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Cave Mark #3


I’d had some very useful comments on my previous “cave” blogs – I suddenly remembered that I had a windbreak, and could put that up in a U-shape to provide the required shelter and seclusion.

So, burrowed into the back of the shed, and brought it out – it’s a nice leaf-pattern (the only non-lairy one I’ve ever seen, which is why I bought it, even though I didn’t need it at the time – by the time I did need it I probably wouldn’t have been able to find it again).

It had been rolled up for years, and did not want to open – the base of the material seemed to have stuck together, so that some of the pattern came off on the inside of the piece that had been over it.

When I tried to put it up, I discovered that the screen seemed to be glued to the bottoms of the poles, I could not move it up at all

The only way I could get the material off the poles was by ripping the stitching that made the pockets for each pole – even for me that didn’t take much effort, so it would probably have split at the first breath of wind anyway.

Some of the poles were extremely warped, and the bottoms were whitened with something that had glued the poles to the pockets.

I could maybe put the poles up on their own, but how to re-attach the material?

I cut the material into four, intending to try to fix each separately between pairs of poles – I needed a hole-maker to start setting the poles (not bad, I only missed and hit my own hand once) – I used one of the panels to work out how far to space the poles

Made a much smaller space than I’d envisaged, but carried on anyway to see what it might end up as

Decided to brace the poles for added support – had to use that rotten nylon twine as it was all I had.

Next step was to work out how to fit the panels: I’d thought of using canes to make a frame, gluing the material to that (I bought a tube of external No-Nails!) and then tying the sticking-out bits of cane to the poles. I’ve got only a few small clamps, not enough to do more than one at a time, let it dry, then do the next, which is a bit dot-and-carry, unless I could use my larger clothes pegs.

But that could be done indoors, and would have to be, as I didn’t have anywhere to work outside (didn’t have anywhere to work inside, come to that, other than the kitchen floor, but at least that wasn’t dependent on the weather, and it was level). Besides, by this time it was starting to get dark, and I thought I’d done enough outside for one day.

That was a couple of days ago and I’ve done nothing more yet: apart from anything else, I need to clear the kitchen enough to allow me to work on the floor without being in my own light and in my own way – can just see me going back and forth doing cooking while there’s a trip hazard just waiting to pounce!

And then I suddenly remembered that I had something else that could be pressed into service. Last year I’d bought a Big Bite eyelet punch; was a bit of a prob learning how to use it (instructions in tiny French!) but I thought that setting eyelets in the panels would be much easier than making frames and gluing the material to them – just put in eyelets and tie the panels to the poles.

Also, I’d been wondering what to roof it with, and how. Went to Wilco’s during the week, wandered around and found their “sale” corner – they had a small cover for chair (I think: hard to tell, tiny pic) that was reduced because the packaging was damaged. Thought, I can cut that into one long piece and hey presto, there’s my roof. It already has eyelets on what will be one side, I just need to add more to the other side.

I just need to get out the Big Bite, punch holes in the panels and one side of the roof, set eyelets, and then the “construction” can be completed.

Guess what I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to find for the last two days? Go on, just take a wild guess …

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Beware the winds of a frisky October, if this is outside when the promised hurricane arrives Fran. Can't believe the last one was getting on for 30 years ago! Our 19 foot canopy nearly took off while we clung to it at 3am in the morning. I remember it very vividly indeed. They say it is to visit Scotland. Hope not.

20 Oct, 2014


Oh Fran! What are you like?
I love reading your blogs of triumphs (and disasters) always make me smile though 🙆

we have one of those gazebo things with curtains, they use velcro to join them together, you can get sticky backed as well as sew in....

with the gales forecast for tonight I wouldn't leave it up !....

20 Oct, 2014


Fran I went away and thought about your wanting a natural roof on your cave after your previous blog and it came to me that a Hawaiian straw umbrella might work they do them on Amazon and other sites you might have to take the central pole off and just use the straw brolly as a roof !

20 Oct, 2014


@ Dprjac - awk! thanks - first I've heard about any hurricane heading our way! Just checked BBC website, local weather - "yellow warning" for wind, with gales and severe gales for some areas. It was quite windy here last winter; a cab driver said that that was exceptional. hurricanes excepted, of course.

One reason I finally sited the "cave" there was that it was in line with the shed, and should be afforded some shelter - the winds last year mainly came roughly SE, over the side gate and were funnelled down the path, so anything in that corner of hte garden would get blasted - which is why I wanted some tall grasses around the pond!

I had thought of using that stupid "brushwood screen" as some kind of windbreak in front, to break up the wind enough to protect anything the other side of it - depends how strong the wind is, and how well put together the structure is, of course.

there's a UK weather map on the Beeb - you can put in your location and get more local predictions -

@ Pam - I do seem to go the long way round, don't I? Now that you mention it, I do have some sticky velcro - somewhere! not sure if it'd be suitable for outdoor use, though - but I also have a roll of velcro plant ties, which should - I could just cut bits and use them instead of s tring to to attach the panels. One advantage would be that they'd propably be torn loose by srong wind rather than holding fast and pulling the whole thing down.

@ Amy - that's a great idea! I've seen those thatched umbrellas, and did wonder, but ... they always looked too big and heavy - and the central pole was always a problem, But a smaller one sans pole, might do very nicely. lol some DIY Tiki Bars say to get grass skirts to use as roof decoration,a nd I'd even (briefly) considered that.

21 Oct, 2014


I am amazed at what you get up to, Fran, you never seem to stop! I think Amy's brolly idea might work though for your roof. I await further blogs :)

23 Oct, 2014


I found the eyelet punch that I'd been looking for; wasn't worth the effort! i'll do a bit on that later. The umbrella does sound a very good idea, and I'll check it out.

23 Oct, 2014

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