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Pool - Diary


September 2014: Possibly the worst year yet.  Didn’t even get time to set up the pods so they weren’t even used.

Believe it or not the pool was only used twice this year.  How crap is that?

October 2013: Had problems getting the solar pod circuit to work - tried three different pumping solutions and ended up

using a central heating pump but it still wasn’t brilliant.  Weatherwise this year wasn’t great but the solar pods did

Help.  I do need to find a different solution though

October 2012: This season we invested in solar pods.  They are supposed to be installed in line with the normal filtration

System but I didn’t want that so I set up a separate pump and filter circuit for them.  I think they have helped.  Season

wasn’t brilliant but I think the pods made it better than it would have been

August 2011: Have had a better year weather wise and got more use of the pool

April 2011: bit late getting started this year.

Oct 2010: had a rubbish season.  10 good days in July and that was it

Sept 2005: had a superb season this year.  Max water temp 29 degrees. Pool got a lot of use by lots of people. Swimming at midnight some nights.  Still swimming mid Sept.

May 2005: Opened pool a little later this year - water was ‘milky’ cloudy - the early stages of algae bloom.  Got it sorted OK over the period of a week or so

Oct 2004: end of season had difficulty balancing pH to overwinter pool.  There was one period when the cleaning got away from me and a lot of leaf got in the pool.  That might have affected the Total Alkilinity.

Overall this was a poor swimming season.

April 2004: first season pool was overwintered. Pool opened in April and water was crystal clear.  Followed spring preparation protocol and all was fine.

October 18th 2003: Well, that's it for the season. We had a brilliant year. The kids had a fantastic time. We couldn't have had better weather. Last week I closed the pool down for the winter season. Max water temp was 26 degrees.  It was a wonderful first season.  We were swimming almost every day and into early Sept.  One evening we were evening swimming at 0100.

Having had the pool this year has given us a number of other projects:
(1) put decking round it
(2) add solar heating
(3) look into some sort of temporary cover for winter
Unfortunately I've just lost my job and am going to have a stab at being self-employed so the next projects will depend on how well I can get the business going. Still, it might also mean I have time to scan the photos and get some of them on here. I have started, honest ...
Thanks to all the people who have got in touch about their own projects and with questions

July 15th 2003: apologies again - I'm still trying to cope with deadlines on a number of different projects, and move the pool on (and use the pool as we've had such fantastic weather) so the web page has had to come down the list of priorities. We're getting there now. Monday 10th July we backfilled half the pool with a lean dry mix of sand and cement and then the following Friday we did the rest. As this absorbs moisture and dries out it will leave a hard concrete collar. The reason for this is that the pool is an above ground pool but we have sunk it 2 feet into the ground so that it isn't so much 'in your face' ie it is less obtrusive. Above ground pools are designed to withstand the internal pressure but if it were to be emptied and it was inground the outside pressure of the earth would be likely to collapse the walls. The concrete collar will protect it from that. Having got the concrete collar in place it meant I could then backfill the rest of the sides with earth (you'll know what I mean when I get the photos scanned and up on the page). I've also had a virus which has left me weak and permanently exhausted so I found backfilling the pool difficult and exhausting. Normally I'd have swallowed such a task easily. Anyway, the ground is now all level around the pool, I've put grass seed on to the backfilling and the weather is fantastic and the pool is getting a lot of use - Tom brings his mates down and the kids have a lovely time. When the kids have gone we can go skinny dipping and have friends round to join us. We've also had several people asking for advice, details of our suppliers etc It seems to have attracted interest.
So what's next? First of all I need to get the photos scanned in. I also need to make a proper (but temporary) platform for the ladder. At the moment it is standing on concrete blocks. That will be it for this year. Next year we hope to
(a) put up another pergola alongside the pool
(b) put decking around the pool (which is why the ladder platform is only temporary)
(c) put solar heating to the pool

Doing the backfilling has made a real difference to the perspective. It has visually lowered the pool and the whole area looks much better. This project has *really* been worth doing.

