The sound of one ball boucing drives our British neighbour bonkers. An elderly widow, she is generally a nice person to share a property line with. Every year she gives us a bag of candy bars at Halloween and a box of English crackers at Christmas.

However, when our boys play basketball and the ball bounces over the fence, she swoops out her sliding glass doors, like an owl pouncing on a mouse, and confiscates the ball. Under cover of darkness, she throws it back, aiming at the compost heap. It’s like we’re living in a Roald Dahl book.

She’s repeatedly told our boys to stop playing because she can’t stand the bouncing, and we’ve told her the kids have a right to play in their own driveway. Her rejoinder? “I never let my kiddies have a netball hoop because I assumed it would bother the people who then lived in your house.” Irrelevant, Your Honor. She shows no other signs of mental diminishment. As Chris says, this is a monomania.

Recently, we invited our nervous neighbor to a pow-wow over a cup of tea. “Listen,” I said. “I know basketball bothers you, but it’s not going to go away, so what can we do to make the situation better? Can you let us know when you’re leaving home to run errands?” She pooh-poohed this with a breezy hand flap: “Boys will be boys, they’re very noisy, you know” and went off in another conversational direction, never to return.

On Saturday the boys were playing basketball when they saw their nemesis standing across the fence, holding aloft a small silver box: “I’m tape recording you.”

As the Brits would say, has she gone barking mad?

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter