Friday, 7 August 2009

Out of bounds

Summer, or should I say the better weather, is here in the UK and the neighbour's children are out in the garden attempting to hone their football skills.

A few weeks ago I had opened the gate at the side of our house in the expectation of doing some gardening in our front garden after I had done some work in the back garden. I was working in the back of one of the side borders, hidden behind the lilac tree when for some reason I looked up and saw a figure, clad in black, striding down our garden. At first I thought that it was the wife from next door who I had earlier seen in their garden dressed in black. I wondered what she could be doing in our garden, then realised that the hair was the wrong colour. It was not her. It was Del Boy Junior, the neighbour's son, from the other side. I was dumb struck! What was he doing striding down our garden? Eventually my brain engaged my tongue and I managed to stutter out something about asking before walking into some one's garden. He said something about knocking on the door and getting no reply. With an unanswered front door and the gate wide open I would have thought that it was obvious that we were in the garden. He had kicked a ball over the hedge into our garden and wanted it back. This was just one of several incidents that we have had with Del Boy Junior and a football.

The day that Del Boy and family moved next door we had a taste of what was to come. It was November and it was dark and wet but that did not stop Del Boy Junior and friends from knocking a ball around in their new garden, as Dad had rigged up some flood lights so that they could play football when it was dark. It was early evening when we had a knock on the door and a request to look for a ball in our back garden, in the dark. Reluctantly my husband put on his anorak and went out with a torch for a rummage around. But before he managed to get out there one of the football players was already in our garden flailing amongst the plants. There are no lights in our back garden and they couldn't find the ball. At that point we did not have the side gate and I have to say that this incident put the requirement for a lockable side gate at the top of our to do list, otherwise we could see that our garden would become a free for all scavenging ground for balls when we were not there.

We had had experiences of stray footballs at our previous house. Initially the children, who lived in the house at the back of us used to politely ask for their ball back. However, they became bold and one gloomy wet evening I saw them climbing over the fence in an attempt to retrieve a ball. How did I manage to see them? Their white trainers glowed in the dark. The next thing that I remember happened when we returned from holiday. As I walked from the hall into the kitchen I thought something was different. Initially I could not work out what it was. Then I noticed that there was broken glass all over the kitchen floor and a large, round, football shaped hole in the kitchen window. This was before we had done any work on the house and it was an old single glazed window. It was obvious who the culprits were. We never had an apology and they never asked for another ball to be returned to them. By the time that we moved from that house, about six years later, we had a collection of half a dozen balls which I gave to a charity shop.

So now we have some rules relating to the return of stray balls which are that we will return one ball per day before 8 pm in the evening, in response to a polite request for the ball to be returned.

27 comments:

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

It's amazing how cheeky and self centred some people can be. I can sympathise with your irritation at your neighbour's attitude CW. We experienced similar at our previous home until those particular neighbours moved. Here we have been luckier - two girls next door, one particularly lively and we do get balls over from time to time but their parents are quite strict and the girls never ask for them back. So it is only when we happen upon them, sometimes at the back of the shrubs, that they are returned. Good for you for "making the rules". A x

Maggie May said...

I couldn't cope with people trampling over my garden in the dark. I would get high trellis put up and train fast growing climbers as soon as possible.
*An Englishman's garden is his castle* is a very true saying and if people cross the ramparts, then they do so at their peril!
I think your rules are very fair.

Jennyta said...

I think I'd be putting trellis and fast growing holly or brambles there! It's such a shame when neighbours are like that. Here's hoping they move soon. ;)

cheshire wife said...

MM & Jennyta - we have a nine foot high hedge between us and the neighbours but it obviously isn't high enough. If we let it get any higher husband wont be able to cut it.

Suburbia said...

Well done

Granny on the Web said...

Oh! I couldn't be as nice or as patient as you.
I congratulate you on the way you have dealt with this annoyance...

Love Granny

Gilly said...

Our problem is golf balls. We back onto the pitch and put course of our local park, and flying golf balls are a constant danger in the summer (and winter too, if fine!)

We hae a fine collection of balls, and a lockable gate, with plastic prickly stuff on it, and are cultivating thorny berberis!

Fortunately both oru neighbours are elderly. I dread what to think might happen if they move on.

I think you have dealt brilliantly with the situation.

Linda - Gold Coast said...

