Tuesday, 4 September 2012

My newsworthy neighbours

When we were looking to move house six years ago, we viewed lots of houses but finally settled on our present home. It seemed a perfect option; on a modern estate and at the end of a cul-de-sac. What we didn't realise was that not everyone living here had such a quiet lifestyle in mind.

Our first inkling came about six months after moving in. We were away visiting family but heard through the grapevine that there were police all over the estate. Clearly concerned, we asked around for information. We were told it was a domestic incident, we were concerned about whoever may have been affected but thought no more of it. It's fair to say that the first I heard of the full story was when I saw it in the Daily Mail. It turned out that the neighbour in question lived directly behind our house. One day, his wife had offered him some horny goat weed to get him in the mood, and then whisked him off to the local woods for some alfresco afternoon fun. On getting there, she started to move things along with some rolling around in the leaves, then sat astride him and slit his throat. When disturbed by a dog walker, she said that she'd found him like that, and headed off, leaving him with the dog walker. She then made her way to the local railway station where she'd agreed to meet a guy she'd been in touch with through an internet dating site. They returned to her marital home and were both promptly arrested. The poor guy had only been in the area ten minutes. The wife was sentenced to six years in prison.

All was quiet until we heard rumblings of another disturbance in the estate a couple of years later. The estate is built on the grounds of an old country house, latterly used by the NHS set beside historic woodland. At the bottom of the estate is a 16th century building, now converted into flats with a lawned area still in place in front of it. When a colleague of one of the local residents offered to pick him up by helicopter, this seemed like a perfect landing spot. However, another of the residents took exception to the helicopter's landing. He apparently believed that it would damage his property, and interrupted feeding his dogs to run out to remonstrate with the pilot. He tried to kick the pilot's door, but the helicopter was in the midst of taking off, and after throwing his plastic bag of bones at the helicopter did no good, in fury, he grabbed hold of the helicopter skid bar. Now, it has to be said that our angry plastic bag thrower is no waif and, unsurprisingly, having a 22 stone man hanging off one side, it threw the aircraft off balance. Luckily the pilot managed to keep control and took off. For endangering the aircraft, our portly neighbour was sentenced to a year in prison.

All has been quiet until today. Imagine my surprise to find him in the papers again, this time in the midst of a messy divorce. I'm not sure what it is about this estate that makes the residents quite so newsworthy, but I always wonder what will come out next.

On a less serious note, the picture below is my favourite news story coming out of the estate. Steve England is our local Ray Mears, the photo of him shaking hands with a squirrel is priceless. Despite the mix of personalities on the estate, if there's anything that makes me happy to live here, this is it.

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