The Great Wall of Gin…

Southern England continues to be deep fat frying, and I’m sure the weathermen must be getting bored with telling us that “today was the hottest day on record ever”. But normal service is sort of resuming as far as the weather in Scotland goes. Okay, it’s a bit warmer than usual, with temperatures still regularly starting with a “2” instead of a “1”, but the rain has returned, so it feels more like a normal Scottish summer. On the plus side, the water supply is replenishing, tea is no longer rationed, and the garden is growing a treat. On the down side, the garden is growing a treat…

The weeds are growing faster than I can keep up with them and ‘wet and warm’ has brought armies of midges out to play. I spent half a morning valiantly battling against the nettles and the biting insects – until I ran out of insect repellent and had to wave the white flag and beat a hasty retreat back indoors.

Thereafter I decided to focus on some indoor projects for a while. And it’s not like there’s a shortage of things that need doing. Clearly I need to prioritise my time.

So I decided to build my wall of Gin. (Like I said – priorities.)

Before anyone starts thinking I’m a gin-obsessed alcoholic, I’m going to blame my brother and his family for this one. They started it by buying the clock. Personally I’m of the opinion that the sun is always over the yardarm somewhere in the world; therefore it is always Gin o’clock. The Clock just backs up my theory.

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But there’s no point in having a permanent Gin o’clock if you haven’t got any gin in the house. Living in the frozen North, you never know when there might be a random three feet of snow that keeps you housebound for days at a time, so I like to keep the supplies topped up. I’ve even joined a Gin club, so every month some lovely chap leaves a box of gin on the doorstep.

Clearly I need somewhere to store it all.

Fortunately I had an empty bit of wall space that needed filling, so I came up with a genius idea: I would build The Great Wall of Gin to keep the clock company.

My original plan was to frame it and board it so it looked like lots of separate niches in the wall. I even got as far as building the frame that would be needed for one side of the wall.IMG_0390But then I thought about the amount of effort required to cut the plasterboard to fit the stonework, and all the fiddling around to board out all the individual niches.

OK. Maybe not.

Plan B: I decided I would put shelves from wall to wall. I mean, how hard can that be? Well that depends on the walls you on which you want to fix the brackets for your shelves. Nice straight plasterboard wall – no problem; either you’re just screwing into wood battens or it’s heavy duty plasterboard fixings. Jobs a good’un.

But the opposite end of the shelf would have to be fixed into solid randomised stone. Mostly granite. There have been a number of occasions throughout the umpteen years of this build where I have had to fix things to the stonework. It has usually ended in tears. And wonky holes. And broken drill bits. For a few piddly shelves to hold up my gin – it’s really not worth the swearing.

So that’ll be Plan C then. Glass shelves. With floating shelf brackets in the back (straight, plasterboarded, battened) wall. Simple.

But when I started trawling the internet for glass shelves the only ready-made options I could find were bathroom shelves that were a maximum 600mm wide, which would look a bit pathetic in a niche that was somewhere between 850mm & 920mm wide (depending which stone you measure from). And they were only 6mm glass, which seems a bit flimsy for my needs. (Might explain why you don’t often see 6 bottles of gin on a bathroom shelf. Even in my bathrooms.)

So I googled bespoke made-to-measure glass options. £££££££Ouch. I’d have had to give up my craft gin supply for a year to cover the cost – which sort of defeats the object of building a gin wall, doesn’t it?

And then, when I’d all but given up on the idea, I came across some ‘end-of-line, clearance sale’ glass shelves in B&Q. 12mm thick – so definitely able to handle a few gin bottles – and 800mm wide. Perfect.

But as clearance items they weren’t available for home delivery. Or the ever useful ‘Click & Collect’. So I jumped in the car and drove down to my nearest store at Dundee. They only had one shelf. I needed 5. So I went round the corner to Perth. They had none left. So I stopped in at Glasgow and found another one. And then I went to Edinburgh, Hermiston Gait store. Where they sent me on to Newcraighall. Where I finally hit the jackpot and found my last 3 shelves.

235 mile round trip just to buy a few shelves. I hope my gin appreciates my efforts.

Fortunately the actual fixing was relatively straight forward. A few super heavy duty plasterboard fixings – I don’t want to risk the shelf collapsing and sending all my gin smashing on the stone floor – and job done.i%0SWr0DRFWosviYGRHUKgIce ‘n’ a slice anyone?