Back from town following drudge to get eggs. Settled on two of moderate size as were fearfully expensive. Came in to find Mrs Payne sat in armchair doing crossword, terribly excited to say seedlings were planted. Further, builders had arrived presently, but had finished by then in any case. Begged my pardon, but where was the sherry?
Ignored this entirely and handed over Easter egg. This declared altogether too small, would look like awful miser. Most displeased to learn this seven pounds. Said would I accept five?
Transaction now complete for full seven pounds, asked would Mrs Payne like lunch. Looked out kitchen to see fence now erect once more, with builders altogether disappeared, and further pleased to hear van driving off.
Went outside to survey work. Fence altogether sturdy and looking good as new. Saw not a jot of damage from builders, pleased with this. Mrs Payne tottered out, said had done rather good job. Looking around garden, begged Mrs Payne's pardon, but where were seedlings? Explained were over near fence. At this, look of horror appeared on Mrs Payne's face, uttered in disbelief,
"I say, they were right there!". Pointed down to flower bed, altogether empty of seedlings. Queried as to Mrs Payne being quite sure on location of seedlings. Was informed certainly so, and further, had little stakes by way of marking them out. Mrs Payne, now shaking with rage exclaimed with annoyance,
"Those bounders have stolen my seedlings! Call the law!".
Attempting to calm Mrs Payne, looked more closely at ground and saw not a jot of disturbance, however right against fence saw two seedlings neatly planted. Saw at once the problem, said to Mrs Payne with some strain,
"You've planted them on the wrong side of the fence!".
At this Mrs Payne declared me a fearful idiot, had not possibly planted them on wrong side of fence. Measured quite specifically 12 inches from grass, and, by the by, realised she rather had.
After several moments of dismay, Mrs Payne said she would be hanged to let "those snobs" have her seedlings, tottered to front of house as quickly as could muster. Followed after, said was too late now, would have to explain, offering them by way of house warming. Mrs Payne took this rather badly, rattled gate fearfully trying to get to next door's garden. Access altogether impossible as was padlocked. This taken as quite irrelevant, Mrs Payne said would "just hop over it". At this promptly leaned to her left to all but horizontal, and by way of countering her quite significant weight, lifted leg slowly towards waist-high gate. Followed several moments of stillness by which no further height was gained, and in much annoyance Mrs Payne exclaimed at volume,
"Lift my leg up!".
Explained would rather not, this altogether ridiculous, would she please regain her senses.
Seeing hope all but lost stood up with awfully loud "OW!" and clasping of back. Said with a little tear,
"See what those snobs have done now!".
Most exasperated by this, said to stand back and would at least get back her stakes. Promptly mounted gate and dashed down garden to pick out stakes. Bound to say Mrs Payne had done rather nice arrangement, and most disappointing to see on next door's side. Also noted rather nicer job done of fence. In any event returned to gate to find Mrs Payne, still clasping back but altogether frozen, as neighbours looked at me with incredulous annoyance.
Followed quite frank explanation as to terrible mistake, and really altogether amusing situation! In any event, no harm had been done surely, and would be getting back to work, but terribly nice to see them again, would look forward to seeing them tomorrow. Received reply with awfully sharp words this certainly not "altogether amusing" and further would we kindly stay out of their property. Further should we cause any more problem, did I know they knew local Sergeant, and would create "quite a stink".
Nursed Mrs Payne back to house as neighbours stared as us in silent annoyance. Said when inside at least had stakes, Mrs Payne most grateful for these. Sitting Mrs Payne down in armchair asked did she need anything else? Replied ever so casually, by the by, had I bought two Easter eggs? Ventured this awful extravagance, could share egg to give daughter. This would of course leave additional egg, but could perhaps find alternate recipients. Replied I rather thought we could, said I would put kettle on.