Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First post

During these snows of January, I've just done my first post of 2010:

Aha. Post?


It's actually a post, you see?

For holding a fence up.

Just be glad you wore your corset, for surely the sheer humour I spurted forth then might otherwise have split your very sides in twain.

I am to DIY what Douglas Bader was to the hurdles. Other than life hurdles I mean, because he was pretty good at getting over them.

However, after owning my own house for the last decade or so, I have acquired a modicum of skill in fixing the basics, like shelves, fuses and light bulbs, because all of these things can be repaired using sellotape and a hammer.

One cannot, however, own an estate as grand as mine without it occasionally throwing up a problem which I've not previously encountered. Having been very lucky with my boundaries over the years, a snapped fence post was completely new to me.

Striding over the hills and valleys to the far border of my grounds*, I was rather taken aback by the fence swinging freely in the wind, the post being held up like a drunk bloke by his slightly less drunk mates following a successful night out, perhaps just after the vomiting stage but before the kebab stage.

Two questions occur to me when faced with an unfamiliar task, and it's the same questions I ask when I'm about to have sex. How much will it cost me, and can I do it myself?

In this case, I decided on giving it a go, with some advice from my Father-in-law, who's amateurish efforts on his own fence ten years ago are still solidly in place, which is all the qualification I need to know really.

First, there was a lot of digging, or because this is the winter, chipping to be done. Removal of the tundra around the post turned out to be relatively easy when compared with getting the rotten bits of wood out of the lump of concrete at it's base, beneath the soil. The concrete itself was huge. It had been modelled on the asteroid that had wiped out the dinosaurs. Seriously, you could go abseiling down it.

The person who built our house before selling it to us, who I shall allude to as Greg, it being his name, was a thorough sort of chap. Went for the belt and braces, better safe than sorry style of construction, and a bit of a perfectionist to boot. He even had matching bricks made for the extension so it went with the old 1939 building. A fence must have a sound base in which to sit, and Greg appears to have used a substantial portion of Europe's cement reserves for that very purpose.

When Greg built the fence, he obviously wanted to ensure it would stay in situ for ever, long after puny humanity had nuked or virused itself into oblivion. In future eons, when the evolved tapirs that will undoubtedly replace us as the most outwardly intelligent critters on the planet nose their way through the wreckage, the one shining monument to our brief existence will be Greg's fence.

Or at least the lumps of concrete beneath.

Unfortunately, he forgot that the posts are made of wood and so are prone to rot. Shortsighted really. I would've made them out of that stuff that Wolverine's skellington is made of.


Due to a slight dearth of technical skill and brute strength, removal of the tectonic plate that Greg had installed was out of the question, so we used plan B, and chipped as much of the wood out as possible before replacing it with a scaffold of old Dexion from a scrap yard.

Man I love that stuff. It's basically good for repairing anything. Fences, shelves, cars, harmonicas, fractured vertebrae. Brilliant. I always try to have a few metres lying about.

So, instead of having a professional, neat and long lasting job, I now have a self-repaired, but still hopefully long lasting job, which I can cover up with the all-forgiving tidiness of more concrete:

Look at that. It's like a post on stilts.

When all that was finished, I was able to to reward myself by playing in the snow with my kid. Last year, we went out and made a snow gargoyle, which was so successful and lauded throughout the land that I thought it wouldn't hurt to have another go:

The only criticism from last year was that it didn't terrify the religious kids down the road enough, so I've tried to address that problem.

That'll learn 'em to be so freakishly polite when they pass the gate.

It's a pity the tongue fell off mind.

* This is a slight exaggeration. I only have one valley in the grounds, and I totally couldn't touch my fence from my back door with a broom handle because I'm dead posh and rich me. I've eaten polenta.


  1. well done, sugar! a dab of cement or maybe some plants and no one will be the wiser! xoxoxox

  2. You have just cemented and sellotaped yourself as my hero.

  3. No bubble wrap? Should always work in some bubble wrap into the mix.

    Still impressive, mind.

    (Oh and Happy New Year!)

  4. Savvy - That's my plan!

    Mo - Not me. True heroes use No More Nails and willpower.

    Judearoo - I feel such a fool for having missed that out. Happy Nre Year to you as well!

  5. I laughed out loud several times. MAN but you're a weirdo. :-)

    "Two questions occur to me when faced with an unfamiliar task, and it's the same questions I ask when I'm about to have sex. How much will it cost me, and can I do it myself?"

    Do you know how much I wish I had written that myself? THat's right -- THIS much. That's how much I wish it.

    Oh. And you made me look up a word. "Abseiling". What the??? Turns out on the other side of the pond here we use the word "rappelling".

    Good stuff, my friend.


    p.s. And just so's ya know, around my parts -- wait, not liking how that looks, but there ya go, a big ol' softball down the middle for you -- "weirdo" is a term of endearment.

  6. Congrats to your wonderful repair job, but the true winner of the entire post was your reference to sex.

    I am stealing that line and using it at least twice daily as my new years resolution.

