Monday, June 01, 2009


The greenhouse from hell
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Thomas and I have been building a greenhouse now for some months (15 to be precise but don't tell anyone). In general, I think we are both fairly clever people - we both have masters degrees, we can both do maths as well as languages. We should be able to rise to this challenge but my God this contraption takes the biscuit.
First time we built the frame in the winter last year it blew across the garden in a storm leaving pieces, nuts, bolts etc strewn all over the lawn. The instructions hadn't mentioned you needed to cement in the base before building the greenhouse. Of course in chicken and eggy way, you couldn't cement in the base till you checked the greenhouse fitted on it, but if you built it before the base was ready it blew round the garden snapping in pieces. The instructions are unimaginable. I may even feel compelled to scan them in to show you, they are so bad! Every one of the approximately 500 pieces has a number etched onto it - not a sequential one of course - random nonsense such as 10145, 10238 etc. So every time you try to put two bits together you have to go through all 500 and find the two pieces you need. Almost no pieces are the same. Even the pieces of glass came in 20 different sizes - they were just great - they didn't want to etch those so to find out which piece of glass was which you had to measure those with a ruler (to the nearest millimetre of course). That meant laying them all over the lawn and drawing ourselves a diagram of which piece corresponded to which bizarre 5 figure number. By the time we got the glass in (it took 12 hours on Saturday) the lawn was scorched and beyond repair. By 3pm on Saturday I was googling alternative greenhouses and taking the seats out my car with a view to driving this one to the dump and starting again... but Thomas persevered. Interestingly, the windows seem to be held in by paperclips and rubber shoes laces - I wonder if this is a standard design?
Now we've finally got it upright, there are of course 3 pieces missing - 2 panes of glass and the hopper for the roof vent. According to the back page of the instruction tome, we could have had that sent, had we notified them of the missing pieces within 7 days of receipt of the greenhouse. Even bloody Einstein could not have assembled it quick enough to work out what was missing if the deadline was 7 days. A cheeky email will be sent demanding panes of glass anyway. We'll simply have to explain we were not clever enough to assemble it in less than 15 months.
Anyway it gets the tomatoes out my kitchen and means my bathroom won't fill up with seedlings this summer and that's the main thing!

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