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Noisy neighbor - that's me!

(226 Posts)
sluttygran Fri 19-Feb-21 12:46:51

I have just been visited by my neighbour's daughter, who complains that her mother's life is being made a misery by my noisy grandchildren.
My neighbour lives in the flat downstairs to mine, and I have always been very careful to step quietly and not to bang around, because she seems very sensitive. I have had numerous complaints about my washing machine running, and my vacuum cleaner, which is very awkward, as I don't use either unduly.
Anyway its come to head during lockdown as my daughter is in my 'bubble', and brings the DGC to tea most afternoons. They are always gone by 6pm.
My granddaughter age 7 is a very quiet child, but my grandson age 3 is quite boisterous. He doesnt scream or shout, but he runs around a lot and I daresay his little pattering
feet can be heard downstairs.
I am at a loss for what to do - I can't nail him to a chair for the 2-3 hours he's here!
Normally the children would be at school or nursery, but of course Coronavirus has put paid to that. The weather has recently been too awful to take them out very much, and so Nanny's house has become a refuge in the afternoons.
My little grandson has been seriously ill, and the stress of that added to the lockdown and everything has led to DD becoming very anxious and depressed. She gets afraid shut up in her own house, although she's ok when her husband gets home, and she feels happier when she's with me.
I understand that my neighbour doesn't like her afternoon naps disturbed, but I don't know what to do.
I can't turn my back on my family when they need me, neither can I expect a 3 year old to sit quietly all day, but I do understand that my neighbour doesn't like children around.
She's threatening to call the police and has also said some quite bizarre things about my sewing machine running all day. I dont sew, and have nothing running apart from the usual domestic appliances.
I'm tempted to tell her to take a running jump, but she's elderly (as am I!), and besides, her daughter seems very wound up about it all.
What do Gransnetters think?
Is there anything I can do, or should I just be philosophical and let them complain?

grannypiper Fri 19-Feb-21 15:34:24

I lived in a typical Scottish 4 in a block many years ago. The noise from upstairs was horrendous. I could hear the sewing machine, the food mixer and when she mashed potatoes. I could hear her turning over in bed as the mattress squeaked. If i was in the bathroom same time as her and she was having a wee, it sounded like rain on a tin roof and The noise her little one made when running wild was like the riverdance troupe performing on stage and i am not exaggerating . It is hell on earth living underneath running children. I would imagine the poor woman sits there every day dreading your Grandchildren visiting, maybe she would like her evening meal in peace now and then. Your Grandson is now 3 and is more than old enough to know that he should only be running and jumping outside. What age do you think he should be before learning rules ? If he was at Pre-school he would be expected to follow the rules. Don't be the "nightmare neighbour next door"

V3ra Fri 19-Feb-21 15:36:32

Could she be hearing noise from another flat, and wrongly assuming it's you? The comment about the sewing machine, which you don't have, makes me wonder this.

MissAdventure Fri 19-Feb-21 15:38:15

I would say it's very wearing, rather than hell.
Probably helped by the fact that I'm deaf as a deaf thing..

We can't police what others do in their own homes, as long as it is reasonable, at a reasonable time, and not done to annoy.

grannypiper Fri 19-Feb-21 15:48:46

MissAdventure No it is not wearing, it is hell. It effects people's well being and mental health. If you had to sit under the noise of a running toddler all day everyday it would send you mad. A neighbour on my street back then had lived in his home for nearly 70 years ( he was born in the house and never moved) took to drink after a family with 2 young children moved in, they had laminate flooring and the children often jumped off the windowsill onto the floor, it was like a bomb going off. So yes, it is sheer bloody hell.

MissAdventure Fri 19-Feb-21 15:52:41

I have lived below a very noisy family, with a very noisy toddler, who never slept, which would irritate her dad, who would shout about it in the night, and cause arguments with his partner.
Not the most fun, but it's how they were.
I was happy when she left and he took in lodgers (except they farted like there was no tomorrow!)

LauraNorder Fri 19-Feb-21 16:30:42

You sound like a very tolerant and philosophical soul MissAdventure.

grannypiper Fri 19-Feb-21 16:34:01

Glad they moved Miss Adventure in some ways you are lucky you are deaf.

