Thursday, October 08, 2015


Progress continues. Firstly, the spine of the utility was finished, then the Gorse Fox put down the landscaping fabric under the dining deck. That was an awkward task. Though the day had been totally still, as soon as he started to unreal the fabric, a breeze picked up and insisted that the fabric should actually be used as a kite, or a sail.
The Gorse Fox spread himself out across the black sail and hammered pegs into the corners. For every two pegs hammered in, one would hit a stone and refuse to go any further. It was going to be a test of patience. Eventually it was down, but then the Gorse Fox had to recheck that the deck was square (lifting the corners may have knocked it out of kilter).

The Gorse Fox then started to cut the ribs for the deck. It took a bit of fiddling about (and a couple of cutting errors). Once done, and errors corrected, the ribs were fitted. That was good morning's work.

After lunch the Gorse Fox decided that he would get all of the rest of the landscape fabric down. At this point the Silver Vixen's ears pricked up. Fabric! That's her domain. She got changed and came out to help with the measuring and cutting, and the fitting of the fabric under the frame. (She didn't pin it or stitch it, however).

Once that was complete, it seemed like a good point at which to call it a day.

Tomorrow's plan is to prepare and cut the ribs for the veranda deck... and then see how much progress can be made on the utility deck. The Gorse Fox has a degree of momentum, and the piles of wood on the front driveway are slowly disappearing (though there are huge mounds of sawdust forming in the garage).

Noon Image: 8 Oct 2015

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


The Gorse Fox has spent the day working on the decking project. As described yesterday, the Gorse Fox started with a trip to Screwfix and then got started on the framing of the verandah deck. This took most of the morning, but eventually it was done and the diagonals were checked to ensure it was square.

The ledger boards were then fitted to the west wall of the Orangery and the south wall of the garage. Then Gorse Fox laid out the frame for the final module (the utility deck). A couple of hours later the basic from was complete (and square). By then it was approaching four-thirty and it was starting to spit with rain. This seemed like a good hint to pack it in for the day.

Hopefully tomorrow will be as productive. The plan is to complete the spine of the utility deck, then having laid the landscaping fabric, start on fitting the joists (ribs) of the frames.

Noon Image: 7 Oct 2015

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


The Gorse Fox has spent much of the day dodging showers. Despite the interruptions he has managed to get the first module of the deck framed and squared off (this is known as the dining deck). The second module is underway, but several torrential cloudbursts put paid to his enthusiasm. In the end he called it a day and came in for a hot shower.

Plan for tomorrow is a quick trip to Screwfix. The Gorse Fox has decided that the way he was trying to blind-fix the outer joists to the posts is not practical. As a result, Plan B, requires some 140mm screws, which do not currently sit within his collection. Armed with said screws the posts will be fitted to the ledger board of the second module (the verandah deck, as the Gorse Fox has christened it). Then the rest of the second module will be framed out.

Noon Image: 6 Oct 2015

Monday, October 05, 2015

Decking Project

The Gorse Fox was ready. The deck sub-frame design was stuck to the window, the joists all identified, and the cutting list was printed and displayed below.

Thumbs were twiddling... the timber was still in transit.
The phone rang. It was the delivery driver. He was in the area, but couldn't find us on his map. The Gorse Fox gave him instructions. Three minutes later he was pulling up outside.

The Gorse Fox was expecting him to deposit the timber on the pavement and assumed he would spend the rest of the afternoon moving it round onto the drive.

Fortunately the truck had a Hilift crane and was able to lift both bundles of timber and place them straight onto the driveway. That was a result.
Well that is one and three quarter tonnes of timber. The Gorse Fox has to turn this into a pile of sawdust, offcuts, and (somehow) a deck.

The Gorse Fox got started. The first ledger board was cut, and the first boundary beams sized and cut.

The ledger board was levelled, screwed, checked, unscrewed, re-levelled, re-screwed and prepared for fixing to the wall. Progress... but slow progress.

Noon Image: 5 Oct 2015

Tick, tick, tick

The Gorse Fox is still waiting for the arrival of the timber. As it's pouring with rain at the moment, he isn't too disappointed that it hasn't turned up, yet. Trouble is that he is eager to get started.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Test again

The Gorse Fox has tried a new blog app for his Kindle Fire. This was the one missing app.


The Gorse Fox is between project phases so made the most of the opportunity to play some football. It was a strenuous 5-a-side. The Gorse Fox's team was the weaker which made the work a lot harder. The Gorse Fox did manage to score several goals, and stopped quite a few, but still ended up on the losing side.

