How To Be Subtle


Here in the Miami of The Midlands, Dudley, based at Chateau Grump, Mrs Grump and I are very lucky to have good neighbours. Everybody needs good neighbours. With a little understanding, you can find the perfect friend or so the TV soap will have you believe.

I say this of course not including the evil b*stard cat who lives next door. I try not to think of him. I hate him. Sometimes when I leave for work, holding toast in my mouth, a man bag with one hand, car key in the other and negotiating entry into my vehicle, I see him sitting in the window, looking at me, like I’m some sort of putrid, sub human scumball’s festering undercarriage. I admit, I have flicked the bird at him. There’s nothing wrong with that. He’s an arsehole.

The UK was battered with strong winds a few weeks back and one of the fence panels between our house and the non-evil-cat-owning neighbour, Audrey, became a casualty. The fence panel was the responsibility of Audrey. We get on very well so I didn’t have a problem with it as long as her two young boys didn’t come into our garden and leave a burning vehicle on our lawn and have an all night rave again.

Now she did promise to get the fence panel replaced, and I did believe her but I thought a subtle hint would be needed. Just to y’know, give a little friendly reminder. What’s more subtle than a little bit of friendly trespassing?

As I went to do the manly chore of putting the bins out, I decided to just stroll into Audrey’s garden. I crossed that threshold, stepped onto the lawn, strode confidently towards the new trampoline, unzipped……. the safety netting, removed my flip flops, stepped in and started jumping around.

I bounced and bounced up and down, up and down and with a big grin I turned to face the house. Audrey’s lounge is at the back so I would definitely be spotted.

As I faced the house, sure enough, I had been spotted.

By two complete strangers, both women, wide eyed and open mouthed, looking fearfully at this spectacle before them.

To them, from nowhere, a bald man had just appeared in the garden, as majestically as David Copperfield appearing on the other side of the Great Wall of China. He (the bald man, me, not David Copperfield) had aimed straight for the trampoline and climbed inside the netting and started bouncing around. They were unaware of the fence panel situation.

With baldness, complete baldness, unfortunately, comes the stigma of being labelled a potential psychopath or even a racist, neither of which are particularly welcomed into a Dudley back garden.

It’s a strange thing to be smiling and bouncing around, rediscovering the simplistic pleasure of bouncing, only to then face a look of complete fear that you might be dangerous and the obvious panic that can be seen in a stranger’s eyes.

Now, Audrey came to her door, laughing at my antics and simultaneously releasing the boys to excitedly run towards the bouncing bald man and join him in the bouncathon.

“Hello neighbour. When are you getting the fence panel fixed?”

I soon had to vacate the confines of the trampoline enclosure as I could start to feel my recently eaten Spanish omelette trying to make its way backwards.

Well it worked because the fence panel has now been replaced.

The lesson learned here? A subtle hint which includes trespassing, using David Copperfield showmanship, being bald, using children’s playthings and scaring complete strangers gets results!

I’m just looking for a smoke machine on eBay to increase the showmanship should I need to do any more subtle hints. copperfield-david-photo-xl-david-copperfield-6220671


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