One day, way back in the depths of last summer, I was out in the garden at the front of the house, engaged in the War Against Moss.
A neighbour, Clive, from across the road came strolling past on his way back from the One Stop Shop with a carton of semi-skimmed milk. We engaged in a little friendly conversation about . . . well, I can’t really remember but it was probably gardening, or bin day or something neighbourly and dull. Partway through this neighbourly chat, he looked up, gazed reflectively across at his house and said:
“I hadn’t realised that when you stand here you can see straight into my house.” He paused for a moment whilst I looked at him blankly – it didn’t seem a particularly interesting observation. “It’s just that I often wander around my house without any clothes on,” he added.
Fortunately I was saved from having to respond in any way by the appearance of another neighbour, and Clive ambled off towards his house. I chatted to the other neighbour for a few minutes and then carried on with my attack on the moss until I decided that I’d had enough and would clear up and head in for a fortifying glass of wine.
As I went to return to the house, I glanced up at the road and at Clive’s house beyond and there, standing looking out of the bay window at the front of his house, was Clive.
And Clive had no clothes on!
(Well, to be fair he may have been wearing socks but I could only see the bits of him from the knees upwards.)
It was not an appealing sight.
I gathered up my things, being careful not to look in the direction of Clive’s house again and retreated inside. I would need more than one glass of wine to fortify me now.
After that, for weeks, every time I left my house it was with my head turned away from Clive’s house just in case I should happen to catch another glimpse of him standing in the window in his tatty old Birthday Suit. And the moss began to win the Great War as I avoided going out into the front garden to do battle if Clive’s car was on the drive.