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Feeling a bit unsettled

(67 Posts)
Oldwoman70 Mon 30-Oct-17 09:54:37

My neighbours have had scaffolding around their house for several months and my neighbour has started making comments. A couple of months ago I wanted to watch something on TV so had my dinner on a tray sitting on my sofa, (not something I generally do), a few days later he made a comment about how doing that can interfere with digestion. A few weeks ago I had some friends round for lunch and after were in the sitting room chatting over a bottle of wine (as you do), again a few days later he said that my friends seemed to enjoy their visit. Last week he said he liked the colour of my dressing gown! I tried to make a joke of it and said that it was creepy and was he spying on me. This morning I opened my curtains and he was standing on the scaffolding staring at my house. Now I would point out I am not some gorgeous 20 year old with long legs and a great figure - in fact I am 70 short and fat! He is at least 10 years younger than me and has a lovely wife. Whilst we get on OK we are not great friends, we put each others bins out and watch each others houses when one is away and chat over the garden fence but that is about it. He is semi retired and only works 2 days a week so perhaps he is just bored!

I now don't feel comfortable relaxing in my sitting room and in fact am currently sitting at the kitchen table as that room cannot be overlooked from their house.

I don't feel threatened just unsettled.

kittylester Mon 30-Oct-17 10:04:57

That must be most unsettling for you. Could you put up net curtains for the period of the scaffolding being there - or is there no work going on - just scaffolding?

Having said that, we and our nearest neighboughs are going to work out a system for keeping an eye on each other since the house opposite was subject to an attempted distraction burglary and we have become aware that we are not nosy enough!

Squiffy Mon 30-Oct-17 10:07:02

As a temporary measure and to save having to confront him, could you put up net curtains? I know you shouldn't have to do so, but once the scaffolding has gone the 'issue' should be resolved. I can understand how unsettled you must be feeling.

It sounds as though he's bored/lonely. If it were anything more sinister I think he'd keep quiet and not let you know that he'd been watching.

BlueBelle Mon 30-Oct-17 10:51:50

I don’t like nets much but after I was burgled my daughter pointed out that the situation of my house, only a very small front garden, anyone can see straight in it from the public path So that’s what I did I do drape them open on sunny days but otherwise hopefully the passers by can’t see in
That’s what I d do it’s very unacceptable for someone to be commenting like that and sounds as if he doesn’t have many social skills or boundaries

I d personally keep my distance over the garden wall too

annodomini Mon 30-Oct-17 10:58:41

I have vertical blinds which can be adjusted to let in the light but not the nosy gaze of passers-by.

gmelon Mon 30-Oct-17 11:43:40

Make sure you bump into his wife to tell her (jokingly of coursewink) that hubby seems to admire your dressing gown. He'll not be commenting again once she has her say to him.
Keep your curtains shut .
If he comments on that then you do not have to make any reply. Just change the subject.
It is not essential to keep an eye on each others houses or even talk to him.
If you still want the convivial atmosphere then stay polite and friendly but refuse to discuss your shut curtains.
Or if it is too dark with shut curtains then nets are the answer.
He'll get the message.
I would also try using your bedroom as a sitting room for now. Maybe move the telly up there or watch stuff on your laptop or computer.

gmelon Mon 30-Oct-17 11:45:34

To add to my above post. Find another neighbour to keep an eye on your house when on holiday.

glammanana Mon 30-Oct-17 11:58:31

I would certainly invest in some floral patterned net curtains,that way you will still have plenty of light but he will not be able to see through the pattern of the net,that will cure him.

jusnoneed Mon 30-Oct-17 12:01:50

That would give me the creeps too.
How much longer is the scaffolding there for, if it's been a couple of months I would hope not too much longer.
I would make some remark about being a peeping Tom! And yes mention to his wife if you get the chance, make a jokey remark and leave the rest to her.

This is the reason I have nets at my windows, we have a footpath going past our front windows - about 10 foot away. My neighbour doesn't and you can see right into her living room. We have large windows and you can the whole room.

Oldwoman70 Mon 30-Oct-17 12:19:55

Thanks for the replies. I have spent a couple of hours moving furniture so I have an armchair in the corner of the room - if I don't fully open the curtain on one side I am "hidden". I have no idea how long the scaffolding will remain. Next time I see his wife I may make a joke about the comments.

GillT57 Mon 30-Oct-17 12:36:25

Apart from the intrusion, he is breaking lots of H & S rules be even being on the scaffolding if he is not the contractor using it. Why not have a word with the workmen next time they are there, tell them their customer is on the scaffolding in their absence, that should get it stopped. Rather creepy too.

Jalima1108 Mon 30-Oct-17 13:34:44


A neighbour behind us has just put up scaffolding (well, a workman has presumably put it up).

That is not on Oldwoman, it is an intrusion of your privacy and quite disturbing.

ElaineI Mon 30-Oct-17 22:32:22

You should mention it to his wife and I agree with Gmelon - get another neighbour to look after the house. If he spies like this and it is verging on harassment as it makes you feel uncomfortable - then he could be looking through your things when you are away - personal papers etc I mean. He would probably pass it off as "looking out for you" but it is invasive and personal to make comments like that.

