Yesterday was a bit of a lost cause as far as work goes, not so much for me as for my husband, who had to spend the whole day dealing with it. We were woken by my father-in-law ringing the doorbell, and the noise of a jack-hammer under our balcony. Turns out our neighbour had decided to have our garden wall knocked down because it was in her way.
This is only the latest installment in an epic saga that goes back to before my husband bought the flat in Palazzo Sbaglio. I’m not completely up on the whole thing myself – to be honest, I’ve tried to keep out of it as much as possible – but I will try and explain. To cut a (very, very) long story short, the title deed to our flat includes a small section of ground underneath the balcony (where the knocked-down wall that is now a heap of bricks stood). We own this small piece of land, without question – it’s on the title deed and the courts have confirmed it. However, our neighbour, who is a shrieking, muscular dynamo of an old woman, has been using it since before we moved in, as a kind of lumber yard. The previous owner, who happens to be her son-in-law, had already gone to court about the matter and received authorisation to put up a wall to stop he. It didn’t stop her, and when he sold up and moved to Genova, we got the neighbour problem along with the property. She just keeps on using it – she is building a house directly in front of it, and has hired two unsuspecting young men as builders who are using it as their yard. We are already in the middle of an on-going legal process to try and get her to stop. A couple of years ago my father-in-law called the carabinieri (the police) to witness the trespass; this ended with her shouting abuse at the carabinieri and attempting to attack my F-in-L with a frying pan. Frankly, if anyone is going to attack my F-in-L with a frying pan, I think it should be me. (JOKE, etc.)
So yesterday included: calling out the carabinieri and all the time that takes, getting a report filed with them, taking endless photos of the mess, going to the commune (town hall) to report it, going down to the carbinieri with further documentation, finding the carabinieri were on their lunch break, getting the photos printed, going back to the carabinieri with printed photos and finally contacting the builder to get a plan to re-build the wall and the boundary fence (also erected by previous owner and torn down a long time ago by neighbour). And by the end of it nothing had been done, but at least we could then go out for a pizza and some wild dancing with our musician friends. (We didn’t anticipate the wild dancing, but it was their friend’s pizzeria, and he got out the grappa and…)
By coincidence, on Friday my husband is a witness in a criminal case against the same neighbour, which arose indirectly from the Epic Saga of the Bit of Land. There was some kind of legal order served against her by the state which forbade her from being on the bit of land. This she has ignored, and therefore the state is bringing a case against her for ignoring it.
I don’t know how this will end. As far as I can see she has been using the land – which is what she wants – for the past 15 years, and ignoring everything from the police to court orders. So will she stop using it? I really don’t know. We will now have to pay for the wall to be re-erected and the boundary fence replaced, although she pulled it down and it belonged to us. She might well just pull the new one down too, who knows? There really is no dispute about the ownership of the bit of land, but this isn’t a nice situation to be in at all. Obviously we’d prefer to get on with our neighbours.
And now I must go, because Millenium is calling. More of that later.