Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hey Mr Trampoline Man

Check me out!

Building a better trampoline.

It’s not every Saturday that you have to stay in and wait for the delivery of a trampoline, in fact it has never happened to me before until today. We got the usual phone call from the delivery driver asking for directions, this has become a regular and expected occurrence and they are generally in a housing estate in South Queensferry when they call and are disappointed to find that we are at least five miles away and completely in the sticks. So much for sat nav and postcode navigation (our post code covers about twenty square miles).

Ali had ordered the trampoline on line a few weeks ago and not being a trampoline expert was surprised at the relative weight and size of the boxes we now had, they were big and heavy. After cutting the banding around the boxes I picked out the instructions. These mainly consisted of warnings about using trampolines when taking drugs, being pregnant or drunk and using it near fences or swimming pools. There also was advice on jumps and posture and also how not to break your neck (or any innocent bystander’s neck). The Simpson’s trampoline episode was at this point flashing back vividly to me. I finally got to the assembly instructions and picked out the key phrase “Easy assembly by two adults in one hour, wear gloves to avoid hand injury”. I knew then I was in for a fun afternoon. Ali was grinning broadly obviously happy to see that the “small” trampoline had turned out to be something that would have been at home in the ring of Billy Smart’s Circus.

I addition a large safety net had arrived, this was in a box bigger than the trampoline, clearly more ex-circus equipment now destined for the garden. Next step was to lay a number of pieces of scaffolding on the grass and then piece them together, this I did with surprising ease and soon had the whole frame structure built. At this point my oldest son Jonny arrived with his wee lad Elijah, a fine opportunity for them to witness the old man struggling with yet another self assembly project, however on this occasion there was to be no ritual humiliation for me. Ali and I were in good form and soon had the base and jump mat and springs all ready to go, and it worked. We all bounced around for a while and then retired for a late lunch which had a very high cheese content. We have fridge full of leftover cheese(s) as a result of a party last week, so every meal now has a yellow / orange tinge to it, whatever it is, (Cheese curry anyone?).

We sat around the table discussing “Lost”, architecture, doctor’s salaries and football while the toddler explored the kitchen opening every drawer and inspecting the contents carefully. Then it was back to building the safety net. This vast structure stands about ten feet tall and surrounds the trampoline, effectively preventing you from falling from a great height as you bounce. This stage of assembly was much more muddled than the previous one as the wind had picked up, the net part was blowing all over the place and I had mistakenly started fixing it at the wrong place. Finally we got it right and bounced some more in this much safer, netted and almost tented environment. I realised that on my highest bounce I could see right over the gamekeeper’s house, out towards the river and Fife. I may not need to chop down any of the bushes and trees that obscure our summer view now; all I need to do is bounce. It was about then the rain began and I returned to the kitchen to check the football results and try to concoct something original but with a high cheese content for tea.

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