Documenting the life-changing event of having a baby…

Monthly Archives: September 2011

What was “Fran’s room” then the “Spare room” is now becoming “The nursery”. How grown up. Anyway – it needed decorating (mainly to replace the carpet) before putting baby items in it. That has been most of the work this week. You would think it was an easy job: slap some paint on the ceiling and walls, paint the woodwork and have the carpet fitted. As with most things, not so easy.

As we started the job on Monday, the winds from Hurricane Katrina were being felt in our garden and took out 2 fence panels and a post. Not a good start and another problem to be solved this week. Luckily Gary knew a man who could come and dig out the old concrete and replace the post and panels. A phone call, and a trip to Travis Perkins, and we were ready to have it repaired on Saturday morning. Here are Mark and his son Ash working on fitting the new panels.

Fitting new fence panels. I think you can tell which the new ones are.

So now back to the nursery. I started with the ceiling, but as I rolled the paint on, it just came off in sheets, back to the artex. Not good.
Perhaps its the old paint I am using. So get some new white paint and put it on with a brush. Job done, it looks good and I go and have lunch.
An hour later I come back to the room and all the new paint it cracked and flaking off. I don’t have any pictures of this and it is something I would rather forget. So we strip off all the new paint, back to the artex, and then treat with UPVA adhesive to try and seal the artex. The next day, a new pot of white paint, and it seems to be holding this time. Good. But one area starts cracking again! That’s OK, I can just remove the few inches cracking and just do that bit again. So after its dry I carefully pick away at the white paint, only for it not to be a few inches that come away, it just keeps falling off. Poo.
Eventually I get a stanley knife around the affected area to prevent any more coming away as I pull on it. Another dose of UPVA and more white paint and I think its done. Looks OK and I daren’t try and put anymore paint on it to make it look perfect. I’m sure Bruce won’t notice anyway.
Walls done and carpet down, it looks like a nice little nursery.

The bedroom, with a spare bed (so people can still stay)

I’m sure this is a question that has kept the dear reader up at night. With the new arrival, we’re going to need a tumble dryer to be able to wash and dry all the “stuff” needed for the little one. Or so Andrea tells me. Anyway, there is nowhere in the house that this will fit without being in the way, so the plan is to put it in the shed.

Easy eh?

Not quite. For a start it needs power. The shed does have electric, however it was fitted by previous residents and although it works, I don’t think it’s safe for a tumble dryer. Basically there is a 3 pin plug in out dining room, connected to a bit of (what looks like) 10Amp lighting cable, that goes through the wall. It then goes to an  outdoor junction box, where at least it does go into armoured cable, into the shed. Once in the shed, it goes into household lighting cable (rather than socket cable) to 2 plug sockets. Fine for plugging in your phone charger, but not good if you want to run a 3KW tumble dryer off it.

As the shed is near the end of the garden, it also gets dark at night. Not a surprise I’m sure, but does mean that we either need some outdoor lights or Andrea needs some night vision goggles to use the tumble dryer in the dark winter evenings. We’ve opted for the outdoor lighting, so we need to fit an outdoor light so you can see where you are going in the garden.

I’m sure you’re aware that I did an electronics degree, therefore should be more than qualified to carry out these basic electrical tasks. Well – I kinda am. However much of this job involves drilling walls, feeding cables and fishing them through and knowing the best way to T into the current supply. Therefore it’s best left to the professionals. Luckily Gary D knows an electrician who has come around, specced the job and given us a list of bits to buy from QVS in Cambridge. We’re waiting for a time for him to come and do the fitting, but this part is now under control.

You can see the border area which is to be replaced by steps.

Me with my trusty weapon

Now there is the problem of how to get from the house to the shed, without thinking you are David Bellamy in the undergrowth. The current mud, gravel and weeds in front of the shed couldn’t stay. So the plan (from Gary) was to build some boxes, to act as steps, from the current decking down to the shed and to fill the boxes with the gravel off the current area.

I measured up and ordered the decking needed from eDecks. Nice and cheap, and free delivery over £100. With my trusty Makita tools and Gary’s Mitre saw (and help) we were ready to begin.
After much cursing and swearing, purchase of a pick axe to get the soil out, and string to keep it straight, we were getting there.
Eventually the boxes were in, level and ready for gravel. Here are some of the pictures of us working hard.

The finished steps to the shed (the beer is Gary's)

This is where you expect to read that we just added the gravel and job done… I’m afraid not; the story continues. The problem is that we don’t have enough gravel, so would need to buy more. Pricing this up, Gary suggests that it may be cheaper to deck on top instead. On hearing this, Andrea immediately prefers the idea of decking, so another order to eDecks, more sawing and the job continues.

You can see the completed steps here and I hope you agree that they do look better decked. The observant among you will have also noticed that the shed door has swapped sides, so it opens more sensibly into the garden.

Trying to look like I know what I'm doing

The steps do now leave me with another problem. The new decking has made the old decking look a bit naff. There is only one thing to do. Yep – replace the old decking with new decking to match the steps. A 3rd order to eDecks (at least they know where my house is now, but must wonder what is going on) and we have new decking for the old frame – thanks to Ros for meeting the very nice man who delivered it. We also levelled it (it was nearly 30cm down at one corner!) and replaced some of the joists at the same time. In fact, the decking has turned into trigger’s broom, but at least its now solid and level again.

And that’s it, the decking is done. Now we just need to buy a tumble dryer…

The finished job


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