I was recently sent a link to this site, which is the web presence of an organisation that campaigns for the abatement of noise pollution in Barbados. After initial prejudice about the slightly Pythonesque name of the society, it turns out to be a professionally produced affair with some interesting insights into the daily (and nightly) torments caused by barking dogs, traffic and bickering family members on that particular island nation.
You might think this was a gathering place for GOM’s (Grumpy Old Men) and indeed a fair few correspondents seem to be in that category, but there is a least one contribution from a sixteen year old who complains that he has had to do his studying for exams after midnight as that is the only time his family stops arguing with each other.
Having lived in Barbados, I can testify that there is plenty of unwanted noise about. This is not surprising in an extremely small and very densely populated country. Although our area wasn’t particularly badly affected by it, the most common noise pollution I came across was dogs barking. Dogs are very common in Barbados and many households will have several: they seem to be the most popular burglar deterrent. (Jehovah’s Witnesses will stop before your gate to ask if you have dogs before they ask you if you read the Bible.) In Barbados, most sleep with the window open to allow the breeze in. This, of course, allows the barking to penetrate and, if you are having one of those nights when your worries take on much bigger dimensions than they do in the day, you can end up raging all night at the selfishness of the dogs’ owners.
Our Sundays had, as background music, hymns and spirituals played (quite badly) by a saxophone-led band in a church held in a house across the pasture. It only seemed to stop once the cricket on the adjacent field started, confirming my suspicion that, next to one of a hundred brands of Christianity, the Barbadian’s other religion is cricket. I used to wonder if the congregation ever considered how “Christian” it was to inflict that noise on their neighbours for several hours on a Sunday without asking their consent.
I wish the Society for a Quieter Barbados every success.