Tuesday 1 July 2014

A Whole Year Has Passed By….


Since my last blog, making this not so much a blog as a review of the year.  A bit like one of those letters you get from a distant relative at Christmas with news of marriages and new arrivals.

I am already married and I am probably not one of your relatives (even a distant one) and the only new arrivals since this time last year are some new bits of kit we have purchased.  So let’s start there.

Most recently we have invested in a self-propelled tracked post driver from Protech Machinery - http://www.protechmachinery.co.uk/ – The EVO 1 is a brilliant bit of kit and is earning its keep from the word go. This makes fencing a one man operation, from post driving to laying out wire and means we can get on with other jobs elsewhere.  That helps to pay the mortgage and this is a good thing.

We have also purchased a second-hand Engcon EC05 Tiltrotator to fit our 7 ton ZX70 excavator.  This is one of those bits of kit that sounds like it must be invaluable and you could never do without. You buy one and struggle like crazy with the seven button controls that make it function and end up looking like its your first day on a machine…..You curse it and hate it…. and then, slowly you begin to realise it IS invaluable and you could never do without it.  It’s one of those things that you cant quite put a value on, but you know it’s speeding your work up and giving you options in work that you never had before.  Love it.

Sitting in my office writing this and  listening to Wimbledon on the radio, I can see our programme of works on the wall and it’s choc a block with jobs to start.  This is great news (thinking mortgage again) and such a boost to business confidence.  We have something like 14 jobs to start and around 30 priced up. These are all good meaty jobs and all of good duration (Currently doing a 10 weeker) .  This is excellent and makes me realise my decision five or six years ago to drop all but the biggest of domestic jobs was the right one.

Looking back, work in the last 12 months has been really varied with jobs from arena construction, ditching, indoor schools, land clearance, one day pop-up round pens, estate railing, stock fencing, deer fencing, drainage……..and more.  This keeps life and work interesting and we are lucky to have always had such great customers to work for.

Thanks to them/you we are still here and working after 24 years.

Friday 5 July 2013

Summer Appears to Have Arrived….


and whilst I am not complaining, it is clearly now too hot for any kind of meaningful work on a Friday on Wimbledon Men’s Singles Semi Finals Day.  This has also enabled me to spend some time in the office for the first time in ages to write a blog and catch up on some paperwork.

After what had been our most challenging winter ever, we are now back on track again, with clients emerging from what appears to have been some kind of self imposed exile.  The phone is ringing with some interesting and challenging enquiries and clients are recognising the value of using a contractor who cares deeply about the quality of materials and workmanship we supply (that’s us by the way).

The last couple of months has seen us complete two riding arenas, fruit trellis work and various amounts of stock fencing and post and rail fencing.  Coming up we have land clearance, electric fencing, horse net and deer fencing.  Then onto site prep and foundations for a new indoor school.

And then there’s the tennis, The British & Irish Lions Third Test and The Ashes and NO FOOTBALL……..

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Mud, Snow, Frost, Rugby, Golf……


All of these have crossed my path in this one week.  On Saturday I was lucky enough to be at the best game of rugby I have ever seen England play at Twickenham when we soundly beat the All Blacks ending their 20 game unbeaten run.  Since that freezing but glorious day at Twickenham, more cold weather out on site has meant very cold fingers, an abundance of mud, torrential rain and today, snow.  Snow seems to be returning yearly now with a tedious inevitability.  The kids love it, but it is not good for us fencers.  Another 20 year absence would be good and maybe a return to the hard frosty winters we used to have that allowed us to get on the ground when it froze.

Golf.  On Friday, if it doesn't snow any more, or rain, or freeze.  Followed by lunch.  A  very civilised way to spend a winter’s day.

The work during all this weather is stacking up and it’s good to know just before Christmas, that there is a full order book for January and most of February.  Something to get our teeth into in 2013.

Our first newsletter went out last week and if any of you read it, I hope you enjoyed at least some of it.  For those who would like to sign up for future editions, go to the website and click on the banner on the right hand side to subscribe.  The website is at www.jcfc.co.uk.

Some cracking jobs on at the moment, with lots of clearance works, big fires, machine work with the circular saw and plenty of fencing too.

All good stuff!

Thursday 11 October 2012

In What Was Always Destined To Be A Short Lived…….



