Sunday, 29 November 2015

Monstaville Book III. Chapter 28


“Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?”
- Bugs Bunny (Warner Brothers).

Neighbour Notes March to April 2011.

1 March. Evening. El Phaba came home about quarter to twelve and stomped around in shoes, and then again at half twelve.

The Dude (Jeff Bridges): Look, we all know what’s involved here. What the fuck are you talking about, huh?
Walter (John Goodman): Dude, the Chinaman is not the issue here…They pee’d on your fucking rug?
The Dude: They pee’d on my fucking rug.
Walter: That’s right Dude, they pee’d on your fucking rug.
- The Big Lebrowski (directed by Ethan and Joel Coen, 1998).

I now have active hostility with Pakistanis living next door, above me and across the road. Crazy warrior shit, man! I mean, I’m just doing the best I can within the law but can you imagine what I’d be driven to if I was free to in a more primitive society? Well, of course, they all belonged to the same tribe and probably respected each other, a little bit at least! But, here, it’s like I am in prison (or a mental home) with inmates who belong to the same tribe outnumbering me and doing what the hell they want at my expense.

On 1 March, I got home at 4.30 p.m. and, at 5 p.m. they started working on a car in the driveway next door to me just as I was intending to relax for the evening. I simply went outside and complained, saying something like, ‘You’re not starting that at this hour are you?’ Interestingly, when I spoke to him this time, the guy turned round and complained about my having asked his mechanic to go away previously. Two days later, the mechanic sat in his van for ages with the window down, chatting away on his mobile phone. [A week later: however, he has not been back since I wrote down this vehicle registration number while he was sitting in his car shortly afterwards]. I listened to him intently, realising that he really is not capable of considering my point of view, and then said, simply, ‘Ok, this is the last day.’ To which he grumbled and turned away. Agreeing as though agreeing to disagree, or being bitterly sarcastic. So, I am now writing a letter to the council to see if anything can be done about the situation. Although I am now officially battling against three sets of Pakistani neighbours, which has caused my mood to drop somewhat, I also feel more hopeful now that I am actually doing something about it and not just putting up with the noise. It also helps to calm my fury and latent desire to go out and do some damage. There is no need for violence, ever!


There is a Spike Milligan sketch titled ‘Pakistani Daleks’ which portrays life at home with the Daleks. Daddy Dalek (Spike) comes home from work wearing a white handkerchief on his ‘head’ and crashes into the dinner table several times as his human wife attempts to lay out the cutlery (almost as if he is drunk). The dalek eventually pushes the crockery onto the floor and she attempts to lay the table with what remains on it. “I’m sorry I’m late,” says the dalek. “The tubes were full of commuters.” When his wife asks how he got on (the train) he explains that he exterminated them. She makes him a cup of tea and asks how Mr. Banaji is. The dalek replies, “HE’S-NOT-VERY-WELL.” “Why?” asks his wife. “I-EXTERMINATED-HIM.” The dalek then exterminates the dog when it barks and says, “PUT-HIM-IN-THE-CURRY.” He then exterminates granny who is sitting in an armchair. Then a smaller dalek enters from another door. It’s their son. “Johnny, have you finished your homework?” asks the mother. The son replies, “YES-I-HAVE-DESTROYED-IT.” She then says, “Someone has exterminated granny!” To this, daddy dalek responds predictably, “YES-PUT-HER-IN-THE-CURRY-AS-WELL.” A bird in a cage then starts talking: “Hello sailor. Hello sailor.” And is promptly exterminated! “PUT-HIM-IN-THE-CURRY,” says the dalek. His wife then ends the sketch, telling the audience, “Now you know what’s wrong with the country.” Daddy dalek continues firing randomly around the room and says, “PUT-IT-ALL-IN-THE-CURRY.” His wife adds: “Now you know what’s wrong with the curry!”

A comment on YouTube: “The sketch is in fact mocking the social attitudes to mixed relationships in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Spike Milligan wasn’t racist but would often take racial stereotypes and make them so absurd as to be ridiculous.” In view of the title, the main dalek is clearly meant to be a portrayal of a Pakistani man who is married to an English wife. The association being so absurd, Spike Milligan, who was born in Pune, India, is showing us how blaming immigrants for everything is equally absurd. In the 70s, there were a large number of bigots who had never even met a coloured person and regarded them as aliens and less-than-human and harboured many false beliefs about how they lived. It is as though it were daleks who ‘come over here, take all the jobs and breed like rabbits.’ Then we might have something to complain about. Ordinary Asian people, however, are just human beings. And, it is not as if we have anything to fear such as them destroying everything and killing everyone in sight – and putting it in the curry! (Because, of course, another popular myth has been that Asian people put ‘goodness knows what’ in the curry - a new phenomenon for many Brits at the time – possibly even dogs).

5 March. From about 12.45 a.m. the noise coming from a silver PSV parked next door kept me awake. It belongs to the guy over the road. The noise sounded like a loud fan. I went outside to see what it was and the lights in his house, upstairs and downstairs, were on. This has never happened before so I am assuming that it is deliberate after our exchange the other day. The noise lasted about an hour and I couldn’t sleep until it stopped although I kept telling myself it was not too loud to prevent me from sleeping.

I’m surrounded by bandits from the same country who have come to this town expecting to do whatever they want. It is like living in a hornet’s nest! I feel like I have been ambushed by the Japs during WWII and they are closing in and want to take over and throw me in a POW camp. I do feel like I am out of my depth here. It’s starting to get to me again, to be honest.

I feel a bit like Rango the chameleon in the children’s cartoon film that has just come out in the cinema. According to a description in a local newspaper, Rango is “a new twist on the classic Western legend of the outside who saves a town – and himself in the process.”

“When Rango (Depp) accidentally winds up in the gritty, gun-slinging town of Dirt – plagues by bandits – the less-than-courageous lizard finds he stands out. Welcomes as the last hope the town has been waiting for, new Sheriff Rango is forced to play his new role to the hilt until, in a blaze of action-packed situations and encounters with outrageous characters, Rango starts to become the hero he once only pretended to be.” 

 There's a new sheriff in town

6 March. Oh, my favourite pastime: being woken up at 7 a.m. on a Sunday and listening to Fabala stomping around and dropping things on the floor for half-an-hour before going out! As I have already pointed out, the stomping and dropping things often go hand-in-hand. They either occur at the same time or there is some stomping followed immediately by objects being dropped on the floor. This is usually just for a minute or two, morning and evening (often more than once), but sometimes longer. If she is off work - at the weekends, for example - she makes sure she drops things on the floor periodically. During the evening, the Ha Chus were knocking on my wall with a solid object for 5 or 10 minutes at 10.15 p.m. this was followed by noise off and on for an hour.

