The Story of The Pool

This is the story of The Pool,
sequel to last week’s Oh, Oh, Oboe.

Late in winter of 2014 I made my first Land Voyage to Maroochydoore, to visit my daughter’s family, and returned home to a wonderful project we had dreamed up: building a proper Cubby House our grandchildren could play in whenever they visited. It would be tall enough for grandparents, and big enough to roll out a double swag. This was a thrilling prospect: I do love a project! I remember the keen anticipation I felt on the train heading south from Queensland as I rehearsed each step of the plan.

imageWe have a very good handyman who we call in for the big jobs now and then, and he came and dug footings and poured concrete for six treated pine poles, on top of which he placed a large timber platform that I had screwed together on the garage floor.
Then I had help from a couple of good mates who stood up the various panels of a sturdy, treated pine cubby made for us by a local man – who also happens to have a child at our school. All I had to do then was drill in a fair number of screws, hang a door, roof the veranda, brace the frame, a bit of this and that, and the job was done.  Marvellous!

IMG_0893-004 B&W use
(Show-offs, aren’t we?)

A few weeks after that highly successful project I was travelling on the bus to town and had a flash of transformative vision. I suddenly saw how we could use the very same process to build the swimming pool that my Favourite Wife had been longing for ever since we arrived in Paradise.  In three of our former homes we had built our own pool, generally an above ground pool that we sunk well into the earth and abutted with generous decking. But this home was on sloping ground; I was not even vaguely capable of the physical work I had previously undertaken; and the cost of a professionally installed pool was going to be monstrous. In my momentary vision I saw that all we needed was another set of treated poles supporting another platform. This one would be more like an oversized tank stand, with deep beams and joists, decking which would be properly fenced around, all supporting a modest ten foot circular pool.

I had a few minutes spare that day, and went straight from the bus stop to the council building across the road, where I drew a sketch of my vision for a building inspector. He had no objections, as long as I submitted a proposal with proper drawings and specifications for formal approval. From the council I went directly to the bank, and they we happy to join in too! It was seven weeks before Christmas.

Within three weeks I had researched the spans and timber sizes to support 6 tonnes of water (that number was a surprise!), submitted drawings, obtained required consent from one neighbour, gained formal approval from the council and from the bank, ordered a big sling of treated timber and a ten foot swimming pool, and developed a severe case of the dithers on the way. Should I do this? Could I actually do this? It seemed, more often than not, preposterous. Was this the most fantastic venture which the family would revel in for years to come, or was it blind stupidity that would begin and never end, send us broke, and ruin our best bit of garden with a half-built timber “thing”? Quite literally I was sleepless with self doubt through many nights. But one month before Christmas we began!

We set out our site with string lines and our handyman came back with an offside and a laser level, and nine stout posts were set 600mm deep in concrete. My good mate from the cubby-standing day came back, and together we lifted up the 12 inch deep treated timber bearers that I had cut and notched, ready to carry the joists. imageOne of my daughters was at my side every weekend, and whenever she could after work. She would pass me things, lift things, hold things, run and get things; she was brilliant. Much of the time I could stand in one spot and get a good deal done, sit for a moment, then stand in another spot. The big old Power Chair “B4” was called back into service to travel from the house to the building site, all of 30 feet, where I had several pairs of crutches scattered about. I brought the breathing ventilator on site with linked up air hoses to extend my personal ‘battery life’. Day by day the pool deck grew and grew and grew, and finally at 12 noon on Christmas Eve the council inspector came. It was his last appointment on the very last working day for the year, and having measured all the critical lengths he pronounced our pool complete and fit for use.

On Christmas Day, 2014, we swam!

Now we swim in the pool every day when the mercury climbs. Favourite Wife is a happy wife, Teen Girl has always been a mermaid, and our small grandchildren feel quite at home in our 3 foot deep, wet and cool wonder.

Swimmers have a cool view of blue sky and glorious gum trees.

That’s the story of our Pool, and more than a year later it still takes my breath away: I did that!  I can’t believe it sometimes. And – get this – having done that, there was nothing I could not do! Nothing in all the world!
Crikey, I could even learn to play the oboe.

The Pool: a winner.
The Oboe: not so much, but no regrets whatever.





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