'We have to do something,' says Daisy, surveying the growing pile of debris in the corner of the garden.
'Fling it back!' says Primrose. 'When they are all in the garden. Just wang it back in one enormous shower of rubbishy tat. That'll teach 'em!'
'But what if someone gets hit?' says Daisy. 'A frisbee could take an eye out quite easily, you know.'
'They don't think about that when they chuck stuff over here,do they?' says Primrose, who is following the lead of Lady Malarkey and turning into General Rebel or Major Militant or Sergeant Peedov and is wearing a beret at a jaunty angle to prove it.
(I hasten to add at this point that Lady Malarkey isn't wearing a beret. She doesn't do hats on account of her head being an odd shape.)
Daisy peers closely at Primrose. 'What is THAT?' she says, prodding Primrose on the chin.
'Nothing,' says Primrose. She sidles to the left in a suspicious manner so she is blocking the poster of Che Guevara that has recently appeared in the kitchen and is hanging on the fridge door. Daisy pushes her to one side.
'It's a beard and 'tache!' she says. 'You've drawn a Che Guevara beard and 'tache on your face with a marker pen!'
'Well, I could hardly grow them, could I?' says Primrose. 'What with me being a laydee and all. And I need to get into a manly rebellious mood to help me deal with this pile of rubbish. Grrrrr!' And she growls and bares her teeth in a 'look at my raging testosterone' kind of way, which is a rare thing indeed in a hen.
And she is right. The pile of debris is growing and growing. For nearly nine years, the garden at MMM had remained debris-free. But since the arrival of the new tenants next door a few months ago, there has been debris galore and Primrose and Daisy can't help but link the two events together.
Primrose checks her DI - her Debris Inventory.
'Beer bottle tops,' she begins, 'and cigarette butts. Six footballs, four pieces of A4 paper...'
'I thought they were pancakes,' says Daisy. 'I tried to eat them.'
'I know,' says Primrose. 'A frisbee, a badminton racquet and three wax crayons. Some plasticine. Five clothes pegs.' She opens a jam jar and some loud music and shouting issues forth.
'What is THAT?' says Daisy, covering her ears with her oven mitts because she is in the middle of making a Croquembouche and the profiteroles are one the point of being fully pouffed.
'Noise pollution,' says Primrose.
'Does that count?' says Daisy.
'Yes,' says Primrose. 'Even more so now that Lady Malarkey is on summer hols and wants to use her sewing room in peace and quiet.'
Daisy sighs. 'Surely,' she says, 'this is just a part and parcel of living in a town, squished up with a load of other houses? Surely we should be more tolerant of people?'
'Don't you come over all lefty-liberal-wishy-washy-wouldn't-say-boo-to-a-Clegg with me,' says Primrose. 'Besides, I am fed up with having to keep one eye on the sky all the time to avoid falling missiles.'
Daisy has to agree. Dodging the badminton racquet had been especially perilous as she tripped over the willow fence edging the lavender walk and almost fell on a bee. 'Some of it is posted through gaps in the fence,' she says, as though that is a more acceptable way of littering someone else's garden.
'Exactly!' says Primrose. 'Which is what I am planning to tackle today.'
Primrose helps Daisy to stab the profiteroles in order to let the steam escape (which you could read as a loose metaphor for the situation if you like, but it was unintended and, the author suspects, merely a subconscious outlet of venom for how she feels about the tenants next door. Still, better out than in, eh?) and they go into the garden to inspect the fence.
A vast majority of the fence is in good order. Tall, sturdy, no gaps between the horizontal wood lapping of which the fence panels are constructed. But the two by the back door have a couple of laps where the wood has warped and thus created gaps at a handy level for a child to poke things through in an irritating way. Of late the child (who is old enough to know better) has taken to peering through the gaps and screaming at the hens. Lady Malarkey has done a lot of biscuit eating as a displacement activity in order to stop her going into the garden with a bottle of washing up liquid and squirting it through the fence into the eye of the child because that'll bloody well stop her, won't it? Diplomatic Daughter Heather has rammed a deck-chair against the biggest of the gaps as a temporary measure and to prevent her mother being arrested for assault.
'What about weed suppressing membrane?' says Daisy. 'We could staple some of that up against the fence from top to bottom.'
'Yes,' says Primrose. 'But it isn't very permanent, is it? It could be poked through quite easily by sharp fingers. I was thinking of something more solid. Like eight inch thick poured concrete.'
'Could be pricey,' says Daisy. 'And it might cause a problem opening the back door. How about some of that willow screening? Cheap, flexible, slim and pleasing to the eye...'
'Or selling up and moving to a house in the middle of a field?' says Primrose.
'Ah, the ultimate solution,' says Daisy. 'But complex vis a vis jobs and mortgage and risk aversion issues. And expensive. And not immediate. Especially when one is dealing with someone's increasingly fragile mental health.'
'We could commission a log store from Lord Malarkey,' says Primrose. 'A six feet high and six feet wide log store.'
'Good idea,' says Daisy. 'We need a log store. For the logs.'
'And for us when it rains,' says Primrose, who is already thinking perhaps Lord Malarkey could install within the log store a jacuzzi and nice bench with cushions and perhaps a mini-fridge, and the logs could fend for themselves because, after all, they are just logs.
'Let's go and suggest it, shall we?' says Daisy, who is keen to get on piling her profiteroles and spinning her sugar.
'I suspect he might say that he's already thought about a log store,' says Primrose.
'In that case, he won't reject the idea,' says Daisy. 'It's a win-win situation.'
'Marvellous!' says Primrose. 'Could I perhaps mount a revenge attack first, with several kilos of used cat litter maybe?'
'No,' says Daisy. 'We are not stooping to their littering level. We are better than that.'
'Speak for yourself,' says Primrose.