The Boundary Line – A Poem

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The Boundary Line.

A tight rope marks the boundary line,
Of what is his and what is mine.
There it’s clear for all to see,
A wire runs across to the tree.
A simple border there to define,
A place where you don’t cross the line.
This is a marker there to set,
Just in case he tries to forget.
That there was more given generously,
So as not to cause animosity.
He talked about building a fence,
And when he started this pretence,
Of deciding where his border would go,
Removing the line, well wouldn’t you know.
The best way to do this is to remove the tree,
The one that’s there for all to see.
So he chopped it down and hid it away,
They wouldn’t find it when they came to stay.
But through carelessness, so sure was he
He didn’t count on the things I see.
I walked around and slung over there,
Was my tree stump short and bare.
I took the post with the wire grown through,
And positioned it, in full view.
A reminder of a boundary gone,
And the man who has done me wrong.
For twenty four inches more of land,
So that next to his house, a shed he’ll stand.
He should have asked and not just take,
But he will learn from his mistake.
He does not own, the whole hill,
This place where we are residing still.
We have not gone, are still around.
Here to remain and stand our ground.
They tell us strong fences, good neighbours make.
But he should remember there’s give and take.
Not take and take and just keep on
Until there’s nothing left and it all is gone.
So while he will sit and criticise,
He will do well to remember, that we’ve become wise.
To the stories he tells and the liberties taken,
Which at times, leave us upset and shaken.
But we will fight on and not be deterred,
And timing is right, has not been deferred.
We’ll be “saving our stamps” as he’ll often say
Until our help is required one fine day.
Then we might choose, whether to be
Those friendly helpful people he’ll see.
Or will he arrive at a closed door.
Advantages taken again, no more.
The boundary line has truly been crossed
When into the rubbish it was tossed.
It showed no care and disrespect.
For a friendship now gone due to neglect.


The Daily Post – Trust

The Crossed Boundary…

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This picture represents a crossed boundary.  There are often things which you cannot understand however hard you might try.  About three years ago, I laid out the boundary to our garden, in accordance with our deeds, I was a little more generous than I should be, to allow our neighbour to create a slightly wider gateway or access to the side of his house.  I checked with the Laird, a man who has known both properties for many years, he came and inspected the area and confirmed that I had been more than generous with my neighbour, so there should be no issue.  It was a simple barrier.  Wire fencing supported by 4 inch wooden fence posts and galvanised wire.  It was a gentle boundary, showing where the line was.  I tacked it loosely around an apple tree in the orchard part of the garden.

About 18 months later, when I returned the apple tree was completely gone.  There was also a pile of logs which had been stacked at the bottom of my neighbours driveway, with rather alot from an apple tree, which he does not have anywhere on his land.  It was clear that they had come from my garden. He only has one tree remaining in his garden, he left it looking like a totem pole when he butchered it five years ago and it is still fighting back with greenery this year for the first time. He set a fire underneath it, climbed up the tree after a bottle of vodka when the branches caught light and cut the branch he was sitting on, falling to the ground unscathed.  He then decided the next day to take the other branches off it.


The Sycamore & The Totem

I was a bit fed up, but more so when I found that my boundary had been cut through as he built his fence.  It was needless to take it down and little more than vandalism.  My tree had been lopped and the evidence was there in his wood pile.  I removed the 8ft high log which had been left there and propped it up against the side door of the cottage in plain sight of his window.  Should he wish to discuss trees with me again, I would point out that he had no business in my garden felling my trees or taking my wood without discussion.

Needless to say, there was no discussion. Not that year or since he did not pass by, went away for a while and I did not see him until this year, in passing but he has not come by to speak with me, preferring to speak only with my partner.  He doesn’t have a very high opinion of women, especially the ones who make decisions.  The log stayed in our cottage since then, it made a good prop-barricade in case someone tried to push the door in.  But a friend who helped us chop logs this week cut it up for firewood when I wasn’t looking, this is the only piece I managed to salvage.

So this is all that remains of my boundary, the one he crossed. A crossed line, which I will not forget. It will stay in the cottage as a reminder to me that I should not trust him.  As a reminder to him that I know what he did and of my displeasure at his actions.

