Shed roof

Central beam

With the stud walls in place I reckon it’s time to put the roof on. I’m taking a central beam with rafters approach. Kinda wish I hadn’t, but ho hum

The rafters are all wonkily in place – seriously, it’s a right mess, but it’s keeping the water out. I ran out of 2×6 so went and bought some more but bought it in brown…because I’m an idiot.

You could drive a bus through that gap

Because way way way back at the beginning I made a mistake and my bricks weren’t laid at exact 90 degree angles everything has been kinda thrown out. This is why there are gaps in my roof. It’s not the end of the world since it’s being felted but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this whole experience it’s that 90 degrees is really really really important.

The stud walls ( Part 1 )

This is the good bit. This is the bit where my garage that was full of wood and has been for quite some time

…begins to empty.

Charlie and I started carrying the wood out of the garage and sawing it into roughly the sizes we wanted and erected some stud walls. We did this for a while and then started doing a bit of drinking. It all got a bit blurry but eventually we ended up with some pretty badly fitting stud walls. The reason they were pretty badly fitting is because I made the mistake of not springing some cash for some new bricks and instead used some that I had in the back garden which ultimately were all different sizes. Because it appears I’m not as good at laying bricks as I thought I was it’s all a bit wobbly. Furthermore, because the day I laid the bricks was really really hot and the concrete still trying to soak up moisture all my mortar went off too quickly which resulted in a bit of a shoddy job…but ho hum – it’s just a shed.

In the picture above you can see that the front left brick has been taken out. This is partly due to the aforementioned shoddy brick laying and partly because Emma looked at it and said “Do you think the red tractor will fit through that hole?”. I measured it, and it would…just. So I took a couple of bricks out to make the hole bigger. It was slightly before this happened that I cracked my head on my old shed doorway and decided this wan’t going to happen on my new shed and made the whole thing taller. Plans, pffffkkkk, fuck that.

Because I made the whole thing taller I decided to add a mezzanine – but that can wait until part 2.

The pour

The shed saga rumbleth on….

I always had Dan’s voice rumbling in the back of my head that I should be putting a hardcore base beneath my concrete. It nagged at me. Kept me awake at night. Until finally I cracked. I lifted up the paving stones – which I was just being lazy by burying – and ordered some more wood to go with a couple of bulk bags of hardcore. I specifically ordered the hardcore as bulk bags to be delivered on a truck with a hoist so that they could drop them into the dug out base hole. The guy turned up, took one look and told me there was “no chance” the arm would lift the bag over the bushes. He didn’t even have a go … that’s the problem with people today – no willingness to go the extra mile to help ME!

So anyway, I spent a couple of days wheelbarrowing two bulk bags [ or about 2 tonnes ] of stones around the bushes and into my hole. I then hired a compression plate and the end result looked like this :

This is after I had a quick run around the edges
Before
After
I then added a layer of plastic to stop the concrete sucking all the moisture out of the earth…
Added [ apparently far too much ] mesh to hold the concrete together, whilst Daisy watched in amazement at my elite building skills

Slightly before doing all this the pubs in England re-opened. So I took a break for a while and met up with Paul and Jason. Paul and I started discussing concrete pouring techniques and he put me onto the concrete poker. It’s basically a vibrator but I think people in the building industry are averse to using that word. Turns out the poker/vibrator was a genius idea of Paul’s. He also told me about how to use a float, which is you rotate the handle to change the angle of the float and have it skim across the surface of the concrete giving you a neat finish. This came in incredibly useful when the chap at the tool hire shop asked me if I knew how to use it. “Sure”, I replied “you just twist the handle and change the angle right?” – the tool hire guy replied affirmatively and added “you wouldn’t believe how many people bring it back and say they couldn’t make it work”. We exchanged knowing glances and eye-rolls and I swaggered off with my pride intact.

The day of the concrete pour arrived and it was a beautiful morning. No wind, no rain, sunshine – but they did arrive at about 7.30am.

