The Last Day of October

It is a beautiful Autumn day. The sun is shining, the air is crisp in the shade, but the sun warms the air where it shines.

It is probably the last day of the year to comfortably sit in the garden. The first lovely warm day for weeks. I anticipate partaking of one my favourite pastimes, sitting in the sunshine surrounded by greenery.

So I sit in the small patch of sun on the grass nearest the house to eat my lunch. At this time of year the sun, being lower in the sky, illuminates the garden differently. Whereas in September that part of the garden got sun all afternoon, if you’re late for lunch, you miss it and sit in the shade.

All is not lost; the garden is very long and narrow, and all I need to do is up-sticks and move farther away from the house. So I do.

But, my enjoyment is dashed because this part of the garden is engulfed in thick smoke from a neighbour’s garden bonfire. It’s wafting through and around my dry washing hanging on the line. I don’t want to go into the smoke to rescue the clothes and bedding which all reek by now. The smoke keeps billowing; the sun dips behind the roof, and the smoky garden goes shady.

My lovely afternoon is spoiled. I fret. My next door neighbour says the people with the bonfire told him they would warn him next time they burn something. His wife rescued their washing earlier. He told me that they had a very overgrown garden and had a lot more to clear.

Saturday 5th November

The following weekend is another fine day, cold but dry as I hang out my washing. I am about to go out all morning tutoring children, so I write a note to the gardeners.

Dear Neighbour,

I understand that you have a lot of overgrowth to clear in your garden.

The bonfire you had the other day caused strong air pollution over a large area. My washing that was drying outside needed two more washes before it no longer smelled of smoke. I was prevented from sitting in the sun because, as you can appreciate, sitting in a cloud of smoke is neither pleasant or healthy. It’s likely that one of the many neighbours surrounding you suffers from asthma, which is a serious condition.

I would, therefore,  like to offer a solution. If you hired a shredder, you would save the air and keep your many neighbours happy. You would also have mulch that you can use when you create your new garden.

I wish you a pleasant weekend.


I fold the paper and write Happy Saturday as a greeting.

I spend a while trying to create a non-judgemental message. I would love to improve in this area, so if you have a suggestion on wording it better, please post a comment. I would so appreciate your help.

I walk around the corner to find the house. I know I have the correct one when I find a partially cleared garden with a large charred circle in the middle. I see no postbox to pop my note through. I see the light on in the kitchen, so someone is up. I walk around to the back, and a man walks out of the door. I say “Hello, Can I give you this note?”

He takes it, and I walk back to be in time for my first tutoring session.

I come back after tutoring and shopping for food and notice a bunch of flowers sitting in the porch. It is an autumnal bunch of Chrysanthemums. I move closer to read the note.

Dear Patricia,

Sorry about the bonfire and your washing!!

Look forward to meeting you.

John, Maddy, Oscar and Josie

Oh! That’s so sweet! I want to rush round to say thank you but my foot is hurting, and I need to cook my lunch because it’s nearly mid-afternoon. I will go another day.

Let’s keep in touch. Let me send you posts as they come hot off the keyboard.

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