My mum has a glorious back garden – it’s south-facing, full of lush trees, bushes and flowers and stretching 60m deep in the beautiful county of Rutland. She takes enormous pride in keeping it neat and tidy.
During a call last week, I asked: “are you alright mum?”
With her reply, something didn’t sound right in her voice.
This happened during the lockdown of COVID-19 in the UK where we had to stay home for over 12 weeks.
My mum lives alone – I tell you this to put the situation into perspective.
A cheeky little animal had dug a hole under my mum’s garden fence causing it to fall over onto one of her favourite plants. To prevent the fence from completely falling over my mum put several bricks next to it to prop it up.
One morning she found the bricks tossed into the middle of the garden.
She thought it was odd so put them back to where they were.
The next day, the bricks had been tossed back into the garden.
During the lockdown, her neighbour who lived on the other side of the fence had kindly been buying her food shopping for her.
My mum said “I think next door is throwing the bricks I’m using to prop the fence up back into the garden. I’m really upset and can’t work out why. I think I have upset them because I sent them a text message the other day to thank them for buying my food shopping and I haven’t had a reply.”
My mum was really upset. She admitted she had been crying about it the day before.
At first, I felt my mum’s pain. I wondered why the neighbours had thrown the bricks back and what was going on.
Then I remembered something* I’d recently read in a book.
I asked my mum if she knew if it was the neighbours who had thrown the bricks back.
She explained it couldn’t be anyone else because they were on that side of the garden.
I asked if she had seen them throw the bricks, and she said no.
A few days later, I spoke to my mum again and asked about the bricks. She burst out laughing!
She had been to visit her neighbours with a present to thank them for their help with the shopping.
She mustered up the courage to ask if she had done anything wrong and were the bricks in the garden upsetting them.
To save you the whole conversation, it turns out the bricks were being moved by the badgers who burrowed under the fence each day.
And the no-replying text message? The neighbours has been so busy with their full-time jobs, home schooling (and shopping for their neighbours 😉) that it left little time to read and reply to text messages.
I wrote this here as a reminder to myself that things are not always what we first think.
My mum was upset for 3 days about the bricks and the text message.
It was a big lesson for us both to learn we must look at things objectively before jumping to conclusions.