Spread out a bit
This is the poker in action. I’ve pokered the left half of the concrete but not the right. It has the effect of knocking out any air bubbles and makes the bigger stones sink down a bit giving a smoother surface finish
The surface having been floated.

So the stressful bit is now done. I’ve never poured concrete before and if it had gone all wrong then it would have been a proper PITA to sort it out. From now on it’s just laying a few bricks and screwing together some wood…famous last words.

Chess

During a recent impromptu garden party where we basically started drinking at 11am and didn’t quite get around to stopping until I couldn’t speak anymore and then proceeded to sit on the toilet with the lid down and crack it and then wake up next morning wondering who the bloody hell broke my toilet…we played chess.

I played Nigel – who I reckon is some sort of secret Grandmaster because he kicked my arse at least twice – that I remember. I firmly believe that it’s his Grandmaster-dom rather than me constantly confusing my Bishop for my King, or my pawn for my Queen. Anyway, it got me interested in Chess again and so Charlie and I had an evening of sipping some fine wines and drinking some fine rum and playing some less-than-fine Chess.

Charlie took the first game, which made me nervous – but I took the next two and then we were too drunk to really concentrate and spent the rest of the night listening to music.

Half Century

It finally happened, I turned 50. Many in this world at times thought I wouldn’t make it this far – but here I am with my London Gangsta Crew at Moor Hall eating Michelin starred food.

Creature of habit

Or complete OCD nutcase, you decide.

So I always have an omelette for breakfast on weekdays. It’s always two eggs, always chorizo, always cheese and then sometimes mushrooms, sometimes tomato and sometimes red pepper. That’s not the weird bit.

I noticed this morning that I always put my omelette ingredients on the left side of the omelette and always fold from right to left…thusly

I generally use the same ring on the hob too – which always reminds me of a r/casualuk post asking if anyone had a favourite ring on the cooker. Seems I do, for omelettes at least.

It begins…

This is likely to be a series of blog posts as it’s going to be quite the saga. As I mentioned in my earlier post I intend to be drinking wine and building sheds. The wine drinking is pretty much covered – so I thought we’d make a start on building a proper shed

Turns out I’m actually pretty useless with a digger
We had to make some stakes so we could make the shutter boards
Ready for the concrete – I think I’m going to lift those flags out again – I was just burying them because I couldn’t be arsed moving them – but I think it may prove to be a slightly unstable base for the concrete

Next step – building the rebar supports and pouring concrete – I told you it was going to be an epic!

Retirement Breakfast

Now then, I’m not specifically saying that I’m retiring but nor am I ruling it out. For the sake of this blog post let’s just pretend that I’m done working.

So, what does one eat on the very first morning of one’s not-necessarily-retirement-day-but-maybe.

This is what one eats!

End of an era

It had to happen sooner or later but 1st April 2021 is when it actually occurred. I’ve finally finished working for Sky. I started by developing v2 of the Android Sky News app in West Cross House, then moving on to work on the Sky Sports app. I left for a year to work in Manchester but then got drafted back into Sky to work on the super top secret Sky Q app. When I started working on this project I couldn’t be told what the project was until I signed up – which was all a bit weird. Had an absolute whale of a time with the mobile app development team, made many great friends [ Dragan, Josh, Michal, Doc et al ] and one mortal enemy – I still maintain that Eran Boudjnah [ or whatever the fuck he’s called ] is a monumental fucking bell-end

After several years of working on Android I made the move to the EPG team where I worked with Stu and Dave and many other amazing people. Then Rishi Sunak came along and introduced IR35 and it all kinda went tits up. Ho hum.

So here we find ourselves in the middle, or hopefully coming to the end, of a global pandemic and yours truly wondering what to do next. The obvious move is to drink wine and build sheds – so to that end I’d like to thank my colleagues at Sky that clubbed together and bought me something wet and red – it was lush