A strange neighbour

This evening I was reading with interest about some excessive hoarding stories on local website Nottstalgia. and it brought back some memories Around twenty five years ago i lived in a house in Arnold, Nottinghamshire and across the road lived a chap in his early sixties who’d I’d see emerging out of his house in the morning to work in the local brush factory in Arnold and home again in the evening. Later on every evening he would pop out of his door to go for a drink in the drinking clubs in Arnold, always very dapper, smartly suited, collar and tie like so many guys of that age used to be.


I came home from work early one afternoon to find two council trucks parked outside his home. He’d apparently been evicted. Asking the council workman what was going on he painted a strange story to me. The Gedling Borough Council lads had been through his semi-detached home and emptied it out. They told a tale of every room being chest high in rubbish. Just one corner of the living room remained free of trash and this was where he lived with a narrow trail to get through to it. The stairways were piled high with junk mail with just a thin path through. What was even more surprising was that the house had not had any running water for a long period of time. According to a neighbour, the chap would apparently buy new clothes, dress shirts, underwear etc. and wear them until they were filthy then dispose of them in the dustbin. That accounted for his apparent smartness (from a distance at least) as he had no means of keeping himself clean or doing any washing in the house. Another surprising factor was that he had also been a pools winner a few years ago and gained a moderate but significant haul.. Curiously he’d had the back garden landscaped amongst a few other cosmetic and slightly ill-advised home improvements  but had presided over his hovel of an abode for several years.

He never once spoke to me or acknowledged me in the year or so I lived opposite. A strange, sad and somewhat reclusive man in some respects, but one who would go out and enjoy the social clubs in Arnold every single night. Few must have ever known the strange double life he led. All these years later, I often wonder what happened to  my ex-neighbour and more importantly what the thought processes of this unusual man were. He perhaps won’t be with us now. I hope he’s alright wherever he is.

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