Updated on 12th January 2013 by Paul Heneghan
Court 1 almost back in action - Saturday 12th January
The court rebuilding team (Paul, Martyn, Richard and Pete) sorted out most of Court 1 today. We now have tins and floorboards. Unfortunately Pete's table saw broke part way through cutting the door frame, so that is unlikely to be done for a few days now - hopefully some time during the week, but maybe not until next weekend, or even later. It depends on how quickly Pete can get new brushes for his saw. Mary Heneghan made the mistake of dropping into the club for a lift home and ended up doing an hour of vacuuming and carrying - what a star!
So, we're virtually back to three courts now, a matter of weeks after the flood. I'll leave the booking restrictions in place until the door is sorted on Court 1 - again, please do not book courts unless you fully intend to use them!
5th January 2013 21:33
Court 2 back in action - Saturday 5th January
The crack court rebuilding team (Paul, Thomas, Martyn, Dave, Pete and Granthan) assembled again today at 10:00 and worked our magic on Court 2. We now have tins, floorboards and a door. What more could you ask for?
Peter Rhodes meaured the Equivalent Moisture Content of the floorboards on all three courts on Friday. The readings have gone up, but that was to be expected with the reduced temperatures now that we've put the heaters back on the controlled setting again.
On Court 3, we've hammered all the wedges flush with the floor. We will do the same with the wedges on Court 2 next weekend when we hope to get Court 1 back into action as well.
As we now have two courts available, we can relax the booking restrictions, however, please do not book courts unless you fully intend to use them!
5th January 2013 17:25
Court 3 back in action - Saturday 15th December
The court rebuilding team assembled today at 10:00 to see if we could get Court 3 back in action. It was interesting to see what equipment people brought. Thomas and I turned up with a car bulging full of wood-working tools (planers, routers, mitre saws, circular saws, etc.). Dave Potter turned up with his hammer! Martyn Whiting, turned up with his foam kneeling strip! The team worked pretty hard for nearly three hours to get Court 3 back in action.
The boards now have an Equivalent Moisture Content identical to other pieces of timber that have not been flooded. Our clamping technique using folding wedges made for us by Jeremy Higson, has worked extremely well and resulted in the total width of the boards dropping from nearly 4 cm excess to about 1 cm excess. We reassembled the tin, trimmed the edge boards (1 mm off the left at the rear, 6 mm off the right along its length) and then fastened everything in place with the aid of some very nifty T20 Torx-headed flooring screws. We then cleared the court and did lots of sweeping and vacuuming.
So, Court 3 is now ready for use - two days ahead of schedule. There are some constraints though. We have left lots of wedges in the side nicks. We'll keep tapping these down to make sure that if the floor expands, it closes up the gaps in the middle rather than closing up the side nicks. These wedges seem to have no effect on a racketball, but I would imagine they would give an unpredictable bounce in squash - I suggest you have a let if the ball hits one. Currently we don't have a door on Court 3! We plan on moving the wooden door from Court 1 to Court 3 so we can use the glass door on Court 1 when it's back in action, but we will need to find some one to fit the door frame and door. Hopefully in the next week or two ... In the meantime, I suggest you have a let if the ball goes out the door!
With only one court, there will be a lot of pressure on court sessions, particularly peak-time sessions (18:00 - 19:30). So, I'm going to suggest the following constraints:
- Only one peak-time (18:00 - 19:30) booking more than 24 hours ahead
- Bookings limited to no more than a week ahead
- No ANO bookings - find somebody to play before booking
- No booking squash courts in case tennis gets rained off - look at the weather forecast and plan accordingly
- Guest opponent bookings may only be made for sessions later on that day
- Pay & Play will be restricted to 6 hours advance bookings
With my speed of coding, it would take me days to code all those constraints into the booking system and I just don't have the time, so please follow the guidelines. If you don't, your bookings may be cancelled, and/or booking rights revoked.
Please email me if you feel these guidelines are not reasonable.
In the rare event of a double booking occurring, and you think you booked a court, but somebody else seems to have their name against it, let me know - I will check the logs and award it to the person with the earlier booking.
A lot of members have put in a lot of time (and in some cases money) to get the squash court, tennis courts and club house back in action so soon after the flood. If you have been unable to assist so far, but are planning on using the facilities, please consider a donation to the club. You can use the P&P envelopes in the squash balcony - mark the envelope, "Flood Donation". There are still some fans available to sponsor ...
15th December 2012 23:00
Peter Bolshaw does superb job on brickwork
Peter Bolshaw offered to sort out the badly damaged brickwork round the doorway of Court 2. Despite claiming to be an amateur bricklayer, he has done a stunning job. Photo to follow.
15th December 2012 22:00
Court training some evening this week
Do any of you fancy doing some court training some evening this week? We need to give the floors on Court 3 a pounding (so the heavier you are, the better) to help the boards shift in the right direction, so I'd like three people to do some court training with me. We'll start off with 5 x 22s (five lots of 22 court sprints in under a minute with one minute recovery time - guaranteed to turn the legs to jelly - Thomas can just about do it when he's fit). Then lots of forehand and backhand volleying until tennis elbow sets in. Then some diagonals to finish us off followed by tightening the clamps on the floor, a shower and a drink. Any takers? Suggest an evening.
