A contributor to our village newsletter let off steam this month about those who drive too fast through the village (which is illegal anyway), park inconsiderately, and ride excessively noisy motorbikes. But it’s not just teenage motorcyclists who shatter our rural peace and quiet. If it’s fine today, a so-called ’day of rest’, you can bet that quite a few grown-up people who’d like to think of themselves as upright, considerate, law-abiding citizens, will be creating a noise nuisance to rival the motorcyclists.
I refer to the racket from power tools – shredders, mowers, strimmers, hedge trimmers, and the odd chain saw and drill. It’s so much quieter on a weekday when their owners are all at work. I’m wondering how I can get an Anti-Social Behaviour Order for them. There’s new European legislation aimed at the manufacturers of power tools, enforcing noise levels, but what about the people who use them? There you are, just about to take a nap in the garden in the shade of a tree, when someone starts making a noise like an extremely loud raspberry or a monstrous angry bee, and it goes on, and on. If they’re not doing that, they’re playing the radio out of doors so you have no choice but to listen to it, or retire indoors and shut the windows.
Many people seem to have become accustomed to constant background noise. It seems most kids have TVs and CD players in their bedrooms so they can’t settle to sleep at a reasonable hour because their brains are still buzzing, then they’re tired and irritable the next day and everyone shouts at one another. They grow up to find silence unnerving. Is it any wonder that so many people feel so stressed?
When it’s quiet out of doors, you can hear a gentle murmur of conversation without distinguishing the actual words, or bird song, or a breeze in the trees – the sort of sounds that soothe. They lower the blood pressure, calm the mind, rest the brain and body, and make us ready to face the rest of the week, refreshed and renewed.
So this is a plea for a bit of hush, just one day a week, on a Sunday – nothing to do with religion, everything to do with common sense. As the proverb says, silence is golden, but if we can’t have silence, at least let us have quiet – please!