Making gates

I'm not quite sure what's come over me recently, but in the space of a week or so I've been knocking up gates left, right and centre on the allotment, accompanied by the odd fence here and there. Suddenly the whole plot looks much more business like... but in my usual inept fashion I've also been knocking lumps off myself in the process.

It all started with a replacement for the makeshift barrier I'd been using for going on two years to keep the chickens off the front plot, where all the salad vegetables are grown. The barrier was about five feet high, made from triple layer polycarbonate and although heavy did the job. But with wife Linda taking an increased interest in the allotment it's days were numbered. Too awkward and not pleasant to look at.

So in went gate number one... actually the second gate on the allotment, the first being the allotment entrance installed by ace carpenter son in law Chris when I first took the plot. And since he knows what he's doing my first attempt was based on his design. Rather pleased with the result as shown above.

Since the chickens are allowed to wander the back plot when we're there some more protection was needed for the area planted with potatoes and winter squash. So in went my gate number two, accompanied by surrounding fence. This one a bit more functional, not quite as design conscious, see result at the foot of this post

Another area we'd been chasing the chickens off was the rhubarb and fruit bush section, including the entrance to the large polytunnel. Gate number three thus installed with a small amount of fencing. Although fully functional you can probably see my gate patience was starting to wear a bit thin at this stage. One of the posts didn't go in quite straight and I hadn't the energy to pull it back out and start again.

The whole exercise took a bit of a downturn when I smacked my left hand index finger with the sledgehammer whilst hammering in a post. We're talking about a serious bit of kit here, the type you can hardly lift with one hand and certainly not try and swing with one hand while the other is holding the post. I can assure you of that in hindsight... one almighty one handed swing missed the post, but not quite by enough to miss the knuckle of the index finger holding the sledgehammer. Result: a sudden intense pain as the skin from the top of my knuckle was ripped off.

Having dropped the sledgehammer like a hot coal (it's a miracle I didn't thus also break my foot) an examination of the wound showed what appeared to be knuckle bone. Bit of a mistake on my part to give it such close scrutiny... immediately started to feel woozie and wobbly and aided by Linda (who, since only being a titch, was in danger of being flattened by me) managed to stagger to a chair before everything blacked out. I came to some minutes later to the anxious gazes of Linda and surrounding allotment neighbours.

I have to admit to a history of passing out in similar fashion at the most inappropriate of times. Some years ago when daughter Beth was about four I took her into casualty to have a cut on her eyebrow sewed up. Since she was so young the doctor thought the best idea would be to wrap her in a blanket and for me to hold her on the bed while he applied the cross stitch. Before he'd even got the needle going I'd gone all wobbly and was suddenly getting more attention than my daughter as all the medical staff attempted to catch me before I collapsed on the floor.

Anyway, back to the latest debacle. The finger has healed up but is somewhat misshapen with a loss of feeling. I suspect I fractured something but the knuckle moves ok without any pain so I'm soldiering on. If it drops off might get a bit worried.

So the final gate, to give me access off the back plot to the larger and less used water tank at the rear, went in somewhat more hastily and with less design consideration (as well as less need for the sledgehammer). It's more than a little wonky and just (only just) slides into place but it does the job.

All this effort is timely... at the end of the month it's judging for the
St Ives in Bloom allotment competition, the first time I've entered. If I do get a decent award Linda will no doubt get all the credit since she's really taken an interest in the allotment over the last year. And I suppose that's actually quite fair... there's been more progress made in the last twelve months than the whole of the previous six years put together.

Off on holiday for a few days to Scone, Scotland on Thursday so the next post may not be for a week or so. And the new mobile phone's arrived (HTC Wildfire) so I've got some major fiddling to do!

My second gate protecting the spuds
Fencing around the spuds
My third gate... now suffering serious gate fatigue
The bit of fencing that nearly finished me off
The finger a few days after the sledgehammer adjustment
Oh, sod it... the final gate goes in as quick as possible
Chris' gate, which all mine are based on... hope my attempts are still looking as good six years on!

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