View from the vineyards

The Lost Art of Silent Material Cutting

Reading Time: 3 minutes

For years now the noise in this village has been frustrating me. It is the noise of industrial cutting. The noise of an angle grinder on metal, of a circular saw on bricks, stone and wood. It is the constant wail of a circular saw cutting into something, every few seconds, or minutes, for hours at a time, for months at a time. 

It is the reason for which, instead of opening windows I turn on a fan and swelter in summer. It is the reason for which I don’t open the window and close it at night. It is the reason for which I have gone from having windows open the entire time there is daylight, to keeping them closed. 

Industrial Noise In Rural Settings

People idealise and romanticise the idea of repairing one’s own tractors, cars and more. People idealise doing one’s own carpentry, rather than calling professionals. I don’t. 

I don’t idealise people who redo the decking for their swimming pool and other things because they’re using industrial machines in a village settings. This is not the noise of centuries gone by. This is not the sound of a manual saw cutting through wood. This is not the physical fitness training of cutting wood, and repairing a deck. This is industrial noise, in a private garden. Modern tools have made the process of home repair industrial, acoustically.  This is a shame because the old fashioned way of doing things was quiet, considerate of neighbours. 

When I Made Noise

A few years ago I was told off for making noise for using a machine to sand wood on the partition between two properties, before putting fresh varnish on the wood. I had made noise for two days. When I made noise I was told off after two days. In the village where I live now noise pollution is constant.

Part of the noise came from the building of one or two new buildings, for two years or so. More noise pollution came from a farmer doing maintenance work on farm equipment. The third was a repair shop making noise. The last source of noise was the rebuilding of a roof. 

Years of Noise Pollution

The result is years of noise pollution, on a daily basis for years. The result is that the windows stay closed during sweltering summers. The result is that I am cooking in a 26°c appartment when the Outside Air Temperature is just 16°c. 

The Privacy of Silence

People worry about web privacy. They worry about other privacies. They never consider the privacy of silence, the privacy of keeping windows open without being harassed with noise pollution. I miss the intimacy of silence. I miss being able to open windows in the morning, and closing them before sunset. 


Noise pollution has forced me to adapt to living in a sweltering apartment without open windows. If I open the windows I am constantly distracted by the noise of industrial cutting. I have had to grow used to being too warm for months at a time. 


I used to love the heat. When you’re in the top floor of an apartment, unable to open windows due to noise pollution you’re stuck with adapting to heat. Walking in the noon day sun on a 37°c day is refreshing, after spending time in an apartment where the windows are closed, due to noise pollution. 

I don’t use the fan for cooling, because it’s worthless for that. I use it as white noise machine, so that I can focus on tasks, and achieve my goals. Until I lived in this apartment I never understood the value of white noise machines. Now I do. 

And Finally

One of the easiest solutions is to go for my daily walk when people start to be too noisy. That’s why I go for a walk at the time I do go for a walk. I found that this was the time at which the noise pollution annoyed me most. Switzerland might have been quiet back in the day, but no longer.