Dunno if I told you my new neighbour phoned me for the first time since he moved in (maybe 3 years). We had popped in on them when they moved in and taken them some vino to welcome them.
“The children are shooting my dogs with a BB gun”.
Me: Oy! I’ll sort that out right away.
Him: (big mistake): “And they always tease the dogs by hanging around our gate”.
Me: JUST HOLD ON THERE!! I am coming to sort out the BB gun thing, but don’t start with a bunch of nonsense about what kids do OUTSIDE your property. They have every right to be there!
Him: blah blah,aggro, law, lawyer, bullshit.
Me: You’re wrong. I’m coming to sort out the kids, then we’ll talk.
Went straight out there, called Tom and his friend Michael up and made them say sorry, and dismissed them.
Told him and his wife and adult live-in son how Tom had just bought the BB gun at the Westville Fair not one hour earlier and had strict instructions for target-shooting only – but, well you know how kids are. The temptation of moving targets was too much (I DIDN’T say – being a mild-mannered diplomat – Your bloody dogs drive the kids mad with their constant, never-ending barking!!).
Him: “I never did that as a kid”. (I think: Musta been the Bluff naff).
Me: Well, I did, and look at me: A fine upstanding citizen. (said with a grin).
Then I warmed up: I need to tell you these kids have every right to be in this road AND on “your” pavement. Your SEVEN dogs on the other hand DO NOT.
Wife: “Ja, but the blacks walk past here and tease the dogs”.
Me: Excuse me? They are not “the blacks” – You mean OUR NEIGHBOURS? (said in a smiling – actually LAUGHING – voice. I was gently mocking her and thought she’d be embarrassed).
The lawyer, hastily: “She means the dogs don’t know black people, when I go to the townships the dogs there bark at me!” (Ja, right).
Don’t know that she was embarrassed. She’s the tougher cookie.
He tried a bit of bylaws and I’m a lawyer on me. I said I’m not a lawyer but I will absolutely insist on the right of my kids and the neighbourhood kids (all well-tanned) to play right up to one inch from your gate. PLUS I will insist on your duty to NEVER allow your dogs to step one inch out of your yard. It’s YOUR duty to keep them in (and you do know you’re only allowed three dogs in Westville, right?).
Luckily I kept my cool and sensayuma and ended with “I’m a good neighbour and I intend on keeping that up. These kids would be in the street a lot more as they have no yards to play in so I take them in to swim and play in my yard whenever I’m home. Please let’s keep up the co-operation.”
I think they got it.
Bloody mongrels still bark for hours on end. Day and night. Where’s that BB gun?