Monday 18 March 2013

Tunneling (2) The cover is on!

Out of nowhere a beautiful, warm, windless morning has us galvanized into action! We must grab the opportunity to play with the poly tunnel cover. You don't get many windless days here and we know that once we have started we really need to finish as we don't want any unfixed ends of plastic able to flap about should the wind get up tonight. First real job is to stick the anti-condensation "hot spot" tape to the arches and the ridge pole. We are pleased that the supplier has given us a roll for each arch and a roll for the ridge. We use up plenty of off cuts doing an extra pad around the diagonal stress bars and other areas where we are slightly worried that the plastic cover may chafe.

However, the plastic sheet has been in the carport being chilled by the frosty winds, so we decide that we will spread it out on the front lawn while we do the taping. It is 37 feet long and 22 or so wide. The plan is then to gather it up into a series of longways pleats from which we can launch the leading edge over the ridge followed by the rest of it.

Despite our bed making skills, we are 37 feet apart trying to make the pleats, so it is a bit of a struggle. Liz takes charge at this point; one 'boss' is enough for this stuff! With it pleated we then fold in two so that we know where the middle is and then roll ends to middle so that we can put the middle at the central arch and have, in theory, equal amounts of spare at either end. It is a fairly simple matter to launch the sheet across with me standing on a chair on some corrugated, to manage the high ridge-pole.

There is a handy 'ironed' pleat near the first edge to wrap around a lath as a start. We then pull it a bit tighter across the arches but then we must fix it at either end to make it taut longways before fixing down the northern side to another long lath. We now know why the instructions advise a three foot space all around - messing with big box pleats in acres of flappy plastic is a pain especially when we have only dug over (and drained) the boggy soil INSIDE the tunnel; the outside at the caravan end is still a quagmire and we have some fun falling in and out of that and squelching about while we play pleats.

I am constantly delighted that after so many years wed, Liz and I can still work brilliantly as a team and it definitely paid off here. You could not have done this single handed in anything like as little time. We'd started at about ten and by quarter past 1 we had all the pleating done and could retreat in for a coffee. My electric screw-driver battery was pretty much tired out anyway and needed a charge. We had intended to go to see the Patrick's Day Parade in Loughglynn, the local village, but that was due for 13:30 and we were muddy and tired at it was 13:15. We'll do that one in 2014, maybe.

After a dog walk (poor dogs had been so patient but we daren't let them out to watch as they'd be chasing roosters or geese or vanishing over the horizon!) and some soup for lunch, I had another little bash at the door, hanging it and giving it a plastic 'window' but then the screw driver died completely so we wedged the door shut with a stone and decided to call it a day. We will do all the fine tuning. bolt, trim off excess plastic and start worrying about paths and beds tomorrow.

So. There you go. You can see from the pictures that it is not perfectly taut but we are quite pleased with it for a first effort and we can take up some slack in the summer when the plastic is good and warm on a hot day by lifting the arches up to the next 'hole' on the foundation tubes. Meanwhile it is already a lot warmer in there than the outside world. Tonight the wind has got up and is blowing a chilly breeze from the West, so tomorrow I hope that we will find it still standing and also nice and warm inside. How's that for entertainment on a Monday morning?

1 comment:

Care Towers said...

anon - no, no problems here - it's loading and printing fine. Mark