.

M said...

Don't rise to it HH. Anon was clearly being daringly 'controversial'.
Zzzzzzzzzzz

Car using anon said...

Headhunter - I go further than Brockley to/from London Bridge

Tintin said...

I viewed my neighbours' late-night karaoke session as a negative externality, but they could at least sing pretty well, so may have been a positive externality for those who don't have work the next morning and are happy to be serenaded at 3am.

Anonymous said...

My neighbour is constantly baking mung bean casseroles and leaves his bike hanging around.

M said...

Satire isn't dead folks! it's just very very poorly.

September said...

I think I might actually be the neighbour from hell - I'm an opera singer! I try not to practise after 9.30pm but it must still be pretty irritating. Our neighbours have always been absolutely lovely about it, which is very good of them as other singer friends of mine have had terrible trouble.

September said...

I think I might actually be the neighbour from hell - I'm an opera singer! I try not to practise after 9.30pm but it must still be pretty irritating. Our neighbours have always been absolutely lovely about it, which is very good of them as other singer friends of mine have had terrible trouble.

Jo said...

*sob* Our neighbours drive me mad. We live in a flat over a shop in central Lewisham; the access to the flat is round the back. To access the flat, we have to literally pick our way over a pile of rubbish about four foot high in places; the landlord next door is doing out his poky flats (again) and has (again) piled all the rubbish out there for months on end (it's been there since before Christmas, I think). And we can't do a damn thing about it because technically it's private land and it's his.

Aside from anything else, it's so bloody depressing to come home to every single day.

westsider said...

sorry to hear that jo, move to Brockley!

Ladywell Borders said...

Our street seems to attract old, pee stained mattresses by the dozen and fried chicken detritus by the tonne.

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar said...

Can I ask where I can find these matresses and nibbles?

Come on, Ginger!

Anonymous said...

Hello Opera singer,
I think I used to be your neighbour, in the house next door and didn't move out cos of you.I used to love it!!!

September said...

Aww, thanks Anonymous @ 22.35! I feel reassured by your positive attitude :)

Tressilliana said...

Lots of singers in SE4/Ladywell, I think - we used to have a singer next door too. It was great.

September said...

That's actually one of the main reasons I love Brockley. I have quite a few musician friends of various flavours in the area - there's an artsy kind of atmosphere which, combined with low prices and quick travel into town, makes Brockers perfect for musicians.

Anonymous said...

What's an artsy atmosphere?

I hope it doesn't have anything to do with £3 loaves of bread.

September said...

I certainly do not intend 'artsy' to have anything to do with fashionable rusticness and conspicuous consumption - trust me, on what I earn, bread costing more than about 70p is a distant dream!
I guess I mean things like the Brockley Max, Open Studios, public art, proximity of places like Trinity and Goldsmiths (where I went) and the friends and contacts I have in the area who are also musicians.
Classical music is an industry where, all too often, the lifestyle which is perceived to be enjoyed by its consumers does not trickle down to its skilled exponents, despite our decades of training. The reason there are so many musicians in Brockley is basically because it's one of the cheapest places you can live in London with a reasonably low risk of being attacked on your way home from a concert!

Brockley Kate said...

Anyone else hear that incredibly loud party last night? Sounded as though they had a sound system out in the garden. Lots of cheering and shrieking too. Post-A Level results celebration perhaps?

sthlondonconvert said...

shardeloes road is looking up, some neighbours down the road have got some very nice front gardens.

Tamsin said...

@ September - and don't forget the Telegraph Hill Festival that has been going longer and (dare I say it) has more variety than the Brockley Max. First planning date for 2010 now set for Monday 5th October at 8pm in the Telegraph Hill Centre. Classical musicians (and any other variety) more than welcome, as, indeed, is anybody else.

Anonymous said...

What an odd post Tamsin! Are you threatened by the Brockley Max or is it something against Brockley itself? I have always found the Brockley Max has plenty of variety and was very surprised by the high quality of performers on Hilly Fields.

Polster said...

We have 4 sets of neighbours (flats on both sides of our house) and we don't have too much bother at all. There is one very noisy guy in the upstairs flat whose natural talking voice is a very loud shout, and their kitchen is next to my daughter's bedroom so there is a lot of banging, clattering and yelling just when my daughter is going to bed. However, it's nowhere near as bad for us as it is for the lady who lives below them. They are Housing Association flats and they have laminate flooring throughout. Our downstairs neighbour says it's like living in a drum - lots of banging and stomping around, and she can hear the guy snoring as if he were lying next to her. She complained to the Housing Association and was told that they don't have any policy on flooring in upstairs flats (I thought it had to be carpet) and it was up to her to ask the neighbours to keep the noise down. Not an easy thing to do.

Tamsin said...

Not at all, Anon - they are at different times of the year and feed into each other. It's just that this discussion forum reaches out to St. John's on one side and Telegraph Hill on the other - and is much more vibrant than the Telegraph Hill Forums (for which you have to be registered and so can't be Anonymous) - so it is worth mentioning the Telegraph Hill Festival in the context of the area as a whole being "artsy" - and taking the opportunity of publicising the date of the planning meeting that has literally only just been set.

Also, I was being deliberately provocative ...

Anonymous said...

‘…than the Telegraph Hill Forums (for which you have to be registered…’ exclusive eh? Maybe that is how the Telegraph Hill Festival presents itself? £8, if I remember rightly, for Jazz in a room with no acoustics? Was there not another event for £10 or £12 in a community centre? We felt pretty excluded not having the money to be able to take the kids.

Tamsin said...

Forum requires registration because the adminstrator was fed up with the flack and abuse being chucked around by some trollish elements - in my personal view I think it was possibly a mistake.

On the Festival, some events are pricey - most are free. The Telegraph Hill Festival deliberately doesn't have external funding and needs to cover its costs and maintain a reserve for the intial publicity and programme production for the following year.

Anonymous said...

Flack and abuse are what we come here for!

Tamsin said...

The £10 event in the community Centre was Comedy Night and your children would have had to come in disguise as it is 18+ only! Concession tickets available anyway.

But pricing is something we try to keep a watchful eye on. Loads of extended family, aunts, uncles etc coming to see your little darlings in theCommunity Show can add up considerably.

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