Wednesday, 13 April 2011

When things don't go to plan!

Last weekend with a week of glorious weather fit to continue it was an obvious time to get a lot of seeds sown in pots. My only reservation about this was the state of the garden shed. I knew there were a lot of flower pots and seed trays in there but seeing them or getting to them was not that easy after a winter of shed neglect.

I pottered about in the house during Saturday morning, doing housework whilst Steve ate a leisurely breakfast and drank his coffee. This is a ritual that can go on for hours so I was quite surprised when around lunchtime he went off to change into his work clothes and announced he was going to tackle the mess in the shed. What a stroke of luck - I could find all the flower pots I'd need and not have to tidy the shed myself!

However, after giving the girls their lunch I appeared in the garden to discover a variety of objects from the shed that Steve had put to one side for cleaning. Everything in the shed was covered in mats of spider webs with various pits of dirt clinging to them. A few other things had been nibbled by mice and Steve firstly discovered lots of mice droppings and later the mouse itself! Straight away I could see that my assistance would be required for the great shed sort and that it would take the rest of the day. *Scraps plan to sow seeds today*

Later that day I had cleaned 2 old pushchairs complete with rain covers, several deck chairs, a variety of garden toys, 3 bikes and a rotatory washing line. I'm pleased to say that by Sunday lunchtime the unwanted pushchairs, bikes & washing line had all been rehomed by a successful use of my local Freecycle group.

Late on Saturday afternoon the shed was empty and swept clean and Steve stood looking at the stuff in the garden wondering how to get it all back in. I spotted the walk-in plastic greenhouse that I had bought several years ago on a whim, thinking it was a good idea and a bargain. I had made the mistake of putting it in the shed to deal with later and that had been the last I had seen of it. With enthusiasm I suggested I tried assembling it now and finding a use for it in this current growing season.

The box was a bit battered and the picture on the box had been mostly eaten by snails but the contents still seemed good. On tipping it out it was obvious that the plastic cover was missing - so just the poles for the framework remained. I concluded it must be somewhere so decided to press on with the task. Also missing were the instructions so I took a comfort break, switched on my computer and "googled" to see if I could find instructions for it. It turned out I couldn't but there were adverts for replacement covers to buy should I fail to find mine. My next task was to study the damaged box picture at length to try to work out which pole might go where and how best to tackle the assembly. That done I started by laying out all the poles "B" and poles "C" on the ground to assemble the base before connecting them with the correct connecting pieces.

And so it went on for the next hour until it came to putting the roof poles onto the wall poles. The greenhouse was really rather tall so this job was quite awkward and as I pushed one roof pole into a connecting piece, the incorrect application of force caused the connecting piece to explode into several pieces of useless plastic. Cursing followed. Not to be deterred, I enlisted the help of Steve and a roll of duct tape in order to repair the damage. Then as I came to put on the final roof support pieces I realised they didn't fit. I puzzled over this for a moment before Steve pointed out that I must have mistaken my poles "B" with my poles "C" and by doing so had made the greenhouse narrower yet taller than it should have been! More cursing followed.

I paused briefly to emotionally adjust to the waste of a hour and then I began the complete disassembly if the structure. But unfortunately, as I did so several more of the connecting pieces shattered, clearly having suffered from several years in storage. By the time it was disassembled, the shed had been reduced to a collection of useless poles, missing several vital connecting pieces as well as the plastic cover.

By this point Steve was making progress with getting things back in the shed but wondering whether he should stop and put some shelves up to improve the storage space and accessibility. Brainwave! How about using some of the poles and remaining connecting pieces from the greenhouse to construct a set of freestanding shelves? Brilliant! So that is what I did - something at least savaged from experience.

The next morning, with the sun still shining, it was time to get those seeds sown finally. So I walked into (yes, you heard correctly - walked into) the lovely tidy shed and selected the seed trays I required for the job (instead of just making do with what I could see/reach). By the end of Sunday I had sown a tray of beetroot, all the brassicas, cucurbits, tomatoes & sweetcorn seeds and had them safely stored in the coldframe. It hadn't been how I had imagined I would spend my weekend but it was a useful & productive one nonetheless.

By the way, we never did find the plastic cover for the greenhouse!

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