As the sun rose over the sleeping snails, I crawled from my shell and went to release the already vocal chicks from their bedroom. Bleary-eyed, I reached the gate and, swinging it open, I fell over its predecessor, landing against the soft netting of the fruit cage, making it lean even more than it already was (it makes other leaning things look straight, believe me).
I remembered, then, of course, about the state of play, gate-wise.
Later on in the day, I had had sufficient caffeine to corrupt my brain enough to want to fix the problem. Armed with a drill, some screws and absolutely no idea what to do, I surveyed the damage.
I had already had an inkling of what had happened. I inkled that the hinge(s) might buckle under the strain from supporting the load from the gate. A quick inspection revealed that that was, indeed, the problem. What was needed was more support (something true of so many things in the world today).
The block of wood was from a piece of another pallet I think – it was just lying around the place doing nothing in particular.
Suitably supported, the gate was now back to its (one day) old self! In the part of my brain that deals with DIY, it was sunny again!
Two weeks later…
Remember the leaning fruit cage? During a spell of a) good weather and b) enthusiasm for sorting out garden-related tasks that had been growling at me from the list on the dryboard in my office (I am unsure when my dryboard learnt to growl), I decided to attempt to reduce the tilt – the emphasis very much on attempt. When I had put the cage up, about 4 or so years ago, we had then had torrential rain for about a fortnight afterwards and the posts started to move in their holes, presumably in response to the way the netting, pegged as it was to the ground, was pulling them. After a year or so, the cage was at a very jaunty angle indeed, the kind of jaunty angle I could attain after an evening being sociable in my previous life in Reading.
So, three-ish years later, I decided to spring into action and straighten the fruit cage. After an hour, I came to the conclusion that the fruiting thing just didn’t want to be fruiting-well straightened. In my attempt to relocate the pole nearest the Palletgate, I rested the top strut of the cage on the top of the wire mesh of the gate, as they were at similar heights.
I am guessing that that is when Palletgate yielded to the stress and twisted the top hinge, pulling the slat that the hinges are attached onto off completely. I cannot tell you how overjoyed* I was to see this but I added at least three new words to my “lexicon of utterances that should only ever happen in my head but will probably spill out at an inopportune moment”.
I removed Palletgate, bruising various body parts as I moved it to somewhere where I could lay it down. The temptation to stamp on it until it resembled an entry for the Turner Prize was almost overwhelming.
I straightened out the top hinge (well, kind of bent it straight again).
I reattached the slat, using more nails and another piece of pallet that happened to be lying around as an extra tie to the main body of the gate. I realised that I didn’t need to stamp the gate to death as I was now wielding a hammer. I thought calming thoughts, added another word to that secret stash of mine as I stubbed my toe on a hammer some idiot left lying around, and reattached the gate to the hinges.
It worked. Even today, it still works, which is a minor miracle, growing bigger with each use. Every time I open or shut it, I vow never to build anything ever again. And although only a big glass of wine can numb my realisation of how much I detest DIY, I am still thinking “Hmm. a garden bench from pallets? How difficult could that be?”
I’ll just clear some space in that secret lexicon of mine. Or maybe buy a bigger glass for my wine.
* I really, really can’t.