My wife and I have lived in our current home for 24 years. Our neighbours, with whom we share a fenced border, have lived in their property for a similar length of time.
These neighbours are an elderly couple (EC), their daughter (D), and her two boys. The EC also own a property abroad, in which they have been living for the past 5 years or so. Any problems with the fence were always sorted out pretty quickly by the EC. It’s their fence so they fixed it. However, D is not so assiduous in such matters.
In mid-November 2015 very strong winds blew out 4 fence panels overnight. The collapse of two panels was assisted by them being weakened by an old vine (theirs) which had badly split the wood.
As it stands, the gap in the fence exposes our patio to our neighbours’ gaze, rendering privacy a thing of the past. D has been promising to do something about it since we first discussed the matter the day after the winds.
In November I’m told she’ll get it fixed before Christmas. This fails to happen. Then she’ll get someone in after Christmas but that doesn’t happen either. At the end of January I ask D what is the problem. I’m told that four different contractors have promised to do the job but failed to deliver. One of them, I am informed, took a deposit of £160 and just ran off with it.
By mid-February D can’t find a fencing contractor in the entire area who is willing to do the job, despite the locality crawling with such people. By the beginning of March, D has actually found someone but, unbelievably, he’s let her down as well.
When I last saw D, on a visit next door to retrieve a set of scales she had borrowed 3 months earlier, D told me that she had found someone to do the work but they couldn’t start until after Easter, what with everybody being so busy at this time of year.
I emailed the male half of EC and proposed that, with D having such terrible bad luck with unreliable fencing contractors, I should arrange to get the work done and he could pay me back sometime in the near future. He thanked me for my offer, turned it down and advised me to leave matters for his daughter to resolve.
And that’s where the situation stands as we speak.
The law says that I can’t engage anyone to do anything about the neighbours’ fence. It’s theirs. In fact, if they chose to pull down every single panel of that fence and have no border whatsoever, they are within their legal rights to do so. That said, one way or the other that fence will get mended.
My wife was diagnosed with Stage IV Multiple Myeloma in May 2014. There is no cure for this type of blood cancer. It can be treated for a limited period but there is no cure. She goes out to see her GP, his nurse, a specialist at a hospital 25 miles away, and her father who is in a care home, all of these trips made accompanied by me. On a goodish day we might go out for something to eat with friends.
She likes to spend time in the garden. This is because I am a dedicated gardener, hopefully producing something good to look at each year. It’s a restful place for her and she will not be deprived of such innocent pleasures, especially when considering this may be her last year in this house. She is depressed about how things look at the moment to the extent that she will not have the curtains opened to reveal the offending gaps in the fence. I am very, very angry about this.
More to follow…