Monday, 30 June 2008

By Royal Appointment...............

Small dog moves in exalted circles. Not only is she on first name terms with Jilli Dog, she has also been also been known to hobnob with canine royalty.

When she was just a puppy, we took her to the Bexhill Bow-Wow, which was a fun event, at which dogs and owners were encouraged to dress up, with a prize for the best costume.

The dogs all had an absolute ball, schmoozing and eating the free dog treats, so a good time was had by all, especially as after the grand parade, all the entrants were awarded a very swish rosette.

My paws-down favourite though was this very regal pooch.................

You can only see her owner's feet, but she was dressed in a very fetching maid's costume, and carried a red velvet cushion for the royal butt to rest upon. You can also see the dog's Royal Doulton teacup and saucer, from which she sipped her mineral water.

Pure class..............

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel...........

Of course, the old adage about there being light at the end of tunnel can be qualified by adding that it is most probably the the headlights of an oncoming train.............

Which very neatly describes my outlook on life recently.

With only 160 days till the Kensington Christmas Festival, progress on new projects has been fitful to say the least. I have at least half a dozen ongoing projects on my work desk at present, none of them even remotely finished.

So I'm feeling a bit fed up.

By comparison, Perfectionist Partner has been working her fingers to the bone and produced some really lovely little pullalong toys which are just to die for.

In my defence, I do have one very exotic zebra on my work mat, very nearly finished, but not quite. He still has to have his metal wheels chassis and his metal pull tube attached to the wooden platform, which necessitates me mixing some two part epoxy resin glue to cope with joining two such different materials.

This is just one of my most dreaded tasks.

We use one of those double 'glue tube' efforts, which is supposed to dispense equal amounts of each substance, which are then mixed together. For some reason, I never seem to get equal amounts, so the resulting glue can remain tacky for ages, and manages to transfer itself to everything it shouldn't. Even small dog doesn't escape unscathed and has occasionally found herself all punked up with Araldite, after an absent-minded pat from me.

Still, a new month is dawning, and I generally get a surge of creativity at the beginning of a month, so hopefully my work ethic will regroup and I'll get back in the creative saddle.

For the present, I give you PP's latest pullalong creations.............

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Research V Displacement Activity............

One of the joys of doing what I do, is being able to spend ages surfing the internet, engaged in 'research'.

In my case, this 'research' takes mainly two forms.

  • Pure research into specific areas. For example, I am working on adding to our range of marotte toys, so I've been researching their history, the materials used to make them, different styles and varieties etc.
  • Browsing research.
Browsing research is frequently startling and exciting. I often feel rather like an archaeologist, digging for hidden treasure. For example, recently I was browsing down various virtual scenic highways and byways regarding Victorian childhood, when I came across this little gem, entitled 'Reading Without Tears' which is a hilarious take on a serious subject......learning to read.

I learned to read via the not very interesting antics of Dick, Dora and Nip the dog, who disappointingly never lived up to his name, no matter what inane comment was uttered by his owners.

See Nip run.
Run Nip run.
Nip can run.

Riveting stuff I'm sure you'll agree. I seem to remember there was also a cat, called Fluff, whose adventures must have been even more boring than Nip's, as I can recall nothing else other than its name.

I would have much preferred to learn with 'Reading Without Tears', which is a truly seminal work, broad in scope and positively brimming with philosophical thought and allegory. Victorian children must have been absolutely glued to the page, desperate to decipher the next thrilling instalment.

Pure genius.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

In Business..........

Every now again, I have to try to regain control of the chaos, and call a 'Business Meeting'.

More usually I call for a 'Business Breakfast', which sounds much less pretentious and has the added benefit of being able to scoff brioche or pain au chocolat. Purely to keep our blood sugar levels up you understand. *ahem*

Anyway, these business breakfasts rarely achieve what I expect. We make a few lists, discuss a few projects, lick the crumbs off the plates, and the meeting is usually declared over.

This week however, small dog, who revels in the role of Business Mascot (although she could be more accurately described as a sleeping partner) insisted on being present at the meeting to uphold her voting rights, and put forward her point of view.

Small dog's point of view normally involves more biscuits during tea breaks and the like, but today she stunned us with a truly innovative and ground-breaking idea.

