Look At The State Of Your Garden!
Bossy Marjorie was determined to keep the village up to scratch – but could anything distract her from tormenting her neighbours? The trouble was, Marjorie had far too much time on her hands
The banging on her door was so loud, so insistent, Cathy thought a major catastrophe must be imminent.
But it was only her neighbour Marjorie.
‘I just had to knock,’
Marjorie panted. ‘You obviously haven’t noticed the state of your garden!’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Just look at all those weeds!’ ‘I like dandelions…’
‘Don’t be silly!’ Marjorie laughed. ‘Now spring’s here, you need to keep on top of your garden. After all, we want to win the Best Kept Village competition, don’t we?’
‘Of course we do! Rumour has it the judges are coming this week!’ Marjorie continued.
‘Rumour had it they were coming last week…’
‘Which means it’s imminent. Look, no time to argue, I must see everyone in the street. The gardens are a disgrace!’
Cathy sighed. She’d planned to clean the house, but instead she found herself digging, weeding and trimming.
She glanced down the road. Poor Emily was struggling with her lawnmower. At her age!
‘Emily!’ Cathy cried, hurrying up. ‘I thought your son mowed your lawns?’
Emily stopped, looking frazzled. ‘Yes, but he can’t come until Saturday and Marjorie says I must cut it today.’ Cathy gave vent to her feelings as she mowed Emily’s lawn. That Marjorie was such an interfering busybody! If she wasn’t being the garden police, she was piling guilt on anyone who wouldn’t make twenty teddies and run a stall at the Christmas bazaar.
The trouble was, Marjorie had far too much time on her hands. She needed a real cause to get her teeth into. That would stop her disrupting the lives of everyone around her.
And then, the very next week, a real cause materialised.
‘Have you heard?’ Cathy cried. ‘The Manor House is up for sale… and a developer’s interested in it.’
Marjorie went pale. ‘No!
That house is a feature of the village. The grounds are magnificent. A developer will bulldoze everything and put up twenty houses…’
‘Blocks of flats, I’ve heard.’ Marjorie almost fainted. ‘They can’t! I’ll organise a petition, barricade the council offices. We must stop them!’
For four wonderful weeks everyone’s gardens were left in peace. Marjorie was in her element. Everyone shook when she thumped the mayor’s desk and demanded he fulfil his civic duty. So of course he did.
‘You were brilliant!’ Cathy told her afterwards.
‘Oh, I loved it!’ Marjorie said. ‘This has got me fired up. We should do more to treasure this village. We could clean out the pond, have a Spring flower show. Cathy, you can organise it. I’ll call round next week to get you started.’
When Marjorie came over as promised, Cathy got in first. ‘I’ve got bad news,’ she said. ‘Don’t tell me you haven’t got time…’
‘I’m talking about The
Manor House. Rumour has it the council want it to be an addiction rehabilitation centre.’
‘No!’ Marjorie whispered. ‘We’ll have to stop it.’
‘I’m afraid we can’t. Change of use has already been agreed.’
‘Have you told anyone else?’ asked Marjorie.
‘No, it’s top-secret.’
‘Well, keep it that way!’ ‘What? Don’t you want to make a fuss?’
‘No! We need to keep this quiet. I’m selling up while
I can. If I move fast I can sell at a good price and get away from those… people. If you’ve got any sense you’ll do the same!’
In no time at all, Marjorie had sold up and moved away. After she’d gone, the relief in the villagers was palpable.
‘No more nagging about the state of our gardens,’ said Cathy with a sigh.
‘I still don’t understand why she left,’ Emily said. ‘I mean, she’d stopped the Manor
House redevelopment… Do we know who’s bought it?’
Sally smiled. ‘This really dishy businessman is moving in – and he’s single! How Marjorie would’ve swooped on him! She’d never have left if she’d known.’
Cathy smiled. How brilliant that the rumour about the rehabilitation centre had been wrong.
But then, rumours often are – Marjorie of all people should’ve known that.
Look how many times she’d ‘heard’ that the Best Kept Village inspectors were coming, and then they hadn’t!
Two could play at her game…
© Elizabeth Dale, 2018