We were discussing a visit to the plant shop. Talking about what we needed to get, stakes for the tomato plants, cucumber plants and so on.
Suddenly Mr Neat said, "Do you have any Thin Lizzy?"
For once I was silenced. My mind racing. What does he need Thin Lizzy for? Is he going to put makeup on his stakes or perhaps pretty up something in the shed.
Umm I might do, why do you ask?
He pointed at my upper arm and said "I'm not going out with you with those visible. People will jump to conclusions."
On my upper arm was a line of three dark bruises that did look like someone had grabbed my arm (they hadn't). The thing was I knew he was right.
The bruises had appeared after I had been a writer for an equestrian event. I was sitting in a car and when a score sheet was completed it was meant to go in a packet on the outside of the car door.
Trouble was the window wasn't completely down so I was having to lean out to try and reach it. I didn't want the scorecards falling on the ground and blowing away.
There was no time to start the car up and put window all the way down as the judge was concentrating and the competitors were in and out of the dressage ring quickly.
And to be honest it was my first time and I didn't want to be a nuisance.
In the end I put them on the dashboard and waited until a runner came to collect them and passed them out.
I loved it. It was interesting and I learned a lot. Didn't get to see much of the excellent work by horse and riders though as I had my head down most of the time.
I didn't give my arm another thought, I hadn't felt any pain at all so I was a little surprised when a few days later the bruises popped up. Still didn't give it a thought. I was wearing long sleeves so it didn't matter really. But Saturday was a different story, beautiful sunshine and so out come the short sleeves.
I also happened to have a very bloodshot eye after poking it with my mascara.
So I got out my Thin Lizzy and brushed it over the bruises. It looked worse. Way too dark for that part of my arm, so I changed my top to cover them.
The bruises were visible when I next went to work and I found myself telling my work colleagues the entire story of how they appeared as if I had to defend Mr Neat.
It did get me thinking though about domestic violence and what lengths some men and women have to go to to cover up for their spouses' abuse.
Christmas is one of the busiest times for agencies that deal with domestic violence. Hawke's Bay has one of the worst reputations for domestic violence in New Zealand.
Brusies are relatively easy to cover up but other signs of domestic violence are much more visible. People will be fearful and nervous as if they are walking on eggshells. Also if you have a friend who suddenly stops coming to see you or doesn't want you to go to their house, start asking questions.
One of the problems is that people don't like to pry, but sometimes just asking someone if they are all right could be the catalyst for them to reach out for help.
Linda Hall is Hawke's Bay Today assistant edior.