All my life, I have found myself with very little tolerance for noise.   Considering that I am a woman who can talk alot, I am extremely fond of silence.

Absolute silence is actually hard to come by, but there are certain quiet scenes in which those noises present are lovely.   Imagine yourself lying on a blanket in an English country field (No, it’s none of my business why you are lying there.)   Although it is warm, you can hear the small movement of a light breeze in the leaves above you.   Further off, there is the faint gurgling sound of a stream.   Over the hedge in the next field, you can hear the peaceful tug, tug, and chewing of cattle in grass.   Far off, and you are just aware of it, is the soaring sound of larks.   You can hear your companion’s breath falling slowly and rhythmically in and out of his body.   All is well in your world.

But how often do you hear these  sounds?

I thought I’d list ten of my liked, and ten disliked, sounds

Those I like include:

The sound of the feet, and then the voice, of someone you love.

The waves crashing on the shore.

The call of your cat (or other pet) in greeting to you as you return home.

A blackbird’s song in the evening.

A baby’s laughter.

A wind arising.

The hum on the trackline that signals your train is coming towards you.

A pipe band when you are far away from Scotland.

The piping sound some bird calls just before dawn.


And to dislike:

The sound of the chain saw.

The braying noise made by those classes who have nothing to say but plenty of energy to say it and appear to have no volume control.

A door banging.

A football being kicked against a wall.

Leakage from people’s personal music system.

A child crying.

The noise of a motorway.

The voice of the Chancellor of the Exchequer whoever he may be.   (He never says, we’ve all done well, let’s treat ourselves to something really nice…)

Any music I have not chosen.

Any noise whatsoever from any person living near you but not a member of your household.

Sometimes, love over-rules all other considerations.   Men can be particularly noisy and bothersome.   But the noise made by the man you love is all music to your ears.   The peculiarity of his steps by which you can hear him coming long before he arrives;   the timbre of his voice, so yoiu can identify him in speech in another room even though you cannot distinguish what is being said.    The man of my life can sing and whistle, but even if what he produced was tuneless, you would still find it tolerable.   His saw, hammer, car engine, coughing – they are all beloved by you because where they are, he is.   Clearly the answer to noisy neighbours, is to love them!

You also become accustomed to certain noises.   In our childhood we often lived right beside railway lines, and we ceased to notice the noise of trains crashing through, but we became aware immediately of any problem on the line that caused the trains to stop.   Similarly I have never been able to tolerate the ticking of clocks and have been known to place clocks outside bedrooms in which I have been a guest.   So when John brought his father’s grandfather clock home, I wondered about it.   Yet it’s slow and steady tick-tock and its sonorous chiming are part of the fabric of our life, and again we only notice when it stops.

Some people of course do not have the gift of hearing and I must remind myself to be grateful for this enrichment of our lives.

PS   I sometimes rhapsodise about the dawn chorus.   This morning we awoke in our caravan in  a field at Rye, East Sussex, and the dawn chorus, I kid you not, consisted of a donkey, an owl, and a flock of seagulls!

About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.


  1. Sheena says:

    Your morning chorus: The Rye Town Musicians?

    It’s amazing how knowing the source of an irritating noise often renders it tolerable. We sometimes here the most annoying screeching and squawking coming from across the road, but when I look out I see neighbourhood children enjoying a game of badminton. On the other hand, the boy next door with his skateboard irritates me even more when I identify him as the noise-maker.

    I could’ve written your dislike list myself. I might add: aimless and endless dribbling of a basketball, aforementioned skateboards, and remote control planes flying over one’s garden. It might be simpler for me just to say, “any noise at any time that I don’t want to hear.” Harrumph.

  2. anne s armstrong says:

    Yep. And it never crosses our minds that WE may make noises that irritate other people!

  3. Eugene Windsor says:

    I read somewhere once that men have low tolerance of light, while women have low tolerance of noise. However, I find as I get older that I can’t tolerate much of either. To your good list I would add, specifically, the sound of larks and cuckoos, as they are so seldom heard nowadays, and of course the buzz of bees in a hive. On the negative side, the worst thing has to be young people wittering endlessly about nothing, and using the word “like” as a hesitation phenomenon every three seconds. Also anyone talking about operations (medical, not military or political). People talking to anybody on their mobiles. Reversing lorries going beep, beep, beep. Rap music. Lancashire and Birmingham accents. The list just goes on and on (who said grumpy old man?) Still, fortunately we have MP3 players today to block them out.

  4. adhocannie says:

    Yes, and then they leak and go on someone else’s list…

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