Anya Mon 30-Oct-17 22:49:05

Isn’t the problem about sexual harassment down to the fact that women don’t report it, for whatever reason. Given the recent publicity both in Holywood and now our own Parliament there is, at last, a culture of speaking out.

You need to tell someone about this. Who you tell depends on your support network, but this simply isn’t on.

Luckygirl Tue 31-Oct-17 08:37:44

Definitely let it drop to the wife - he'll be in trouble no doubt and quite right too.

wilygran Tue 31-Oct-17 10:05:51

I've stuck with my nets through thick & thin! For privacy & security reasons they're great and if you go online there's a good selection of prices & designs. Even once scaffolding is down if you're overlooked by windows you'll still feel better for screening. I think those comments are intrusive & creepy, so would agree with others who say find some tactful but absolutely clear way of making them known to the wife. If she avoids contact with you in future that's probably a good thing. He needs to be warned off.

W11girl Tue 31-Oct-17 10:09:59

Why change your lifestyle because of this person. I am afraid I would have to have a quiet but firm word with him in the nicest possible way....or it won't stop... I'd rather have the short term wrath than the lifelong not being able to live normally because of him.

jessycake Tue 31-Oct-17 10:11:07

You could get some removable window film that just clings to the glass it’s not too expensive . It’s not a permanent change & cheaper than blinds or nets

lilihu Tue 31-Oct-17 10:11:07

Golly, this guy sounds like a creep. He obviously has no idea of how he’s coming across. Maybe just socially lacking? Scaffolding is very expensive to hire so is usually only used for the minimum time - I wonder why it’s up for so long? Have you asked what they’re having done?
I hate net curtains and they only block viewing as long there are no lamps on. Vertical blinds are fab. You can alter the angles of the slats from closed to fully open and every angle in between, allowing as much or as little light in as you need. They come in hundreds of fabrics and colours. Might be more expensive than nets but a better, more attractive long term solution. Hillary’s are always having sales/ offers and do the whole job. Better than having to hide in your own home?

IngeJones Tue 31-Oct-17 10:11:22

No don't tell the wife! She a) may not believe you and think you fancy her husband and it's wishful thinking or b) may feel she has to defend him vigorously anyway. First tell him please stop looking into my windows, it feels intrusive. If he still does it, then consider whether he has any other signs of inappropriate behaviour or mental deterioration in which case he probably can't regulate his own behaviour. If all else fails tell him you will go to the police. And like everyone else has said put up nets (remember at night when the lights are on nets don't offer privacy so pull your main curtains.

Jaycee5 Tue 31-Oct-17 10:11:34

That is really horrible. Some men genuinely don't seem to know where the line is, or even where the line is and some just enjoy creeping women out.
I would get some quite thick nets and put them up. This is better than just shutting your curtain a bit because it is a clear signal to him.
You are probably doing the right thing to reply in a fairly bland way but you have to be alert to any signs of escalation. It isn't really about how you look or your age. It is more about power and he is already make you change your behaviour.

JanaNana Tue 31-Oct-17 10:21:44

It's one thing having scaffolding up and getting on with the necessary work, quite another to have the neighbour making personal comments on your private life. I would find this very creepy. First either put some lightweight nets/voiles up or an inexpensive Venetian blind (the sort that Argos sells). Next time you see his wife ask her how the work is progressing and any idea when the scaffolding will be coming down. After all if it's been up a few months what on earth are they having done.! You could also be a bit blunt with him as well if he makes further remarks or comments if you put nets up.....such as I value my privacy thank you. I think I would ask someone else to watch your property when you are away, try and distance yourself from him. He is being over familiar with you and out of line, I would give him the cold shoulder.

DotMH1901 Tue 31-Oct-17 10:27:28

Could you ask his wife how long the scaffolding is going to be there? ~I had to hire some and it isn't cheap so we just had it for the shortest time possible. If it is only for a short time i would buy a roll of privacy film and put that up for the interim. I wouldn't tell his wife as she probably would feel she had to defend him - not worth the hassle - if, once the scaffolding has gone, he continues to stare into your windows then I would say something directly to him about it

TillyWhiz Tue 31-Oct-17 10:32:55

What a creep - he'd get my best schoolmarm look, I'd look him up and down and say 'Have you got a full length mirror?' I'm currently having the same creepy behaviour from a member of my church, what do they think they are?!

blueskies Tue 31-Oct-17 10:41:13

This is stalking and it won't stop but continue and escalate. Please access the Network for Surviving Stalking. Stalking is now recognised as a crime. This is how it started with me. I eventually had a heart attack and had to move house. It is good to know that nowadays your fears will be acknowledged. Keep a diary of everything--however insignificant and you can speak confidentially to your local council officer who deals with problematic neighbours. Also contact your community police officer who will be helpful--often a woman--and it will be logged.Do not speak to the wife as she will protect him. Do however speak to every neighbour and friend so that they are aware. Keep safe.