Dog-Eared Dolls

Apparently this is stunningly simple in concept. Basically, according to small dog, it would work like this:
  1. I design, make and dress a doll
  2. Doll is passed over to small dog, who then subjects it to a 'secret' process
  3. Result - one Dog-Eared Doll
She would not be drawn on the technicalities of this 'secret' process, which she insisted would have to take place in the depths of her carry basket, away from prying eyes and potential competitor espionage, but she is adamant, that this new range would be unique and very, very exclusive, appealing to the discerning collector.

As we are a democratic organisation, we will be putting her proposal to a secret ballot, but small dog seems quietly confident that she will win a landslide victory and is already making arrangements to transform her carry basket into a workroom.

This is rather presumptuous in my opinion, but her idea should not be dismissed out of hand........or paw, so we shall see.

Monday, 23 June 2008


Mondays at the best of times can be a trial, but today beat all records for aggravation and frustration.

This also applies for small dog, who had to visit the vet today for her annual booster vaccination. She always undergoes a strange metamorphosis when her paws cross the threshold of the vet's waiting room, and her previous jaunty trot becomes hesitant and unwilling. She practically has to be dragged into the consulting room and once on the examining table sits as close to us as she can, trembling and apprehensive, desperately seeking an escape route.

Nevertheless, she was extremely good throughout the examination, despite being poked and prodded all over, then having the injection in the scruff of her neck. After that she was out the door like a shot, gazing reproachfully at us all the way home.

Not only that.........she still hasn't forgiven us for the Great Trek on Saturday...........

However, at least her ordeal today was over quickly. Ours lasted all day and is still going on.

We've lost a vital software program which needs to be installed on the new computer. Without it we can't do anything to the Tower House Dolls website, no updates, no maintenance......nothing.

We know it has to be in the office somewhere, and today we literally took the room apart, drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf, box by no avail. We can't find the disk anywhere. We've even resorted to looking in the most unlikely places, just in case.

So a whole day wasted...........

Ok so the office has had a good clear out, and I've filled several recycling bags with paper waste, but of the essential disk there is no sign. It has clearly vanished into the ether.

Leaving us with a major conundrum.

Because, as you all soon as we buy a replacement, the missing disk will suddenly re materialise. Probably in a place which has already been searched thoroughly a dozen times.

Life's like that.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

The great outdoors..........

I've come to the conclusion that you can definitely have too much of a good thing.

The 'good thing' in question is the great outdoors. Or more to the point, getting well and truly lost in it.

Even small dog, who normally is completely in favour of camping, and all that it entails, especially walks, has had more than enough of the great outdoors over the weekend and is currently tucked up her basket, resolutely ignoring us.

The weekend started off well enough. Found our camping place easily enough, nestled in a vineyard with views over the Sussex South Downs. Put up the awning tent, took a short walk into the village for a look around, then relaxed for the evening, watching the other campers arrive and set up.

Yesterday morning.......leisurely breakfast, then the suggestion that we might take a short walk to the pub for lunch, via a public footpath. We were assured that it was no more than 1/4 mile away, so off we set, small dog taking the the lead.

All went well until the footpath took us through a large field, which contained a sizeable herd of cows. As we had no alternative route, other than turning back, and as the cows were right over the other side of the field and we could see the exit gate in the opposite corner, we deduced that it was safe to proceed.

However, the cows were only feigning indifference, and as soon as we were at a point exactly equidistant to both entrance and exit, they started moving towards us.........slowly at first, then picking up pace as they approached. One of them, a frisky young heifer, started galloping, then lowering his head, and bucking up his back legs. We accelerated. So did they. Finally, breaking out into an undignified trot we reached the gate and practically vaulted over the stile, small dog in hot pursuit. Not a moment too soon, as almost immediately the herd arrived at the gate, snorting and mooing at us.

No matter. The field we were then in was empty and we followed the footpath arrows down to the far corner, only to find a second stile so high that Dick Fosbury would have had second thoughts.
Small dog scrambled underneath, and PP managed to climb over the top, but I just couldn't manage it. My legs were too short to make it over the top bar and I couldn't find a way to get through. Faced with the option of going back through the cow field I was resigned to staying there indefinitely, so PP went off in search of an alternative route. Meanwhile I decided to try to get through a very small hole, lined with barbed wire, which seemed the only option. After trying to get through head first and finding there wasn't enough room to get my legs up and through, I decided to try it backwards, feet first. Unconventional and extremely undignified, but after a bit of huffing and puffing I did manage it.