Doodle Fri 19-Feb-21 16:47:09

I agree Miss Adventure you are more tolerant than me.
We live in a flat and have found the noise of a child running about carries both up and down.
sluttygran I find you reasons for having your DD and grandchildren around quite reasonable but also understand you are driving your neighbour nuts with the noise. You would be amazed how much noise a young person running round carries. Is there no where outside he could go to run off excess energy before he comes to you? Could you play games where he sits on the sofa and catches a bean bag or something?
I would try putting all you have said here down in a letter to explain your circumstances to your neighbour and perhaps if she understands the reason behind your action she might be more accepting. I would also say there is no sewing machine going on so when she hears it could she let you know so that you can come down and listen to it.
I doubt she can do anything about the noise but please don’t underestimate how much noise a child running round on the floor can make.
When our DGC were small I always told the other flat owners above and below they were only visiting now and again and sorry for any disturbance while they were here. I hope you can resolve things with your neighbour but I think the nice approach would be the best place to start.

nadateturbe Fri 19-Feb-21 17:15:42

I'm afraid I would be as upset as your beighbour. I would be demented listening to a child running around every afternoon. And I do love children and have grandsons who are young. But I think I would ask him not to do it and find some things to do like painting that don't require running about. Now and again is ok but not the majority of the time. Someone said you're entitled to enjoy your home but so is your neighbour. Maybe if she doesn't have that noise the vacuum etc won't bother her. Its difficult for you I know but its difficult for your neighbour too. Can you perhaps go to your daughters sometimes?

MissAdventure Fri 19-Feb-21 17:59:17

I'm really not that tolerant, but it's so, so unpleasant for both parties if there is bad feeling, and it doesn't solve anything except make everyone on edge.
I did have THE neighbours from hell for a while, and it made me feel unwell; mentally and physically.

2 of my neighbours have upsets at times about 3 grandchildren visiting and making a racket.

They make a camp under their nans table, and have tea and sandwiches in there.
Very sweet, but to the woman downstairs it's constant dragging of chairs on laminate flooring...

I always straight away say I'm not the slightest bit bothered by upstairs noises if they ask.
I won't even say whether I can hear them or not.
That way I can't start moaning (except to myself!)

M0nica Fri 19-Feb-21 18:08:08

nadateturbe. The OP has already explained why that is not possible.

geekesse Fri 19-Feb-21 18:12:56

Some elderly people are very intolerant of children, even when they make the smallest amount of noise. I guess they have forgotten the noise their own family made when young. Nothing is likely to change someone with that attitude. Sounds like your neighbour is a miserable old sourpuss who probably shouldn’t be living in a flat at all, but probably can’t afford anywhere else. That may add a layer of resentment to anything she hears. She may be bitter with envy because her own grandchildren don’t visit often, or that she doesn’t have grandchildren at all.

But here’s a suggestion. She just sees your grandchildren as impersonal noise makers. Why don’t you invite her to come up and have tea and cake with you while they are there, so she can meet them. Try to prime them to be cute and adorable for a short time (using bribery if necessary), or if your grandson is still unwell, lay on thick how ill he is. If she can’t get up the stairs, get your daughter to take the children down, knock on her door, and be sweet to her by delivering flowers and a card made by the children. The trick is to get her thinking of them as specific people she is being mean about, not random noise generators.

Hetty58 Fri 19-Feb-21 18:21:09

sluttygran, I think it's just unreasonable for you to have them round every day. We're supposed to reduce contact to essential levels, surely?

You should visit them or meet them outside for a walk - and let your poor neighbour have some peace.

ElaineI Fri 19-Feb-21 18:28:19

I think a lot of people are being unfair. You have carpets rugs and the children have slipper socks. If you live in a flat it’s par for the course to hear things and sounds like she is imagining noises too. My Mum is in a terraced house and moans about her neighbours shutting cupboards etc but I ignore it. You need to support your daughter. Poor little mite with all these problems. No you can’t expect a 3 year old to understand and remember not to have noisy play, possibly 4 and up though they will forget too. And nurseries are shut at least in Scotland. Open on Monday same as schools for P1, P2 and P3. Some childminders also shut - we have been childminding for a year now.

