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This week our fence is being replaced. It is a consummation that we have devoutly wish’d for some time, and I can’t wait. I realise a fence is not an exciting thing to be sharing with you, but I do not even care, such is my happiness. I realise that the less charitable may read into my longing for a fence some sort of submerged wish to be isolated, to be cut off from and beyond my fellow suburbanites: to you, I say ‘didn’t ask.’

Our fence is was a depressing, gap-toothed affair held up only by the smell of buried cat shit and a nicked Liberal Party corflute. When our charming new neighbours moved in (having purchased the house recently vacated by the cats’ owner) we started talking immediately about fence replacements. They have two charming and lovely hounds, but even the most charming and lovely hound needs a sturdy fence (if only to prevent intrusion by additional charming and lovely hounds that would unnecessarily tax the kibble budget).

I am beyond excited about the fencing. (Another sentence I could never have predicted I would one day type without irony.) And not just for the practical reason that it will be less permeable by dogs and look nice, but also because I kinda enjoy having tradies around. I really, really like watching people who are good at what they do. I like watching competent people work. This is at the core of why I love watching videos of good chefs at work (Jaques Pepin or Thomas Keller, for example) and videos of musicians recording in the studio (the Devin Townsend Project’s videos about recording Transcendence were awesome to the max). We recently went full middle class and started paying someone to mow the lawn for us, and I swear on all things woolly that it’s tremendously soothing to watch. One dude whipper-snips, one dude mows, and a third does odd jobs like weeding, pruning and leaf-blowing.

So there was the excitement of having a new fence, plus the excitement of having capable, competent people striding about the place generally solving my problems. It was great. (For the doubters in the back there: they had already replaced our neighbour’s other fence, the one they don’t share with us, and done a bloody good job, so I had zero qualms about their competency and professionalism. Zero.)

The noise, however, was something I didn’t anticipate. I work at home, and noise can be a surprisingly big problem. I ended up wearing my noise-cancelling headphones (o boon to humanity), which meant that I blocked out all the noise but then leapt out of my chair every twelve minutes because I imagined someone had rung the doorbell. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.

The highlight of the day was hearing the chainsaw stop suddenly and one guy yell “FUCK!” I tensed up, reviewing all my chainsaw-related first aid as urgently as I could: but then the laughter and talking started again, and the chainsaw restarted, so whatever it was, they weren’t too worried about it. And there wasn’t any blood on the driveway, so I guess they figured it out.

We have a lovely new fence now, thus making our yard completely impenetrable by doggos and presenting an attractive grey backdrop for future planting. I’m thinking dwarf flax.

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