In the time we have had the cottage he has tried many times to fell my trees. Wild attempts to get other people to cut them down in my absence, with excuses as to why, some of which we have foiled only just in time. There is a large sycamore which is growing rather spectacularly and he attempted to get the telephone company only a week ago to fell it, saying that it was on his land.  It isn’t.  I ask myself when will he realise that  I have woods here because I love the trees, they are calming, protecting and offer sanctuary and they are mine.  There are none which can damage his property, they were already removed. There are none which concern him. The truth is that he doesn’t care. Some people don’t. My question is that if they resent the countryside so much, then why choose to live there? A rural location without trees and nature, well that just isn’t natural.

I think I need to spend more time here, in my absence things happen…

 

 

The art of holding it together…. Or keeping calm in a crisis.

I don’t know what it is, but since I was a teenager and someone walked calmly up to our front door with a two foot long knife inside his jacket and pointed it at me when I opened the front door with my 18 month old sister around my legs, I have seemed to have remained calm in a crisis. It was my first experience of the police.

My Dad had just gone to get his toolbox out of the car for the night and was tidying his car up on the driveway, when there was a knock at the door. I was thirteen years old. I opened the door. A man was standing there, his knife pointing towards my stomach. I looked down at it and calmly told my little sister to go indoors, pushing her away before she could see what was happening. He asked me if there was a lady here, I do not recall her name. I told him that he was mistaken and he had the wrong address, he then asked for my neighbour’s Geoff and Anne by name. My father walking back down the pathway brightly said, “No, they live next door”. The man Thanked him and putting the knife back out of sight under his jacket he turned to walk past my Dad on the pathway, he was not ranting or shouting at this point. My Dad came inside and the next thing we heard from the adjoining hallway, was an almighty crash as he smashed his way through next door’s front door glass, to let himself in, there was a scream, then another then children began to cry and he yelled that he was going to kill the bitch….

Our telephone was in the hallway at the time and I grabbed it and called 999, explaining what was happening and they should get someone there quickly. I then explained what he had done at our doorstep. I didn’t know if he had actually managed to get to her, but he was inside the house.

Police arrived on the scene and disarmed him, the family next door along with their friend had locked themselves in the bathroom I think, while he went on the rampage.
Later the police came to me and took a statement, they told me that I had been very brave not to have screamed and had acted very calmly. It was a huge risk to take but as I explained my prime consideration was to protect and not to alarm my younger sister at my side, so I had to remain calm. I also did not want him to know exactly where the lady was that he was looking for. In truth I couldn’t scream if I had wanted to, a consequence of previous childhood trauma.

I think this experience gave me the ability to take things in my stride when they are happening. From then on, when faced with a situation, an accident or altercation, I handle it at the time as though somehow detached from out as an observer. I am able to deal with it calmly and effectively and retain the ability to keep it together when others might not be able to. Afterwards is when it hits me, some might have a stiff drink at this point, I do not. It just seeps in, I shake for a while try to figure it out and if I acted in the best way and then calm down. Only many years later , after receiving counselling for Trauma and opening up to my counsellor about things, have I start to question what happens to the body and mind after such trauma. You know, when the shock kicks in after everything has calmed down and you are alone with your thoughts. I find myself asking, if only there was a way to conquer that down time so that I do not then become a gibbering shaking wreckage of whatever has happened. I berate myself for not being strong enough to handle it.

Yesterday, after threat upon threat of the past few weeks and a couple of attempts on my partner’s life, our psychotic neighbour who has threatened both my partner and I in the past few weeks, decided to carry out his threat upon me. Being a friendly and approachable person in the community, who has worked voluntarily to get things done with the local authority has its drawbacks. You might wonder how a passing Hello to a friendly neighbourhood PCSO or visiting Councillor and members of the local authority would make you a police officer and a grass, by association this might be a little far fetched. But then if you throw a violent paranoid schizophrenic into the mix, who does not take his medication on time, drinks alcohol and whose paranoia and habits are being fed by the drug dealer next door it all starts to make a little bit more sense as to someone like that this deluded outlook on things might seem real. Unfortunately, what has happened IS very real.
So, having yelled out across the street the day before to my partner that “she was going to get it” and that he was going to kill both of us. In the past fortnight when these threats have escalated to a now daily occurrence, combined with terrorising us with motorbikes, threatening behaviour with weapons and other abuse. I have been rather nervous to go out alone and have stayed inside, barely venturing into the front garden, which is crying out for some attention. But since I had a Drs appointment yesterday morning I did just that, in a bid for freedom and a short time away from this madness I went out in the car. I was alright once I was away from the house, but drove with the windows barely open and the doors locked, just in case he followed me on any of his motorbikes.