June 26th 2003: apologies. I haven't kept this up to date. There are two very good reasons for this - (1) I've been really busy battling against some in-your-face deadlines and trying to get the pool in and (2) we've had some damn good weather and we've been using the pool for almost a month now.
OK, so where were we? We hadn't got the liner but we had got the wall up. Right, so Maggie, my Dad and I fitted the liner. It didn't quite reach so we stretched it into place and then started putting water in. We'd got about six inches in and in some places it really was a long way off the wall so we stopped. At the next opportunity Maggie and Tom (with help from Pat and Brian our wonderful neighbours) baled it all out (I couldn't help as I was fighting one of those in-your-face deadlines). Maggie, Tom, Pat and I, a few days later, refitted the liner, stretching it right the way round instead of just where it didn't fit. Suddenly it looked a lot better. Ok there was one part where it was still a fair way from the wall at the bottom but we are told the liner would stretch to over 200% so we thought 'go for it' and started filling the pool. Well, the water hadn't even covered the bottom of the pool before the kids were in and they've had a whale of a time ever since. This has really been one of the best thing we've ever done. We filled the pool up to just below the inlet hole and then I had to fit the skimmer and inlet. Then I had to build up the pump and filter and do all the plumbing. At that point I could cut the hole in the liner for the skimmer and finish filling. We've since been in the pool at every opportunity and we've loved it. I really recommend it and if you want me to recommend the suppliers drop me an e-mail and I'll tell you all about them.

We aren't quite finished yet - we still have to do the backfilling. Later on we want to put decking round the pool and build another pergola. Those are projects for next year and we want to look into putting solar heating to it. At the moment there is no heating but I've been amazed at how warm the water gets. Absolutely fantastic - it's forcing me into some relaxation (not something I generally have time for with the pressure of work) and it means I get some exercise. Just as important - I'm getting some skinny dipping, too.

It really has been a brilliant project, I thoroughly recommend it and it's a lot less expensive than you think!! I've got some photos back and I'll put them up when I can.

May 19th 2003: and yes, things did go belly up. We had planned to put the wall in Friday evening and then move on to the liner over the weekend but the weather didn't play ball - it hammered down Friday evening and then I couldn't get people together again until Sunday afternoon. So come Sunday afternoon we started on the pool wall. This was probably the hardest part so far. An extremely long piece of metal 52" wide. We had to slot the wall into the bottom rail and hold it in place in the uprights with (flimsy) temporary plastic clips and bungee ropes. We got it all the way round and found it was a couple of inches short - not a problem, all we had to do was kick the bottom of the rails inwards on the oval ends to pull the bottom rail closer together. we had just got it lined up when there was a gust of wind which took it out of the rail all along one side. Once we had got it in and screwed together at the ends we decided to put the top rail on temporarily to hold it all securely in place until we were ready to do the liner. We got the top rail out of its box and fitted it. It went together very well but ... four bits are missing. There is no top rail for one oval end so at the moment we have something which looks like a pool but which has no liner in (we ran out of time) and which is held together by temporary plastic clips and bungees at one end.
Foir the liner we need a warm day to make it more pliable and stretchy. The weather forecast isn't good for the next few days so we'll have to play it by ear. The other problem is that we are busy next weekend and the guys who are helping us are away, so we'll just have to try and grab an opportunity when we can. In the meantime I'll start putting the pump and filter and plumbing together.

May 15th 2003: Now we're making progress. Famous last words - I really shouldn't have written that as it has just guaranteed that things will go belly up tomorrow! So what has been happening? Well, I got through to the company which supplied the pool via AG Budget and I am now *very* happy with them. They have been most helpful in sending out the missing parts immediately and quickly (and I found out that the bits missing from the box were not their fault). They have also been very helpful with advice and support. Paramount Pools - take a bow! The bits arrived last Saturday as promised and that meant that I could finish installing the uprights, the base plates and the connecting straps across the pool.
Once that was done I put the base rail in place, marked round it and laid a couple of inches of concrete at the oval ends to provide a firm base for the bottom rail pieces at the pool ends. Today I put on the upright covers and the plan is (weather permitting) to install the wall tomorrow evening and the liner this weekend. Fingers crossed ...
Some photos have now come back from the developers ( I know, I should have gone digital by now. I just can't afford the camera I want - I have my eye on the Minolta dImage 7i) but I haven't had time to scan them. Watch this space ...

