Friday, 30 March 2012

The Pre-Emptive Strop

We have a garbage problem at the back of my flat.

My rent is nominal and I have a lovely, one bedroom, two storey apartment right in the middle of Royal Leamington Spa. It’s yummy. Apart from one thing. A thing which is the reason the rent is dirt cheap.

Access is via the back alley of the shops I live above. There a motley collection of fairly grubby garbage bins on wheels (industrial jobbies) plus smaller ones for the private tenants. The alleyway is narrow but this is ok as you can still get past without touching the bins. However, this has lately become annoying due to the high class Italian restaurant not sticking to the rules. They have three big wheely bins and once I came home to find a pot washer enthusiastically jumping up and down on a bin lid to get it to close. They wedge as much crap in them as they can with the result that the lids cannot be closed properly. In winter this is merely irritating, in Spring and Summer…..Honksville!!! They also smoke out there and drop the ciggy butts on the alley. Psycholgy is: their bin and crafty smoke area NOT a front drive for the 20 or so residents living down here.

So, we asked nicely if they could break down their rubbish, only fill to the limit of the bins’ capacity and not drop fag ends in the alley. I took photos after they kept lapsing and eventually the council got involved and sent them hand delivered letters “requesting” that basic Health & Safety, Hygiene and even Nice Neighbour rules were obeyed before “the situation is potentially escalated”.

All fine and good until last night when I was taking my bike out to go to gym class and what looked like Bolognese sauce was steadily trickling under their back gate and into the alley. Disgusted I gently pushed the gate open and saw a bewildered looking newbie chef holding a massive steel pot and a grizzled looking duty manager. Both were pouring the sauce into a drain which couldn’t cope, hence the overflow.

“Come on guys, please” I say. “This is beyond a joke, you’ve been asked nicely”.

Manager waves his hand at me and goes “yeah, yeah, go back please”.

“Not yeah, yeah. The council have even got involved this is beyond a joke now. Please clean it up”.

The fresh faced chef says, “sorry, sorry, sorry” and gets a hose pipe but the manager glares at me.

“You’re always complaining!” he snaps.

“Err…only about things you’re legally supposed to be doing anyway” I reply indignantly.

“You are such a ball breaker!” he snaps.

I stare at him astonished and reply in Italian “io non sono un rompi coglioni, ma basta! Per favore, non e necessario!”

He walks towards me as a few more chefs and pot washers come out to see what the shouting’s about.


“Don’t swear at me” I yell back.

“I’m not swearing at you, I’m just swearing” he snaps. “How long you live here?”

“None of your business”.

A chef gets in between us and talks to me. I look at him. “Look mate I haven’t got a problem with you. I want to be a nice neighbour but this has been going on too long”.

Manager is now being consoled by two or three other white jacketed blokes in white caps. He yells back “YOU FUCKING COMPLAIN ALL THE FUCKING TIME”.

I again shout in Italian “hai detto io sono un rompicoglioni ma e tu non io”

He screams “I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!” and lunges from the restaurant back yard at me. Two or three chefs grab him as I move back in astonishment, grazing my elbow on the wall.

Another chef assumes I’m going to try and fight and starts shoving me back hard. “Calm down mate” he shouts at me.

I look at him and calmly say “I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m standing still?!!”

He stops, nods and speaks in Italian to the others who pull the manager back into the yard. Five seconds later he bursts out again, screaming “I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!!!” and hurls a coffee cup at me which misses, but smashes on the floor.

Again they pull him away and the chef facing me says “look mate, just go!”

“Errr…I’m going out and there’s no other exit”.

They all move back inside and I step into the main road to call the police. As it starts ringing the manger marches round from the front and stomps towards me. I hang up. “Don’t come any fucking closer!” I warn him but he continues on. I’m about to kick him in the bollocks when he stops and glares at me. I point to the CCTV security camera above the alley. “We’re on camera so I suggest you calm down”

He glares at me and goes to poke me in the chest. I slap his hand away. He growls “fuck you, your camera and the police” and then more chefs and a black shirted waiter appear and lead him away again.

