Lockdown life: Don’t let ‘Miserable Moira’ top kids having trampoline fun – Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews fears tetchy neighbours may be a problem for many families when kids blow off some steam during the lockdown.

By Hayley Matthews
Saturday, 25th April 2020, 7:30 am
The sound of kids playing on a trampoline should be a welcome distraction in difficult times (Picture: Emma Williams)
The sound of kids playing on a trampoline should be a welcome distraction in difficult times (Picture: Emma Williams)

We had a full blown code three with a neighbour during week. It was huge, ended in a door slam and was over something fairly small.

The law of averages would have it that if you live in a block of flats on a busy street then there’s going to be someone who’s a bit of a misery guts. I have great neighbours, for the most part, but there’s always one – you know the type.

From their reaction you’d think we’d put up a massive marquee, brought out the beer and had Blazing Squad performing out the back. So what did we do? Wild drunken parties, making too much noise, or even something as outrageous as using someone else’s washing line? No, this fall-out of epic proportions was over a small trampoline that we’ve put in the rather large shared garden because, well, lockdown + two kids = difficult times. Ironically, I’ve only ever seen this neighbour briefly in the garden to hang out washing, they never sit in the sun, or even uses the garden – come to think of it maybe I should be checking for fangs next time. I’ll bring out the garlic and a cross just to be safe.

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We’re smack bang in the middle of a global pandemic, surrounded by stories of people losing their lives in their hundreds on a daily basis but for some, kids having fun in the garden seems to be far more upsetting. There is misery and uncertainty everywhere just now, so a small trampoline in the garden should be the last on many people’s “worry list” right now. I mean how on earth will they be able to hang out their washing with a trampoline nowhere near the line? I’m being sarcastic.

So forgive me for being a little hacked off at having to explain and defend the fact that unable to go anywhere other than Aldi and Lidl, my two boys, who have more testosterone than a raging bull, are needing something to use to burn up all their energy. So my dad got them a trampoline. It’s small, even me and my 5ft 2 Hobbit inches struggle to lay down fully on it. Grandad thought he was doing a nice thing when he decided to order one after I went apoplectic at our eight-year-old for front flipping on my bed for the umpteenth time!

The thing I find most surprising is surely in times of constant doom and gloom, most people would rejoice at the sight of children happily playing in the garden, regardless if it’s shared or not. Our eldest hasn’t seen his friends for weeks or been to any of his clubs etc and with both of us working from home and with a baby, our eight-year-old is finding it tough and I don’t want his mood to dip. He’s eight, for goodness’ sake! Let him have fun on a trampoline!

The fall-out left me wondering how many others out there are dealing with a “Mad Margaret”, “Miserable Moira” or even a “Pee’d off Pete” and all because they’re trying to do their best to keep their children busy in very, very challenging times. Hopefully, there is only a small minority who are miserable enough to want to power hose a child off a trampoline.

So to all you out there who are living beside a “Crabbit Cathy” or a “Sour-puss Simon”, keep the faith because at the end of the day, all that matters is that our kids are happy, healthy and that our lives are full of love and laughter. That’s the problem with these folk in the first place. They are sheltered and miserable, trying their best to make everyone else as miserable as they are.

If my neighbour had their way the garden would be as empty and sad as their life. Don’t let them! Let your kids have fun and be merry like my Happy Harris and Overjoyed Oryn!