I finished the last pile of leaves and grabbed the brush. There were more leaves round the front.
I swept down the path and out onto the pavement. A man was walking down the road so I left the rest of the pavement and went to the leaves on the drive. As the man passed, he turned and said something.
"Sorry?' I paused in my sweeping, and the man asked me directions to the local swimming pool. I leaned on the broom, pointing the direction and he smiled and thanked me. As I returned to my task, I noticed he hadn't moved. I thought he was saying something else.
"Sorry?" I repeated, and he explained that he'd told a cyclist the wrong way. "I thought it was more over there," he pointed. 'Ah, no, more that way." I said, and kept on sweeping.
The guy was hanging around. I started to feel uneasy.
"I guess you're married' he ventured next. "Yes." I said, not smiling now. Expecting him to give and up and move on.
"Is your husband here?" he asked. I felt sorry for him. He looked like he was missing a brain connection or two. "Yep," I confirmed, "in the garden."
Surprised he still hadn't moved, I kept my head down and continued my sweeping, unsure whether to abandon it, and go back into the garden, or brave it out. Defend my patch.
He was mumbling again.
"What?" I said. I soon wished I hadn't.
"The thing is" he repeated, "I've been looking for someone to suck me".
My eyes grazed his erection, sticking out, pale and white from his jeans. I took the conscious decision not to give him the thrill of a reaction, and walked calmly to the side gate.
"Marek" I called, "there's someone showing me his penis out here. I think you should come."
At my raised voice, the man started off down the road. As I watched, he pulled his hood over his head and walked faster.
"What is it?" Marek called, appearing round the corner of the house, rake in hand. I repeated the problem.
The man wasn't running, but was far enough down the road. As Marek stepped out onto the pavement he disappeared, presumably down the side passage that leads to the path running down the back of the gardens.
Marek set off after him, and I scooped Molly up, hot on his trail. "Come with me", I said, shutting the side gate behind me.
It wasn't until I was on the phone to the police, girls hushed beside me, that I realised I was shaking. My voice wobbled as I repeated the details, and assured the police officer I didn't need anyone to come and see me. My thoughts were with my young girls, and the horror that someone could do something so vile within metres of their safe lives. "I just want you to know that someone is doing this, right now, right here."
After the call, Elsie watched me trying to explain the shock, trying to reassure them that I was ok, but that a man had been nasty and it had made me feel sad. Molly showed me how to wipe the tears with the back of my hand. She offered her doudou. I hugged them close and wished I could protect them.