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Gloom for improvement - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Gloom for improvement
Things I am stressed about (ignore this if you don't want to read stressy whinging):

The car. It needs to go for an MOT. However I can't get it to the MOT because it doesn't start. I think it just has a flat battery, and I do have a battery charger, but using that involves getting the battery out of the car, and when I came to look at it, I found that the connectors are so muck-encrusted I can't even tell what tools I'd need to get them undone. It doesn't help that there are no daylight hours any more in which to investigate.

Next weekend. I am carol-singing in Cambridge on the Saturday, and singing in London on the Sunday, and meeting people in Cambridge on the Monday (long weekend!), and the logistics of where to stay are doing my head in. I would be tempted to just drive there and sleep in the car, except see above. I suppose I could hire a useful car as well as paying hundreds of pounds to maintain a useless car.

Noise. The noise from the Iceland delivery vans etc outside our bedroom window, every morning from 6am (or 4am on one occasion), is ridiculously loud. I mean, I don't have a decibel-o-meter or whatever I'd need, but it's louder than I would ever put music on in the house. If I'm tired enough I can sleep through it; if I'm un-tired enough I can put up with being woken at 6am; but usually I'm somewhere between "tired enough to sleep through explosions" and "un-tired enough to wake up early", so I just get tireder. The options for dealing with this as far as I can see are:

1. move house. NOT AN OPTION. I mean, I honestly just couldn't face it unless there was no choice eg if the landlady actually kicked us out.

2. move rooms so we sleep at the front of the house. This is possible, but would really upset me. We'd have to swap the bedroom and the living room, which means a) a bedroom with gigantic condensation-covered patio windows, which would get damp and so freezing cold in winter that we'd have to have the heating on all the time; b) a bedroom in the room which is obviously shaped like a living room, and a living room which is small and dark and inhospitable and in the wrong place, so I'd never want to invite anybody round; c) either having to move three enormous wardrobes (difficult) or have the wardrobes in the living room (stupid); d) days of faffing around with furniture which would basically be nearly as much hassle as moving; e) still having the risk of noise all night because the local yoof buzz around the carpark on their scooters, and have loud offensive shouting matches, and use their cars as loud revving stereo-systems, and so on. I could probably sleep through that as easily as the clanging from Iceland, but it's less predictable.

3. get double glazing. This really is the ideal thing as it'd make it quieter/warmer without us having to move everything around. But because we don't own the house it may not be possible. If you were a landlady, how would you react to a request like "please can we pay to have double glazing installed in your house?" -- would you think we were barmy? Would you consider it?

4. burn down Iceland.

5. complain to the council about noise etc etc. Probably not possible as presumably businesses are allowed to make whatever noise they damn well like at any time of the day or night, because they have money and therefore the council don't want to piss them off.

6. try to get used to earplugs (I find them really unpleasant and uncomfortable, to the point of them making me feel slightly nauseous, and I really can't imagine being able to sleep with them in, but I suppose if I used them all the time I might get used to it).

7. ??? What options have I missed?

General lack of grip. I just feel like it's all slipping out of my control, and I'm running out of time to get things done in (there's no particular deadline, I just have this underlying sense of panic and being-late-for-things even when I'm not), and I want a month off to 'set my lands in order'.

It's not "I can't cope"; it's "I'm so tired of coping and it just never lets up and I start to wonder what the point of it all is anyway."
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emperor From: emperor Date: December 3rd, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
car) do you own the relevant Haynes Manual? That would tell you what you needed to do, what tools to use, etc.

3) Not entirely unreasonable. You might start off with "split the cost" or "we'll pay up-front, and then pay you a little less rent until we've split the cost" or similar, and let yourself be beaten down. After all, double glazing increases her properties' value.

5) Worth a shot.

Is it general clanging or "Beep Beep This Vehicle is Waking YOUR MUM Up"? that's the problem?
j4 From: j4 Date: December 3rd, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haynes Manual might help. I don't have it but might be able to buy it second hand (old car).

5) really? But surely if they've got a licence to, I dunno, be a business, then they've got a licence to make the noises that a business makes...

Clanging -- they have approx 200 metal cages on wheels full of stock and/or empty boxes. They move all of these from the platform outside the shop into/out of the van, by shoving them as hard as possible over a long corrugated ramp, the whole process accompanied by general builder-like shouting.

There's a beepy van too, occasionally, but that doesn't bother me overmuch. I got quite used to beepy vans when my college room backed onto the M&S loading bay. :-}
From: mooism Date: December 3rd, 2007 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
5. You’re allowed to complain to the council, even if they turn round and say “don’t be silly”. Keep a noise diary. Complain to Iceland too.

3. It would increase the value of the flat. You could ask her to fit double glazing at her expense, she’d be quite reasonable in wanting you to pay higher rent then. If you pay for it, make sure she doesn’t put your rent up.

