Spring was in the air and I managed to do my annual trick of pulling my back while gardening. It happens most years and it’s not only annoying but very inconvenient and embarrassing.
On My Knees
I had a trouble-shooting workshop up in London that I had to keep, so had to conduct half the meeting on my knees. Thankfully that was with some lovely clients that I know well.
Need to Change
I have virtually no problems throughout the year – just the first foray into the garden when my body hasn’t got used to extending the way gardening requires. Apart from banging my head on the wall while chanting, “I will exercise first before I do gardening”, I’m putting some other changes into place. I’ll be doing some remedial yoga and I’ve changed my office desk system around.
£600 – No!
There are plenty of standing desks available online, but I couldn’t bring myself to part with upwards of £600 for one.
My wife had a great idea. Why didn’t I plonk the top of my desk onto a waist high bookshelf?
Standing Desk Come Bookshelf
The result is a lot more than impressive, it’s highly functional, very stable, doesn’t look half bad and cost me the sum-total of about an hour of my time to get in place including clearing off my old desk. See what you think.
This summer, one of the extras that I noted would make camping life for short stays a lot easier, is a tarp for the roll-out awning. It would provide an additional degree of privacy, as well as wind and rain protection.
The cost of a 3rd party tarp (e.g. Brandrup) to fit a VW Cali canopy is around £160. The cost of a Quechua tarp around £20. The cost of a Kandor strip to fit canopy (6mm) channel around £15. As we have a good sewing machine already, the cost of sewing was around 30 minutes on the machine.
The result – a great, large, multipurpose canopy/ awning tarp. I’m extremely pleased with the result. And my wife is very impressed with my sewing skills!
This summer, we parked the Cali for quite a few days in one spot. As is customary, I like to tinker. My brainwave, for next year, was to set up an organised area in the awning. I have an old camping cupboard that would be ideal. But the joints have snapped which made it more like a jelly than a cupboard.
This is a quick, relatively inexpensive solution that is not going to break anytime soon.
I needed to pack out of couple of the holes for the thinner poles to fit well, so I cut down some old gazebo tubing together with some insulating tape to do the job.
The cupboard is now rock solid!
My wife’s colleague showed me utility box he made for storing stuff and helping to step up into the roof bed.
This is my variation on that theme and it works brilliantly. Cost only a few £’s to make.
Components: one utility bag from Lidl, a few bits of 1 by 1 inch wood, screws and some plywood offcuts. Box measures L33 x H28 x W17 cm.
Tools: Electric screwdriver, saw and sander:
Sanded all the components to get rid of all rough edges
Nice and smooth
Assembled with some screws – you need a power driver to do this easily.
Holes drilled in top to aid removal.
Fitted beautifully in Lidl bag.
It took about 3 hours to get this far.
Now, I needed to make a wider platform to put between the seats and secure the box and bag with velcro.
Best with a bit of stabilization from a strap to the roof slats to stop any wobbling.
and can be stored neatly and usefully between the seats for driving.
It can hold a load of stuff when in either step or storage positions.
Enhancements to Great Step Up
The Grow House is coming along nicely now. Using loads of salvaged material – this time old insulation re-cut. Not quite as messy as I had imagined, but needs a strong sharp knife instead of a saw if you want to keep the number of flying bits down.
- add plywood lining to cover insulation;
- add glass/ plastic to frames;
- fit parliament door hinges – so that door can hinge backwards properly;
- sort out area around shed (levelling/ trimming);
- plug the gaps – to stop the mice and slugs; and
- make it look pretty (on wife’s orders!).
The grow house is coming along nicely. I had to chop the re-purposed patio doors down to size. My rotary saw failed, the blade on an old one was too small, so we had to wheel out the big boy. It took two of us to slide the doors through the saw. Not too much cursing and relatively straight cuts!
We tried the first door for size – perfect!
Six doors later, came the front fitting:
Then with a little help from #2 son we peeled off the west facing wall with a reciprocating saw – it worked like magic.
This is where I put two more of the doors, one hinged to provide some very useful garden access to the grow-house.
Now, just need to fill in the gaps, order some polycarbonate glass and polish it off. Should be ready for its first plant inhabitants in the next couple of days.