How to throw away a fence

by Rhys Crilley

They drove the combine harvester up from the farm, along the lane to the old barn at the edge of the woods.

“That’ll do” said the gaffer, getting out. He made a joke about an old song the kid had never heard. Something about it being “brand new no more” as he launched the keys into the dark green mass of trees.

“Now, you get this fence done. The new one’s going in tomorrow.”

“Ok” said the kid, turning to the path. Five miles of wooden posts and chicken wire laid before him.

At first he tried separating the posts from the fencing, an old crowbar and a hammer his tools.

Grabbing the post by the head he would push it forward, pull it back, loosen it, lift it up, and prise it from the earth.

Then, he would take his tools and remove the nails. He piled the poles neatly as he moved slowly on. His hands blistering before he was even a mile in.

The day grew long and time grew short. He needed to move faster.

Taking his hammer he tried a new tack. Hit the head of the post until it loosens from the soil, and leave it attached to the wire. Every half mile pull the fence – heave it – and chuck it in a tangle of wire and wood, just beyond the path. Cairns to mark the way.

Soon, the job was done.