23 May 2010 (Sunday) - The Bike Locker

Our neighbours on one side have dogs; on the other side they have a piano. Today was the first Sunday in ages that the dogs weren’t screaming from the crack of dawn onwards. However the piano was going from 8am to compensate. Oh well – I won’t complain about either noise. It strikes me that with all the racket generated on either side, I can make as much din as I like and no one can really complain. After all, I wouldn’t want to live next door to me.

A few days ago I blogged about how crowded and cluttered the shed has become, and mentioned about how I might build a bike locker this weekend. It would be easy enough; just build a great big wooden box to stick bikes in. Simples!!

If only it were that simple. There was a space between the shed and the bathroom which would be ideal for a bike locker. But at the front of the shed the space is thirty seven inches across. At the back it’s forty two inches. Building a crooked box seemed a bit tricky, so I had this plan to attach battens to the wall about six inches above handlebar height, and put a roof on the battens. The bikes could then sit under said roof.

How easy it is to type these words. First of all I had to fight my way round B&Q to get my first load of ingredients. B&Q was particularly problematical today. It seemed to be “bring your problem children to B&Q day”. There was an endless sea of misbehaving brats running wild, with parents utterly failing to instil any control whatsoever. One chap, obviously close to tears, was attempting to stop his brat ramming a display with a trolley by bribing him with promises of McDonalds. The brat wasn’t interested, and was intent on wreaking destruction. Personally I can’t help but feel that a slapped arse goes a long way, but what do I know?

Home with the battens, and in a novel break with tradition I dug out the spirit level to help get the battens in place. There was a dodgy five minutes when the drill bit broke, leaving half of itself embedded in the bathroom wall, but I’m hoping I’ve got away with it. Time will tell – it always does. It was during the drilling that “My Boy TM ” appeared on the scene, and it was just as well he did - I was at the point where I needed his assistance. We scrounged a lift back to B&Q and after a quick sausage baguette we got the wood for the roof for our bike locker. I’d seem the bits of wood on my first visit and decided I’d need help. The flat lumps of wood came in two sizes – matchbox or football pitch. I thought that we might get a larger lump of wood and cut it to shape. But first I would need help getting the thing home. We carried it between us. Again, how easy it is to type those words. The two of us staggered home from B&Q with a lump of wood eight feet long, four feet wide and weighing several tons.

Having got it home there was a problematical ten minutes whilst we wrestled the thing through the house and into the garden. By now it was mid day and we decided that we’d do more shopping at this point to avoid working in the hottest part of the day. We’d had this plan that we might felt the roof we were building, but B&Q didn’t have any tacks, and we thought their roofing felt was expensive. So we drove over to Wickes where the same amount of felt cost twelve quid (as opposed to twenty eight quid).

By now we were on the final stage of the project. Cut the wood into shape, felt the thing and all would be done. I must admit to a wry smile at this point. On this blog there is a link to other blogs. Over on the “Ursus Volans Parachute Company” Guy is converting a VW Crafter LWB panel van into a Motorcaravan. He’s been at it for a couple of months, and I’m really enjoying keeping up with what he does. An excellent conversion job, with painstaking attention to detail. And then there was us two with our bike locker, sawing away with rusty saws using a rickety picnic table for a saw-horse, pausing only to apply plasters to various injured extremities, with “rustic charm” as our watchword.

We soon realised that the roof was too heavy, and having got the thing sawed into shape, we then chopped it in half. It will be easier in future to deal with two smaller bits than one heavy bit. And we even managed do bodge a door out of the off-cuts. Admittedly the door is a bodge, and I’m not sure how long it will last. But what would have cost over one hundred and twenty quid if bought from the shop cost us less that fifty quid when we made our own. We can only get three of the four bikes into it, but you can’t have everything.

And then, with the bike locker completed, “My Boy TM ” set off. Places to be, people to see. I mowed the lawn, did some pruning and cleaned out the drains. I now stink, but that’s nothing new…

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