REMEMBER me telling you about our plans to remodel the back garden of Hextol Towers to slow down its disappearance onto next door’s beautifully manicured lawns?

Well, the job is now about complete, and to my surprise, even Mrs Hextol is uncommonly pleased with our efforts.

When we finally took the decision several months ago to get rid of the 30 year old trees which mark our boundary, we sought quotes from various tradesmen, who scratched their chins and shook their heads a lot, and talked about railway sleepers, truckloads of concrete,

mini diggers, and taking down fences to gain access to the site.

“It will cost you a minimum of two grand, and possibly a lot more,” said one consultant, so we hastily shelved the plan, before a few more sections of block paving started paying a social call next door.

“We’ll have to do it ourselves,” we decided, and that very day, I made a start by snipping a few branches off one of the trees with my trusty loppers.

In no time at all, my brown garden waste bin was crammed to the gunwales with pine needles and twigs - and I hadn’t even got through to the trunk of the first tree.

Over the next week or so, I snipped and hacked more and more limbs off the trees, and finally, with the aid of obliging family members with chainsaws and other implements, the trees were down and chopped into manageable chunks.

That left the old fence leaning like a Saturday night drunk, but we didn’t dare take it down straight away because of the possibility the dog might become confused over which house she was guarding.

I consulted number two son about what we would have to do to keep the garden in place, and he recommended 10 foot fence posts, five inches thick, with two inch thick planks nailed on to tame the wandering garden.

“You’ll have to dig the posts three feet into the ground, and then concrete them, before putting on the thick planks, and then you’ll be able to put thinner rails on top for a ranch style fence,” he said.

He made it sound easy, but I was still mightily relieved when the blessed boy said: “I’ll come along and give you a hand.”

I managed to uproot the wobbly old fence, and then retrieve all the soil, rubble and dislodged block paving bricks which had made their escape next door, before my guardian angel arrived with a pick-up load of timber, nails, specialist hole makers, spades, spirit levels, saws and all the other impedimenta of the fencer’s craft.

We put up the fence in less than half a day - although my involvement was nothing more complex than passing tools, holding rails in place, and mixing concrete, while he did the real work.

When he left, all I had to do was nail on the last two thick rails - which took most of the next day, as I had to hack through roots and jemmy my way past the Bellingham equivalent of Uluru.

Eventually, the woodwork was all in place - and all I had to do was paint it.

I bought a 15 litre tin of Tudor Black Oak One Coat, which I calculated would be more than enough to cover the new fence, as well as painting all the other woodwork in the garden.

In fact, the new fence slurped up a full 12 litres of preservative - the other three litres attached themselves to my face and clothes in such gloopy abundance I looked like one of the George Mitchell Singers.

The finished fence looked good though, and my only remaining task was to get rid of all the rubble, and then reassemble the block paving into its former pristine state.

This time I was on my own, but I used to like doing jigsaws, so found it a pleasing challenge. I shovelled all the displaced rubble back into its proper place, and with the aid of three bags of sand, created a reasonable flat surface on which to do my king-sized puzzle, with the aid of my trusty rubber hammer and ancient chisel. It took forever, and my hands were so sore I could hear them throbbing even without my hearing aids in. I was a few bricks short, and had to pilfer them from unlikely locations around the garden, where they were being used to support plant pots and the clothes

prop, but eventually everything slid into place beautifully.