‘Have you met the man who keeps his horses in this field?’ said one silver-haired lady to the other, as the pair stood by the gate of the builder boyfriend’s smallholding.
‘No, but I hear he’s not very nice.’ ‘He’s an oaf. He won’t even let us walk our dogs through his field.’
This vignette was captured on one of the game cameras we have dotted around the fields where we keep our horses. We’ve captured thieves in the act of loading up feed, fly-tippers in the process of dumping rubbish and we’ve now found out what the locals think of us.
The BB was flicking through footage when he came across the two well-dressed ladies having a chinwag on the footpath and decided, on a whim, to play the video. The cameras, which run on rechargeable batteries, not only take a picture but also trigger filming that goes on for as long as the action continues. These two ladies were there for so long slagging him off that they all but ran the camera out of memory card space.
Their beef was how very dare he rent land and then not allow walkers to smash a hole in his fencing and take a short cut through his fields, letting their dogs chase his horses.
A long, indignant discussion about this was just getting started when one of the ladies turned, looked round, then upwards to the post where the main camera is mounted and said: ‘Barbara! Look! There’s a camera!’ To which the other one replied: ‘Don’t be ridiculous, Margery. There’s no electricity down here. Anyone can see that camera’s fake. He must think we were born yesterday. The man’s an idiot.’
A few days after that, we were walking the spaniels on the track when a woman pedalled her bike down almost knocking us over. We refused to jump out of her way as she was the one breaking the rules by cycling. She harrumphed at us, stopped and waited, then a few moments later was joined by a man we took to be her husband, their two children and a friend.
‘Come on, let’s cut through the woods,’ she called back to them as she pedalled on ahead. ‘Excuse me,’ the builder boyfriend said to the man who was huffing and puffing as he came past us. ‘Can you not go in the woods, it’s private. And this is a footpath through a private estate, so you shouldn’t be on bikes.’
‘Oh, we would never go in the woods,’ said the well-spoken man, ‘and we had no idea it was a footpath.’
‘You didn’t see the big sign saying “Footpath Only” at the end of the drive?’ asked the BB. ‘Oh, was there one?’ said the man.
Whereupon his wife shouted at him to hurry up because she wanted to cut through the woods.
‘So you’ve never been in the woods before?’ said the BB.
‘No, we would never go in there.’
‘Come on, Jerry! Let’s go! I want to go our usual way, through the woods!’ shouted his wife.
The following evening, the same family pedalled through again, opened all the gates in the fields beyond the woods and let the cows out. The entire herd strayed through two crop fields and almost ended up on the main road.
The Surrey middle classes are a funny lot and this lockdown has not shown them in their best light. They behave abominably when they want to, and they don’t give a damn for the consequences of their selfish actions.
Let’s face it, this has been a hellish place to spend lockdown because of the entitled marauders.
We can’t take much more of it. From cyclists relieving themselves against our gates to posh hippies picking stinging nettles ‘to make beer — like in the Middle Ages!’ we are under siege.
Can you understand how I felt the other day when I got to my field and found that two people had climbed over the locked gate and were sitting inside my mares’ paddock having a picnic?
I screamed and jumped from the moving car as the BB pulled in.
‘We’ve only been here 20 minutes,’ said the girl, most put out she had to pack up before they’d even had chance to go to the toilet and leave their litter.
‘Twenty minutes? Get out!’
I put up a second fence line protecting the first fence line made of tape attached to cones emblazoned with no entry signs. Another load of picnickers have just climbed the gate.
The cameras captured one of them grabbing hold of a cone to move it out of the way. He dropped it soon enough.
I shouldn’t need to fence off a fence with electric tape around no entry cones on private land inside a padlocked gate. But apparently I do.
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