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Another quick post whilst I work on a couple of longer articles. I enjoyed a welcome day off from work on Thursday as I had a surveyor from a fencing company round to price up the replacement of several fence panels. We lost a couple during last autumn’s storms and then the incessant rain that continued from November right through into late February, meant it was pointless even attempting to carry out any replacement work. Things were looking up as we moved into March and then bang, the Corona pandemic stopped play. Once May had arrived, and construction and other allied trades slowly started back up again, I began to look for a company who’d be able not only to replace the two missing panels, but could replace several others that were reaching the end of their useful life.
We have lived in the property for 26 years now, and that whole run of fencing on the LHS of our garden, (the side that is our responsibility), has lasted really well, but the time has now come for some of them at least, to go. It’s also time to remove the wretched Leylandii conifer hedge that, whilst offering protection to the fence behind, is now looking more and more of an eyesore. Finding a contractor willing and able to carry out the fencing work proved much more of a task than I thought it would be. Three local companies which claimed to be open for business, didn’t have the courtesy to return any of the messages I left – and this was after several attempts at making contact with each of them. I eventually struck lucky with a fourth firm, but even then there was a three week wait before a representative could call round to price up the job.
That’s probably more than enough detail, but suffice to say the surveyor called within the time-frame specified, we discussed the various options, he measured up and was then on his way. Assuming we accept the quote, there will still be a 5-6 week lead time before work commences! Anyway, I now had some time to myself, so I took a walk down into Tonbridge for a look around and to see what was happening. There were quite a few more shops open than the previous weekend, including the hardware store where son Matthew works. I didn’t embarrass him by calling in and instead made my way to the other end of the High Street.
I enjoyed the takeaway coffee I’d had last Sunday, so was pleased to see that Tonbridge Old Fire Station was open and was selling said beverage. I purchased a cappuccino and walked towards Tonbridge Castle, in search of a suitable place where I could sit and enjoy my drink. Passing through the impressive 13thCentury gatehouse, I espied a couple of empty benches, which over-looked the castle lawn. I plonked myself down and started to drink my coffee. That was when the rain started, although it was only a passing shower. I stated put for a while enjoying what was only my second shop-bought coffee since the start of lock-down. I was amused by a group of six or seven women, stood in a circle on the lawn, having what looked like a socially-distanced “catch-up.” They seemed to be enjoying their little get-together, but I thought is this really what the world has come to?
At least they were acting responsibly, unlike the idiots who’d flocked in their droves, to Camber Sands, the week before. Rather more encouraging were the sounds of the jets, passing overhead, as they lined up to make their approach into Gatwick. This once familiar sound had been missing these past three and a half months, so it was very re-assuring to once again hear the notes from the engines, as the planes made their way towards Britain’s second busiest airport. I’m sure the environmentalists won’t be pleased though, but before they start getting all high and mighty, they need to consider the massive negative impact the shutdown in flying has had on nearby towns such as Crawley and Redhill. Thousands of jobs depend on operations continuing at Gatwick, so I for one welcome the return of the likes of EasyJet and Ryan Air to our skies.
After finishing my coffee, I took a slow wander back home. Here was a slice of homemade meat and potato pie, left over from dinner the night before, waiting in the fridge for me. That would be my lunch, before driving over to collect Mrs PBT’s from the farm, where the scaffolding company she works for, are based.
After that it was a spot of food shopping, followed by a spell in the garden. Not the most of exciting days I grant you, but still better than being at work. Furthermore with pubs due to reopen along with guest houses and hotels, the prospect of a short break continuing my walk along the North Downs Way, looms large on the horizon.

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