Tim Dowling: There’s A Hole In My Roof, But I Have An Ingenious Plan

Tim Dowling: There’s A Hole In My Roof, But I Have An Ingenious Plan

I stare up, imagining successful repair scenarios. Maybe I could abseil down from an upstairs window, tool belt on …

The narrow gap running between the side of the house and the garden wall is partially roofed over with sheets of clear corrugated plastic. It’s where we keep things that do not need to be warm, but do need to be dry: paint, scrap wood, garden tools and an old toaster that isn’t quite broken enough to throw away.

At the end of February I noticed the plastic roof has a hole in it, about six inches in diameter. I think a fox probably put its foot through it while it was gnawing on the chicken bones I found up there when I finally dragged the ladder out for a look.

The problem qualifies as urgent, because the stuff that sits under the plastic roof is getting wet, and there is no place else to put it all. But corrugated roofing sheets come in many different sizes and thicknesses, not to mention varying levels of corrugation.

“Even if I manage to order the right kind,” I say, sitting up in bed with my laptop, “I’m not sure I can install it.”

“Uh-huh,” my wife says from behind her book.

“Metre-wide sections are no good,” I say, “because once it’s in place I won’t be able to reach the screw holes on the far side.”

“You don’t need to say any of this out loud,” my wife says.

“Of course the beauty of corrugated roofing is that it overlaps,” I say. The dog barks from the garden.

“Your turn,” my wife says.

I go down to the kitchen and stand facing the cat flap.

“It’s fine!” I shout. The dog noses the flap from the other side, hesitates a moment, and then squeezes through.

“Idiot,” I say.

The Dog Will Go Out Through The Cat Flap

The dog will go out through the cat flap, but it won’t come back in unsupervised in case the cat is on the other side waiting to pounce. After a few ugly encounters, the cat no longer needs to be present to maintain this threat – the dog won’t risk it. Instead, it stands outside barking until someone comes downstairs to announce that the coast is clear. Mostly me.

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