7 March. In the morning, of course, I received my daily dose of torture from upstairs! In fact, I ended up going to bed very late again and, being woken up early, appears to have triggered this cold that has been lingering in my body for the past month or more. At least it’s all coming out now but I did feel like a total wreck all day today!

10 March. I have a cold at the moment and I am receiving the same treatment as last year. It has not been so noisy this year, however, so Fabala only learned about it yesterday. She let out a loud fake sneeze last night and again this morning along with a whole circus show of dropping items on the floor for ages. She definitely earned her sugar lumps!

12 March. Saturday. I have no idea what El Phaba was doing upstairs this afternoon but it was unbearably loud and I hope it is a one-off rather than a regular act in the circus. It sounded like a rowing machine or similar exercise apparatus. I heard a sliding sound followed by a loud thud on the floor repeated over and over and over again. I happened to watch a comedy programme afterwards and I was killing myself with laughter. As a result, El Phaba dropped something on the floor that was the loudest noise to date, I swear! She also did another fake ‘sneeze’ as loudly as possible a little while later.

13 March. Very loud knocking on the wall with a solid object next door at 10.25 in the evening. I got up and went over to the wall and shouted, ‘You do NOT want to do that, fucker!’ I doubt if they could hear the words but, hopefully, they got the message anyway!

14 March. Evening. El Phaba put some music on when she got home in the evening which was just loud enough to be annoying. She then tried her new exercise machine at 7.30 which is ludicrously loud! I put some loud-ish music on. She stopped but then started again. I stood on the bed and shouted up, ‘Shut the fuck up!!’ She stepped again and put the radio on in her bedroom. It was loud but not earth-shattering like the other times.

15 March. Ha Chu, a grown man, let out a fake sneeze at 4.10 p.m. I’m pretty sure it was the most fake-sounding one to date! He is out of practice! In fact, he did it three times in a row perhaps to make up for his blunder. The third one was much better. Haha.

On 16 March, at 1.07 a.m., I had a fleeting but powerful vision of wearing a white robe (with some purple on) and being some kind of priest on a higher dimension (perhaps with M and co?). There was a faint feeling of joy and fulfilment associated with this plane of who I am. If I could raise my self-awareness to this level and then relate to my earthly life from there I might have more self-love and faith as well as a deeper sense of purpose and interest in living on this planet.

16 March. El Phaba is just very noisy every morning and today she, too, tried a couple of fake sneezes whilst dropping things on the floor at the same time.  Then, at 6.05 p.m., Ha Chu followed suit with another loud ‘sneeze.’ And again at 9.26. Getting some practice in.

17 March. I got home early and Ha Chu let rip a really, really loud ‘achoo’ right by the wall at exactly 4 p.m. So, it was worth all the practice after all! lol.

Rattlesnake Jake from Rango

“Learn to love with all your heart and accept the unlovable side of others...For anyone can love a rose, but only a great heart can include the thorns.” – Unknown.

19 March. Someone next door heard me turn the light off when I went to bed at 12.40 am (I’m usually quieter just in case) and knocked on a wooden cabinet or something for about 40 seconds. At 11.08 a.m., there were three sneezes in succession upstairs which actually sounded real even though I’m sure they weren’t! Perhaps she has been taking lessons from Ha Chu! This was followed swiftly by solid objects being dropped on the lino floor. She then put on some loud dance music at 11.30 which she then turned up six minutes later. It is the radio as usual. She turned it down at 12.40. This was inevitably her response to the full moon. Sad! Loud knocking on the wall next door at 11.17 p.m.

Yeah, Fabala can only handle loud music for an hour and even then she just listens to any old crap on the radio! People who are not really into music cannot go the distance. I could listen to loud music (of my choice) all day if I wanted to. There is so much music I love. I was talking to two black guys once and they got on to the subject of rap music, at which point my interest in the conversation started to decline until I eventually offered an opinion. One of the guys asked me what music I’m into and, when I told him, he smiled and his eyes lit up. He told me he couldn’t relate to anyone who was not passionate about music in one form or another, as though he were suggesting they had no soul!

20 March. El Phaba arrived home just as the neighbours’ 4x4 was pulling into the driveway at 5.32 p.m. Maybe there is a sneezing training centre I am unaware of.

21 March. 4 or 5 young Asian guys parked outside at 2.50. They must have stopped for a fag I think. They were talking and laughing loudly right outside my window. Having been woken up by the assault, I got out of bed and banged on the window. I was too tired to go out and tell them to fuck off. One of them asked what I wanted and I replied, ‘Sleep!’ which he heard and understood immediately. They drove off after that. I was unable to get back to sleep, however. In the evening, El Phaba had her TV on fairly loud and then used that rowing/exercise machine around 8.30 p.m. My God! It’s louder than I remembered. Response: very loud Motorhead for an hour. No Sleep Til Hammersmith. An all-round war is kicking off here again. I swear the Ha Chus made a young child cry purposefully at 11.20 p.m. in an effort to piss me off! They also knocked on the wall off and on until 12.30 a.m.

22 March. A loud fake ‘sneeze’ from Hachu Hichu at 11.35 a.m.

23 March. I came home for lunch and some Asian men were building a brick wall down at the end of the road. They were playing Asian music full blast! On my way out again, I went and talked to them. I was just going to write down their company name and telephone number but there was no sign on their PSV so I asked one guy for a business card. I was going to explain that I intended to ring the company to complain about the noise if they asked (albeit after they had given me a card). It turned out that it was a local family helping relatives so I simply told him that if they didn’t turn the music down I would call the council out. He smiled and turned it off asking me if that was alright, by which time I was walking away and simply turned round and nodded. Actually, I don’t think I nodded because I had not asked him to turn the music off. I just warned him what would happen if he didn’t turn it down. It was more like a subtle shrug. I was bluffing on this occasion anyway although partly because I was not at home.

“Love God and He will enable you to love others even when they disappoint you.” - Francine Rivers.

26 March. El Phaba came home with some people, including children, and immediately used the ‘rowing machine’ for five minutes. It IS incredibly loud! And just as I was about to meditate!! I was tempted to go and ask what the noise was but I was scared of losing my temper. Such is the impotence of English men in our time. I don’t seem to have recorded the other instances of this noise. I have just played loud music in response each time.

