Complete silence on the blog recently I know.
And the reason? Well I've been stressed, which is a sure trigger for writers' block for me.
And the reason for my stress? Well my Twitter followers will know already. My neighbour.
In the last few weeks I have had three letters and an email all complaining about noise. And as my Pa has been staying and various other hearing guests have been and gone, I've been fortunate to have double the confirmation that no noise has been occurring.
She says she can hear me walking around. I wear soft, feather-filled slippers and my carpet is resting on a good 2cm of extra-heavy and expensive underlay, which in turn is on wooden sheets, which in turn lie on floor boards.
She says she can hear my boiler. I had a boiler man come out who says it's a normal boiler making normal boiler sounds.
She says my washing machine is too loud. I never put it on except in the middle of the day, rarely use it as it's just me in the flat and never use a spin above 700. To top it all off, I even consulted a buildings engineer who said that in buildings of the age of mine, sounds will travel. And guess what? I can hear her washing machine, too.
She says I get up to early. I'm a professional in London. I don't get up and do star jumps across the room. I get up, put on my feather-filled slippers and go and stand under the shower for a good 10 minutes, pad back, get my clothes from the cupboards and drawers I purposefully leave open the night before so I don't make too much noise in the morning and then leave for work.
My bus is always rammed. Evidence that the whole of London gets up with me, which would suggest that it's not to early in general. Just to early for her.
She says she can hear me if I talk in my bedroom. I live alone and believe me, a conversation in my bedroom is a once in a blue moon occurrence. It happened the other evening at 10.45 when a good friend rang. She works in theatre so it was the only time she could call. I am deaf, I don't take calls. But this one was important. A friend of hers, aged just 30, had died that morning. She was upset, she needed to talk. I was able to be there for her. On the dot of 11pm, the email of complaint came through.
And through all of this in the recent weeks, there have been audible screaming matches coming from this neighbour's flat, my living room floor has shaken as the front door has been slammed in what I can only assume was in a fit of rage, the hallway is descending into further chaos. Bags of food are now stored by the door, the perfect welcome sign to vermin.
And I have put up with it all. I have been understanding that, according to her notes, she's going through a stressful time right now. I have even shhh'd my guests like a librarian to try and stop her from complaining further.
But the final straw came a few days ago when one morning, after a refreshing 7-hour sleep, I descended the communal staircase – on tiptoe – to find yet another note. This one stating that I'd woken her up in the early hours of the morning, when in fact I was fast asleep.
And at that moment I knew that I had to stop ignoring her and stick up for myself. And that is where we are on this Thankful Friday.
Yesterday, a politely worded letter telling her she is not to contact me again unless it is about urgent house matters, should have arrived by registered post.
I'm keen to keep it as formal as possible. I can't cope with the nasty scribbled notes on the staircase. I can't tolerate her 'one rule for me', which is living in complete silence, and 'one rule for her', which is screaming arguments, door slamming and leaving the hallway in state of squalor.
I'm exhausted and upset by it.
So what am I thankful for on this Friday you might be wondering? Well, actually it's the amazing and unwavering support of my friends and family, not to mention those who know me as Deafinitely Girly through this blog and on Twitter. From fantastic advice on what to do if the problem escalates to supportive hugs and comments to keep me going.
That is what I am thankful for on this very Thankful Friday.
So a massive thanks to everyone and I'm sure I will keep you all posted.