Kerre McIvor: Wanna-sell neighbour's a drag

There can be worse things in a driveway than a 2013 Peugeot. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today
There can be worse things in a driveway than a 2013 Peugeot. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today

I have been a neighbourhood busybody once or twice. When the gorgeous young things moved into a house two doors down and held parties every Saturday night until 3 or 4 in the morning, I asked if they could please tone it down given that I worked Sunday mornings and there were elderly neighbours all around them.

They were very gracious about it and cut the parties down to about once a month, which seems fair.

I also asked the neighbour across the back if they could please not burn their rubbish - every day - as it didn't give me an opportunity to dry my washing on the line.

I love the smell of sheets when they've been left to dry in the sun - not so much when they've been infused with the smoke from plastics, papers, food and rubber.

Again, the neighbours were very reasonable about it and my bed linen was able to flap freely and fragrantly from then on.

And when I complained to the RSA across the road that the Saturday-night parties were descending into drunken brawls in the street far too often, they sent flowers and put security guards on the doors.

So in 19 years, I've had three minor disputes with my neighbours and each time they have been resolved satisfactorily.

Perhaps that's because I approached them personally.

I didn't leave a passive-aggressive note in their letterboxes nor did I pen an anonymous complaint.

Perhaps I just have lovely, reasonable neighbours.

But let that be a lesson to the person in Flotilla Place, Whitby, who left an anonymous note in Hannah O'Donnell's driveway in the Porirua suburb.

"Flotilla Place," the note read, "is a sought-after residential location and all residents have a responsibility to uphold certain standards."

Hyacinth Bucket could not have worded it better.

"It has been noted that a vehicle that falls well short of such standards is permanently parked at your address. There are properties being marketed in the street currently and vehicles like yours could have an impact on the price that your neighbours will be able to achieve for their properties.

"It is recommended that you consider a plan to replace your vehicles."

Not just hide them away. Not park them around the corner.

The anonymous note writer was suggesting that Hannah - and another homeowner who received a similar note - go out and buy new cars!

Who on Earth can do that? If you have managed to get yourself into your own home, a flash new car would be low on your list of priorities.

Meeting the mortgage repayments, paying the utilities and feeding yourself would leave little spare change - certainly not enough to go out and buy the sort of flash wheels the anonymous snob was inferring would be suitable for the street.

Luckily, Hannah has a sense of humour and laughed it off.

Via a community Facebook page, she asked if the note writer could clarify which vehicle needed replacing - the 2013 Peugeot, the 2003 Mazda 6 or the landscaper's van which, although not a permanent fixture, was a bit shabby and had been parked in the driveway for quite a few weeks while he did his job.

Some pointed the finger at one of the real estate agents marketing the properties in the street. "Sought-after residential location" is Real Estate 101. But both agents protested their innocence and, really, would a real estate agent seriously suggest someone buy a new car just to improve their commission?

No, this sounds like the work of a bored and lonely curtain twitcher, more interested in other people's lives than their own.

The Hyacinth Bucket of Flotilla Place needs to take up a hobby - or if they feel that strongly about the shabbiness of the cars, perhaps they could offer to groom them for their neighbours.

That would be far more productive than dropping nasty notes up and down the street.

Kerre McIvor is on NewstalkZB, weekdays, noon-4pm

- Herald on Sunday

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