Funny Noises

screamOur house is old. Real old. No mucking about old. It’s made out of stone and wood and the guys who built it didn’t skimp on either. The walls are over a metre thick in some places (I kid ye not) and some of the beams could have been from the Mary Rose. Because the house is old and it’s central heating system and electrics are worked into the fabric of the house in creative ways, the house makes many unusual noises when it settles at night.

When we first moved here, DW would nudge me every 5 or 10 minutes and say: ‘did you hear that?’ as some strange creak or knocking noise would eminate from within the bowels of the house.

My DWs tactic was to sit, huddled under the duvet, until the noise either stopped or the chainsaw wielding murderer came hurtling into the bedroom eager to chop us into freezer friendly portions.
My tactic – as an atheist, round earth society, part-Vulcan, empiricist (hey, I know I am sad, but I draw comfort from the fact that I am not delusional) – was to sit on the stairwell and discover what these noises were. After a pretty thorough, but non-scientific, investigation this is what I discovered:
  1. The banging sound in our house, that sounds to DW as if Hades himself is trying to break in and nick my Xbox, is in fact the sound of the dishwasher sucking water through the pipes. The pipes go from one thickness to another and when the water goes through that junction it makes a disconcerting banging noise.
  2. Time machine kicks into action at around midnight every night. No, I am not Marty McFly from Back to the Future, mucking around with the space-time continuum but forgetting – every time – to get those Euromillions lottery numbers. No, Apple has this piece of software called Time Machine that automatically backs your stuff up. Using a pseudo-Elite interface, you can go back in time (Eh! See what they did there?) to retrieve data you inadvertently deleted. That’s the theory, anyway. So, at midnight a couple of hard drives whirr into action that creates an eerie sound like goblins sharpening their knives…or something.
  3. DS has to sleep – has to – with a hand picked, uber favourite, collection of animals and toys that stand around his bed (in quite a creepy way, it has to be said) and when he sleeps and kicks out a leg, or shoots out an arm, he sometimes topples some of these animals and they make a thump (we have very thin floors, so much so that we can hear the puffed farts of DS when we are watching Jack Bauer save L.A…again).
  4. Random wood creaks. Did I say our house was old? Put the central heating on for a few hours and the house sounds like the Mary Celeste. I remember watching Master and Commander – with that po faced git Russell Crowe – in glorious 5.1 and I couldn’t tell if the house was creaking or the Surprise was.
  5. Animals. Our Garden is a way station for a bunch of creatures – cats, pheasants, moles, owls. Country critters. Sometimes the animals make a right old racket in the garden. My theory on why they they make so much noise is: because the exertion of coiling out yet another huge shit onto our disaster of a lawn makes them cry out in agony. I am seriously thinking about mixing chilli powder into our next lawn treatment (that sounds as if I care for our lawn) – that’ll make them think twice around touching another blade of grass on our lawn with their sphincters.
We’re used to the house now, so these sounds are almost becoming ambient.
Living in an old house has taught me that you and the house become intertwined, that you eventually develop a symbiotic relationship with it. You also become aware of nature and the seasons and live in tandem with them….nah, that’s all bollocks. What I have learnt is that our next house is going to be new; with Freeview reception, 10mb broadband and central heating that actually warms the house instead of making a lot of noise.

3 thoughts on “Funny Noises

    1. Thank you! 🙂
      Just start it, quite easy once you get going. I think I am just writing for cathartic reasons though…do the same, is my advice.
      (the click through on you profile is a bit of a worry, maybe use your blog space as your profile…)

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