Taking Stock - March 31, 2014

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Hold on to your hats, brace yourself for a shock because this week I’ve learned of a national shortage with dramatic repurcussions.

What could this looming disaster be? Wheat, rice, bananas, Hob Nobs?

Thankfully not but we have, as it turns out, run out of fence panels.

How do I know this?

Well, since moving into the new Stocks Towers I’ve been on the hunt for one to replace a rogue section in the back garden which didn’t survive the February storms.

Right now I don’t have a desperate need.

The grass is too wet for the children to play out and the black and white peril, after dragging me into a tree, has been packed off to doggy borstal where she’s undergoing a short sharp, Aldous Huxley inspired re-education.

But summer is only just around the corner, when having a fully functional boundary is a must.

I just thought it would be a simple matter of popping into the local DIY store.

There’s one just around the corner, an emporium packed with exciting looking gadgets which, I’m sure are dangerous in the wrong hands, including mine.

It turns out there’s a waiting list of at least a month to get my hands on the requisite woodwork.

It’s the kind of news which, I was amazed to hear, has made wooden fence panels worth five times their normal value on the black market.

Black market?

I can just imagine it now, George Cole (not Russell Brand) appearing from the bushes to let Alastair Sim and the St Trinian’s girls know the school was saved for another year thanks not to a race horse but to a job lot of six by fives in pine.

I’m not getting caught up in such shenannigans

For a start I can’t afford black market prices, even for a cheap chunk of wood.

Besides, I’ve grown more patient in my old age, unless I’m stuck in a motorway tailback or waiting for One Born Every Minute to end.

I guess, like every other honest man I’ll just have to get my name down on the list, hope it’s done before the summer and pray there’s no national shortage of barbecues.