Reading of Anna’s recent experiences with, ahum, noisy neighbours has reminded me of a grubby but amusing little tale. But before you read mine, you need to scuttle off and read hers first. Over there’s the main event; this is just the coat-tail coda.

Off you go, and I’ll see you in five.

OK, everybody back? Then I’ll proceed.

Some twenty summers ago, my old friend Stex was renting a ground floor flat near the Trent. He shared a front door with his neighbours: a couple who lived in the flat above. Nice people, and clearly devoted to each other – but therein lay the rub. For, as Stex soon discovered, this couple liked having sex. A lot. Actually, they liked having sex – energetic, prolonged and above all NOISY sex – pretty much all the time, day or night. And, just like Anna, Stex’s flat turned out to have walls – and more specifically, ceilings – made out of cardboard. So it wasn’t exactly the best of situations.

One Saturday afternoon, Stex heard footsteps on the stairs, a male goodbye from the front door, and a female goodbye from the first floor. Peace at last, he thought, looking forward to a couple of hours of monastic hush.

And then he heard it. A rolling sequence of three distinct sounds.

First, a mechanical buzz. Next, a thump on the floor. Finally, an all-too familiar moaning.


Over and over and over.

Stex’s front room was directly below his neighbours’ front room. With its centrally positioned sofa: perfect for stretching out and… relaxing. Maybe with one foot on the floor, just for… well, best not to over-think the situation. But surely not? Surely not? Stex had a vivid imagination and a mucky mind – perhaps that’s why we got on so well – and so he dismissed all further speculation.

A while later – a long while later – the front door opened. Daddy was back.

“YOU CAN SWITCH IT OFF NOW, I’M HOME!” he bellowed, his voice carrying up the stairs and all round the house.

Abnormal, I’m telling you.

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