Journey to a New Life – Part Six (When the mayor knocks on your door)

At about 3:15 in the afternoon today, our doorbell rang. This was a surprise in itself, as we didn’t think it worked. However, having determined that we had, in fact, heard what we thought we had heard, I went to open the door. Standing before me was our village mayor and a woman. I assume she has something important to do as she was wearing a hi-viz gilet. The niceties were observed, accompanied by the obligatory shaking of hands, and M. Le Maire asked if they could look in our garden.

I have to say that my first thought was that we had contravened some bylaw or other and was anxious for a moment. When I asked why they needed to see our garden, he told me they were looking for guttering. Any particular guttering? I enquired. A piece about a metre or so long that might have been thrown into our property from the footpath that runs behind it. All was a little clearer although by now I was intrigued. Of course they could go and look, I responded, but I was going, too.

The mayor and his friend walked round the side of the house and up the drive. I changed my shoes and met them in the courtyard. The first thing the mayor said was that we should cut down the tree. Why? I asked. Because it overhangs the gutter of the outbuilding the other side of the courtyard from the house and the nuts would cause a blockage in the guttering. The mayor’s friend and I both looked puzzled. What nuts? I enquired. The nuts on the tree. It’s a hazelnut. More looking puzzled. It’s a magnolia, I stated, a sentence repeated by the mayor’s friend. Is it? he exclaimed. Yes, we both confirmed. Oh.

Our garden with the church in the background.

Moving on into the garden, his first comment was a whistle and a gesture which conveyed ‘Isn’t it big?’, something I already knew. He went down into the undergrowth behind the maple and his friend went down the side, looking for the guttering. Sadly, it was not found. On enquiring, I was told it had been stolen from the church. A piece of lead guttering that size wouldn’t make much, so it’s possible it would have been used to make lead shot. There’s a lot of hunting round here. Either way, I can’t condone the theft, regardless of what the intended use was. Oh well, village life has come to our door, this time in the form of the mayor and his friend.

One thought on “Journey to a New Life – Part Six (When the mayor knocks on your door)”

  1. Fascinating. He has a bit of a thing about cutting down trees, hasn’t he? As it happens, only a small, easily dealt with portion of the gutter gets clogged up with magnolia leaves – and even if it were worse, that’s hardly a reason to cut down the whole tree – just give it a trim!

    I didn’t realise people still stole lead off of buildings…

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