Some time ago I shared with you the peculiar goings-on of previous neighbours of mine from years back.
Click here for said post regarding peculiar-neighbours-from-years-back *points* >... Love Thy Neigh-bour
Now, at that time, the one neighbour I didn't mention was the one you are about to meet here,
Bob, and that's because the peculiar happening associated with Bob, is worthy of a blog post all to itself.
Bob was a deliciously eccentric (mad as a box of twerking frogs) character and a remarkably talented artist who, as tends to be the case with truly gifted people, was completely unaware of just how damn good he was!
Bob was also a young man in his mid to late twenties, struggling to come to terms with the recent breakup of a relationship.
Whatever the reason behind the breakup, the outcome was that Bob's partner and their daughter no longer lived with them. This situation seemed to escalate the intensity of Bob's eccentricities as became apparent the day of a mutual friend's funeral.
As the hearse pulled up outside the house of the deceased, where his family and friends stood weeping in the front garden, draped in the sorrowful garb of their distress, handkerchiefs were soon removed from tear soaked eyes when they spotted the sight zooming towards them.
Being without a suitable means of transport, a slightly-behind-schedule Bob had rectified the situation by means of...a skateboard!
Whooshing along at some considerable speed, his black shirt (open to his naval) flapped crazily above black, skinny trousers! He looked like a deranged bat in the grip of a seizure! However, that story is not for now.
This one is...
Bob and I were next door neighbours. The back gates of our homes, leading to our respective gardens, faced the other.
One day, a rather excited Bob abseiled down my back gate (I jest ye not and no, I don't know why he didn't just use the latch either. It was all part of Bob's strange charm) and into my garden where he stood in front of my patio doors to gain my attention.
It was my day off work so, whilst the kids were at school, I'd been relaxing with the doors open, reading a book, enjoying the view of the garden and relishing the summers breeze which whispered over me.
A bouncy, boingy Bob breached the tranquillity of this idyllic setting by asking me in a rather hysterical fashion if he could borrow my patio furniture. Before I had a chance to mentally absorb this request he went on to explain that it was his daughters birthday and his estranged partner and their families were calling round so they could celebrate it together and it being such a lovely day, he thought they'd do so outside.
"Aww" thought I.
Well, of course he could borrow it. The table and chairs were only plastic so they wouldn't be too difficult to manoeuvre from my garden to his, so not a problem at all.
Bob was most pleased and when I asked if he would like some help he thanked me but insisted all was in hand. He then quickly returned to his house (via opening the gate with the latch, this time) and I returned to my afternoon of bliss, sat by the patio doors, lost amidst the characters of my book.
That's when things became a tad awkward.
About twenty minutes after our chat, I heard my back gate open once again, and in walked Bob. Obviously to collect the patio set. I carried on reading 'cos I was at a particularly good bit.
Maybe if I hadn't been so absorbed, I'd have noticed the trail of people spilling through my open gate behind Bob, before settling themselves around my patio set...under my parasol!
As they made themselves comfy and chatted to the other, Bob scurried to and from his house, each time returning with an assortment of buffet foods. Beverages of all descriptions followed until the table was full and everyone began to tuck happily into the feast.
Bob had also had the forethought to attach an extension to his ghetto blaster and so the celebratory setting was complete and hips were raring to gyrate accordingly. Not mine, may I add! Mine remained stunned and static.
Now, what you need to understand is that, I was but a few feet away from all of this! Had I leaned forward out from the living room and into the garden with a bit of a stretch I could have tapped birthday girl on the shoulder and licked the sausage roll she held so tightly in her grasp!
But...as it happens...I couldn't move!
I felt like some weird party pervert! A voyeur of vol au vents! Not so much hostess as hostage! I don't think I've ever felt as out of place, especially in my own home! And, as ridiculous as it may seem, I also felt oddly intrusive...standing there as I was, rigid, with a gormless expression on my face and just the hint of drool forming in the corner of my gob-smacked gob at the sight of the Marks & Spencer's trifle taking centre stage on the table.
Still, as intrusive as I may have been feeling, no one even looked at me. I think I was just accepted as being staff!
Anyway, they just got on with enjoying their day as if I wasn't there but it was only when Bob sneaked off to get the birthday cake that I found the courage to back off into the hall! Where I remained for some time.
Eventually, the party came to an end and the revellers drifted off somewhere beyond my garden. Possibly to someone elses.
I gathered from the laughter they took with them that they'd had a good time and bizarrely, I was pleased about that. I just worried about any other plans Bob might have for future family occasions!
The outcome was that Bob never mentioned that day ever again.....and, annoyingly, I never got to ask the question I'd been burning to ask....
"How come I didn't get an invite to the party???"
© Copyright Lynn Gerrard