Saturday, 10 November 2007

Saturday 10th November 07

Woke at 9 and rushed downstairs to have breakfast as I'd promised Frank at the allotment that I'd help him out at 9.30 with putting the roof on the new shed... shed is not really the right word, it's a substantial building for the shop and store. It has a flat roof which is designed to be 'living', ie have plants growing on it... so it needed some special preparation. There had been some rain during the night so the first thing was to sweep off as much water as possible... not easy as I only had a tiny broom, but did my best. Then a few bits of plastic sheeting to protect the butyl rubber sheet from splinters, then the very heavy butyl sheet, the sort of thing that's used to line ponds.

This had been cut to the right size and covered the roof perfectly with just a tiny overhang over every edge. On top of this went some felt geotextile and when that ran out, a volunteer went to get some more, but this was much thinner, althought still protected the butyl from the next layer, which was limestone chips, for drainage. This was mainly bucketed up (we did try using builders bags but they were too heavy with more than 3 buckets worth of stones in) using buckets and ropes. The stones were spread thinly, about 1cm thick on average, and on top of this was spread a good thick layer of a mix of loam, vermiculite, shredded softwood and the limestone chippings. Again, this was bucketed up with a team of perhaps 10 mixing, shovelling hauling up and spreading. I worked from 9.40 til 12.40, ended up knackered but having helped do the job. The roof will be planted up with sempervivums, or houseleeks, a lovely hardy rosetted succulent with good drought resistence, places for wildlife to hide, and super flower spikes which are a nectar source for bees etc. Should be lovely.

Got home to find Gill had made bread, so enjoyed sandwiches, then did emails and encouraged the boys to do their homework. My eldest finished his diagram of the water cycle so he was rewarded with coming down to town with me on the bikes, and we went to Cycle Heaven and I bought him a loud bike bell, which he's wanted for a bit since his last one fell to bits.

After this we went to Out Of This World, which is sadly closing today, and picked up some recyclables and then did a last shop there, for assorted stuff including the delicious vegan ice cream we all love. Met up with one of the directors and chatted with him, he's sad too as this business venture, started in 1995, has been put out of business by the main supermarkets, who can sell organic and fair trade goods more cheaply than the little co-operative with just a few shops.

A good cycle home, and the boys tea was nearly ready, but just enough time to have a game of picture consequences with the boys. All draw a head, leaving a neck available for the next person to continue, and fold the head back so the next person cannot see it, then pass it on. Each player gets a sheet with a neck to continue with a torso, leaving a pair of leag tops sticking out for the next player to do. Finally the drawer of the head gets their paper back and it can be unfolded to much hilarity.

I had my tea... some rather old nutloaf and two slightly out of date calzone pasties with leek and tomato sauce I made on the stove... filling and delicious.

A warm evening with the stove drying grapes into raisins!

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