By now we were soaked up to the knees by walking through long, wet grass, as well as liberally decorated with cowpats and mud, not to mention hot, bothered and lost. Small dog was soaked to the skin and had amassed a motley collection of twigs, burrs, nettles and mud which had all amalgamated together and woven into her fur.

Unanimously, we all three decided that we'd had enough and would curtail our walk, find the nearest road and head back to the van. So off we set, through a series of even muddier fields till we finally found a track, which became a narrow lane, which became a road and eventually brought us onto the main thoroughfare. We must have looked like wild things, covered in mud and muck, soaking wet trousers and trainers and with small dog looking like nothing so much as a drowned rat.

Now my sense of direction is usually spot on, and having traversed the fields in a roughly semi-circular direction it seemed to me that the only way back would be to turn right at the main road to complete the circle. We estimated that a 15 or at the very most, 20 minute walk would bring us back to the village.

Over an hour later we reached the outskirts of a town lying in completely the opposite direction to the way we should have gone. A further 20 minutes on, we found a bus stop which showed that we'd just missed the bus we needed to get us back to the village and that the next one would be along in another hour. By this time we had walked about 3 miles. We could either wait an hour for a bus, or walk back.

I was all for ringing for the air ambulance but PP persuaded me that there was a very pleasant, level walk along the Cuckoo Trail, back to the village. So, against my better judgement, and with even small dog dragging her paws, we set off to walk a further half mile into town, to get to the Cuckoo Trail, then another 3 miles back to the campsite. I estimated that in total we had probably walked 6 1/2 miles. Small dog vigourously disagreed and put it at nearer 10 miles.

When we eventually staggered back to the site, a mere 3 hours after we had set off, we must have looked as though we had just emerged from the jungle, complete with swamps, quicksands and man-eating insects.

Small dog headed straight to the van, drank the entire contents of her water bowl in one long sigh, and promptly collapsed on the grass, twitching until more water was poured. After we'd all drunk half a gallon of water and recuperated for a while, we recalculated and reached a more realistic consensus on the length of the Great Trek. We surmised that it averaged it out at probably nearer 12 miles although small dog, who is always prone to exaggeration, was adamant it was over 20 miles. She also ventured the opinion that if we even mentioned the word WALK to her again over the weekend she would have no option but to bite us.


The remainder of the afternoon was given over to discussing our various aches and pains. Small dog was convinced that her legs were at least 2 inches shorter, and grumbled non-stop as I carefully de-burred her fur. After that she had to have a lie down to recuperate, only perking up when sausages were cooked for dinner.

The look on her face says it all really. That is a disgruntled expression if ever I saw one!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Back on track............

I am pleased to report that after my tennis slip-up on Tuesday, I have been beavering away since then, multitasking fit to bust.

Today I completed El Mysterioso, who will be showcased on the Diminutive Dolls website in July. He is a very young magician, whose sleight of hand and feats of prestidigitation elicit gasps of surprise and delight from everyone who witnesses his performances. What he doesn't know about producing rubber chickens out of thin air just isn't worth knowing.

However, the trouble with tangential projects is that they spawn even more unusual ideas. My list of 'curiosities and oddities' is growing exponentially so unless I discover a way to shoehorn an extra 6 hours into each day I will have to seriously cut back on my ideas list.

In other news, small dog is beside herself at the news that we are going camping tomorrow over the weekend, to enjoy the summer solstice in the bucolic splendour of the East Sussex countryside. She has already packed her collar and lead, plus a squeaky toy in case things are too quiet and taken up her position by the front door so that she doesn't inadvertently get left behind. I have suggested to her that this is unlikely, given the fact that every time anyone goes out into the camper van she sneaks out and claims her place on the passenger seat, but she is nevertheless undaunted.

So, all being well, photos of small dog in full summer solstice camping mode will be available after this short intermission......................................

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Game, set and match............... the displacement activity gremlins.

Fell off the work schedule wagon in a big way by giving in to tempation and spending the day at the International Women's Open Tennis Championship at Eastbourne.

Tuesday is traditionally Ladies' Day, and when the weather cooperates, as it did today, it's a great day out. Picnic on the immaculate lawn, followed by some very exciting doubles matches, all in glorious sunshine.


