You know when you kicked the ball over the wall when you were little, there was always a neighbour that you were terrified of? The one you knew you ought to knock on the door of to ask for your ball back, but considered risking legging it round to get it quickly in the hopes that he might not notice. I could now have that reputation.
Last night a boy from across the road knocked a tennis ball into my neighbours garden. He opened our gate and let himself onto our drive before climbing on some bags of garden rubbish (still uncollected I might add) to try and climb over the wall to get it back. Something clicked in me. Firstly I knocked on the window, looked stern and gesticulated at the boy to get off my drive. Dear lord what has happened to me.
THEN I actually went outside and reprimanded him. I (calmly I hasten to add) used words like "my property", and suggested he should respect peoples "property" and "knock on the door to ask for his ball back". He looked genuinely taken aback that I had spoken to him at all let alone had told him off.
All in all the conversation went ok. No-one shouted and he looked embarrassed. I realise now he didn't apologise but I think that would have been pushing it.
Maybe I had been put on edge by the youths who ran over the bonnets of a neighbour's car on Thursday night. I went round to ask what happened when I saw him polishing his car in the morning. He said that the perpetrator was only a size 6 which was fortunate otherwise the damage could have been worse. Apparently it will polish out. Good job we have Poirot living down the road.
But I am unsettled. My outburst is clearly an indication that I am middle aged and becoming (or already) intolerant. I should be thinking "cuh, little scamp" shouldn't I? Or maybe that would require it to be the Fifties. Anyway I am resolved as least to not bang on the window again. I freaked myself out. Next time I'll send Paul. Who would probably just climb over the wall and help them get it back.