7. Buy the flat, pay for double glazing yourself, don’t have to worry about getting permission from anyone.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 3rd, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
5. Thing is, I don't really see what else they could do, I mean, they have to move clangy stuff from A to B at X o'clock, and they can't move the shop, and, I dunno. I feel better complaining about stuff when I can see that there's another way it could be done, & here I really can't.

3. TBH, she'd be well within reason putting up the rent anyway, we are paying well below market rate. If she said "sure, I'll do the double glazing, but the rent will go up by x" I'd be fairly happy. I'd be happier if she didn't put the rent up, obv, but I really can't complain.

7. Buy the flat -- er, it's not for sale! And if it was, there's no way we could afford it. That's the good thing about renting, you can live in houses you couldn't afford to buy. :-}
mockduck From: mockduck Date: December 3rd, 2007 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I think it's exceptionally reasonable to ask about double glazing, and yes, you should ask to split the cost at the very most. What I really commented to say, though, is that a bedroom in the room which is obviously shaped like a living room, and a living room which is small and dark and inhospitable and in the wrong place, so I'd never want to invite anybody round is an exact summary of how I live at the moment, and you're right, it ain't great. But it's bearable.
mockduck From: mockduck Date: December 3rd, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, but, also, my brother triple glazed his place to keep out the noise and said it made little difference. I've never stayed there so unfortunately I'm unable to comment on how much this is just him being neurotic.
brrm From: brrm Date: December 3rd, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
The car

I have jump leads, a torch, and tools. Will travel. Let me know if you want to take me up on them. :)

4. burn down Iceland.
Good plan, but get Björk out first!

For the noise problem, you could try a white pink noise generator - available as standalone devices, but to try-before-you-buy, you could run Noise.app for a night or two. Dunno if it'll work for you or drive you mad, but it certainly is reputed to be good for reducing some disturbances.

Edited at 2007-12-03 01:32 pm (UTC)
j4 From: j4 Date: December 3rd, 2007 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Car -- I feel like I have been horribly taking advantage of your car-fu and niceness. :( However I would also be incredibly grateful and would hug you lots and buy you teh beers. Um... not sure when you could come round and look at the car though. Sort out by email?

4. Heh :)

Pink noise -- ?? This is definitely the left-field suggestion that I wouldn't've thought of! Thank you! I will investigate. Though presumably Owen would have to not mind it as well... otherwise I'd have to wear headphones in bed, & then either a) they're big & awkward & will poke me in the head, or b) we're back to the earplugs problem.
julietk From: julietk Date: December 3rd, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you have AA membership or whatever they may be able to come & get the car running? I know whatever version my Dad had would come out to your driveway if needed.

Complaining to the council worth a shot. Second what emperor says about the double-glazing. Also: how thick are your curtains? Would thicker ones help?
j4 From: j4 Date: December 3rd, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have RAC membership but it doesn't include homestart (where they come to your house) because that's v expensive. My dad has it but that's because he's been with the AA for a million years, & then they give you homestart and special rates and a pony and everything for free because you're a Valued Customer. :-}

Curtains are so thick that I don't know when it's daytime... I don't think thicker ones would make any difference, to be honest.

See reply to mooism re complaining to the council -- ie what could anybody do about it?
fanf From: fanf Date: December 3rd, 2007 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Remember you can claim crash space at ours.
lnr From: lnr Date: December 3rd, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Or indeed at ours, though parking is a bugger round our way.

Would be lovely to see you! (wherever you crash)

Edited at 2007-12-03 03:29 pm (UTC)
the_elyan From: the_elyan Date: December 3rd, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would speak to the landlady first - I can't see she would have a major problem with it, unless it's likely to show up other structural weaknesses in the building - and I would also speak to the council. I have a friend who works in Environmental health up north - he might know something of the rules surrounding this, and I'm due to give him a bell.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 3rd, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you or your friend do have any actual facts on the env health aspects of the noise thing (as opposed to my vague speculations and guesswork) then that would be really useful! But don't worry if it's not convenient to ask.
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: December 3rd, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

you're sleep deprived and not thinking straight

I forget, do you live in Oxford? If so:

Generally, the acceptable hours for noisy work within the District are:

Acceptable hours for noisy work
Monday to Friday 07:30-17:30
Saturdays 07:30-13:00

Now, presumably there's some provision for deliveries etc. that can't be done at other times, however:

"Operations outside of these hours may, however, be agreed by the Council if it can be demonstrated that the works cannot be carried out at any other time and that items of plant and equipment are operated and maintained so that their use causes the minimum amount of noise."

Which, from your description, is not happening. Perhaps the delivery staff are operating under the assumption that there are no local residents to disturb?

Well, depend upon this : the council are always happy to fine large companies for breaking rules.