  7. Terrific post, and all without the use of duct tape! I can only fantasize about having a handyman such as yourself around the house!

  8. Pearl - If you ever need a weirdo round your parts, I'm your man!

    SkylersDad - When it comes to dogdy sex references, I've got a million of 'em. Which is sort of sad really . . .

    A woman Scorned - Ta very much! I'd be scared to do a bodge job at yours for fear of your wrath!

  9. Wow, this post had everything.
    Sculpture, improvised McGyverish fence repair, you name it.

    So the estate is so large, the sun never sets on the 'The Jules' empire, huh?

  10. Very stylish dear. I agree with Savannah, plants are the way to go.

  11. Well quite apart from your obvious prowess with wood (haha!) I'm impressed to hell with the snow gargoyle. Whoever made a snow gargoyle before? Only you. But you can bet your ass I'm going to attempt one now. Snow is something we have in abundance. Gargoyles not so much. Maybe a giant snow cat would help my mouse situation...although I hear they melt in warmth the snow creatures. Who knew?

  12. Eric - That's about right. Some of the outlying western areas are getting a bit neglected, but I'll get one of my descendents to visit and patch things up.

    St Jude - Something bushy, to hide the dodgy handiwork, I reckon.

    Veg Assassin - If you carve an ice cat, you'll have a few hours of mouse-scaring before it melts, and it might even solve your rodent problem by drowning the little bugger.

  13. Ahhhh shiplap panels, and the first fingers of winter snow. Bread and butter to the likes of masel, and so little hassle to boot.

    Urine. Lots of it. Put it in with the concrete mix next time. Keeps the rot at bay, and the stray cats oot as well.

  14. I, too, can bound across the expanse of my backyard... a vast distance of maybe 5 paces. I have no fence here along my property lines because the jungle-like growth here on the three adjoining empty lots is impassable to most life forms (ugly reptiles and creatures such as the opossum excepted.., and, of course, any venomous insects in the region). But I did build my own privacy fence to shield the mostly unused lawn implements I own but will not fit in my garage. And I, too, set the posts in concrete though not so well as your house's previous owner.

    There, I've written a blog in your comments.

  15. With skills like that,you'll never be without a job!

  16. Jimmy - I really am going to try that now, so I hope you're not winding me up.

    Douglas - Were those lots inhabited when you moved in, cos they moight be trying to tell you something!

    thinkinfyou - I prefer spelling it "skillz", because it's more hip and down with the kidz on the street in the hood.

  17. In Oz we have wood so hard it does not rot and even White Ants (Termites) cant eat it...but then you cant cut it either so it's not a lot of good.
    Dexion eh..always wondered what that stuff was called. Careful now, you're risking educating some of us. (my head hurts)
    Personally I'd have used plastic cable ties (Ziploc) and Duct tape.

  18. Hey, I popped over here from Hunter, the Time Crook. I like it! Funny! I particularly like 'who I shall allude to as Greg, it being his name.' That just tickles me pink. I'm following!

  19. I'm very intimidated by polenta-eaters. They have fine patrician noses as well, I hear.

    I'll never be able to read this blog in sweat pants again.

  20. Tempo - You speaka my langwij with talk of cable ties. They are another universal solution to all problems, and will no doubt be used to solve global warming and the terrorism.

    Tina - Welcome! Glad to have you and thanks for commenting. If I had any mince pies left from the xmas period I would offer you one.

    Vic - Sweaty pants? That's a lot worse in English English you know?

  21. Hey, I didn't follow, or it didn't take or something! I've done it again (or for the first time). Now I'm here properly.

  22. Drop by my blog. I've named you as one of my Blogs To Watch In 2010.

  23. If I flew you to Australia would you "fix my fence"? (I should clarify; "fix my fence" is actually a euphemism for pulling down the crap, dying one, taking it away, and putting up a nice shiny new one.) I suppose you could "fix my sink" at the same time.

  24. There are white marks all over your fence, as if a giant bird with a rectangular anus has shat all over it.

  25. Tina - Gud!

    MLS - Woop!

    Ellie - I'm half excited and half nervous about what "fix my sink" is a euphemism for.

    GB - I think I'd be inundated with twitchers if there were genuine evidence that the Greater Square-arsed Shitter was in the area. I'll keep an eye out though!

  26. Do you put splints on with such aplomb too? Loving the snow gargoyle, hope junior Jules liked it too. Do you do requests? Can you make me a snow husband? One who melts into my arms preferably.

  27. Mdme DeF - Splints I can do. I've only ever made one husband, and that was out of me.

  28. Well done that man. I've eaten polenta too, they try to feed it to me all the time here, it's called
    "Mămăligă" and it's truly disgusting, and it's my refusing it that marks me out as posh.

  29. Why not do the Red Green thing and use a man's best friend duct tape?

  30. Kudos on the fence fix, I love your writing style, makes me laugh every time! :)


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