When we were watching the Olympics, my youngest daughter decided that she wanted to become a fencer.
So that’s what we spent the bank holiday doing, though not in quite the same way.
You see, it was time to face the fact that the over-enthusiastic pulling down of the ivy covering a chain-link fence had left our garden even more exposed to the neighbouring infant school. With the little darlings about to return to class, action needed to be taken.
It’s not that I’m worried about seeing the children, it’s more about them seeing us. Young children don’t hold back with their comments do they?
‘Look at that messy garden’, ‘look at that pile of dog poo’, or ‘look at that fat lady’.
It’s like our garden is an extension of their classroom, something to be examined with curiosity and enthusiasm, peering through the fence at how the strange exhibits live.
Once a child even commented on the size of my giant pants hung out to dry. And then there are the parents, who also have a look at pick-up time, which is why I stopped hanging my washing outside. There’s no mystique left once your undies have been revealed in all their glory.
With all the ivy gone and the clock ticking, it would need to be a family effort to get done in time.
This means me saying I want this, that and the other, and my husband nodding and agreeing and then doing exactly the opposite. That’s the secret of DIY isn’t it? Do It Yesterday, instead of waiting for your partner’s input.
My grand fence design of medium-height boards with beautifully-curved tops was not received enthusiastically.
But the family eventually settled into a happy pattern of work, with my husband as both grunt and grunter, my daughters as go-fors and my son as chief dog whistler (as the dog had taken up a position as chief escape artist).
Me? As genius overlord and design guru, I had been demoted to painting the back of the shed so that no-one could hear my grumblings about straight tops or Fort Knox six-foot high fences that the infants would have to trampoline above to spy on us.