28 March. I got home at 11.30 p.m. and her boyfriend’s car was parked in the street outside. My path was blocked in the dark hallway. I bumped into something and couldn’t seem to move it out of the way. So, I switched the light on to see what it was. There were two sections of a retail clothing rail and the one that was in my way I simply lifted up and threw on the stairs with the other part. After a few minutes of being in my flat Elphie’s boyfriend rushed down and took the contraption out to his car. I am wondering if that is what she was rolling around the floor!! Very strange behaviour though. And what was the loud clunk on the floor at the end of each lap? Perhaps she was using it purely as some kind of torture device!

29 March. El Phaba appears to have a week off work and, foolishly, she is making more noise than ever: last night and this evening. And, this evening, whilst I meditated, she walked around and crashed about for the whole hour!

30 March. El Phaba got home just after 9 p.m. and again spent quite some time dropping things on the floor to try and annoy me. I just put Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor on loud enough to prevent it from affecting me. I can just about deal with the idea that someone is being that nasty towards me it if does not do any other harm. These are people who want to ruin my quality of life, not that it is in tip top condition anyway! Late in the evening, the Ha Chus were knocking on the wall. I said to myself that if they did it once more I would get up and do something about it (I hadn’t yet gone to bed). They knocked much louder than before so I got up, banged two metal trays together in the air in the other room to wake El Phaba up and shouted ‘Fuck off!’ Force being the only language these lowlife idiots understand.

“Right meditation has to become a strength in you, not a weakness. It has to make you so strong that you can sit in the marketplace and yet be meditative.” – Osho.

“Everything that you do in meditation, spiritual practices, with your intentions and loving actions throughout the day influences those around you as well as enhancing your own spiritual growth. When you meditate you are not only meditating for yourself but for all of humanity, for all that is the Creator on the Earth and inner planes. Know that you are being of service at all times through your simple desire to connect with the Creator. Many people ask us what their purpose is. We say to you that you are already living your purpose now you are already being of service; you just have to realise and believe this.” – The Ascended Masters (channelled through Natalie Glasson, ‘Being of Service, Part 3,’ 28 March 2011,

31 March. Yes, things have turned nasty here! Some as yesterday: in the evening, El Phaba spent a good deal of her time walking around in shoes and, not so much ‘dropping’ things as throwing things at the floor and just whacking it with something. At one point, this was excruciatingly loud. I meditated through it all again but I did not enter a deep meditation so there was some unpleasantness to experience. This lasted for an hour or so but there was a bit more to come before she went to bed. At 10.45 p.m., I stood on a chair and made some noise of my own for a minute or so in close proximity to where she sleeps. After that, the cat wanted more food and, as I bent down to place it in his bowl, I felt a sneeze coming. Consequently, I stood up and let rip!

There has been no repeat of that awful noise so I guess it must have been the clothes rail and not a rowing machine! Crazy! Thank God for Motorhead and Mendelssohn!

[Note: 5 minutes after writing up this week’s notes the phone rang. I paused to see if anyone spoke, which they did not, and then said ‘Hello’ and they hung up].

“Don’t give in to hate. That leads to the dark side.” – Obi Wan Knobe.

As for the guy over the road, he has resumed business again but in a less conspicuous way which includes not working on vehicles in the driveway next door. In fact, he has removed the empty bottles of oil, dirty rags and so on, and moved the car bumper to his own driveway. I took some photos of the mechanic and a couple of their customers while they worked in the street which was quite amusing. Just in case I need to provide any evidence of what they have been doing here. The mechanic is seriously worried about this for some reason and has pretty much stopped coming here. Interestingly, as I passed a newsagent’s on the bus one afternoon (23 March), I saw a headline advertising a local newspaper which read ‘Death In Unlicensed Garage Home.’

3 April. The Ha Chus have a couple of their daughters and their friend over for the weekend. One of them ‘coughed’ loudly as they always do now before they start such a get-together. I find this behaviour quite stupid because that is more likely to make me angry than anything. They started talking about ten minutes later and El Phaba magically arrived him at that precise moment. Part of me (my ego) wanted to play some loud music in protest but I simply was not in the mood and did not allow this reaction to take over although, the usual plan, is to deter them from doing this kind of thing in the future.

5 April. A guy from the Noise Abatement team at the council called today in response to my second enquiry and reminder that it was three weeks since I wrote to them and no one had contacted me (they said someone would call within 5 days). He claims to have called me a few times and also visited the street to check the situation, hoping to get lucky. In fact, he reckons he was here yesterday morning. I told him it’s a shame I didn’t have his number because the mechanics were working on a vehicle for about 6 hours yesterday afternoon and only finished at 7.15 p.m. I pointed out that there are often two or three cars parked there which slows the traffic down and could cause an accident one day. We agreed that there are many issues besides the noise at stake here and he said he can notify the appropriate departments (Trading Standards, street cleaning and parking) once he has observed things firsthand. He gave me the numbers for his office and told me to call them out when they are working in the street again. He implied that this situation is not so unusual and that Asians sometimes prefer to repair vehicles in the street for cash in hand than rent somewhere purpose-built which they could easily do.

10 April. Sunday. There must be some kind of wedding or something because the Hachoos have being going out and coming back for little parties for the last couple of days. I stayed up on Friday night and was lucky that the noise ceased not long after I had gone to bed. Last night, I wore ear plugs but woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep again. One thing I have noticed whenever the Ha Chus have people over for a Friday/Saturday night party, El Phaba always stays in and is mysteriously quiet for the whole evening. I crashed around when I got up not long after 8 a.m. I am aware of having lost the battle with El Phaba who is now going all out and abusing her power exuberantly, making as much noise as possible, dropping things on the floor for half-an-hour in the mornings and frequently dropping things on the floor throughout the weekends when she is at home. I have no real deterrent anymore. Only extremes will work. All I can do is show her that there are still some consequences of her destructive actions at least in the hope of reducing the number of ‘bombs’ dropped in my direction! Damage control, in other words.

Facebook friend: One good thing about fb is if you wake up in the middle of the night…you always have someone to talk to ;) Love you all! xoxo
Her friend: Yeah all is good here. So have you just got in from a night out??
Facebook friend: Ha! No..I life isn't that exiting these days..I just woke up because the neighbour has been roaring up and down the road on his bike...
Me [later in the morning]: We should all have our own sweet little community somewhere peaceful and sunny. Cities are for visiting not living in. I woke up at 3.30 a.m. because my neighbours had another party and I find ear plugs uncomfortable. In fact, I had a dream that I met an old friend who was telling me he drives diggers and bulldozers for a living and he has trouble with his ears from wearing ear plugs all day. LOL.