Hetty58 Fri 19-Feb-21 18:32:44

ElaineI, I disagree. To me, it sounds like the usual twaddle/load of excuses on here. Suddenly, now, it seems, every older person needs a 'carer' - and every single mum a childcare and/or 'support bubble - come off it!

MissAdventure Fri 19-Feb-21 18:37:35

Regardless of the reasons why, putting in a 'formal' complaint would get the complained nowhere.
It is the sound of someone having her family to visit.
The noise stops by 6pm.
Do you think anyone would say that people who live in flats can't have visitors?

sluttygran Fri 19-Feb-21 18:38:41

Hetty, I think maybe you didnt read my post through. I need to have my daughter visit most days, as I am disabled, so going out is very difficult.
My daughter and her family are my support bubble, and because they have had several months of very severe health problems, we have been clinging to each other during lockdown.
My neighbour has plenty of peace, as the visits are a maximum of 2-3 hours. We have tea, read some books, play a couple of games then they leave before six.
The pandemic has made things difficult for us all, and I am very sympathetic to my neighbour's discomfort, but upon reflection I feel that she is being extremely intolerant. She has needs and wants, and so do I.
After many months apart, and no contact with my dear ones, I feel it very hard to be told that I can't have my daughter and her family to tea.
I am fairly sure that most people would barely notice the children, but this lady has always been super sensitive, and there's a limit to how far I am prepared to go to accommodate her.
I have done everything reasonable to mitigate noise, and have bought flowers and written a mollifying letter, so I very much hope for a peaceful resolution.

FoghornLeghorn Fri 19-Feb-21 18:38:48

I love how OP describes her grandson’s noise as ‘little pattering feet’. I should imagine him constantly running around sounds more like a herd of elephants to the downstairs neighbour. A couple of times a week would imo be tolerable. Every day? Pretty annoying.

Hetty58 Fri 19-Feb-21 18:39:59

MissAdventure, I think (if in the UK) a formal complaint about breaking lockdown rules would get results!

MissAdventure Fri 19-Feb-21 18:42:36

I can hear what sounds to me like Michael Flatley and the entire riverdance cast having a greek wedding celebration upstairs as we speak.

It is actually the husband cooking the dinner. He also bang bang bang bangs the utensils.
Indian curry tonight by the smell.

It's part of living in a downstairs flat.

MissAdventure Fri 19-Feb-21 18:45:36

Have they broken lockdown rules, Hetty?
I understand that a single person may have one bubble arrangement?

I'm not sure if that's right, though, since I have no bubblers.

H1954 Fri 19-Feb-21 18:45:37

It is lovely that you're supportzing your DD and I agree, you can't nail down a 3yr old! Seems to me that any sounds you do make are during the daytime so surely this neighbour is either being over sensitive or just sheer bloody minded!
Why not suggest to her that she keeps a diary of the noise she THINKS you make, you do the same for all your household chores etc and compare them.
She could also have Tinnitus and be hearing sounds that aren't there. I always hear an electric motor running in my left ear!
As the weather starts to improve perhaps you and DD could meet up outdoors, restrictions allowing of course.
There also a chance that your downstairs neighbour actually envies you....just a suggestion......and wants to make trouble to spoil things for you.
Stay safe and enjoy your GC ?

Nonogran Fri 19-Feb-21 18:45:54

I think the sewing machine noise yr neighbour hears could be tinnitus. I often, in the dead of night, hear an engine running. It took me ages to work out there is no engine running outside & it's simply another manifestation of my wretched tinnitus!
Sounds like you are a very kind neighbour but this is not a police matter but she might ask local Environmental Health to contact you. Why not keep a diary for each time you use equipment & see how that ties in with her issues?
It's lovely that your family comes to visit. I wouldn't give her complaints another thought given you're doing/have done as much as you can to live quietly.

Ashcombe Fri 19-Feb-21 18:53:01

For those who doubt the legality of the support bubble:-

Hetty58 Fri 19-Feb-21 19:08:43

It's not the legality I doubt - it's the necessity! Anyone who live in an upstairs flat, and can get out and about, is highly unlikely to need daily support visits, are they?

Strangely, she can't manage the daughter's stairs (perhaps they're very steep). I'd love to know what exactly she needs daily help with!