When I returned later in the afternoon, I was told that for several hours he had been circling up and down outside the house, revving the machines up to a deafening volume, whilst his mother, (his principal carer) and a social worker were waiting outside with a video camera at the ready  for my partner to confront him, so that they could get any altercation on film. Thankfully, despite it all my partner saw it was an ambush and stayed inside and their plan was foiled, although several of the other neighbours were alarmed he almost ran one of them over with her dog and she rushed back inside, others came outside to observe and later said that it was a terrible row. Clearly none decided to call the police though. Later on in the early evening, my partner was speaking to some of the neighbours on the pathway in the front garden and once they had left went to come back inside. As he did so the man from over the road was shouting again, had begun to walk out of his gate and across the grass stepping on to the road, he was holding what could only be a knife. It was small like a kitchen knife, but I clearly saw the light glint on the blade. My partner called me and asked if I had my mobile and could take a photo since he had a knife, I said it wouldn’t come out from that distance, but I held up the mobile as though to take a photo, which seemed to put him off and he tucked it into his pocket and walked back towards his gate. He yelled again that he was going to kill me. For a moment, we stood there and looked at him. He then headed back across the road again and I asked my partner to come inside quickly.

We were actually considering going out for a walk to calm down. But I asked, what if he came back? My partner told me to call the police. I dialled 999 and called them explaining what had happened and they said they were sending someone. 45 minutes later a tactical squad turned up to arrest him as we were waiting, it occurred to me that had we not seen him coming and he had been able to carry out his threat then we would have been dead. I thought that he was in the house, but it turned out that he had slipped out whilst I was not looking out of the window. We think he may have hidden out in his next door neighbours house.

The Squad which came tried to get in, and eventually got the neighbour to let them in and searched the place, since they did not find him and we all believed that he was out on one of his motorbikes, they asked me to call them if we saw him return. Lo and behold within 5 minutes he was back. My partner had just gone to lock the front gate after the police had left and saw him skulking around the front garden and heading back across the road again towards our place again with his shiny knife. He virtually ran back inside telling me to call 999 again NOW! I did so and 15 minutes later the squad returned and arrested him, searched his house and took him away. At just before 1am officers came to take a statement from me until 2.30am this morning. They asked if I would attend court to give evidence against him. I said yes, since he has already decided I was the problem and it was personal I have a duty to see it through to justice. So that he will not be able to do it to someone else. To destroy, or maim or kill someone else’s life as he has tried to with ours.  I was hopeful of some sleep knowing that he was safely locked up and could not harm us.

Sleep was fitful, this morning I am shaking and a little jumpy. The aftermath of an actual attempt upon my life, a threat made time and again in the past few weeks which he intended to carry out. The reality that it was not just threats. That actually has been planning, waiting for his moment. I have seen him plotting it, as though the cogs of his evil mind are on view, you can almost tell what he is thinking and I have learned to follow my gut instinct, whenever in the past few weeks I have sensed that he is about to do something, it has not let me down. I am on constant alert and aware. I told the Dr what had been happening lately, she was horrified and told me to keep calling the police. I do not want to take the pills which my Doctor prescribed for acute anxiety yesterday morning, as I do not want to miss any of the signals, it is my only way of protecting us, to keep my wits about me. Yes I am afraid to go out alone until this man is brought under control and kept secure, I hope that they also find time to deal with the puppet master who pulls his strings. Meanwhile, my partner is watching my back and I am watching his. My gut instinct has kept us here for the past few weeks and long may it continue to do so.

I cannot brush this under the carpet. I felt the need to write about it, I can’t keep it coped up in my head. This is my cling mechanism. It will stop me falling apart when it’s all too much.

The Daily Post – Crisis