One very awkward englishman, boldly goes…

The crazy neighbour

Upon arrival in a foreign country you can’t help but have ‘rose tinted glasses‘ when walking around, viewing every minute detail as a thing of wonder and excitement. After a month and a half of living here I can feel that this is definitely starting to wear off, and I am seeing Marseille as my new home, rather than a temporary vacation.

A great example of this is my neighbour across the hallway. When we signed the contract for the flat the owner told us the lady across the hallway had 2 dogs and 3 cats. This is quite a feat – considering how small our flat is, and how small hers must be. The first time a bumped into her was when I was moving a washing machine into the flat. She was friendly, but spoke at a million miles an hour, which was a challenge for me to understand – especially as I squeezed a washing machine up the stairs. I could however understand it was mostly regarding her animals.

I began to notice that she was a little eccentric, as most morning I could hear her talking and singing away to her pets, through our thin walls. Every day the same song. Again, I thought it was funny – as an eccentric old French lady.

Then when me and my girlfriend came home from a few evening out, we noticed that she would leave the door of her flat open in the evening and at night to allow her Cats and Dogs to roam around freely in out little shared hallway. This is rather alarming when you are creeping around in the dark (a little worse for wear), trying desperately to feel your way around the staircase and to our front door, and you suddenly bump into an enormous dopey-eyed golden retriever. Again, with my rose tinted glasses I just put it down to her quirky ways… who am I to judge? I’m new here!

Things got a little more bizarre though on Sunday evening. We had friends over to the flat, and we were all pitching in to get the Christmas decorations. We had moved on to decorating our door, when the neighbour came staggering up the stairs. With her were the 2 dogs (looking very sorry for themselves) as well as 2 cats – who she had on leashes made of string. As our friends enquired about the cats to her, she proceeded to tell them this was perfectly normal, and that when the cats were kittens they had been brought up and breast-fed by the dogs. All a little strange. As is the smell which emanates from her flat each time she opens the door!

All in all I have now realised she is a little more than just ‘eccentric’, but possibly a few sandwiches short of a picnic!




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