10th December 2012 01:47
Sponsor a fan heater!
I've bought 11 fan heaters with my credit card to supplement the ones borrowed from members. Would any of you like to sponsor one of these? They're Argos bargain specials at £10 each! We've only ever used them on cold blow and you get to keep them when we've finished the drying - probably February/March time. You'll get a warm glow just thinking about how your fan heater did 9% of the work of drying the voids under the floorboards. If you have no use for a fan heater, but would like to donate anyway (our drying electricity bill is about £30 a day), please put your donation in one of the P&P envelopes in the balcony.
10th December 2012 01:35
Court 3 back in action by Monday 17th December
The moisture content in the top surface of the boards is now close to normal. The 18-hour partial immersion meant that the boards were possibly never saturated to the core, but we reckon the bottom surface still has some drying to do which means we need to keep the air circulation underneath as high as possible for as long as possible. The floors expanded across the width by between 3 cm and 4 cm at their peak. With the drying and daily tightening of the clamps, we're reducing this expansion by between 1 mm and 2 mm a day. The best floor is now at about 1 cm overwidth and the worst floor is 2 cm overwidth. The clamping has closed up almost all of the gaps in the outer boards, but there are still some large gaps near the centre.
Court 3 appears to be the driest, so we will try as an experiment, opening it for one week from Monday 17th December. We will close it again for a few days over Christmas to carry on the clamping, opening it again a few days later, all going well. We hope to have two courts open sometime in the second week of January, and will rotate the closed court between the three of them for a month or two. This plan could change without notice if we think necessary, so you will need to be flexible.
I will try to work out how to use the booking system to cope with this period of reduced court sessions. At the moment I am thinking of changing the booking system to allow only 12 hours advance booking (6 hours for Pay & Play players), but if it ends up with lots of people waiting by their computers at 0600 to book an 1800 court, it will result in clashes and stress to all followed by strict rationing to one peak-time booking a week. I am open to suggestions as to how to make this work, but if your suggestion would result in you getting more peak-time courts than other people, don't hold your breadth!
I will need assistance in the frequent removing and replacement of edge boards over the next couple of months - probably doing it sometime on a Saturday or Sunday. Volunteers please!
After 6-12 months, we can think about getting the professionals in to have any remedial work carried out, and then get our floors sanded and relined - there is no point in getting it done any earlier as the floors will move quite a bit as the moisture content gradually gets back to normal.
If any of you have any concerns about how the work is progressing, please address them to me. I tend to work on the courts at antisocial times, so email is probably best. I have taken on a lot of advice from enthusiastic amateurs and equally enthusiastic professionals which has helped enormously in the formulation of the plan. The only benefit of having frequent floods is that we have now become experts in the art of drying out squash courts and now know considerably more about the topic than anybody else in the world!
For the techy people amongst you, I have produced some graphs of the EMC, 10-board width and total floor expansion of our three courts. The slopes of the graphs look very promising.
10th December 2012 01:34
Courts out of action until further notice - 3rd December
The court floors are drying nicely. We have installed 24 folding wedges on each court between the walls and the floors and are trying to squeeze the floors to reduce the gaps that have opened up. We hope to have at least one court back in action by January. Why not play tennis for the rest of the month?
3rd December 2012 21:40
Court cleanup - 1st December
We achieved a lot today.
- All the court walls that came in contact with the flood water have been wiped down with disinfectant.
- Areas of court floors that came in contact with flood water have been mopped with disinfectant.
- The lip (mixture of paint and plaster) at floor level on Courts 2 & 3 has been removed.
- All the voids under the edge boards have been hoovered out.
- More fans have been installed.
- All three courts have been cramped with folding wedges.
- Door frames all dismantled and denailed and placed back on courts – we might reuse them if appropriate.
- All silicone from flood defences (from several floods) removed.
- Area outside Court 2 has been cleaned and chairs returned.
- Corridor cleared and then mopped (several times).
- Club entrance, door, steps, ramp and mats cleaned (several times).
- Court 1 completely hoovered.
- Court 1 doorway double sealed – all access now by ladder from balcony.
- Courts cleared out of any rubbish.
- Courts 2 and 3 to be hoovered. Can this be a routine (daily) job from the cleaner?
- More fans to be used for the voids. More have been promised from members, and I will buy some cheap ones from Argos (didn't get time today).
- Floors to be recramped every day. I will do this or arrange for someone else to do it.
- We need to make good some dodgy brickwork and sort out the door frames. Who in the club can do bricklaying? I'll ask Wayne if he'll do the door frames and we'll swap the doors around so that we have glass on Courts 1 and 2, and a wooden door on Court 3. This doesn't need to be done until the courts are ready to reopen.