Oh CW I really feel for you as we have been there. Our neighbour's son was a right pain. We had footballs, soccer balls, cricket balls, golf balls, balls galore. Even speaking with his Father didn't improve things!! Thankfully they moved a few years ago which has solved that particular problem. Love your new rule and hopefully Del Boy Jnr will be more respectful in future. Good Luck!

Moannie said...

Yes, best to deal with this nuisance at once, kindly but strictly. Bad neighbour's behaviour can escalate when left unchecked. Our small gardens are protected by hedges, walls and fences, and the only thing that can penetrate is next doors black cat, then Milou sees it off.

Helen P said...

Oooh, I'm feeling a bit guilty here. I have a son for whom any game involving a ball is heaven and we also have a modest city garden - albeit walled. We do as SJ Anne does and wait politely for a balls return rather then going over the wall to get it but, of course, neighbours are not going to return a ball straight away (and quite right too) so in order for a game to continue my son now has an embarrassing large selection of balls - footballs, cricket balls, basket balls, tennis balls...I won't tell you how many but all I will say is that I have a double duvet cover full of them in the shed...

French Fancy said...

I wish I could say that this would never happen in France but it does. When we were away once a ball was thrown into one of our huge cordylines that surround the pond and the plant lost its central stem. I never gave the ball back!

Ladybird World Mother said...

How maddening. When we lived in London and our football went over the hedge, I would say to my son, you can ask once, but otherwise its not fair on the neighbours. I told them about this... they were incredibly nice and said that they would always lob any ball back and to ask any time. I just knew that if I did, they would feel annoyed. Justifiably. It only takes some manners, doesn't it, and every one is happy. Hope your garden keeps football free!!

cheshire wife said...

Helen - as SJA said the balls usually end up at the back of the border and we are not aware that they are there. So we only return balls that are asked for.

FF - I don't blame you for not returning the ball.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Hhmm what a pain in the bum.
People can be so rude, and I blame the parents for not teaching/encouraging them.
My dad erected an eight foot fence all around his property, with barbed wire running at the top. When I first saw it, I thought it was a bit too much, but dad insisted it's the only thing that would keep the hooligans away, after an all night booze-up. Now the shrubery has grown to cover it all up, and looks serene, but inside it's still home to the barbed wire.

Carol said...

I've had my share of neighbours from hell but never football wielding ones!!

Funnily enough, the worst neighbour I ever had was a minister (Ha, so much for love thy neighbour) he would stand outside my door on a Saturday night listening and if he heard any noise at all he would have a fit!! (I know he hovered outside the door because we could see him from the bedroom window). I could see the point if it was 1am or something like that but when it's 9pm, you have friends over for dinner and the music is low enough that you can comfortably talk over it then complaining about noise is a bit much!!

I like your rule!! Don't stand any of their nonsense!!

C x

Cheffie-Mom said...

Well, at least you were able to give to a charity shop! Footballs for a cause! enJOY your day!

Sandi McBride said...

We have a similar problem and while I didn't want us to be known as "those mean old bastiges across the wood" I don't want those big gumboots plowing through my garden, either! I hate to say it, but we put up barbed wire, lol...makes their trot over the garden fence a bit more, shall we say, painful? Now they're forced to come to us in the front! Hope you get your problem taken care of!
Sandi

Rob-bear said...

Certainly, "Bah! Humbug!" neighbours. They probably don't even think of themselves as being rude. I'm with SJA, and your rules.

CG said...

I have had neighbour problems myself so I synpathise! Someone told me the old saying "good fences make good neighbours" and it's certainly true!

Akelamalu said...

Oh I so know this scenario! Only recently the fish wife from across the street was at my door regarding the ball her nuisance kids wanted returning. Like you I imposed rules, the kids play in their own garden now and not in the street. :(

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Oooh, I'm so glad we live in the middle of nowhere and have no neighbours!

CJ xx

Grumpy Old Ken said...

These kids do eventually grow up and leave home. but it takes so long. (The oldest child I ever taught is now around fifty!)

deb1712 said...

We have grown men who play football in the garden behind us Or at least they did. They recently slammed the leather football so hard into the fence that they broke it so they had to replace the panel. Funnily enough, now that it has cost them money, the football games seem to have stopped.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Yes I do agree with you, no excuse for bad manners and it's not as if you haven't tried to be accommodating.

Gilly said...

You OK over there?? Not seen you lately. Just concerned.

jinksy said...

Playing football in most small back gardens should carry a health warning - for the neighbours!

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