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Short story By: Vernham Chronicles

Annoying neighbours? We've all had them, and some of us have unwittingly been them at some point! Vic and Maureen Grinham moved into a flat above 'Ye Olde Sweetie Shoppe' in Vernham village in 2010, when they made their intentions to reform the natives to their own liking very clear. Now, and after many letters written to complain about things which others find normal and everyday, they have decided to make their exit after admitting defeat to find some other community to annoy!

Submitted:Apr 13, 2014    Reads: 148    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


It is now three years since newcomers to Vernham village, Vic and Maureen Grinham, moved into the flat above Ken and Bettie Griggs' shop 'Ye Olde Sweetie Shoppe'.

They haven't been happy years though, not for Vernham!

Vic and Maureen Grinham, who hate noise of allsorts but make a lot of their own, made their unwanted presence known as soon as they moved in.

Apart from the constant drilling, hammering, circular saw noises and blood curdling shrieks heard from the Grinham's flat; they have also conducted a consistent campaign of letters of complaint to villagers.

The first victim to receive a disappointing note through the letterbox was poor old Mr Swale who lived in the cottage next door to Ye Olde Sweetie Shoppe. Elderly and retired Mr Swale, still active member of the Busted Philharmonic Orchestra, enjoyed having a good old parp on his bassoon for about an hour every morning. Mr Swale had lived in the village since he was born, and villagers had got quite used to and enjoyed the sound of the music emanating from his cottage. However, shortly after the Grinhams moved in, Mr Swale received a note saying:-


We're your new neighbours.


Yours sincerely,

Vic and Maureen Grinham.

Poor Mr Swale was so upset; he had never borne witness to such an unreasonable request before. Hurt, he decided to sell his cottage and find somewhere to live where he could parp away without annoying anyone.

An interesting twist to this story is that Winston Reefer and Leeroy Roach, members of a West Indian Steel Drum band called 'Ganjabangbong' bought the house and moved in shortly after Mr Swale moved out.

It didn't take long for Winston and Leeroy to annoy the Grinhams with their metallic steel drum melodies plinking and plonking all through the day, and night. They also held rather raucous parties, which frankly annoyed the villagers of Vernham; but they at least had the comfort in knowledge that it was truly irking the Grinhams. They had never forgiven them for their unkind treatment to Mr Swale, a much loved and respected member of the community.

Nonetheless, Vic Grinham composed a letter of complaint, not to Winston and Leeroy, but straight to the authorities!

Dear PC Fred Sweetman,

We are writing to complain about the nasty noises blaring out from our next-door neighbours Misters Reefer and Roach. We don't know what it is, but it sounds like someone banging oil drums with spanners, only less musical.

It's not just the noise we find offensive, it is also the odd smelling smoke that billows out of their windows, mostly when they are having a party.

The other night, my wife who had only just recovered from one of her bad heads and was still feeling a bit pukey, decided to open the window for fresh air and caught a whiff of the pungent smoke. This made my wife very nauseous and she only just made it to the bathroom in time.

We would be most grateful for your intervention as we feel that Misters Reefer and Roach's behaviour is extremely unsavoury and unnecessary.

Yours Faithfully,

Mr Vic Grinham.

P.S. I am aware that 'pukey' isn't a real word, it just sums up how we both feel about the situation.

PC Fred Sweetman, local Bobby and part time flasher did intervene. Unfortunately, his usual method of controlling law and order and warding off crime in the village by exposing himself and shouting 'Ooh Yah, Ooh Yah!' made no impact whatsoever.

The only response from the offenders was laughter and someone shouting out the window 'Woo hoo! Look dat policeman not got his trousers on marn!'

It was a hopeless situation; PC Sweetman telephoned the Velstrum constabulary for reinforcements but to no avail, feigned excuses such as 'We've all been struck down by a strange tummy bug', 'We've all been beamed up by aliens!' and 'We're are all too busy fighting crime in Velstrum!' were offered. The truth behind the excuses was that they had already experienced the wrath of Winston and Leeroy before and didn't want to stir up any old animosity!

Winston and Leeroy eventually moved out by their own accord; or rather, they couldn't keep up the mortgage payments and the mortgage loaners repossessed the cottage.

