Love makes the neighbours go crazy
Travelling in relation to work always creates a need for temporary accommodation. A contractor is never sure how long each contract will last, so there’s a decision to be made: hotel, self-catered or apartment accommodation. During my recent move to Aalborg in Denmark, I wasn’t at all sure that the contract would last much beyond the four months stated in the fine print. However, the range of temporary accommodation was limited because of the large student population in the city. So I decided to opt for an apartment on a long-term contract. It’s the cheapest option of all. It was always possible that I might actually like the project and Aalborg and want to stay on longer. I found a small apartment in a short space of time, which the ex-Croatian owner was offering on an 8-month rental. Since there was a one-month notice clause and no requirement to redecorate the entire apartment on leaving, I decided to take it on.
The apartment comprised a lounge/dining room, kitchen, shower/toilet and one decent sized bedroom. The washing machine was down in the basement, but that seems to be the norm with these small apartments, particularly in Aalborg. The apartment appeared to be an old building that had been renovated with white PVC windows and doors, but still with the original doors inside the apartment. When the apartment owner was showing me the various keys and their uses, he showed me, with pride, that the front (security) door to the apartment block could simply be opened with a nudge of the shoulder, as the door catch wasn’t engaging properly. I was shocked! It would take just one spate of apartment robberies to wake these people up to the fact that security isn’t a nuisance, but a necessity. However, in sleepy Aalborg, such things are not taken seriously at all.
The pipes for the central heating run outside the walls on the inside of these old apartment blocks and the pipes are hot to the touch. This means that the apartment will be heated whether the radiators are switched on or not. However, the radiator in the kitchen was disabled shortly after we moved in. It seemed that the person in the apartment above had disconnected the pipe to work on their radiator thus cutting off the flow to our apartment. This didn’t bother us too much, as we both prefer a cooler atmosphere, particularly in the kitchen. What did bother us was the noise that could be heard through the thin walls of the apartments. Besides the person upstairs clanking and chopping at their radiator pipe until 10 at night, he and his partner would get into screaming arguments that would typically result in her running out of the apartment and down the stairs, slamming the door behind her. Some minutes later, the partner would follow her down the stairs and they would return to the apartment together a short time later. What followed can only be described as unbridled passion. Unbridled, but not muffled. We could hear all her moans, faint at first, rising to a crescendo of ‘Oh God! Ohhhh Gooooooooddd!” (or the equivalent in Danish) and then stomping across the ceiling as they both went to clean up.
If it were just the occasional argument that sparked the flames of passion, we wouldn’t have been particularly phased by what is, after all, a natural expression of love/lust. However, when it happens every other night whether there’s a fight or not, it becomes a little tedious. The same couple had a surround-sound system that would be used by the one staying at home to thump out music at full volume during the day. Judging by the choice of music (Adele, Sam Smith etc), I figured it was the woman. It sounded like she was listening to music while cleaning the apartment, so I tolerated all 4 hours of it. Then the students a few floors above kicked off with drum-and-bass music for an entire weekend! We think that someone went to speak to them, as they turned down the volume, but the nature of drum-and-bass music is such that it reverberates at any volume through a building that is built with little more than matchsticks and sellotape. It’s at times like these that one wishes for some sort of remote control that can disable sound systems at will. I considered trying to find the main electrical junction for the building and severing the cable with an electric carving knife, but then we would have no power too, which would be simply self-defeating.
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