May 5th 2003: We have started but seem to be taking two steps forwards and one back. The pictures are still in the camera - I'll put some up as soon as we get going. OK, what has been happening. Last weekend we hired a mini-digger and a mini-dumper and with a builder friend (Dave) we dug out the hole for the pool. That was the saturday. It is important not to underestimate how much soil comes out - I had no idea it would be so much! On the Sunday we dug out for the two concrete pads which will take the side supports and I ran the cables for a light and for the toolstore where we are going to put the pump and filter. On the Tuesday Dave came back and but in wooden blocks which would form slots in the concrete pads. On Wednesday the concrete was delivered and poured into the preformed holes for the pads. My next job was to remove the wooden blocks as soon as possible - I got half out the Friday evening and then it took me nearly all day Saturday to finish them. On the Sunday (yesterday) I made a concrete base ready to take the tool store. This meant that I could now get on with starting to construct the pool itself so today I put together the T-pieces which form the basis of the side uprights. Then, when I came to the next stage I found another problem - as well as not sending a box (which has since arrived) they have also sent a wrong box. In fact not only was the box wrong, but the contents were also wrong for that box. I will be ringing tomorrow - and I can chase up the solar cover and winter cover at the same time (the ladder has arrived but not the covers). These problems are not caused by AG Budget but by their suppliers from whom the pool is coming direct. I have already left two voice mails about the covers but not had any reply - it doesn't exactly fill you with confidence, does it?

Oh well, now we have to see what they can do to remedy this problem. I really need those bits this week so that I can get the first stages of construction out of the way this week and next weekend as I have people lined up to help me with the wall and liner the following weekend. It looks as though this will take a while longer than expected ...

April 11th 2003: The moment of truth approaches. We had one or two hiccups with the delivery as a box was missing and we are still waiting for the ladder, the solar cover and the winter cover. However we are making progress - I have got more of the electric cable in and hope to run the final length of cable under the patio and under the dining room this weekend. Then I need to go and buy the rest of the electrical components.
We have scheduled the work as follows:
April 26th -27th: dig the hole for the pool (we are installing it part in-ground). This means I need to buy some bitumen type coating in advance
One evening the following week we plan to put two concrete pads in
May 3rd-4th: construct the pool
May 10th-11th: finish the construction.
And then I will need to work on tidying up the area round the pool
We'll see how close we manage to stick to this

March 2003: Nothing's ever straightforward, is it? When I had a look through the boxes I couldn't find the instructions - or the bottom rail, or the solar cover, or the debris cover. It turns out that the solar cover and debris cover are to follow and that one of the boxes was missing. They are going to send me the instructions by post and will send the missing box along with the solar cover and debris cover when they receive them. Plan is still to install in April. At least I have finished the book and can now turn my attention to the preparation (water supply, electrics ...)

March 2003: It's here!! It arrived a couple of days ago. At the moment it's just a pile of boxes in the shed. I've had a quick look in them and I'm afraid I can't find the bottom rail, the installation instructions (fairly crucial I would have thought), the solar cover or the debris cover. I've e-mailed the suppliers and we'll see what they say. A friend of ours is a builder and he said he'd help us install it as we are having it half-sunk (although it is an above ground pool) so the next thing is to get the instructions and give him a copy. We aim to install it in April this year. Before then I have to
(a) finish a book I'm writing - this has held a lot of things up. It has to be finished by the end of March
(b) reroute some water supply - we've had an underground leak.
(c) get the electricity supply sorted out
(d) buy a small tool store for the pump/filter/chemicals

Dec 2002: Progress!!! We have finally placed an order. In the end we went with AG Budget Swimming Pools and Spas. To date we have been very pleased in our dealings with them. we'll see how we progress and I'll let you know. The pool should be delivered in January 2003 and we will store it until March when we hope to install it. Before then I still need to redo the electrics. I have made a start in that the cable has been run between the garage and summer house, but the rest is still to do. The new garage has also been erected, so there really is progress to report. The garage still needs equipping but priorities are electrics and pool. Watch this space. In March we really should have something to report!

Sept 2002: Not much further to be honest. Have continued saving - but not as much as I had hoped. Still, it looks as though we should be in a position to buy the pool in a couple of months. By next Spring I must have the electrics in place. Part of the problem is that we became aware that the old wooden garage needed replacing so that has needed money, site clearance ... It has all meant a shift in job priorities - as you will see when I get the electrics section done on the page

April 2002: At last I've made a start. The local electrician has helped me draw up a shopping list of the electrcial parts I need - it's going to cost a fortune (and this before we can even order the pool) so I'm going to have to buy it in stages. I've ordered the cable: 140 metres of 16mm armoured cable and 100 metres of BICC Multiplus. The next step is to start digging up the garden.

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