Crikey, this is hard work.

We have been taking it in turns: one stood on the bank hammering, the other standing in the river holding the post straight.

Much as I hate to admit it, the fairer sex are not, as a rule, optimally configured for wielding a sledgehammer. It’s a heavy old thing for a start. And the half round poles that Mike has chosen to use don’t offer a particularly large target to hit. As he grips the wood, his hands, and even worse his head, are perilously close. The job is made tougher by the nature of the terrain. You can see from the photo just how stony the riverbed is. Frequently we have to stop and extricate yet another chunk of Devon rock from 18 inches down.

Three posts are successfully driven home but the tiredness is taking its toll. When I bring down the hammer for the next pole it skids off the top and I can’t control its fall. It’s my ankle that stops it.

Mike is unimpressed. It reduces the pain not at all to be informed that it must surely have been only A Glancing Blow. That’s all right then. I need be distracted no longer from the business of pile driving. But I will have the last laugh. The summer season is upon us. The season of sandals. Not to mention shorts and ankle skimming trousers. And the bruising is colouring up nicely.

Won’t questions be asked?