I talk to 999. Explaining that I am now concerned about going home due to having to waltz past where twatface is still fuming away. I use the expression “in fear of immediate physical harm” and four minutes later a Police car pulls up with two cops in it. The lady cop has a tazer.

As they’re chatting to me the manager stomps round again. “That’s the other guy” I say as he walks up and the male officer spins round and stands in his way. They then move to the alley and I see the manger irately showing the cop the bins and pointing back at me.

The female officer listens to what I have to say and then moves off the consult with her colleague and compare notes. The manager now temporarily banished to the restaurant again.

She comes back. “Let me guess” I say brightly as she gets nearer, “I started it?”

“No, he’s admitted he attacked you. Says he thought you were making fun of his accent when you spoke to him in Italian”.

I am genuinely surprised and ask “can you nick him?”

She looks me up and down then after a pause says “do you want me to?”

“Nope, if he’s willing to say sorry and shake my hand that’s enough. I just don’t want to be looking over my shoulder all the time”.

She nods and signals her colleague and the manger is led towards me. Calmer now he is still arguing the toss and laments my constant “moaning” and again asks how long I’ve lived there, adding that I refused to tell him before.

“Coz you were being aggressive, you’re calm now so I’ll tell you. Since August”.

He looks surprised and says “bins nice today yeah?”

“Yes, but Bolognese sauce dribbling into my path isn’t nice is it?”

“It’s not Bolognese it’s tomato”.

I stare at him. “It’s still organic and edible and unacceptable!”

The male officer then says, “are you two willing to shake hands on this? We’ve got enough to take you both in!”

“Fair enough. You ready to shake hands?” I ask the irate Italian.

“Sure. What’s your name?”

“Lance”. I extend my hand he shakes it. In Italian I say “mi dispiace” and both cops then shout “DON’T SPEAK ITALIAN”.

I realise what they’re afraid of and smile. “That wasn’t a threat”, I tell them.

The female officer looks slightly embarrassed but replies “not the point. We don’t speak Italian we need to know what you’re saying”.

The manager finally smiles and says “he said he is sorry. I’m sorry too. Thank you Nathan”.

“Lance” I correct him.

“Oh, sorry”.

He moves off and I turn to the male cop. “You had enough to nick us both? I thought he agreed he attacked me”.

Cop pauses then says “he’s alleging pre-emptive strike. Says he thought you were going to hit him because you pointed at him or something”.

“Err…he hurtled out the backyard and ran at me. That’s why his staff were able to grab him before it became a fight” I tell him. “I’m not that bloke out the Fantastic Four. I can’t extend my arm and punch round corners”.

Realistically they knew this was a shit case and as both parties were calm they knew they would have at least 3 hours dealing with this if they did nick him, taking a tazer officer and a double crewed car out of the circuit for the duration. The Bobby was probably manipulating me into letting it all go with the handshake by saying “we can go further if you want but you BOTH will regret it if we do”.

They move off and I go back inside to get changed. My gym class now missed.

* Addendum, 1st April.
Bins overflowing again 2 days later. Went round the front entrance to complain as there's less likely to be a fight in front of customers tucking into lasagne and tiriamisu (sp?). Same manager on duty. Shook my hand, replied "of course" to my line "what happened the other day is now forgotten" and then promised to get "the boys" to sort the bins out. Came back 3 hours later and he'd kept his word. Wonders will never cease.


  1. Is this entire blog based around your being unable to get through the day without phoning the police?

  2. Well, the manager was being a prize twat but you ought to be careful you don't become 'Lance Zimmerman'

  3. Fukka da mici, Lance.

    If it had been me, I would have garrotted him with a cheese cutter wire, while whistling the theme tune from the Godfather.

    That, and Italian, being the only language these people understand!

    Your dedicated follower - ratty


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