Saturday, 26 March 2011

Yurt's Up!

David and I arrived about half an our before anybody else, and we made ourselves a cup of coffee and did some of the domestic stuff: washed up two months' coffee cups, cleaned out the water urn (which was pretty scanky when we boiled the kettle from it last week) and tidied up a bit.

We were just discussing how much we might manage to do if nobody else turned up when he first wave of the cavalry arrived: one of our members with four energetic teenage girls in tow. Then came the second wave, and the third and fourth battalions of willing eco-warriors. For each parent, there were three or four next-generation recruits. Well before lunchtime, there were twenty three people helping us to put up the yurt as its makers intended. Although a few were sometimes to be found in conditions of immediate mental exclusion, transfixed and immobile in that unique state of close communion with their electronic networks of relationships, they helped enormously when it came to vital tasks like 'spreading out the liner to see how it fits', and 'holding up the sides while we work out where the strings go'.

There were also the trolley races - with the big ones pushing the little ones up and down the concrete paths in garden centre trolleys - at increasingly breakneck speeds and with a rising decibel count.

But the main job of the day was happening - the yurt had never before been clothed in more than one and a half layers of its three layer covering, but by the lunch break at about 1pm, the inner liner was in place, as were the three felt panels around the walls.

Lunch was a very jolly affair: three loaves and seven bananas went a long way (although there was a cooked chicken, some lumps of cheese and a few other items too). We resurrected the garden furniture we had been given last Autumn, and it was like a huge multicultural family picnic in the middle of a recently ploughed field.
Before much longer, the felt roof was in place - followed by the canvas walls, canvas roof covering and top transparent window. The most exacting procedure was ensuring that the canvas folds on each side of the door were 'straight, crisp and symmetrical' - but, with a few minutes concentration and effort, they were!
A few cords and strings were probably subject to a little over-zealousness, but everything was stable and looking good well before the allotted finishing time of 3.30pm. At last, the deed was done.

All that remains is to:
  • clean the two muddy girth belts (that go all the way round to hold the walls in place) and tie them on to the door frame
  • put skewers into the ground to hold down the roof, in case of hurricanes
  • plane and adjust the door slightly as it seems to have swollen in the wet, and does not fit its frame any more, and cannot be properly closed

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