We are lucky enough to have a large, if a little ramshackle, garden. We moved in 4 years ago, and have been gradually been snipping away at the overgrowth.
Finally, 4 years on, we have cleared a little bit of woodland at the bottom, and started constructing a climbing frame. We have been ambitious with it, but we are doing all the work ourselves with 4 small kids. It’s lovely for the kids, as we can’t see it from the house, so it’s a sort of really private kiddy den. We had planned on setting up a Walkie talkie system so that they could call if there was any problem.
As we have been working on the project, we have met the neighbours in the 2 houses behind us. They all seem really nice. One of them has been really chatty and friendly. He is in his 60’s, says he spent his life in the army and is married to an ex prison officer (though we have never seen her). He comes across as lonely, and at any sign of activity in the woods, he pops over the fence to start a chat.
He gave me a lovely cookbook which he got at a car boot, and in return I gave him some of our fresh hens eggs. He spends time chatting to all of the neighbours, and knows everyone’s business. I had him pegged as a friendly if slightly intrusive neighbour. I suppose it would only be the last 6-8 weeks that we have started talking to him. His garden backs directly onto the woodland, and he can see the kids play equipment and talk to them from his garden. Because of the trees, we cannot see his house, garden or the play equipment from our house or main garden.
To be honest, I was most concerned about getting complaints about the kids playing noisily on their climbing frame at 6am on a Sunday. Our neighbour said it didn’t bother him which was a relief.
Today, I went into the woods to water some trees which I have planted. The girls, 4 and 2 came with me. I left them in the woods going down the slide, as I made my way up the garden watering plants as I went. As I finished and approached the house, the girls came running out of the woods. The 4 year old announced that this particular neighbour had taken their photo ‘because they were so pretty’.
To be honest, my heart reached my throat and I had to swallow it again. Since then, I have been agonising over it. There are so very many innocent explanations, and I can see that. What is worrying me is that he waited until I had left the woods, and he had clearly flattered them into having their photo taken. The 4 year old was beaming with pride that she was so pretty as to warrant a picture. What worries me more is why on earth this man would want a photo of my girls. It was apparently taken with a proper camera, not a phone or iPad.
What do you think, and how would you deal with it? All advice gratefully received!