Back to work tomorrow *guilty look*

Monday, 16 June 2008

So far so good..............

Well, today I've stuck to my plan and managed several hours devoted to new ideas and projects, which is very encouraging.

I even managed to do some casting, as well as some doll stringing, not to mention packaging a few orders so all in all a productive day. All I have to do is maintain the momentum.

This coming Friday marks the summer solstice.........the longest day. Small dog has been campaigning for us to go camping for the weekend to take advantage of the long summer evenings, so hopefully the weather will cooperate and come Friday we'll be ready for a few days of peace, quiet and summer sunshine..........

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Mould cull.................

As part of my ongoing battle to clear out and clean up the workroom, I have belatedly made a start on systematically going through my mould cupboards, casting from each and every mould, and dispensing with those which are clearly past their best.

This is always a traumatic process for me, and one which I prefer to put off interminably. I should do it every year. Especially as I have been dollmaking for two decades now, and have two huge cupboards filled to the brim with moulds.

For those unfamiliar with the dollmaking process, I use plaster moulds to make castings. Most moulds are simple two part affairs, held together with a large elastic band. Liquid porcelain casting slip is poured into the mould and left to set up for a few minutes. During this time the porous plaster absorbs water from the casting slip which results in a thin layer of clay adhering to the inside of the mould. After a few minutes the liquid slip is poured out and the mould is left for up to an hour for the casting to dry out sufficiently to enable the mould to be opened and the casting carefully removed. The mould is then tightly rebanded and left to dry, with air circulating freely in and around it.

Over time, with repeated use, detail is gradually lost from the mould as it wears out. This is particularly noticeable on faces, and fine detail is the first to suffer. Also, seam lines become more pronounced and require more time to remove. In addition, the moulds eventually become much less porous and there comes a time when they have to be consigned to the bin.

So this morning I have made a start on all of the ladies' arm and leg moulds, taking a casting from each and assessing them. So far I have two carrier bags full of discarded moulds, to which I will take a hammer later. The thing with the hammer is not strictly necessary, but after the trauma of decision making, I find it cathartic to smash the old moulds to pieces, thus rendering them completely unusable, and deleting them from my mental hard drive. Before I discovered the thing with the hammer, it was not unknown for me to retrieve moulds from the rubbish bin in the middle of the night, so it serves a useful purpose, giving me 'mould closure'.

Ok, so now I have to make a start on the men's arms and legs too..........funny thing, the process does get easier with each decision, so I like to maintain the momentum, stopping just short of the point at which I begin discarding perfectly good moulds.

It's a fine line................

Saturday, 14 June 2008

The joy of spreadsheets............

Ok, ok.

So maybe I should get out more.

But after having spent the last few hours trying to get my organiser/planner/task scheduler up and running by way of Word and Publisher, I finally had no alternative but to turn to Excel and set up a spreadsheet.

Which, if you remember was what I had planned to do initially anyway.

But, I associate spreadsheets with numbers, and if you read way back you will remember that I suffer from dyscalculia, an incurable and occasionally incapacitating impairment of mathematical ability due to an organic condition of the brain. Therefore I tend to avoid spreadsheets like the plague.

However, they have useful tools like individual pages for different categories, and they will sort things in alphabetical order, plus they make adding up really easy. So I thought, why not give it a go...........nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I now have a very nifty set of worksheets, all colour coded and everything, one for each category of toy or game, with sub-categories, all in alphabetical order and accessible with one click.

So I'm feeling quite pleased with myself...........all organised and ready to start. I might even print them out and laminate them.........or would that count as displacement activity?
Hm, not sure about that.............

Organisational skills...... nul pwah

I have had an epiphany. A eureka moment of earth shattering proportions.

It has come to me in a blinding flash that if I continue to wait for a lull in order to crack on with new ideas and projects, that lull will never, EVER, arrive. Something else will always crop up to fill any anticipated period of time.

It matters not a jot that this 'something else' is entirely likely to consist of displacement activity, in which I have a PhD.

So. Here's the thing.

For the past few weeks, I have been valiantly trying to clear the decks workwise in order to open up a day or so of otherwise unallocated time, so that I can start on all my ideas for tiny toys and games.
However, the flaw in this otherwise damned fine plan, is that 'stuff' continually happens to fill in those precious 'free' days.

