THE problem with having a roof is that eventually it will leak. Which explains why I was manhandling sheets of corrugated plastic onto the top of Cobweb Castle’s garage over the weekend.
I should take this opportunity to apologise to our neighbours who may have heard some fruity language drifting down from above as I wrestled with the wind and stubborn ridge tiles.
It was, of course, a race against time. What you don’t want is a thunderstorm while you have half a roof off. Alas, despite global warming, rain is still part of the British summer.
The garage, a sort of do-it-yourself concrete affair, has done pretty good service but the pressed concrete roof had come to the end of its useful life and was letting in rain.
This might not have been a problem if we used the garage to house a car as it had been intended. But over the years the Roller (OK, Ford Focus) has been forced out by bits of wood, old chairs and rolls of carpet which may come in handy one day.
Because of the weather, I decreed that the Great Roof Swap must happen in one day. But things never quite go according to plan.
For a start, it took me the best part of a morning to drag everything out into the garden. Once the old roof sections had been stripped off we reached the point of no return.
It was then that I turned to the universe for answers to philosophical questions like: why don’t roof sheets all come in the same size?
The first hurdle was discovering that although the original roof had seven sections each side, the new sheets were narrower and so needed seven and a half. They were also four inches longer.
Now, you might think four inches would not make a big difference but it does when it overhangs the gutter.
I had also made the decision to have a translucent roof to let in the light. This turned out to be my first big mistake.
Has anyone tried cutting corrugated plastic? I started with a hacksaw but the knob on the end became stuck half-way through. So I upgraded to a fine-toothed jigsaw.
That was my second big mistake as the machine devoured its first sheet and left shattered shards on the lawn.
I went to B&Q for some advice. “You don’t want to use a hacksaw,” said the man.
“Or a jigsaw. You want one of these,” he said pointing some kind of flooring saw. I proudly took it home, asked Mrs Nurden to hold part of the sheet and told her: “Watch this, it will do the job.”
But it didn’t. It became stuck like the hacksaw then split the sheet like the jigsaw. Mrs Nurden watched, unmoved.
We eventually put the final pieces in place in the dark at midnight after being attacked by vampire mosquitoes. I am now waiting for dawn to see if the new roof works…