13 April. 16.50 p.m. An Asian man has been walking up and down the pavement outside my house talking so loudly on his mobile. I eventually went out and told him, ‘Oi, mate, if you’re going to walk around shouting would you mind doing it outside your own house?’ After ignoring me initially he signalled ‘OK’ with his arm when I turned round again. The truth is, many people living round here now are loud and ignorant. I often hear Asian men talking loudly as they walk past late in the evening or in the early hours of the morning which just never happened at all until the last year or two really.

"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am not, of course, as stated previously, including a record of every time the woman upstairs made my life hell by dropping things frequently and repeatedly as well as ten times more loudly than she used to in the past. It would just be ridiculous because she did it practically every day ever since that week when she got the landlord to stop me playing loud music in the mornings. This period was sheer mayhem and surpassed any period of such length in the past in terms of noise.

17 April. Sunday. El Phaba had her sister’s kids to stay overnight. This morning at 9.10 a.m. she made that phenomenally loud noise again with whatever the contraption is that she has acquired. It is not a rowing machine or the clothes rail. There was much less of a rhythm on this occasion. Less sliding and more clunking!

24 April. Easter Sunday. During sunny weather the quality of life should increase! Often, however, it doesn’t because selfish, ignorant and aggressive people pollute the atmosphere with loud noise from the stereos in their cars and homes and ruin it for everybody. Consequently, despite the sunshine, there was no tai chi or relaxing in the garden this afternoon. Ruined. What gives you the right to ruin everyone’s Sunday afternoon - or Easter? Jamaica: coming to a garden near you!

27 April. A young child was making a lot of noise in the front room near my bed from 11 p.m. onwards. Ha Chu then made a loud, fake sneeze at 11.30 p.m. I was in bed trying to get to sleep.

28 April. When I went out to do tai chi in the garden around midday the neighbours came outside and made a lot of noise just for 15 minutes or so to disturb me. Then, in the evening, Maltesers did some fake coughing. Oh yeah, because I also released a loud shout and rattled a few pans in the kitchen this afternoon when I heard someone in the toilet next door. So I played a Motorhead album loud in both rooms. El Phaba must have come home after a couple of songs and fuck her too! At 6.36 p.m., I heard lots of shouting in the street and climbed up onto the table to look over the hedge, out the window, to see what was going on. A well-built Asian guy had stopped his 4x4 (Land Rover, I think) and he was furious with a black youth who must have kicked or thrown something at his vehicle I guess. He kept repeating, ‘Why did you do that?’ And went for him a couple of times but there were a few other black youths with him. I am not sure if they were all together because they went off in different directions afterwards (in pairs). A Bengali man in a smart light-grey suit, in his 30s, who happened to be around at the time was bravely distracting a couple of the youths and deterring them from possibly attacking the driver. Kind of weird because I just cut the hedge on the other side today after breaking a two-day fast (i.e. I was BEAT!). So, it would have been much easier to see over. I wanted to know what the trouble was and if anyone was getting a rough deal and may need help. Later, at 10.45 p.m., Maltesers’ loud, fake cough was met with me dropping the cat’s metal tray on the floor in the other room beneath El Phaba’s bed. I also slammed the kitchen door handle against the metal filing cabinet a couple times.

PLAY: ‘One of Those Days in England by Roy Harper’ (1977). Why? Cuz this ain’t England!

Retrospective insert.
‘Condone or Condemn?’ by Sananda (channelled through Christopher Sell, 21 February 2013,

If you love unconditionally, does this mean you condone harm?
Should you not condemn a hurtful act? Let us unpack this so that it becomes clearer.
                When you harm another, you harm yourself. How are you best to be helped from this behaviour? Let us consider why you might bring harm to another. The only reason is that some part of you is crying out for love; that part feels so bad about itself that it lashes out in despair. It believes it cannot be loved. So your unconditional love for that part or that person who brings harm is the beginning of a healing process.  
                Does this mean that you must stand aside when harm is done? No, for you are free to act from love also. Your love may prompt you to step in and do whatever you may to stop further harm and to heal what has already happened. You can do this most effectively without recourse to blame, for blame begins to create a separation of one from another that unconditional love seeks to dissolve. 
                Above all be kind to yourself, for in kindness to yourself you model the love of the Source of All.

King Arthur (Graham Chapman): [After Arthur's cut off both of the Black Knight's arms] Look, you stupid Bastard. You've got no arms left.
Black Knight (John Cleese): Yes I have.
King Arthur: *Look*!
Black Knight: It's just a flesh wound.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975).

Monday, 23 November 2015

Muhammad Ali

“I ain’t draft dodging. I ain’t burning no flag. I ain’t running to Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fighting you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice.”
-Muhammad Ali


Why I adore the night

By Jeanette Winterson

The Guardian, Saturday 31 October 2009

"I read more in the winter, write more, think more, sleep more. I don’t plan any of this – rather I don’t resist the seductions of darkness."
So the evenings are drawing in? Jeanette Winterson couldn't be more delighted. Darkness is the time to think, to dream, to love...
It's human to want light and warmth. Our pagan ancestors had a calendar of fire festivals, and God's first recorded words, according to the Hebrew Bible, were: "Let there be light." Night belongs to the dark side, literally and metaphorically: ghosts, scary monsters, robbers, the unknown. Electricity's triumph over the night keeps us safer as well as busier.

But whatever extends the day loses us the dark.

We now live in a fast-moving, fully lit world where night still happens, but is optional to experience. Our 24/7 culture has phased out the night. In fact we treat the night like failed daylight. Yet slowness and silence – the different rhythm of the night – are a necessary correction to the day.

I think we should stop being night-resisters, and learn to celebrate the changes of the seasons, and realign ourselves to autumn and winter, not just turn up the heating, leave the lights on and moan a lot.

Night and dark are good for us. As the nights lengthen, it's time to reopen the dreaming space. Have you ever spent an evening without electric light?

It doesn't matter whether you are in the city or the country, as long as you can control your own little pod. Make it a weekend, get in plenty of candles, and lay the fire if you have one. Prepare dinner ahead, and plan a walk so that you will be heading for home in that lovely liminal time where light and dark are hinged against each other.

City or country, that sundown hour is strange and exhilarating, as ordinary spatial relations are altered: trees rear up in their own shadows, buildings bulk out, pavements stretch forward, the red wrapper of brake lights turns a road into a lava flow.

Inside, the lights are going on. Outside, it's getting dark. You, as a dark shape in a darkening world, want to hold that intimacy, just for one night. Go home. Leave the lights off.

