A Brief Window of Opportunity

Today was a busy day! Cliff had found a gorgeous window to replace the ancient and rotting window frame and broken glass panels. I arrived before Cliff and headed up to Liz and Sarah’s plot to say hello. I found them both having a chat in the shed and discussed with them their plans for the day. Our conversation had regular breaks as Daisy demanded our undivided attention. She really is a delightful dog. Over in the distance, we heard some banging and I wondered what it was until Sarah spotted Cliff bashing out the old window. Leaping up, I ran to the shed to help!

In the half minute it took me to get to the shed, Cliff had completely removed the panes and rotting frame, leaving what seemed to be a massive hole in the front of the shed. Between us, we held the new window in place and marked out where we would need to cut down into the top panel beneath the level of the old window. Once it was all marked up and the window gently placed safely back on the ground, Cliff was struck by a sudden flash of inspiration. He disappeared off and returned with a piece of decking from his plot. Turning it so the grooves were facing downwards, he placed it on the bottom of the window frame, creating a small windowsill outside and a shelf on the inside. We measured it up and decided we would have to cut lower on the white wooden panel to account for the depth of the new windowsill. As Cliff tried to make the horizontal cut across the front, there was a loud cracking and the entire panel fractured. It’s hardly surprising as the shed is old. Between us, we took the panel off and stared at the significantly bigger hole. I love my shed and have every confidence in Cliff’s skills but I did have a couple of panicky moments when we had to prize off a different panel to trim it and when we realised there was a nearly two inch gap when the window and windowsill were installed.

I held the window in place as Cliff ran a clear silicone sealant around the outside of the window. A good deal will stop the minor leaks we have been having from the bottom left corner of the old window. For good measure, he also added sealant on the inside. Declaring it waterproof, I held the window in place as Cliff dashed off to find some wood to temporarily screw across the window to hold it in place as the sealant dried. Standing back I could immediately see that the shed looked so much better. The old window had glass panels stuck into place which made painting the wooden batons behind impossible. The whole old window frame was rotting and it just looked scruffy.

As I got busy lighting the stove for a hot chocolate, Cliff continued to work hard, installing a thick wooden beam on the inside of the shed to provide support for the windowsill as well as blocking the gap. In front, he added a thin spare shed slat which when painted will blend with the rest of the shed. On the sides and top, he added thinner wooden batons to box the window in fully. A final touch with some sealant and the job was done! I ran inside to see what sort of view I had, now that the shed had a good sized window. It makes an enormous difference!

On a roll, Cliff spotted the door had a gap to one side. After a swift inspection, he found that the bottom hinge has slipped, allowing the door to drop on one side. This is another source of damp getting into the shed. We took off the door, roved the bottom hinge and replaced it. For good measure, Cliff added a third hinge in the middle of the door. As we were about to put it back up, he noticed that the top of the door had been cut skewed. Off came the door again to be cut correctly. Mere minutes later, the top of the door was straight and Cliff had screwed it into place. Not happy with just putting in the window and fixing the door, he disappeared off to help Sarah with the wooden greenhouse which is turning into quite the project. Think of trying to assemble an enormous 3D puzzle with several broken pieces and no picture to work from.

By now, it had clouded over and I chose to run home for lunch and another jumper. When I arrived back, I set up the mini isolation coop in the greenhouse and went to collect Roxy. Poor thing had been quite severely bullied by the two larger birds over the last few days. I put her in much to the disgust of Leia and Lilja. Sadie didn’t seem to care. Leia shouted her disapprobation for a good half hour before giving up. Rolling my eyes, I grabbed some sandpaper and got busy with the new window frame.

Once the sanding was done, I looked for my paintbrush. I have two good quality ones…somewhere. But where had they gone? I searched and searched with no luck. Eventually, I walked down to Sarah and asked to borrow one of theirs before she left. Trudging back to the shed, I decided to have one final look. Murphy’s Law states that whatever you are looking for, you will find once you have borrowed it from someone else. Irritatingly, Murphy’s Law was correct and I discovered I had hung up the brushes neatly on the side of the shed. Muttering various admonishing phrases to myself about not looking properly, I made a start. The weather was closing in and I was worried about rain. Luckily, I managed to get two coats of navy paint onto the frame and the bottom of the new front panel before the cold drove me home.

As I was leaving, I went into the greenhouse and lifted the plant pot to see if we still had any mice living there. What I saw was two tiny bald and blind pink mice. They couldn’t have been more than half an inch long. I watched as Mum appeared and took them deeper into the nest, away from prying human eyes. With the four eggs I then collected from the greenhouse, I walked home with an astonishing eleven eggs!

The plan for tomorrow is to finish painting the window frame and bottom panel. I also want to finish painting the side of the shed next to the new compost heap. The base of the side is finally accessible and it desperately needs several coats of paint. If the mood takes me, I may also give the back of the shed a cost of paint.

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