This was a project that became a bit of a square peg in a round hole and had us working day and night for the end result.
We had spent months trying to find a good option to replace our tired looking play equipment. It had served us well for many years but was beginning to rot underneath and fall apart and we knew it needed attention. Having failed to attract any of the big companies to quote on our little barn Nick had resorted to scouring EBay and came across what looked like the perfect fit for us. I put it up on Facebook to great excitement when we had secured the winning bid and it arrived.
Since it was still the summer season and we didn’t want to ruin anyone’s holiday by making the play barn off limits we waited till our autumn close down period. Then it was all hands on deck removing the old soft play which we managed to sell on again via Ebay.
Faced with a spacious empty barn Nick decided that damp proofing and lining the floor would be a good move to give insulation for little feet and prevent the new equipment ruining through condensation. I was impressed with the speed and efficiency with which this stage was completed and new lining laid.
However we were blissfully unaware of the problem we had just created. It was only when we began to construct the frame of the new equipment that the cost of raising the floor a couple of inches became apparent. We jiggled and wriggled but the frame would not fit between the rafters.
With only 3 weeks before our Christmas opening the pressure was on, we considered cutting into the rafters and reinforcing them elsewhere but in the end called our builder and agreed to splash out on a whole new roof and raising the height of the walls. This of course meant exposing the new equipment and floor to the December weather, never before had an accurate weather forecast been so important. We waited a week for our clear day of dry and went for it.
With just one rain shower and a much better quality roof we were back on track, if down a couple of thousand pounds down on the project!
From here it was like a giant jigsaw trying to fit pieces together and we were very grateful of our growing lads to help maneuver the weighty frame. Once the frame was complete the kids played around with the floor pieces and accessories to slot everything into place and Nick spent hours with some Duck Tape Colours cleverly protecting ripped fabric joins from moving the equipment.
Finally it took days to patiently thread the protective netting securely into place before I gave the whole room a thorough clean. The finished result was one we were all proud of just one day before our Christmas opening!
It wasn’t long before little feet were enjoying our hard work. With the wettest Christmas and New Year weather I can remember it was much appreciated by all our guests and worth all the hard work.
We have added a table and chairs but I am still keen to add some shoe boxes and possibly a baby play pen so that tiny tots can be safe while their older siblings leap around. If you have any other ideas for the space at the front please let me know.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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