We have all experienced negative darkness – those long stretches of the night when we can't sleep, and worry about everything, and so we know that "dark time" can seem interminably long, compared with daytime. Yet this slowing of time can be the most relaxing and beautiful experience. Spending the evening in candlelight, and maybe by the fire – with no TV – talking, telling stories, letting the lit-up world go by without us, expands the hours, and alters the thoughts and conversations we have.

I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing – their outer lives. Sitting round in candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling – their inner lives. They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses.

To sit alone without any electric light is curiously creative. I have my best ideas at dawn or at nightfall, but not if I switch on the lights – then I start thinking about projects, deadlines, demands, and the shadows and shapes of the house become objects, not suggestions, things that need to done, not a background to thought.

The famous "sleep on it" when we have a dilemma we can't solve is an indication of how important dream time is to human wellbeing. The night allows this dream time, and the heavier, thicker dark of winter gives us a chance to dream a little while we are awake – a kind of reverie or meditation, the constellation of slowness, silence and darkness that sits under the winter stars.

I live in a wood in deep country, so inevitably light and dark keep their natural, non-city qualities for me, and I find myself responding to the changes in the light, and adjusting my ways from outdoors to indoors. I read more in the winter, write more, think more, sleep more. I don't plan any of this – rather I don't resist the seductions of darkness.

And what could be better, on a winter afternoon, than getting into bed with someone you love? Then the darkness is complicit. Bed is where you should be. If it rains outside, that only adds to the pleasure. And don't put the lights on. The Shakespearean bed trick, where it is so dark that somebody ends up making love to the wrong somebody (or as it happens, ultimately the right somebody), could never happen in our bright bedrooms, but the soft velvet of darkness turns even a familiar lover into an unknown encounter.

Making love in the afternoon is completely different in summer and winter. To begin as the afternoon light is fading, to wake up, warm and heavy, when it is completely dark, to kiss and stroke the shared invisible body, to leave the person you love half asleep while you go and open wine … then the moment of standing barefoot in the kitchen, just a candle and two glasses to take back to bed, and a feeling of content like no other.

It may be an illusion, it may be the bonding hormone called oxytocin, but it is a gift of darkness too, and the slow extended time of love and night.

I like the slowness of night.

When friends from London arrive, high on electric light, like hamsters on a 24/7 wheel, I slow them down by feeding them food with darkness sealed in it: deep red venison stewed in claret, carp from the bottom of the river, root vegetables grown in rich black earth.

Just as our bodies use the sun to store up vitamin D for the winter, so the root vegetables common to autumn and winter have used their summer foliage to lock in the sun. There is a wonderful alchemical image of a black sun – dark, not radiating outwards but inwards – and that packed-in power is what you get in the autumn root vegetables. Little red turnips and ruby-black beetroot, small rough brown swede and deep orange rounds of carrot are dark suns.

Eating seasonally is not a green fad; it is way of connecting the body to what is really happening out there. We are seasonal creatures – the over-ride button is scarcely 100 years old. Give the body back its seasons and the mind is saner.

I believe in pleasure – but not the same pleasure all the time. Seasonal pleasure prevents boredom and cynicism.

There is great pleasure to be had from coming home on a wild night when the weather is vile, and pouring a glass of good red wine, and cooking dark food, such as mushroom risotto or braised beef and turnips served with dark green cabbage and truffle mash. If you have only 15 minutes to cook, make it mushrooms on toast with chopped parsley, and a chicory and endive salad. But keep the good red wine … This kind of cooking and eating cheers you up in winter, because it is what the body needs.

If you want to be depressed, spend the long winter nights eating out-of-season food. This is not the time for caesar salads or anything with the words "slim" or "diet" or "low calorie" on the label. After a day in the office, a brisk walk home – even if takes an hour – followed by real winter food, will give you good spirits of the kind not to be found in the over-lit-overheated-bus-in-a-traffic-jam situation, followed by a ready meal.

In the autumn, make the bedroom cooler, not warmer. In winter, keep it slightly chilly, so that there is pleasure in that tingle of cold before you leap into bed with a hot water bottle, a good book and a glass of whisky.

It is a mistake to fight the cold and the dark. We're not freezing or starving in a cave, so we can enjoy what autumn and winter bring, instead of trying to live in a perpetual climate-controlled fluorescent world with the same day-in, day-out processed, packaged, flown-in food.

I have a tiny woodburning stove on my girlfriend's balcony in London. She thinks I'm crazy, but I like to sit in front of it with the lights of the city elsewhere, heating a pan of soup or roasting chestnuts, and yes, I could do that on her fancy Falcon cooker, but I wouldn't be where I like to be in my mind – which is dark without being melancholy, brooding without being depressed.

Food, fire, walks, dreams, cold, sleep, love, slowness, time, quiet, books, seasons – all these things, which are not really things, but moments of life – take on a different quality at night-time, where the moon reflects the light of the sun, and we have time to reflect what life is to us, knowing that it passes, and that every bit of it, in its change and its difference, is the here and now of what we have.

Life is too short to be all daylight. Night is not less; it's more.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Monstaville Book III. Chapter 27


"It was a dream of perfect bliss
Too beautiful to last.”
- Thomas Haynes Bayly.

December 2010.

El Phaba is back to dropping things in the same fashion as she was before she went away (and no longer coughing of course either); that is, not OTT like the first week she was back because then I have to put music on to cover it up. There is simply no choice. In fact, I am really enjoying spending the Winter evenings listening to all my old KISS FM dance tapes. Some seriously amazing music on these cassettes! I’m loving it. So, whenever she does decide to make a lot of noise in the evenings I am already protected from it by this buffer. Sometimes I listen to music all evening. Sometimes just from 8 or 9 p.m. if she comes home late I also have the option to turn it up but I don’t. I’m only interested in enjoying the sounds and covering up the elephant dance upstairs. She stomps and crashes about as much as possible in the mornings but I just put up with it. I’m really into the energy of forgiveness at the moment so I send that. Oh yeah, on 12 December, El Phaba dropped something on the lino that was SO loud it went right through me! Kind of like a knife through butter. It was as though every cell in my body had a momentarily disorienting bounce and then landed gently back on their feet again.

