Sunday, August 24, 2008

Woot Bass Phase 1

The new shed has arrived. For 7 working days prior to its arrival we slaved. First carefully dismantling the old shed so it could be freecycled

then digging out earth for the new foundations and breaking up an old concrete path so the new shed could have space behind it and not be buried in the neighbour's fence.

Concrete forms were errected and adapted at the tight coner.

I went to the tool hire shop and enquired about a small cement mixer. A batch of new ones was on the way and they'd bring it round. I was relieved since I needed to be in to receive the shed.

I bimbled as much as possible, getting things right, taking down the old arch and its cimbing plants. There was nothing else to do and so I started to mix the concrete by hand.

Before I made the biggest mistake of my weekend (on Thursday) the nice Polish boy arrived with the cement mixer. He manoevred it round the back, ("is not heavy") and set it up for me. I wondered if it was sturdy enough?

"Is OK"

He was looking at me. He wanted to show me how it worked. I wanted to learn how it worked. I realised I didn't have a long power cable. I scoured the house and called the tennant but resorted to nodding at the on/off switches to convince the boy I knew how it works. He drove away. He was probably shaking his head.

With a power cable borrowed from number 75, I continued my work. For the next 6 hours I shovelled agreate and sand and hosed water in the machine, dragging it, as required, across the area to be filled unitil the area was full of sticky wet concrete.

In that timeframe the shed arrived and, offering his hand in marriage, the chaps declared themselves impressed with my work, while offering their opinion at the same time. They declared me too smart to patronise when I questioned his use of the word 'level' when what he actually meant was 'smooth'.

At 3pm TSK's mum arrived and with me still shovelling, I set her about staining the new shed. At 4pm the nice freecyclers came to pick up the old shed which gave me the opportunity to sit down for the first time in 4 hours.

At 7.30, half the slab was finally laid. We damped the top surface flat and wrote our names (and TSK's) in the smooth concrete then went down the pub for dinner.

I spent the next day painting the vast expanse of new walls and base. TSK arrived on Saturday and shovelled and poured concrete with all his might, halving the task of laying the other half-slab. A man came to pick up the cement mixer and declared himself horified at the huge machine they had given me. Still,they only charged me the quoted ammount and tried to give me change of £15.

A week later we assembled the new building. Wall by wall it became a structure. Then the crew of TSK's dad, my work colleague and ex-tenant all appeared with perfect timing to finger-tips and tippie-toe lift the roof into place.

The heavy-duty roof that had TSK and I staggering round the garden like drunks when we handled it on our own, slotted into place like a square block in a square hole with 6 people handling it, leaving me wondering what on earth I invited them all for and realising that I had no beer in.

It took a good hour or two more of felt-measuring and lifting, upward nailing and door hanging, tacking and trimming before we ran out of gusto and returned a week later to glaze the place.

Result is that with a little help from our friends, family, local businesses and freecycle our first extension to a house we're yet to live in is finally complete. As my reward for all the hard work, the latest is that I'll finally relocate my job, move in again and next week, finally get to enjoy the house I picked to be my home.

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