When Peter Rhodes gives the go-ahead, we can think about replacing the edge boards and getting the courts sanded and relined. Still not sure whether we do this ourselves, get a local person to do it, or ask the court specialists. We won't attempt to get all courts back in action at the same time if that compromises the quality of the floors.
I want to get some work done to ensure that all three floors float properly next time round. This will involve trimming the front and back of all floors (using a door-trimming saw?) and doing a small amount of plaster work (or alternative) behind the tins to ensure that the floors rise and fall with any future flood. It's tempting to leave this in the hands of the professionals.
I didn't have time to do any moisture measurements today. If I get time tomorrow during the 250 lunch, I'll do a few then just to see what the trend is.
Many thanks to all the volunteers: Martyn Whiting, Chris Prior, Paul Heneghan, Thomas Heneghan, Mary Heneghan, Kristin Carsburg, Martin Frangleton, Mike Francis, Jimmy Harrison (his prowess with a pressure washer will be the subject of a separate report), Mary Boyle, Richard Avery, Neil Healey. I know lots of squashers were helping out on the tennis courts as well: Steve Porter, Neil Healey, Richard Chinn, Peter Bolshaw.
1st December 2012 11:33
Message from John Lomas (Club Chairman) - 29th November
As per Mark’s request I feel that I should just set down the Cleanup guidelines. It is far easier that everyone knows who is doing what and when and we try to make the best use of our resources.
Mark will coordinate the cleaning of the Clubhouse and the returning of all equipment to its rightful place, Paul will do the same for the squash courts and Andy for the tennis courts. These three will liaise with the section captains and vice-captains.
The ‘250 Club Christmas Lunch’ is definitely going ahead at 1:00 pm on Sunday, but we need to know the numbers by tonight at the latest so that Sue can do all the necessary shopping tomorrow. Please e-mail me your names if you would like to come.
Some members have asked about donations to help the Club out. If any members would like to donate a small amount say £10 or £20 then this would be gratefully received. Obviously a greater amount would not go amiss but this flood is nowhere as bad as 2007. It would go towards paying for all the additional cleaning products etc that we will have to buy. Equally donating an hour or two of time would be appreciated but please contact one of the three names above so that your time is utilised in the most efficient way.
Can the section captains please circulate this to all their members – Thank you.
Once again a big Thank You to all those who have helped already in our most recent ‘Big Cleanup’.
29th November 2012 10:30
20 cm of water on courts, but floors likely to survive
There was water in the club above floor level, peaking to about 20 cm for 18 hours. Granthan and I had a look on Monday when the water had dropped a few centimetres. Court 1 floor had floated and the top of it was virtually bone dry. The other two court floors tried to float but were snagged by the door frames and uneven plaster on the front wall so some bits got immersed.
The wood has started expanding already, but we have started the drying process. If any of you have a fan heater that blows cold air, could we borrow it? We need to keep an air flow between the battens under the floor boards. There is almost no silt on the courts, so the heaters won't get mucky.
There's an alarming 3 mm gap on Court 3 that I don't remember, but I haven't played on Court 3 in months. Did any of you regular Court 3 players notice a gap slightly to the left of the centre running almost the length of the court?
It's too early to say exactly when the courts will reopen for play, but we are all optimistic that it will be much sooner than was the case in either the 1998 or 2007 flood. My gut feeling is that it will be sometime in January, all going well. Whether the floors will be up to club standard remains to be seen. A lot will depend on the work and planning we do in the next week.
I think we are hoping to go ahead with the 250 Club Lunch this Sunday. It would be a nice gesture of solidarity if all members made every effort to attend and we achieved a sell-out. It's also an easy way of putting a little bit of money into the club during its hour of need. Please mark it in your diaries now. More information to follow!
Please look at the home page on the website for updates.
Photos of the floors here
Thanks to the usual 'volunteers' who have put a few miles on their waders and wellies in the last few days: Granthan, Nelly, Chinny, Steve Porter, Peter Rhodes, Thomas, Mark Dewdney, Rob Fisher, Steve Penrose, etc.
27th November 2012 20:08
At about 09:00 on Monday 26th Novemeber, after 18 hours above the level of the floors, the water level finaly dropped back below 3.8 m. We will probably wait until the level in the car park drops down before we gain access for an inspection and can then think about what we do next. We will probably be calling for volunteers for the clean-up operation so watch this space.
26th November 2012 09:09
The water level reached a peak of 3.96 m at 19:00 on Sunday 25th November and stayed there for several hours. This is 16 cm above the level of the top of the squash floors, and we can assume that our flood defences might have held it back for an hour or so, but will have been have been breached by now. The water level is predicted to drop a little tonight before peaking even higher tomorrow morning due to more rain.
Granthan, Nelly, Chinny and I spent a few hours today lifting the edge boards and removing the tins, doors and frames. This will give the floors space to move, and in fact they will probably rise up and float. We will see the damage when we get access again - probably Tuesday or Wednesday.
What a shame!
25th November 2012 23:53
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3rd July 2011