11 December. I came home in the afternoon and El Phaba was standing in the hall preparing to go out. I expect I must have given her a bit of a fright since we rarely pass each other. I said, ‘We meet again!’ to which she replied, ‘We do.’ Kind of like two enemy secret agents keeping the exchange to a minimal level of acknowledgement. As I approached my front door, I added, ‘I’ll leave the door open for you then.’ We had met the day before. I am still including the request for ‘protection and guidance throughout my day’ in my morning decrees. I have been finding myself looking at the time when it’s 11, 22 and 33 past the hour for a few weeks now, and particularly times like 11:11, 12:11, 11:22, 11:33, 21:12, 12:22, 13:33, 14:44, 00:11, 21:12, etc. It’s kind of cool. Just a sign that I’m being protected and guided of course. According to Commander Ashtar, many of us are feeling a stronger connection to our guides at this time anyway.

Monday 13 December to Wednesday 15th. Maltesers ‘coughed’ around 10.30 to 11 a.m. each day. Possibly on Sunday as well, I can’t remember. So, I figured this was more proof of the conspiracy with El Phaba until…

15 December. Ha Chu ‘sneezed’ at 7.46 p.m. So the Sheriff of Pantomine is back and wants me to know it. Too funny.

16 December. 12.30 p.m. ‘Hammering’ on the wall for a few minutes. Sick. Haha.

18 December. Saturday. El Phaba played loud music during the afternoon. At 19.14, she dropped something so heavy on the floor that it felt like a psychic bomb. I imagine she has a lot of anger in her.

This is an abusive environment. What to do?!

19 December. At 11.05 a.m., El Phaba dropped another extremely loud noise bomb! Then Maltesers ‘coughed’ a minute after I had noticed the time was 11.11!

20 December. 2.05 a.m. Maltesers strikes again with her loud fake ‘coughing.’

21 December. Lots of rubbish has been thrown into the front garden again. Empty plastic bags strewn all over as well as tea towels that have been cut up and an empty coke can. Could have been a fox. No food though. The Sun is aligned with the Galactic Centre and there’s also a Full Moon and total Lunar Eclipse.

“I will only use my powers to annoy.” – Bart Simpson.

22 December. The phone rang at about 11.30 a.m. The person hung up quickly without speaking. Those guys over the road were working on a car from early this morning and only packed up for the night around midnight (they were making that loud, ugly sound of the electric [or air] tool that loosens and tightens the bolts on the hubcaps at 12.25 a.m.). [They were still working on this car on Christmas Day!].

El Phaba is continuing to make a lot of noise here and there when she’s at home, on and on, every day, forever! She also left one of those ab toners in the hallway, right in front of the door for about a week before I moved it to the stairs. The first time I moved it, she moved it back. But then she just left it propped up on the stairs. It’s been in the hallway for at least two weeks now! Originally, it seemed obvious that she believed this was causing me some inconvenience. However, I now suspect that there is a deeper message in there; that is, she is teasing me about being overweight (perhaps even her boyfriend’s idea and apparatus). Again, if (like them) I cared what other people think I might feel hurt by that statement! Instead, it just reminds me how thick she is. I mean, the ab toner is blocking her way, not mine now so it is only an obstacle for her. [Hence, she eventually moved it.

1 January 2010. I got home at about 11.15 p.m. The next-door neighbours were talking and started talking so loudly from 11.25 that it sounded more like yelling. Then at 11.56 there was loud laughter.

2 January. Ha Chu ‘coughed’ loudly. Loud talking late at night.

3 January. Both Ha Chu and Maltesers coughed just before and just after 11 p.m.

So, how do you love something you don’t like? Are we expected to show love to our torturers? Am I supposed to simply express gratitude and forgiveness the whole time my neighbours are making a racket late at night? How so? That is not authentic. Yet, perhaps this is the way to tap into one’s higher self and, through one’s intent, set in motion a different energy pattern and allow the situation to change rather than preserving the density and difficulty by resisting it. That way, one is not paying attention to the illusion, the world of appearances, but placing faith in God. That’s a big ‘perhaps’! Because how long would one be required to endure such persecution, or sustain a state of unconditional surrender? But the answer, I know, is a convincing, invincible, unequivocal ‘Yes.’

23 January. 12.55. The guy over the road was yelling across the street for ages and then Maltesers ‘coughed’ loudly plus El Phaba then dropped something heavy on the floor in a veritable, perfectly-timed circus performance. Oh. I just remembered: I blew my nose a few minutes beforehand. Gosh! This incident did actually get to me a bit. I felt myself sucked in and wanting to take revenge because they are both being a menace every day. However, I didn’t want to go there. It is better to focus on what makes me feel good. Otherwise, I’ll never get out of here alive! But, generally, when either El Phaba or the neighbours try to annoy me I just shrug it off and think it’s sad for someone to feel that they need to behave in that way.

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

24 January. Well, the neighbours are a problem again, talking very loudly until gone midnight each night this week. Ever since I started going out to work again I have had to put up with loud noise late at night from next door and then being woken up by the bulldozer in the mornings!

25 January. Well, it’s been Bulldozer Bonnie throwing invisible bricks at me morning and night, daily, all month. This evening, at 8.30 p.m., however, I was subjected to a tumultuous barrage of very loud noises caused by various hard items being dropped on the lino upstairs, one after the other after short pauses.

28 January. I was trying to meditate earlier in the evening. The mechanic who works over the road with the bearded foghorn was sitting in his car with the window down talking to someone on his mobile phone for nearly half-an-hour. It was loud enough to interfere with my focus. I said (still sitting in my chair), ‘You don’t even live here, man! Fuck off home!’ Then, finally, I went over to talk to him. I wasn’t terribly friendly towards him, I admit. He agreed to stop. I walked back into the house and he just ignored me. So, 5 minutes later, I put some shoes on to go out and talk to him again. I asked if he had finished work and he said yes so I said, ‘Go home! You don’t live here. I’ve told you before, this is a quiet street and you’re causing a problem.’ After a pause, he said, ‘OK, I’ll move.’ 11.34 p.m.: a loud, fake ‘sneeze’ from Ha Chu.

