Referring to my neighbours, Richard asked, here, 'Do you feel able to say what the worst thing they ever did was?'
I have a lot to work with, so this took some thought. I couldn't choose just one thing, so I went for three. Third place would have to go to my neighbours' attempts to squash me under the wheels of their car. Luckily I am agile enough to fling myself out of harm's way, so there was no lasting damage. Things could have turned out very differently of course, had I not been so quick on my feet, but it's probably best not to dwell too long a time on that. As my husband was another target for this particular activity, my near-squishes share third place with his.
Second place would have to go to the poisoning of our garden. Our poor shrubs and flowers could not dodge the neighbours' airborne attacks, and so they perished. I have always been a keen gardener... I even grew my own vegetables on an allotment for a while, along with an elderly neighbour. Having completely weeded our garden to within an inch of its life, planted it with flowering shrubs and climbers, and tended to it with a great deal of love and care, watching it wither before our eyes was incredibly distressing. I can't imagine what would possess a person to do something like that. Long after the plants were dead, Mrs N walked over the soil on a regular basis... making a lap of honour, if you like.
First place goes to... having our home broken into. There were several instances, but it is the first which I am referring to specifically here. Unlike the other times, it took place whilst my husband and I were both at home. Nothing prepares you for finding your neighbour in your home, knowing that he was going through your possessions whilst you sat in blissful ignorance, separated from him by just a few feet and one closed door. Our homes are our castles, a place of sanctuary... ours felt violated for several years.
I have placed these three things in this order due to the length of time it took to get over their having taken place. The shock of almost being run over was short-lived for me, the sadness of seeing the deaths of so many living things lasted considerably longer, and the feeling of being out of place in my home remained for years.
Happily, the events listed above are well in the past... a trip down memory lane... a crooked little pathway, peppered with potholes. The future's bright (she says, as she resists the urge to add 'the future's Orange... damn those commercials!) and whilst I wouldn't go so far as to thank my neighbours for making the current book possible (they are my muses after all), I must give them credit for throwing so much good material (and several parsnips) in my direction.
Causes Gina Collia-Suzuki Supports
The World Wildlife Fund
Cancer Research UK