Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Project Solardome Part 1

Let's get that one out of the way for starters! Project Solardome!
I was up at 6.30 on Saturday morning, feeling raw as a potato, having had about three hours sleep - part excitement, part insomnia, part Czech rum. Parsley and Cakealot were equally ko'd when I went over to eat a vegetarian breakfast at their DOMEstead. So many changes this year.

We didn't get started proper until around nine, when the redoubtable Alex Johnson came in his Boratmobile - a beautiful mustard VW van, replete with tools. Same went for P&C. It was proper heist territory - glass suckers, stanley knives, power drills, rope; the works. We headed out to Lincoln, getting a bit lost, paying an extortionate amount at a toll booth, with me sleeping in the back seats. 0 stamina and endurance. But that was to change.

Rolled up to the house around 12. The dome was tucked away in the back garden / yard - betwixt a telegraph pole and a privet hedge. The owner was hilarious : a purple faced loon who called his cat Mum. We kept hearing him periodically coming out of the house saying 'Hellllllooooo Muuuuuum!' It took us a while to work out what was going on.

The dome itself was very impressive. In the photos it looks fairly small but I assure you the effect is quite the opposite. A dead robin was a bad omen! So be it. Parsley talked with Alex
about how we were going to go about taking it down (start from the top and work your way down - I guarantee I'd have messed this up if left to my own devices). Then she numbered all the glass panes - 120 if I'm not mistaken - whilst I removed nuts from what I can only describe as metal oysters, then WD40'd a load of nuts on the inside for later, coping was removed, I was as ever clueless and needed directing.

The biggest part of the job was removing the silicone which was holding the glass in place. Palette knives, stanleys, toothbrushes and warm soapy water - everything came into play. Alex and Parsley initially tackled the highest panes, with Cakealot and I scrimping and scraping the lower tiers of glass. Thereafter it was all change. With the first few panes being brought down (the very first cracked, our morale never did) we took some time out to assess the situation and eat. The predicted four hour takedown plan became so much longer.

It was slow work - with a very careful series of readjustments being made to how the glass was stored in the van - lots of bubble wrap and old blankets and an advanced lesson in trigonometry and spatial awareness. All the while purple conk was screaming hello Mam, his yappy dogs were going mental, it was getting colder. Time was not on our side - or rather the light wasn't. Indeed we worked right through to nine o' clock.

Once all the glass had been removed (no mean task), we still had to take down the frame - a colossal geodesic nightmare! I left the boys to that one, taking out the bottom vents / segments that were resting on breeze blocks, and carrying materials, tools etc to the van. The stars were out and I managed to identify Ursa Major. Pat on the back for a manifestly cold Oregano.

This was hands down one of the longest most exhausting days of work I've done in a long time and I did a third of what Cakealot, Alex and Parsley did. Yet, I loved it. I would do it again and I would recommend GEODESIC SOLAR DOMES to everyone. Do I want a unique geodesic focal point in my garden? Yes please! Do I want practical applications and benefits for my plants and veg? Yes please! Do I want to wake up the morning after helping transport a solardome, feeling like I've been shot? Yes please!

Remember this is only part 1. There will be many more to follow, as so far we have only transported it from Lincoln to the domestead. Weeee!

Adendum: A few years back Minda and I came up with a list of dome related puns. Four pages of A4 were filled. Here's a rundown of some of the better ones :

chrome dome
Big Trouble in Little Dome Town
White Men Can't Dome
Obi-Wan ka Dome Me
System of a Dome
Home Adome
Buffy the Dome Slayer
Dome and Away
Somebody answer the bleedin DOME
Die Another Dome
Dome White and the Seven Domes


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