Not that anyone was aware at the time, of course. After all, one does not like to ask, especially when she has that look in her eye. And she is standing within easy reach of some of the larger and more brutal of her kitchen utensils.
However, the UN peacekeeping force was deployed over by the toaster. So there was little chance of us discussing tactics until they had all finished their morning coffee, donned their blue helmets and headed out onto the patio.
There were rumours – as there always is in war – that overnight there had been some suspicious activity in next-door’s garden, near the fence. Although, our border patrols had assured us that the integrity of the early-warning trellising had not been compromised. Nevertheless, there have been reports from our undercover teenager in the enemy camp that next door are experimenting with chemical warfare and investigating growth-boosting composts and extra-strong plant food for their leylandi.
However, our own plans for a weeping willow countermeasure move on apace as well as the undermining of their front-line garden fence defences. Even so, the use of the ultimate deterrent has not been ruled out. Although, just where we could deploy the garden gnomes to best effect still is in some dispute. Hence the lady wife taking up her positing near the rolling-pin in preparation for our morning tactical briefing.
I took a firm grip on my spade as she unrolled the plans of our garden onto the kitchen table. I’m always nervous when the time comes for the big push. Going over the fence into enemy territory is not for the feint-hearted, even under cover of darkness. After all, the neighbours – curse them – are well-known for the power of their patio lights. However, if I were to sabotage their barbecue grill before their planned all-night party at the weekend, I would have to move fast. Especially when negotiating the deadly climbing roses they have positioned on their side of the fence to counter such commando raids against their decking.
Still, as they say, this is war and certain sacrifices must be made. Whilst not exactly quaking in my combat wellies, I knew that there was a chance I may not make it back to our side of the fence in one piece, considering the size of the neighbour’s dog. I was also worried that if captured I would not be able to keep the secret of our invasion plans for the post- barbecue morning, especially if they caught me, invited me in for drinks and began their interrogation.
Seeing my concern, my wife opened the cake tin. ‘If you are captured,’ she said, using tongs to pass me the slice of cake, ‘eat this.’
I nodded, eyeing the cake.
‘One bite of that and you’ll not spill our secrets no matter how much they make you drink or how devious their questioning.’
‘My mother made it.’