If you are Oxford, the noise pollution helpline is 01865 252867 -- noise@oxford.gov.uk -- but I'd recommend calling them, as you're essentially at the stage of finding out what your options are.

If you're living out of Oxford you'll need to contact your DISTRICT council, go to their website and look for noise pollution. I can tell you where you live (in council terms) if you're not sure.

Don't get distracted by side issues like changing which room you sleep in or double glazing until you've had advice from someone who can actually advise you.

cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: December 3rd, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)


although I find substantial, heavyweight, attractive curtains make the world of difference. (I live on a busy main road.)
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: December 3rd, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Iceland don't need bad publicity - I would write to them and the next time it happens ring the Environmental Health duty officer. They have one 24/7.

Ah, Yuletide. 'tis the season to be angsty, tralalalala, la la la la.

I may have an extra lala or two there. People say I usually have. Even when it's summer.

you'll be fine - note i avoided the pun out of sheer mercy for your shattered state :-)
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: December 3rd, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I has car and jump leadz and cheeseburgerz - I can come and see what can be done with a good torch as long as I can prime 'II to kid-wrestle. Offer not available on Thursday-Sunday but *good* for this Tuesday or Wednesday or next week.
addedentry From: addedentry Date: December 3rd, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
(j4 says, through hasty preparation for an early-morning start,) That's a very kind offer ... but Tuesday is out and Wednesday busy. One of the other kind volunteers should be able to help us out. That said, cheeseburgerz would still be lovely.
crazyscot From: crazyscot Date: December 3rd, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most car batteries come out with just an appropriately sized member of a socket set (often with an extension bar). (Always take the positive lead off first, in case you drop something and accidentally short it.)

Keep a noise diary. Diaries carry an awful lot more weight than mere assertions. As others have noted, do ask the Council what your options are for making a noise complaint.

Might secondary glazing be a reasonable alternative to full double glazing? (Does really depend on how practical it would be to fit around the existing window/s.) Also, the sleep issue is only for the bedroom, right? Adding secondary (or indeed double) glazing to just one window will be an awful lot cheaper. While I can't really see the landlady objecting if you offer to pay, seeing as she gets the long-term benefit of the glazing it never hurts to ask...

If it comes to pricing out double glazing, don't listen to salesmen if at all possible - the standard sizes of sealed units are available from builders' merchants.

Have you tried different earplugs? There are various materials and sizes available, and (to me at least) they all feel quite different. Going through something like Lucy Dell's £10 test pack could be a worthwhile exercise. Be sure you're putting the plugs in correctly, too - that can make a lot of difference to their comfort.
lnr From: lnr Date: December 3rd, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Out of curiosity how do you tell if you're putting them in correctly?

I can cope with the standard foam ones you get at gigs (though I wouldn't want to wear them all night), but my etymotic ER20s (iirc) are so uncomfortable I can't wear them for more than about 20 minutes.

Oooh, I see they now do a version for smaller ear canals, maybe they would be better?

From: (Anonymous) Date: December 3rd, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Investigate the cheapo option of secondary glazing - which still needs permission from the landlady but it's a fixture, not structural change to the property - and use heavyweight curtains.

You should also speak to the neighbours about the problem.
hairyears From: hairyears Date: December 3rd, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, that was me. Session dropped.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: December 3rd, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Double-glazing does have an effect on most types of noise, but it's worth noting that double-glazing for heat insulation is a different type to that for noise abatement. However I think that is only really relevant if you live next to an airport or motorway.

It's certainly worth talking to the council - after all, you pay for their services. There could be arguments both ways though - for example, if Iceland have always done things this way then is it something you could reasonably have known about when you moved in? (On the other hand, if they have changed their business practices recently I would have thought that was quite a strong case).
j4 From: j4 Date: December 3rd, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would have thought that any double-glazing would help at least a bit with both noise and heat-loss -- how do the two types differ? (And is secondary double glazing different again / no use for either?)

Is it something you could reasonably have known about when you moved in?

Well, we knew it wasn't going to be the sort of house where the only sound in the morning was the skylark bursting into song... ;) ...I mean, it's in a shopping precinct, with a car-park on either side. I just didn't realise that it was going to be deliveries at such horrible hours of the morning, every morning, and at such a high level of noise. (As I said somewhere above, I used to have a room opposite the M&S delivery bay, and that was noisy, but nowhere near as bad or as frequent... I guess M&S's noise is as much higher quality than Iceland's as their food is...) And the agency/landlady didn't emphasise the noisiness when we took the place, for obvious reasons!

But yeah, basically, you're right, it's my own fault for not checking everything out properly (in my defence I had 4 weeks to find somewhere to live in Oxford and no opportunity to visit this place before taking it, though I'd been here before when truecatachresis was living nearby), so the council probably will just laugh.

Also while I pay for the council's services I don't pay for Iceland's, but Iceland pay the council far more than I do, so it's obvious whose argument would carry more force.

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