Thursday, 2 August 2007

Another gate

Sasha, the German au pair who is taking over from Ermintrude, arrives tonight at 11.30pm.

Well I hope Sasha is agile. Because all day long any visitor to the house has had to climb over the front gate if they are to get into the garden and to the front door, because Dig wedged the gate shut this morning by accident. Ermintrude has found the whole incident very funny as she's clambered over the gate with Squirrel, Shark and Tiger to get out into the street, several times now, to go about the day's business to the shops and the tennis courts. But she's used to us now, and that helps.

Anyway, I needn't have worried about Sasha's introduction to the Pile being 'Would you mind climbing over the gate?' delivered in the street darkness at midnight, probably with Smalltown's police sirens wailing in the background, and Dig looking like everything's normal.

No, because Gert, the neighbour, comes to our rescue. Think not that she is aged in her 60s, has a hole in her heart, and a deaf 16-year old dog that can't bend its knees but which still sends Tiger screaming into the house. Think not, either, that Gert is the neighbour who owns Trisha the cat, who is on the receiving end of the Grit family's hisses as we hide behind bushes and may, sadly, now be in need of psychiatric cat counselling while Gert wonders why it seems to shake and run whenever it sees Shark coming.

Gert probably doesn't know the full story of what we've done to Trisha. And if she does, it probably helps. Because Gert kicks the gate in. She takes aim and gives the gate a good thump several times with her foot and Pow! it pops open. She has magnificent strength, she says, because until she discovered she had a hole in the heart in May, she used to go scuba diving.

Now see how Grit's policy of keeping on good terms with the neighbours pays off.

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