Having 3 CCTV cameras pointed at us, watching our every move, was disturbing, but I was doing nothing wrong. Fuck them, I thought.
We moved into autumn 2015 and had little garden barbecue 'parties', we had friends over from Nottingham occasionally, and sometimes the local kids would come. It was never rowdy or going on late, we were respectful, as we liked and got on with everyone else in the village. I figured we had to make the most of our time here, I had a feeling we'd need to move again.
On 21st November 2015, we had a flurry of hail stones. It was an unusual weather event, we'd experienced mostly mild weather the whole time there, and not seen snow since living in Nottingham. Even the 'worst storm in 60 years' the year before didn't actually do much to Easington.
There was such a sudden flurry of hail, it settled on the ground and looked like a dusting of snow. The boys, being nothing more than big kids, went out onto the front and started scooping up handfuls of hail and making miniature 'snow' balls, throwing them at each other, laughing as they tried to dodge each others crumbling tiny hail ball. They'll play with anything, I smiled to myself, and I left them to it.
The next day, the police turned up. The neighbour at number 8, 'Mr cameraman', had reported D for antisocial behaviour. He was accused of 'repeatedly throwing snowballs at the window of number 8, causing them alarm, harassment and distress'.
Are you honestly shitting me? I thought. It hadn't even technically snowed. Is this a joke?
I wasn't interested in anything the police had to say, these people chose to live there, we were already living here, and I very much doubted the kids were deliberately throwing anything at the neighbours, and even if they had, THEYVE GOT CCTV CAMERAS FILMING KIDS IN THE STREET, ITS CREEPY, what the fuck is wrong with the authorities here? And who the fuck was this bloke? Just moved here and decided to harass the fuck out of the people already living here? Ringing the police because you're scared of 'snowballs' made from a flutter of hail?
YOU'RE RECORDING OUR EVERY MOVE, BUT YOU'RE ACCUSING US, OF HARASSMENT?
Had I lost the fuckin plot?
As the weather got colder and we headed into December, we decorated the house for Christmas. I spoke to the kids about moving again, but they didn't want to, they loved it here, they had friends, their own beach, why would we move? Wasn't this our paradise?
Home education carried on into December. The incident with the police coming round had unsettled me. These people were weird. Neither number 8, nor number 1, had lived there when we moved in, yet they both appeared around the same time, just months after us. They seemed to know each other, yet number 8 was extremely antisocial and didn't acknowledge any other neighbours. He was getting away with filming us. I tried not to get paranoid, but come on, were these pair placed here? To spy on us, and report anything they could possibly manipulate into a 'concern' or offence? Did they really think my kids were victims of neglect, and feral? Where the fuck did they come from?
Since the move away from Nottingham, the boys would occasionally disclose stories from their time in Netherfield Primary school, and it truly broke my heart. I reassured them they were safe now, but deep down I wasn't so sure. I warned them about the neighbours and my concerns they were trying to force us to leave. That we seemed to constantly be reported for made up or exaggerated reasons. I didn't want to take any chances. All our camping gear was in the garage, we could leave at any time.
I thought maybe if I shared what my boys had been through, on my social media, if the neighbours were looking at it, they would know what had happened, why we were here now. I wanted them to understand my boys had autism, learning needs, I wasn't a bad mum, I hadn't hurt them, the staff at school had. We had left behind their abuse.
And it was still affecting my boys years after we had left.
T came to stay from university, to celebrate Christmas 2015, and it was good to have all my boys together again. They played like little kids, we made mince pies, marzipan fruits, the boys had their traditional 'christmas dinner challenge' competition, Christmas was amazing.
As new year struck, I made a wish:
"I hope the neighbours at 1 and 8 leave, or at least leave us alone"
I couldn't understand what their problem was.
We were now subject to tenancy inspections every 3 months following multiple malicious 'anonymous' reports. I knew the letting agent would be here again before long, and I still wanted to keep on good terms with them. I thought, we'll decorate, nothing fancy, just a lick of fresh paint on the walls and some clean white gloss on the skirtings and door frames. We could turn it into home education. DIY, home maintenance, whatever we wanted to call it, sounded good to me. I loved decorating. It gave me something to look forward to as we headed into 2016...