My garden is gorgeous, full of trees and one manky old cooking apple tree too. The crop this year was bountiful and all the cider-men said the same about the harvests in their orchards . So I had my mind set on apple jam-making and apple pies with custard. I’ve only just moved into my home. Most of the boughs overhang into a neighbour’s unkempt, unloved garden. The garden is the playground of squirrels, foxes and cats galore. The whole house, Victorian and beautiful,  is unoccupied… still…  since April 2013 in fact.

On a rainy day in mid-September I went around the corner to put a note through the neighbour’s door. It’s a weird set-up where neighbours gardens in the adjacent road back ours. It was a jolly note on a jolly notecard saying how we could share the crop  and that I needed permission to climb over into someone else’s territory before the rot set in. I could not watch food going to waste. I’d seen the pears in Lloyd Park blossom, fall and rot.

Some days later I espied over the back wire fence a woman whom I presumed to be my neighbour.  I chatted to her about the apples on my tree, how the branches over her patch of grass were weighed down with apples and how as no-one lives there I’d love to be able to gather the crop. She said something whatever it was, said new people were moving in and that she didn’t live there being an absent landlady and she’d spoken to the new tenants about the apples and that they would love to have them themselves. I laughed but said indignantly in my head “But they’re mine!”  Without any by your leave she then answered her mobile. I went in.

Those apples were magnificent in quantity and quality. Collected by me in fifteen minutes. I made pies for social clubs for older people in my community and even froze a couple for the absent neighbour. Slipped down a few tartlets with custard too.

Two months later (two months!!!!) this was slung through my letterbox. No signature, no niceties, no well-edged paper, and no neighbourliness.

apple tree owner

Boo hoo!

****************************************************************Life’s too short**


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