Coming home to a court summons for sticking my middle finger up at someone's house sounds ridiculous, but that's exactly what I was facing. So they did follow through with their verbal threat. Things were getting serious. Over a middle finger gesture. That didn't even fit the CPS guidelines for the offence they were summoning me for (see the link at the end to read the proof).
Trix had been unwell while we were away. R was used to her refusing to eat and moping around looking for us, but this time she seemed really down and sorry for herself. She was drinking water though, so I felt confident she'd start eating now we were back.
I threw our clothes into the wash, and set about cleaning up. It was a hot summer but I was wary of the surveillance we were under from the neighbours, so I advised the boys to either stay indoors or go round to their friends. It was so unfair we weren't left in peace to enjoy our lovely home, and I was angry that my 'fresh start' had been destroyed by some spiteful neighbours. I'd heard stories of 'nightmare neighbours' but after living on Belvoir Road in Netherfield for over 12 years with fantastic neighbours, it was hard to imagine. And now I was living that nightmare. And my neighbour had the police on their side fitting me up on manufactured charges.
While hanging my washing out on the line Saturday morning, I heard the weirdest noise from under a large bush in our garden. It freaked me out, and I froze on the spot. What the hell was that? It happened again, and it sounded like liquid being expelled or something. Just as I got the courage to go over and have a look, Trix appeared from under the bush. She looked thin and weary, and ill. I realised what the noise was, she was vomiting water. I ran in to R and asked him to tell me exactly what had happened this week while we were away.
Nothing, he said, she just wouldn't eat and has been miserable.
I rang the vet, and rushed her in. She was examined, and the vet thought she could feel a blockage, so Trix was kept in for emergency surgery.
We were all worried sick overnight but Trix soldiered through surgery and the vets saved her life. While waiting for her to be discharged, we went down the beach. It was too hot for Trix to come with us anyway.
Some time later I got the call to pick up Trix, she could come home. When we arrived, the vet explained the nature of the blockage was a small firm ball, and did we know where it could have come from. We didn't have a clue, nobody had any toys with small balls, and nobody could recall having any small hard balls like the one in the plastic bag in front of us. It was dark, and solid.
Trix wasn't a swallower, she chewed her food and treats. She was the type of dog who could wriggle a pill out of a piece of cheese, eat the cheese and spit the pill. She was very fussy! Why would she swallow a hard ball? And where did it come from?
I had my own theory about where it had come from. Wasn't the first time my dog had been rushed to the vet, but this time had nearly killed her. We were in danger, Trix almost certainly. I imagined the culprit had probably been throwing treats over the fence, before throwing this ball, probably wrapped in meat. But I couldn't be certain.
D was approaching his 15th birthday at this point, and I was struggling with his behaviour. I understood why he was unhappy, he missed routine and a home life, he was sick of travelling and being squashed in hotel rooms or tiny caravan bedrooms. This constant harassment we were going through was giving him mixed feelings, he hadn't seen me in fear of anyone before, mum was always a fighter yet here she was hiding and running away, terrified of the neighbours and paranoid of whatever was coming next.
We clashed frequently, as many parents and teens that age often do, and D would storm out of the house. We lived in a tiny, remote, crime-free village where everyone knew each other, at nearly 15 D wasn't in any danger. I'd let him go, to cool off.
The supportive neighbour on our street, who's son was close to D, was invaluable during this time, and I was grateful for him and his family's support and understanding. I don't know how I'd have coped with D's escalating absconding without the support of his best friend.
That weekend when we got home, me and D clashed again. It seemed he would hold himself while we were away, and explode with pent up emotions once home. I can't remember why we argued, it was getting fairly frequent, but it usually centred around our current situation.
D had stormed out the house one evening, darkness was falling fast but I didn't worry too much. He'll be back, he's probably gone for a walk down the beach, I thought, secretly glad of the break myself.
Shortly after, the police were at the door. But not the usual Humberside police, the armed MOD police. Their jeep was parked in my road, and 1 officer stood at the side of it, his hands poised on the automatic weapon strapped across his chest.
My eyes focused back to the officer at my door, with D stood slightly behind him, head down, sheepish look on his face.
