There are lots of apples falling off the tree in next doors garden. There is an abundance of windfalls, in my garden, that the local wildlife like to avail themselves of. In my efforts to deter the marauding intruders with fur, tails and long yellow teeth, I have just been out to pick up the rotten fruit and put them out for tomorrows compost collection.

I have a little trick to keep the side gate propped open while I nip out to the compost bag. It has never failed me. It has never failed me until today. I turned around, from the compost bag, in time to see the gate slam.

Three years ago, I was burgled. In my efforts to deter marauding intruders of the two-legged variety, I fitted a gate with a security lock that is operated by a key pad. It was not enough to keep my eighty-year-old uncle the monk from breaking and entering but it has just proved sufficient to the task of keeping me out of my own garden.

Finding myself locked out, I had to dredge up the code from the depths of my extremely addled brain. Entering the code was another matter altogether. What I had not accounted for was that I have never taken the trouble to map out where the numbers are on the keypad, so there was absolutely no way of knowing what to do.

It would be an embarrassment to have to climb over the neighbours’ wall, so I took a stab. I took another stab and came to the conclusion that it was pointless to even try. I would have to ask the neighbours if I could climb over the wall.

It is not that I mind asking my “right-hand” neighbours if I could disturb their supper and whether or not they would be prepared to help propel me over the garden wall. They are not called my “right hand” neighbours for nothing. In the years that we’ve lived next door to each other they have set the boiler, the telly, the Wi-Fi, the radio and numerous other helpful things, not least the disposal of the microwave I set fire to. My concern was much more that I had just seen my “left” neighbour up the apple tree, picking the apples.

The “right hand” neighbour came to the door. I gave an apologetic account of my failed fail safe gate propping system and a rather confused explanation of my need to climb over the wall. I needn’t have worried. The “right hand” neighbour knows the code for the gate. He came around and let me in to my own garden. He did it with remarkably good grace given the number of requests, for the use of his eyes and his brawn, I have made over the years.

The “left” neighbour was still up the tree when I made it back into the garden. “Hello neighbour” he called from his vantage point. “Want any apples?” Such generosity. I should have been grateful but I was not. There are some people you don’t mind sharing your vulnerabilities with and some you would rather not.

In the scheme of things, getting locked out is not so bad. Forgetting to map the key pad out is a bit like forgetting to put the new front door key on your key ring and hoping the old one will do the trick.

“I should have done this sooner,” the “left’ neighbour said. “It’s concrete on my side and apples don’t survive the fall. What was I thinking?”

Perhaps none of us should be ashamed to show our vulnerabilities. After all, we are all only human.