Living Between the Lines

Over the hedge

Five-year-old William had done the unthinkable and hurled his younger brother’s sunglasses up into the air and over the hedge.
You may remember me doing something similar in a fit of jealousy, with my sister’s silk knickers? Could this be a family trait? I shan’t admit such a thing.
The first I knew of the incident was when William came running in from the garden calling out,
“Grandma, Grandma, you’ve got to help me!”
Of course, I dropped whatever I was doing and followed him down the garden.
Three-year-old Elliott stood with a sorrowful expression, by the hedge.
“William,” (pronounced, Wi’yam) “threw my sunglasses into the hedge,” he told me, in his gruff little voice.
“I didn’t mean to! I just threw them up and they went up, up and into the hedge…” William protested, re-enacting the scene by waving his arms about.
Leaving aside the question of why he had the glasses in the first place and why he had thrown them up and over the hedge, I turned my attention to the problem in hand.
“Can you get them, Grandma?”
This last came from Elliott, looking at me with all the confidence a three-year-old can muster in his grandma.
The Laurel hedge is very thick. It is not quite as thick and as prickly as the hedge in which Flossie became incarcerated recently, but it is thick.
As Elliott was standing by a section of the hedge, I had to assume the glasses had somehow landed in the vicinity.
I peered through the branches. Of course, I couldn’t see much except leaves and thick branches. Maybe the glasses had landed on top of the hedge.
This hedge is an interior hedge that is meant to be kept at a height of three or four feet. However, Laurel grows quickly as any gardener will attest and right now, it was nearing 5 feet high. Reaching over, I swept the upper reaches of the hedge with my hand, receiving a few scrapes and scratches for my trouble. I worked my way along, peering through the branches, to no avail. Are sure you threw the glasses in the hedge?” I asked, as I emerged from a particularly dense patch.
William demonstrated exactly what had happened. Since he was standing some way from the hedge, I was doubtful that the glasses had in fact made it that far.
William assured me they had, though he did not seem able to point to the exact area.
Finally, I stood back and admitted defeat.
‘Please don’t tell my mummy, grandma!”
I studied his earnest little face. Memories of those silk knickers and nightie came back to me. Alas, my own mother had seen exactly what had occurred. No good would come of trying to keep this from Laura of course.
“Well, William,” I said, in my most grandmotherly voice, “Your mummy will have to know or she will wonder where Elliott’s sunglasses are, won’t she? But I think it would be better if you tell her, that would be the best way,”
William looked horrified at the thought but his expression of pure terror soon cleared and he grinned in triumph,
“I know, Grandma, I have a really good idea. I will go and get some shoes on,” (I noticed he was barefoot, Huckleberry Finn style), “I will go into the hedge, find the sunglasses and then it will be all right won’t it?”
He was so certain his plan would work that I hadn’t the heart to dissuade him.
Racing up to the house, he reappeared wearing his shoes a few seconds later and began looking for ways into the hedge. After some little time he had to give up.
His mother, realising something was going on, had appeared in the meantime and was of course, not best pleased, not least because she had just issued both boys with their sunglasses in preparation for going on holiday. Fraught after a day of packing, cleaning and preparing, Laura gathered her brood up and headed for home, with a tearful William in tow.
I did feel for him. I could well remember how one impulsive act can have such devastating consequences for a child.

I am sure there will be other incidents such as this and one day in the future, perhaps when I have finally had enough of this hedge taking up half the garden, I may uproot it and find a small pair of blue framed sunglasses, sitting on a gnarled old branch.

Mind you, if it is anything like the time I buried the shed key beneath the blackcurrant bushes in a game of “hunt the key,” when I was four years old, it could be a good few years before those sunglasses see the light of day again.

No one can be cross for long with such little imps though..

Mischief makers
Mischief makers

The school holidays mean that my house has become a playground again for boundless imagination. Here are two boys flying through space in turbo charged chairs…

Flying through space...
Flying through space…
While one little girl gives Flossie a haircut…
"How much would you like taken off today?"
“How much would you like taken off today?”

…and another little girl sorts her brothers out on the last day of school…
Butter wouldn't melt in their mouths!
Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths!

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow


  • Teresa

    I think that’s a lovely tale and I know when you do find those sunglasses they will bring back lovely memories of these special days. What great imaginations – flying through space 🙂 And lovely pictures of them all. I do so love the school holidays 🙂 xx

    • Debbie

      Thank you Teresa – they grow so fast that every photo is a potential treasure. Of course, I have far more photos of my grandchildren than I ever did of my children due to the advent of digital cameras and the iPhone. I love watching their imaginations develop and the little ones trying to keep up with the bigger ones 🙂

  • patricia60

    What great pictures and story telling – Thank you for sharing. We have recently moved to a smaller house. Other other house was surrounded by hedges all the way around. We carefully pruned and fertilized the hedges before the moving truck arrived for the new people. Oh what we found in those hedges – it filled a whole grocery bag – some items were 40 years old.
    Lovely story telling and flying lessons. Thank you

    (I had a wee stroke this spring -getting back to it now thank goodness :))

    • Debbie

      I imagine 40 years of treasure were a joy to find. I hope you enjoy your smaller house Patricia and continue to recover from your ‘wee stroke’. X

  • hilarymb

    Hi Debbie – oh yes those sunglasses will appear sometime … but that key buried under the blackcurrant bushes … I can’t remember those sorts of things – but I’m sure we had some similar stories …

    Love the photos – especially your granddaughter with her saw ready to give Flossie a hair cut?! Then the flying photos – that book case looks like it’s a Harry Potter one – already on the way out …

    Wonderful times to read and see – cheers and Carry On enjoying the summer and holiday times … Hilary

    • Debbie

      Thanks Hilary – the bookcase is just one of many in this house – I always said I wanted a house overflowing with books, children and dogs and look – I got my wish! Even more so with the grandchildren. X

  • Andrea Carlisle

    That’s quite a handsome and energetic brood you’ve got over there. My heart goes out to William. We can all remember that feeling of having done something out of bounds and how adult displeasure can feel like the end of the world. I remember asking my mother if I could stop wearing glasses and when she said No, I’m sorry but you can’t, I simply went into the kitchen, snapped my glasses into two parts, came back to her with them in hand and said, “Oh, I guess they’re broken.” Well, you can imagine…I should have simply thrown them into the hedge. Where was William when I needed him?

    • Debbie

      Oh dear Andrea, I can imagine what your mother said! Mine told me I could not have a hamster. I had already bought one and it was waiting in a box in the side passage. The final laugh was on mer – I am allergic to hamster fur – I mean, very allergic – swollen eyes, swollen lips and asthma attacks – that taught me! 🙂

  • Deb

    Such a sweet story, with a semisweet ending for sure. You sound like you’re loving grandma-hood. The picture with Flossie and her hairdresser made me laugh out loud. Never a dull moment, right?

    • Debbie

      Hi Deb, the school holidays have been delightful with all these little ones around, if a tad tiring at times! You are right, there is never a dull moment 🙂

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