Our neighbours are many things but they are not nudists or naturists or given over to holding Druidic ceremonies in their back garden.
Which is fortunate as the fence that divides their good green earth from ours is (a) dilapidated and (b) only about 3ft tall even when it is upright.
We can see absolutely everything.
Every barbecue. Every attempt at sunbathing. Every sweaty session with the lawnmower.
And they of course can see us doing the same. With the exception of the barbecue as that’s an activity that Karen and I haven’t yet embraced (we’re quite capable of burning our sausages in the oven, thank you very much).
Now, our garden lives are quite innocent. Neither of us are growing marijuana or opium. Neither of us are burying hated relatives under the patio of even stuffing their decomposing body parts into green wheelie bins for the local council to take away.
We ain’t got nuffink to hide, guv’nor.
But a little privacy would be nice. A little privacy would be welcome.
We get along fine but I’ve noticed that whenever they are in their garden, sat around their Ikea table, we have only got to appear around ours for them to immediately disappear inside. Or if we’re in our garden playing with the kids and they suddenly appear we feel strangely inhibited. That entire side of the garden is somehow off limits for us to approach or even look at. Especially when Mr and Mrs Neighbour are stalking around in their very highly cut European shorts (they’re Polish) ‘cos let’s face it, a camel toe on a man is not a great look.
Instead we nod hello politely and one of us relinquishes their claim on the outside world and disappears back inside, no doubt grumbling a little.
It’s a ridiculous situation.
And one Karen and I intend to remedy as soon as possible once the money from my aunt’s will is divvied out.
The plan is to erect a good 6ft fence along that side of the garden. Previous quotes gave us a ball park figure of £1000 – which is why we are currently unable to ring-fence our little compound to our mutual satisfaction.
This will have the benefit of not only allowing nude sunbathing and gratuitous camel toeing without risk of causing offense or traumatizing the children but also prevent a certain rogue rottweiler* from invading both our gardens like a canine blitzkrieg.
We’ll effectively be erecting a Cuprinol enhanced Maginot line only without the watchtowers or the gun emplacements (though I’m hoping that these can be added at a later date).
Happiness, it seems, is a warm high fence and good border control.
Which sounds scarily like some kind of BNP manifesto. Gulp. But honestly, folks, it’s not meant to be. I just don’t want any more glimpses of my Polish neighbour’s man bush...
I just want to be able to enjoy my garden without being reminded of 1970’s editions of Health & Efficiency magazine.
Is that too much to ask?
*Re: the dog. We’re no further forward. The dog warden makes regular visits and the owners pretend to be absent. However, although we’ve heard the dog barking on several occasions we haven’t see it marauding or pillaging for a number of weeks now. But until the fence is commissioned neither us nor the Poles can fully relax our guards.