Indian Summer, it seems we have now well and truly reached Winter and bypassed Autumn altogether.  Not content with plummeting temperatures “it” has now decided to make rain the default whether condition.  All this is great for getting posts into the ground, but terrible for getting over the ground, which is more January like in its sodden state that early Octoberish.  But we must press on and get working as there is lots to do right now.  A good summer of work has given way to a busy Autumn (well winter) and a wide variety of jobs is on the books for us, some even quite local for a change. 

We have just finished working in Claygate, Surrey, for premiership footballer followed by a week in Greenwich Park carrying out tennis court reinstatement work following the glorious fabulous and wonderful Olympics.  Upcoming works include circular saw works and clearance on a golf course in Sussex, more clearance along with Horse Netting and electric fencing at Hickstead and a nice job scrubbing hedges and opening up overgrown field margins at a vineyard near Chichester.

The Royal Parks will get another visit from us when install a deer grid at Hampton Court Palace.

That is if we don’t all float away in the meantime.  I wonder if this winter will give us freezing with snow, sodden with rain, or just possibly one of those cold crisp quite dry seasons I remember as a child?

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Rain, Facebook, Quiche, Blackthorn


Bloody Hell it’s wet.  Working on some heavy old clay at Hickstead and the water is just sitting on the surface.  Aquaplaning in a tractor in a field is an odd sensation.  Sort of slow motion banana skins.  Looking out of the window now and it’s…… raining.

I always said I would never use FB, had no interest and couldn’t care less.  Obviously I have now carried out a 180deg about turn on this and am now signed up.  However I really have no idea how it is supposed to work, ok I can send friend requests, I can read what people are up to, but there are so many functions and buttons to click on I get completely lost.  It is supposed to be a business tool, but I am pretty sure no one is reading anything I write.  Maybe I need to write something outrageous to see if anyone is paying attention,  something like……

Quiche.  I had it for my supper, with salad, voluntarily, and I liked it.  I LIKE QUICHE.  There we go, now maybe now somebody will pay attention.

After getting attacked by a blackthorn bush yesterday and spending most of the day in A&E with a leg like a puff adder, Rob, I hope you are feeling better and they can get it out on Friday.

Saturday 17 March 2012

Spring has Sprung…


Despite the need for some rain its been great to feel the warmth of the sun on one’s face again.  This is my favourite time of year weather-wise and with all the spring growth coming through it seems we can finally leave winter behind….  it may snow again yet of course.  Work has been good these last few weeks and the enquiries keep on coming in for a wide variety of jobs.  Just how we like it.  After the sad demise of my trusty Ford Ranger at the hands of my now former trainee employee, and the more than equitable pay-out from the NFU (Thank you) I bought a decent looking replacement Ranger down in Kent.  Hopefully its not a ringer?!  New man Rob is doing a great job and with Pete back from holiday next week it will be full steam ahead again.  A big post and rail job to start so lets hope the ground isn’t too hard.

It’s the end of the Six Nations today and more in hope than expectation England could still win the Championship, but it’s going to be Wales and they deserve it (through gritted teeth)  It would be a fitting tribute to Merv the Swerv.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Snow, Rugby, Cold Feet, Chapped Hands.


Being of a generally sunny disposition and hearing of friends looking forward to the snow, I  left  rather curmudgeonly for being a bit grumpy about its arrival last weekend. This has reasons for it other than just being old.  Last years snow was a bloody nightmare for us and we did nothing of any value for weeks whilst it lasted, apart that is from trying to un wax diesel in the machines tanks.  I didn’t relish the prospect of going through that again.  this weekend was also the beginning of the Six Nations Rugby, my favourite sporting event of the year (with the exception this year of the Olympics maybe) and a brief oasis of proper sport amidst the repetitive durge and nonstop coverage of football.   The potential for snow to spoil this wasn’t helping my mood.  However the Rugby went ahead, England struggled to a win and I have to admit seeing my kids having such fun in the snow made it all worthwhile.  No more though please.

This year we have at least been able to carry on working and despite the blocks of ice I used to call feet we have made good progress over the couple of weeks.  We have finished 1500 metres of raspberry trellis and some road construction at Garson Farm, 500m of stock fencing on some very steep slopes on the Albury Estate and a couple of hundred metres of rabbit fencing and some scarfed post and rail near Woking.  Today we arrived at a new site for a Morrison Construction/Environment Agency job.  A  couple of thousand metres of various types of fencing to here and about 8 inches of snow too….

Stock Fencing - Albury Estate - Keepers Bottom - Feb 2012