Thursday, 12 December 2019

Taking on DIY into my 70th year

On Wednesday week before last, I turned 69. I had a really good birthday - with lots of phone calls, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers from our lovely daughter Kirsty. The flowers arrived the previous weekend because delivery wasn't available on my actual birthday.
Beautiful flowers - I am still 68 in this photo ...

And Salvi and Ann arrived on the afternoon of my birthday (a day late because of the storm over the South Island and Wellington the day before that had closed the airports and meant lots of cancelled flights - winds of 120kph at Wellington airport so not a good day to be flying ...).

There they are just off the train from Wellington - you can tell it was cold as no one was in shorts or short sleeves!
Joy and Autry came for dinner and the six of us had a lot of laughs. Even though all the food was vegetarian it was rather delicious - 3 curries. Joy made a fabulous dessert - lemon cheesecake with strawberries.

The following day Salvi and I got started on making shelves for the motorhome wardrobe. When we first got the motorhome, I had bought a tubular and plastic drawer unit to stand on the only shelf in the wardrobe, and we renamed it the pantry - we don't hang clothes in the motorhome (or the boat, for that matter). But we were finding that the articles in the drawers rattled a lot and I was concerned that the total weight of the unit and its contents was a too much of a load for the shelf.

I had measured up and bought:
  • the wood for 6 shelves (but I was only installing 5, however the ply was cut from a rectangular piece that was two shelves wide, so I've got a spare piece ...)
  • the battens to support them 
  • contact glue 
  • a new drill bit
  • wood screws
  • velcro
  • non-slip matting

Sanded and chamfered plywood shelves - you will note there are 6, hence my explanation above ;-)

So in the garage, utilising the earthquake kit chest as a bench, I drilled holes in the battens (using my dad's heavy duty drill - thanks, Dad) while Ann held everything steady, measured and marked up the wardrobe walls, glued the battens and the walls.
Holes drilled, glue applied, screws in - note the protective sheet on the motorhome's only useful bench space, i.e. the stove-top...

Cupboard is marked up with shelf positions. I photographed the electrical and fire safety instructions so David can print and laminate them, as required.

Working, boss!
Watching, boss!

First shelf in for a test run and looking OK, but a bit saggy - 7mm ply is rather flexible ...

And Salvi's job was to screw the battens to the walls while I sanded and chamfered the shelves. Slight problem in that the wardrobe is not square, so I got out my multi-tool and took a small piece out of one corner of each shelf with Ann holding them all steady. Job done. Ann also had the job of fitting the multi tool back in its box - my sister Dee will understand ...
Salvi is short, like me, so the stool came in handy ...
 The next day Ann and I attached velcro to the battens and to the shelves so that the shelves would be easily removed allowing access to the central heating tank at the back of the wardrobe. A friend John arrived and saw what we were doing, and suggested that we needed a batten across the bottom of each shelf to strengthen them and keep them flat when the weight of the contents is applied. Very good idea, John! So we kicked him out and headed to the hardware shop to buy some 18mm x 18mm wood. The guy (who did seem surprised that I knew the word chamfered - thanks, Dad) cut the battens to length for me; and home we went, to drill them and the shelves in pairs and to apply the glue.

While Ann and Salvi went out to visit Salvi's godfather's daughter at Charles Fleming retirement village, I screwed the shelves to the supporting battens. When they got home, Salvi's job was to get the screws seated down level with the shelves - my hands are not strong enough for that last couple of turns.
Just testing - yes, they work, and I won't need the old plastic drawers. That non-slip rubber works very well. But this was pre attaching a batten beneath the shelf - now there is no sagging at all!
 In between work and food, we managed to play quite a few games of 5 Crowns. I did not win any of them, dammit!! But Ann did win a couple so that was OK...

It was great having them to stay and our boating trip in The Netherlands is booked and the deposit paid. Ann and Salvi's flights between NZ and Amsterdam are also booked and paid for, as are David's and my flights between Birmingham and Amsterdam - that'll be a bit of deja vu for me as I used to fly there pretty much every week during 2007 when we were living in Church Enstone. Schipol is where I bought most of my Cow Parade cows - I do hope that gift shop is no longer there ...

In order to inculcate Ann and Salvi into Dutch food, I took them up to Foxton where we visited the Dutch cafe and the windmill. They needed to sample bittebollen, so we shared a plate of them, complete with mustard and mayo, in the cafe and then I purchased 2 tubs of them in the windmill shop. Yum!

Another treat booked and paid for is attendance at The Battle Proms at Blenheim Palace on 4 July. Not sure where we will be on the boat at that stage, but most likely somewhere near Berkhamsted, so we will hire a car from there and drive up and back.

The plans are coming together!!


Catherine VK4GH said...

We have just bought a 2nd hand small 5th wheeler with 2 hanging spaces, why? We have also put a shelf in one. That is going to be the linen cupboard shelf, and the lower one the dog paraphenalia and misc bags shelf.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Loved Foxton when we were there in 2016. Did you try the sweets Haagsche Hopjes? A very moreish coffee sweet that was given as a treat by mum for when my brother and I behaved! We hope to go back to get the dutch Mayonnaise when we arrive in that part of North Island, sometime in January. We should be toward your neck of the woods mid January so will email nearer the time to see if we can get together. Xxx

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Hi Catherine,
We keep our linen in one of the lockers under the lounge seating, but I'm planning on seeing if there is a better arrangement for some of the kitchen stuff that I have in the overhead lockers, i.e. moving it to my new shelves.
I too don't understand the desire to hang clothes. In the boat our wardrobes only have shelves (installed by the previous owners) and I don't miss hanging space. Anything that usually needs ironing gets folded carefully and then worn slightly wrinkled ...
Cheers, M

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

I am emailing you the instant I have written this comment - stand by ...