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?


2017-12-01T17:31:43+00:00July 31st, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Vera July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Hope the bruising goes down soon. Bruising shows that one has been injured, and therefore must be made a fuss of!

    You have a lovely stream, and must feel very privileged to be living where you are. Whenever I am on or near our river, I also feel blessed and privileged, and try to remind myself of this when the river is at full pelt and taking chunks of our land away with her!

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      Your river is truly majestic Vera! But yes, there is always a price to pay is there not.

  2. Denise July 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Sandals yeah! BUT without striped socks!

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      Yellow and purple – very tasteful!

  3. countrysidetales July 31, 2013 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    Oh Lordy Jess, you don’t want to be using a sledge hammer to put posts in! Tell Mike you need a drivall, or post driver. Unless you want to get your own back and hit him with the hammer first 🙂

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      As it turned out, it would have been easier with a post driver. When we started though, the plan was to butt up the posts side by side, so didn’t think the driver would work. When it proved too difficult to get them in straight we changed to Plan B, the posts and wire mesh.

      It was me that hit me with the hammer, I will clarify the wording!

  4. Em July 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    I twisted my foot a few weeks ago and it came up in a VERY unsightly bruise just in the non-sandal area. However….no one has noticed, despite it now being in the blue/green phase. I do hope it feels better soon and perhaps leave it for a couple of days!

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      Ouch for you too!

  5. Vintage Jane July 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Oh, I agree with Countryside Tales … can’t you get a ‘post driver’ … it will make it so much easier. I hope it’s not too painful. I fell down the stairs (again) last week and have a whopping bruise on my backside!

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      Double ouch!

  6. elaine July 31, 2013 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    So, tell me again – what are the posts for – do they just need bails on top for a game of riverside cricket! Sorry to hear about low-flying sledgehammers – ouch indeed.

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      Brilliant idea!!
      Most of the players would need wellies..

      • Virginia August 1, 2013 at 4:46 am - Reply

        Cricketers often need Wellies! What’s the problem? Sorry to hear of your injury. You must be very restrained – if it had’ve been me, the whole valley would have been left in no doubt how life-threatening the injury was!

        • Jessica August 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm - Reply

          Luckily the cows on the other side are especially mooey at the moment (there’s a bull in the field) and they drown me out..

  7. haggiz July 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    I’m glad it’s not just me who ends up doing things like that… I can often be heard wailing ‘but I’m a girl!’ when asked to help with various things but am always ignored! Julie x

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 6:23 pm - Reply

      Womens’ lib has a lot to answer for Julie.

  8. Rosie July 31, 2013 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    Ouch and ouch again! I had to smile at Elaine’s comment as when i first saw your photo I thought of cricket too:)

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      It would make the game more interesting at least!!

  9. ournewlifeinthecountry July 31, 2013 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Oh poor you, and yes I’m always the one covered in multi coloured bruises, just as one starts to fade I do something else. It’s always jeans when I’m out and about I wouldn’t risk shorts…… too many questions would be asked 🙁

    You do need to give yourself a bigger target to hit with a sledgehammer, at the very least one of these –


    And after living the way we have for the last four years Lovely Hubby now knows better than to ask me to hit anything that he has to hold 🙂

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 6:32 pm - Reply

      It was while looking for a pair of long trousers to go out that I made the horrific discovery that only one pair now fit… Too much teatime ice cream I think.
      If we do anything like this again a post driver will be a must. Thanks for the link. Not as expensive as I thought.

  10. snowbird July 31, 2013 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    OUCH!!!! I feel your pain…I’ve done the same. I’m amazed you didn’t wallop Mike one….pain causes me to lash out, especially at unsympathetic men, it’s different when they get hurt though isn’t it, reduced to five year olds in seconds…lol xxxx

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      It was all very light-hearted. Had it not been, he would have been walloped!

  11. Simone July 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Jessica, ’tis a perilous life you lead!!! x

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 7:20 pm - Reply

      It’s never meant to be.. it just ends up that way!

  12. Shaz July 31, 2013 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Oh dear i feel your pain, we put about 40 post in using the same method then borrowed a post driver for the pig enclosure ….so much quicker and easier and less damaging to the pole tops too…Hope the bruising clears up quickly (use some arnica if you have it )

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      Oh my goodness, I don’t think I’d have the stamina for 40!
      The post tops do look a bit of a state don’t they.. the plan is to chainsaw them off at bank level, which should tidy it all up.

  13. Pauline July 31, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Poor you, we keep getting told that gardens are very dangerous places, hope your bruises bring you lots of sympathy and that they soon heal. I think metal toed shoes and cricket pads should be dress code for the future!

