Tag Archives: gum fence

The Gum Fence, The Final Chapter

Followers of the Gum Fence Saga will recall that in Episode one, your heroine found over three hundred pieces of chewing gum stuck on the points of the wrought iron fence by her employer’s car park. Episode two found our narrator with delusions of grandeur bemused by the activities of said employer’s fence painters, who appeared to have primed over the gum rather than removing it. I’m sure you, dear readers, joined our viewpoint character of very little real significance in wondering what would happen next.

I can now confirm that our most cynical expectations have been confirmed. They painted over the gum.

Taken 19 April 2005

The Gum Fence, Episode 2

In my last blog entry on the Gum Fence, I didn’t mention my employer’s fence-painting program. Even while I was photographing lumps of chewing gum on top of every spike at the back end of the property, painters were priming (grey) and painting (black) the fences round the front doors.

I wasn’t clear on the ownership of the land, so I didn’t know whether the painting program was going to reach all the way to the gum fence. I wondered, when I did think about the possibility of the workmen getting to that section, what they would make of it. What would they think of the thankless task of picking all those bits of gum off of the spikes?

Well, the priming effort reached the gum section a few weeks ago. The weather was windy, cold and snowy until just recently, so I didn’t particularly rush to investigate their progress. It’s only now, with the sun out and the temperatures up, that I’ve gone to check. Quite frankly, I hope our property people do so too, because it’s not impressive.

Fact one: the rails are primed but not painted, and have been for over a fortnight. This is a drastic change from the speed at which they did the railings at the front of the building, where there was a 3-day turnaround from ugly to painted.

Fact two: they haven’t removed the gum. They’ve just painted the primer on over it.

Taken 2 March 2005

Really – who paints over a lump of chewing gum? Who primes 300 lumps of chewing gum? Surely if you want the paint to stick (which is why you prime) you should remove any extraneous substances?

Taken 2 March 2005

On the plus side, if they ever finish painting, the black enamel will preserve the gum for the edification of future generations.

The Gum Fence

Someone has stuck a piece of chewing gum on top of each spike on a fence near my office.

The fence runs along Fettes Row, separating the road from the slope down to my employer’s car park (or, more properly, the piece of waste ground on which my employer permits its employees to park their cars; it’s a tax distinction). The pavement here is narrow and uneven, made up of old cobblestones, imperfectly pointed. Shrubs grow through the railings, and cars park close beside, making it an awkward side of the road to walk on.

The chewing gum starts beside a long-disused gate. Taken 12 January 2005

Whoever is doing it missed a spike, buried deep in the ivy. Taken 12 January 2005

They put dabs of gum on the stubs of broken-off spikes, too. Taken 12 January 2005

Even when the uprights were broken off quite low down. Taken 12 January 2005

The gum continues over 17 fence divisions. Each fence division has 20 spikes, so even allowing for the 5% or so spikes that are missing altogether, someone has put over 320 tiny dabs of chewing gum on pointy bits of iron. Assuming that each dab represents a third of a stick of gum, someone has chewed over a hundred of them before methodically sticking a piece on each spike.

It makes me wonder. How long did this take? Did they walk by, one day at a time, sticking dabs of gum on spikes? When did they stop, and why?
(Have they stopped, or will I find two or three extra spikes covered the next time I walk that way?) Do they now have such well-exercised jaw muscles that they can bite through a walnut?

And, most importantly, Why?