29 January. Elphie’s boyfriend came round for her at 6.35 a.m. (my alarm is set for 9 these days!).

“When you are distressed and stressed My Beloveds your energy vibrations fall. When your energy vibrations fall you are then attracting those into your energy fields with lower vibrations which in fact helps draw more of those negative events and people into your lives.” - Archangel Michael (channelled through Carolyn Ann O'Riley, ‘The Whirl Wind,’ 1 February 2011,

2 February. It’s completely insane here at the moment really! Like a zoo! I am being exceedingly tolerant. I often consider retaliating when it starts to get to me but then think better of it and shrug it off somehow even though lie really sucks at the moment and my vibration is not as high as it was previously. I am tired of all the games. Nothing really works anyway and, now that I have lost my semi-effective deterrent, I only strike back by banging on the wardrobe as she is leaving the house when her attempts to disturb me succeed and I really want to release the tension and/or want her to know what I could be doing if I was so inclined. Most of the time I find that I am able to endure the assault and brush it off with forgiveness, often saying out loud, ‘Bless you,’ still. This little slice of positive intent appears to do the job and also reinforces my new orientation in the heart. This day was midweek and just before a New Moon. The Ha Chus talked until gone 2 a.m. (they have been doing this regularly this year although not quite as late as that). Holy fuck! As I am writing this, Ha Chu just let out a wild ‘sneeze.’ It’s sooo loud, man! I am chuckling but only because part of me would like run the bastard through with a sword (which, for all I know, I already did in a past life)! And, of course, it’s funny because I just decided to record this other incident because the next morning El Phaba was much louder than usual and at a much earlier time. Anyway…’Bless you.’ A little delayed on this occasion. It is actually 6 February today, 22:55 as I look at the time (naturally!). In fact, this morning, after waking up, I added to my invocation, ‘I ask for protection and guidance throughout my day,’ something like ‘and not just fancy numbers in the time!’ 

6 February. El Phaba was simply a nightmare today after I chose to react to her single, loud, timely noise bomb yesterday before she went out (I banged on the wardrobe as she was leaving). I put up with it gracefully. Ha Chu let out two loud ‘sneezes’ at exactly midnight as I was struggling to get to sleep. I don’t know, I’m a bit chesty at the moment as I’m coming down with a cold and I have a sore throat but I don’t know if it is related to the issue with my back tooth and nerves that my dentist is currently assessing! So, I had coughed a couple of times not long before that but I would have thought they were way too quiet for the neighbours to pick up. It is possible though. 

7 February. 9.23 p.m. Ha Chu ‘sneezed’ loudly. Then again at 9.47 p.m.

8 February. El Phaba really went for it this morning just like she did all day on Sunday, walking around in shoes on the lino and dropping heavy objects on the floor. It was torture but I was also very tired and kind of delirious because I have had trouble sleeping for the past two nights. I have been in pain and also took a couple of painkillers halfway through the night. What I need are neighbourkillers! Haha. On the way to work an African lady was standing by the stairs on the bus while her young daughter was standing in the corner on the larger stair. It was a squeeze to get past them both so I asked the mother very gently and politely if she could please move. She refused. So I asked her a few times and explained that the stairs are for walking up and down on and that there was insufficient space for me to pass. She just wasn’t having any of it. In the end, since she wouldn’t listen to reason, I decided to raise my voice and tell her to get out of the way. ‘Get the fuck off the stairs!’ I asserted. ‘You people are so rude,’ she replied, reluctantly fetching her daughter and making room for me. I was, naturally, a bit angry (I think because I was aware of holding up the people behind me who boarded after me), but I regret swearing. Well, damn it, it’s rude to stand on the stairs on a bus, rude to listen to your personal stereo loudly and talk on mobile phones on public transport. Actually, I have never, to my knowledge, complained about this before although I have certainly given people grumpy looks for standing on the stairs of a bus before. Usually, however, there is at least just enough space to pass. On this occasion, however, it was the fact that the mother, although not on the stairs, refused to leave or remove her daughter from there. Consequently, her torso and arm were in the gangway blocking my path. On another bus journey today I had to put up with two people listening to loud music in their headphones: an Asian guy at the front and a black girl at the back. It is usually one or the other so there is at least some distance from selfish people like them. I just smiled at the black girl on the two occasions I passed her.

When I got home in the evening I decided to do tai chi in the garden because it was unusually warm and sunny today. At first, I had to put up with an Asian mother yelling at her daughter over the back (a few houses along) with the window wide open. It was so loud that I had to stop for a while until she had settled down. Oddly, as I resumed practice, or about halfway through, her young daughter made strange, piercing and very irritating noises for a few minutes. I had my back to her and I was not sure if they were aimed at me or not. When I finally turned around, however, she was hanging out of the window looking at me, quite clearly doing her best to get my attention. Since my turn had been a natural part of the form and not for her benefit, she quickly disappeared and shut the window! Really annoying.

Evening. 22.10. Kids screaming for a while. Now Maltesers turn: fake cough. The neighbours were noisy until gone midnight. I had trouble getting to sleep again anyway.

9 February. 8.13 a.m. El Phaba dropped something on the lino, then at 8.32 walked on it wearing shoes. Yesterday and today, I shouted and made a racket with pots and pans in the kitchen as a warning to Ha Chu to quit the sneezing tyranny. 19.22. There you go: El Phaba let out a loud fake ‘sneeze’ and dropped some stuff on the floor immediately afterwards. Why would she be doing this? I have done nothing for her to respond to. 20.14. Fabala dropped something on the lino’d floorboards and it was shockingly loud! She then put some very loud dance music on (radio) 5 minutes later. I listened to The Cure but could hear the thumping drum beats upstairs. She turned the music off at 20.54.

12 February.  Ha Chu ‘sneezed’ loudly around 11 a.m. and Maltesers ‘coughed’ at 8.41 p.m.

13 February. Crazy evening! I meditated for over an hour-and-a-half and for most of that time El Phaba walked around in shoes and dropped things on the floor. The noise grew louder and louder but none of it reached me only because I was enveloped in God’s embrace. The noise bombs eventually reached a crescendo and I felt the sound waves hit my aura but they did not penetrate to reach my nerves. I heard, sensed and observed the chaos from within a cocoon of Light. Otherwise, I’d have had to stop meditating and put some music on!

These are poisonous darts thrown in my direction. El Phaba has to have her bouts of noise invasion a few times a day every weekend as though it’s a military operation. I am not recording all of it. It’s the same old same old. Dropping things mostly. This weekend she has ‘coughed’ loudly a few times, including once as Ha Chu was pulling away in his 4x4, but it’s only some evil reaction to my own genuine coughing I expect. It is not loud enough to affect me and simply reminds me how childish these people are.

"I love the man that can smile in troubles - that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. It is the business of little minds to shrink; but he, whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death." - Thomas Paine (American Crisis I).

Valentine’s Day! El Phaba dropped something loudly on the floor at 8.21 a.m. and Ha Chu came outside just as I was ending the tai chi set, talking and then gobbing! Haha. My neighbours love me really!

