23 May 2020
My old shed and carport was messy, substandard and degrading as large tree roots had got under the slab and lifted and cracked it. They had also pushed in the retaining wall between my neighbour’s fence and my shed.
At the other end of the house, the Viper was getting very large and also in the way of another approved extension on the house. I have had to hold many reins over the last couple of years to coordinate and manage the renovations, keeping in mind that the Viper would perish quickly in the open weather if not covered.
Along comes a blessing, disguised as a curse.
My sixteen years in the army had smashed my superhuman body all that time, but it has finally caught up with me and I have discovered that I am not invincible. My lifestyle has suffered terribly in an exponential downward curve as osteoarthritis has taken over much of my lower body, injuries to joints are causing constant pain and my outdoor activities in the mountains, caves and cliffs has come to an abrupt halt. If I do go out in the rivers now, it is not far from the car and at a very slow pace. Depression has been mounting as this has been a major part of my life. No more.
So, when I was suddenly blessed by an approval by Defence Veterans Association for some compensation, I had to decide how best to invest this short-term lump sum into my long term future. BOOM! New workshop! It’s not a pension, but it’s a start and lump sums don’t last if you don’t think them through.
There was lots of hard work repairing and stabilising the ground and the extensive upheaval caused by tree roots. With heavy steel beams, deep holes filled with concrete and heavy reinforced concrete sleepers, the ground is now solid, stable and the offending exotic tree removed. We found so much substandard work in the old slab, dangerous and sloppy construction and electrical wiring it was frightening. So glad it’s all gone and fixed. It was difficult building with my physical limitations, but when needed, I had help and got there in the end. Now, my future in staying at home will not be the end of me, dying of boredom and inactivity. I can continue to contribute to the world.
There are still some things inside the new shed to complete. Electricity, insulation and internal walls, plus a couple of new machines. Last night was a momentous occasion as my mates Alex, David, Patrick, Gary and Joe contributed some muscle to push the Viper from one end of the house, out of the driveway, out of the cul-de-sac, up the main road and into the next driveway and finally into the hangar for reassembly.
The Viper now has a home! Ready to continue the build and it’s going to get exciting!