Sunday, September 19, 2010
The greenhouse project - getting excited
The greenhouse is built! It was actually built a week ago and S wanted me to be excited about it then but I had trouble with this. There were problems and until they were sorted out and I was reasonably confident that they wouldn't return, I couldn't be excited about something I didn't really have.
In the end I had decided to pay a "recommended fitter" to build the greenhouse. Seeing him pick out what he needed from the hundreds of components, we were both very glad in the end. They send you meticulous, well-written and very human instructions, but still it's a complex task. There were questions in the minds of the folks at the greenhouse company about how experienced this recommended fitter was, which first arose when some pieces were missing. They were missing but the greenhouse people needed to speak to the fitter first to make sure he was right. But they did tell me he had never fitted a partition before.
At first I didn't see any problem with this, but I do know now that his next partition will go in rather better. Mid-build I enquired about the curved sides of the greenhouse. The fitter said he had seen that and would have to undo the floor bolts and correct it. When I next saw it, nearly finished, there was still a curve, as well as a gap at the bottom of the partition door. When I measured, I discovered the partition was 2.5cms wider than the ends of the greenhouse. The fitter managed to push the sides in to correct this, but it was clear that he'd have done better to get it right from the start. Similarly with the doors, the main problems with which only became apparent a couple of days after he left. This was why I couldn't get excited about the greenhouse - we couldn't get in and out properly because both back and front doors had problems. We both looked thoroughly at the things and corrected one problem but couldn't get at the others. Eventually the fitter came back (hour journey each way for him, for about 30 mins work) and the problems were nearly all to do with some nuts not being properly tightened, which was of course entirely down to him. I felt sorry for him, having to come back, but it was his own fault and I sort of felt sorrier for me at having been very disappointed not to be able to play in my new greenhouse.
So here we are now - greenhouse up, concrete or mortar put under the gaps between the base and the concrete and it's ready to go. And now I can get excited. When I've got time (hah!) I can go and play, starting with scraping the remainder of the paper off the panes of glass, moving on to taking things into the greenhouse that have been stored in sheds and then putting things up like shelves and fittings.
I then need to work out what is going where. At the moment I have some things I already owned and a great deal of other greenhouse equipment given to me when my parents downsized a couple of years ago. I certainly don't know what everything is, nor how all the bits fit together, so I'm hoping when Dad visits he will remember enough about them to be able to identify things and match them up with each other! Then, finally, that will show where water and power need to get to and M can do the wiring and a builder finish the plumbing. The hose you can see here is operational but will become a tap and some hose outlets and the wiring will become lights and sockets.
A long term project. And I don't expect to use the greenhouse to its fullest capacity for the first few years. It's designed for maximum use eventually. Once you've got a new greenhouse, you're not going to want to upgrade it, believe me.
Yesterday, when the problems were fixed and I could say that I actually had a new greenhouse, was 18th September. The date was quite significant. It was really important to me that I had the greenhouse up by 28th September. There's no plant that required this, no deadline for the plumber to finish the waterworks, no real reason at all. It's just that on 28th September I'll have had the greenhouse here for an entire year. I'm not usually known for my patience, but I think you'd have to admit I've done ok. A year between delivery and actually being able to go inside. After all that, perhaps you can understand why I wasn't going to get excited until the job was done.