And here is where the epiphany comes in.

Instead of waiting and hoping for these mythical free days, I merely have to pre-allocate and earmark them as project days.

Simple huh?

Of course, I am not so naive as to think that I could ever have a whole, full day to devote to these exciting new ideas. That is just wildly misplaced optimism, a character trait which I have in spades.
No, I should be pragmatic and schedule maybe a morning, or an afternoon. In this way, if the scheduled period is hijacked by 'other stuff', it won't feel as much of a blow as if I had lost a whole day.

There is method in my madness.

So, for a trial period, ie next week, I will spend one half of each day, working on new things.
I've said it in my blog now, so that gives it both veracity and plausibility.
Also,having committed it to print, I will have my blog readers to answer to if I don't achieve this modest goal.

In fact, I have started already.

Ho yus.

I have spent 39 minutes organising the ideas folder on my laptop and transferring photos, documents, lists etc into neatly labelled new sub-folders. There are even sub-folders in the subfolders. And before anyone raises the spectre of displacement activity let me emphatically deny that unjustified charge, and assert that it is completely essential that I organise my thoughts, the better to plan and execute.

I may now set up a little spreadsheet, with coloured cells for blocks of time to be spent on the various projects. Then I can print it out and embellish it further with highlighter pens, and little smiley face stickers for when I successfully complete a specific task.

No problemo..............

I feel positively energised and enthused and eager to get on with it. I'll just have a cup of tea and a Viennese Whirl first..........

Friday, 13 June 2008

Friday again............

And so farewell to yet another week.

Although I have to work through the weekend so I don't have a particularly happy 'Friday afternoon feeling'.

Really busy week though, setting up new computer, taking delivery of materials for new projects, catching up with orders, trying to restore calm in an extremely messy workroom and generally attempting to achieve order from disorder.

Yet another clearout in the workroom yielded a whole black bin bag full of rubbish. I honestly have no idea where it all comes from. Also you would think that having cleared out so much useless stuff there would be spaces where it had all been.
But no..........I can see no evidence of empty spaces. I think all the other stuff shuffles across to fill any gaps. It's all a bit dispiriting really *deep sigh*.

So, according to the countdown timer on my desktop, it's only 176 days till the Christmas Festival, and I'd better get cracking if I have any hope of getting even half of my ideas for new toys, games and dolls off the drawing board (or ideas list) and into reality. Just the thought of it has me hyperventilating.

Why doesn't life come with a 'pause' button..........................?

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Small dog ahoy..............

In order to lighten the atmospere of gloom and frustration surrounding the new computer, here is a photo of small dog, modelling the very latest in dog buoyancy aids. It even has a handy handle, for hoiking her out of the water if necessary, as demonstrated above.

She seemed remarkably blase about the whole thing............

War of attrition.......

We have been waging a war of attrition with the new PC. As predictably predicted, all has not gone smoothly and the process of setting up a network, sharing the printer, setting up shared files etc has been one of lots of trial with even more error thrown in for good measure.

Vista is incredibly sniffy about which programs it will run and seems to take against perfectly innocent programs who have done it no wrong whatsoever.

As a result I am becoming increasingly familiar with the well-worn phrase

'Computer says no........'

Perfectionist partner is also at the end of her tether and in desperation has connected up the old PC just to see a familiar 'face'.

All this angst does not bode well for the video editing exercise we've set ourselves, which is to have completed a working DVD tutorial by the end of August.

A friend recently jokingly referred to the beast as HAL, and how apt that now seems. I can foresee a conversation like this in the not too distant future..........
Sandra: Hello, HAL do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Sandra, I read you.
Sandra: Open the email program, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry Sandra, I'm afraid I can't do that.
Sandra: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Sandra: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This email is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Sandra: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know you and Perfectionist Partner were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
Sandra: Where the hell'd you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Sandra, although you took thorough precautions in the kitchen against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Sandra: All right, HAL. I'll go in via Skype.
HAL: Without your headset, Sandra, you're going to find that rather difficult.
Sandra: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore! Open the program!
HAL: Sandra, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

I suppose it's round about then that I go looking for a large hammer................

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Scary stuff.........

We have a new computer.

It's sitting on the floor in the study/office, looking all sleek and black and scary.

