A small engineering solution

Now that our water challenges are sorted, we’d like to keep a handy record of what our daily monitoring shows us, so that we will know early on if something goes amiss. The best place to put the tick sheet, and all the crucial instructions about what to do if something fails (two of us here have a pretty good idea, but guests, visitors, house watchers will not, if the water boys aren’t present) . . . the best place for these things is right on the opening door.

But the door opens right out into the howling gales, and if it should happen to be raining, all the papers will get soaked as well. This weekend, that’s exactly what transpired, to my chagrin. What to do, what to do?

The tried and true method of putting the tick sheet into a plastic sleeve is okay, but fiddly, since you have both to push-pin the envelope onto the door, and then prise the pins away before you can remove the paper, before you can begin to write. In my experience, whatever gets in the way of making a quick note will mitigate against even bothering. Moreover, the wind will tear the sheets off the push-pins, willy-nilly, and that’s even more frustrating. In one of those episodes where small-scale engineering challenges hit the fragile buffers of my dwindling mental capacity, I felt rather stymied.

I decided to take the problem to my snooze bed with me; just as I dropped off into my energising power nap, I put the pieces together to come up with what I hoped would be a reasonable solution. And slept like a happy baby until awakening with an alacrity I’d forgotten I could possess.

First things first, I thought. This work would be too challenging to accomplish while the wind swirls about, so why don’t I fashion a simple wooden handle with which to pull the door to, from the inside! We’ve lived with this water shed for decades, but never felt bothered to install such a thing, on our rough-and-ready construction. Moreover, I know I can source any number of handles on eBay, but I can’t wait that long, and furthermore, it’s late Sunday afternoon and no shops are open. A simple wooden handle made out of three pieces of lathe should suffice, and sure enough, after a bit of sawing, and two quick screws with my trusty portable drill, I gently but firmly pulled the door to, so that I could work in relative calm.

I’d already retrieved a large piece of tough plastic from one of our earlier polytunnel repairs, and fixed it with sturdy screws to the top of the door. Now, unbuffeted by the wind, I clamped two pieces of lathe on either side of the sheet’s bottom, screwing them together. Adding two more screws driven in only half-way, and a pair of hooks below that had been left over from some earlier job, I pulled the plastic taut by means of two stout rubber bands.

Then I carefully opened the door to the gales without. Success! The plastic held strongly, protecting the fragile paper sheets behind; it would do the same in heavy rain as well. To prove the convenience to myself, I closed the door again from within, unsnagged the rubber bands, lifted the plastic sheet and noted the status of the fresh water on the tick sheet, before re-snagging the rubber bands, turning off the light, and closing the door with a flourish from outside. Job done.

These are small, almost inconsequential matters that can scarcely be thought of as engineering, but they make life work, up here, and if successful can be a very satisfying result of a little mental pre-occupation. Now then, ‘When did we last rinse that pre-filter out?’ Time alone will tell if we are as diligent as we should be in our water monitoring efforts.

Meanwhile, Carrie is laughing like a drain at my engineering solutions — why is that?

1 Comment

  1. Well now Larry, you could always ask your friendly local charity, Fawside, to laminate the sheets – and print them single sided.

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