I am lucky enough to live in the countryside (that’s not the lucky bit – I am a city girl, you can take the girl out of London, but you can’t take London out of the girl) with a huge, and I mean huge, fig tree in my car park. Not only is it phyiscally vast but each year it is laden with gorgeous fruit.
The car park is not fenced or closed in, and lies along the side of the road. Just a small “private property” sign does to claim this miniscule section of land as actually belonging to someone who might just be close by. Each day some joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists, scouts and various others come up or down our county road and invariably stop in our car park and enjoy fresh figs straight off the tree. Quite right too – it’s hot and the figs are good and thirst-quenching and taste like heaven and there really are plenty for everyone.
But I take issue with those that roll up in their cars with the boot brimming with wooden crates and proceed to strip the tree, often climbing up to the top and pulling down on branches, ripping them from the main trunk and leaving devastation in their wake. I also find the fact that they do this on obviously private land – it’s not fenced, but it is gravelled and evidently maintained- pretty unbelievable.
So how to go about instilling figiquette in the passing fig marauders? Well it’s not easy. Some scarper as soon as they see anyone. Some carry on and pretend to be deaf. Some go away and come back later. But the best ones, the ones I have most fun with are the ones who argue.
“So what, the tree doesn’t belong to anyone”.
“It does, it belongs to me”.
“But I’ve been collecting figs from here for the last 50 years”.
“Well, for at least 8 of them you have been stealing from me”.
“It’s only a few figs”.
“Yes, my figs.”
“But the figs I am taking are on branches which hang over the road, therefore they are on public property”.
“No, it’s a private road …”
There are lots and lots of figs (and no-one ever bothers to look beyond their noses but there are a further 3 large fig trees slightly further down the bank).
I know it’s a losing battle, but I’d just like to get one important message across.
Don’t trash the damn trees fig marauders.