You may have noticed (thanks Mark!) that up until my recent post on the Gloucester beer festival I hadn’t written a blog for a whole month. This blog, therefore, is by way of making my excuses.
The fact is, over the past month or so my computer has remained unused, unloved and gathering dust whilst I busied myself with a variety of other things. One of these things, which took up a couple of my weekends, was the aforementioned beer festival. I also enjoyed the Gloucester Quays Spring Fest over the Easter weekend and the always excellent Prescott Bike Festival, both of which deserved a blog of their own but the moment passed.
Mostly, however, due to the good weather I have been engaged in a variety of outdoor DIY tasks. I am not good at DIY, so this has been a mixture of triumphs and disasters.
My first task was to lay a small patio. How hard can that be, I thought, I’ll have that done in an afternoon. And so I set about levelling the wild and weed-swept area in which the patio was to sit and, before I knew it, my allotted afternoon was already up.
Then I set about excavating the area. I’d checked with the experts via Google and You Tube and decided to do the job right. I dug out an area to fill with hardcore and sharp sand before cementing the stones in place. Sadly I got a bit carried away with the digging and it took several trips back to the DIY store before I had sufficient hardcore for the job. And the patio was round – getting a round patio level is harder than it looks.
Finally the job was completed and I think it looks pretty good, even if it is perhaps a little more sunken than I would have ideally liked. Nonetheless, I declare this a triumph.
Next was to erect a small greenhouse that my wife had decided to purchase. It was only a 6′ x 2′ job that attaches to a wall, so clearly once again a simple afternoon job. But no: the instructions were a series of barely intelligible hieroglyphs attempting to depict the complicated shapes of the aluminium frames, and then I managed to break the last two panes of glass as I struggled to clip them into the roof. I’m glad it wasn’t a full size greenhouse!
Having completed the task, after much longer than my planned afternoon, my lovely wife announced that she’d found a You Tube clip showing how to put it together – it would have been nice to have that a little earlier, especially as it transpired that I had put all of the glass clips in wrong: doing it properly is simplicity itself; putting them in wrong, however, takes determination, dedication and fingers of steel. Getting them back out again to do the job properly isn’t any easier. I’ll call that a mixed result – at least the greenhouse is still standing.
My next task was in the garage. We had a new garage built a couple of years ago and the bare concrete floor covers everything with a fine dust. To resolve this you can buy special floor seal and paint – both at great expense.
Another trip to the DIY store gave the credit card another hammering and we returned home with the necessary tools for the job securely stowed in the boot of the car in one of those handy plastic fold-down boxes. One thing that you should know about those boxes is that they are not sufficiently robust to carry numerous heavy tins of paint.
As I lifted the box from the boot the bottom gave way, the tins fell heavily to the floor and the lids from a large tin of garage floor paint and a tin of outdoor wood paint (the purpose of which we will get to later) came away spilling their contents down the drive and all over a good deal of me.
I watched helplessly as the two varieties of expensive paint ran down the drive, mingling and merging in an interesting abstract pattern. I managed to scrape up and salvage some of the paint before it merged too badly and then spent the next hour with a pressure washer attempting to clear up. I think we’ll call that one a disaster.
Ultimately, however, the garage floor did get painted and now looks lovely.
My final bit of DIY explains the wood paint. For many years we have had one of those covered seat/ arbour affairs in the back garden. In latter years it has been neglected and unloved and much of it has rotted. We were going to throw it away and replace it, but the alternatives looked smaller, less robust and were expensive. Therefore I decided that, despite a marked lack of carpentry skills, I was going to buy some wood and fix it instead.
I had to replace the two front legs and the whole pitched roof, so I measured up, sourced the wood and got building. And do you know what? It actually worked and doesn’t look half bad. As I was doing the repair I noticed other bits that are starting to rot and will need replacing before too long, so it will probably end up like Triggers broom with the whole thing replaced eventually, but it was much cheaper this way and quite satisfying (although once again took much longer than planned).
I declare that a triumph.
That is about my quota of DIY for the rest of my life now, but if the good weather returns I suspect that I will find other things to do with my time which may not involve computers and blogs, so accept my excuses in advance if I have a quiet summer’s blogging.