I ONCE lived in a terraced house, a two-up, two-down traditional Victorian terrace in Preston. The walls were as thin as cardboard. When the lady next door called her dog, it sounded like she was standing in the same room as me.

She was nice, all in a rush and fluster and smiling sheepishly while not-ever-wanting-to-stop.

I hadn't lived there long when I realised why she turned her head away slightly when people spoke to her, why her shoulders stooped slightly and why she seemed to run on nervous energy.

I had an early night one evening but was woken later on by shouting. It was in the next room but there might as well not have been a wall between us. I could hear every word.

I sat up in bed, listening, the 21-year-old me not really knowing what to do or how to make a judgement call.

It was just a row, I thought. We all have rows sometimes.

But then she started to scream. And I heard thumping sounds. I pulled the covers up, wanting to shut it out, not knowing what to do.

There was something in the sound of her screams that wouldn't let me. I was afraid calling the police might make matters worse, but then how could it get any worse?

In the end I called them, fearing that if the worst happened, and I had ignored her plight, I would never have been able to live with myself. And if the police could get her away from her abuser, then so much the better. He was removed for one night, taken away in a police van, but was back the next day, probably all denial and flowers.

I think you can probably guess where I'm going with this one.

When I read the vitriol and counter-vitriol regarding Boris Johnson's row with his partner Carrie Symonds this week, it left a sour taste.

I understand the concern about the neighbours' opposite political leanings and possible motivation. The fact they recorded the whole thing and passed it to the Guardian probably shows their intentions were partially politically-motivated and opportunistic.

But I put myself in their situation. Regardless of who was living next door, if I heard a woman shouting at a man to leave the flat, him refusing, and her screaming 'get off me', I would have called the police, too. Or at the very least gone round to see if they were all right.

When the neighbours did so, three times, the door was unanswered. Alarm bells would have been ringing in their minds, and in that of any reasonable person.

Since the incident, Boris has ducked every question about it as if it is a private matter which needs to remain private. He is very likely going to be our next, unelected, Prime Minister.

If it was a couple's tiff, he needs to say so. Otherwise we jump to the other conclusion, it was more serious. To evade the question just shows a breathtaking arrogance not befitting of a leader of a supposedly democratic country.