Have you ever done something totally reprehensible? Something really mean?
I was coming back from the Village Shop, where I had tried and failed to bribe The Boy into giving up his Bobby’s Chocolate Muffins for a handmade choc chip cake from Palmers our local bakery plus a packet of crisps, when I noticed a woman cross the road from the wood opposite our drive and saunter down our verge. I was a bit unsure what she was doing. She carried with her a large white bag that looked extremely heavy. As I got closer I realised she was picking blackberries – my blackberries.
“Excuse me can I help you?”
I tried again: “Excuse me, what do you think you are doing?”
“I’m picking blackberries.”
“I can see that. Did you ask the owner’s permission?”
“Why should I?”
“Because I am the owner.”
“Well then I am asking now. It’s only for a pie.”
“Why don’t you take the ones in the wood?”
“They’re not as good as these.”
“No, I bet they’re not.”
Being encumbered I decided to relieve myself of my appendages and took them home where I plonked them down in front of the TV while I dealt with the pilferer.
She was still there quite unrepentant. I walked right up to her with my arms folded.
“Big pie.” I said looking at her extremely full carrier bag.
“Well it’s for more than one…”
I raised my eyebrows at this and said: “Finished yet?”
“Well you are now.”
“Now you’re not going to fall out over a handful of Blackberries are you?”
“Yes, today I am going to do just that!”
“I’ve been picking Blackberries here for years - I always do it.”
“Well you’re not going to do it now.”
“I’ve been in this Village for 34 years…”
“Well I haven’t…”
“No I can see that…”
“I’ve always picked Blackberries here when the Stearns…”
“The Stearns haven’t owned this place for six years. Now I do and if I want to let all my Blackberries rot where they are that is my right.” I turned and stalked off back up the drive. Seething.
Needless to say she left. Five minutes later I shot back down the drive to make sure and the coast was clear. Boy was she a good picker not a single ripe one left.
Winding myself up right royally I thought that in the six years I had lived here I had NEVER seen this woman before. I had NEVER seen her picking Blackberries.
Pounding up the drive I was muttering: “No common decency! I would never pick someone else’s fruit without asking. I have never done so I’ve been taught to always ask permission. The only time you don’t is when you’re on a Public Footpath or Bridleway. It’s not as if my verge is even in the Village. It's on the main road!”
I saw Roger in the yard and stomped off to see him and tell him what I had done. I warned him that I was probably being cursed in the Village and not to worry about it. Slightly startled he said that most people see Blackberries as a gift from God and therefore free to all and sundry adding that there again most people didn’t feel quite the same about Pheasants. I said I had no defence for what I had done and scowled off inside ignoring the Builders who were looking hopefully for another cup of coffee.
Now it started to dawn on me that my behaviour was bad and then I thought shit that is not the way to win friends and influence people. And suddenly I had the most dreadful image in my head of the whole of the Village WI all storming up here and picking all my Blackberries to make a point and cocking a snook at me. What would I do? I imagined myself slapping a great big fence all along the road, or digging up all the brambles. Splitting my nose to spite my face and I knew that I was more than capable of doing both.
Iwas still fuming and humming and harghing and I shouted at the Boys when I got in. My eldest to placate me started to say there were plenty of other Blackberries and I snapped at him sending him upstairs crying. I behaved like the biggest BITCH and felt ten times worse.
There is no defence for what I did either to the woman or to the boys. I said I was sorry to my eldest and cuddled my youngest. The Boy said that’s alright Mummy and I hugged him even closer – to be forgiven so easily; something I really don’t deserve.