Dealing with nosy neighbours

Snoopy LadyI used to have a couple of really nosy neighbours. The incredible thing was that they were married. It must have been an instant reaction. Nosy man meets nosy woman. He spies on her. She spies on him. Then I’m lost. How did they initiate contact? Morse code with the curtain-twitching? Vying for the best vantage point? Perhaps they both reached out for the same pair of binoculars at the same time in Comet and instinctively knew the calibre of the other. However it happened, they got together and probably had nosy children. And in the meantime, they got on my nerves. Thankfully I moved away from them some time ago, and unless they’ve got a very high-powered telescope, I’m finally free of their semi-transparent gaze.

We get a few customers from time to time looking for some sort of combative method against this type of invasive assault. The old answer was always net curtains, but they’re not quite as popular these days as they were. That’s not to say that you can’t get them any more. Indeed, the voile and tulle curtains that are now available offer a really sophisticated and stylish option to the window and the room as a whole. The issue is that people perceive them as old fashioned. Something their grandmas had. Voile is a durable, transparent draping material, whereas tulle is a lightweight, transparent fabric. They do what net curtains have always done; let the light in without any accompanying prying eyes, and all without that ghastly crinoline feel.

I’ve been a bit nosy myself while I’ve been writing this, as I wondered what other people had done to combat the inquisitiveness of nearby residents. Some people champion the planting of bushes, but surely that would block the light and necessitate regular pruning. Not for me that one. More light blockage comes as a result of curtain closure. Physical answers include confrontation and walking away, but that still doesn’t keep busybodies from peering over your wall. Some commenters even advocate the call to involve the authorities. A bit harsh that one – unless the perpetrators are particularly persistent. No, my favourite disclosed method is a psychological one. This one also works to keep people at arm’s length on the tube in London and involves the weapon of kindness. Smile. Ask them around for tea. Nose in on them. They’ll either run a mile or hopefully get the hint. Perhaps you might even get to know them better. They may be lonely and just want a chat. It could be that you remind them of their daughter or son who lives across the world and they want to help you the way they can’t help them? You might even strike up an unexpected friendship? Who knows.

There’s always the chance though that there might be a more sinister reason for the snooping. They may think that you’re part of a Satanic cult, much as Tom Hanks did in the 1980s film, The ‘Burbs. Or maybe there’s just no hope for the busybodies, as is the case in The Snoops, a children’s book by Delphine Durand and Miriam Moss were the occupants of Keyhole Place are dogged by a family of peeping toms, each of whom seems to be going for Olympic gold. I love that book. Give it a go if you haven’t read it. Kids books aren’t always just for kids after all.

Anyway, hopefully you’ll now know the best way to deal with your nosy neighbours. I’d personally go down the voile or tulle curtain route, but then, being in the furnishings business, I would, wouldn’t I? If you haven’t seen and felt the “new” net curtains yet and need some reassurance about them, come in and see us and you’re sure to be surprised – even if you don’t have any nosy neighbours of your own.

And remember – we may be called Inches, but we always go the extra mile!