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      I think you’re right. It’s certainly necessary to cover up, there are killer horse flies down there.

  14. BadPenny July 31, 2013 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Your accident file just gets bigger & bigger doesn’t it ?
    I like the reflection of the posts in the water.

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      I hadn’t noticed the reflections before.. good spot.

  15. frayed at the edge July 31, 2013 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Ouch indeed! I prescribe lots of sitting down with your foot up on a stool, being waited on hand and foot. My diagnosis is that it will take about three weeks before you are fit for duty!!

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      Dr Anne, I will take your advice!

  16. wendy July 31, 2013 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    I am wincing in sympathy; I’ve experience of work like this and the injuries, too. And your river looks such a peaceful, idyllic place!

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks Wendy. One day, I hope, it will all be worth it.

  17. knitsofacto July 31, 2013 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Anyone for water cricket?

    And ouch. I disagree with Anne’s prognosis though … 4 weeks rest at least.

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      It’ll take a pretty fast bowl to shift those stumps..

  18. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA July 31, 2013 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Oh boy, poor you. I hope you’ll ice and elevate it tonight. I too have done dumb things like that. One the handle is too long for a woman and it is very heavy. It’s is meant for bigger beings to drive things into the ground. We have an auger now for post work. Will you be packing in material behind the posts?

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 10:51 pm - Reply

      We’re waiting on some wire mesh to attach to the posts from behind (there are now more posts across the width of the slippage) and then the plan is to backfill with stones. Plenty of them in the riverbed.

  19. Josephine July 31, 2013 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Hope you heal quickly Jessica, I got a shiver down my spine when I read your post.
    Yes, as with Suzanne’s comment, an auger would make short work of post-driving.
    Full marks on the effort, you’ve got a big job ahead of you !

    • Jessica July 31, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jo. An auger looks like a useful tool to get. Somehow I don’t think this will be the last of the post-driving!

  20. Natalie August 1, 2013 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Ow ow ow! Those sledgehammers are heavy, dangerous suckers. Hope you heal up soon!

    • Jessica August 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks Natalie, arm muscles are firming up nicely though!

  21. Anny August 1, 2013 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Isn’t mutual trust in a marriage a wonderful thing – I tell my other half this all the time…

    • Jessica August 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      It’s front of mind when there is a heavy chunk of metal flying about within a few inches of your head.

  22. Antoinette August 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Ouch! Think Dr Anne has the right idea! 🙂 Would love to try a game of water cricket 😉 TMS is on and when I saw the photo it reminded immediately of stumps too.

    • Jessica August 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      Excellent. I almost have enough volunteers to put up a team.

  23. CJ August 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Ow, poor you, that sounds like agony. I can sympathise, I have a layer of rock a few inches down in my garden, and any serious digging requires a huge and heavy iron spike. I think you need to lie down in the shade with a cook drink until the bruises fade.

    • Jessica August 1, 2013 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      Gardening isn’t easy is it!

  24. LauraL August 2, 2013 at 12:03 am - Reply

    No, no, no…you need your ankles! So sorry to hear they took a beating.

    • Jessica August 2, 2013 at 9:00 am - Reply

      Thanks Laura. Often it isn’t until you damage something you realise just how much you really do use it!

  25. CherryPie August 3, 2013 at 12:14 am - Reply

    I do wonder what would have happened if you gripped the poles and he wielded the sledge hammer…

    • Jessica August 3, 2013 at 9:23 am - Reply

      If he had hit his ankle there would have been a lot more fuss.

  26. Linda August 3, 2013 at 9:42 am - Reply

    I know you’re making light of it, but hope your bruised ankle and, I imagine, aching muscles recover soon.
    Also hope you’re not having to work against time and the weather. (We had rainstorms here again yesterday, but it’s calmer today so far….). Take care both of you.

    • Jessica August 3, 2013 at 9:50 am - Reply

      Lots of rain overnight. It’s a bit of a race because the river level is now rising….!!
      Thanks Linda.

  27. rachel August 3, 2013 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Ow, ow! I had a ‘glancing blow’ from a dismantled wardrobe door once, and still have the photo of the giant black haggis that had been my ankle….. Much sympathy to you!

    • Jessica August 3, 2013 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      Glancing blows can be very tricky, especially if they should happen to glance off that bit of bone that sticks out.

  28. Plantaliscious August 7, 2013 at 7:30 am - Reply

    I’m impressed that you missed the temptingly close target of other half’s head, but was it really necessary to attempt to get out of the job by belting yourself in the ankle?! Hope the bruising has subsided…

    • Jessica August 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm - Reply

      It worked for a little while.. !

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