07 August, 2006

Choking apart

Having just got nicely settled into the business of not having to worry about the neighbours in the flat below, thanks to there not being any, my period of joy has inevitably been curtailed.

Someone who I'd previously thought was only visiting to look round, or possibly popping in to check up on the premises until a proper tenant was found, now seems to have moved in for good. He's an old man, smartly dressed, very respectable and hardly makes a sound. The one problem, however, is that he smokes.

He smokes a pipe. Out of his windows. Directly underneath my windows.

Great clouds of noxious fumes are now irregularly wafting into my flat. At the merest whiff of an oncoming fug, I have to face around shutting all the windows, regardless of how hot it is outside.

He also smokes possibly the foulest smelling pipe in the known world. The stench is vile and inescapable. How it can bring him any pleasure whatsoever is beyond me. How he thinks he can bring pleasure to anybody else by smoking out of his window, thereby funnelling all of his pollution directly into my lungs, is equally mystifying.

Such a practice is surely the acme of anti-social behaviour. You are presuming not to want to dirty up your own premises with the odour of your own tobacco, but at the same time generously infecting someone else's abode with the self-same cancerous miasma.

There's only one other person I know of who smokes a pipe, and that is one of my uncles. I haven't seen him for decades, but the two most vivid memories I have from my youth of going, as a family, to visit him in Chesire were a) his astonishing fondness for casual swearing ("I've had an arse-ingly bad day at work, my boy!") and b) his filthy pipe. He had a pipe "chair" in which he always sat to ingest the thing, directly above which on the ceiling was a large patch of yellow. I don't know how his wife put up with everything; she hated it, and said so, regularly.

Anyhow, wisps of reminiscence are now floating back whenever I catch another whiff of the petulant pipe man below. Wisps, plus a load of dirt, dust and pestilence.

Still, it's a step up from Chris De Burgh.


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