Neighbours ‘bloody brilliant’ DIY trick beats isolation blues

A pair of neighbours are winning at social distancing with a clever DIY trick that has been labelled ‘bloody brilliant’ by hundreds of online admirers.

As social distancing mandates that we all stay home except for essential trips out of the house, many are finding the lack of social interaction incredibly difficult.

It was no different for NSW couple, Linda and Les Solomons, who found themselves in the same boat as the rest of us – desperate for a catch-up but stuck at home.

NSW couples Lee and Linda Solomons and Jackie and Tony Cliffe fence DIY allows social distancing drinks
Neighbours of 35 years (l-r) Lee and Linda Solomons and Jackie and Tony Cliffe beat isolation with this clever project. Photo: Linda Solomon

Making matters worse was the fact that their friends and neighbours of over 35 years, Jackie and Tony Cliffe, were just across the fence.

The industrious duo decided to do something about the situation, and with the help of their son-in-law pulled off an incredible DIY job on their garden fence after spotting another similar project on a timber fence go viral online.

With some products from Bunnings and an expert eye, they transformed a section of the simple divider into a fold-down table, allowing the two couples to catch up over a drink and some nibbles, all while responsibly adhering to government social distancing guidelines in their own backyards.

Daughter Emma tells Yahoo Lifestyle the pair struggled not seeing their neighbours because of the lockdown measures, and while self-isolating completely, apart from attending their essential jobs, became desperate to keep up their normal socialisation.

“My mum and her neighbours are very close,” she says, explaining they have lived next door for over 35 years.

“They were missing their regular social catch-ups due to COVID-19.”

Photo of Lee and Linda Solomons' fence before DIY table fold-down job
The gate separated the couple from their friends and neighbours of 35 years. Photo: Linda Solomons

Emma’s husband Matt, who is a fencer by trade and runs Superior Rural Fencing, managed to knock the whole thing together with some items from Bunnings and a few of his professional tools.

“All materials for the alternation came from Bunnings - chains, latches, concrete, welding rods, self-tapping screws,” she wrote on the original post.

“Channeling needs to be ordered in and only available in limited colours.”

Add in a bit of hard work from the industrious son-in-law, and the group found themselves with a perfect solution to their lonely evenings.

Fence with fold down section installed in Bunnings social distancing DIY
A clever DIY job turned the fence into the perfect place to socialise from a social distance. Photo: Linda Solomons

The longtime buddies are reportedly thrilled.

“They absolutely love it,” Emma says. “They have been having afternoon drinks, social dinners and plan to even share a coffee or cup of tea in the morning. “

She says the new fence has proven a lifesaver for the normally social gang.

“Even once everything settles down they plan to continue to use it,” she says. “Their grandkids will love being able to be passed over the fence to go and have a play.”

DIY trick blows up on social media

Linda Solomons poses with neighbours and friends of 35 years Jackie and Tony Cliffe over fence coronavirus DIY
The foursome earned praise for putting the 'social' in social distancing. Photo: Linda Solomons

The idea was shared to social media on Monday morning and in just a few hours has absolutely blown up.

Over five thousand people liked the post, and hundreds heaped it with praise, many expressing their desire to follow suit and put the ‘social’ in social distancing.

“This is adorable!” one woman wrote.

“Social distancing at its finest,” another agreed. “Great idea.”

“What a genius idea!” another wrote. “My partner would love this for him and our good ole neighbour next door lol beats sitting on the driveway.”

“This is bloody brilliant,” one man summed it up.

Another even wrote that the post gave them hope in humans learning to reconnect in a world on online interactions.

“I love this neighbourhood idea!” the man wrote. “We grew up knowing our neighbours like family and it seems people are reconnecting! Fabulous!”

One woman agreed that the global pandemic has come with a least a few silver linings.

“I think the best ideas have come out since isolation,” she wrote.

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