A cacophony of noise came from outside my bedroom window. Squawking, quacking and an underlying thud of running feet.
I peered out of the window and saw a galumphing great youth chasing the resident bird population along the bank of the moat. I could make out some other people sitting on the bench nearby.
Great. My day off and now it looked like I'd have to go out and move someone on already, and it wasn't even 9am yet. I hurriedly completed getting dressed and then became aware of heavy splashes. I went back to the window. I could see the same teenager crouching by the edge of the moat, throwing stones at something beyond my view, but I could hazard a guess it was any wildlife that hadn't flown away.
I dashed downstairs and out of the back door, and by the time I got to the group on the bench, Lovely Warden had arrived. He explained that these were a group of students from the local comprehensive school. Not overly blessed with an aptitude for academia, they were here to do a bit of outdoor work. I explained that I suspected them of throwing stones at the birdlife.
"They have got a teacher with them," said Lovely Warden. "He's obviously doing a great job of supervising them."
"Are you staying with them?" I asked, hopefully.
"No, but they should be fine, they're working round the back, in the kitchen garden."
I had grave misgivings. I wanted to go out and enjoy the glorious sunshine, but I was afraid to leave the house unattended. I did not trust them.
And, as ever, my gut instincts were spot on.
Lunchtime came around, and the work party came back to the moat to have their sandwiches. I watched them from the window. Two of the kids were crouched down by the waters edge, lobbing whatever they could find, hard, at the reeds by the opposite bank.
I threw open the front doors of the house and emerged on the opposite side of the moat to them like an avenging angel.
"Are you throwing stones at my ducks?" I demanded.
An adult voice answered me. To my astonishment their teacher was sat on the bench, with them.
"No, at the moorhens," he said.
I boggled. What was wrong with the man?
"I've asked them to stop, but they won't".
"What?!" I had reached the incandescent stage. "Don't ask them, tell them. Now I'm telling you. This is my home, not just somewhere I work, and I have shouldn't be afraid to leave my house on my day off for fear of what you lot will do to the wildlife while I'm gone! If you can't respect this place you shouldn't be here. In fact, I want you gone. Go. Now."
I stormed back inside and immediately contacted everyone I possibly could, to express my rage.
I was angry that I hadn't been informed that anyone would be on site in the first place, I was angry that they were here on my day off - I would have liked to have taken my breakfast and lunch out to the moat and enjoyed a picnic in the sunshine without a load of local fuckwittted yobbos lobbing rocks at the ducks. I don't suppose my Boss, or the new Learning Officer would want them in their back yard on their days off. I was angry at the louts for behaving so reprehensibly, but the main portion of my ire was reserved for the teacher who was supposedly supervising them. I would have had them straight back on the mini bus after the first stone was thrown.
The upshot of it all was that Lovely Warden returned and took them away to another part of the estate, where he gave them a lecture on respect. My Boss then intercepted the mini bus before it left and also read them the riot act. I am slightly mollified, but still out for idiot blood. My nostrils are still slightly flared and I have a mad glint in my eye. I am very, very protective of all in my care.