Thinking of the next phase of the project, the Gorse Fox had find some spacers tat would holder the ledger board away from the house and allow water to drain down between the house and the new deck. The recommendation is 10mm. Finding 10mm spacers with an internal diameter of 12mm is a challenge. The solution was simple, and suggested by a neighbour. The Gorse Fox bought some 15mm copper pipe and cut it into 10mm lengths. Voila, we have spacers.

Now we just await the delivery of the wood tomorrow.

Noon Image: 4 Oct 2015

Saturday, October 03, 2015


It is a long time since the GF has tried posting from his Android phone. He thought it sensible to remind himself how it works, hence this post.

Noon Image: 3 Oct 2015

Friday, October 02, 2015


Travis Perkins arrived just after seven a.m., there would be no hanging around for the Gorse Fox today. Four 150x47 at 3.6m and five 125x47 at 3.6m. Girding his loins, the Gorse Fox headed out into the bright morning sunshine and started up the workshop vacuum and the saw. The four cross beams were cut to size and shaped, and 3 temporary bearers were screwed in position on the uprights. The beams were offered up, and holes drilled from side to side. Coach bolts were hammered through and tightened. Voila, the beams were fixed.

Next the joists were cut to size and the ends shaped. These had to be notched to fit over the beams. The Gorse Fox clamped them together and marked up the cuts. Then he had to use the hand-held circular saw. A series of parallel cuts were made and a storm of sawdust was created. The Gorse Fox was covered from head to foot. This was time to dust down and get lunch.

After lunch, the notches were hammered out and the joists positioned. It didn't take too long to get it finished by then. The Gorse Fox had just got down from fitting the last screw when the Silver Vixen got home, so timed it to perfection.

The screens are finished, and the pergola is finished. The Gorse Fox has a quiet weekend planned, then Monday sees the arrival of the wood for the deck. (Hence the carefully framed photos, not showing the void where the deck will be).

Noon Image: 2 Oct 2015

Thursday, October 01, 2015


The Gorse Fox made a prompt start. The screens started yesterday were extended downwards (after we had decided that they needed more depth). Then, new slats were cut, ends sealed and holes drilled. The next two screens were underway. This did require a trip to Screwfix, however, as the design change had pushed the Gorse Fox beyond the contents of a single box of screws. Whilst out, he stopped at Travis Perkins and ordered the wood required for the pergola. Hopefully, this will arrive tomorrow morning and the Gorse Fox can get the pergola finished over the weekend.

Once back home, it didn't take long to complete the last of the screens.

The man from Amazon arrived with our new hose cassette. This was fitted and tested. Such progress! The Gorse Fox isn't sure what's come over him. He is, however, worried about the sheer volume of wood due to arrive on Monday - and where it will go.

Noon Image: 1 Oct 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Eventually the timber arrived. The Gorse Fox shifted it into the garage and then got started. There are five panels to the screen, but the Gorse Fox was only working on three today. He needed to start in the corner and work out. In the corner the bars of the screen needed to be woven, right, then left, then right and so on. Even three panels required sixty bars cut to size. These were then sealed (to stop water ingress at the cut ends), and a template used to ensure all the screws lined up.

Working from the top down, the Gorse Fox started to weave the bars together and checked with a spirit level. Working from the top is more difficult, but is necessary to ensure that the end result looks right.

The Gorse Fox made a lot of progress, but will need to continue the project tomorrow in order to get it finished. It's a shame the morning was lost waiting for the timber. It did, however, give the Gorse Fox the opportunity to do the final detailed design of the pergola.

Noon Image: 30 Sep 2015


The Gorse Fox is irritated. Travis Perkins usually deliver very early in the morning. They were unable to deliver the screen timber yesterday, so the Gorse Fox has been up and raring to go since before seven.

Nine-thirty and still no timber.

The Gorse Fox phoned. They confirmed that the Gorse Fox will be getting a delivery but they have scheduled it for after lunch. This means that a) he has not been able to get cracking, and b) he has missed Wednesday's football unnecessarily.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Screen test

It has been a frustrating day. The Gorse Fox was just too late with his order to get the timber delivered to allow him to start on the additional screens that need to be built.