Other such silly and unreasonable letters of complaint have been sent to many villagers over the last three years.

Here's just a sample of the 'Bullying by Basildon Bond and Bic Biro' campaign:-

Dear Mr Robson,

We know you like eating boiled sweets, particularly Winter Mixtures (and don't deny it, we've seen you buying them from Ken and Bettie!), but could you stop crunching them so loudly please?

Why don't you suck your sweets instead? Alternatively, take your dentures out if you must insist on crunching them!


Vic and Maureen Grinham, extremely annoyed neighbours.

Dear Mr Selsman,

It has come to our attention that your wellington boots squeak and wheeze air when you walk.

This noise is annoying, unnecessary, and easily prevented by repairing them with a bicycle inner tube repair kit.

Alternatively, you could purchase a new pair of boots.


Vic and Maureen Grinham, very disturbed neighbours

Dear Nelly Birdham,

We understand you like a bit of a drink on the quiet, only it isn't quiet is it!

We can't convey just how distressing it is for us listening to you walking to the Comfytums Tearoom with your carrier bag clanking with gin bottles.

May we suggest you transfer your gin into plastic fizzy pop bottles, these can be found easily rolling around Low Street (which will be another thing for us to write a letter of complaint about) and only need a quick swill out with washing up liquid and hot water to make them safe to drink from.

These will, we think you will find, be less noisy.

Alternatively, stop drinking!

Yours temperately,

Vic and Maureen Grinham, concerned neighbours.

Here is one sent to pub proprietors Roger and Susan Spur:-

Dear publicans of The Grummet and Nut hostelry,

The other morning we heard someone singing Mario Lanza songs and breaking wind loudly from your bathroom; as it was a gentleman's voice, we assume it was Mr Spur.

This is a vile and disgusting habit and should be refrained from so as not to upset genuine folk like ourselves, and the wind breaking is just as unsavoury!


Vic and Maureen Grinham, disgusted neighbours.

And finally, here's an interesting one sent to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds:-

Dear Mr or Mrs RSPB person,

Of recent, my wife and I have noticed that the birds have decided to sing earlier in the morning as the summer draws in; this has disturbed our sleep patterns.

We both lead extremely busy lives and require at least eight hours sleep per night to be able to function properly during the day.

There is a bullfinch that makes a dreadful noise and my wife and I find it most irritating.

We demand that you order these birds to start their dawn chorus later in the morning (we suggest eight o' clock) for their own welfare. My wife has already purchased a Black Widow catapult and a bucket of ball bearings through desperation, and I cannot guarantee that she will be able to hold her temper for much longer!

Yours psychotically,

Mr Vic Grinham.

However, there is good news in the air, Vic and Maureen have handed in a notice of tenancy termination to Ken and Bettie Griggs.

Ken and Bettie are extremely happy with this news; in particular Bettie after being rebuked by Maureen for making a noise when she was weighing out a quarter of cola cubes into the weighing scales for one of the small children of the village.

Kind Ken and Bettie have offered to help them move, the sooner the better!

This joyous news has spread through the village rapidly like children running home from school at the end of term.

There are plans to celebrate, with bunting hung up in Low Street, and fireworks have been ordered to send the miserable couple off.

Nelly Birdham plans to clank her gin bottles loudly as they leave.

Mr Selsman has converted a pair of his wellingtons into squeaky toys by removing the squeakers from a couple of dog toys and inserting them into custom made holes in the soles of his boots; this will make a wonderful sound as he walks and jumps up and down.

Winston Reefer, Leeroy Roach and Mr Swale have heard tell of Vic and Maureen's leaving. Together they have formed a band called Ganjabangbongbassoon for the occasion. Winston has fitted Mr Swale's bassoon with an electronic pickup to amplify his playing. To complete Mr Swale's kit, Winston has lent him a wah wah pedal, fuzzbox, octave dividers, phase shifter, an echo and reverb unit and a 200 watt amplifier to annoy Vic and Maureen with. They're gonna sound great!

PC Fred Sweetman will of course be making sure that law and order is upheld during the occasion, and probably see them off with a good old 'Ooh Yah, Ooh Yah!'

I'm certain that in their own little way, the birds will be singing with a little more cheer too!



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