Building a den

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Over half term, my task was to keep my daughter occupied and out of the hair of my son who is studying for his GCSEs. She had been nagging me for quite some time to build a den and had designed her perfect one on a piece of A4 paper.

So I took half term off work and she and I set to work at the bottom of the garden ready to create the den of her dreams.

I had ordered some sheets of plywood and some timber batons in preparation, but on the first day and main task was to concrete in some big telegraph poles in order to create a den up in the air, a little like a tree-house.

My daughter was supremely helpful and got really involved with all the aspects of her den construction.

As you can see from the pictures she embraced the whole DIY side of things with her own tape measure, pencil over her ear and her own cordless screwdriver.

QVC’s DIY shows and the things we offer for sale have been really helpful in my DIY projects and many of my purchases, past and present, were used in the construction – especially the impact driver that made short work of some of the heavy duty joists.

Once we had the posts in place the next stage was to put in floor and roof that was strong enough for the kids to play on.

My daughter put all the screws in and was very proud of her handiwork. After that, it became a little complicated as my daughter wanted rope ladder and a climbing wall but with a little bit of head scratching and pencil sketching I think we design something that worked rather well.

Another well used kit that I had bought from QVC was my set of drill bits from Dandy Tools.

Once the construction was complete, with panoramic window installed (and we stuck that in and sealed all the edges with S-Bond No Gun Sealant & Construction Adhesive), we then had to weather-proof it by giving it a good coat of paint.

My daughter’s favourite colour is sea green, but we decided that a more woodland green would blend in better, and she set to work and painted all of it bar the highest parts.

She was absolutely covered in paint but luckily we had some great wipes to get the worst off before we went inside.

The climbing wall was something of a ‘blind leading the blind’ exercise as I had no experience in climbing walls and my daughter wasn’t too familiar with the layout, but with a little practice I think we managed to create a challenging and yet attainable climbing wall.

We had great fun together and I hope, for her, she has some great memories when she’s playing in her new den that she designed and built herself!

My son, in the meantime had studied quite well through the half term and although he came out several times to gaze at her work (somewhat jealously) he didn’t have too many distractions to interrupt his academic pursuits.

After all our hard work with big lumps of timber, I looked at my hands and hoped that I didn’t have any jewellery shows on my first day back to work, but guess what? … I had a Diamonique show.

Never fear, my hands were sorted with O’Keeffe’s Working Hands cream, and looked just fine when I met up with Alison O’Reilly over the sparkling jewellery.

Everyone told me, when I had children, ‘they grow up so fast’, and I am beginning to see exactly what they meant!

Kids aren’t kids for long and so times like this half term are something that I cherish very dearly. As a double whammy it also means my daughter is going to be much more capable of repairing things in her first house, when she grows up, rather than me hearing: ‘Dad….can you come and put up some shelves!’

Simon X

@simonbiagi

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