laurel and hardy

Sometimes there really are not enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done .Part of that is down to the erratic summer weather this year .It has left many outside projects compressed until the last possible moment awaiting the first clement spell of sunshine to proceed . It’s not only my honeybees whose lives has been set adrift by the vagaries of weather , there’s also that odd looking discolouring at the bottom of a section of fencing that appears to need attention .
It’s the nature of things in my life that there has never been something called a “wee job”.The job in question, at first reading, always appears to require some minimal input to correct but invariably every tool in the toolbox will eventually be required to make a “fix” permanent.I wouldn’t quite call it a law of nature , but it’s damned close.
I took a closer look at the particular section of fencing.A few years ago when I was too busy, at the time , to do the job myself , I paid a couple of fellows to do some work at the side of my house.I had to remove a row of the imfamous Castlewelland Gold trees that had taken on triffid-like qualities and had become the bane of my summer as they stretched ever skyward and outward.They had to go and the entire side-garden underwent re-construction.; new fencing , concrete posts, double-gates…the lot.The result was tidy enough and I had no reason for complaint.The bottom -line was that I hadn’t the time to do it myself anyway so it would never have been done otherwise or would have been spooned-out in increments forever. It is only now with closer inspection that I can retrospectively see that my dealings were with a pair of artful bodgers….(that’s not a misprint either).I had some distracted notion of this when they were actually doing the work because, back then,when I returned from my own working day, I had reason to correct a few things they had done. For example, while laying stones , they had also decided to cover over two man-hole covers by laying a row of kerbs across them…..What?!!!! …..Are you mad?!..That’s a bloody storm -drain there!..I would have chased them there and then except that they would have left my garden like some building -site and nobody was going to come in and take on another man’s mistakes. You’ll probably know that tradesmen invariably always badmouth their predecessor’s work anyway. It was all going to be so much more hassle, so I simply pointed out their “error” ,corrected them and bit my tongue and swallowed down the bile. When you find yourself at the bottom of a hole , stop digging immediately is always a good rule .

In the end ,I distractedly paid -up the agreed price and was thankful when they had finished without upsetting the foundations of my home and gone over the horizon .The result looked alright. Everything was nice and tidy. That was until last year when I noticed that the bottom of the fence was beginning to look suspect . The fence -stain was wearing off and was that timber rotting -away at the bottom of the boards?
The plan was to replace about a dozen boards so I popped down to the woodyard to pick up the timber.Easy enough , eh? I thought I’d pull off the old boards and quickly nail up some replacements. It should take an hour or so .No problem, I thought.That’s not the way it actually panned out ,of course.A couple of hours work suddenly turned into a two-week on-off protracted procedure .I hadn’t just the weather that I had to deal with because when I pulled off the first board there was the realisation that this was no longer a simple “wee job”.
Before I knew it , the wheel barrow, spade, shovel saw , hacksaw, crowbar, lump-hammer, claw-hammer, bucket ,bolster, chisels, set-square and galvanised nails were all pulled out and in use.
Behind that board I discovered that the problem was that earth and concrete had been piled up behind the bottom of the boards and conspired in one unholy mix to rot the timber away. There had been no damp-course put in to stop it .There was nothing else for it but to tear the whole lot down ,dig the concrete and clay out and start all over again. My artful bodgers had very obviously left no room for air to circulate and time and nature had brought on its own necrosis. The first day went okay and then the rains began to fall for a full five days.When I finally got the end of the project there was a mountain of wet ,rotten timber and bagged -up earth and assorted moulder to freight to the amenity- dump.There was also the discovery that you don’t have the same energy you had twenty years ago and my cynicism about some people has n’t changed one jot.I turned away, only to notice another kink needing sorting out….that mess beside the oil -tank ….i’ll probably have to build a course of blocks or bricks along the side to tidy that muddle out too……next week’s project.
At least the ale at day’s end tasted all the sweeter and I have been sleeping very well these past few nights . ….another wee job….etc