While Lynn snuck out of bed to source cups of tea and toast, I churned out image after image of Gripple circuitry. I’d woken with a plan in my head and as an ever ready kind of a Scout, I just happen to keep a pad of grid paper by the bed for this sort of occurrence.
Having failed to find wire tensioners in Homebase last week I was pleased when my internet search uncovered a swanky new gadget for creating trellis constructions. It’s called the Gripple and I promptly ordered myself the starter pack of 4 Gripples, 4 Eye Hooks and a 30m reel of plastic wire.
This is where my puzzling started. Using only the above items, how do I (read: how does Lynn) create a fanned peach supporting wire combo with 4 lengths? We went for the 3rd aesthetically pleasing option and headed down to the plot.
I should perhaps have mentioned that we had chosen the weekend of the Severe Adverse Weather Warnings to partake in the peach transplantation event. It was a struggle removing the tree from the old plot with the famed light soil, a layer of ice had to be cracked away before the fork would gain entry and we ought to have thought about the difficulty of digging in our frozen heavy London clay plot.
But we didn’t.
I was keen to play with the new toys but my hands were freezing and I had to run up and down the plot doing high knee raises and clapping my hands before I could contend with the fiddly bits.
The design of the “tensulator” was very smart and when it work I was very impressed. When it didn’t work, I let myself down rather a lot and had one of those, throw yourself on the floor wailing, kinds of a strop. A bit embarassing.
Here I am, pre-wailing, trying to force the wire to go through the Gripple and out the other end so that I could loop it back. No amount of forcing was going to tease the wire through and the thing is designed not to let me pull the wire back out again and it wouldn’t.
We had to cut it off in the end and Lynn took it away to the shed to perform some kind of surgery on it (or perhaps she thought if she left me alone I’d stop flouncing).
We managed to get this one on successfully in the end but another Gripple got stuck after looping it around and without wasting loads of wire we couldn’t cut this one off. It was in a locked position but couldn’t be tensioned and so the finished job looked a bit naff but worked in a fashion.
I don’t know why we had trouble with two of the Gripples, if I’d had a pack of spares I wouldn’t have got myself too worried but I needed all 4.
The working ones were very neat and it proved easy to build up the tension. Our posts now look decidedly wonky as the incremental tensioning pulled them into an apex.
I would like to have a handful of these in the shed for odd jobs but I’ll still remain concerned about their reliability.
My Dad left me his half tonne mattock after his last visit and a few swings of that saw my back in traction but also cracked the clay.
A robin swooped in to feast on some of the worms I’d just uncovered and reminded me how lovely it is to spend time down on the plot. With the feathering of snow also comes a peaceful calm that I rarely notice anywhere else. It’s a beautiful site.
The recent wet weather has made a huge difference to the clay, it’s incredibly heavy but you can at least force your tools through the surface. We got the peach in and it looked relatively cosy against its snowy backdrop.
Back at home we got to play with the connectable outdoor Christmas lights that Dobbies sent me to try out. We’ve never had outdoor lights before and the new acquisition left me rather popular.
My first attempt at laying them out was snubbed by all though.
I’d trailed them through the letterbox, creating quite a draft and a trip hazard combined, and the lights ran out before they reached the tree base but in my defense it was cold out there and I thought the twinkling effect set the recycling bin off very nicely.
We headed back to Homebase to research outdoor electric options and came back with an enclosed extension lead that we could position at the base of the tree and feed through a specially drilled hole in the window frame.
Our neighbours have kindly planted a leylandii which forms the perfect support for our lights. The kids were able to scrabble up and position the cabling while we stayed at the bottom prepared to catch them.
These Christmas Tree lights were very good quality piece of kit, the cabling is very solid and formed of 3 twined cables with generously spaced bulbs. There is a waterproof connector so that you can join multiple sets without leaving gaps in the lighting. We are quite tempted to go nuts and light up the whole house.