Optimism overtook me this weekend. Not only did I extract the barbecue from the 'above ground landfill site' which we like to refer to as our shed, I also marked out a badminton court.
I've been meaning to do this latter job for a couple of years, but it's never quite happened. This is partly because our first badminton net was part of some cheap outdoor sports kit and would have been more robust if it had been built from candy floss and straws. Since it's near-instantaneous demise, I've been on the hunt for a set that would last. Trouble is, this appears to involve parting with huge bundles of cash and I am, what can only politely be described as 'spending-averse'.
But this weekend, despite my father's favourite phrase of 'buy cheap, buy twice' ringing in my ears, I went against my better judgement and bought a mid-priced set from John Lewis. To be fair, the poles are at least made of metal rather than plastic, but still rely on mere pushing into the ground combined with some very flimsy looking plastic pegs as anchorage. Also the fact that I attempted to erect the thing in near gale force winds was hardly conducive to feelings of stability.
Still, I have countered the rickety looking net by marking out, if I do say so myself, a rather fabulous looking court. When I designed the garden I did make sure the lawn would accommodate at least a full sized singles badminton court. It would very nearly stretch to a doubles, but this would involve impromptu bounces on the sunken trampoline which could be a little distracting mid-match. (On this subject, I also made sure it could house a marquee to seat 100 people. I have no idea why...)
I marked the lines with a can of spray mark which I use for garden design layouts and can generally be picked up at a builder's merchant. It also helps to have a 20 metre tape which you can stretch taut and mark alongside, but failing that, use string and tent pegs. Finally, to get right-angled corners, you can employ some simple calculations using Pythagorean theorem but, quite frankly, just writing that makes my brain hurt so I used a builder's square.
The court will probably need remarking every couple of weeks, but it's easy to follow the lines before they fade away.
And now we are set for a family summer of badminton, happy children and endlessly sunny days.
See, I told you I was feeling optimistic.