What is it they say? You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your neighbours?

When you’re looking around your dream home, starry-eyed because you’ve clocked the corner bath that’s big enough to fit your derriere into, you don’t pay any mind to who you could be living next door to. I once begged my other half to buy a house because it had one of those fancy Aga wood-burners. The ceiling was sagging and we could have been moving in next to the Wests for all I’d known but so long as I got my Aga I didn’t care. In the end it was a no-go (let’s just say that financially it was ‘complicated’).

So where I live now is pretty nice. The recent spate of alloy wheel thefts seems to be over and the number of trainers strewn over the telephone wires has decreased. I get on well with most of my neighbours. There’s one guy, though, whom I’ve noticed watching me through his blinds for some time now. I catch him staring at me when I’m stomping around in my Lycra dancing along to The Fitness Marshall on Youtube.

It was since summer began that things took a more sinister turn…

The weather was improving and I managed to muster the energy to tackle the forest that was once a front garden. It took me a good hour and a half but I finally managed to mow the two square metres. I noticed this guy, watching me the whole time. As soon as I was finished he ran inside and, with a smug look on his face, appeared with a lawnmower and started doing his own lawn.

“Weirdo,” I whispered under my breath.

‘You can’t pass wind for some folk!’

The rain and sunshine continued (usual Cumbrian summer), and almost a week later I was digging out the Flymo again. Same craic – he watched, he copied.

I have no idea why this was bothering so much but I was becoming infuriated. I even peeked through the blinds, waiting for him to go to work so I could enjoy having the most freshly-cut grass on the street. In the morning I’d awake, only to find his grass mysteriously shorter than mine.

Once I stayed up all night, having found a hiding place (my shed). I set up camp with a deckchair (positioned so I could peer through a vent). Around 11pm the neighbour peered out of his window. He thought the coast was clear and I saw him sneak out the front – with some garden shears.

“You cheat! You can’t let me have one week without copying me doing the grass!” I erupted.

“I can cut my grass –” he started. “You can’t! You only do it cos I do! You’re not right in the head!” I screamed.

What followed was a full-on wrestling match with a 60-year-old chap over some shears.

As I was led into my house by a police escort I noticed another officer confiscating his shears. “HAHAHA!” I was hysterical. “I won the grass!”

Neighbours… you can’t live with them. PERIOD.