Oh dear. Easter should have been so much fun but all our activities were clouded over by the trouble we had with the local kids. I guess it only comes to be expected that you will get some trouble from bored kids throwing stones and hurling abuse, when you are surrounded by estates and some of them housing quite rough groups of kids who are causing trouble most days. What is heartening is the swiftness of the Parks patrols responses and the police in coming to our aide.
So Paddy was on his way back from an eventful trip down the canal with friends and family, when they got stoned by about twenty youths all throwing rocks from the top of the bridge above the tunnel. Quite frightening and extremely dangerous to say the least.
The next evening he was out and Jam was in the shower when I heard lots of shouting from the kids sitting on the bench opposite Paddy's boat, and it looked like they were looking across at his boat and shouting to someone on our side, I knew something was wrong and ran out, grabbing a broom, and chased the boy away screaming like a banshee 'what the hell do you think you're doing?' He had just finished undoing the ropes that moor the boat up, but luckily the boat is padlocked to the mooring. I was screaming to Jam to call the police (he was already and the call took so long he had to put the phone down to come to my rescue!) and the boys on the other side were throwing stones at me and shouting 'shut up you slag we've got your laptop anyway' (charming!) - even though they hadn't but that comment alerted a member of the public to stop a passing police van who quickly came to our aide along with the wonderful Parks patrol team, who really are amazing guys.
I was quite shaken by the event and found myself in tears, but I managed to pull myself together and we showed them where the boy had come across the bridge and onto our side of the mooring. We called Paddy and he came home and we all tried to calm each other down, whilst munching through the last of the Easter chocolate.
The next day, we made sure all the neighbours and people who could help us were aware of what had been going on, emails galore, then in the afternoon, I was on the mooring on my own when a group of ten younger kids started throwing stones and climbing across the bridge and down onto the mooring. This time,
I stayed put and didn't go chasing them off, I called the Parks patrol and the police and they were down really quickly and gave the kids a warning. ' How would you like it if someone stood outside your home throwing stones at it?' 'Oh yeah, we hadn't thought of it like that...' yeah right!
That evening we had an impromptu surprise party for our friend Scarlet's birthday, but Jam spent all evening grinding off old pipes the kids were using as footholds on our side of the bridge and painting the fences with anti-climb paint. Signs were already up but the paint had long since gone. It had to be done for peace of mind and Jam was finished in time for the birthday cake with an indoor firework as the candle. Fantastic!