Having reached retirement age two and a half years ago, I find myself taking things a lot easier these days. That’s not to say that I was a particularly driven or dynamic person beforehand, a fact to which my wife will fulsomely attest if such enquiry should ever be made.

I see myself as more of a laid-back type, someone content to let certain problems slide for a time if no immediate, easy or inexpensive solution can be found.

This was never more evident than when my next-door neighbour requested that I do something about the very poor state of repair concerning the ‘fence’ between our two houses. The structure itself was nothing more than a rather flimsy wooden trellis, hastily thrown together at some point and left in situ until a sturdier and more permanent replacement could be installed. Years had passed and it was still there, offering only the most minimal denial to anyone seeking unauthorised access to the rear of both buildings.

This week, however, after yet another reminder on the subject and the stars being in some uniquely favourable conjunction, I resolved to finally grasp the nettle and remedy this aspect of household security. Purchasing all necessary fixtures and fittings from a local store, I set about replacing the trellis in its entirety. And thus it was that, some days later, a far more solid piece of woodwork stood where the trellis once had been.

I was happy enough with the result, especially since the task and cost involved had turned out to be far less than expected. My neighbour was equally delighted. Joy, it could be said, was then noticeably unconfined and all around.

It would seem that Israelis and Palestinians are also in urgent need of a new fence.

The one dividing them for decades has been battered and breached on so many occasions that its deterrent value must now be reckoned at an all-time low. Something stronger, higher and all-encompassing has to be considered as a priority from now and ever onward.

If both houses are to protect themselves against further depredation by hostile elements in the neighbourhood, it would be well to construct a much more effective barrier, something to augment and eventually replace the less than pristine specimen presently in use.

Good fences make good neighbours.

And to make good neighbours out of Israelis and Palestinians must require the very best fence of all.