We’ve had a new fence panel delivered. Clive and I manoeuvred it down the side of the house and propped it up against the wall while we considered the removal of the old one. When we moved into the house 15 years ago we installed a new fence the length of the garden, and had the foresight to have it housed in concrete posts and gravel boards. But time – and, it must be said, pigeons – has taken its toll and we are gradually replacing the panels one at a time.
The idea of concrete posts, of course, is that the each panel can simply be lifted out as necessary and another slotted it. However, that doesn’t allow for the involvement of tenacious ivy. So what we thought was going to be a simple five-minute job turned into a bit of a kerfuffle.
Fortunately our lovely neighbour was on hand. We’d only been out in the garden a few minutes when he appeared. ‘Need some help? Looks like you’ve got a job on.’ He’d obviously seen us struggling and no doubt heard the noise as, in true Julia style, I employed a well-aimed gardening boot in an attempt to loosen the bindings of the ivy. Our neighbour is one of those men who always has the right tool for the job, and in a trice he had produced not one, but two pick axes, which he and Clive were able to employ under the offending panel to encourage it upwards.
The replacement was duly installed, but it needed a bit of persuasion to drop level with the rest of the fence. By the time I’d trotted back to the house to find something suitable to use to whack it with, our neighbour had delved back into his den and produced a chunky lump hammer, which soon did the trick.
A couple of hours later, back inside, the Hoover started spitting out more than it was sucking in. I turned it upside-down and gave it a good rattle, for which I was rewarded with a flurry of dust and detritus. Clive was all for reaching for his socket set, but that seemed a bit drastic to me. Sadly, there was no neighbour on hand with his toolbox to help, but again, in true Julia style, I blundered in. You may laugh, but with a bit of poking about with a carving fork I managed to unclag the thing and normal service was resumed. It might not have been the right way, but it worked.