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18 March, 2009

As Others See Us

I've been heavily involved lately in the design and construction of a gazebo on the garden. This is a fabulous, palatial building, five by four metres by 2.4 m to the eaves. I did the design myself and I'm at the point where all the materials have been ordered and delivered, the site has been levelled and the post-holes dug. Now, with Wifie's help, the first few uprights have gone in and it is beginning to look a bit like a building and not just a building site.

I was going to leave all this out of my blogs since it is hardly something most people will be interested in. But, yesterday, I happenned into Wifie's office while she was writing an email to a friend. Reading over her shoulder, I realised it was about us building the gazebo. I just had to show this to you. Not only is it written in her dry, witty tone but, for me, it was one of those moments where you get the 'giftie' of how others see you.

Here is the relevant extract from her email (with her permission).

We were rather slow getting on with the patio and gazebo. The drawings went on for many iterations and it was a wonder we didn't do a prototype. Eventually, Graham started digging the base but didn't get very far because even a mattock was very hard work. I talked him into letting me phone a man with a bob cat and he levelled the site and dug the post holes. Of course, the bob cat's work is by no means accurate enough for our designer, engineer and workman. Then it took a while to order the wood until I finally suggested that we go and see what sizes they could supply which would help with the design iterations.

We started work last week and are doing a post a day except days when we have to go shopping/ Bertie training/ anything else we can think of. It's mostly been too hot to work after about 10 am hence the one-post-a-day. The post holes were within tolerance but the first post we put in, we got to one side of the hole and now have to compensate with all the others. This results in much standing around debating in quarrelsome manner. We had finished number 3 yesterday morning in 26 degree heat at 10 am. At 2 pm, the heavens opened, hail the size of broad beans came down, then more rain than we've seen in months and the patio base was a paddling pool with the post holes forming plunge pools at its edges. Bertie thought it was wonderful until his leg went down into a plunge pool. Today we bailed out the plunge pools since most of the water drained into them as we took it out. Because the soil is just decomposed granite about the texture of course sand and it sits on rock, there's not much natural drainage going on at the moment which is strange when you remember we're on almost the highest point for some distance around.

If we get the uprights right, the rest won't be so hard. We're very glad we decided to build the gazebo before laying the patio as by now we would probably have dislodged all the slabs and maybe even thrown them at each other.
And, for those who are finding it hard to visualize a three-post gazebo with built-in paddling pool, here it is.

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