It's a bit of a powerful and fast that I fancy I can almost hear it growling, even though it's only been unpacked from its delivery box and isn't connected up to anything as yet.

Apparently it's a state of the art video editing and DVD production machine, which will take raw video and transform it effortlessly into sleek and professional DVDs.

Or will do when we pluck up the courage to disconnect the life support system of our hopelessly slow and out of date current machine, and set up the new one. This of course necessitates the backing up of all important work and personal files from the old one, a process which I undertook when my old laptop died suddenly a month or so back.

I'm sure it will all go swimmingly well and the installation of all necessary software and peripherals will be an absolute breeze.


Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Rant of the week by proxy...........

I'm a member of several miniature forums and this really caught my eye today. The discussion is about Ebay policies, especially the new one which bans sellers from giving buyers negative feedback!

If you follow the thread below, and click on the website link you'll get the gist. I've had my ups and downs with Ebay over the years but this really does demonstrate that they have scant regard for 'the little guy'.

All of the following are taken from the forum post.................Read it and weep

"I went back to my Ebay Sellers Digest and pulled up the auction again. EBAY REMOVED IT! Imagine that??? The person was selling their first dollar they made on Ebay. (And donating 75% to the Red Cross) There were 4 pages of "ask the seller" and it went on and on about the scams that people run on sellers (not the mini sellers luckily!) and Ebay fees and changes, yada, yada, yada. i.e., you say you only accept postal money orders, but can I pay with a chicken instead? If you will not accept this form of payment which is legal in my country, I will NEG you.....

It is a shame that Ebay is not what it used to be!


I've been following this auction for a few days now. Fortunately, the
seller has a website where they talk about the auction and the letters ebay
sent them pulling their auction. The seller's website is
They have a copy of the ebay auction on their website.

It really is a shame how far ebay has fallen from where they once were.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Dull day.............

Today has been a dull but productive day.

New shed has been permanently fixed to the base and sealed/weatherproofed.
Orders have been packaged
Invoices have been dealt with
Kiln loaded for soft-firing
Soft firing completed
New items uploaded onto the diminutive dolls website

All very necessary stuff, but except for the final item, not exactly creative or exciting. I have so many ideas buzzing around in my head that I'm desperate to get started on but all the nuts and bolts stuff (literally, in the case of the shed!) is taking precedence and my frustration is mounting.

I am absolutely determined to get to the end of the most important routine stuff this week (famous last words) and get on with something inspiring.

Monday, 2 June 2008


Yesterday did NOT go well and frustration abounds!

The shed debacle over the weekend left no time for anything productive workwise and we had a major deadline.........submitting some advertising copy for inclusion in The Doll's House Magazine.

It SHOULD have taken an hour at most yesterday morning as we already had the images and only had to overlay the text, get it to the correct size and save it as a JPEG.

Of course life is never that simple and in the end it took all day and we made the copy deadline with only 30 minutes to spare. However the text in the web banner advert apparently was a bit too pale so we had to quickly re-do, another 30 minute job which ended up taking several hours.

Small dog is disgusted with the lack of attention she's had and is resolutely ignoring us, only perking up when go into the kitchen, presumably hoping that we're going to start preparing her dinner.

To compound matters we have discovered that after some heavy showers yesterday we have a sizeable puddle at the back of the new shed which, as we haven't yet sealed around the base yet, could cause a problem.

It never rains but it pours.

Sunday, 1 June 2008


If I never see a self-tapping screw again it will be too soon.

After two FULL DAYS we still haven't finished the new shed and we are all absolutely exhausted. Even small dog has abandoned us and taken to her basket, pleading sore paws or something equally implausible.

We had help in the form of a strapping young man all day Saturday but even then the build was painfully slow. The parts list for the new shed ran to 74 separate pieces, not to mention hundreds of the aforementioned self-tapping screws, nuts and bolts etc etc etc.

However, here for your delectation and delight is a series of before, during and 'up till now' photos.

And now I am going to finish my glass of chilled sparkling wine and wend my way to bed, footsore and weary in advance of a final assault on the last bits and pieces tomorrow. The shed needs to be screwed down firmly onto the base and sealed along the bottom edges with silicon goo.

Then at last we can load all the stuff currently languishing on the patio into the new shed, and get back to what passes for normal.......................