2 May 2016
Today is my birthday and it began with a bit of a headache. This may have had something to do with the champagne we opened last night to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary, or the thundery weather. I’m a bit of a headachy person at the best of times and the last few days have been busy and exciting, with very little time to rest.
It all began on Thursday with me waiting in for a delivery. For once, I didn’t much mind not being able to go out and walk because the delivery in question was my potting shed come summer house. It was all very exciting, although I knew it would be some time before I’d be sitting in it potting up seedlings. For a start Commando would have to put all the pieces together, then it would need painting… Still, when the delivery man knocked the door I was beside myself and had to go outside to watch him unload everything so I would believe it was really happening.
While the pile of rather random looking wooden things leaning up against the house wall grew I pretended to examine the buds on the lilac. I didn’t want the poor man to think I was checking up on him after all. Once he’d gone I had a proper look. It didn’t look much like a summer house to be honest and it was difficult to see how it would all go together. CJ did his best to cover it over with one of the giant garden waste bags we have, just in case it rained, then we went in and had coffee.
When Commando got up on Friday we took a drive to the DIY store to get paint. Blue of course. When I suggested blue for our last shed, Commando had reservations. He preferred a nice sedate wood colour but I won and it’s grown on him. This time he didn’t protest at all. Some plants may have accidentally slipped into the basket as we were walking round. He didn’t protest about those either. When we got home I set about planting them out.
The plan was to paint the outside of the summerhouse panels after lunch but it didn’t quite work out that way. The sunny morning suddenly turned to a rainy afternoon and evening so painting was off the agenda and I was left twiddling my thumbs. At least the new plants got a good watering in.
Saturday was going to be summerhouse building day but first there was a Parkrun. Summerhouse excitement had me up early so I said I’d go along to watch. The next thing I knew, RM one of Commando’s friends who’s been battling an injury, said he would walk round the course with me if I liked. Before I knew it I’d been signed up as a bonefide Parkrunner and Commando was printing off my timing chip thingie. There seems to be a plot going on to turn me into a runner. None of them have bargained on my stubborn streak but still.
It was a beautiful morning for a walk so I didn’t much mind although I made it very clear there would be no running of any kind involved at any point.
“At least one of my feet is going to be on the ground at all times,” I told RM as we stood waiting at the back of the crowd of runners.
It’s been a while since I did any power walking. Mostly these days I wander around at a relatively sedate pace. When we set off I was pretty convinced I would be last and everyone would we looking at their watches waiting for me. It took me quite some time to get my power walking rhythm going. At first it all felt wrong and my hips and arms didn’t seem to be doing what I wanted. By the end though, I was getting into the swing of it.
“You are nowhere near last,” RM said as we crossed the finish line. “There are lots of people behind you and they’re running!”
He was right too. By the time the last runner came in I’d got my chip scanned, found Commando and was waiting around cheering them on. When I got home I had an email from the Parkrun people congratulating me on my first run. Obviously No one told them I’d actually been walking. It had my time and my position. Ten people finished after me and I was, apparently, fourteenth in my age category. Not bad for an out of practice power walker. Even so, I will not be running any time, ever!
After a bit of a rest and a snack the really exciting business of the day began. While Commando set to putting the summerhouse base together, CJ and I began painting panels. There was one Tyvek suit and I bagged it. Pretty soon I was wishing I hadn’t. The day was sunny and hot. The paper suit may have been thin but it felt as if I was walking around in my own personal sauna. Still, the paint was drying almost as soon as we slapped it on and pretty soon Commando was putting up panels.
Thankfully he made far more sense of all the random pieces of wood than I had and, by late afternoon, we almost had a summerhouse. The final piece of the puzzle was the roof. With a little help from CJ and I holding things in place, Commando had put all the triangular pieces together to form an upside down roof. Now we had to get it down the garden, through the arch and onto the top of the summerhouse.
A bystander would probably have found the sight of two very tall men and one very short woman manhandling a large, slightly flexible, hexagonal roof through a garden littered with paint cans and bits of wood very comical. It felt like hard, scary work. When we got to the arch we realised the roof wouldn’t go through. It was the wrong way round. Somehow we managed to turn it, although it did end up on CJ’s foot at one point.
This turned out to be the easy bit. Now we had to get it up on top of the summerhouse walls. It might have been easier we’d all been the same height. My poor little arms were locked out and shaking with the effort of holding up what felt like a ton of wood. We got it half way and it got stuck.
“I think we may have to ask for help,” Commando said.
What we needed were at least four other tall, strong men as far as I could see, one for each side. Or maybe a crane.
Somehow we edged it a little further but it was all skewiff. The corners were over the straight edges. With a supreme effort we eventually managed to turn it and it suddenly popped into place. I thought my arms were going to drop off. We went inside for a cup of coffee and a rest.
The next day was our wedding anniversary. Commando got me two silver charms for my bracelet, a swan to remind me of where we met and a tiny heart shaped locket. To my relief he liked the engraved silver dog tag I got him. Champagne was consumed.
Although it was our wedding anniversary, work continued on the summerhouse. This was before the champagne in case you’re wondering. Windows had to be put in. Commando was the one doing the work because I’m not very practical like that and really can’t be trusted with tools. I made coffee and took photos of the garden.
Only one pane of glass got broken which was something of a miracle. We had to go to the glass place and get another piece. Really you’d think they’d have given us spares but still. No harm done.
By today there was a real summerhouse at the bottom of the garden, with glass in all the windows and one coat of paint on the outside. Although it’s my birthday, I was keen to get painting but the weather had other ideas. It rained. Oh, and I had a headache.
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