16 February. El Phaba’s ferocity resumed this morning and the Ha Chus were talking very loudly (‘not quite yelling’!) from about 11.15 p.m. onwards as I was trying to get to sleep. Furious, I got up at 11.30 and put wax ear plugs in my ears which were uncomfortable but I managed to fall asleep and they did not feel so uncomfortable when I awoke in the morning. The guidance I received from the Angel Cards was Tenderness and, in the morning, I read in a book by White Eagle, “…when illumination comes there is only one way in which it is possible to live, and that is by spontaneous love, kindness, gentleness, not only to brother man, or to the sister of your spirit, but to all creation.” (The Light Bringer, The White Eagle Publishing Trust, Hants., U.K., 2001, p.24). Even the nasty neighbours!

It’s a game of cat and mouse as always in this house!

17 February. I put the radio on in the kitchen for a couple of hours in the morning. I also banged around here and there and shouted when I heard someone in the toilet next door. In addition, I ‘coughed and spluttered’ when Fabala left the house this morning and returned in the evening, banging on the wardrobe again tonight. I guess I do not feel much tenderness toward my neighbours right now! I also, somehow, managed to knock a pan off the stove which contained some dirty water and had to clean the whole area, including the portable stereo and power cable reel. Bad vibes! Still a worthwhile price to pay for standing up for myself and deterring the noise terrorists though. I cleared away some rubbish that had been thrown into the garden today which, disgustingly, included a used condom!

19 February. Saturday. There is a used condom hanging over one of the thin stems of the lavender bush which is strewn over the wall of the front garden so it is dangling over the pavement! Eww! I’m just leaving it there, sorry! In the evening, the Ha Chus were noisy and disruptive again. They have the youngest daughter and her child staying for the weekend. I went to bed at midnight, hoping that they would quieten down but, by 12.30, I had to wear ear plugs again.

20 February. I put the radio on for a few hours in the morning. In the evening, they were loud from 10.30 p.m. and also banged on the wall with a solid object and again at 11.10, really loudly. Kids screaming loudly again. I went to bed after they had quietened down, around 11.30.

21 February. The next-door neighbours started making lots of noise from 9 a.m., deliberately talking loudly near the wall mostly, like a planned campaign. I reacted to their malicious intent and turned the radio on. I switched it off at about 12.30 p.m. but put it on again shortly afterwards when there was further loud talking accompanied by Muslim religious singing playing on a stereo! My worst nightmare! Haha. I discovered afterwards that a whole group of Pakistani women had arrived for the party (that is, I saw them all leaving at the end). Actually, Michael Jackson appeared to me last night prior to sleeping. He was wearing black and grey, smart but with an ‘Indian’ shirt. When I turned the radio on this morning, the second track was from Off The Wall and I found myself singing along to it as I made my breakfast. It did feel very supportive in the light of my vision last night, I have to say. In fact, even while the neighbours were noisy again in the evening, I enjoyed a very special Ascension-related connection online. There was an uplifting energy between the three of us which we felt very tangibly.

22 February. The Ha Chus and children were noisy again from around 11 p.m. (the same as yesterday). I had to wait half-an-hour before going to bed. However, they started up again at 11.40. Then, there was so much running and jumping around by the children, shaking the floor, as the adults egged them on really loudly. I eventually conceded and wore ear plugs at 12.03 but they’re not very comfortable and I awoke at 4 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep again.

“Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” - Dale Carnegie.

St. Germain assures us that control of the emotions is important and that human beings find true happiness when they give themselves totally to the universe and to God. We eventually relinquish control of our four lower bodies to our Christ Self which is our True Self, the Christ. (Intermediate Studies in Alchemy, Summit University Press, CA., U.S., p.56). “And so,” he explains, “it is that we develop in the students those same christlike qualities that will make them pillars in the temple of God that cannot be moved by human emotions, no matter what their guise: criticism, condemnation, judgement, self-pity, gossip, treachery, tyranny or human deceit. The alchemist must be oblivious to all human conduct yet not unaware of worldly thought to the point where he plays the fop. To him the fulfilment of the fiat, ‘Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves!’ is the order of every day.” (ibid. p.57-58).

23 February. El Phaba dropped something on the floor which was excruciatingly loud before she went out at 8.30 a.m. I was still in bed. I had the radio on all morning.

24 February. El Phaba was very loud this morning, dropping things on the floor so I played loudish music for a while. Three of the daughters (well, including Maltesers, whom I don’t believe is their daughter) are round there with all of their kids. Around 11 p.m., they talked loudly and knocked on the wall for a while. It all kicked off with a few fake coughs. This time, however, the kids screaming and jumping around preceded rather than followed the adult symphony so they fell silent by 11.30 p.m. Just after that, I suddenly sneezed when I was in the other room near to them and beneath Fabala’s bedroom. I was on a bus this afternoon and a black guy sat down in the seat across the aisle to me with music blaring out of his headphones. If he wanted attention he certainly got it. I looked at him a few times and then, after a few minutes, I got up and trod on his foot as I made my way to the back of the bus. Man, I was angry. He was a big guy but I was going to lose it big time if he complained. No, that is not love, but it’s not violence either! It could be worse. This is not a violent area. Someone was telling me recently that they watched a guy being seriously beaten up on a bus once. What is the solution? Just putting up with people’s shit?! I still don’t know! Haha. But, at least I am not allowing people to get to me. I am dealing with them in whatever way I feel I have to in order not to sink into a negative frame of mind or feel completely depressed and powerless.

25 February. 20.11. One of the daughters shouted, ‘Yeah, whoo hoo!’ and I could feel that it was directed at me. It was the start of a noisy evening! I didn’t tolerate it for that long, however. I played louder music than usual (still not very loud though) and, later, shouted when someone was in the toilet next door. Loud talking and kids yelling late at night so I stayed up until ten-to-midnight. I still had to put up with some noise for a short while before they retired, however. The neighbours also knocked on the wall with a hard object several times until midnight which was the loudest one.

27 February. The Ha Chus were deliberately laughing loudly at 11.35 p.m.

28 February. A loud ‘ah choo’ from Ha Chu (who else?) at 11.27 p.m. Yeah, I’m a tough cookie! (as a Canadian lady who’s an online friend suggested tonight).

You have to believe – and see – that you’re on top of everything. You are powerful and what you will shall manifest. Do the wizard thing and exercise your imagination each morning.

Sir Lancelot (John Cleese): We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.
Sir Galahad (Michael Palin): I don't think I was.
Sir Lancelot: Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril.
Sir Galahad: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
Sir Lancelot: No, it's too perilous.
Sir Galahad: Look, it's my duty as a knight to sample as much peril as I can.
Sir Lancelot: No, we've got to find the Holy Grail. Come on.
Sir Galahad: Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril?
Sir Lancelot
: No. It's unhealthy.
Sir Galahad: I bet you're gay.
Sir Lancelot: Am not.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975).