If it wasn’t so expensive, it would be funny, but we started 2013 replacing 2 fence panels which had been damaged in heavy winds of around 80mph along one of our side boundaries.
Eleven months later (Christmas Eve), we nearly lost another panel on the opposite boundary, but were able to repair it, replacing the post and reinforcing the framework with batten.
The day after Boxing Day, more gales hit us and 2 panels at the bottom of the garden also sustained damage, one being almost completely shattered. Hubby and I were out in the 60mph wind and managed to secure what was left of the panel before it disappeared completely into next door’s garden. I should point out that our neighbours are not the most friendly, being slightly paranoid with umpteen PIR security lights and CCTV cameras mounted on practically every outside wall, so entering their property unannounced would be like doing a turn at The London Palladium.
We went up to the village DIY store the next day and were able to purchase a new panel, sadly having missed the chance of a same day delivery as it was after 11 and their driver only works until midday. Still, we didn’t mind as delivery would be free, and it gave us a chance to make sure we had everything else we needed to do the job without any more nasty surprises.
We seem to have had a bit of a love affair with our fencing this year. After those initial repairs in January, we decided to reinforce all of the panels along that side as they always take a bit of a hammering. In June, we replaced the front fence and posts, and recycled the lower one to our front boundary which made it more pleasing to the eye should any potential buyers decide to view.
In short though, 2013 was a shit year for us. There’s no other way to describe it. No matter what we did, or how well we prepared, something always came along, forcing its way into our diminishing pocket and putting more strain on an already stretched budget.
All three of us have had health issues this year. Hubby and I both needed new glasses and we’ve also had major car repairs to contend with. We have never been extravagant people anyway and our house running expenses are way below the ‘national average’ if the government statistics are to be believed, even allowing for hikes in utility bills and domestic oil prices. Pro rata to income though, it’s still a fortune, but we managed OK. We’re not smokers or drinkers, have no loans to worry about and our car running expenditure is usually minimal.
We cut back on our food bill by changing the way we shopped and how often. This actually had a positive effect and not just savings on fuel. We stopped buying the bad things such as chocolate, crisps and biscuits (sob), though I suppose it helped that prices of same goodies had risen to unacceptable levels. Thanks to bumper crops of home grown produce though, we ate more fresh fruit and veg, so that was another saving as well as improving our diets.
Going through my accounts, I have been stunned at the amount of added expense we’ve had this year and yet still kept our heads above water. Hubby doesn’t know how I did it and to be honest, neither do I, but it’s there in black and white, especially The Black.
We managed to cover the cost of said front fence and some cosmetic improvements in the kitchen by selling our unwanted stuff at car boot sales during the Summer. We had a lot of fun doing that, the dog was really good throughout and we had a substantial clear out of the sheds and cupboards. If anything, the car boots were probably the hi-lites of our year, one we’ll be glad to see the back of.
So, at the end of a bitch year, we are finishing it as we started….. when the wind died down, we were outside, fixing a fence. We gave two fingers to the sky when it started to rain.
It would be nice if we won a tenner on the lottery the first week of the New Year. Perhaps that will give some indication of what 2014 has in store for us. We’re not greedy. Second prize would do.