Tuesday 19th. November, 2013 – My Apprenticeship begins 

Rachel and Tom have done a grand job of creating the frame for the decking on which our new summer house will sit.

Up early, walked Mix along Bramble Avenue, breakfasted with Mum and Digger and then Tom arrived, brought here by Dorothy – and my apprenticeship began. I started the day the proud owner of a drill (bought yesterday from Pearsons), I ended up with a drill, a metre rule and a level (one of those things with a bubble in it). Our task was to build the decking platform on which the new summer house will sit. We set off for Pearson to buy more screws and knee-pads (I forgot to mention I now owned a set of knee-pads) and some back plastic to place under the decking platform. Tom set up his bench saw and along with Rachel we created the framework on which the decking would be built. It was perfectly right-angled and also totally level. We were ready to begin – but first Tom went off home with Dorothy for lunch while I completed the task of sorting out the study. It is now really quite organised.

Tom soon returned and we set to work cutting the decking to size and fitting and screwing it to the frame. After an hour or so I had almost got the hang of screwing the decking down, holding the lengths of decking as Tom fed them through the saw, and ensuring that there was an appropriate gap between the different lengths of decking. By the time the light failed we had completed half of the decking and – providing the weather holds tomorrow -- the task will be completed. Of course, if the weather doesn’t hold, then there will be other days – that’s the beauty of retirement. Now that I can see that the job will be done, and buoyed up by the realisation that we will probably be able to complete the whole project ourselves (well, Tom and Rachel are really quite skilled) I went ahead and ordered the kit for the summer house – even although I remain quite miffed that the fact that we are five miles over the English border means that I have to pay a transport surcharge. No wonder that some people are so violently nationalist. However, not to buy the summer house I want because of this would seem like cutting off my nose to spite my face; so I have paid up and put it behind me.

Dorothy, Tom and Rachel on the decking so far created

As the last of the light was fading, Rachel and I walked Rowan and Mix. Back at the Granary we fed the dogs and I cleaned the study to complete its make-over. Then we joined Mum and Digger for a delicious fish-pie followed by stewed (home-grown) apples, custard and ice cream. Later we made our way back to the Granary where we watched an episode of Midsomer Murders which we had missed when it was first shown, walked the dogs (the wind had got up and it was really cold) and were very glad to get to bed. I am already extremely stiff and I hate to think what my body is going to have to say to me tomorrow morning.


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