He had to hang around to monitor the collection of the skip, left by the landscapers. (So there was no football for the Gorse Fox, today). It would have been an ideal opportunity to crack on with the screens. Instead he spent the time setting up the saw, measuring and re-measuring the lengths needed, and pondering the fine details of the deck-build sequence. As some areas will be fairly inaccessible, they will have to be fixed before the frame is positioned.

Meanwhile, the Silver Vixen was deciding on the positioning of some of the plants that will fill the garden, and also clean the pots in which they stand. It is looking even better now than when finished last night. There's more depth and more points of interest.

Noon Image: 29 Sep 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

End of Phase

The main landscaping phase of the garden project is now complete.

We are delighted with the result, but will have to wait for the delivery of the wood for the deck. That won't be with us until next Monday. That delay will give the Gorse Fox a chance to order some wood for the screening that will be in the bottom corner of the garden.

For now we have the slate and the Cotswold stone in place, we have the path weaving through it, and we have the rill with a small water chute. Very satisfactory, and something new for Jasper, the cat, to explore.

Noon Image: 28 Sep 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Oh dear

The Gorse Fox met up with his team and we drove up to the Powerleague Centre at Croydon. Today was the day. We had the regional heats of the National Walking Football Tournament. The winners today would go through to the quarter finals.

We started well, we turned up on time. Then we got better, we had remember our kit, and managed a team photo. Then came the bit where we had to play football against 4 other teams. We drew the first game. The Gorse Fox was not playing well. In fact he was pants. He put it down to nerves, but that is no excuse. He was pants.

That draw was the highlight of the day, as we lost all of our other games. Our star player was our goalie, without whom we would have been humiliated. Putting a positive spin on it, at least we won't have to travel up north for the quarter finals!

Noon Image: 27 Sep 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

New Project Phase

It was a lovely morning and with the patio now complete, it seemed like a good spot to sit and have coffee this morning (even if much of the rest of the garden still looks like a battlefield).

The last few months have clearly been the design phase of the project. (This was, obviously, preceded by the project outline, going out to tender, and supplier selection). The last week or so has been in the hands of the supplier, and the Gorse Fox has only had to worry about contract management of the supplier delivery. Today, however, we start a new phase. It is overlapping the end of Supplier Delivery, but it was clearly a good point at which to start our own Development Phase.

The materials for the first part of the Development Phase arrived on Friday. The Gorse Fox started the day by calibrating the new saw (checking that vertical was vertical, that 90 degrees was 90 degrees, and that the sighting laser was spot on where the cuts would be made). Then measuring twice, he set the length stop to right position and started cutting the wood for the first of several screen. Once cut, a template was laid on each end so that pilot holes could be drilled in the right place. Next, the cut ends were treated with a tanalising agent... and we were ready to go.

About a hour later, the job was done. The first module was tested (visually and with a spirit level) and delivered.

The next stage awaits delivery of the Scandinavian redwood, and the Gorse Fox can't order that until he is sure that the landscapers and their skip are off-site.

Noon Image: 26 Sep 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Almost done

The landscapers cracked on.

The planter received its coping slabs and the patio was completed. All the pointing was done. It's turning out even better than we had hoped.

The lads are pretty sure that will be finished by close of play on Monday, and the skip, which is still sitting proudly on our drive, will probably go on Tuesday.

Once the Gorse Fox is certain of the timing he will order the wood for the decking. (He needs to make sure he has somewhere for the wood to be stored until it is used... and that will probably take a week or two, at least)

The Gorse Fox also made a trip to Screwfix to pick up the remainder of the coach screws, and fixings which were not available yesterday. He also had a bit of an Eureka! moment, when it dawned on him how much sawdust was about to be created. He bought a cheap workshop vacuum cleaner that he hopes to connect to the exhaust port of the saw in order to capture the sawdust as it is created. Time will tell if this works or not.

The Jane and Trevor arrived late in the afternoon. He had been visiting a client on the South coast and we had arranged for them to swing by on the route home. It was lovely to see them, as always. Among the gifts that Jane was clutching was a box full of old family photos. Many of these the Gorse Fox had never seen before - and, indeed, many he was in (but only remembers some of them). Come the winter, the Gorse Fox's scanner will be working hard, he suspects. All of these need to be captured, dated, and identified for the future.

After a chat and some tea and scones we wandered round the emerging garden to explain what was going on then we all headed out to a nearby restaurant of supper. The restaurant itself was lovely, but the food was, at best, average. The Gorse Fox is not sure that we will return.

Noon Image: 25 Sep 2015