The natural choice would be a caravan in the back garden-type area and we looked at quite a few a couple of months ago, only to discover that our criteria for relaxation somewhat outweighed our realistic budget. And even if we could stretch to a 20-footer with a bar and putting green on the roof it would be a right mess around to sell it later on and we'd probably make a loss.
So we decided pretty early doors that we would get something that, once it had served its original zen purpose, we could re-purpose for something we'd need. A log cabin or summerhouse would be nice, but would it be anything other than an occasional-use thing afterwards?
|Stuff dem base-laying skillz.|
I can haz dangly string.
1. It's classed as a temporary structure and therefore avoids planning permission
2. Cost. Our Billy-Oh 5000 set us back around £1,600 whereas a good log cabin could land in the region of £16,000 or more
3. Once we can relax somewhere in The Lodge itself we will use it for its original purpose as a workshop where I plan to learn me some new woodworking skillz, while it doubles-up as a...
4. MAN SHED!!!1!
So cutting a long story short we enlisted the help of our mates Andy and SamTheDog, who is a dog, and we flattened the former chicken enclosure in the front garden with a JCB borrowed from our neighbour, painstakingly leveled a 22ft x 11ft base using earth, bricks and swear words, laid a giant weed-proof geotextile membrane, laid and leveled 36 toughened plastic grid-tiles, filled them with half a ton of gravel which was then leveled, positioned sleepers on the base (leveled, of course), then started laying out and fixing the floor. We then leveled it.
And so we had visitors. Some were friends who were just dropping by, but most people were complete strangers who were just interested in what was going on. Some may call it 'nosey', yes, but not us. We spoke to a couple of neighbours from something like a mile away, one or two horse riders, some general randoms and the police. Twice. The 5-0 came over for a chat twice. That's my gambling den idea out the bloody window for a while.
The first time that Ade the PCSO swung by was a bit of a surprise. I was, prophetically, finishing a bag of bacon Frazzles and Dawn was in the courtyard hanging out her bras to dry on the line. It was classy stuff.
A marked police car pulled up to the back gate and a moment later my own underwear needed drying. Our fire a few days earlier hadn't been that bad, had it?
But, no. Ade just wanted to chew the cud, as they seem to do out in t'countryside. We chatted about the house, our plans for it and what we thought of the area. It all ended with a cheery warning about rural crime and what to watch out for, and he was off in a giant plume of dust. Only to return a couple of days later in a glorified golf cart, while I had gone the whole hog and was gnawing on a bacon sarnie and Dawn was sprawled out delicately on the shed roof like a cranefly.
|Basically, showing off|
|Former gamekeeper George fondly remembers|
shooting his own house. In the face.
He chatted for a while, promising to return one day with a painting of the property that someone gave him many years ago. Lovely chap.
Anyway, while all of this social lark was going on and Andy was working on the shed alone, we managed to take our eye off the ball to the point where the shed wasn't level any more. Now I'm not laying blame at anyone's door, but Andy was working on the shed alone. For quite some time. In fact it wasn't until the giant workshop was almost up that we realised it was shaped like a horse's saddle, by which time it was too late and the doors didn't fit. Out came the sander, the electric plane and the circular saw and hey presto! The doors now almost fit.
Just today we laid an 18mm plyboard floor over the top of the 'premium T&G' that was sagging alarmingly in places, threw some curtains up and we aim to open the Zen Zone for business tomorrow, all being well and barring visitors.
|My undiagnosed OCD is screaming at me to centralise the door. But it's like that for a reason, I'm told. By Dawn.|