D had decided to go to the beach, but then decided to climb over the top of the large boulders. D has ADHD and relatively little fear or understanding of risk, so it was just another adventure for him. He was spotted by the patrolling MOD officers, who pulled over their jeep and called him over. They'd decided to drop him at home, it was late and his behaviour was pretty dangerous. I agreed, and apologised. I explained we'd had a fall out and he'd stormed off. The officers were really understanding and completely unconcerned, they were just doing a lad a favour by getting him down off the rocks and dropping him off home. Boys will be boys, won't be the last no doubt.
The initial fear I had felt at the sight of a machine gun soon calmed, these guys were alright!
I thanked them for their time, and D came in. I later joked to D that he had given them something to do, in their mundane job just driving round and round a powerplant! Being brought home by armed police broke the ice with us, and we quickly got over our previous argument. I warned him about climbing on the rocks, "You're bloody mad you are!" I chided.
It was boiling hot, I'd nipped out to Withernsea for some supplies, when I got a call from a female officer from Humberside police. Here we fuckin go again, I thought, I've only just come back ffs!
She wanted to come to my house to have a chat about something.
She persisted, a concern has been raised about my son being brought home by MOD police, and they'd like to come out and talk about what had happened.
What for? I didn't see the relevance of the police, D had only got a lift home.
She then claimed D had 'said something'. I suspected this was more manufactured incidents.
"I'm not interested thanks"
She wouldn't let it go though, talked about 'safeguarding a child' and wanted to fill out some domestic incident forms. Fuck right off now, this was an obvious attempt to create an incident out of nothing. Like the middle finger being made into a public order offence, this was being engineered into something it never was!
"I'm not interested in your manufactured incidents that didn't happen. My son is fine. If you want to protect him, STOP THE PERVERTED NEIGHBOURS FROM SPYING ON US!"
I ended the call, I was fuming. And scared. Why are Humberside now trying to exaggerate D getting a lift home after a post-argument stroll, into some domestic incident? As if no parent and nearly 15 year old child have ever argued?
And who told Humberside police? It certainly wasn't the MOD who dropped him off, they didn't have any reason to raise any concerns, in fact they couldn't have cared less!
So who informed Humberside police? Who was making up bullshit again?
But Humberside police didn't let it go. Why would they? It was another perfect situation that they could manipulate to manufacture false allegations.
So they turned up at my house. Wanting to do a 'welfare check' on the kids. Ha! Are you actually serious? There are 3 CCTV cameras on the house opposite all filming and recording us relentlessly, along with the neighbour next door spying on us! Are they not concerned about kids being filmed and harassed by these people?
I told them not to come round here like they're 'concerned' when we were literally being stalked and harassed, and couldn't live in our own home. That as soon as we came home it would be more made up bullshit, like this!
I was losing the plot now. Not a days peace at home, it was draining the life out of me.
I had been running 2 Facebook profiles for a while, and started locking both down even tighter. I couldn't work out how the neighbour was viewing my friends-only posts, so I cut my friends list on both profiles drastically.
A few days later, a handwritten sign was posted on the fencing of the property next to camera man. It read,
SAY NO TO CCTV CAMERAS IN THE BRAMBLES
ALL OUR CHILDREN ARE BEING FILMED WHILE OUT PLAYING AND IMAGES STORED OF THEM
LEAVE OUR CHILDREN TO PLAY IN PEACE
THEY ARE DOING NO HARM'
I cracked up! It was moments like these that I absolutely loved my other neighbours in the village! I didn't know for certain who had done this, but I had strong suspicions. And I could have kissed them! This was brilliant! I had a feeling I'd be accused of doing it, but as it was nothing to do with me, I just found it funny. I was grateful for the support.
Since receiving the court summons, I'd been waiting on some paperwork of my own arriving. And when it did, I popped over to the neighbour down the street, and asked her to bear witness for me.
And on 25th July, exactly 3 years to the day since I moved to Easington, I officially changed my name to HARLEY QUINN.
If Humberside police were fitting me up on false charges in this Truman Show drama that my life had become, then I was coming to court to answer them, as Harley Quinn. They were making out I was a bad ass criminal, might as well take the name to match.
You wanna take the piss, I'll take the piss. You're charging Harley Quinn for giving the middle finger to a house. The press surely couldn't ignore this.